Alastair McIntosh is a leading Scottish writer and environmental activist. His work on ecology, community, and the soul has already made an impact in New York State through previous visits hosted by Friends of Hudson. His latest book is Poacher’s Pilgrimage: an Island Journey. Seven years in the writing, it tells of his return to his home Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. In the course of a twelve day walk through remote wild land, punctuated with encounters with poachers, trappers, clergy, and antiquarians, he explores the meanings of community. As he walks, armed only with a fishing rod, he reflects on his work at military staff colleges on nonviolence, on the roots of conflict in our times including religious history, on its cultural trauma, and insights from the indigenous psychology of faerie. He builds up what he comes to think of as an ecology of the imagination – a mystical connection between people and their place. Having been raised just 8 miles from the village of Donald Trump’s mother, Mary Anne Macleod, he brings an rare and even a compassionate angle to bear on the president’s hard-hitting maternal psychohistory. This talk, illustrated with slides of the walk, weaves together what might speak to all of us by way of deepening community with one another, with our natural environment, and with the soul’s inner life. Alastair has previously been a guest of Friends of Hudson. His book, Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power, which was about land reform and a “superquarry” campaign concerning Lafarge in Scotland, may be familiar to some.
Praise for Poacher’s Pilgrimage: an Island Journey (Cascade Books, Wipf & Stock)
“Fascinating, provocative, and occasionally, very funny” – Times Literary Supplement
“As I read, I felt I had been lead to holy ground” – Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Migration
“A metaphor for all of us who seek renewal from the land that McIntosh explores so superbly well” – The Great Outdoors.
Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School
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