The last couple days we’ve been focusing on Permaculture Ethics. Another very pervasive idea in Permaulture is the idea of zones. The kitchen garden is zone 1 and the back 40 is zone 5. That’s the basic idea. There has been, and still in, a lot of thinking about zones 1-5 and how to use each for maximum efficiency (aka laziness), but I am not here to talk about those (we do cover them in detail in the Lazy-Lady Living program).

Instead I am going to talk about what has come to be known as zone zero and to propose the concept of negative zones, or deep zones. You see zone zero is the self and that which closely surrounds it. It’s family and immediate dwelling. This is really all about self-care. But how do we truly care for ourselves?

What is the self anyway? It seems that as soon as one scratches the surface there is an equal vista of zones that descend inwardly as seen from the home outward.

I have a hunch that these inner zones relate, or correspond, to the outer zones. Here is a brief summary of zones taken from Wikipedia’s outline of zones and see what we can discover:

  1. The zone nearest to the house that requires frequent attention
  2. This area is used for siting perennial plants that require less frequent maintenance.
  3. The area where main-crops are grown, both for domestic use and for trade purposes.
  4. A semi-wild area
  5. A wilderness area.

What might be the equivalent zones, 1-5, going inward from the home and family? Here are some possibilities starting with the those that correspond with the 4 cardinal directions found in most indigenous cultures:

  1. body
  2. mind
  3. emotions
  4. soul or spirit

What about number 5?

Eduardo Duran an American Indian Depth and Liberation psychologist speaks of 7th direction therapy, “there are 6 cardinal points in our immediate universe. When we are centered within this cosmology, the elders teach, that we are at the 7th direction and at the center of our psychological world.” The 5th and 6th directions are Father Sky and Mother Earth (heaven and earth).

If we laid it out, it would look something like this, a sort of site plan of the psyche:

self :: the divine (sky) :: the material (earth) :: spirit  :: emotions :: mind :: body

Something like that…

Clearly I need to think about this more, but the point remains that the self is not the end of the zone system, but rather the segue into the whole domain of the psyche. A domain well worth understanding. Here is a start.