Sunday, January 27, 2008

Babylon and Avalon

Some dialects of progressive language have adopted the Rastafarian term "Babylon" to mean the oppressive establishment. The worlds first large city is emblematic of slavery it employed to build itself.
Myself and others are popularizing this term in the communities movement to mean "mainstream culture", as distinct from intentional (especially rural) communities.

i was thinking about this one day when i was visiting the Tekiah community in Floyd, Virginia. i was looking out the window on the lush forest and yard which surrounded the building i was in. "If the mainstream is Babylon, then what is the right name for us, who are intentionally moving away from it". And the name which hit me was Avalon.

Avalon is the mythical island retreat said to be of great beauty. In the important book, The Mists of Avalon, it exists in a parallel world. A world which was increasingly difficult to find, for its existence is dependent on people believing in its goddesses and gods, and these pagan beliefs were fading.

It felt an apt analogy for these rural income-sharing communities, often beautiful and remote. Many of which are vanishing, because the gods of urbanization and private property are so powerful. Tekiah is no more, thought the parent community, Abundant Dawn continues on.

i talked with my lover Tree on the phone tonight. She is working (with my co-dad Sky) with the fine folx at Dancing Rabbit community in Missouri, leading a skill share on group process and facilitating their annual retreat. She went to Missouri from her native Eugene, Oregon a couple of days early to visit a new community where our friends Ethan and Sarah live, another rural community based on service and simple living (e.g. not using petroleum products). Tree was thrilled to get picked up at the train station by a horse and buggy. Often feeling that the mechanical pace she moves at is too fast, this form of transport felt perfect. As did the hospitality of their super hero hosts.

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