Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if he once has heard stone growing in a cliff? —Tao Te Ching
Permaculturists have devised ingenious methods for physically sustaining human presence on the land. There are countless examples of their approaches: water catchment in dry climates, edible forest gardening, construction of zero energy dwellings that mimic their natural surroundings, cultivation of traditional vegetables even in the coldest winter, and much more. However, Dave Jacke, a well-known permaculture expert in the United States and author of the landmark book Edible Forest Gardens, wants to take it a step further. He described to me his understanding that “a harmonious cosmology is at the center of sound permaculture design.”1 Jacke realizes, as do many others, that a time- tested worldview is central to the long-term success or failure of human settlements. And the design of those settlements is a product of a worldview or cosmology that either is or is not informed by the intelligence embedded in nature.
This book is devoted to developing human cultures that are guided by that intelligence. Its basis could be called spiritual permaculture. Spiritual, in this context, signifies access to that mysterious, invisible, intelligent energy permeating existence. Permaculture is the science, ethics, and practice of humans living lightly and cooperatively with nature, as nature. A growing number of people are realizing these terms are two sides of the same coin.