Biography from Earthfolk website .... in pdf
Outlaw Visions ventures into the dark side Shadow realm of human experience (warfare and prisons) to discern a vision of you—the Other—as precious and beloved. This is the vision of the Earthfolk movement that values you as a dreamer who can imagine and make present a whole and peaceful human family.
ENCOUNTERING THE EARTHFOLK MOVEMENT
While my personal journey in no way reflects the fullness of the Earthfolk vision and imagination, I will reference my experiences to demonstrate how one individual came to seek to practice dwelling peacefully and comfortably at-home on the Living Earth. Please do not confuse a messenger with the message. If you look to my life experiences to assess the worthiness of your engaging Earthfolk practices and rituals, then you are doing yourself a disservice. I am a deeply flawed individual who, like most, has a handful of redeeming characteristics.
I am writing in the early winter of my life. (Born August 6, 1944) I’ve come to realize that the Earthfolk vision of dwelling peacefully and comfortably at-home on the Living Earth is a seed I’ve carried all my life, deep within my heart and imagination, though only recently have I sensed its stirring presence.
My relationship with the Other—you—is what dwelling peacefully at-home on the Living Earth is all about. In the most succinct of images, my decision not to murder you is the seed which has been deeply planted within my heart and imagination. As strange as that might sound, consider that my life is defined by a search to understand why society has dutifully called me forth and given me reasons to see you as my intimate enemy. The society about us—the global human community—has been endlessly at war since time immemorial. I, like most males in my country, was called in my youth to “step forward” and become the next- generation solider in this endless war. I was told that my slaying of you as intimate enemy would be an act of faithfulness to my State and my Church. I was told that killing you would be evidence and proof of my manliness. There was, in my youth, no vision or imagination which pressed me with insights and reasons not to slay you.
Can I ask you to reflect for a moment upon the fact that although there are philosophies, religions and spiritualities which value compassion, gentleness, mindfulness, self-sacrifice, and like virtues, they are aberrations in a world dominated for millennia by endless warring? I admit that I once thought that I could find a way within one of these more pacifistic spiritual streams to claim that you are not my intimate enemy. But I have to sincerely admit that I tried and found them all wanting. I will talk more about my attempt to practice a pacifistic spirituality, but I truly must state that, despite my best efforts, none led me to value you as precious and beloved.
The course of my spiritual journey has been determined by my effort to claim you as other than my intimate enemy. It is a course which wends through several years in a Roman Catholic seminary and monastery, decades studying and teaching as a lay theologian, years as anVietnam Era anti-war activist promoting nonviolent Resistance against the government, a sentence of five years in prison for refusing the Call to hunt you down, and years in the darkness of my mind and soul as I wandered, broken but seeking wholeness.
Only my encounter (post-prison, mid-1980s) with the Earthfolk rituals and vision provided me with an imagination and practical ways with which to approach you as other than intimate enemy. While I want to invite you to encounter the Earthfolk on your own terms, I’d like to expand upon their vision and rituals with some references to how they changed my life. The first insight that the Earthfolk vision presents is that you—the Other—are precious. What is of paramount importance is that you as the Other are not an intimate enemy to be feared. Rather, you are someone whose embrace makes present a coupled sense of preciousness. More, Earthfolk hold that “you” cannot be you unless and until you are embraced. One simple conclusion from this approach is that if I slay you then I slay myself. Another is that if I am to understand myself then it is imperative and necessary that I preserve your life. If either of us dies, then each of us dies. As we grow together, so is our self-insight deepened.
In my early forties, I shifted from seeking “spiritual fulfillment” to focusing on human and personal fulfillment—on healing, becoming whole and expressing preciousness. I used “precious” as my fullness word—I strove to express myself in non-theological, non-spiritual terminology. What I found as I listened to those who were unveiling themselves as Earthfolk (though none of us had the name at the time) is that we were seeking to become complete, full, robust humans. What we sought was to live peacefully together, to be comfortable with the Earth, to be at-home with all living creatures.
All we had, so we knew, was this moment now and you! You, the Other. More, that to be fully myself, to be whole, I had to find a way to couple my masculine and feminine selves. Right from the start of my conscious journey—post-prison—I realized that I was not the male I could be, in due partly to the fact that I did not know my feminine self. I realized that I had to couple to become full and whole. This was not just a sexual word but one of human communication. I came to use the phrase “respectful intimacy.” In moments of respectful intimacy I sensed my own and your preciousness. Just know that this sometimes happened in very dark and difficult places, even for fleeting moments in a federal prison.
This coupled sense of preciousness often transforms the couple and manifests a new presence of each as beloved. Earthfolk words and images serve to alert you to the special value Earthfolk place on you. As common as these Earthfolk terms and images appear, namely, preciousness and beloved, Earthfolk’s understanding of preciousness is anything but commonplace. At its core is the definition of preciousness as a coupled experience. This alone stands 180 degrees from the dominant notion of spirituality/holiness which the main spiritual traditions/worldviews hold is an individual journey of the hero—what Earthfolk term the "Warrior’s Quest."
The formation of Earthfolk practices and rituals caused a profound and radical shift in how I came to understand my and your body, senses, mind, and what is made present when we share respectful intimacy and couple as beloveds. I cannot stress how totally unnerving and exhilarating is the state of being present to your own preciousness and that of another in an embrace of beloveds.