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Spell of the Seasons

A journal exploring the relationship between human being and the natural world, through the lens of food, art, crafts and rituals.

Prologue

 

Spell of the Seasons is a growing collection of texts, conversations, ideas, impressions and images exploring our relationship with the natural world through the lens of food, art, crafts and rituals.

The title suggests an opportunity to connect with nature’s rhythms, the seasons within and beyond our bodies, in current times of ecological stress and disrupture.

As long as I can remember, I've felt an affinity with nature. From the simple joy and curiosity of encountering trees, plants or animals, to the fear and excitement of storms, darkness, and fire. More recently, I've used my creative practice to investigate and rediscover this innate sense of belonging.

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However, already as a child I could sense that there was something alarming in the way we humans relate to the natural world. As if it was a dead resource to exploit, rather than a shared, vibrant habitat which we are a part of and very much depend on.

Since the 17th century, with philosophers such as René Descartes at the forefront, Western philosophy has taught us to relate to nature as a stranger. An endless supply of land, materials and bodies, to cultivate for our pleasures and use for our benefits. Unless mastered by the human mind, nature possesses little, if any, meaning or value.

By viewing non-human (and human, for that matter) beings and the earth as something completely "other" than "us," continuous exploitation and destruction have been justified, actions of which we are now beginning to experience the consequences.

From extreme weather and extinction to increasing stress levels and mental health problems – the symptoms are everywhere around us and inside of us, and they carry an important message that our current way of living and viewing the world are neither sustainable nor desirable.

There is no such thing as a “human community” without the earth and the soil and the air and the water and all the living forms. … The larger community is the sacred community.

– Thomas Berry

How then can we move away from reductionist worldviews of the past, separating human and nature, mind and matter, light and darkness, and discover a sense of kinship and interconnectedness?

Science and technology will indeed play an important role in how we'll live, or even survive, in the future. However, just like modern medicine, they will only treat the symptoms and never search for the root of the problem.

In my thinking, any real change must start from within ourselves, with changing mindsets, perceptions, and a growing sensibility and empathy. We'll need to use all our creativity, imagination and intuition if we are to invent new and lasting ways of coexistence.

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This is why poetry and imagination; the language of our souls and dreams, crafts and aesthetics; the language of our hands and senses, and food; our daily encounter with nature and each other, are essential to my practice. The things we encounter everyday, which are often overlooked and perceived as dull or mundane, can through poetry, ritual, aesthetics and a sense of playfulness and exploration, metamorphose into the most strange and beautiful experiences. 

With Spell of the Seasons, I want to explore and share the potential for unlearning, creativity, and transformation, in places where ancient wisdom meet emerging stories of a more sustainable future.

From poetic and philosophical contemplations to interviews and kitchen experiments, the Spell of the Seasons will present you with a mix of food for the mind, senses, hands and spirit. 

All photos are taken by me, if not credited otherwise.

Last but not least, if you want to connect or have any comments, thoughts or ideas, please do get in touch: vilma@luostarinen.co.uk

 
Vilma Luostarinen