New Stories

Nurturing the Feminine Soul in Mother Earth

Earth Dances With-in Us

posted 11 Mar 2019, 14:56 by Peter Harney

Our first Agape Gathering for 2019 was held on 10 March with a focus on thanking Tony Hempenstall for his wonderful contribution as a resident member of Archer Mountain Earth Community for over fifteen years.  Many members of AMEC who had known Tony over these years gathered for the celebration.  We are delighted that Tony will continue as a member of the extended Archer Community from his new abode.

Our ritual, led by Judith and Gerard, explored the metaphor of the earth dancing within and without with creative energy.  As expressed in Laudate Si: Soil, water, mountains, everything is as it were a caress of God.  We shared our recent experiences of sacred earth connection, of earth dancing within us!  We were invited to hear the beauty of our song, to feel the beauty all around us and to know the wonder that we belong (Sara Thomsen).

We had the opportunity to enjoy the quiet stillness of the Archer or to join Judith who lead us in dances linked to the aspirations of Laudate Si.  We danced the Gathu Mawula Dance (Looking Back over Country) to Dr G’s beautiful music which allowed us to kiss the earth in movement and learn from the wisdom of our indigenous sisters and brothers.

Following our ritual blessing of Tony, of one another and Mother Earth we celebrated with high tea and wonderful musical entertainment from Anthony and Katie.  A great start to 2019!

A Peregine Butterfly visits

posted 4 Feb 2019, 05:12 by Peter Harney

The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly paid the Archer a visit recently finding a place to stop momentarily on a bushy tree near the Guest House deck.  Their favourite breeding vine has been planted at the foot of this tree under the native bee hive.  We hope to entertain many more Richmond Birdwing Butterflies in the year ahead.

Recently the leadership team from Ambrose Treacy College Indooroopilly visited the Archer and to participate in a Celtic retreat experience led my Mary Murphy and Peter H.  

The team gathered near the Julian hermitage to reflect on the beauty and presence of the mountain that had been a place where indigenous peoples had gathered for ritual and ceremony for tens of thousands of years.  While visiting Julian of Norwich’s hermitage the team reflected on Julian’s experience of being one with the mystery in the natural world.  An experience she called ‘oneing’.  

Each team member was invited to be a peregrine in the Celtic way.  A peregrine is a pilgrim who sets sail without oar or paddle trusting that the divine presence would guide her/him to where he/she was meant to go.  The journey of immrama (the way of the peregrine) continued to the dam where the story of Columba was shared.  Columba set sail with a few companions in a coracle (small boat) from Ireland and was carried by the capricious currents of the Irish Sea to the Island of Iona.  Here he built a small sanctuary and in communion with the natural world and lived the spirituality at the root of Celtic culture. The team then made their way to the labyrinth to walk slowly the path of wisdom and to come to a sense of their ‘own path’ for 2019.  

A salmon dinner followed, a fish that the Celts believed when eaten brought deep insight and wisdom.  The evening concluded with a sharing of each person’s anam cara (soul friend) and the receiving of a gift from the earth of the Archer, a small jar of mango chutney. They also received a beautifully embossed leather book mark containing many Celtic symbols.

Peter H on behalf of AMEC (2/2/2019)

2019 – Looking Forward and Back

posted 10 Jan 2019, 04:13 by Peter Harney

One of the very comfortable cabins with magnificent views over the Conondale Mountains and the very ancient Stanley River Valley.  There are 3 such cabins at the Archer.  Visitors are very welcome, to stop and have some space and relaxation in a natural tree filled space, visited regularly by wallabies, bandicoots and king parrots.

Mel Parsons and her support team of musicians stayed at the Archer during the Woodford Folk Festival between Christmas and New Year.  Mel and her entourage are from New Zealand and played 4 gigs during the festival.  The Archer provided accommodation for Mel’s 4 support artists and herself.  Daniella and Jed are seen here with the Archer Mountain Earth Community members Mary Nelson and Tony Hempenstall.  This was a new venture for the Archer with the guests giving a highly commended to the warm welcome, comfort and beauty they enjoyed.

The Archer Mountain Earth Community offered a series of workshops and retreats in 2018.  These experiences invite participants to enjoy the gift of trees, the beauty of the Archer Mountain and ways to live in mutual gift-giving with the whole earth community. 

What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone,
In the forest, at night, cherished by this
Wonderful, unintelligible,
Perfectly innocent speech,
The most comfortable speech in the world,
The talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges,
And the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!
Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it.
It will talk as long as it wants, this rain.
As long as it talks I am going to listen.  Thomas Merton

Christmas - Birthing and Rebirthing (The Way of the Universe)

posted 13 Dec 2018, 18:26 by Peter Harney

The final Agape for the Archer Mountain Earth Community (AMEC) was celebrated Sunday December 9th.  The community reflected on the theme of ‘birthing and rebirthing’ which is at the very heart of the creative-life-force of the universe.  The Christian Story of the begetting of a baby in humble circumstances, forced into exile as a refugee when only a few months old, resonates with what is happening to those who come seeking refuge from war torn countries to the safe haven of Australia.  Yet those who reject and condemn them to suffering and poverty, claim to be followers of this very same baby, born 2000 years ago.  Perhaps there will be a rebirthing this Christmas in the hearts of those who stand in judgment on these very vulnerable children and adults held in detention on Manus and Nauru and in many detention-centres across Australia.   Hope for a change in attitude lies in the-way-of-the-universe and our earth which is ever emerging with never dreamed of expressions of hope and new life.

Our earth is a verdant habitat which provides the context for new life to evolve. It includes the non-human, the animals and plants, which exist because millennia of evolutionary effort has given them the right to exist.  We are part of this earth community of ever blossoming life.  Yet in the birthing process the vast majority of life forms did not and do not survive. As we look around today we witness the most tenacious and adaptable of life’s creations – the survivors of a long struggle.  All our plants and animals are of enormous value as is every human being, no matter how humble and poor their circumstances.  

May this Christmas birth the generous ‘light of compassion’ in the hearts of those who wield power in the earth community so that all who seek life will be given the opportunity (the habitat) to thrive. This radiant rainbow was brought to life over Myleema Road Mt Archer yesterday, celebrating the covenenat of new life among earth, rain and sky as they delight in one anothers beauty.

Happy Christmas from AMEC

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

posted 14 Nov 2018, 02:08 by Peter Harney

Respected marine scientist, Dr Ian Poiner has recently been appointed as Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.  Dr Poiner was formerly the CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Chair of the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre.

A crucial issue for GBRMPA is to call on the Federal Government to take urgent action on climate change to protect the reef.  A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advised that even if we hold global average temperature rise to 1.5 C degrees, we will still risk losing 70-90% of the world’s coral reefs.

As well as sustaining this amazing natural wonder for future generations, the Great Barrier Reef is a source of some 64,000 jobs and generates an estimated $6 billion each year.

We urge Dr Poiner to ensure GBRMPA is a strong regulator, defender and champion of the Reef. To see details of the work of GBRMA go to: 

Sustainable Seafood Guide

If you enjoy seafood but are concerned about overfishing then you may find this new guide to eating seafood in a sustainable way useful.  It is available on:


The Australia Institute have recently released significant research of the effects of increasing heat on people, industries and ecosystems.  The sites they have mapped in Queensland include the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Roma, Gladstone and Rockhampton.  The details are available on their website

A Non-Indigenous Way of Seeing

posted 12 Nov 2018, 12:07 by Peter Harney

On Sunday 11 November 25 of the Archer Mountain Extended earth community gathering at the Potters House and explored through art the story of non-indigenous Australia.  The paintings ranged from the work of an early convict Joseph Lycett (1824), to TS Gill’s ‘Grim Evidence’ (1956), to John Olsen’s Lake Eyre (1975), to Arthur Boyd’s Crucifixion and the Rose 1980 Wendy Martin’s Born in the Landscape.  Each image challenged our way of seeing the Australian land which the early European pioneers saw as dry, desolate and murderous (terra Nullius) to see the land and our patch of earth where we reside as ‘beloved companion’.  The work of Chris Dalton (From Terra Nullius to Beloved Companion) was the inspiration for the sessions.  The sharing finished with a dance with the beloved companion ‘earth and sky, earth and stone all the earth is sacredness’.  (PH)

The Australian Poet David Ireland writes:

A Woman of the Future

The future is somehow…
somewhere in the vast and neglected desert,
the belly of the country
not the coastal rim.
The secret is the emptiness.
The message is the thing we have feared,
the thing we have avoided
that we have looked at and skirted.
The secret will transform us
and give the heart to transform emptiness.
If we go there
If we go there to listen
We will hear the voice of the eternal.

The eternal says we are at the beginning of time.

LET THERE BE LIGHT! Agape Gathering Oct 13 2018

posted 15 Oct 2018, 06:14 by Peter Harney

Take a moment to sit quietly and breathe:
Breathe in HESUKA (darkness, the unknown) and breathe out NUHRA (light, the known)

Personal Reflection:
Let there be Light! The Celts understood that the 7 days of creation was not chronological but a meditation on the ever-present mystery of creation. Light is at the heart of life. It is the centre from which life proceeds. The light in us moves us to passion and creativity. The Being on which all being rests is in the strength of the wind, in the goodness of what grows from the ground, in the light of waters, in the wild roaring of a bear, in the innocent beauty of a child. The Celts held that mystery was both full of light (insight) and darkness (the unknown) … John MacLeod.

When we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The colour and stillness
Of a found world…For Light by John ODonohue

Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life.” John 8:12

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on a lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, your light must shine for all so that seeing your good works they give praise to God. Matt 5:14-16

The speed of light in a vacuum is a fundamental physical constant, the current accepted value of which is 299,792,458 metres per sec.

The speed of light is a limit that can be approached but not reached by any material object.

Depending on our position and speed, time can appear to move faster or slower to us relative to others in a different part of space-time. For astronauts on the International Space Station, that means they age a bit slower that those of us on earth.

Every second, four million tons of sun is being transformed into light. So one way to think about the sun every time we see it at dawn is to think of it as an act of cosmic generosity. It is this vast giveaway of energy that enables us to survive and all life to thrive. Brian Swimme

Blessing: Beraka - The Blessing by Michelle Sherliza & Jan Novotka
From the source of everything, from the ground of being,
Receive strength and light; receive peace, receive love.

From my heart to your heart, from my soul to your soul
Receive strength and light, receive peace, receive love.

REFLECTION: Be your own light
After nearly a half century of teaching, the Buddha lay dying surrounded by his distraught disciples. In tearful whispers they pleaded, “Blessed One, who will be our teacher now? Who will guide us? How will we achieve enlightenment without your help?”

The Buddha’s last words were, “Be your own light.”

All those who had followed his teachings understood. The truth is the light. Seek the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Free from sleep - sleepers awake! When Siddhartha Gautama “woke up,” he was recognized as “The Awakened One,” a Buddha. He was his own light, he was enlightened.

Everyone has their own light. Inside each of us is the glow of the memory of who we really are, where we come from, and where we are going. In this light, the sound of truth can be heard, clear as a temple bell. In a moment, there is an understanding and awareness of the answers to our questions. Everything appears to be exactly as it should be, with a divine reason for everything. A sense of profound love and gratitude may overflow into tears and laughter.

Throughout history people have experienced enlightenment, a sudden illumination that reveals a larger reality. For a moment, an hour, a day, a year, people flower, unfolding to receive the Light. It may come by meditation, music, sport, sex, gardening, touching a wild animal, or in near-death experiences. Any moment will do. It is always there.

The Buddha realized that everything is connected. There is only the One. Separateness is an illusion. When Indra, the Hindu Lord of Heaven, fashioned the Universe, he cast an infinite net in all directions. He tied a pearl at each knot. Every atom that exists is a pearl. Every thought, every moment is another pearl. If you look at one, you see all the other pearls reflected in it. Like a hologram, each pearl contains the whole image.

Modern science has confirmed the existence of a mysterious membrane embedded in the Universe that communicates information across vast distances instantly. Physicists call this interconnectedness, “quantum entanglement.” Albert Einstein described it as “spooky action at a distance,” because nothing known could travel faster than the speed of light. Cause and effect appear to intersect everywhere at once.

Einstein came to the same realization as the Buddha, "A human being is a part of the whole called by us `the Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

These words of wisdom are stepping stones to another point of view, extending our vision with the benefit of insight, hindsight and foresight. They enable us to see beyond the limits of our own mind, revealing new answers and new directions. We all have our own itinerary in life, but words that resonate with Truth, illuminate our path.
(Presented at Mt Archer gathering 14 October 2018)

About the Author:
Robert Welton is a Metaphysician living in Santa Barbara, California. After years of practice and study, he collected the Great Statements of enlightened mystics and masters throughout history, and put them into his new book, Be Your Own Light. A sample is available for reading on Amazon.

Planting at the Archer

posted 10 Oct 2018, 14:36 by Peter Harney

The ‘Planting Day’ at the Archer Mountain Earth Community, Saturday October 6th saw 10 members of the extended community give 3 hours to engage in ‘no-dig’ planting.  This involved cutting back the remains of the winter vegetable crop, covering each of the 5 raised gardens with a thin layer of newspaper, adding cow manure before making a layer of dark forest mulch.  Then a cocktail of potting mix, homemade compost, a fertilizer and some garden soil were combined.  Holes were dug in the prepared beds and this cocktail added before the seedling were gently planted.

It was a delightful morning of communal activity after 8 mms of rain fell the night before.  As the 10 volunteers ate lunch a storm descended on the Archer and we had another 5.2 mms.  Mother Earth was ensuring her newest children were going to thrive.  Now we wait for the rich harvest which will be enjoyed in about 3 weeks.

Thanks to all who came and made the ‘Planting Day’ at the Archer such an enjoyable and enriching experience of living our mantra ‘work is love in action.’


PH (on behalf of the Archer Mountain Earth Community)

Last chance to see Dr Michelle Maloney - October 13

posted 7 Oct 2018, 23:50 by Peter Harney

Celtic Weekend Experience

posted 27 Sep 2018, 03:44 by Peter Harney

Celtic Weekend Experience

Sept 21st – 23rd 2018


A group of 10 retreatants gathered at the Archer Mountain Earth Community for a Celtic Spirituality experience beginning Friday evening 21st September with a traditional Celtic hospitality meal to welcome ‘the stranger’.  Salmon was served which was a sacred fish of the Celts who recognized its special quality of providing nourishment to the mind and soul.  To taste intentionally this fish’s flesh was to be given the gift of insight and wisdom.  Then bannock cakes were eaten at the end of the meal as a celebration of Beltane the time off Spring and new life.  This bread was also kept for those who came unexpectedly to the door for food.  The place mats mapped the flow of the immrama which was to be the experience of the participants during the coming days.  The ‘wildness spirit’ of peregrini (pilgrim) who undertook the immrama, inspired many Celts to set sail without a rudder to be blown wherever the elements took them which was called ‘seeking the place of one’s resurrection’.  The gospel leads one into the unknown and thus to self-knowledge.  The Celts knew rocky outcrops and remote places were the equivalent of desert places of silence and meditation.  They meditated on beaches and mountain sides allowing ‘the voicing of the waves’, ‘the praise of the ceaseless sea’ and ‘the silence of the horizon’ to lead them into a deep sense of mystery.

The evening concluded with each person receiving two beautifully crafted empty bowls with the invitation to fill one with the plenty of their life and then to contemplate the empty bowl to glean its wisdom.  Each person filled one bowl with a beautiful collection of rose petals, fragrant oils, seeds and sacred incense.  This reflection was prayed for each participant as they retired to set their bowls by their bedside: 

I give you an emptiness
I give you a plenitude
Unwrap them carefully
One is as fragile as the other
And when you thank me
I’ll pretend not to notice the doubt in
Your voice…
When you say they’re just what you 
Put them on the table by your bed…
When you wake in the morning
They’ll have gone through the door of
Your sleep
Into the heart.  Wherever you go
They’ll go with you and
Wherever you are, you’ll wonder,
Smiling about the fullness
You can’t add to and the emptiness that
You can fill.    (Norman MacCraig)

The group gathered for the dawn and sunrise of Saturday resting on the cosmic spiral in the earth of the Archer, surrounded by the Celtic elements of Air (the windmill facing East), Fire (the fire-chimney facing South), Water (the fountain facing West) and Earth (a cairn of 200m old rocks facing North). 

It was the time of the Spring Equinox and a participant shared this:


The garden releases its last
radiance, not as something failed,
but as its full reason for being: to give
continually, to its last bit of energetic being.
Its giving is its beauty. It is a smile,
it is the heart of love.

So the birdsong that surrounds me
is given, not away, but into the world.
It is given as rain, as sunlight, as snowfall
and autumn leaves. It falls on our ears
as what it is, with no deception,
the complete truth of being.

Even the smell of decay, drifting from
the deer, dead by the side of the road, says:
“This is what I am and no other. I do not
pretend to be. Even in death I speak
without deceit, even unto my flesh,
my very bones.”

Be tolerant of these songs,
my musings on the way these things are
For I cannot give up this Summer except by
giving myself as well, fully and completely,
into the praise of our mutual beauty,
our total loving of the World
.   (Richard Wehrman)

The group gathered again as the light was fading on ‘the belly’ of Mount Archer.  The Celts loved the mountains and appreciated their deep echoing voice.  The mountains were called ‘the hollow hills’ as they were gateways to the invisible world.  The spiral shell of the snail was an emblem of extraordinary slowness, of time moving imperceptibly, like the shape of the distant landscapes and hills.  Yet, if one is attentive to the energy of these spirals one can enter the world of spirit in the twinkling of an eye.  The mountains are filled with spirals for life.

Another participant entering the deep time of the natural world and attuned to the ‘hollow mountains’ penned:

Celtic Connections

Fire meets air

Flames rear forth uncontrolled and free

I gasp in surprise.


Air penetrates water 

Stagnant pools shudder into life

I am refreshed.


Earth  encounters fire

Danger is smothered; seed pods burst

I welcome the blossoming forth.


Water flows across the earth

Settling dust, gorging gaps

I wonder at its force.


Air dances across bare earth

Unsettling and stealing its form

I squint through the haze.


Fire caresses water

Bubbles slowly escape confines

I sip my coffee!           (Di Hearn)


The group entered into the time of ‘gloaming’ (late evening) gathered around the cauldron and the labyrinth.  To taste the contents of the cauldron was to be granted insight into the future but because one had touched into the divine mysteries the gift of speech was taken.  On the way to the centre of the labyrinth each person chose a talisman which was to strengthen them on their on-going immrama.

Sunday morning saw the group gathered at the cosmic spiral under the draghi trees.  Hanging under seven trees were the ‘days of creation’ as conceived by John Scotus Eriugena (9th Century Celtic Irish teacher).  Participants spent time reading and contemplating the interconnectedness of the dynamic, creative energy of the universe as imagined by John Scotus.  The seventh day was the time of ‘stillness’ when the creative energy spiralled to its centre.

The final ritual was a collective of gracious rituals in 5 scared groves of the Archer concluding in the dry vine rainforest.  Each participant was blessed with a mantle of delicate green cloth laced with gold thread, a reminder that the Celts used gold and silver ornaments not as an ostentatious display of wealth but as symbols of the beauty and generosity of the greening earth and shining sun.

PH (Sept 26 2018)

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