- (according to a theory of the biologist E. O. Wilson) an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world.
In this Seeker Blog I explore the one and only conscious outdoor wellness festival for the Wakatipu region, Biophilia 2018. The festival ran over three days, so I will be break down each day in a special edition of Seeker, spread over three parts – read on to discover or remember the special creation of community consciousness that is Biophilia!
The concept of Biophilia was first imagined by local business owner Damian Chaparro a few years back. It was created to bring together friends and anyone else who had an interest in Nature, Wellness, and Music…it was to be simple and most importantly, created by friends for friends – old and new alike. Rather then source people to put the festival together and to entertain festival goers, the first concept of Biophilia was about making it happen for yourself. A small number of people gathered up at the mystical lake Sylvan just beyond Glenorchy to celebrate one another’s skills whether it was yoga, dance, natural medicine making or playing the guitar. Camping was encouraged and a fun weekend was experienced with lots of conversation about growing what they had seen as a good start to the potential of a festival.
Therefore, a larger area was sought out – Moke Lake became the venue and what an incredible venue offered up by Mother Nature. Excitement built for the first official festival set for March 2018 and it was decided to keep the venue of Moke Lake with its majestic mountains and wide-open spaces.
Day One: Arrival
We drive into the valley of mountains before us, they greet us wearing the shrouds of cloud shadows dancing across their velvety surfaces of mountain grass. We are mystically enfolded, and it feels like coming home. We cross two rivers as smiling faces greet us at the entrance to Biophilia – You have arrived! Gentle excitement builds…. My toddler sings in the back of the car, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt! I’m not scared!’ Indeed an adventure awaits us…..
Having never experienced a festival with a toddler and a 4month old, I began the experience feeling a little (read: a lot) out of my depth! Being in the mountains in March meant packing for all four seasons, so my partner came out later with a second car load. He also had to work on the first day, so it was just us girls heading into the mountains. Although exhausted by the mornings efforts, even after packing the weekend before, I loved that I was off to a festival with my daughters! This also meant, unfortunately in some ways, that I missed a lot of the classes and had to become accepting about my festival experience being mostly about just being.
We took in our surrounds, Miss Almost-Three took off with other kids and baby Maizy happily slept for the afternoon in the hastily made up tent. I attempted Yoga Nidra but had to head off when my toddler had an accident which required a change of clothing. Finally my team mate and partner in crime arrived, munted from a long day of work…it was getting cold fast and we were all hungry. Despite the frustration associated with meeting all of our basic needs as we raced against the fading sun, we downed tools to participate in the welcoming ceremony. We felt uplifted by the connection we felt with everyone in the circle around the huge bonfire which was lit by a couple who had met a similar gathering and were now expecting a baby. A stunning Karekia was said far and wide, embracing the land, our ancestors and spiritual mentors who were also present. We were cleared of all the baggage from the outside world where we lived in a frantic reality. We were invited to breathe and slow down. We ate as one big group, with everyone contributing to the feast in front of the great fire. As wood smoke curled through the air, I felt an ancient connection with how we would have all shared a meal in long ago past, I felt the hectic modern way of living begin to lose its grip on me.
Our main concern going into the night was getting the kids fed and into warm gears, tucked up. Camping out with young ones means a lot of preparation and being organised ahead of the sun going down, we learnt the hard way! Once the kiddies were safely tucked away for the night, we went into the tent where live music was being played to enjoy a dance with friends, checking the kids often and not being very far away meant that we could enjoy a bit of freedom. Deep into the frigid night, which was unusually cold, I moved the girls and myself into a friend’s house bus – thanks to her invitation outside my tent as our baby girl wailed into the early hours of the morning. My partner tuffed it out in the tent. We vowed over our morning coffee to be better organised for the next night. And we were.