For most of the last 3 months I stopped listening or watching news and only scanned headlines. I stopped being a news junkie. But I have started again. Why? Because of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

When I am connected to people with zero degrees of separation it is difficult not to care about events as they impact them. It is the inverse algorithm I use for Islands of Calm – find calm in myself so I can impact up to 1000 other people (thank you David Spangler). But detect turbulence in others and they can also impact up to 1000 other people – including me.

It turns out I am connected directly to several communities of Russians. And I lived in Canada with an extensive community of Mennonites – many of whom had direct ties to the Ukraine. In addition, in the international community of Findhorn, where I now live, waves of news wash through, flooding our minds, hearts and souls like the deluges that are destroying lives of friends in Australia (as I write) and in the last year flood-damaged lives in Germany and Canada.

Having direct contact with friends in times of distress brings home the facts of their situations because of the direct relationship and trust I have with the source of the news. My friends and colleagues send me photos. They measure the depth of the flood. They report on the state of the weather. They use all their senses and sense to paint a picture whose truth I feel I can depend on. (In addition, I have access to the facts of science and research that I referred to in this blog on COP26 Cities are Gaia’s Regeneration Hubs.)

By contrast, when I listen to broadcast or syndicated news, I am receiving news curated by others I do not know. Often, they have expertise and technology that can expand awareness of the context of many situations. But they also have biases (cultural), vested interests (advertiser influence) and political influence (both elected and adversarial) that remove me from the facts of the situation.

Moreover, those biases, vested interests and political influences can turn factual news into fake news. This can happen at every scale from micro to meso to macro – especially where political interests benefit from a “twisted rendition”. With the help of social media technology these fake stories can be spun back upon themselves so that the feedback loops amplify emotional “hooks” and multiply the effects of the fake news – spreading like a tsunami of anxiety around the globe (circumstances I critiqued as “Power Over” in this blog).

Perhaps the saving grace of this angry amplitude is that many parts of the world are so interconnected that the facts and the fakes can be checked out with persons I know on the ground? (Many of their stories now arise through connections with the Alternative/UK which on March 1 reframed itself as Planet Alternative.) But not everyone can do this – nor is willing to be disabused of the fake news that corroborates their view of the world.

As an individual impacted by the facts and the fakes in the world, I ask myself, “Is there anything else I can do?” I am so frustrated by the limitations of arguing between facts and fakes – it robs me of energy and depresses my soul.

One morning I woke up with the impulse to step outside the bounds of both fact and fake and explore the world of fantasy. Not just the possibility that I escape from the conflict of fake and fact. But that I discover and share through my imagination the possibilities that the future holds.

I had set for Integral City Meshworks the intention in 2022 to catalyse City/Bioregion Regeneration Hubs. How can we do that, while the world is at war, squandering our non-renewable fuels and ignoring the actions we should be taking to respond to climate change?

It turns out the impulse to discover what could emerge if I created a world of fantasy, was so strong that I took fingers to keyboard and experimented with 4 Novellas.

The Novellas emerge from an ancient myth that arose from a wisdom school located in the heart of a long-disputed territory in the Hindu Kush. But this place and these wisdom keepers were ignored because they apparently contributed nothing to the worlds of fact or fake.

My fantasy is that this mystery school of Sarmouni – the honey makers – now transplanted to Scotland in my stories – has the wisdom to teach and equip young emissaries to catalyse Regeneration Hubs in city/bioregions with the mysteries from science, spirit and soul. The Sarmouni are dispatched into the world of 4 cities – from the four directions – to learn for themselves the power of impacting the 4 Voices of those cities.

When I stepped into the world of fantasy, other realms and allies made themselves available to enable the success of these ventures. The storytelling process took on a life of its own.

And so, at this March 2022 Equinox we take the courage to step into the world – out beyond fact and fake – to explore the possibilities of regenerative fantasy. You can read the Introduction to the Mystery School of Sarmouni  … and step across the threshold into four of the adventures that it introduces.

We hope that readers will find the weaving of these fantasy realms will give them another option to facts and fakes.  You might even experience a boost to your spirit and find buoyancy as we navigate the turbulence of daily life and reveal the possibilities of a thriving future.