University of Winchester

ABSTRACTS /Cathi Davis

Lifestyle as Protest

Enshrined within our secular economic and social systems, even within some of our religions, are doctrines of depersonalisation. Yet to protest these can entail further alienation – the separation of “us” from “them”. Protest implies struggle, the kick against a structure or a form – and while we focus on that form we give it substance.

The alternative is creative. How to craft relationship with the other? What does a life lived in patterns of conscious connectivity look like?

We live within and have internalised the values of a Western society that emphasise the sacredness of personal space, the comfort of peace and quiet above much else. In contrast other cultures emphasise the sacredness of family, community – and the compromise and sharing of one’s personal space is a way of life. Boundaries can protect, they can also exclude the uncomfortable and lead to diminishment. Transcendental merging can be blissful – it can also be an escape from the discomfort of diversity.

What are the aspects of creating conscious community? Examining our relationship to self. Pursuing the search for conflict resolution, for enhancing how we hear each other. Examining our relationship to what we consume and to the medium of exchange. Expanding our circle of consciousness to the “inanimate”.

Consciously breaking the isolating trance of our society may mean creating sacred space in which to reach out in relationship. To overcome the glamour of comfort that has become our only goal in life may mean casting another spell – that of beauty, through poetry,drama, dance, music – to reach beyond the intellect to the deeper knowing embodied within us. Lifestyle as protest becomes life lived as ritual.

Biographical Statement

Born 1971 in South London, into a family of self confessed awkward buggers. Studied Arabic and Islamic Studies at University, graduated and went straight on to study homoeopathy. Discovered Druidry in my 20s and have explored it ever since. Lived in Ireland for four years, now living in an intentional community in Oxfordshire. My work is importing and distributing fair trade olive oil from Palestine. Beneath this, as in all other work I do, is the thread of community, communication and connection.


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