Symbiogenesis: Doing Things Together


With the 2019 Over the Mountain Studio Tour behind us, and the winter solstice and all the lovely warm holidays of the end of the year approaching, I’ve been thinking about the way that artists and creatives tend to work together, create together, and celebrate together. I personally love to spend my time with other makers, from sharing studio space to making ideas happen to selling our wares as a group.

Symbiogenesis, the term coined by Lynn Margulis, is a word that describes what happens when single cell organisms decide to work together as a multi-celled organism, and find mutual advantages in joining forces. This idea resonates with me, especially as a person who enjoys doing things together. I can imagine a single cell organism wanting to be part of something bigger. I can understand the urge to connect, to fall into sync, to share resources and form a larger system that benefits the whole. While we may be deep into an era of individualism, I believe that connecting is what keep us alive and well, and what will carry us into the future.

So it’s no surprise, then, that while the studio tour has passed for the year, I can’t help but join in on a few holiday group events. One of my favorite annual events is the Holiday Market at Sacred Roots Herbal Sanctuary. A handful of friends bring our wares, some good snacks, and our cheery dispositions to the yurt on the sanctuary where we stoke up the wood stove, play music, chat and sing, draw a bit, eat snacks…and welcome anyone and everyone who comes to visit. It’s truly a cheerful day, and while we have herbs and pottery and jewelry and more for sale, the focus is on enjoying each other’s company in the spirit of the season.

Join us if you’d like, and if you’re not able, join in something wintry and slow this month. Enjoy yourself in a group. Join your single-cell organism-ness to a group of other single-cell organism kind of folks to create something larger than our individual parts. See you there.

(I found the term symbiogenesis in the intriguing book “Beyond the War on Invasive Species,” by Tao Orion. Definitely a recommendation, but the first chapter was too hard for me to read. I give you permission to skip it, if you, too, are overwhelmed by toxic chemicals.)

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