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Summer 2012 Newsletter

News from the Village

A Recent Visit from Michael Dowd

by Debbie Lienhart

Evolutionary evangelist and author Rev. Michael Dowd visited Earthaven recently on a Southeastern tour. In presentations on May 18 and 19 he provided important input on two of the most critical issues facing us as an ecovillage:

  • How do we deal with our inner and interpersonal realities so we can live in proximity and interdependence when many of our instincts evolved strongly against that?
  • How can we move forward in creating a shared cosmological and spiritual foundation so our life together can have more creativity, unity and fulfillment of purpose?

“It was great having my long-time dear friend Ecozoic co-conspirator with us for two lively presentations,” said Earthaven Firekeeper Steve Torma.


For more information about Michael Dowd, see his website:



Debbie Lienhart is a member of Earthaven Ecovillage living in the Village Terraces neighborhood. She is co-owner of Useful Plants Nursery.

Twenty-Twelve And All That Jazz

by Arjuna da Silva

Here’s what’s most exciting to me in the talk about 2012: the ancient stories are in step with results of scientific research and measurement!


These correlations may not be getting into the major newspapers or on the radio, but that doesn’t make them any less true.


Many scientists now understand that there are geometric, spiraling, interconnected rotational movements of energy from the atomic to the intergalactic, everywhere. Everywhere!


As Earth approaches the evolutionary peak that, according to the fossil record, occurs every 25 to 26 thousand years (and is anticipated between 2012 and 2014), it’s interesting to ask.....


Is it time yet for us all to evolve to a more life-affirming condition as human beings?


Our body-minds may be in an evolutionary shift that could activate perceptual powers in us, allowing intuitive, direct experience of life to gain precedence over our generally abstract and mental approach.


One thing seems especially possible: as we build our skill base in so many ways at Earthaven, each of us doing what we can, we also build a non-physical energetic grid that could help boost our evolutionary potential.


In our ecovillage, if we can maintain the view that challenges give us opportunities to offer and receive guidance, understanding and support from each other and from our mentors, we are likely to mature as connected beings, more ready than not for the unexpected and the unbelievable!





The images in this article are by artist Ryan O'Sullivan, who currently lives at Earthaven on a natural building internship. Ryan has been drawing since he could hold a crayon. His fine art portfolio can be viewed here and his cosmic paintings under the name Black Wolf can be viewed here.



Loving Acres' New Vision

by Banyan Freier

Note to Reader: This neighborhood is referred to on the website as Middle Rosy Branch.

The Loving Acres neighborhood began in the late 1990s with six folks who started the project and then decided to move closer to the center of Earthaven activity and build at Village Terraces neighborhood instead.


Almost ten years later, Rudy Ballentine, holistic physician and Tantra teacher, decided to ground his vision of a neighborhood. He wanted a place where his own passions—Tantra, permaculture, holistic health and queer identity—could converge. Loving Acres became the place.


There were many challenges at the start, but in 2010, building of a neighborhood common house began. Much of the wood was milled directly from the site and most of the labor came from the Earthaven community and its neighbors. The building was completed in January 2012.

Rudy Ballentine, Norm Self & Banyan Freier

In the meantime, friends, colleagues and students began to arrive. Norm Self, who has stepped up to a variety of creative and important roles, relocated from San Francisco. I arrived from Washington State offering my skills, from carpentry to yoga, to the neighborhood and community.  

In 2011, Rudy purchased a nearby, unfinished house whose owner had moved. That building, which will serve as an ashram and guest housing, is almost complete. The site also hosts a small “shed” that is being refurbished as a homeopathy consultation “hut” and dispensary.  

The future of Loving Acres looks bright. How to build a neighborhood that hosts something of a queer ashram is the visioning work at hand, and a new name is likely to be born for the project.  

Although Loving Acres is not on the regular Earthaven tour, folks who’d like to visit can connect by request through the Earthaven website. Namaste, y’all!


Banyan Freier moved to Earthaven from Vashon Island, WA almost a year ago and is apprenticing in Holistic Medicine with Dr. Rudy Ballentine. "B" is a certified yoga instructor and last year taught the Forest Children's Collective yoga class, has begun to see homeopathy patients at Earthaven, and teaches Embodied Voice lessons.

Busting the Myth

That Consensus-with-Unanimity is Good for Communities

by Diana Leafe Christian


Many consensus trainers tell us consensus-with-unanimity is good for communities. Is creates a sense of trust and connection, a sense of harmony, they say, since everyone’s agreement is first required to pass a proposal.

Though I believed this for years, I no longer do. I now believe that using consensus-with-unanimity, especially with no recourse, actually harms most communities.


One of the reasons is that people often misunderstand and misuse the blocking privilege. This often results in the unintended consequences of discouragement, low morale, diminished meeting attendance and others such as:

  • People able to endure more conflict may prevail, creating “decision by endurance.”
  • Disproportionate power to whoever supports the status quo.
  • Community stagnation (unable to change or evolve).
  • Power struggles may drive out some of the group’s most responsible, effective members.


What Works Better Instead?


There are three collaborative, win-win methods. The N Street Consensus Method, Sociocracy and Holacracy do not allow the kinds of power-over dynamics that can occur with consensus-with-unanimity. Communities that use these methods don’t tend to have the unintended consequences that can occur when using consensus-with-unanimity. Rather, these methods tend to generate a sense of connection, trust, and well-being in the group.


This article was excerpted from a Part I article of the same name that appears in Communities Magazine, Summer 2012 issue. Click here to learn more about this issue, which focuses on the theme 'Diversity,' or to purchase the magazine.





Diana Leafe Christian, an Earthaven member, is author of the books Creating a Life Together and Finding Community, publisher of Ecovillages, a free online newsletter about ecovillages worldwide, and a columnist for Global Ecovillage Network. Click here for Diana's website.

Medicinal Herbs

You'll see these common plants and many others on a daily basis around Earthaven.












Witch Hazel


Photos by Lee Warren.

New Author

ENTHEOGENESIS: Origin of the Divine within Us, by Brian Love is a novel future to challenge conventional wisdom, and conventional publishing.



A prophetic vision of a near-future world wracked by climate change, resource depletion, and American imperialism, this tale portrays the initiation of a teenage drug dealer into a metamodernist tribe, and depicts the emergence of a transitional solution for humanity upon an irradiated island at the outskirts of civilization.

In homage to Terence McKenna, the book will be independently published by the Earthaven-based imprint beLove on 12.21.12, using paper made of hemp and post- consumer recycled waste.  For more information or to support the project, visit here.

Thanks for your interest in this venture, where ethics prevail over economics.




Keep up with the latest events, like the annual Gemini 'Alter-Ego' Party.



About Us



Lee Warren is the editor of the Earthaven newsletter. She is an herbalist, a writer, a cofounder of the Village Terraces Cohousing Neighborhood, and the manager of Imani Farm.





Arjuna da Silva is the assistant editor of the Earthaven newsletter and a founding member of Earthaven. She is now living in her earth-and-straw home, "Leela House."




Earthaven is an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina. We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.


Visit our website.

Earthaven Blog

It's seasonal!

(Just not this season.)


See our latest blog  Christmas Cookie Party.



Earthaven Ecovillage • 5 Consensus Circle • Black Mountain • NC • 28711
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