Huehuecoyotl, Mexico: Ecology is Art
by Giovanni Ciarlo. An excerpt from ‘Ecovillages Around the World’
After fourteen years living as a nomadic tribe of roving artists, we began building our ecovillage in 1982. During our travels, we learned to put on theatrical productions and took on mysterious names like The Hathi Babas Transit Ashram, and then The Illuminated Elephants, a traveling theatre community. Members who joined us later came from diverse activist and youth groups or were attracted to our progressive values and way of life. After several years on the road, we decided to look for a place to settle. We found our home in the majestic mountains of Tepoztlan, Mexico. We named it Huehuecoyotl, after the Aztec god of poetry, music, dance, and mischief. This was actually the name the property had before we bought it. It is the custom in the region to give every parcel of land a traditional name. Huehucoyotl is surrounded by the Tepoztecan National Forest on three sides, making it part of the forest while remaining private and communal. It is near a steep vertical mountain, and in the rainy season enjoys abundant waterfalls dropping 60 metres down the mountain.
Our daily activities, apart from the diversity of ways we earn our living, include the care of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. We also provide environmental, cultural and wellness training through events, workshops, festivals, retreats, conferences, Eco-tours, audiovisual performances and crafts production. This offers visiting groups and individuals an opportunity to explore sustainable lifestyles, healing methods and nonreligious spiritual practices. We maintain a close and flexible relationship with various neighbouring communities. Our ecovillage is located 1.5 km from Santo Domingo Ocotitlan, a Nahuatl speaking village of indigenous farmers.
Huehuecoyotl has become an experimental showcase of appropriate technologies, participatory decision-making, group facilitation, and other useful tools designed to promote a new type of consensual democracy. Permaculture, bio-regionalism, sustainable architecture, Native American studies, experimental theatre, light and sound performance, the practice of traditional and emerging ceremonies, media, communications and helping to reconstruct the social fabric of society have become the focus of our small but enduring ecovillage vision.
This is an excerpt from the ‘Ecovillages Around the World’ book, which showcases 20 best practice designs from ecovillages around the world. It features well-established ecovillages such as Findhorn in Scotland, Auroville in India and newer initiatives such as Hua Tao in China. This book highlights the unique features of each project and their solutions to the global social and environmental challenges that confront us.
Find out more about the ‘Ecovillages Around the World’ book here!