Is yours an Earth Pathway?

Each year, I get a copy of the most beautiful diary you can possibly imagine. Called Earth Pathways, it is chock-full of poetry and other magical words, art work and festivity. Each day has the phases of the moon and sunrise and sunset times, and the festivals which mark the turning wheel of the year. (Northern hemisphere.)

A little while ago, Annie at Earth Pathways contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in writing about them here, and of course I jumped at the chance. We decided to publish in the form of an interview.

And I have two copies of the 2014 diary to give away! For the chance to win one, just leave a comment on this post telling us why you’d like a copy. I’ll put all the names in a hat and will draw out two winners next Monday, 11th November.

Here’s the Earth Pathways interview – such richness:

1. Describe the Earth Pathways diary in six adjectives!

  • EP Inner Cover-page-001 Inspirational
  • Informative
  • Visionary
  • Sumptuous
  • Celebratory
  • Love-full (a newly created adjective!)

2. What are the driving ideas and themes?

Our strapline is ‘Inspiring our connection to the land’ and the diary is very much about our deep love and passion for these isles and our collective vision for a future that is sustainable, fair and that benefits all. It was hugely important to us to celebrate the work of UK writers and artists who shared our vision and we’re still amazed by the most wonderful and inspirational contributions we receive every year.

We wanted the diary to be a networking resource that would inspire all those living with awareness and care for our beautiful Earth. And we also wanted to encourage people to get out there and connect with the land, to really tune in to these special times, create their own rituals and love song to the Earth.

EP Out of the earth-page-001Because connecting deeply to the land is at the heart of all we do, we decided that we would use the cycle of the seasons and the Celtic Wheel of the Year as the structure and context to place all of the diary’s artwork and writing. We also include Moon phases and signs, sunrise and sunset times, moonrise and moonset times and some astrological information for the UK.

As a co-operative, we see community and community-building as essential to making the changes so important to the future of our Earth, which is OUR future, the future of our children and of generations to come. So you will also find in the diary information and inspiration from community-led initiatives such as the Transition Town movement, Permaculture and other eco pioneers.

We use some of the profits from the diary to help projects that benefit the Earth through local community initiatives. Since 2011 we have given funding to educational courses focussing on Nature, biodiversity and wildlife, funded a bursary placement for a herbalism course and made grants to various community gardens and allotments. Most recently we have made awards to an animal rescue centre, a community garden’s bee project, Wool against Weapons, a forest garden and a Sacred Grove project.

3. The diary is full to bursting with beautiful words and images – where do you find your contributors?

EP Soil-page-001For our first diary we tapped into our personal networks. Between us we knew lots of friends who were artists so we just put the word out and had a fantastic response. Each year since we have invited submissions of artwork and writing from anyone who shares our love of this land and our vision of positive change. You don’t have to be a professional artist or writer. All submissions need to be with us by October 31st each year and we look at each and every one of them! Details of how to submit work can be found on our website and in the diary itself.  We offer all contributors to the diary a 40 word profile and a free diary for each contribution published, plus the opportunity to buy copies of the diary at a cheap rate for the year they are in the diary. We felt in this way we were fostering the spirit of co-operation and that it would be a way of us ‘giving something back’ to them.

4. What would you say to people who believe paper diaries are an endangered species in these days of smartphones etc?

EP Woodland-page-001We reckon paper diaries are much easier and quicker to use than an app, plus they’re hard to mislay, unlike a smartphone! And they never need charging up … More than that, our diary is quite simply a visual delight and offers something beautiful and inspiring to look at EVERY day and that’s even before you write in it. You can somehow immerse yourself in a paper diary like ours in a way that you can’t with a flat screen phone app.

Our diary users tell us that the diary speaks to them in more ways than just telling the date or sunrise times. Our diaries are hugely personal. Each edition is unique and makes a lovely reference point to what our users were moved by in previous editions. Unlike an online app, you can simply pick up a past year’s diary, look through and be inspired all over again. It’s a tactile thing too, there’s something about the touch of (recycled) paper that feels more personal than a plastic case, and something about using a pen and paper that stimulates creativity, be it capturing spontaneous thoughts or simply doodling.

5. Who makes the diary happen each year, and how did you get started?

EP Owl-page-001The diary was the ‘vision’ of  Glennie Kindred and Jaine Rose and it began about 6 years ago following a conversation they had at the Big Green Gathering. They’d both admired the American “We’Moon’ diary but felt that they wanted something that related more directly to these isles and that had UK contributors and artists. The idea grew very quickly. That first conversation in July led to a meeting at Glennie’s house in Derbyshire in September 2007 and the concept of Earth Pathways was born. They had no money to set the wheels in motion but then the idea to ask friends to lend them money “came in a big flash” and they created the idea of ‘buying’ a returnable Moonshare of £100 each. In this way they raised £2,500 in 3 months, which paid for the first print run of the diary. While running a workshop on the Isle of Wight, Glennie met artist Hannah Willow and told her about the diary idea. Hannah was very encouraging and put out the word to her large network of friends. Glennie’s reputation as a well-established writer and artist gave the diary project credibility. And it snowballed. Friends told friends, who told others and the money to fund the first Earth Pathways diary was raised. In the beginning there was a great deal of trepidation and some major setbacks but everything evolved from genuine heart-energy and trust. The diary has now become a firm favourite with many people and has sold out several times in the past few years. This is tremendously encouraging for us because it tells us we are on track and means we can continue to give away grants to help new UK Earth- benefiting initiatives.

Diary schedules mean that we are always working two years ahead. Once all the submissions of artwork and writing are received (deadline 31st October each year) all members of the team have a say on each and every piece submitted. We later hold our ‘Weaving Circle’ where those contributions that have made it through the first round of voting are viewed again and the final selections made. This is a painstaking process. Members of the team get very passionate about the contributions they vote on – which is exactly as it should be. Once the selections are agreed, there then follows the huge task of matching image to appropriate writing. The overall art direction, proofing and deadlines are skilfully managed by Glennie in conjunction with her daughter May Kindred-Boothby.

EP Moonlight-page-001The Earth Pathways team grew out of the jobs that needed doing – people just seemed to come along at the right time and do the jobs that played to their strengths. In the beginning Glennie and Jaine did everything and Debs Milverton took charge of the database. All of the contributors to the first diary became the larger network that the Earth Pathways team tapped into for team resources. Several members of the current team were recommended by mutual friends.

About the time the team realised that they needed astrological data for the diary, Glennie had an email from Lucille Valentine asking her about one of her books. In the email Lucille mentioned that she was an astrologer. Glennie said “we’re looking for an astrologer!” She then discovered that Lucille had worked on a similar kind of diary in her native South Africa. Glennie had also met Tam (Peirson) at festivals and she became the “post persona” then head of sales and distribution. Suzi Goose was a friend of Hannah Willow and Mezzie Lucerne Lambourne had been recommended by Carolyn Hillier. The whole evolution of the team was very organic and people appeared in response to the next need …Everyone has day jobs too – Glennie and Jaine are both artists and writers, Debs teaches piano, Tam is an astrologer and NLP practitioner, Suzi an artist and sacred tattooist, Mezzie a textile artist, Lucille is an astrologer, Brian Boothby a masseur, Annie Keeling a celebrant and May Kindred-Boothby, a full-time art student.

6.  I believe you’re a co-operative – what has this structure taught you about working together?

Goodwill, endless patience and chocolate are a must! The obvious thing is that everyone has a voice and equal say in how we are run and the diary we produce. The structure itself enables us to hold firmly to our core values. We do argue, often fiercely, but ultimately when we reach an impasse we go right back to the principles we started off with because they are the yardstick by which we define ourselves and by which we are judged. Invariably our starting point is co-operation, sometimes we may have to compromise, but the original ‘vision’ of the diary still holds true and provides us with that important ‘line of sight’ so that we know where we are headed. It keeps us on course.

As a co-operative we share any profits from the diary sales and fundamental to our constitution is group agreement on how those profits are distributed. We use some of our profits to make annual funding awards to a variety of UK projects that support and benefit the Earth. (For info on the projects we are funding this year or details on how to apply for future funding, please visit our website).

7. How can readers order their copy of Earth Pathways 2014?

Please visit our website: click here.

We value you buying directly from our website as a greater return of the profits becomes available for financing the next production of the diary and to fund small community projects that help the Earth.

You can also keep up to date with what we’re doing, involved with, championing etc via our Facebook page.

__________________

Thanks so much to Annie and all at Earth Pathways for such interesting insights and for the gift of two free copies of the 2014 Diary. Remember: leave a comment to this post saying why you’d like a copy for the chance to win. (If you’re reading this in email, click through to get to the site.)

All the sumptuous images courtesy of Earth Pathways: click to see full size.

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34 thoughts on “Is yours an Earth Pathway?”

  1. I would love a copy after reading the first excerpt (p. 104, I believe), which celebrates nature so beautifully. I commune with nature in my daily walks and I would love to enhance that experience with the poetry and visual inspiration of the Earth Pathways diary.
    Thank you,

  2. I loved what I just read. Every year I try to find a beautiful paper diary and this one matches what I like. Thank you.

  3. I long to hold beauty in my hands as an invitation to release my creative expressions. This is beautiful and soul touching

  4. How amazing and beautifully done! The words and pictures on the sample pages are beyond what I have ever seen before. Applause, applause!!

    Yes, please, I would love a chance to win one of these glorious diaries even tho I don’t live in the Isles, but in Virginia. Same hemisphere, eh?!

    Hugs!

  5. It looks absolutely amazing! I love that it is done by a co op and that the co op gives back to the earth. Beautiful!

  6. This looks beautiful! I’ve now reached an age where the years seem to merge into one, and keeping a ‘proper diary’ would help me remember all the goings on in my life worth remembering. Such a stunning diary would simply call me to sit down, get out my lovely pen, and note down my thoughts and events. As always, Tess, thanks for sharing – you are inspirational and such a wonderful maker of connections.

  7. I love Earthpathways – I used to get the Wemoon diary which is also beautiful, but it is very American and we have such a lot to celebrate here, I was delighted to discover Earthpathways a couple of years ago. I’ve even submitted artwork for the next one – fingers crossed!!!

  8. This is a beautiful diary. Who wouldn’t want to write in such a stunning book. For me this would be a guide to help follow the turning of the wheel of the year and to keep track of the mooncycles which I both intend to follow this year
    Ellen recently posted..New moon in NovemberMy Profile

    1. Reading this after a day staring at the screen my eyes are a little fuzzy and at first I thought you said ‘motorcycles’! Each to her own I thought, then realised it was moon cycles! 🙂

  9. Oh, my. How incredibly beautiful!!! Seeing this today almost made me weep with knowing, and the YES that speaks directly to my soul.

    I’ve recently gone through marital separation and divorce. As a result, I have moved A LOT ~ having just arrived at my 6th address in 28 months. Whew!

    An extremely important aspect of my new hOMe is the land. While we are still in the city, we have an acre of grass and woods in a very quiet, private setting. It is glorious!

    My heartfelt commitment is to connect with this land, have a garden, explore the abundant wildlife, and make it a special sanctuary where I (and my beloved soulmate) can finally settle in. Arriving here, I am happier than I have been in several years.

  10. For many years I kept a diary. Somehow, in the last few years other things pulled me away from keeping a diary. I’m feeling the pull to come back to keeping a diary and this one is so beautiful, writing in it would be a joy!

  11. I saw this post yesterday and made a note to get this diary. Though I live in the US I have been learning herbcraft from a Celtic-rooted herbalist as a way to understand the ancestral knowledge of my homelands, and through that learning how to connect to the knowledge of this land where I live. I am thinking this diary would be a great companion on that journey! Thanks for sharing this, Tess!
    towanda recently posted..O Sweet SpontaneousMy Profile

  12. I would love to win the beautiful diary as thats me on the front cover (in my eyes anyway!).
    Warm wishes
    Pat

  13. What a beautiful diary – and inspiring story of how it came to be! It’s wonderful how they share their profits with so many worthwhile organizations and projects. (“Wool against Weapons” sounds intriguing!)

    Have you ever submitted anything? I think your “miniature mermaids” with “tangled turquoise hair” (from The Child in Me) would be a perfect fit!

    I already have a diary for next year, so I’m going to take myself out of the drawing.

    Thanks for posting your interview – richness, indeed!

  14. Thanks so much Tess for sharing the information on this beautiful resource.

    I would love a copy because I seek to move closer to the earth through walking, writing and photography and although that makes me feel not-lonely in the company of the earth, sometimes it’s hard to hold on to the belief that there are other kindred spirits out there, and I think this would help.

  15. Just want to support your project Tess. Since I don’t live in the UK, I’d don’t want to be chosen, and thereby take away the gift someone else might better use. But the diary sounds does look glorious!!

  16. Thanks to everyone for the comments so far, I know that the Earth Pathways team will be tickled pink (to use an English phrase not all of you might know!) to read them.
    I’m excited to see whose name comes out of the draw!

  17. I’d love to go into the draw for this beautiful diary so that I could give it to my friend Eley who has had a perfectly horrible 3 years in too many ways to describe. She is just starting a creative writing course on Place and this would be just perfect for her. She hopes to do her dissertation on ‘thin’ places, and Earth Pathways would complement that brief so beautifully.

  18. Wow! To you, Tess, heartfelt and deep gratitude, dear woman, for loving and championing what we do. And to everyone who has commented on the diary – thank you so much for your many kind and generous words. Go well and with many Samhain blessings.

  19. A beautiful book…I’d love it for inspiration, reminders, journalling, sketching – in short an ideal companion across a year of my continuing journey. But if chosen I’d like to give it to my younger sister as a thank you for looking after me while I’m between homes with a broken arm. Her need, for just such a kind companion as this book seems to be, is greater right now.

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