Category Archives: spirituality

Mushrooming Fun: Stumbling towards the Light

A few years ago, Paul Stamets came into my life via a Ted Talk titled “Six Ways Mushrooms can Save the World”

This was the summer of 2005, my first summer free from College. I was living at home with my parents at the time, and decided to do as many inter library loans on the books Stamets published as I could.

His book Mycelium running awed me into becoming a believer. How intelligently organized Mycelium are as a life form is astounding, and one would be hard pressed to be disinterested in hearing Stamets speak about many of the fascinating aspects of these organisms.

As an example, here is a video of him speaking.

My passion led me to Evolver which was starting a pseudo bio-mimicry operation by calling the regional groups spores, to represent the intelligent nature of these nodal networks of people who are doing work to make the world a more beautiful place.

I then started learning what I needed to in order to grow mushrooms, and started growing Shiitake mushrooms in the summer of 2009. It was an interesting project, but failed because I didn’t make the proper drain holes. Now I am fully equipped with a huge pressure cooker, and machines to make Myco-bags. Sealed and sterilized plastic bags that can grow mushrooms of almost any variety depending on the growth medium used. I used wild bird seed (CHEAP), and so far it looks like the oyster mushrooms are loving it (Pics coming soon).
A friend of mine pointed me to MycoRiseUp, a group that wants to be an incubator for mushroom businesses. We started brainstorming how to create and run a worker owned Mushroom business and laboratory. How could we do this on the bio-regional level so that we can act appropriately in our hugely diverse eco-systems? How could we have a bio-regional myco remediation task force armed and ready to help work on toxic waste sites when they happen? Can we open-source and share our business plans to help share this new paradigm

This is the next level of things to come… smaller scale with a local and regional focus.

Evolver Boston… wandersings in text.

A while back I decided to start coordinating with Evolver to bring Boston a regional Evolver event on a monthly basis. For a while this was great. I ‘rented’ space for a few hours on a donation basis at the local union/socialist/anarchist shared loft space. A few of the events drew 30-40 people, but then numbers started to drop after a while, now we get maybe 6 if we are lucky. After a while, I started to question what it was good for if not many people chose to show up for the events. I also questioned if the amount of money for transportation, parking, snacks and picking up the rest of the donation for the rental space was worth it. A recent estimate made it seem as if I was spending 40-60 dollars per event. The great people I met, the Burners, the artists, poets, writers, activists, college students, shamans, and creative neo-pagans have certainly enriched my life.

Always my efforts were tied to presenting ideas that could “turn on” (not necessarily sexually, but more in regards to activating life) someone through the ETHOS and content covered by Evolver… Joseph Campbell discusses my method best in “Fire in the Mind” when discussing his students and Sarah Lawrence where he would talk and present new ideas constantly and encourage excitement and exploration when he saw it. Realistically in an exoteric context, this may be as good as it gets…. Or maybe it could get better with multiple learning paths…. exploration and record keeping will fill this content area with good knowledge. Maybe this is why we want to call the events Spores, many attempts at expansion, until it spreads, unifies and expands, as is the case in Mycology.

The whole notion behind Evolver as I see it is to help bridge the gap between artist, spiritual and activist communities. It is similar to coalition building, but with no specific goals other than willing the transformation from scary society on a bullet train towards Armageddon, to a society based on principals of justice, enlightened self-interest, and evolution. The goal with Evolver for me was to help ideas incubate with people, so that they eventually would connect with the thing that they wanted to contribute to society. I could see that this happened some, and it was heartening, but something was lacking, and I’m not sure what that was.

At this point, I still have a strong calling to coordinate Evolver events, and will continue to put them together for a while. Brian George, a frequent contributor to Reality Sandwich (a website related to Evolver) has given me a number of ideas that should help grow the group over time. We are thinking about having a sort of brief open mic format where members can on a first come first serve basis speak on whatever subject is coming up for them at the time. This will take some adaptation on my part to help facilitate this shift, as our old format was quite different.

Themes I personally will be encouraging and design events around are philosophy, spirituality, environmentalism, transition movements, the fortean (Is the fortean the new theology or just a freak show?) and perhaps the Psychedelic (primarily as it related to Holotropic Breathwork). In the future I’ll expand to a sort of holistic vision, covering more optimal diets, yoga, energy work, and so much more. Its been a little longer than a year so far that Evolver Boston has been in effect… Lets see where it goes from here.