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Overcoming fear in the New Year (news, views and crews from the neopeasant home front)

You can listen to Meg and Patrick reading this blog post here (9 mins):


Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a while. We hope your social season has been a time of reflection, growth and joy, and if there’s been pain or grief in your world we hope you have both support and inner resources that are aiding you.

We’ve been away visiting friends and family and have returned to an abundant garden with all the rain a Djaara Country summer could hope for. Here is a vista of Tree Elbow University in early January 2024:

We’d like to share a few things with you in this post and ask you some questions about the year ahead.

First up, we’d like to introduce you to our brilliant mate, Catie Payne’s new podcasting project. Here is the second episode in which Catie and Meg have a spirited yarn.

Catie’s podcast, Reskillience, is a weekly dive into the lives of those around the world who are observing civilisational collapse and are acting in a colour wheel of ways that are contiguous with village rebuilding and living a more beautiful world. Or, in Catie’s words, it is for people who are interested in how “…remembering our place in nature’s systems, re-learning traditional skills, and re-claiming our wildness can calm apocalyptic fears and create a healthier culture that produces less emissions/zombies.” We highly recommend you subscribe, share and support her efforts.

We have collaborated with Catie before, and greatly admire what she brings to the world.

We have also been reading useful Substacks such as Why the Great Reset will fail and eloquent and wise stacks such as Deep Resistance: Philosophical Practices of Sanity (Part 1). We’ve been observing the growing threat to dissident thinkers and commentators such as CJ Hopkins and tuning into Bret Weinstein again, one of the most articulate biologists of our time (who thankfully isn’t staying in his lane). Here he is giving his take on the post Covid moment in this interview with a former Fox-News-gone-rogue journalist. While you’re over on Rumble, you might also like to check out Useful Idiots.

Another dissident voice we think worthy of our attention, is Whitney Webb, whose focus is on investigating power and corruption. Like others (including from inside the establishment), Webb is predicting an orchestrated ‘cyber pandemic’ that will likely be blamed (at least by the establishment) on nefarious actors like Iran and co., which may (for some amount of time) bring the internet down, give more cause for governments to re-instate a state of emergency, and thus again the opportunity to erode human rights under the banner of ‘making us all safe’ with ‘safe and effective’ measures.

Here’s a peg of Webb’s most famous book:

Webb, more than us, has felt the brunt of the Censorship Industrial Complex. According to Wikispooks, links to Webb’s domain have been “automatically shadowbanned by Reddit at the admin level for some time. In October 2020, YouTube removed the channel of The Last American Vagabond, and in February 2021, the subscription service Patreon banned the site.” She is also a permie and is not just a researcher, but is living the change, in Chile.

If we are not all expecting the next big thing that will attempt to give global power the license to further punish or disappear dissidents and further reward conformists, we are not going to be in a mental state or communitarian position to resist the next stage of totalitarianism as it is likely to unfold in 2024. So it would be wise to organise and collectivise more, whatever the future brings.

What are your strategies for resilience? Do you become immobilised by fear in a crisis, and if so what are you doing now to address this? How reliant are you on money? How much debt are you carrying? Will your employer again coerce you into complying with the global agenda? How will you cope when you’re once again gaslit by friends and family who are following the script? What have you learnt about power during Covid? Where lies the brittleness and dysfunction of totalitarianism, and how can you exploit these, while not breaking laws or exposing yourself to persecution?

With what Webb is forecasting, we are wondering how we might all stay connected, should the internet really go ‘dark,’ or some other ’emergency’ unfolds, when the only ‘media’ available to us here in Australia is, alas, the government operative known as the ABC, or whatever the equivalent is in your neck of the woods. If you haven’t noticed the gradual slide of the ABC from journalism to propaganda over the past 30 years, you might want to place a bullshit filter over the big stories they present, especially anything regarding the pharma-military industrial complex that rules US congress.

Have those of you in Australia noticed how the ABC logo and the word Emergency have become entwined?


For the last several years we have been rebuilding our book library and other offline resources that will be helpful in a post-internet world, and we are curious if this is something you’ve been working on too. What are you doing to build information and critical thinking resilience for either an internet-less or heavily censored future? We would be grateful if you share in the comments some of your thinking here.

Going into this new year, in order to control whatever narrative needs to be controlled, those in power (political, financial or ideological) will attempt to further silence dissident voices, and this is why all around the western world governments are bringing in censorship infrastructure in the forms of misinformation bills, while gaslighting dissidents as being spreaders of mis-, dis- and even malinformation – facts or opinions likely to be true but that hurt a government’s reputation and therefore must be censored.

We believe the dissemination of critical and dissident thought will become a greater challenge in the year ahead, which may well lead to a new golden era of political graffiti. The diversity of Covid dissidents and heterodox thinkers from across the political spectrum has been extremely effective at exposing the failures, cowardice and corruption of the state/Pharma nexus during Covid, but how will this occur should we enter an internet dark period?

We are asking a whole lotta questions, but we are not fearing the future. The present and future are filled with possibilities and this year we will again face up to whatever fear or global ’emergency’ comes our way. We will not fear tyranny, we will mock it, dance with it and eventually compost it. And most importantly, we will receive our most critical information not from experts but from Mother Country – the fruiting, flowering, regenerating flow of wisdoms that will help us overcome the unfolding “neofeudal technocratic biosecurity surveillance state,” which in real terms just signals the collapse of global civilisation.

Life cycles before news cycles. Ecological participation before anthropocentric team sports ideology.

Before we sign off, we’d like to end with a joyous introduction to two newcomers at Tree Elbow.

We first met Jordan and Antoinette from Happen Films when they came to film Creatures of Place with us several years ago. That little film about our life, economy and culture making has reached some 2.4 million views and has brought us many volunteers from across the world to labour and learn with us. We have stayed in touch with Jordan and Antoinette over the years and they made another film about our working with goats and neighbours to reduce bushfire risk a few years later.

Jordan is now back in Australia after living in NZ, and will be living with us here at Tree Elbow. We are so looking forward to sharing our life with this thoughtful, talented, switched on and humourous young man.

Here he is helping us with the post rabbit hunt processing. Welcome Jordan!

The other newcomer we are excited to share our space with is Prunella vulgaris, aka Self Heal, a wondrous and useful herb that has invited herself into the Tree Elbow garden.

We look forward to learning from her and from Jordan, and Catie, as well as a rich cohort of diverse specimens, human and more-than, all labouring to make the world a more beautiful, more abundant place.

We hope 2024 is a year in which you too can work towards composting fear and pitchforking into your gardens, balcony pots, farms or community allotments, the psychopaths of world power, and play your part in the step-by-step renewal of eldership, mentorship and village rebuilding.


  1. The only ways to resist this are resilience by the land we cultivate and the joy we share in our own lives and community. Thank you Meg and Patrick for showing the path still less travelled but more and more essential… Your optimism is ardent!

  2. Peter Gumley says:

    Hi Patrick & Meg, your valued newsletter arrived just as we were taking in Tucker Carlson’s interview with Brett Weinstein. Brett’s message is loud and clear – we must continue to “spread the word” regardless of personal cost.The point is already proven: a relatively small number of conscientious thinkers have managed to disrupt and discredit the official Covid narrative despite the massive resources employed to create this attempted hegemony. Now we are seeing the links to other related and previously planned moves towards totalitarian tyranny. My strategy is that I will refuse to use the mal-, mis- and dis-information terminology in any discussion that arises with others. These terms were created specifically to distract rational thinking to the extent that use of these terms has become the primary means of instilling fear into the public discourse. Thank you for your lessons on resilience.

    1. Thanks Peter, yes that’s wise to ignore the language that attempts to herd people away from their natural born curiosity and intuition. The shame labels designed by nudge units of the state and establishment media are certainly next level.

  3. Claire says:

    Best wishes to all at Tree Elbow this year. Thankyou for all the interesting, enlightening, comprehensive and unique stories , photos & information you share with us. I’m looking forward to spending some time with you via newsletters this year again.

  4. Lynn Moss says:

    Most of my college textbooks are in online format. I must purchase the publisher’s access code which expires after each semester, meaning that I no longer have a physical book to keep and reference. No pages to mark or text to highlight, or notes in the margins. The instructors embrace this nonsense because homework, quizzes, and exams, are all inclusive with the online format, so instructors are not spending time creating, proctoring, collecting, and grading these commonplace course objectives, so good for them, right? Meanwhile it is assumed I have the means to pay for internet service, I must read and glean my instruction from a publisher who uses AI generated materials, who is compensated per word, so there is mind-numbing redundancy. Another example of de-humanization so prevalent in the world.

    1. Wow, what a vista into the new dark age being constructed right now. Thank you for sharing what is probably commonplace among tertiary education institutions today. Frightening but also liberating, and more reason to start our own centres for learning – small, emergent, mycelial and free.

  5. Susie says:

    Thank you for your words over recent years and for these ponderings. I go through phases of not fearing and then fall down the hole when I spend too much time focussing on what’s collapsing. My biggest concern is that I am reliant on govt benefits due to longstanding health issues, and being in this situation unnerves me quite a bit. Luckily I have found an extremely helpful chiropractor whose new-to-me method has helped me be able to start walking regularly, and that makes all the difference in the world.

    For me, a few things I’m doing to try and get into a stronger position:

    * Getting to know my neighbours

    * Joined a food co-op

    * Glad for the couple of books I have bought in recent years on self-sufficiency.

    * Looking to get a secondhand/free means of feeding myself without electricity, like a butane-fuelled camping stove, for just-in-case.

    * Doing health stuff, like finally getting my gut right with self-myofascial release, something I didn’t really know was possible until relatively recently. Yoga nidra and meditation to try and stay calm and sane.

    I am so aware though of all this being not enough. I was having a chat with the supermarket checkout lady yesterday and she was saying she thinks the high price of everything is a direct war on humans. The signpost in Yarra Junction with the paste-up questioning excess deaths remains un-messed with and intact. I feel like so many people are switched on now to what’s going on. I wouldn’t have believed it in a million years in 2019. I think my head still hasn’t really stopped spinning.

    But I still don’t know what to do or what role I can play.

    1. Sounds like you are doing a lot already, Susie. This share is very useful, so thank you for taking the time to leave this detailed comment. That we don’t panic, get overwhelmed, or stressed about not being able to doing more is critical as these things can set us backwards. We find dancing enables a catharsis from tension, as does cold water immersion, or any activity that oxygenates the blood. Getting our health in order is a process. Good to hear of the paste up at Yarra Jnc. If you take a pic of it we’d love to see it. We could add it to this thread. Thanks again for all you’re doing and what you have shared, and all power to the recovery of your health to whatever capacity you can, step by step. As for a possible role, if you come across interesting political graffiti in your area, we’d love to start archiving it, so please send any you think is worthy.

      1. Susie says:

        Thank you 🙂 I will let you know if I see any. The paste-up was a link to the website. I’ll send you a pic.

        1. Thanks for sending the pic Susie, which we post here for readers: Yarra Valley paste up
          This article, just dropped today, Majority of Americans blame Covid vaccines for unexplained deaths, new survey shows, by Australian journalist Rebekah Barnett is timely, too.

  6. Oliver says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. Yes the fear can become overwhelming, grounding myself, breathing exercises and coming back the old present moment 😉
    Slowly rewilding and neopesanting. To help show me that all I need is still here 🙂

    Were the rabbits a gift, or did you trap/ hunt them?

    1. Thanks Oliver, good to hear a little about what keeps you grounded. Yes, breath work is so important. And, yes, we hunted the rabbits.

  7. Natasha says:

    Welcome Jordon and prunella !!

    Thanks again for your wisdom and shepherding Meg and Patrick .

    For our family, I am trying to remind myself of the seemingly small ways we have and continue to make changes in thinking, habits, lifestyle …. And allowing these to continue to grow and develop into deeper changes.
    Thank you both

    1. Thanks Natasha, so true, it’s all about the small ways, the step by steps, and the trust. Blessings to you and your mob.

  8. Gary says:

    We love you guys…again thanks for giving creative voice to the dominion that is occurring.

    1. Thanks for your thanks, Gary. Blessings into your new year.

  9. Tiago says:

    Hi Patrick and Meg,
    first of all I’d like to say that I was introduced to you through Creatures of Place, so how nice that you have them in your home! A hug for them if you don’t mind!
    Well, I’d like to say that here in the country side of Portugal my tribe and I are very close to putting into practice the knowledge I learned on the Agroforestry course I took and we are currently negotiating a piece of land, so a move to land is on the horizon for this year! Wish me luck! We’re also starting a library, just like you, because I agree that the internet is going to suffer some kind of blackout soon or be more tightly controlled by the psychopaths in charge… so on the shelf we have Ken Fern “PFAF”, Fukuoka “One-Straw Revolution”…. Looking for a good seed saver book, maybe “Seed to Seed”? (the new generation of GMOs, the NGT’S in the recent EU deregulation approval are pretty scary!) I’m undecided about a permaculture book, I have some general knowledge but I need a more detailed book, what do you recommend? Mollison’s Designer’s Manual? I’ve read a lot of reviews saying that the Gaia’s Garden handbook is very good and cheaper than Mollison’s, what’s your opinion on both? Derrick Jensen substack is beautiflu and provides a fundamental clarification of the green capitalism that is spreading around the world like a banner of salvation ! Thank you, I wish you continue with this beautiful blog in 2024 because this is the example we all need worldwide: the example of living in a peasant way like our ancestors in an efficient and harmonious way. With much love, Tiago

    1. Thanks Tiago, we recommend David Holmgren’s Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability and his RetroSuburbia. You might also like our Books we love video, from a few years back. Good luck with all your doings this year, and we hope there will be plenty of beings too and rest, play, reflection and creativity sings alongside diligent labours and good ol fashion hard work. Sending love to you and mob in Portugal.

  10. You say: “Webb is predicting an orchestrated ‘cyber pandemic’ that will likely be blamed (at least by the establishment) on nefarious actors like Iran and co., which may (for some amount of time) bring the internet down, give more cause for governments to re-instate a state of emergency, and thus again the opportunity to erode human rights under the banner of ‘making us all safe’ with ‘safe and effective’ measures.”

    To that I would say: people project God-like power onto the establishment, almost like a reverse form of “appeal to authority”. An “orchestrated ‘cyber pandemic’” is unlikely because governments and other ‘doom powers’ suck at IT, keeping secrets and coordination.

    1. Thanks Sambodhi, agreed that governments suck at IT, so it’s unlikely government IT will orchestrate a cyber pandemic. However, governments can do quite a lot legislatively, as we saw again this week in the US where the Supreme court declined to hear X’s challenge to FBI surveillance gag orders.

  11. Joel says:

    Best wishes for this new year Patrick and Meg and your fine mob. Lots and lots of love.

    I enjoy your heavy technical language in response to this time, it reminds me of Theodor Adorno’s et al writing in the rise of Nazism amongst the disintegration of the Wiemar Republic. We must certainly be vigilant.

    You stride between the two worlds valiantly, the technocivility and the real world of all that is.

    We are all stretched, in this time of transition between the dilating force of these two worlds. They are not equivalent – one being an illusion but with real world consequences the other the only reality that matters, some how in different time lines yet both present.
    There is little humour to be found on the sharp end of what could be called a global genocidal project, but we can take heart from those that are taking the brunt and resist with them. It is clearer everyday that the emperor is wearing no clothes.
    We, as you are, are firmly rooted in a life of actively making the life we wish to live, I think that is the armour of our times – the key to the distraction and division of a power system that is energetically structured around fear. More specifically, we are maker’s, and making things will reduce your fear of the scarcity of made things. This is an equation that goes across all fields.
    The power structures that currently exist and the fear they inhabit will not be fought, disavowed or broken they will dissolve with our capacity to provision ourselves.
    Dancing is great! Had the best 50th Birthday in December and danced the whole night with friends and family, good food and some delicious cocktails. We’re pretty adamant that the village festivals should have good cocktails – a good trade link with Mexican tequila brewers is non negotiable!

    1. Hello Joel, a very warm g’day to you and crew for the New Year. Dancing into your 50 orbits, swirling with the ecstatic divine thrum of life fuelled in part by the ferments of the fruiting feminine earth. Beautiful! And so is, “actively making the life we wish to live… is the armour of our times.” While the bombs are not falling, while there’s time to organise in small communities new/old lifeways not dependant on Industrial supply chains (sans the tequila and maybe a spice or two) with what’s left of affluence, there’s opportunity. When the bombs (ideological, biological or actual) start falling again, we need to be in our dance – to dance away fear, to eloquently spit in the face of totalitarianism for all its brought suffering, to shit on the body of empire and cover it over with walked-for straw, and make a blessing. Oh, the trouble we will cause by laughing at the experts and their mortgaged ideologies, propping up the neoliberal academies. Oh the poetical terrorism we will write, sitting still in the forests of Mother Country, unseen and signalling no virtues, rather just breathing – receiving and giving back, receiving and giving back to the fruiting flowering earth that brings dance and song and culture.

  12. Shane says:

    Happy new year, guys! And here I was thinking the internet, humanity’s life support system, was under threat from power failures. Because despite apparently coordinated efforts, the global elite really aren’t across the major challenges of our time, to put it mildly. In practical terms, & like the majority of urban dwellers, which is the majority of first-world dwellers, I’m very poorly equipped for the impacts of these failed challenges, so the focus for me is psycho-emotional & spiritual. I communicate honestly. I parse all information for subtext. I smile at & chat w/ strangers lots because despite constant communion w/ phones, many folk seem lonely (distract, divide & conquer). I tell every cashier who accepts my coin why digital currency is A Really Bad Idea for us all & have been pleased to hear that a fair few young folk strongly agree. I immerse myself in the ocean & walk long distances every day because why not. If the internet goes down for any significant length of time, urban areas will turn into hellscapes &, presumably, fear-crazed urbanites will venture out into the regions on raids, or was that in a movie I saw. But fear tends to disappear when we just remember to breathe. That’s why masks were such a great initiative; everyone breathing less. Anyway, great to see you in my inbox. In the event of no inbox, I have a landline number. 🙂

    1. Thanks Shane, it’s always a blessing to receive news from you. We did have in an early draft a call for landlines and snail mail addresses from subscribers so as to stay connected, but thought that may be a tad alarmist. Also, we thought, in an internet dark world connecting with neighbours and physically close community will be the first priority as virtual communities like this will be rendered void fairly quickly unless there are digital channels open for group messaging. Having said all this, we don’t really know how robust or vulnerable the internet is. Perhaps there will be hotspots, just like a pandemic, which go dark for a time, and these areas reported and shared to show the chaos and suffering of people (no food, fuel, Netflix etc., all so dependent on digital networks now), thus causing panic and mass acceptance for more state of emergency measures, but still enabling ever more wealth to be transferred to the world’s richest, as we saw in the pandemic. The internet has enabled the sharing of ideas, and generative intellectual, social and spiritual cross pollination. It has also brought much suffering, esp anxiety and a lack of presence to the biophysical realm, Mother Country, violated so as we can be on our devices and pretend to have ‘green’ technologies. There is both gift and madness in our lives as technical animals. We are Promethean (total technics; god-like) and Epimethean (forgetting fools) and this twinning brings much suffering in the absence of Pandora (abundance; gift).

  13. Laura says:

    I haven’t really been paying attention to any news legacy or ‘alternative’ over the Winter period. I feel like my subconscious just needed a break. It’s funny then that I should read that there is an anticipated ‘cyber pandemic’ and that you are building up your offline library. This is something I’ve also been doing but purely because I have had a deep feeling that something is coming only I haven’t been able to put my finger on what. So I’ve been building a collection of books some practical with instructions on how to be more self reliant and others purely for their stories. Stories that will lift my spirit and help me to maintain perspective through dark times. Books that I can swap with neighbours and spark conversations. Because like the land we benefit greatly from productive plants that provide us with herbs and food but the flowers that do nothing more than make us smile and keep the pollinators happy keep us inspired and hopeful.

    1. So good to hear this, Laura. We have found that the neighbourhood sphere is really one of the most important social spaces for our resilience and well being. We are blessed to have good neighbours, but this hasn’t been a passive thing. We neighbours have cultivated connection, we have been active in keeping the gifts flowing and the trust growing. Yes to stories and flowers that keep spirit dancing!

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