Craig Chalquist, MS PhD
Ecopsychologist, Presenter, Consultant
You can go home again. -- Gene Logsdon
Unlike our ancestors, who knew the intimate details of the lands on which they lived, most of us have become so disconnected from the places we call home that we exist in them rather than inhabiting them.
Do you know, for example, where your water and electricity come from, where your trash goes, the types of plants and animals that live nearby? Most of us don't, nor could we say where the sun and moon rise, how much sand or clay packs our soils, which clouds and wind shifts indicate rain, or even how different spots--that street corner, this coppice--relate to the moods we feel when we walk through them. Is it any wonder so many of us feel the anxiety of uprooted drifters even when at home?
On one side of it: a falling leaf, a crack in the pavement, the cawing of a crow, a rustling behind the walls. On the other: spread fingers, a glance, a chuckle, a teardrop. Just imagine it: properly understood, each of these forms one word of a continual conversation between person and place. And the participant most often the least aware of it is the person.
Landsoul Charting grew out of the doctoral work of ecopsychologist Craig Chalquist, MS PhD, who moved along California's El Camino Real listening closely to the qualities, details, and "voices" of dozens of cities, villages, and landscapes while studying their history, infrastructure, and ecological strengths and weaknesses.
From these investigations emerged the conviction that the features we ignore in our surroundings parallel aspects of ourselves that remain unavailable to our awareness. To say it differently: we share psyche with the locales we interact with.
That attic stuffed with who knows what lost possessions: how might its contents represent things pushed aside but still heavy on the mind? The sagging fence and busted lock: where else in your life are the boundaries coming down? Where else are the gophers hiding besides the front lawn? What else is as ready to come loose as that half-fallen tree branch hanging over the garden? Where is the sparkle besides in the fountain?
Just as your habitat is more than where your body happens to sit or stand, your style of life, hidden faces, unfinished desires, vocational goals, and inner development do not remain tucked safely away inside your head or heart: they are scattered all around you, high up in trees and brought in on the breezes, waiting for you to make the connections.
Landsoul Charting helps you make those connections by training you to see how areas of your life line up with aspects of the environment, thereby equipping you with the ability to understand yourself by studying your surroundings--and to explore your surroundings from the inside out. Some of the things you will learn:
- To interpret maps of your geographical location as diagrams of your personality.
- To make entries in a special journal designed to highlight your links to where you live.
- To conduct an Abode Analysis of the symbolic significance of rooms in a residence.
- To find and classify Strong Spots: locations that heal, weaken, depress, or stimulate.
- To build a digital photo gallery of images sorted by location, theme, and inner impact.
- To find out more about local soil composition, watershed, flora, fauna, and local weather.
- To apply permaculture principles to determine how your residence traps or spends energy.
- To apply Family Systems principles as a framework for seeing why families do what they do.
- To prepare for disasters (earthquakes, floods, etc.) and grasp their role in local ecosystems.
- To research the history of your locale: what happened there, when, and why.
- To understand utility use and how to conserve without becoming obsessive or doing without.
- To evaluate the local ecology and understand the impact of construction projects.
- To uncover local "place themes" in current events and unusual occurrences.
Informed alignment of self, place, and time: some might call that awakening to a ground of belonging.
We used to believe (some of us still believe) that rain and drought, trash collection and stripmall development, flights of geese and the colors of nasturtiums have nothing to do with our inner being; that we could work on ourselves, explore ourselves, without ever getting to know the world.
We could not have been more wrong.
Contact Craig Chalquist for more information
about Landsoul Charting services and trainings.
© 2005 by Craig Chalquist. All rights reserved.
West of the West