I’ll cut to the chase: The most fascinating thing I heard on our morning tour of Baja Biosana, an intentional community near Santiago, Baja California Sur, was when our unsuspecting tour guide, Andrew Jones, mentioned Shamanic Permaculture: exploring the inner landscape. How many times was I going to hear about entheogens and spiritual journeying on this Mexico trip? Ayahuasca, the psychedelic frog, shamans being flown in from Peru in February and did I want to try to find God with the help of a natural brew…? I am perfectly content in knowing that all I gotta do is close my eyes and remember, smritti, that God is within. Yoga gives me that access and direct experience. Meditation is my psychedelic of choice. But I could see from the moment I met him that Andrew was special and grounded and effective in his work, and he took us on an unexpected tour of not only the property but of some natural building resources in Baja and mainland Mexico. Permaculture, the inner landscape- it’s all one and the same.
From the outside, Baja BioSana is a group of six residents on a property surrounded by organic farms, near the Sierra de Laguna range and El Chorro Hot Springs, divided into fifteen home parcels, formed as a Mexican non-profit dedicated to living in a permacultured way while integrating “sociocracy” – a collaborative governance method which aims to create dynamic, harmonious, resilient, productive social environments and organizations.
Responsible production is the foundation of permaculture. Experimenting with the patterns of nature, the immediate eco-system, natural building techniques and utilizing materials from the local region with a nod toward ethics for a healthier, more sustainable natural environment are all part of creating “permanent agriculture.”
Considerate of the whole system – people, plants, land, climate, culture – properties that I have visited which are devoted to permaculture principles often have a peaceful, flowing quality, abundant with plant life, water features and buildings that blend into the landscape. The banana grove – a good fifteen degrees cooler in thick of it than in the sunny garden beyond it – and the buildings made of adobe, superadobe, earth bags and other natural materials were the highlights of our tour.
How It Happened
One day, I couldn’t help but overhear a guy talking loudly on a group call on the patio of The RoadRunner Cafe in Los Barriles, did I mention that he was talking very loudly about breathwork, then realized that this is the breathwork guy who lives at BajaBioSana, Dan Brule. His call was ending, so I introduced myself and told him that I had emailed Baja BioSana twice without a reply and had a group interested in visiting. He told me to bring the group on Friday morning at 8:30am.
Wouldn’t you know that Dan was on a run to San Jose on Friday – not present at the scheduled time – but Andrew Jones greeted our unexpected group and he swooped in graciously and gave us a tremendous tour. Humble and serviceful, with a depth of spirit and resources, Andrew Jones is a superstar. Here is a picture of Andrew through the first door that he built, looking in from his home into the enclosed patio where he and his lovely wife reside.
From the inside, this may be a social experiment, artistry in a challenging climate, a difficult place to live up to its own ideals. If we put ourselves up to high standards and try a new way of living, however, we might be working hard at something really worthwhile, that changes and beautifies our little corner of the world.