Category Archives: Rainmaking

When it Rains Down in Africa…

Travelling by ferry with some of the participating artists on a cold and rainy day.

Travelling by ferry with some of the participating artists on a cold and rainy day.

Finally… I am making the time to share with you the fruits of my time in South Africa as an invited participant of the Global Nomadic Art Project 2016 South Africa. I had such a rich and productive time there, that I slightly shied away from writing about it – I just did not know where to start.

The GNAP ‘Stories of Rain’ Art Project was an incredible journey through South Africa’s landscapes, myths and lively land art scene. Very well organized and carefully planed, we were treated to so many different places, warm hospitality, creative time in nature and an exciting selection of fellow artists. I appreciated the constantly changing small groups in which we travelled. They enabled us to meet so many local and international artists, exchange ideas and create together in a very unique way. Thank you to the GNAP team for this very special platform and project and thank you to all the many South African organizers, especially Strijdom van der Merwe and Anni Snyman,  who made the South African leg of the journey such a memorable one!

I have decided to split all my artworks into smaller groups and introduce them to you in separate blog posts. Trying to keep each one short and sweet, but still let you in on my ideas and thoughts as much as possible.

During the ‚Stories of Rain’ Art Project I continued with my rainmaker project and research. Can we create rain through a conscious and intentional creative process? I have used the surrounding landscapes and materials to explore different ideas from creating clouds out of stones or mud, performing a cloud dance and working with the idea of female tears being conducive to calling the rain.

First I will share with you one of my more familiar looking rainmaker works:

The final Rainmaker Cloud, Porcupine Hills made with earth pigment

The final Rainmaker Cloud, Porcupine Hills made with earth pigment

In the following gallery I will share with you the story of how I created this artwork and rainmaker and show prove of the rain that followed. (Click to see larger versions of the images)

I loved the stay here! Thank you to our hosts Cha and Tony Davenport are such wonderful people and made us feel perfectly at home. The place is great – recommending it fully if you would like to break away from the city for a weekend or longer!

Porcupine Hills offers self-catering guest accommodation and boutique olive oil.  Close to Cape Town (100km) but a world away from city and suburban life.  This is the perfect place to escape into nature and spend time in a quiet, tranquil and beautiful space.

The underlying farm “Diepklowe” is a Private Nature Reserve within the van der Stel Cluster (four neighbouring conservation farms) and is designated as a Cape Nature Stewardship Programme area. It is a core member of the Groenlandberg Conservancy.

The farm was acquired in 2012 by Tony and Cha Davenport and their two sons, Justin and Tobin.

Becoming a Creative Nomad and Rainmaker

I am busy packing. Nervous and excited. In a few days I will be leaving to South Africa, where I am taking part in the

Global Nomadic Art Project 2016
‘Stories of Rain’

Calling the Rainbird by Imke Rust,  Mixed Media on paper, 62x87cm

Calling the Rainbird by Imke Rust, Mixed Media on paper, 62x87cm

I am so thrilled to be invited to participate alongside so many other wonderful artists from all over the world and South Africa.

This project is especially close to my heart, as it will give me the opportunity to further my creative rainmaking research and projects, share with and learn from very interesting fellow artists and do all this very close to home. I have so many ideas and researched material, which I want to explore further and put to use now.

Typed Rain (on photograph) by Imke Rust

Typed Rain (on photograph) by Imke Rust

As soon as I can, I will share a blog post about my experience for all you lovely people who follow me on here! I also plan to post regular pictures and updates on Instagram (This is like an instant photoalbum and I just love it. Bonus: you do not need to have an account to see my page) and Facebook (for shorter, more regular posts and pictures). You can also see previews of both these pages in the right-hand column >> .

So, if you are curious, you are welcome to follow my adventures there too. We will not have regular internet connection, but when we do, I hope to share impressions and updates.

Here is some more information about the event compiled by the organizers:

Stories of Rain - Map

Stories of Rain – Map

#GNAP2016 #StoriesOfRain #SouthAfrica

Stories of Rain will trace the legacy of the first nomadic peoples, creating temporary nature art in response to the varied landscapes and the World Heritage Rock Art of South Africa.

In this time of palpable climate change, we find ourselves at the cusp of profound natural and cultural transformation. The dual disciplines of creative imagination and mediated thinking practiced by artists will be extremely valuable in this transition. The Global Nomadic Art Project offers local artists the opportunity to influence contemporary cultural attitudes towards nature and to explore possibilities for understanding in an increasingly fractured paradigm.

Site_Specific Land Art Collective will invite 8 International artists to join several custom made Nature Art tours of South Africa as part of the Global Nomadic Art Project initiated by YATOO Nature Art Association of Korea. The visiting artists will travel along different routes in small groups – meeting and staying with local participating artists along the way.

To find out more and also read up on my fellow artists who will be part of this event, please visit the official page:
Webpage: SiteSpecific South Africa GNAP

And/or follow the Facebook Page for this event: Stories of Rain

Stories of Rain - South Africa

Stories of Rain – South Africa

The Rainmakeress (Imke Rust) Acrylic and graphite on paper 105x130cm

The Rainmakeress (Imke Rust)
Acrylic and graphite on paper
105x130cm

Calling the Spirit of Rain and Water

DSC01521In my research about rain making I found several interesting stories of how magic drawings on rocks would attract rain. Some of which suggested that you have to find ways to draw the water spirit’s attention and curiosity. Like this story, which made me smile every time I thought of it.

The antelope, who only arrives after it has rained, is presumed to be linked to the water spirit and its favourite animal. The water spirit likes a good party, and will presumably like to attend with their friend, or… favourite animal. So, if the rainmaker draws images of the antelope and dancing people on the cave walls and pretends that there is a good party happening (for instance through dancing, singing and holding a ceremony) she/he will attract the water spirit’s attention and interest to join. But who likes to go to a party where you do not know anybody? Right, so the water spirit, who can turn itself into rain, would like to have its favourite animal friend there too. But the antelope only comes when there is water, so being a good friend, the water spirit will let it rain.

Like, hey, if I’ll buy you a beer, will you join me at this party?

And voila – the rainmaker has made it rain.

So last Saturday we visited the farm and I decided to hold a small party, well – make some rain…

The more the merrier

I chose a nice visible spot, a straight cliff face on the top of a small koppie (hill) and asked my father, brother and husband to join me in creating a rainmaker. This is a part in my different experiments, which I always wanted to try: working together with more people instead of just creating on my own.

I believe that working together does create a more focussed and stronger energy. I guess that is also why it already says in the bible, if two or more people come together and pray, the prayer will definitely be heard.

(Please click on the images to see the full view, thank you.)

 

I stuck to my typical cloud and rain drawings, because I believe that the rain or water spirit will recognise itself and will become curious. And that

like attracts like…

Each of us drew a raining cloud with chalk on the cliff-face, my brother even drew a puddle of water where the rain collected on the ground. The cloud drawings were nicely visible towards the east, where the water spirit usually resides (where the rain usually comes from.) We all had fun drawing and imagining how we are making rain.

Shortly after we started, I remembered to take a picture of the area and blue sky, and was surprised to already see the very first faint rain clouds on the distant horizon.

If you look closely you see the very first small clouds appearing on the horizon

If you look closely you see the very first small clouds appearing on the horizon

 

Offerings – a sign of your abundance

Lastly, I wanted to implement another ‘new’ aspect into this rainmaker. The idea of making an offering… We sprinkled the rock and rain drawings with actual water. I have always thought that adding water to my rainmaker experiments would be another magnet in the sense of ‘like attracts like’, but I realised that there might be another aspect that I have overlooked.

If we are willing to offer a small bit of what we are asking for as a gift or offering in return, we are signalling that we are part of the natural flow. We will not unnecessarily hoard or obstruct the flow of the goodness which we are inviting to us. We believe that there is more of what we have just given away, we believe in our own abundance and the abundance of the water, instead of fearfully holding on to the feeling of lack and scarceness.

 

While we were busy with this, we definitely already attracted the attention of some baboons who were curious of what kind of party is happening…

Baboons are curious and try to figure out what is happening on our side...

Baboons are curious and try to figure out what is happening on our side…

Gratitude expressed

Just before we left the site, I decided to once again express my gratitude, by writing a thank you note on a piece of bone, leaving it at the foot of the koppie for the rain, once it arrives.

A little thank you note for the rain and water spirits...

A little thank you note for the rain and water spirits…

All done we left and it was amazing to watch how the clouds suddenly appeared from all directions, as if somebody had shouted:

Here is a party and there is free beer for everybody!

Anyway, I was slightly peeved that it did not rain that day, although so many clouds came up so fast…

But I also remembered that we must continue to believe in the manifestation for it to become real, no matter what. I have to give thanks again and again, and acknowledge my faith that our prayers will be heard.

I do not know if it is from pure stubbornness or something else, I have long ago started to tell myself if a wish is not immediately granted, it is just because the universe is busy preparing something bigger, better and more awesome than I could even wish for… after all, something that grand takes a bit more time.

And so it was.

Two days later, on our departure to Germany, we received the excited news from the farm that it was raining. The rivers were flowing and everybody was excited that suddenly there was so much rain after such a long drought. And in the coming days Facebook (the modern bush drum) was filled with images and videos of the massive rain received all over the country.

I am grateful and happy.

Rain on the farm and flowing rivers on 18 January 2016 – Photos kindly supplied by Amanda Koekemoer ©

Interview about my Environmental Art

Some time ago I was approached to have some of my artworks published in a book, entitled ‘Temperatures Rising – Climate Change in Africa – a Journey in Pictures’. The book will be produced for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to be presented to the delegates and guests of the COP21 conference next week.

The consultant responsible for the book, Ms Asieh L Nassehi Javan of Concept2art in Torino, Italy, asked me to submit several suitable artworks of mine and has interviewed me about my art. One artwork was selected for illustration of the book, while it will also be printed as a poster to be presented in the African Pavillion. I am so honoured and excited!

I thought you might enjoy reading the interview and get to know more about my ideas behind my art, so I am sharing it with you here:

ANJ: What is the role of an artist? As an educator? As someone who makes people aware of issues? A critique? An agent of change?

IR: All of these. I believe different artists have different and often several roles, which together shape our (human) identity and future.

Personally I see my role in offering an alternative perspective on the world and our perceived reality, and offer possible creative solutions to problems affecting us. Part visionary and part agent of change. A little bit like the shaman or rainmakers in old cultures, who through their ritual and creative expression raise awareness and envision and enact a new, better reality.

ANJ: How do you define your art? 

IR: I work in a wide range of media, dependent of the concept or vision for the artwork. My work cannot be defined by putting it into a box. Roughly I would say it is a mix between creative, visual expression, alchemy, magic and spirituality, often with a sprinkle of playfulness.

It is a flowing process between all these layers, always conscious about trying to make a positive impact and slightly changing our perceived reality.

ANJ: What inspires you to create works that address hurting the Environment/Climate change? 

IR: My works usually starts when I notice something, which stirs me emotionally. Often these are situations which I find frustrating or problematic, so I start to wonder what could be changed and how.

Namibia is a dry country with two large deserts. We are extremely dependent on rain for survival, but also on managing our natural resources well. I try to find different ways to feel less helpless when it either does not rain or when I see great damage being done to our environment. I love researching and experimenting with really alternative ideas, because I believe often the mainstream ideas are what brought us the problems in the first place.

As an artist, my purpose is to use my art to make the world a better place. Others have different purposes. Like my father, who is a farmer and an engineer, so he tries to find agricultural ways to positively impact the environment, for instance through Holistic Resource Management. I learned much from him, but was also frustrated, that still we are dependent on the rain and that rainfall cannot be controlled. So I ask myself is this true? Why does almost every ancient culture across the world a belief in a rainmaker or a rain dance? And how could I combine my art, my knowledge and research and my spiritual beliefs to at least consider the possibility of having an impact on the rainfall?

ANJ: Is there an experience, instance or event that led you to create works about the environment?

IR: As an art student I had no money for art materials and usually in Namibia traditional art materials were either not available or extremely expensive. So I started to look around to find alternative materials to use, which I could gather for free.

So early on I noticed the abundance and usefulness of the environment for my art. Through that, and the fact that I grew up on a farm, it was a natural next step to pay closer attention to the environment and realize our connection to it more deeply.

My artworks from the series ‘…and I sensed an infinite scream passing through the Namib’ started from seeing the increased damage of more and more uranium mines and connected industries on the environment. Other people were demonstrating to stop the mines and I asked myself how I could personally contribute, since demonstrating was not my thing. I looked for ways in which I could address the problem and create solutions in my own way.

ANJ: Can you elaborate on the art works you are submitting? What are the messages they aim to send and to whom are the messages directed?

IR:  Rainmaker:

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

All over the world the old cultures had shamans who were known to be able to create rain, either through dance, music or rock-paintings. From my research I construed that the creative act combined with a focused intention can create a different energy or vibe and thus change the perceived reality.

Since then I have experimented with different methods of using my art to hopefully ‘make rain’. This specific work creates a vision of the reality we intend to see, in a similar way that the old inhabitants of Namibia would have used to attract animals for a good hunt. I have made several different artworks or experiments researching different approaches.

The message is two-fold: it tries to remind people to focus on the rain and not the drought, and secondly open people up to the idea, that there may possibly be alternative ways to see the world and to impact the reality around us. I cannot say for sure this way does work, but by trying it out, I hope it encourages other people to also try out alternative ideas, even though they might appear silly or ridicules. Through actively taking charge, and playfully experimenting with different things, we might find new solutions. (Find out more about my rainmaker experiments by clicking here.)

 

Earth Woman:

Desertification and erosion in Namibia is becoming an increasing threat, which is to a large extend a result of us not taking proper care of the environment. I found these deep erosion cracks and I wanted to use the human, female body and the naked skin to highlight this problem and to make us aware that the soil of the earth is like our skin and equally vulnerable and in need of care and attention.

We are intimately connected to the soil and our destiny is so closely linked to that of our environment. These works allure to this and the birth, life and death cycle, which starts and ends with the earth. ( For more work from this series, click here. )

Works like the Tokoloshe Trap acts in my usual multi-layered way. It tries to use the spiritual intention and activated energy, the shapes and material to protect the land in a spiritual way, but it also lets people see a familiar environment in a different and unexpected way. I hope this will let them pause and become more aware, start wondering and asking questions. I also hope it works via a physical experience: any Namibian knows from personal experience how painful it is to step into one of those thorns. Seeing so many of them arranged as a kind of trap, usually lets us cringe, while we imagine stepping into it. (More about this artwork: click here)

An Infinite Scream

In this documented performance-like action I asked passers-by to re-enact the famous painting ‘The Scream’ from Edvard Munch, on the Swakopmund jetty. Munch claimed that he sensed the angst and scream of nature, which led to this painting. Be re-enacting this scream, the people give an expression to the fears about the destruction of our environment. The resulting images and video raise awareness in a fun way. (More about this intervention: click here. and to see a super fun short video about it: click here)

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

Dorob (NOT) 4Sale

This anonymous intervention used a tongue-in-cheek way to get people’s awareness about the sale-off of our natural resources. Fake estate agent for-sale signs were placed at prominent places along the main roads leading through the Namib desert, with messages that our desert and ocean are (NOT) for sale. The provided telephone number and Web address lead to further information and links to environmental initiatives. (More about this intervention: click here. )

 

Hand-painted Photographs of the Namib Desert

While I was in Berlin, I heard about the plans to build a large chemical plant in the Namib Desert. I imagined what the desert around that plant would look like, if the waste is not properly managed, like so often before or if something unforeseen happens. I painted these scenarios onto photographs of the desert. Later, when I returned to Namibia I used the ideas from the photos for temporary land-art installations.

Toxic Rocks & Poisonous Water

The neon paints might initially give the landscape a funky and modern look, which is quite pleasing, until we notice that this is not natural and healthy. I hope to make people understand that we have to take a second look and consider the different realities behind a situation. Yes, a chemical plant might bring job opportunities, but also illnesses and destruction to the environment. Only when we consider all aspects, can we make a good choice. What looks pretty at first, might turn out to be nasty in the long-run. (More about this artwork: click here and here.)

 

AJ: Could your art, even though its related to Africa, reflect the global narrative?

IR: Definitely! When I started off with my career, I thought I am working on personal issues which are directly connected to myself and my home-country. I very soon realized, that once you scratch under the surface, we are all human and have the same hopes and fears. Situations and patterns are so similar all over the world, but we are often too distracted to notice, because we focus on the thin superficial differences.

Not all countries are desert countries, but still we all are exposed to and dependent on our environment. A country with plenty of water also needs to manage their resources. They might not need a rainmaker, but through my artwork they could feel inspired to play with alternative ways of interacting with and caring for their environment, and minimize the danger of floods for example.

ANJ: Do you have any comments you would like to add? 

IR: Thank you so much for your interest in my work and this opportunity to make it visible to more people worldwide.

Imke Rust busy installing 'Poisonous Water'

Imke Rust busy installing ‘Poisonous Water’

Thank you Ms Nassehi Javan for letting me share our interview here! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.

Rainmakeress

Rainmakeress by Imke Rust Graphite & Acrylic on paper, 105 x 120cm

Rainmakeress by Imke Rust, Graphite & Acrylic on paper, 105 x 120cm

Rainmakeress

Woman is water. Woman is moon.
Woman is flow. Woman is life.
Woman is earth. She is the giver of birth.

                                              She is the rain.

Some time ago, while thinking about one of my favourite subjects (how we can manifest rain) I scribbled down the above thoughts. That led to the large drawing (at the top) of a woman becoming rain.

I do believe that we must find the rain within us. I do believe that we are one with everything around us, the rocks, the animals, the people, the clouds, the invisible waves of sound, light and information, the ocean, the air and everything else. Whatever is out there, is a mirror of what is inside myself and we do attract into our lives, that, which we put our awareness on and what we feed with energy. Because it is all there. And all is One. And that One is God.

So, if that is true, then it follows that similar to being able to attract like-minded people, we can attract (or manifest) like-minded energy and ‘states of being’. To understand this better, lets take an example, lets say I want more kindness in my life. Then I just need to focus my attention on that part in me, which is kind and choose to be more kind in my everyday life. Suddenly I will notice more people around me being kind. They probably have always been kind, but I did not consciously realise or notice it. Also, I will most likely avoid people who are not kind. And my kindness will very likely inspire somebody else to be kind in return.

Similarly, it should be possible to place our awareness on the qualities of rain and what comes with it and then attract it into our lives. If we have a drought, we can ask ourselves, which parts of us have we let dry up? Did we let our passion, our flow, our life become dry and stale? Are we contracting ourselves out of a fear of lack? Have we lost touch with our moistness, our fertility and our giving part? Have we somehow stopped the cycle of water, by damming up our feelings?

If we can find where we are lacking within our own spirits, then we can start rectifying our energy and thoughts. We can focus our awareness on those things which matter and which are favourable to attracting rain. What is rain for you?

I associate it with joy, with lightness, with wetness, abundance, creativity, life, freshness, growth, water and so much more. So when trying to evoke rain, I focus my attention on these things. I imagine how I feel when it is raining, I try to taste, smell, feel and hear that sensation of rain. Can you imagine it? Can you feel the feelings that you have when it is raining? Try and stick with those feelings for some moments. And then, in my case, with my associations of rain, I try to consciously incorporate those things more into my life, or send a silent thought of gratitude and appreciation to these things when I notice them.

Practically it means, when I wash my hands (for instance), I am consciously enjoying the water and in my mind saying thank you for having this water and how much I appreciate it. And I try to fill my life and heart with more joy (do something fun), with freshness (place a fresh flower in my space), life (go out and enjoy the plants, animals or people whom I meet) and creativity (the best of all, create something new, an artwork or a meal)… I do something fresh and exciting. If my life has become stale, I try to find ways of being and feeling more alive – like getting up from the computer and dance.

You can try this yourself. Maybe you do not immediately succeed in creating real rain, but I do believe that you will immediately feel better and changing the atmosphere will sooner or later lead to the ideal conditions for rain to come.

Recently I had a friend visiting me from Namibia and I could try out another idea which I had, based on the idea that we are all rainmakers. Also that especially as woman, we embody the fertility and giving part, which I associate with rain. Combined with freshness, creativity and some real water I simplified this idea so that it can be better understood. I painted a dark rain cloud on the body of my friend and then splashed it with water, so that it will drip down and draw the colour with it, creating a visual idea of rain. I had so much fun with that last part, that I forgot to take photos, and only in the end, when you could not see the ‘rain’ that well anymore, I took a photo. I do think the action is more important than the ‘prove’ so I hope you enjoy the ‘before and after’ images anyhow.

Rainmakeress: Cloud painting on body and adding water to let it 'rain' (Imke Rust)

Rainmakeress: Cloud painting on body and adding water to let it ‘rain’ (Imke Rust in cooperation with Wiebke Volkmann)

What are your believes about rain? Do you maybe live in a country, where you would much rather see more sun and less rain? You could apply the same ideas to create a more sunny life for yourself.

Have you ever tried making rain? Or done a rain dance? Prayed for rain?
What were/are your experiences?

Why I Believe we can Make it Rain

Rainmaking Experiment #4 by Imke Rust

 

„Yes, I believe we can make rain and we should!

Is it easy? No, but it is definitely more constructive and fun, than being prophets of misfortune and disaster and clinging to our fears.”

That is what I wrote in my last blog.

I might have left you wondering if I am crazy. Or if there could possibly be some truth to it. Or both. I hope that at least you did consider the option that it is possible and I hope that there was a tiny little voice inside of you that wished it was true.

That little voice is in me, and even though it is little, it is very strong.

It is the voice of my inner child, my idealist, my investigator and my rebel. My mind, which is intensely tuned into the creative-solution-finder mode, loves taking up a challenge, especially when it comes to improving our experience here on earth. So together we all have a strong interest in finding out if rainmaking is indeed possible and if so, how and what we can do.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while, or have explored my webpage, know that I have experimented with this for the past 5 years. I have read all information I could get on the subject and am always on the lookout for new understandings. I have been putting together my own ideas and insights and started a few different experiments and have planned a few more. As usual, I love to throw all my information together, stir it and see what speaks to me, what makes the most sense and what is practical. Then I weave together those aspects with my personal ideas and creativity in an intuitive process and see what happens.

Possibly the one thing most of us still easily associate with rainmaking is a rain dance. I think most people have heard of it, but very few have any idea how it works. Me included. The idea of the rain dance was the starting point for me. I assume that the fact that there is such a thing practiced in many cultures and over many generations, told me, that there must be some truth to it.

Only bummer is, that my dancing skills are pretty awkward and I do not know the steps. Dancing sounds like a suitable thing to do – just not for me.

So I tried to understand what of the dance makes it rain? Simply put, I think it is a combination of a few things:

  • People coming together with the same intention,
  • People expressing joy and gratitude, but also respect and reverence to the weather,
  • people changing the energy and vibration through their creative action or ritual
  • And since like attracts like, that vibration attracts and favours the vibration of rain.

 

Most of the time I am on my own and not with a bunch of people who would be willing to partake in my experiments, but the rest of those findings I can somehow integrate into my experiments. And add some more of my personal creative ingredients…

 

I could write forever about this, but let me rather just share my Rainmaking Experiment #4 with you:

Rainmaking Experiment #4

What:

See-through plastic bags filled with water and closed with a knot. These bags are then tied with fishing line to a branch, like a mobile. I enjoyed looking at it as often as I could. Every time I saw the drops I paused for a moment in awareness, gratitude and joy. I consciouly remembered the smell, sound and feeling of rain when I saw these oversized ‘raindrops’.

Ritual:

After having these mobile water drops hanging in my garden for a while I started to pinch a small hole into the bottom of one of the drops every day. Then I watched with gratitude how the water slowly poured out in small drops over some time. This ritual added another layer to the rainmaker, by giving it movement, real dripping water and continuity (for the duration of the dripping, but also for the daily morning ritual.)

Why:

To create rain, I guess it is helpful to remind nature of its watery and wet side. The plastic bags formed visual drops and on top of that were filled with water. Combined they looked like rain.

Once the installation was hanging for a while, I increased the sense of rain and water by releasing the water from the plastic bags in a ritual activity.

Outcome:

It started raining even before all drops were emptied and there were still more rains coming afterwards.

Please click on the images to see them enlarged and individually.

To find out more about my rainmaking experiemnts and ideas, please read my previous blogs on this subject HERE

Feeling the Drought in Me

'I am Desert' by Imke Rust

‘I am Desert I’ by Imke Rust (Photography, Digital print on Alu-Dibond)

There is a blurring, hot tension in the air. Even though I am not there, I am so familiar with this situation that my body physically reacts to it every time I think about it or remember the many years of experiencing this same intense and ominous collective fear of an upcoming drought.

I feel how this fear increases with every day in which the sun burns from the bluest skies with no cloud in sight. I feel the heat and the dust and the lack.

The lack of everything…

lack of aliveness and lack of hope.

I can taste the dryness.

But mostly I feel the silent terror and doom hanging in the air like an invisible monster.

I have experienced the impact of a serious drought. And I have experienced the fear oozing out of every wretched discussion, which repeatedly circled around the drought and the rain like a starving dog tied to a tree sniffing some fresh meat in the distance.

The elderly compared and remembered the many droughts they have experienced and seemed to revel in reciting their horrors. The younger, who could not rely on memories that much, were more likely to speculate according to the weather forecasts, the dreaded El-Niño phenomena or any other scientific statistics or findings. I remember these discussions as mostly negative, fearful and resigned, sometimes angry and usually interrupted only with long heavy pauses, knowing glances and deep sighs. For one or other reason, everybody seemed to know that we would be doomed with another great drought, as if by stating the worst that can happen, we are bracing ourselves for it. The few hopeful voices in between quickly got lost or talked into submission.

This fear and the helplessness have crept into my bones. As a child I listened to all these discussions in the hope that somewhere some one would have a solution or know for sure what is going to happen. Will it rain?

Hoping to find somebody who could say: it is going to be okay, even if it doesn’t. Even as a child I knew, that no matter what people said, the rains are not always forthcoming, that is just part of living in a desert country. So I hoped to find some way of creating hope and faith that the natural order of things are okay…

The older I became, the more resigned I became. I had accumulated more experience with dry years, with droughts and the impact it had on our life.

Yes, I fear the droughts. Deeply. But I came to fear one thing even more: the continuous doom saying and negative speculating that happens throughout the year, but increasingly in the rainy-season, when this seems to be the only topic on everybody’s minds. And the feeling of helplessness.

Sure, when the rains come and when they are good, we all are grateful for a moment, only to easily and quickly forget our moaning and return to life as we know and want it.

When the rains do not come, or let us wait too long, we are spiralling down into an ever darker abyss of fear, lack and death. I came to think of this as natural, but when I became more aware of physically experiencing the discomfort of cringing cells in my body whenever I think about this, I started to question what is happening. Even more so, when I realised that even far away from home, in Germany, I am not immune to this.

What is natural is that we are living in a very dry country – in Namibia, named after one of the oldest deserts, with unpredictable and variable rainfall. What (according to me) is not natural is how we deal with it.

I understand the fear, because I feel it too. But I refuse to believe that this deep fear and immense sense of being helpless at the hands of the weather is necessary, natural or useful. I also feel that the relentless doom-mongering and negativity is the worst way of expressing this fear or avoiding the situation.

This constant distress is killing our souls and we have let the drought creep into our hearts and veins.

I started thinking about the ancient San people in Namibia and then also about so many different ancient cultures, maybe the most well-known being the American Indians. All people throughout history were exposed to the unpredictability of the weather and to extreme conditions, droughts, floods, raging storms and endless freezing winters. Maybe it is idealistic of me to assume that the people long ago had a better relationship to the woes of the climate and nature, but from the stories that we have from that time, I am sure they knew something, which we have lost.

I guess the core difference is that they lived with deep respect and reverence towards nature and understood the importance of a healthy give-and-take relationship with everything around them. They understood themselves as a small part or children of this much larger Mother Earth.

We on the other hand have come to view ourselves as masters of the earth. We believe it is our birth-right to exploit any natural resources, to take without giving and separate and put us above the rest of nature.

We have made man the centre of the universe and profit our highest and only purpose.

Every time a drought looms, we are uncomfortably reminded, that we are not the masters of this universe. Our presumed intelligence, scientific and technological advancements and our arrogance all are futile, when the environment stops supporting us. When earth stops to produce new resources. When earth dries up and shrivels under our endless and greedy exploitation.

We are at the mercy of a benevolent environment and we are part of everything that happens. The old people understood that, we don’t.

With every drought we get angrier and more fearful. People like farmers who live closer to nature feel it first and the most intense, while others can ignore it for longer, as they have already distanced themselves so much from nature. Their money can still buy food, when the animals and plants on the farm already starve, but eventually their money also will have nothing left to buy.

What if we all would be willing and open to rethink the possibility living more in tune with nature again? Before nature forces us to. What if we would stop investing our energy in complaining and doomsaying and instead find better ways of prepare and deal with reality?

'I am desert II' by Imke Rust

‘I am desert’ by Imke Rust
Photography, Digital print on Alu-Dibond

I refuse to believe that we are separate or above nature. And I refuse to believe that we are powerless. Not only should we honour and respect mother earth, but we should accept the responsibility that comes with it. If we understand that we are but a small part of the whole, yet we are an important and powerful part.

If we would see us as the hand of a person, we would understand that the hand is subjected to what the body does, but at the same time, it also has an important purpose and function. It is powerful in its own right, but not of its own. It needs the body. And the body needs the hand. The hand cannot complain that it is starving, if it refuses to act in its power and pick the fruit and bring it to the mouth.

My research and exploration into old rainmaking traditions have shown me, that we have the answers and the power of our destiny within us. Yes, there are forces larger than us, but we are part of those, and thus we also can have an impact.

Rainmaking has become synonymous to me with actively co-creating our reality, to become conscious of our part in this grand oneness and act accordingly.

We can choose how we want to act out this role. We might not be able to change Namibia into a rainforest, but we can learn to accept that we are living in an arid country, we can take responsibility for living within the means of what is available and the courage to act as blessings to our surroundings.

We can honour and respect what we have, and express our joy and gratitude in a thousand ways.

We can use our power to change our ways and find ways to better serve our earth-body.

Yes, I believe we can make rain and we should!

Is it easy? No, but it is definitely more constructive and fun, than being prophets of misfortune and disaster and clinging to our fears.

Do you fear being at the receiving end of the weather and climate around you? In what ways do you deal with that fear? And what is your solution? Do you save water? Have you ever performed a raindance? Or have you consciously prayed for rain? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

If you want to read more about my thoughts and actions on rainmaking, please click HERE to see a list of all blog posts on this subject.

( I started writing this as a short introduction to one of my rainmaking experiments which I wanted to share with you, but then it turned out to be a loooooong introduction and I decided to rather let you digest this first, and share the experiment with you in the next post.)