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Nurturing the Feminine Soul in Mother Earth

Planting Day at the Archer

posted 19 Nov 2017, 18:29 by Peter Harney

The vegetable gardens of the Archer Mountain Earth Community had given many bundles of produce over the past 6 months ranging from kale, snow peas to a wide variety of lettuce.  The 5 raised gardens were built when Sr Carmel (the chief gardener) at the Archer for 10 years became unwell and was unable to bend to weed and plant.  

A dozen of the extended Archer Mountain Earth Community gathered on Saturday 18 November and spent the morning planting the 5 garden beds.  The no dig planting method was used having been introduced to the community by Chris Gibbings who worked as a volunteer at the Archer during 2017.

No Dig Planting:

Cut the weeds down to ground level; pull out the grass.
  • cover weedy areas with a few layers of newspaper.
  • sprinkle some minerals around
  • put some horse or cow poo on
  • put some mulch on top
  • push back the mulch to make a little hole where you want to plant something. The hole should be about the volume of a cup
  • fill with a mix of soil and 5in1 (2:1) if planting a seedling 
  • fill with a mix of seed raising mix and 5in1 (2:1) if planting a seed
The work was done in a couple of hours and the hard working volunteers then enjoyed lunch on the deck overlooking the Stanley River Valley.  Saturday was a rainy day.  The rain stopped for the 2 hours for the planting and then resumed.  It was the ideal day for getting seedling to deepen their roots.  We now look forward to the harvest that promises to be abundant.

PH (20/11/2017)

Earth as Garden

posted 12 Nov 2017, 14:39 by Peter Harney

The Archer Mountain Earth Community gathered for Agape Sunday Nov 12 and celebrate the Earth as Garden.  The 20 present viewed ‘The Garden of Oneness’ that the Presentation Sisters in Zambia have grown with the help of the local people.   The garden is a place for local people to enjoy and as a space for gathering and learning how to care for the depleted soil, the local trees and to grow vegetables and fruit trees.  The Archer group walked in pilgrimage attending to the spirit of the Archer earth and then entered the cosmic spiral.  A reading from Juliann of Norwich, the earth being contained in an hazel nut was shared.  Each person then took a potted plant and encircled the labyrinth as an earth blessing was prayed.

Viridian Retreat – Wounded Healers

posted 2 Nov 2017, 17:05 by Peter Harney

A group of 12 gathered in the Viridian Centre at Nudgee to take time away from the 
busyness of life to reflect on the ‘woundedness’ of their lives, our species and the all nurturing earth.  Over two days (Oct 30 & 31) the group explored the wound of historical Jesus felt deeply by him in the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11) and our own wounds experienced though personal loss, tragedy and the suffering of others especially the asylum seeker, refugee, the excluded indigenous person and marginalised jobless young person a victim of our free market system of economics.  The centre-piece was Grace the mauve rose given to those who donate organs to sustain the life of others.  It is also given to those who receive these precious organs.  They looked behind the text, within the text and in front of the text ensuring that there was a holistic perspective and a sense of interconnection and personal responsibility.  Some are guilty but all are responsible.  The personal pain was explored through walking the ‘Wound Mandala’ and attending to some of the tragedies of this time in history – the demise of the Barrier Reef, the destruction of our forests and the pain of those abused through the use of power and privilege.   The second day was about allowing the pain but seeing the hope that arises when one depths the sources of this searing wound.  Through the 1000 crane story of Sadako Sasaki of Japan who died at 12 years from cancer caused the Hiroshima atomic bomb retreatants come to a new sense of hope in the darkness of overwhelming hopelessness.  They made a crane of hope for a special intention, which could have been a dying bird species or a dear friend.  In the afternoon the group walked the Owen Brown garden which has been created within the local eucalyptus forest where there was a once a stand of guinea grass.   The garden is a space between the natural wildness of the forest and the cultivated landscapes of the human.  It is a place to pause and be attentive and still.
PH (02/11/2017)

New Consciousness Weekend

posted 23 Oct 2017, 15:20 by Peter Harney

Click on the file below:

Here's a teaser:
"Peter Hay and Trevor Parton were facilitators of the ‘New Consciousness’ weekend October 21/22 at the Archer Mountain Community and suggested David Korten had a way into the new consciousness we now need for the survival of the planet and ultimately humanity.  David Korten poses these questions in the light of humanity embracing a new story of where we have come from, why we are here and where are we going..."

October Fest

posted 19 Oct 2017, 14:37 by Peter Harney

The Archer had 150 mms of rain over the past week that filled the dam to overflowing.  This is the first time in years that the dam has been full which augurs well for the gardens in the coming summer.  The rain was accompanied by squally winds that one of the gun trees beside the tool shed.  The canopy hit the shed but did not do any damage.  The tree was removed and stacked for chipping.  The chips will be used as mulch around our new trees with the infrastructure is being put in place in November.

Spring Cleaning Week was the second week in October resulting in the painting of the decks of the Glass House, guest House, Sanctuary, Merton and Julian.  All blankets were washed and line sorted for the rooms.  In the process we threw out some pillows and purchased some news ones. Thank you to Mary, Di and Paul for their assistance.  The week ended with a celebration ‘Dancing Under the Stars’ which was brought alive by Jules, Katie, Monique and Anthony.  The evening ended as ‘Singing in the Rain’ as the heavens opened and drenched the parched land of the Archer.

PH (19/10/2017)


posted 26 Sep 2017, 19:49 by Peter Harney

WWF and RSPCA have joined forces in a new report that highlights just how many of our species are under threat in Queensland from excessive tree-clearing. The numbers are shocking. They've found that up to 34 million animals are killed every year.  The report entitled Tree-clearing: The hidden crisis of animal welfare in Queensland is available at:

The path to the sanctuary is complete!

posted 24 Sep 2017, 17:19 by Peter Harney   [ updated 24 Sep 2017, 17:23 ]

The TAO III group completed the path to the Sanctuary and the official opening and ribbon cutting was Thursday 21st September.  Valda Dickinson, a member of the TAO Team, along with Mary Murphy, a member of the Archer Mountain Earth Community, cut the ribbon with Peter Thrupp the architect and manager of works standing by.  The occasion was marked by sparkling wine in colourful party cups!

This beautiful ceramic bowl holding the wreath of Archer flowers is the work of Julie Hawkins who has made a number of pieces for the Archer - Earth Mother, the meditating Jesus, a contemplative moment and donated recently a Japanese pagoda for the garden.

TAO EXPERIENCE 111 Mt Archer -Weeks 4 & 5

posted 16 Sep 2017, 21:33 by Peter Harney

The advice ” Take one day at a time” is well received at Mount Archer. Each week is well constructed by Tony Hempenstall, Valda Dickenson and Peter Harney, and needs full attention. The days continue to be book-ended with personal and communal quiet time, journaling and prayer. Each Friday we discuss Bruce Sanguin’s book: The Way of the Wind.

Excursions and guest presenters have assisted in engaging us in sensitivity to Land: 

  • Excursion to Local bushlands and bio regions- Mount Mee State forest, to Walk the Land there, as a companion visitor;
  • Excursion to Bulimba Creek-Oxbow off the Brisbane river to see the rehabilitation and regeneration of wetlands through eco-engineering;
  • Genevieve Caffery RSM, and Phil Glendenning explored the Cry of the made-poor especially through advocacy and justice for refugees;
  • Chris Dalton, author of Terra Nullius to Beloved Companion, presented through poetry and art, a non-indigenous man’s perspective of the historical human experiences of the Land; 
  • Phil Costigan, after years of experience at the Glass House Mountains and Mount Mee, shared his Principles of an Earth-based Spirituality. 

On one evening we had a Pat Kelly tour of Viridian, after which we joined the Viridian Brothers’ community for a meal at Nudgee College courtesy of Brian Davis.

In conclusion, we are heading for an Integration week where we will try to bring together Chapter Calls, experiences and learnings of the Land, insights, principles and dreams that are gestating within.

Les Hetherton

Principles of an Earth Based Spirituality suggested by Phil Costigan:
  1. Listen to the wisdom of earth, acknowledging that an open, attentive and receptive attitude to the proactive revelation of the Sacred in the Cosmos/Earth is of first importance.
  2. Deepen your relationship with the Cosmos/Earth, understanding that a close bond with your own particular place is central.
  3. Acknowledge the Sacred in the interdependent web of life.
  4. Honour the Sacred in the web of life through rituals and holistic living.
  5. Live in the right relationships that this calls forth, recognising that ethical attitudes and behaviours spring from a belief in the intrinsic value of all species and from deep bonding with Earth.

Photos: 1: Phil Glendenning with Sean McManus and Les Hetherton; 2: A forest reflection 3: Crossing the wetlands on a rising tide at Bulimba Creek Oxbow. 4: Evening Prayer in the Cosmic Walk at The Archer with “Tildy” (Mechtilde).

Mangroves the Nursery of Life

posted 11 Sep 2017, 14:40 by Peter Harney   [ updated 11 Sep 2017, 17:04 ]

Sunday 10th September the Agape group of 18 gathered at 91 Tranquillity Drive Rothwell, the home of Mary and Darryl.  After a warm welcome we were invited to walk with the words of Teilhard that it is love that is the creative energy force of the universe that inevitably draws us together.  This force is the source of the relationship between the mangroves and the many species that breed in their roots and leaves.  The wetlands are the nursery for billions of life forms including fish, crustaceans and plants.  The TAO group spent Monday morning walking the reclaimed wetlands of Bulimba Creek that was a degraded landfill area created by the construction of a M1 freeway.  A small group of informed citizens took on the corporate giants and government and created a world-class wetland catchment area.   The eagles now next in the high towers of Ergon as the fish in the Oxbow creek are plentiful.   The marine couch is thriving where once there was nothing but the wheel scars of 4Wheel drives.  Eco-engineering has ensured the flushing of the salt water creeks in the area and the collection of fresh water through capturing the rain water from the freeway.   The morning was a practical lesson in what a small dedicated group can achieve if they are prepared to work with the energies of the earth to restore habitat.

Walk in the Woods

posted 9 Sep 2017, 20:00 by Peter Harney   [ updated 11 Sep 2017, 17:05 ]

The TAO group on Wednesday 6th September walked into the Neurum Creek dry vine rainforest reflecting on the Poem by David Wagoner:

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree of a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

The group then drove to Mt Mee to the Piccabean Forest walk.  It was a day for having a lingering ‘tree shower’ and for attending to the music of the earth community in bird song, the sighing wind in the high leaves and the stillness of the grey Sydney gums.

After a morning of fog in the Stanley Valley the new moon rose over the Somerset Dam late afternoon creating a slipway to the heavens.

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