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AWARENESS

Archaic Revival: 16 Ways Were


Reverting To Ancient Times
July 28, 2015

13 Min Read

Maybe you didnt realize it but you must have seen the signs all around you.
Indicationsthat we Westerners are yearning for ancient times.
The past decades we have becomea tribe of product fetishizing, fossilfuel-burning, white-knuckle-steering-wheel-gripped lost souls.
Trapped in cubicles, frantically keeping up with the Joneses we realize that more
shopping therapy and popping yet another prescription pillwont cut it.
We are lost and werelonging for anantidote to the daily world.
Blinded by individualism andall-embracing trivialismwe are gradually
hobblingback to our most ancient roots.
In someplayful, some more serious- ways were trying to geta glimpse of
what reality can be.
By collaborating to build experiences beyond commercial entertainment, by

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indulging in ritualsfrom our cultural heritagewerereconnecting with our true


being. Essentially were reaching back to archaic times.
Lets take a look at the following trendy ancient practices.

1) Sweat lodge ceremonies


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The original sweat lodge


ceremony was prompted
by the corrupting eect
European colonists had
on native American
culture

The introduction of alcohol and barbaric behaviorinstilledthe need for


re-purication. A revival oftraditional ways of living and spiritual life became
evident. Ironically, nowadays we are increasingly indulging inthe
samepurication ceremony in the form ofnew age cleansing rituals.

2) Trance dancing
The roots of contemporay

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trance dancing on house


parties lie in ancient times

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Ancient tribal trance dancing waspracticed by shamans for healing


purposes.Trance dance ritualstook commonly placeat night because darkness
helpsfocus on the inner experience. Darkness and monotonous sounds and
movements allow the dancer to let go.
Itcreates a state of suspension that seems to stop time and may evoke visions.
In thisaltered state or trance stateones self and other boundaries
dissolvefreeing the path toconnect with primal energy, spirit and truth.

3) Fire walking

Walking barefoot on hot


coals goes back
thousands of years and is
one of the most widely
spread rituals the world
has ever known

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Firewalking can be found all over the world, from Bali, Polynesia, parts of
Greece,tothe Kalahari desert.Popularized by self improvement gurus such as
Tony Robbins the archaic ceremonial practice was designed to cleanse and
purify the soul.
Other meanings were the demonstration of human potential andto test ones
beliefs about the nature of reality and therole one plays in the creation of that
reality.Contemporary re walking events, although not without risks, often
perceived as new age fads, are meant to unleash the power within.
Akin to rewalking is the somewhat hippy-dipping practice ofearthing(or
grounding), which basically is walking barefoot or using a conductive device to
re-connect with theelectrical nutrition of the earth.

4) Body ornaments

Once,tattoos were for


sailors, soldiers, bikers
and criminals but
suddenly they were
everywhere

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Tattoos, like piercings and other body adornments are of all times.Historically,
tattoos have beenmuch more than a fashion statement. They fulllled the role
of decoration, to communicate social standing and family history, or as a mark
of deviance. Due to a burst of popularity, the tattoo evolved from counter379

culture class emblem to mainstream signature.

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According to Woody from Woodys Tattoo Studio, contemporary tattoos


bringsomething signicant to our lives.

A tattoo gives you something to live for.Why do

you get up in the morning? To wear grey, to have

your life ruled by train timetables? A tattoo oers


you something personal and fun and exciting in a
world that can be drab and grey. Peoples souls
are crying out for that. Tattoos are great for
nding out more about yourself, for meeting
people, for getting up in the morning and looking
in the mirror and thinking: look at that! A work of
art, in progress.

5) (Digital) Nomadism

An unconventional way of
life with few material
possessions and lots of
freedom of movement

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As they left no writing, nobody knows what the ancient nomadic peoples called
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themselves. Ancient Greeks called the people who lived on the wild, arid
Eurasian steppes stretching from the Black Sea to the border of China, nomads.
Meaning,roaming about for pasture. These nomads were wanderers and,

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often, erce mounted warriors.


Modern day nomads include digital nomads such as freelancers who work from
wherever they are on their laptop, to fulltime RVers, to backpackers who quit
their job and apartment to travel the world for years. The Zapp familyis another
eccentric example of present-daynomads. Driven by existential discontent and
technological developments, digital nomads are an increasing breed.

6) Self-reliance

Similar to the archaic


revival during the hippie
era in the 1960s, various
back to the land
initiatives are brisking up

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From homesteading, living o-grid, to keeping urban chickens or front yard


growing, self-suciency is booming. Whether itsmaking organic yogurt at
home or pickling and canning, self-reliance is on its way back. Growing distrust
in criminal governments, fraudulent banks andcorporate overlords sparks the
urge to take matters in own hands. Locally and in conjunction with likeminded
folks.

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7) Communal living

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Peruvian eco-village
community

As the need to do things dierentlyis growing, people are clustering locally and
joining forces in makingthe world a little bit sustainableandmore locally
connected.Motivations vary from reducing energy costs to lowering carbon
emissionsto growing and eating healthy, local food togetherto more true
interpersonal contact.
Transition towns, grassroot community projects, are amodern form of people
re-building society, one household or garden plot at a time. Their motivation is
tobuild resilience in response to climate destruction, peak oil, and economic
instability.

8) Psychedelic revival
The eye-opening,

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life-altering experience
psychedelic drugs can
oer isnot the only
reason for renewed
interest

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Most psychedelic drugsincluding LSD and psilocybinhave been illegal in the


United States since 1970.Emergingresearch into LSD, ayahuasca and psilocybin
makes a powerful argument against prohibition. Small doses of psilocybin show
to relief anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients.Various psychedelic substances
show to help addicts kick their habit, sometimes even without withdrawal
syptoms and are thought to treat depression.
Participants in astudy by Johns Hopkins psychologists said they felt more open,

more imaginative, and more appreciative of beauty after taking


psilocybin.Ayear later, nearly two-thirds of the volunteers reported thatthe
experience had been one of the most important in their lives. Almost 50% of
themcontinued to score higher on a personality test of openness than they had
before taking the drug.
The phrase ayahuasca is calling is heard increasinglly. It may sound like
hippie-type mumbo jumbo but the fact is that the drug has proven
alife-changing experience for many and, according to others, may play an
important role insaving the planet.

stinging nettle, an
outstanding companion
plant and more..

9) Botanic interest
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Pesky weeds like stinging nettle are currently revered for their excellent health
benets. Nettle pesto, soup, salads and tea are becoming mainstream while the
plant itself forties the eco-system of your yard. When out for a drink, dont be
surprised to see nettle tea supplant the formerly trendy mint tea.

10) Gathering wild edible plants

The edible plants class


from Lynxs stone age
project

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Like our prehistoric ancestors we or at least some of us areincreasingly to


be found inthe woods to nd wild edible plants and herbs. From hazelnuts and
dandelion to plantain and tongue, foraging is becoming more popular. The hip
factor aside, when done respectfully this practicecan instillrespect and
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admiration for nature whilethe distinct nutrients make for a healthy addition to
the average Western diet.

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Our modern dietis relatively low in phytonutrients(the compounds with the


potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern aictions: diabetes, cancer,

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cardiovascular disease, and dementia).For instance, wild dandelions, once a


springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients
than spinach. Read more on the NY Times.

11) Transformational festivals

a self-regulating miniature
society in which
self-expression is the
greater good

Burning Man, the weeklong arts festival in Nevadas Black Rock desert, and
many of its spin-os such as theArchaic Revivalfestival,held in a plantation
outside of Houston, are not the typical hedonistic festivals where partying,

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drinking and sex are goals in itself.


These eccentric,post-New Age festivals are a convergence of electronic music,
visionary art, spirituality, nutrition,yoga, fashion and dance-culture. These
practices in a new societyattract people who appreciate nature and spiritual
consciousnessand are anemblematic example of going back to archaic values.

This is not a retro-nostalgic Woodstock, said Jeet-Kei Leung, 44, a


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Vancouver-based documentary lmmaker, who has chronicled this scene in a


web series called The Bloom, as well as in a2010 TEDx talk. This is a forward-

thinking culture that is embracing social entrepreneurship, permaculture,


spirituality, self-actualization and conscious living.

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12) Drum circles

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Historically, drum circles were the vessel used by shamans all over the world
tocreatean altered state of consciousness in preparation for healing.
Revivedby the 1960s spiritual movement, nowadaysthe ancient ritual is aring
uponce againand connects people of all kinds.
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Drum circles in particular and hippiedom in general have had to endure


theirfair share of ridicule yet its exactlythe mystical utopian energy that is
currently evokinga pivotal, mass consciousness onthe condition of humanity.
In other words,Whats so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

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13) Paleo diet

Opinions on the controversial paleo diet dier. Dismissed as a fad


bymainstream nutrition organizations, yet cherishedby acionados.The latter
believe that because ourarchaic, huntergathererancestors
mainlyconsumedhealthy plants and very moderate levels of carbohydrates in

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the form of fruit its best for us too. Present-day caveman imitators take
adopting this archaic diet very seriously.The diets eectiveness aside,
itsanemblematic example of how we are reaching back to ancient times.

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14) Yoga and traditional Eastern


martialarts

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yogas origins stem from


Hinduism and dates back
as far as 3,000 B.C

According to scholars, yoga stems from Stone Age shamanism. Many Hindu
rituals, symbols, and ideas seem to be rooted in the shamanistic culture of
Mehrgarh, a neolithic settlement in what is now Afghanistan.Both archaic
shamanism and early yogasought to transcend the human condition.Not only
yoga is on the rise.
After decades of Western derivative martial arts such as MMA, boxing, and krav
maga topping the popularity charts,currently interest in more spiritual,
authentic Eastern martial arts such as tai chi, qi gong(internalkung fu) and nei
gong is brisking up. In case you were wondering, neigong refers to any of a set
of Daoism inuenced, Chinese meditation, breathing, and spiritual practice
disciplines.

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15) Spartan mud races

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mud rolling, tire ipping,


re jumping and more
Spartan activities
reconnect us with our
body and nature

The obstacle is the path. -Zen proverb. Wading through mud is a literal
coming back to our roots. Testing the limits of your body, feeling in touch with
the earth,run, climb, jump, crawl, tiger, andmuscle your way like your survival
depends on it.Ready to dive in? Also see the Viking: The Ultimate Obstacle
Course, Strongman Run and other runs.

16) Mindfulness

Some of the earliest


written records of
meditation, come from
the Hindu traditions of
Vedantism around 1500
BCE

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In the early development of human beings the ability to think has arisen.
Human thinkingdeveloped slowly, over thousands and thousands of years.The
thinking mind became stronger, this whole new dimension allowed us
tobecomethe most powerful species on earth but this virtue came at a cost.

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We have been through an evolutionary stage in which we becamepossessed by

the mind without knowing it. Weve become slaves of compulsive thinking.Now
we have arrived at a point that the whole sense of who we are is caught up in
the mind and in thought.
Gradually we lost connection with something that is deeper and more essential
within ourselves.In spiritual terms this is called being. Humans lost their ability
to sense their deeper connectedness with life. A deeper intelligence that is more
than just thought. Asymbiosis with the rest of nature.Meditation helpsto
transcend the mind. Regain what we have lost.

Final word, what is the archaic revival?


We have gone very, very sick. And the body
politic, like any body, when it feels itself to be sick,
it begins to produce antibodies, or strategies for
overcoming the condition of disease. And the
20th century is an enormous eort at
self-healing.

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Phenomena as diverse as surrealism, body


piercing, psychedelic drug use, sexual
permissiveness, jazz, experimental dance, rave
culture, tattooing, the list is endless. What do all
these things have in common? They represent
various styles of rejection of linear values.
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The society is trying to cure itself by an archaic

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revival, by a reversion to archaic values. So when I

see people manifesting sexual ambiguity, or


scarifying themselves, or showing a lot of esh, or

dancing to syncopated music, or getting loaded,

or violating ordinary canons of sexual behavior, I

applaud all of this; because its an impulse to


return to what is felt by the body what is
authentic, what is archaic and when you tease
apart these archaic impulses, at the very centre of
all these impulses is the desire to return to a
world of magical empowerment of feeling.
Terence McKenna.

Were about to arrive at a crossroads of collective awareness.A paradigm


shiftis glowing on the horizon. A disaster of epic proportions is looming there
too.
Will we make it in time? It will depend on the tipping point.
Its one to twelve andthe clock is ticking.

We will be judged very harshly if we fumble the


ball. We are the inheritors of millions and millions
of years of successfully lived lives and successful

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adaptations to changing conditions in the natural


world. Terence McKenna.
The more awareness we can spread, the better.

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This post waswritten with theintention of passing abucket of water on the


global re that is threatening our existence. Please share if you liked it.This is
justa selectionof examples of the archaic revival.Got one to add? Or just want
to share your thoughts? You can do so in the comments below.

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Liked this read? Ithink you will like How to be a bohemian, how to live
dierently, and Why are zombies so popular? too.

Images and references


Featured image, Crysco Photography,sweat lodge, Smoobs,trance dancing:
pixelconscious,edible plants class: smalladventures photos,tattood lady: Paolo
Marconi,Burning Man, Gwen Schroeder,Yoga, Pixabay,Spartan race
Wikipedia.Digital nomad, Steven Zwerink Paleo diet, Lord Jim,meditating
woman, Caleb Roenigk

You may also like

2 Comments

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Click here to post a comment

KLew
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September 20, 2015 at 2:07 am

Just the existence of this article brought me happiness. It started to feel like I
was the only one who had noticed this pattern of ancient practices being
revived in Western societies but then I stumbled upon this article and now my
heart is ooded with the warm, fuzzy feelings of hope and happiness. To the
author, thank you for writing this piece, and may this archaic revival provide

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the foundation of an age of human connection, introspection, and peace.


REPLY

Thijs
September 20, 2015 at 9:58 am

Thanks for the kind words. To the prosperous spread of clarity.


REPLY

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