setting up camp at Camphill Village

18 07 2010

I started this blog when I went to Australia, planning on traveling for a few years, hitch-hiking and jazz. After three weeks of that, I decided I wanted to be home. After a year of being a self-educating, stay-at-home son, I’m making a move, and a move is making me, and together, something new and beautiful has the potential to be born. grok:

On August 1, I’ll be moving into Camphill Village in Copake, New York, right over the MA / NY border, 3 hours west of Boston, right down the pike. I’m real happy I found this place (from a friend made at the free, 10-day silent vipassana meditation retreat I took part in last October). It seems like an incredible place, both as a thriving organization in this world, and as a potentially incredible match for me. Here’s a clarification of what I’ll be doing, and why you may not see me for a long while.

The Camphill Movement

Camphill Villages are intentional communities where people with mental disabilities can learn and work as equals with “tabs” (“temporarily able-bodied” people, like me). (People with mental disabilities are called “villagers”, and people without disabilities are “coworkers”, although in the community, every one works according to their unique and special ability—I’ve never experienced equality as real as it is at Camphill (from a one-day visit)). The Village I’ll be at is mostly for adults, although there are some coworker children there; there are also other Camphill communities specifically for children with disabilities. Since the first Camphill Village was founded in 1939 in Scotland, there are now 119 Camphill communities throughout the world. The Camphill Village in Copake, NY I’ll be living at is made up of about 250 people, including 90 coworkers (like myself, and educators, therapists, and mentors). Every one works in various areas within the community, such as: “farming, gardening, forestry and general estate work; a variety of craft workshops including candle making, woodworking, weaving, seed processing, and stained glass, and food preparation in our bakery and café.” Whether I work in a garden or in the stained glass shop or wherever depends on where the community most needs help. In addition to one of those day-works, I’ll be helping villagers in a house I’ll live in, preparing and cleaning up meals, and learning how to live in a healthy, sustainable, compassionate, loving community 24/7. I will have a “mentor”, outside my house and skills area, who will be an objective listener and helper as I adjust to the community. From the feel of it, it seems like most people in the Village are all mentors, from time to time, even (and especially) the villagers, who I’ve heard are the best teachers. Also, I’ll spend one day a week devoted to a course in Anthroposophical Social Therapy.


“Anthroposophy is a source of spiritual knowledge and a practice of inner development. Through it one seeks to penetrate the mystery of our relationship with the spiritual world by searching for answers and insights that come through a schooling of one’s inner life. It draws, and strives to build, on the spiritual research of Rudolf Steiner, who maintained that every human being (anthropos) has the inherent wisdom (sophia) to solve the riddles of existence and to transform both self and society. Rudolf Steiner shared the results of this research in 40 books and in over 6,000 lectures now available in 300 volumes. He is increasingly recognized as a seminal thinker of the 20th century and one of humanity’s great spiritual teachers.”

Anthroposophy is the philosophy the Camphill Movement and the Waldorf Schools are based on. “We are spiritual beings having a huwan experience” is a beautiful way of phrasing what Anthroposophy is about. At Camphill, I’ll practice living a spiritual life, with natural analytical, intuitive, imaginative and creative, and practical skills, in tune with the energy of being inherent in all people, animals, elements, objects, tools, technologies, thoughts, emotions… u know… everything! One major goal of Camphill is inner confidence and spiritual development for the benefit of the community.

Social Therapy

The course in Social Therapy is… well, it’s what the name says it is. I’ll learn more about it as I go along.


I’ve made a definite one-year commitment I intend to honor, unless life tells me very seriously to do something different. The course in Social Therapy is a four-and-a-half-year course. After 4 1/2 years, I can call myself a Certified Social Therapist. That’s the plan; of course, I’ll feel if that’s meant to be as we go along. “Planning is essential; Plans are useless.”

I’ll have one day off a week, with community cars all people share. On days off, I’m hoping to travel to Boston (3 hours away), Amherst (1 hour away), Ithaca (4 hours away), and wherever else feels right for me and you, as well as staying in the community to relax. For the other six days a week, I’ll be “on duty” from 6:30 AM to 9 PM. In the summer (preferably, so I don’t miss any of the Social Therapy course between September and June), I’ll have 3 weeks vacation time, along with 5 days for Thanksgiving. Other holidays, or festivals, around the equinoxes, are joyous times of celebration within the Camphill Communities.


All coworkers are given shelter, homegrown meals (I visited for a day… the food is so tasty, healthy, and it feels so good!), medical insurance, a stipend to a co-op inside the community for toiletries, and something like $70 or $150 a month for personal expenses, day-off traveling, or whatever.

More info:

Camphill Village in Copake, New York (my new home):
Camphill organization:

This blog will probably primarily be a description and discussion of my experience at Camphill, from the religious aspects (grace before and after meals, a beautiful tradition), no pre-recorded music in public areas (if you want music, sing. pre-recorded music is not organic, it is alien to what is immediate… learning about that gave my ego some defensiveness… but i bet it’ll be beautiful… and if i want, i can listen to recorded music in my room), and other stuff that comes up in the Camphill culture and in my personal development.
If you have any questions, here’s a great place to ask; I’ll do my best to answer.

I also compiled a collection of poetry I don’t plan on updating. It’s my first serious self-published collection, placed in a meditated order. 48 poems. I call it May Be Metaphorical.

I will have my laptop and cell phone with me (339 364 9578), but if u miss my voice and don’t wanna talk to me, my music’s always here for u: and!/pages/Music-through-Daniel-Aaron/113944575311969?ref=ts

i’ll be in around for the next two weeks, until August 1. i hope i can see you and say hi and bye in person during that time. of course, we’ll meet when it’s best for us to share presence. “everything in its right place”.

feel it.

trust it.

flow with it.


i love you. thanks for being so unique and and positive and negative and honest and true. keep You-ing; the world is grander for it.

i cry with happiness for the blossoming cherry tree we eat the fruit of and rest in the shade of, watering it with our laughter and tears. much love.

peace, patience, soft touch and wild ecstasy,


p.s. here is an incredible 8-minute video made by some one with autism, about mentally “disabled” people in our culture. this video, “In My Language”, is invaluable for how we experience people. with care:




One response

21 07 2010

Hej Aaron,
we’ll meet us in Copake. I found you when I searched for Camphill on google 😉
See you in a few days,

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