NS Gathering Notes

Gathering 1 | Gathering 2 | Gathering 3 | Gathering 4| Gathering 5

Gathering 6 | Gathering 7 | Gathering 8 | Gathering 9| Gathering 10

NS Gathering 1


First Gathering, Sunroot Farm, Sept 29,2002

Present: Georgina Chambers; Mary Corbett; Clea Derwent; Jan Devine; Silver Frith; Avis Fullarton; Beth Guptill; Georgina Geldert; Shelley Finson; Michelle Jay; Charlotte Keen; Pat Kipping; Susanne Litke; Pat Loucks; Debbie Mailman; Jen Melanson; Claire Miller; Lori Miller; Cheryl Pearce; Carol Putnam; Ruth Robillard; Anne-Marie Schurman; Elizabeth Shein; Donna Smith; Dianne Tingley; Julie VanderVoort

A glorious late September day travelling across the Rawdon hills in crisp clear air to Jen Melanson's SunRoot farm, where we gathered to sing and make plans in the upper space of the barn. We began with introducing ourselves, sharing something of the object we brought and placing it in the circle.

The meeting began with an outline of the project from Jan and Charlotte: A short, pertinent, and wonderful segment of Carolyn speaking at the last Fire in the Soul program was played.


Carolyn has sent us a suggested list of songs for all 3 Eastern groups: This is still flexible and will need to be augmented by our choices. We in Atlantic Canada have 1/3 of total CD time. About 25 minutes.

Atlantic Canada: Longing Series, O Beautiful Gaia, Beginners, So Great a Love, Awakening

Possible Local Songs for the Atlantic Canadian Group include:
Hands of the Living Goddess
Wild-Hearted (Paula Foley's song)
Zimbabwe Women's Prayer
Julie's Chant
Plea for One World
Bridgit's Chant
Great Lakes Basin: Longing Series, O Beautiful Gaia, Beginners, Listen to the Voices, Somos El Barco (with children)

Atlantic New England: Longing Series, O Beautiful Gaia, Beginners Sun Look Out (with children), Among the Many

Instrumentation: we can include our own Fire in the soul musicians for songs, and Carolyn's regular musicians will play interludes. Carolyn will arrange 2 instrumental pieces, Horizon and Lyra.

Do we need a music director? Carolyn has described the New England group process, which we might consider adopting. This includes practicing the music with mindfulness and intention, so each woman takes responsibility for her contribution. If/when direction is needed someone will come forward at that time, then dissolve back into the group when the need passes.

Carolyn suggests we experiment with drums, harmonies etc., not imposing\ rigidity on the music. We need to be aware of retaining the spirit of the music but also blending voices to make the music sound its best.

We discussed doing the recording somewhere other than a recording studio (less formal) so that we can sing in our circle as we are used to doing. We felt it would be best if it were a 'recording event', like a live recording, rather than a session in a recording studio. It is hoped the recording will be complete by mid-July 2003. A one-day session is anticipated.

A web page has been set up by the Detroit women to which we can contribute. Jen volunteered to work with Kathryn Clough in PEI and perhaps others in Atlantic to determine what our contribution could be.

Donna offered to be the photographer for our gathering. She will scan in to her computer some of the photos she took.

The following meeting dates for NS were discussed and confirmed:

Oct.26 (Sat),
Nov.17 (Sun.,all day with Carolyn),
Dec.7 (Sat), Jan.12 (Sun),
Feb. 15 (Sat),
Mar.8 (Sat., all day with Carolyn),
Apr. 12 (Sat), May 4 (Sun),
June 7,8 with Carolyn at Belcourt PEI,
July 4,5,6 recording.
March 8 is IWD and it was noted that there is opportunity here to link up with planned events in metro. Perhaps as fundraiser.

All Sat meetings will be from 12 - 5pm, all Sun meetings from 1 - 6pm.

PEI meetings are: Oct. 27, Nov. 16, Dec. 8, Jan. 11, Feb. 16, Mar. 9, Apr. 13, May 3.

Anyone from NS may attend PEI meetings if dates are more convenient.

Possible locations for meetings: Bedford United Church, Kinap Centre (Porters Lake), Cole Harbour United Church, Tatamagouche Buddhist Centre, Atlantic School of Theology, Tatamagouche Centre, Veith House, Dalhousie University, Mount St Vincent University (penthouse).

Lori Miller has generously offered us space in her home in Pictou County for the next meeting in October. She will take us on a tour of the woods. She will send directions. It is anticipated that we will meet closer to Halifax Metro during the winter months.


Meeting was then open for brainstorming ideas for possible Beautiful Gaia projects. The following ideas came forward:

  • build an alliance with First Nations people, include singing, drumming, and inviting women to educate us.
  • cultural expression evenings - creative performances in various communities, a possible fundraiser, and draws in larger communities.
  • an environmental artwork such as a planting of trees in a spiral form, a construction of beach stones, or linking up with Nature Conservancy to "adopt" a piece of land on which we could make such a planting
  • a hand work of some kind such as a quilt
  • a way to be in solidarity with people living near the tar ponds
  • link with Nature Conservancy to purchase land in Prospect to preserve it from developers
  • buy land as a Trust which could be lifelong project-4 acre concept
  • going to places where the land/people have been hurt and singing
  • preserve public lands eg. Halifax Commons
  • create a map of beautiful places in NS, show where public land is being abused
  • create a document of our personal sacred spaces
  • a visual, story and song document to be used in schools
  • a series of educational presentations at our gatherings on critical issues
  • bring Carolyn's music to other groups

Volunteers were as follows:
* Organizing next meeting - Charlotte, Lori, Frith.
* Investigating Recording possibilities - Carol, Paula Foley, Pat Kipping
* Minutes - Pat Loucks
* Suggestions/Ideas - emails to Charlotte
* Environmental Issues group - Pat L., Avis. All are encouraged to email thoughts/ suggestions to Pat loucks@supercity.ns.ca.
* First Nations Connection: Pat Kipping
* Photos- Donna
* Check on availability of Dalhousie for a future gathering-Carol


* the "jar" will be at each meeting for voluntary contribution for ongoing expenses (photocopies, r efreshments, gas money for those who need it). Carolyn's visits will require funding.

* Kate Dickie has offered bodywork sessions, for a donation to the project in connection with her osteopathy course.

* Jan D. has made CD's with somewhat improved sound of Carolyn's old tapes, $20. each

* A calendar of "women in the land"?


Things Liked: clear purpose, made a start, placing objects and their continuity, connection to land, provision of food, playback of Carolyn speaking at Fire in the Soul, breaks in the talking part of meeting (by singing and farm tour).

Need improvement: Not enough singing, eat right away, start with centering activity, hold potluck (with Carolyn), coffee/tea etc in separate room, have decaf coffee.


SAT. OCT 26, AT LORI MILLER'S HOME, GREENHILL (PICTOU CO.) Lori will email us directions.

See you all there !

NS Gathering 2


Lori Miller's home, Oct. 26 2002

Present: Charlotte Keen, Georgina Chambers, Jen Melanson, Jan Devine,Terry Choyce, Ann Manicom, Claire Miller, Julie Vandervoort, Carol Putnam, Lori Miller, Eleanor Grennan, Pat Loucks, Avis Fullerton, Diane Tingley, Shelley Finson, Cheryl Pearce, Fran Langstroth

Gaia dressed herself in glowing shades of gold, orange, and cinnamon against a background of deep green, welcoming us with a bright, clear day as we travelled to Lori's home in Greenhill NS.

We began the day with lunch and socializing, enjoying the warmth of Lori's hospitality, her wonderfully restored farmhouse and the beauty of nature all around us. Ann led us in a time of centering, focussing on the healing of hurting places in our province. We continued with singing, and then a check-in around what areas of the project people feel "sparked" by, to date. Jan reported on last weekend's gathering in Nfld. There were 16 women present to meet and sing with Carolyn. They are very enthused about the project and plan to have Carolyn back in Dec. or Jan. Jan also talked about their visit to the Geo Center and an exhibit of the history of the planet where they touched a piece of rock 3.8 billion years old!


*Jan has made 75 CDs (recordings of Carolyn's previous tapes) to send to Edmonton, where Carolyn will shortly be visiting for a gathering of western women.

*Sask. Women of the Sacred Web have sent us $500 towards the Gaia project

*Jan is sending some CD's to the US groups to sell.

*Georgina Geldert's B&B offer - this was emailed to everyone and is a wonderful opportunity for some "down" time as well as a contribution to the project. Big thank you to Georgina and spouse!

* Kate will be sending out more info re: her offer of osteopathic treatments.

* Money jar will be brought to each gathering for contributions to cover ongoing expenses (photocopies, labels, gas etc) It is hoped that all women will contribute at least $5 at each gathering and more if they are able.

* An accounting of Money jar donations and expenses to date was circulated. Donations in=$292 , expenses=$115, balance=$177.

* Terry offered to bring Pottersfield Press books to the group to sell with 50% going to Gaia.


Detroit/Windsor(Great Lakes Basin) group has met 2x,

Plainville(Atlantic New England) group has met 2x and had a watershed/conservation workshop.

Both groups have worked on community building and practiced some of the music.

At this point in the day we listened to part of a tape made at this summer's Fire in the Soul of Carolyn's asking for a blessing for the project and on our desires and intentions to facilitate change and renewal in our lives and our world.


To facilitate community building, we broke into small groups to discuss in more detail some of the ideas brought forward at last gathering - what do we bring to the group, how do we see the unfolding of the project happening.

Each group reported their thoughts:

Group 1- overwhelmed by size of the project, need to do more education/research, how to free ourselves from feeling we have to DO something.

Group 2 - school project suggested by Avis- create a tape or book on O Beautiful Gaia that could be used as fundraiser for a project such as the preservation of the Prospect Bay lands, plan our own event for Earth Day, plan workshops on land conservation, link with Women's Creativity Centre event in April at North St. Church, Hfx.

Group 3 - focus on being authentic in our daily lives re: consumption and recycling, bring stories of local women's environmental activities to newspapers, what are our "good news" stories, video our gatherings.

At this time Lori took us for a tour of her property, describing what her family is doing to restore the land to its original state, such as creating brush fences, allowing dead trees etc. to decay naturally, ecological management of their pine forest, providing safe places for animals and birds to feed and shelter.


Georgina led us in a time of improvisational singing/chanting/drumming/clapping which was somewhat scary at first but turned out to be fun!


This will be an all-day meeting (9 - 5) at Oceanstone Inn (the former Akala Point) on St. Margaret's Bay. Cost will be $30per person and we are asking women who can afford more, to contribute more. This will cover rental of the space, Carolyn's airfare and honorarium, rental of keyboard, travel from PEI, etc. (PEI Gaia participants are being asked to contribute the same amount). We have the use of a kitchen, so we will plan a potluck lunch of easy-to-prepare foods such as sandwiches, cheese and fruit etc. The focus for the day will of course be on singing and learning the music with Carolyn, but the community will prepare the opening, centering, info session and closing portions. Carol, Charlotte and Georgina agreed to organize that day. Cheryl, Ann and Claire offered to act as leaders for singing parts as required. We will be learning specific parts as written for certain songs however there will be others where parts can be improvised.


Please submit photos/writings etc. to Jen. Jen has been in contact with Patricia from Great Lakes Basin group who is working on getting the Gaia website up. Jen will let us know when we are "connected".

It was agreed to go with Margot Metcalfe's offer of using some of her photographic images for fundraising for the Gaia project. Jen offered to look after putting the images on the website and set up for taking orders.

Jan and Julie will check with Margot re sending work/images to Edmonton, and possibly sets of Gaia cards. It was suggested that other Gaia-related artwork could be photographed and scanned in as well.


Carol reported that Carolyn prefers that we sing in a circle without headphones, but also be able to have all the parts distinct. Instruments, if used, will be played during the singing. Adrian Hoffman, CBC executive producer (music) recommends we use St. Patricks Cathedral on Brunswick St. Hfx. - good sound, good space. If anyone has info on other good recording spaces please contact Carol. Fran Langstroth said she would check with her husband re: other possibilities as he has done some recording


Pat reported she checked out some environmental groups websites from a list compiled by Charlotte. Some suggestions - for $25 we can join NS Environmental Network, an umbrella organization with info and links to many environment organizations. We might also connect with Ecology Action Centre re committees working in various areas (Coastal, Energy, Marine,Wilderness). There are opportunities for volunteers in various areas from office work to in the field. NS Nature Trust also has opportunities for volunteers to do the newsletter, fundraising, birdwatching, monitoring endangered plants, land stewards. Their mission is to protect significant natural areas on private lands in NS. The list of groups will be emailed to all.


Dec., Jan., Feb. meetings: To be held at Bedford United Church (no fee).


Most people feeling more grounded and trusting the process after today's meeting. Many thanks to Lori for sharing her home with us, and for her fabulous cookies which we munched on all afternoon! The ambience definitely added so much to the day.

NS Gathering 3

Notes from Gatherings with Carolyn, November 2002

NS Gathering 4


Bedford United Church, Sat. Dec.7 2002

Present: Ruth Robillard, Charlotte Keen, Pat Loucks, Janie Clark, Silver Frith, Debbie Mailman, Margaret Tusz-King, Michelle Jay, Julie Vandervoort, Jen Melanson, Helen Castonguay, Shelley Finson, Claire Miller, Eleanor Grennan, Carol Putnam, Georgina Chambers, Ann Manicom, Cheryl Pearce, Terry Choyce, Jan Devine, Donna Smith.

The winter solstice approaches and Gaia moves into her time of rest, so that she can renew her energy in preparation for the return of the light and the rebirth of all her creation. The cycles spiral on.........

We began our time together with socializing over our bag lunches. Terry then led us in a guided meditation as we explored sacred places and spaces in our lives. This was followed by singing a few favourite songs to warm up our voices, bodies and spirits.


In consideration of the limited time frame we have to carry out the multi-faceted aspects of the project, and keeping in mind the overall concept of our project, it was felt the group needed to discuss the the process of music practice and the fuller integration of the environmental component of the project. The following are comments and suggestions from the open discussion:

* do we need time other than scheduled meetings to rehearse

* the New England group now meets for a full day - do we want/need to extend our meeting hours

* can we use meeting time more efficiently, ie. Have more structure

* can we cut back time spent on "warm-up" singing

* need to be mindful to balance between singing technique/singing from the heart, not losing our passion

* can we set short term goals for learning the music

* important to do justice to Carolyn's music so others can appreciate it too - eg. being aware of enunciation, etc. so words can be heard clearly

* we already have a wonderful blend of voices * the relationship of the music to the environment part of the project - how to do more than give lip service to what we sing about

* time frame - recording will take place Sat. July 5 (all day) and Sun. July 6 (half day). This is still subject to change but keep that weekend free.

Carolyn will be here for the recording. She will also be with the other groups for their recording events, so some coordination is needed.

** Claire has offered to make rehearsal tapes for us, these will consist of all parts for songs with parts and the melody line for all other songs we intend to put on the CD. She will also add to the tape the recording of "Beginners" from Norma Luccock. Contact Claire if you wish a tape, cost is $3 if you want it mailed to you before Christmas, or $1 (or a blank tape) if you pick it up from her at the Jan. 12 meeting. Thank you Claire for your generous offer!

We concluded the discussion by agreeing on the following:

* leave meeting hours as they are

* make rehearsal time more productive (without losing heart!)

* committment to learn the words of the following songs for Jan. meeting: Beginners, The Longing Series, Awakening


Comments from the discussion:

*Do we need an "environment committee", or are we all responsible for this part of the project?

* we each are making changes in our own lives because of the energy of the group as a whole as we move through the project.

* for Jan. meeting: think about the "4 acre project" - this is "the notion that 4 acres are needed for the safe passing of each of us to nurture body and sustain soul" (see initial letter from Carolyn re the project).

* also for Jan. meeting: bring a story about environment-related changes you are making in your life as a result of the project. This will be a start to help us think about what we might do as a group.

* also for Jan. meeting: bring any verses you have written for O Beautiful Gaia and The Longing Series

* Carol has compiled a book on Atlantic endangered species which is available as a resource for us

After a break, Jan played an excerpt from Nov 16 PEI gathering with Carolyn featuring Oh Beautiful Gaia played by 2 fabulous harpists. The harpists music may be woven into the CD. There was also a piece from Carolyn's teaching in PEI, where she spoke of our relationship with music being a conversation that constantly changes...and how our voices will give us the melody if we really want to sing.

We spent some time (approx. 3/4 hr.) rehearsing the parts for Longing Series, Continue On and Beginners.


Carolyn will be here the weekend of March 8 and 9. Bedford United Church gym has been booked all day Saurday March 8 for a gathering with women from PEI and possibly Nfld. We will need to billet them Friday and Saturday nights. We may have an informal social event Friday night, but women who are travelling may not arrive until late Friday night or early Saturday. Mar. 8 is International Women's Day and there is a cabaret/concert of women's music at Pier 21 Sat. eve which we could attend as a group. The Aeolian Singers (Claire and Pat are members) are one of the groups singing. Do we want to do a fundraiser such as a brunch or informal concert Sunday? Where and when? Suggestions: The Church on North St., a pub brunch, concert at a downtown church such as St. Matthews United. This will be discussed at the Jan. meeting. We will need volunteers to put a fundraiser together. Ann volunteered but can't do it alone.


Brenda MacLaughlin (Women~Land~Spirit collective Saskatchewan) has offered to coordinate the pre-sale of CD's. She will also create brochures. She has asked for 1 contact person for each region - this would emailing / mailing brochures to available lists of women and communicating with Brenda re brochure etc., collecting and keeping track of money. As no one volunteered, Jan may ask if someone from PEI would act as Atlantic region representative. But we really do need a volunteer!

!!!**!!! Jan reported that $847 from the Edmonton Gathering in November has been deposited in the Gaia bank account from sales of O Beautiful Gaia fundraising CD's

Jen Melanson is writing a proposal about the O Beautiful Gaia project for the CBC program Up Front, a 15 minute feature program which is aired one morning per week. If accepted, there is a fee paid by CBC.


Jen reported that the website is up and running and that she now needs material (writing and images) to make it sing!

We concluded the day by singing a few verses of O Beautiful Gaia.

Janie, Ann and Charlotte will plan the next gathering.

Next meeting: Sunday. Jan 12 2003, 12 - 5pm, Bedford United Church. See you there!

NS Gathering 5


Bedford United Church, Sun. Jan. 12

Present: Jane Clark, Shelley Finson, Ruth Robillard, Ann Manicom, Avis Fullerton, Clea Derwent, Helen Castonguay, Julie Vandervoort, Cheryl Pearce, Claire Miller, Jen Melanson, Silver Frith, Charlotte Keen, Carol Putnam, Carolyn Crowell, Pat Loucks, Debbie Mailman, Georgina Chambers, Beth Guptill, Susanne Litke, Diane Tingley, Alice Dolahite-Scott, and 2 women from the PEI group - Ann Taylor Murray and Katherine Clough!

Beautiful Gaia in her sparkling white robes greeted us this crisp mid-winter day, inviting us to warm our souls and bodies with song from the heart as she rests, renewing her energies for the budding of spring.

Janie led us in a time of meditation and centering, then into singing "Spirit of Life" and "Awakening".


We then moved into a group discussion around land conservancy issues, facilitated by Pat Loucks. A description of the discussion is included at the end of these notes. Please read.


1. Paula Foley, songwriter and performer from PEI, will be with us for the Feb. meeting, and will teach us her song "Wild Hearted".

2. Finances: Report from Jan Devine that there is now a grand total of $3000 in the Gaia bank account (all source, e.g. CD sales, farmers market, etc.) Ongoing Expenses - Current balance PEI group $277.78. Current balance N.S. group $256.12.

3. Website: send any appropriate material to Jen Melanson. Atlantic Canada info is now up on the site and Jen will continue to rework material.

4. Please send your "top 7" music selections, and any other songs for possible inclusion on the CD to Charlotte by the end of Jan. if possible.

5. Susanne Litke has volunteered to be the Atlantic contact person for pre-sale of the CD, as requested by Brenda MacLaughlin from Sask. who is coordinating the pre-sale effort. Thank you Susanne for taking on this job!

6. March 7-9: International Women's Day and weekend with Carolyn. Ann reported that 20 women will need to be billeted for the 2 nights and that so far she has only 9 billeted. If you are able to offer a bed/ sleeping place for Fri. and Sat. nights please let Ann know asap. We will meet Fri. night for a welcoming social and all day Sat. at Bedford United Church, and have potluck supper and celebration there Sat. evening. Some women may wish to attend the Women's Day music festival that evening at Pier 21. Sun. morning we will again be with Carolyn, location tba.

7. Carolyn is unable to be with us on PEI for the weekend of June 7-8. This gathering is re-scheduled for May 31-June 1.


Please note: NEW RECORDING DATES ARE JULY 12 AND 13. (and we may want to start on Fri. July 11 to prepare and raise group energy). Claire and Carol reported they, and Charlotte and Frith, met with Rod Sneddon, recording session. They felt Rod was an excellent choice and seemed "in sync" with Carolyn's music and philosophy.

Claire and Carol are in the process of seeking out an appropriate recording venue, with Rod's help. We need a venue with as little ambient sound (traffic etc.) as possible. Wooden churches with high ceilings are good choices forsound quality. Rod had some suggestions for us to keep in mind as we prepare for the recording session: 1. watch our diction, that it be very distinct with consonants so that the words can be understood clearly. 2. Pay attention to the dynamics of the music (i.e. where we should be softer, louder, or place emphasis) because this gives the piece life and feeling. In most cases Carolyn has indicated where she intends these to be.3. If you can hear your own voice you are singing too loud. Listen to voices around you and try to sound as one voice.


Cheryl led us through the rehearsal of "Beginners" and "Longing Series". We practiced all parts separately and then together. With Cheryl's excellent guidance, we picked out problem areas such as difficult notes, where to breathe, dynamics. Debbie assisted us with accompaniment on her keyboard, including the piano part for Beginners. Most people were feeling more comfortable with the music at the end of this session.

We finished the day with listening to Paula Foley's piece "Wild Hearted" and then sang several favourites - Awakening, Julie's Chant, Among the Many, and O Beautiful Gaia.

Avis, Clea and Charlotte will plan next meeting, Sat. Feb. 15, 12-5pm, at Bedford United Church.


Our discussion is summarized thus:

  1. Focus of the discussion;
  2. Some action plans;
  3. Specific Land conservancy projects mentioned by women;
  4. Four themes emerging in our discussion about land;
  5. Clarification questions.
1. Focus of the discussion: Pat Loucks oriented us to a discussion on land (ocean) conservancy as one central initiative we might choose to pursue collectively. She reminded us of the range of educational and environmental ideas that had emerged at the first Gaia meeting in September, and asked that for today, we focus on the land conservancy notion. Pat read to us from Carolyn's original letter about the Gaia Project, where she spoke passionately about land, land conservancy and the four-acre project, and suggested we might consider for today a vision for ourselves as a group in relation to land. What might we need to think about/find out about in order to move forward?

2. Some action plans: we agreed

a) to become members of Nova Scotia Environmental Network (Charlotte)

b) to get details about the Nature Conservancy of Canada so that we might know more about what would be involved in putting land in trust through that organization or through the Nova Scotia Nature Trust (Avis)

c) to send to Jen any books, articles, web-sites we find interesting (with a brief description of the material, including availability-- personal loan, library holding etc). Jen will post these on our web-site as part of our work to deepen our sense of relationship to land, particularly in deepening our awareness of what it would mean to shift from a human- centred view of "conservancy".(All - especially books mentioned by Diane T and Georgina C)

d) to plan some time on the land once Spring arrives. Think about land we might sing to - for example, Lori wants us to come to her land and sing (All)

3. Specific land conservancy projects mentioned by women gathered Grandmothers Hills:

(Frith) From her conversation with Ruth Blaser in Saskatchewan, she offered what the Saskatchewan women are doing as a possible model for our work : there is a conservation easement on the Grandmothers Hills land (for which Ruth already held the deed). They are conserving this as a site for stewardship (including visits from school groups), a place for spiritual seeking, a "place to clear our minds."

Wooden's River Watershed Environmental Organization (www.wrweo.ca) (Julie): Wooden's River flows into St Margaret's Bay (near Glen Margaret). Citizens pay $10.00 for membership, and the aim is to preserve and develop as a nature area the 19 interconnected lakes that form the watershed

Gaff Point, Lunenberg County (at the south/western end of Hirtle's Beach) (Beth) Local people are doing the groundwork to conserve that site, working with Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Prospect High Head (Charlotte) Money is being raised locally to buy the land (also working with NCC) - threatened as prime property for "development" (as is Gaff Point).

Eastern Shore Forest Watch (Claire). A group is trying to prevent clear cutting near Ship Harbour.

4. Four themes weaving through our discussion

a) Land conservancy. Might we join with a conservancy group to protect land? Would this be in the form of a trust? Might it be called Gaia Land? Might we use it in ritual? How might we hold land? How does on-going conservancy work get sustained and paid for on land which is held in trust?
How do conservancies and trusts work?

b) Advocacy work: A number of people spoke about doing ritual and singing on land that needs healing: Find land "that needs us, use our gifts of singing." Claire coined the phrase "Raging Gaias"; Frith suggested that we consider going to "really terrible places" that need healing; Beth suggested that we might recognize that the illness of the land is a symptom of our illness"; various women suggested that we find out about land where we might sing, and that we also consider offering our singing to advocacy groups who are already working on land conservancy (eg Wooden's River, Eastern Shore Forest Watch, the Moirs Pond area on the Bedford Basin). "If we went to land as advocates, we might learn from it where to go from there." And yet the question emerges: "Given the oppressive power relations within which humans have constructed a relationship to the earth, why would the land trust us to fix it?"

c) Shifting perspective: Deep consideration was given to the issue of how we as humans conceptualize our relation to land.. Conservancy philosophy focuses on humans as the key user. Georgina invited us to ask what it might actually mean to approach land from a different perspective, one which does not situate our thinking about land in terms of what it means to us. "Can we find a way to explore a more primordial connection to the land?" Diane spoke about resources that might help us think differently about our relationship to the land. (Diane mentioned Sally McFague's analysis of "The Arrogant Eye", and Georgina read from Livingstone's "The Rogue Primate." Some of the women gathered felt they were already developing a different relationship to land,saying that when they were deeply on the land they listened to it differently. But "Can we really listen to the land? How do I know I am really listening?"

Discussion turned to 'simply being' on land as a way of developing a radical shift in perspective. Others spoke of attending to language ('I own land' versus 'I have a deed to the land') and engaging in more reading and education, both for ourselves and in outreach, as away of facilitating a larger shift in perspective. "Education for ourselves sets in motion a shift in perspective, which in itself is a legacy." d) Meshing land conservancy and perspective shift: Several women spoke to the interweaving of a land conservancy initiative with our own intent to deepen our rethinking of how we conceptualize our relationship to the land . As we spend time "being on the land", we deepen our capacity to listen to the land, we begin the long journey to a new relationship to land (a more primordial relationship, one that is not human-centred. In the process, a legacy emerges that is both a legacy of land conserved and a legacy of a deepened perspective. We know that "healing is a relationship", it is both us and the land. If we to do something, who are our allies and what are the values underpinning what we do? We cannot predict what the shift in perspective will look like:

"The land will tell us "-
"But do we know how to listen to the land?"-
"We will learn to listen as we spend time with it."-
"We sing, we heal ourselves, we shift the energy, we heal the land"
5. Questions raised for clarification:

How would we fund this? Funds for land conservancy would likely come from sale of CDs How much land are we talking about- is it a certain amount per person? No - the 4-Acre concept is one that sensitizes us to how much of the earth's actual resources are available to the humans who occupy the planet for sustaining daily life (four- acres per capita), and to the fact that North Americans per capita consume the equivalent of 17 acres -worth of the world's resources. When do we decide? Perhaps by May or June we should have a clear sense of what our long-term project will be. Perhaps it will take longer.

NS Gathering 6


6th Gathering

Bedford United Church / Sat. Feb. 15 2003

Present: Georgina Chambers, Jane Clark, Charlotte Keen, Carol Putnam, Julie Vandervoort, Debbie Mailman, Anne Marie Schurman, Pat Kipping, Clea Derwent, Alice Dolohite Scott, Terry Choyce, Claire Miller, Donna Smith, Avis Fullerton, Jen Melanson, Pat Loucks, Carolyn Crowell, Shelley Finson, Diane Tingley, Cheryl Pearce, Ruth Robillard, Paula Foley.

O dazzling sun on gleaming snow! A bright, still day - a respite from Gaia's howling icy blasts earlier this week. "You want Wild-Hearted? I'll show you Wild-Hearted!" - she seems to say!

Avis opened the gathering today with a meditation on peace. We followed with singing peace songs, in solidarity with today's peace marches around the world.

*NS Finances to date:

Balance fwd: $256.12
Jan.12 donations 160.93
Mtg. expenses 5.93
Balance 411.12

**Please note:** Recording/Gathering Dates:

Mar. 7, 8, 9 with Carolyn (Bedford United Church)
April 12 (Sat.)
May 14 (Sun.) May 31/June 1 with Carolyn (Beaumaris Centre, Brackley Beach, PEI) (may start Friday night May 30)
July 11, 12, 13 recording (location tba)
Beaumaris Centre has 9 cottages available for those interested. Billets with PEI women will also be available.

*Environmental Project Report:

Avis brought information to the group on her meeting with a development officer from Nature Conservancy of Canada. She explained that this organization differs from the NS Nature Trust and similar organizations. Nature Conservancy purchases endangered land, while NS Nature Trust is a grassroots organization that works to steward land owned by individuals. Nature Conservancy has a $3 million/year budget from the federal government. It also is heavily involved with corporations. It employs scientists to work on finding what each province's environmental needs are. Our involvement with Nature Conservancy would be financial only; there is no field work available. The development officer suggested we might be interested in assisting with their Fundy Shore Bird Project. Three million shorebirds feed along the Fundy shores. It costs $25,000/yr to run this project. If we are interested in contributing to their work, Nature Conservancy is willing to sell our CDs in their interpretive centre.

Discussion following Avis' report centered around whether we wish to contribute to an organization such as Nature Conservancy or to one that cannot access government funds because they are involved with advocacy work. For donations to organizations such as Sierra Club or Nature Conservancy you get a tax receipt however for non-government funded organizations you do not. This means these organizations can use donations for more controversial issues.

Charlotte reported that she had contacted the NS Environmental Network as discussed at the January gathering. The NSEN coordinator, Veronica Sherwood, was positive about us joining this network, which would give us exposure to local environmental activities and groups, as well as inform them of our group. Also Veronica mentioned an opportunity for us to sing at a large environmental gathering in May. The group agreed that Charlotte follow up on this.

Further discussion focussed on what direction we wish to follow re the environmental part of our Gaia project. Are we interested in linking up with large groups that have corporate involvement or with more local advocacy groups? Are we about sales of the CD funding our environment project? Or are we interested, for example, in distributing the CD at cost to several smaller organizations so they could use the profits from sales for their work? There was a concensus that we need to consolidate ideas and come to a decision very soon. Pat Kipping offered to guide us through a decision-making process called "affinity tree". This will take place at the April meeting.

*Music Related News:

Current Song List in order of preference: Beginners, Longing Series, Awakening, O Beautiful Gaia, So Great a Love, Wild Hearted, We Shall be Moved, Quita's Song, Una Maravilla el Mundo, You Can Never Fall Out, Be Still, New Music, Bridget's Chant.

- Frith has composed a new song and will introduce it at the March gathering. By the end of the March gathering we should have a firm list of music for the CD.

- Charlotte reported on recent developments re music from discussions with Carolyn and Jan

-don't forget that we need new verses for O Beautiful Gaia and Longing Series.

- we need to think about "creature sounds" to be interspersed throughout the CD. These should be recordings of native bird/animal sounds.

- there will be 2 types of instrumentalists - #1:those that accompany the singers, such as a standup base/piano duo alternating perhaps with a cello, bass, or guitar(?), and #2: those that will be overdubbed such as the harpists from PEI, the fiddler, and wind instruments. Overdubbing will occur probably several days after the main recording weekend.

- It is desireable that instrumentalists should be able to improvise and play by ear. This is especially true of those musicians accompanying the singers. Also previous recording experience is important. The music will not be written out, apart from the basic melody and chording.

The following instrumentalists were discussed:

Mairi Rankin - 24 year old fiddler, up for 2 ECMA awards, a cousin of the "famous" Rankins. She has agreed to play with us.

Pam Mason - base player, used to play with Rose Vaughan Trio, has agreed to play with us.

Debbie Mailman has agreed to play piano accompaniment for "Beginners". Other pianists suggested were Cathy Porter, Doris Mason, Jacqueline Sorenson.

Susan Arenburg - available to play guitar.

Lee Fleming - suggestion for harmonica.

Sue Ellen Wilder, Hilary Brown - suggestions for cello.

The 2 harpists from PEI(Lise Morin, Nathalie Lefrancois), Kate Poole (PEI) playing the digeridoo, and Debbie Mailman playing clarinet, were also suggested.

*March Gathering:

Cost will be $40. for the weekend, to be held at Bedford United Church (BUC) on Friday/Saturday, and at Bedford Central School on Sunday.

Fri. night: welcome event at B.U.C., 7-9.30. Debbie volunteered her husband's expertise as a chef to prepare hors d'oevres. Clea and Georgina volunteered to setup up and welcome.

Sat: 9am-5pm workshop with Carolyn.

Bring a brown bag lunch. And a lunch for your PEI billet as well if applicable. We have the use of the kitchen which adjoins the gym area we will be using for our gathering.

Alice offered to bring homemade soup for everyone to enjoy for lnch Sat. Immediately following our workshop we will set up and enjoy a potluck supper. Avis, Anne Marie and Ruth volunteered to do set up/clean up.

Carolyn C. and Carol to be keepers of the space on Saturday.

PEI will take care of dessert, NS women to provide main dishes. For those not going to Pier 21 to the IWD concert there will be a community gathering at BUC after supper with Carolyn.

Sun: 9.30-12.30 workshop with Carolyn at the old Bedford Central School, very close to BUC.

Billets: 2 or 3 more might be needed please, if you are able to billet one of visitors. Ann will put billeters and billetees in contact by March 1.

*Wild Hearted! with Paula Foley:

Paula lead us in a very enthusiastic and enjoyable session as we learned her wonderful song. After several run-throughs we were sounding truly amazing! Thanks Paula.

*Rehearsal with Debbie Mailman:

With Debbie's excellent direction and piano accompaniment we rehearsed Beginners, Longing and Awakening. Details such as where to breathe, dynamics seem to be coming together nicely.
We finished our day, as we started, thinking about the peace efforts around the world. Some of the women who had earlier attended it told us how the march had been in Halifax. Alice read us part of a writing on peace she had received. We then sang some favourites, ending with O Beautiful Gaia.

NS Gathering 7

NS Gathering 8

NS Gathering 9

NS Gathering 10