The wolf of the wind howls around my cabaña, and the ash trees shake like rattles. Constellations come and go as the sky races over them. It’s wild up here. It’s another world, a planet where human rules no longer apply. This is the real world that still waits for us beyond the lacklustre veil we threw over it so long ago. Why did we do that, I wonder. Did we think it would be easier? If so, we were wrong, because this planet entertains neither cowards nor the lazy, and in every gutless lane we choose to walk down, predators of the worst kind lurk. All these life roads are energy conduits, you see. Which trail are we following?
I’m supping a cup of tea, snug on my bed with the stove roaring like a flaming lion. Gusts hammer at my door. And of course, it is in the midst of this storm that I decide I’d rather fancy a snack.
So I pull on my hat and my head torch and open the hut door. Lo and behold, night and his snarling hounds of cold, rain, and gales pour in. Lord! It’s rough out there. I blink through the pitch. That this tiny rock dwelling feels so secure in this weather surprises me. And then of course I ponder, as I often do, just how much I really want a handful of peanuts.
Nonetheless, I head out into the open mouth of winter. All for a few nuts. Because in truth there’s a lot more to it than that. In truth I’m going because I love to rip up that dreary man-made security blanket and feel the planet on my skin and in my hair. I know when I step up to meet Gaia, she will infuse me with something every advertiser tries to con me into buying but that no corporation can provide. It’s why I’m happier on a tempestuous mountain hiking to my kitchen, than I am pushing buttons in a town flat. Or God forbid a suburb.
Stumbling along the ridge, gusts whip my hair. It’s so darn windy I have to dip my head and round my shoulders, pushing my way into it. Pausing before the kitchen hut, I stare out at the twinkling lights of the villages below. The woodland swings and whirls in the arms of the weather as though resuscitated, and I can sense the land’s energy reviving me, too. The ancient Dirt Woman within me opens an eye and growls.
There and then, I’m alive. So I take the opportunity to pee right there on the slope like some cruddy queen of the Picos, because hey, I still don’t have a bathroom. But really, is there anything quite so glorious as peeing outside, anyway? Stars and clouds blustering overhead, rocks and dirt all around, trees rattling and roaring, and little old me crouching in the middle of it all, fertilising the grass and nettles.
I know at that moment I have chosen the right energy road, because that energy is inside me and out, reverberating.
Energetic Roads and Turkish Soul
The English language is rich when discussing exterior concepts like botany or mechanics, but surprisingly inadequate when we turn inside. Inadequate compared to Turkish, for example, which has an emotional and energetic lexicon that makes even the most academic of modern Turks sound like sages. Take the English word ‘soul’, for instance. Turkish comprises an entire rainbow of words that could be used in its place*, some of which have Sufi origins, some shamanic, so when I’m writing in English about such concepts I find myself extraordinarily thwarted by my mother tongue.
One of my favourite Turkish soul words is ‘can’ (pronounced ‘Jan’). Can is life pulse, the part of the soul that carries the life force of any living entity. It’s literally the bit of you that is alive, that is life herself, that is energetic and dynamic. When you die, you don’t take can with you.
Okay, so what’s this got to do with the wild life, energy roads, and a stormy night on a windswept Spanish mountain?
As I stand on the hill feeling the can of the land rush into me, I sense this part of me that can best be described (in English) as ‘energetic’. And it doesn’t end at our fingertips. As the trees thrash and the air rolls down the mountainsides like cannonballs, it seems obvious because I can feel it everywhere. The surge of life. It’s amazing, and it’s Gaian.
The next morning when I step out in my pyjamas, another world is waiting for me. The sun is stroking the arms of the ashes, and the rocks are warming themselves like tourists on a grassy beach. Tiny birds twitter and flutter and rustle in branches. It’s the same land, and yet so completely different I’m a little awestruck.
As I walk along my ridge to heat a kettle of water for a wash, sunlight washes over my face. And I remember: solar power. As soon as I enter the kitchen cabin, I pull out my little solar panel. It’s a small unit I bought back in 2017 when I first hit the road in a campervan. And do you know what? It’s done me proud. It powers a light and my phone, which has sort of kept me going. I hoist it onto the kitchen roof and attach the battery/inverter to it. The sun hits the panel and power is sent into the battery. Some technological voodoo occurs in that device that turns the battery power pulse (12V) into a voltage my phone can cope with (5V).
It’s all power. The sun, the power stored in the battery, the power that runs along the USB cable and charges my phone battery. But without an inverter, solar power doesn’t charge phones, or cars, or fridges. The voltage is different. They are different bandwidths of the same electrical energy.
In the same way, the energetic life pulse within us is not only available at one voltage either. Just as light can be split into a spectrum of colour, life energy comes in different qualities and potentials. But the truly exciting thing is that we seem to be inverters, and batteries, and panels too. We are energetic systems. We can increase the power stored in our systems, change the pulse rate and refine the flow so as to power more incredible realities, or we can limit what we embody and dumb the pulse right down to a couple of sluggish volts, and then wonder why we can’t run a washing machine or a brand new vision. It’s all about energy, and the line we choose to follow. It’s all about our can.
No matter how we like to portray ourselves, it is actually via our can that we are usually perceived and via the same can that we make shit happen in the physical world. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Turkish word can is written the same way as the English word ‘can’.
Can is the reason dogs and horses know we’re bullshitting when we pretend to like them and we don’t. It’s why some people are instantly likeable, and others just irritate the heck out of us, or drain us, or bore us. Often we simply can't put our finger on why. It's the root of charisma, for better or worse, and those who've worked out how to amplify it can potentially manipulate.
It ain’t what you do, it’s how you do it:
As you may have sensed, having taken a big leap of faith and jumping into a new reality, I have found happiness. And yes, I listened to the Earth and my gut to get here. But something happened long before I let go of my mud home in Turkey, something I didn’t really mention in the Mud Mountain Blog, because in those days I was more worried about what people thought. I remember meditating for days until my soul energy (for want of a better word in English) was pulsing in a very different way, and began pushing, just like a tree branch, in a very different direction. I smelt an invitation for a new life on a new energy road and I wanted to explore it. Because if we’re not exploring or creating or loving, then quite frankly what in hell are we doing here anyway? What’s the point?
Yes. It’s not just about jumping. It’s not just about risk taking or leaving the system or throwing yourself into a forest in tent. If the energy with which we do these things is based on fear or anger or loneliness or desperation, watch out. That energy line will follow you just as you follow it, and bite you in the butt wherever you are.
It’s not about plastic, or the economy, or old white men, either. Get rid of any of them and I guarantee not much will change. There are a million other corrupted entities to fill their places, because the energy source from whence they came is the same, and we’re all still riding it.
Does this mean I support the status quo and deny reality, or think sitting about in the lotus position all day is the answer? No. I believe in respect and honour for all beings (not just humans), and I see clearly that we don’t have enough of them. Yes, we must take steps in a better direction. But for me at least, most of the ways I see people trying to manifest these things fail desperately to inspire me. Righteousness, demonisation and sanctimoniousness have never created anything beautiful. If we really want to solve the problem, connect people and raise us all up (rather than strip us all down), then we need to embody a higher potential, and start following a more transformative energy line. Because the energy with which we act is far more important than the action itself. It’s something my Power Ash has been banging on about all month. It’s something Grandmother Olive used to whisper about too, in another way.
The solar panel is up and the battery inverter charging. It’s now I turn to stare at the great ash behind me. Her branches twist and coil, illustrating quite clearly the lines of energy they follow and the direction their life force is pushing in. Each branch is a road to a different reality. Some hold leaves, some are withered and dying, some bear fruit and seeds and keys, which in turn fly off on the back of a wind to settle and create a brand new ash tree reality somewhere else.
As it goes with trees, so it goes with us. It’s the line of can we’re following, and the frequency of power we are embodying that matters. I think this is perhaps one of the most important life tools trees have taught me. They, for all intents and purposes, seem to do very little at all. But sit under them and feel their power. Feel how they transform you and the world around!
Upgrading my Power System
With any luck, by the time you are reading this I will have upgraded my solar system so that I can charge my laptop and my power tools too. With any luck the inverter will be throwing out a hefty 240V instead of 5V. I’ll be using the larger panels my neighbour gave me so that I can absorb more of the sun’s power, and have larger batteries so that I can now hold more of it for longer. The entire current(amps) in the system will increase and the resistance in the system will decrease. I’ll have massively upped my power potential and my ability to get shit done.
In the same way though, I wish to upgrade my other, more fundamental energy system; that of my can or my soul. Because it’s the key to making anything good happen. And while I chose a beautiful energy road for my land and community, I notice other areas where I’ve had less integrity. I haven’t always spoken kindly, for example, and impatience has sometimes got the better of me. I can be very resistant about letting people in, and hold onto past transgressions in a most ungracious manner.
But the times are special and the past is falling away at great speed. We can up our game now, choose new energy roads and start changing the how rather than the what, the means rather than the end. Because as one of my protagonists Harpagos wisely noted back in 500 BC: The end never comes. Never. We never reach the Promised Land. All we are ever left with is the means. The energy road. The can.
* other Turkish words for soul (or soul elements) include: ruh, tin, can, öz, nefes, gönül.
Over the past three years in Europe, I have privately thanked Turkey many times for so many things. One day I’ll write them all down. Here I just want to say that I am indebted to the Turkish language and culture for sharing its extensive and nuanced understanding of emotions and energy concepts with me. The concept of can is a Turkish concept. The energy roads were whispered to me by my ash trees.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to our lovely community of sustainers and supporters funding The Mud Home and the Earth Whispering Blog on Patreon. You are so appreciated, and I very much value each contribution. Your support has enabled me to buy a new inverter and battery pack so I can now charge my computer at home. Yippee!
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Atulya K Bingham
Author, Lone Off-Gridder, and Natural Builder.
"Reality meets fantasy, myth, dirt and poetry. I'm hooked!" Jodie Harburt, Multitude of Ones.