Apocalypse for heretics and anarchists

More appropriately translated, the title of this post would read: a revelation for those able to choose self-governance.

To borrow Angie Curtis’ words, the recent Learning Man Festival was: “A vision to gather with like minds to co-create a temporary village in a forest, to share knowledge, skills, ideas and innovations, building community, healing, honouring, celebrating.”


And that’s exactly how it turned out – or as close as any collection of wo/men could get it the first time round. In my humble opinion, it was hardly off the mark.

I have noted dozens of comments coming from those who were unable to make it, saying things like: “So sorry I missed it. Next time round I’m there!” – or words to that effect. By all accounts it would seem that all those who were absent for whatever reason, will indeed have the opportunity of being there for Learning Man II. There has to be a Learning Man II, right? Of course there has to be… and this is why:

Magick of community

Within just two days, a colourful tented village manifested out of the ether as free spirits wafted in by all manner of conveyance from as far afield as Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Czech Republic, France, Spain and even an ex-pat from Venezuela! It was an amazing and magical process to witness. It proves my assertion that the real Magick resides in the spirit of Man and is put to work by his/her hands. If your heart lies with people, you will experience this Magick as I did.

As the village grew, so did the voices and songs while the Magick of community gradually wrapped its arms around you. The energy field generated by it slowly soaked into everything and everyone. Free-spirited people carry an energy that is light, uplifting, optimistic, uninhibited, giving, compassionate, vibrant and compelling. It compels you to throw off your own worldly cares and be one with the ‘Force’. Yoda would have been proud of us, because the Force was with us for that all-too-brief time.


I stayed on for a few days after January 3rd to help with the pack-up and, with every departing soul my own energy almost imperceptibly became denser and heavier. I eventually quietly questioned myself about it and realised then that it was the collective energy that was dissipating. It was being diluted back into a world that neither understands nor has much value in it.

That individual energy will be carefully guarded in hundreds of hearts for the next eleven months until it’s allowed to break free again and commune…

It remains my fervent hope!

Knowledge, innovation and skills

During a walkabout in the village on the penultimate day, I had time to stop off at John and Rayne’s woodworking shop. I stood, captivated by the simplicity of the foot-operated lathe and the temporary forge that had been constructed with clay sourced at the river’s edge. As I watched a young woman turning a leg for a stool or a table, I was reminded about the saying that goes: “Simplicity is the highest technology”. In our high-tech world, bulging with power tools of every description, these simple and effective ones have been totally forgotten, if not discarded altogether.

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Simon’s compost shower was a clear hit with many. Once again, if the technology is employed correctly, an effective outcome can be achieved by sheer simplicity, some sober thought and a little effort.

Crosby’s parabolic cooker certainly did its job around the communal kitchen and Jirka’s clay rocket stove played an invaluable supporting role.



And, who will forget Dr. Bruce Copley with his assortment of musical instruments or his fire making workshop that reflected so much empowerment on the faces of those who conjured up the first little flame in the palms of their hands?


Although I wasn’t able to attend any talks or workshops, it was clear from the feedback I got from those who did, that there resides in the Learning Man community, a vast pool of knowledge concerning permaculture, aspects pertaining to Common Law, healing, guidance and teaching, manufacture, spectacular artistry and musical talent.

A veritable treasure trove!

Living on the land

There were many who reflected on the fact that they wanted to live on the land, producing their own food, building their own homes and taking care of their own well-being. There were several discussions on the concept of ‘doing it for ourselves’ and, post event, there are a good few meetings taking place with just that in mind.


Candice and her unflagging enthusiasm for recycling. Unforgetable!

Experiencing the freedom of just being on the land for those few days galvanised the thoughts of many towards creating lasting community away from the oppressive system we all know too well. Many were introduced to the simple innovations that would make it possible and viable if approached correctly – and now, those pipe dreams are beginning to crystalize into creative thoughts about how to make it reality. For some I suspect the innovations served as reinforcement of their convictions that alternatives do exist – all we have to do is act.


Little food gardens began springing up, with little prospect of surviving after everyone had left, but it was testament to the thoughts and desires made manifest by their action. Those acts of planting were for me the silent cries behind happy faces for the need to create and produce, free from the constraints that beset so many in so many different ways. They were the silent cries of the indomitable human spirit that refuses to be extinguished, that human spirit that cries: “Give us space and witness what we will accomplish!”

Dispelling the myth of money

Largely, goods and services were traded via the Talent Exchange, which was a whole new experience for a lot of people. It was a wonderful exercise in demonstrating that we can indeed trade without the need for currency which must have taken the pressure off in many cases I’m sure.

Now that we’re on the money thing, I have a story to share which would probably best be done in a subsequent post. I will post that story in a few days.

In conclusion, Learning Man must be regarded as an Apocalypse for heretics and anarchists, and it must be repeated in order to spread the fire. I have no doubt it will be repeated and I, for one, cannot wait to watch the gathering of the tribe at the end of this year… or will it be sooner perhaps? Just asking…

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“I cried leaving behind river, soft earth, oaks and wattles, drumming, dancing, and most of all my precious heart-and-soul-family, finally found after much searching. I am deeply grateful to each shining soul for co-creating and making visible the way we want to live. As hard as it was leaving that loving home, and coming back to the world, I am filled with hope and determination to raise consciousness in our own communities by loving in our truth and sharing our abundant gifts.” – Lynne Groenewald




Angie Curtis, Roy Zetisky, Barbra Cowley Photography, Jason Hermann Photography


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