Dripstone is the research blog for queer visual artist, researcher, writer and curator Venus Jasper.

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Setting Limits Yields Abundance

The smell of fresh cut passion fruit fills the air. I’m in a damp forest high upon the Iquitie Mountain near San Lucas Tolimán. It is my first time entering a Primary Cloud Forest – and from now on things will be different. A post-art fructose of life that I know from IMAX films such as Avatar and from scuba diving in Bali is spawned around me. Towering trees support various levels of vegetation; Bryophytes, Lichens, Ferns, Bromeliads, Cacti, Orchids and other Tillandsia (Air Plants). The red-brown soil below my feet is as soft as bedlinen and I wonder if I am truly awake or not... Never have I ever, I uttered in the bush.

Our PDC group entered this dreamy space of existence high up in the clouds to study, observe and learn how nature quintessentially sustains itself, by itself; how water runs down branches and trunks to bring nutrients down to the soil; how leafs drop and slowely turn into microbial worlds; how Abuelo & Abuelita have pioneered these elevated slopes of earth to prepare the way for an arrray of interrelated forms of life to spark into existence.Two giant trees covered by a million other organisms hold space for a vast nexus of lifeforms to unfold around it in the timeless embroidery that follows. Little did I know that species are so ravishingly interdependent. Chopping an elder means the death of a 1000 springtimes.

Observe &
Replicate Nature
= Permaculture Design

Around me the forest rains itself. Drops of moisture that taste like a low-sugar nectar find their way to the top of my head. I'm baptized in and by the Green Arboretum Cathedral itself – a signature at the end of a series of blessings and insights that have been showering down on me like a meteor shower these past few weeks.Straight after the Natural Building Course I engaged in a full week of envisioning and planning an upcoming Intentional Healing Biotope for members of the Global Queer Community. Nights of heart-circles and days of exploring the dynamics of polyamory and community took place amongst five friends. Directly after that an invigorating Mayan Fire Ceremony marked the start of my certification in Permaculture Design at the Instituto Mesoamericano de Permaculture (IMAP) – located at the stunning south side of the lake.

(image: view of Lago Atitlan from IMAP)The world of Permaculture really has as much to do with building a regenerative agri-cultural ecosystem as it has with healing the Earth and our humanity in a large holistic sense – it is a complete framework for ecological and ethical decisions based around 12-15 inspiring base principles that I recommend studying. Some say it is the largest self-regulated movement of people on the world today. It is a point of departure: a tool to choose tools – or so we learned.

Although it was officially 'invented' by two white dudes on a University in Australia, and intended to help the large middle-class transfer into another life story; to shift the dominant culture from consuming to producing – it had actually been around for thousands of years already. In the indigenous worlds of peoples around the Earth the founders of Permaculture found the same knowledge of holistic natural relating that they tried to put into their model of principles. Wisdom to help re-fertilize soil, bring eroded parts back to life and sway those oppressed by big-corp back to autonomy and interdependence.


To me, learning about permaculture feels like an attunement into the inherent soul-seed that is in everything. It is a re-membering of the great plan of nature: the plan of abundance, the plan of paradise, the plan of endless multiplication of produce and pleasure by a conscious involvement of everything that is naturally generated. In this cosmology, waste doesn't exist. Principle #6: Produce No Waste. Because there is no waste in nature, we too can challenge what seems waste - an unused product of the system, a resource misplaced.

Interspersed with in-depth knowledge of the Mayan Agricultural Calendar and the more popular astro-personal Tzolk'in, we are learning about life via practicals. One of which was extracting Chia Seeds from the dried plant; a laborious work which made me hope that Chia is as healthy as people say it is… because the effort to get the tiny grey granules out of their husks is high.

image: Chia Plant Tips)
image: view on the Lake

Next to the daily practicums there are many field-trips to local projects in which we seek out to experience the ethics and principles of Permaculture. I find that the wisdom surrounding permaculture mirrors the field of Spiritual Psychotherapy well; deep natural systems usher us closer to the true Self. As long as our ways and patterns are righteous our Earth is a place of fulfilling our true needs. When we shed our creepy and misguided behaviors, false defence-structures and our nature abusing methodologies, we will again see the story of unity – rather than the myth of separation, which tears people and the vivid tisse of life apart.

Don’t Minimize your Footprint! Optizime it!' our teacher spoke... 'For our needs are valid.' ...There is no guilt in obtaining or wanting abundance.... As long as our ways and patterns are righteous our Earth is a place of fulfilling our true needs.


‘Setting Limits Yields Abundance’ is the third of three basic Ethical Guidelines for Permaculture. It is more commonly known as ‘Fair Share’ in the West, since a limitation to production is out of the question – and plus – all our extras could be fairly shared amongst others, wouldnt it? .. Why halt production when we can just give all that excess away? Nah. Setting No Limits Won't Yield Abundance,.. it will yield problems.

While Husking the Chia Seeds it hit me. It felt stressful to try and do both a sustainable agricultural life, and also a successful life in the city, with fame, adventures, a career at infamous levels – very stressful indeed. But when I would be sharing an integrated natural lifestyle with my family, friends, lovers and the natural cycles of life itself, would that really be strenuous? If one thing, being amongst the Permaculture and Natural Building people showed me that this way of life isn't an individual and solitary pursuit. On the contrary, nothing within this holistic living would function if you can't manage to collaborate with other people. And setting that limit -to look at the whole instead of your self- certainly yields abundance after abundance; it's like waking up in a world full of brothers and sisters – one or more clans of the same species enveloped in the same miracle that is the wild light of life.

When we manage to put a part of our (little 's') selves away in order to have everything filter and chime through us, we will certainly yield abundance. It's like taking a free ride on the devine current that permeates our planet. We would be like the babies of a greater scheme. Would that ability to dedicate to one thing perhaps enhance our entire ability to focus? To relate and SEE all of the minuscule and grand things that are here to bolster our lifelihood? Would a limitation of all the things we want and need help us to sink down to a more essential level - one which enables us to breath and inhale the effortless grace with which the natural world maintains its own homeo-statis, its self-care, its regulation and the overflowing abundances in which we are all included anyway? To an eternal soul haste seems ridiculous, and if anything, our only haste would be on our way back to balance and receptivity in the face of the wealth of our world.

'It would be wise to join a movement that aspires to replicate the grace of nature as its means to produce food, medicine and other organic matters', the great Cloud Nature Library could tell me. Modern and ancient ways of harmony are being brought back to life for the pale-skinned through this funny little thing called Permaculture. Its apparatus is both enthusiasm and humbleness. Its fragrance is relieving everyone from the oppression of the past hundreds of years. Its Ethos is a collaboration with a partner that isn't just in it for self-engrandure; Mother Earth.

Neo-Foraging /

The Edible Food Forest we visited after the Primary Cloud Forest was created by one sole farmer working at IMAP. Just four years ago the site was a rectangular dead-soiled Mono-Crop Coffee wasteland that had no means of retaining water whatsoever. Its precious and fertile top soil washed away with each rain... but now, after a dedicated attempt at replicating the intricate ways of the Cloud Woodlands, the exact same field has grown into an adolescent and mixed race terrain where the coffee plants stand erect amongst massive Banana herbs, Passionfruit trees, medicinal herb shrubs, Tree-Tomato Plants, Sweet Cucumbers, etc.

Different heights of vegetation are working together, providing each other shade and nutrients. Most of the preparatory work on the land was getting the soil back alive after the abuse that had taken place in the effort of yielding a coffee profit - which would still leave a family without vegetables. Some terraces and swales were installed to keep the natural water on the land longer - but after that, the Food Forest literally began sprawling with produce, offspring, wildlife, flowers and edibles that the farmer only has to come and pick up in the morning, share with his family and friends, keep some for seeds and/or the occasional farmers market. Abundance Through Limitation; no big coffee income; no soil-deprivation for quick cash: just life and some green hand-work.

Neo-Foraging. Culture 2.0

Because this is what Food Forests are: places that run themselves because they chime in with nature. This is what permaculture is: a dance with Mother Earth. This is what it means to set limits: to see what is already there instead of inventing great escapes from things that don't need to be real; to tune into abundance instead of scarcity. No need to fear paradigms that are about to end... no need for colonizing Mars or shooting-off to a distant moon. 'No-No,' the Great Ancient Master Trees confided; we won't leave before we manage to accept and venerate the impossible probabilities that have to coincide in order to produce endless flower-full bushes, 100-meter tall trees and other scientifically untraceable symbiotic collaboration of the natural world taking place in the Primary Forrests of our World – sublime acts of creative energy with a humbling self-regulation that belongs to a True Teacher.

With all the Love I greet you,
Your Peace Journalist

Thank you
O&O, CBK Rotterdam

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