“ What does Intangible cultural heritage mean?... It is the bamboo forest that becomes the sound of the nose flute. It is the breath within the chants… It is the volcano that inspires the hula, the floating piece of driftwood that informs the navigator priest…. This is humanity’s DNA and it must be treated with the passion and the conviction to safeguard it the way we do our environmental resources. Throughout the world our elders our dying….each time an elder dies, a library is burned.”
[BANNER PHOTO] A circle of Bontoc tribe elders go through rice grains for a funeral ritual in Guinaang, Mountain Province.
Photo by Sarah Queblatin
Embodied Knowing, Being, and Doing. These are things I learned from some mentors I have interacted with for many years. They are those who recognize practical spirituality or integration of body, mind, and spirit in all aspects. Joseph Campbell, one of the great mythologists of our time talks about meeting "the inner with the outer" as the role of the artist. This is one of the guiding designs I have taken on for my own life-work. So much of wisdom is not tangible yet is so valuable for long term or life - long applications. On the other hand, so much of output (systems and structures) oftentimes lose or lack essence and the very principles that it was founded on. This I continue to explore through these story circles and how they can be translated into meaningful outputs that can be of use to communities.
Intergenerational Story Circles
In many indigenous traditions, actions are decided based on how it will impact the next 7 generations. Inspired by this, Mandala Earth Story's main intention is to create spaces for elders and youth to gather and share the stories about their traditional or present day myths, songs, dances, and rituals. The gatherings support the documentation of traditional/indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices through these forms through text, recording, and video. Key to this is drawing out the earth wisdom or practice making it relevant and applicable to proactive solutions to a community’s existing condition.
Through these Story Circles, the following projects are intended to be co-created based on the needs of the community :
Shared Earth Community Solutions
Modules on spiritual/indigenous earth wisdom concepts and practices applied in existing community concerns (zero waste management, conflict transformation, social enterprise, etc.)
Earth Story Book Art Project
Earth wisdom stories will be crafted as artists’ books (book art), an art form of bookmaking using recycled paper, natural fiber, embedded seeds, natural paint using soil, and dyes.
Earthing Spaces for Resilience and Self-Sustainability
Integrating traditional symbols and design principles in creating centers for resilience and self-sustainability like playgrounds, libraries of living traditions, gardens, waste to resource retrieval centers or materials recovery facilities (MRFs), healing and training centers. The structures will be built using earth-based materials, residual waste and recyclables through natural building and earthship/ecologically adaptive building methods.
Wisdom Seeds and Weaves Social Enterprise
Waste to Resource livelihood projects through zero waste management practices.
Indigenous Modern Functional Crafts
Empowering women elders to integrate local earth wisdom principles and symbols in the design and advocacy of residual/recyclable waste to resource livelihood projects. The project will be done in collaboration with young designers and artists trained in the principles and practice of design for sustainability.
Seed Saving and Permaculture Gardening
Documenting and saving traditional and medicinal seeds of herbs and trees and creating urban/community nurseries for gardens and food forests using permaculture design practices. Compost generated from biodegradable waste will be used for the gardens.
(In partnership with groups providing these expertise and services)
Audio and Video documentation workshop in recording Traditional/Indigenous songs, dances, and rituals
The story will be told in the present time in a version preferred by the elders and youth. The process and output as audio recording and video will be documented and presented by the youth who will undergo documentation workshops.
A Website for Earth Wisdom Stories
An educational website sharing the stories gathered throughout the journey with openings to network with similar/relevant local/global initiatives.
A Documentary about the Journey
Documenting the journey and sharing the story as a film.
Travelling Interactive Exhibits in local museums and libraries.
Documented stories and outputs will be exhibited and shared with communities around the country to encourage local counterparts to start their own earth wisdom circles and projects.
Publication of Earth Wisdom Story Books
Publication of the storybooks created from the intergenerational story circles.