You just got home from a transformational festival and you are ready to make a difference. The fire burns in your belly, and you know that the dream of perpetual material growth driven by the corporate model is an end game that doesn’t take the children into account. What to do? Rent is due again, work is tomorrow, grocery stores lobby to keep ingredients hidden, war is on the mind of the media, and all seems so heavy that the fire sputters a little. It’s up to you to change your world. The responsibility falls upon the shoulders of you. I am you and you are me and together we make weeeeee. How do you change the world? You educate and activate. Fuel the conscious fire that was sparked by the communal celebration that is transformational culture.
The Evolver Network (TEN) is a grassroots network of conscious culture. TEN is comprised of spores which are what the local groups are called. These spores host events that range from conscious parties, potlucks, workshops, salons, film screenings, and whatever else a community can dream into existence that helps facilitate a new planetary culture. The world is ready, and you have the power. Open your heart and change reality from the ground up.
I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing the magical Magenta Imagination Healer via e-mail. Oh the wonders of the modern world. Love, love, love, love, love, love, love is all we need.
[LiS] What is Evolver, and how did it get started?
[MIH] Evolver is a platform for positive transformation of the self and community through education, celebration, and co-creation. The grand vision of Evolver is to create an international alternate social structure of evolvers who share their talents, resources, wisdom, and passions in building a better, more equitable world. We promote and support an emerging value system that is sustainable, full of meaning, and founded on human connection. Our community appreciates the magical aspects of life and cultivates a visceral connection to the natural world.
Evolver has a few different elements. The local Evolver Spores host events and network together community – some of the topics we teach include permaculture, healing, alternative economy, and celebration as a way of life. Evolver Learning Labs host online webinars (and soon Spore Tanks! our version of a think tank). Evolver.net is an e-commerce platform that sells products produced by the community and in alignment with Evolver’s mission. We also publish books under the Evolver Editions imprint – check out the Manifesto Series – they’re brilliant.
Evolver was first a print magazine, started by Daniel Pinchbeck, Erika Rand, Rob Ganger, and Dan Siegel. It was so beautiful! Here are a few shots of it from Erika’s design portfolio: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
In 2007 Daniel, Jonathan Talat Phillips, and Ken Jordan started Evolver.net and Reality Sandwich to bring the discourse online and enable people to connect with each other and organize in a practical way around critical issues. RS served as the media/magazine part, and Evolver was for the local communities. Daniel has said his vision for Evolver has always been to transform the corporation into a cooperative owned by everyone on the planet.
How did you get involved with Evolver?
The first Evolver Spore I attended was on Shamanism in 2009. It was hosted by Rak Razam, who had recently published a book called The Journeybook, which surveys contemporary shamanism and entheogenic exploration. I met a mushroom shaman there who became a close magical partner, and I would say this event began a three year shamanic initiation for me, during which I have had the misfortune of chewing my way through just about every misalignment and societal ill that is Evolver’s mission to deal with and resolve. This has of course been my own healing process as well, and I’m honored to be part of this network of – I would call us societal healers.
As to how I began organizing, a friend of mine had returned from a retreat in Peru, where the ayahuasca spirit had told her she was to start a center for the union of art, science, and spirituality, called the SoRC, or Sanctuary of Re-Awakening Consciousness. She asked for my help, and I thought, well, we are going to need a lot of business skills, and we know many other people with visionary ideas in a similar place of project infancy. So why don’t we get all these people in the same room and make a network to skillshare, so we don’t all have to reinvent the wheel. She suggested we partner with the local Evolver. From there the three of us moved into a house together, an experiment in creating an Evolver “node” or community space, and I began to help organize the local Spore.
What is a spore, and can I start my own?
An Evolver Spore is a collective that may host events, form co-ops, and network together local initiatives.
Yes, you can start your own. You can check here to see if there is already one near you, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application.
Evolver is going through some major transitions right now. Can you explain this process and the goals of it?
Last Spring the non-profit network leadership in NYC resigned, and The Evolver Network began self-organizing to find a more appropriate, decentralized structure. Several sporeganizers have stepped up to be part of a Transition Team that has been designing this structure. We have set a 6-month “interim” period for this, but we’ve already made great progress.
We are creating a Global Wisdom Council as our primary decision making body. It’s made of experienced sporeganizers from all over the world, a small number of allied organization leaders, and Daniel Pinchbeck. We have also created Evolver Global Issues Forums, which will advise and enact solutions on topics of planetary importance. One way we’re collectively organizing is by working in small groups – for example we have a festivals team, a grants team, a web development/tech team, etc. Coming together is going to finally allow the network to engage and scale – we’ve just been missing the right infrastructure. The former structure was top-down, and having one physical location as the center wasn’t appropriate representation.
We designed a new two-year plan for the local Spores, where spores have several “life cycles” along which they can develop – producing events, serving as networking hubs, doing actions such as building gardens or creating media, or hosting a physical community space. We’re finishing up a “Spore Print” which is a full guide with resources for spores to create sustainable operations.
We’re working with a group called Dragon Dreaming to schedule a wider collective process of completing our restructuring. Then we’ll get it all up on our website, and it will be easier to understand. One thing we’re super excited about is the Ten Principles of TEN, which all Evolvers agree to abide by. This can give some structure similar to how the Permaculture principles give a structure of thinking that leads people to more sustainable actions.
I’ve been meeting with The Sustainable Economies Law Center in Berkeley to figure the appropriate legal structure for TEN. They specialize in cooperatives. It sounds like we’ll stick to 501c3, but have a “franchise” setup where Spores can self-determine their structure, if they want to be a co-op or LLC, etc. The Symbiosis Project has an amazing outline for “Community Supported Everything” co-ops, which you can read about here. I’ve been researching all kinds of permaculture finance and sustainable business models, because the spores have great ideas for projects, and there are many great models we can spread. The Permaculture Credit Union is one example of a financial institution operating in integrity, if you’re curious. Dan Sockrider of Evolver Indianapolis has a full outline for an Indiana Resilience Hub, that would be a physical location housing several permaculture-related businesses, and serve as a financial institution to assist resilient economy.
We’ll also be able to leverage partnerships better. We have many allies, City Repair in Portland, the Transition Town movement, Bioneers, there are so many incredible initiatives and models out there. What comes next is a higher level of organization amongst them so we empower each other and pool resources, so we don’t have this right vs fragmented left thing happening politically, but a very strong coherent voice of the people, and leadership in their own hands. Ultimately that transcends boundaries, and we start to build “the new planetary culture” where we’re all respecting each other again and the unbelievable diversity of life on the planet. Evolver can do a lot to network that.
Currently the Evolver Network is a fiscally sponsored project of Planetwork. If you want to assist us with a tax-deductible donation, you can do so here, or contact us directly at donation@EvolverNetwork.org.
Now, The Evolver Network is just part of the whole thing that is Evolver. The for-profit side of Evolver is set up to achieve B-Corp certification. Their intention is to donate a percentage of the profits to TEN. Lou Sagar is the CEO and has been for about a year. We are working together to cohere the brand identity, create more aligned content for the Learning Labs and evolver.net, etc. The new website design for Reality Sandwich will have a community section, that will replace the old Evolver blogs site.
Now that TEN is getting itself in order, we’ll talk out if we’ll have one combined newsletter, or a separate one for non-profit news. I personally apologize if you have been receiving product emails that you did not sign up for – that was not the network’s intention in collecting an email list. We’re sorting it out. I recently sent the for-profit a “look book” of products that were closer to The Evolver Network’s demographic; I think Lou is starting to get a sense of where the Spores are coming from. I’m going to NYC mid-December and will work on that more. In TEN’s eyes, the products site would be most functional if it allowed local indexing, so people could support locally first.
Daniel outlined 4 Phases in the development of Evolver, and we’re designing the skeleton that can carry out Phase 2. Phase 4 includes extradimensional spaceships, and a lived realization that time is art. So… Something to look forward to.
How does collaboration with other organizations come into play with this work?
Spores often serve as local “hubs” that network together local initiatives and key individuals in movement-building. For example, in San Francisco we are building a coalition through a quarterly festival/forum called HiveMind. It brings together organizations across science and technology, healing, arts, local economy and governance, and urban farming. Through meeting together regularly to share trainings and updates, we build relationships and come to know how we can support each other. Evolver often creates an emergent interdisciplinary space, where the magical and the practical join forces and people have an authentic public commons experience.
Spores frequently co-produce events, or act as media sponsors, to help get more people to an important event or action. Like I said above, part of this restructuring we’re doing is figuring out how to partner with organizations on a network-wide level. Ideally this has a strong action component, and it surely will include media networking.
What is Evolver’s connection to Reality Sandwich, the online magazine that is one of the leading online magazines for conscious culture?
Reality Sandwich is technically under the umbrella of Evolver. It has independent management under Ken Jordan and Faye Sakellaridis, and the new website design has a whole section dedicated to The Evolver Network, where TEN can post more grounded and science-based articles. We have slightly different demographics. RS is a great place to read about psychedelic insights, extrasensory capacities, and newfound eco-spiritual awareness. And Evolver answers the question of “well how do I apply that?” I’m curious how the new Reality Sandwich site will network together organizations and information in a more thorough and investigative way, because I think that’s a next step for this psychedelic renaissance culture that is now fully birthed. We’re stoked about the new site design, they did a great job with it.
What is Daniel Pinchbeck’s relationship to Evolver?
Daniel is one of the founders of Evolver and has been a huge force in shaping the vision of the organization. He was formerly our Executive Director and is now our Creative Director. Currently he’s focusing on writing his third book, and on his talk show MindShift, which you can watch on Gaiam TV. It’s brilliant and I hope it continues, because it’s a higher level of dialogue and depth than anything that’s shown on mainstream programs.
Daniel will be part of our new Global Wisdom Council, and during this restructuring process he’s assisting us with the vision and connecting us if we need specific personnel, etc.
I see Daniel as someone who zoomed out really far in perspective with his psychedelic and personal journey. He has a visceral understanding of what is out of balance on the planet as well as a genius mind for synthesizing solutions. We’re all grateful to him, Talat, Ken, and others who have helped bring Evolver forward as a platform.
How is art, especially music, a catalyst for this kind of work?
Music is medicine – it is spirit, it transmits consciousness, directly, viscerally. It changes you. We change each other by dancing to it and transducing the frequencies. Human kind is undergoing an evolution, some would say at a DNA level, some would describe it as more people awakening what the Tibetans call “the rainbow body,” or the light body. We’re becoming aware of, or perhaps remembering, our interconnection – with each other, with the spirit world. We’re becoming aware of how our actions affect everything around us, and we’re beginning to take ownership over that, and behave more lovingly toward each other again. This is a given in many indigenous cultures, and we’re finding our way back to that immediacy of connection. Music and art teach us about that connection – it’s an experience, unlike language or many jobs where your ego is tied up in it, and you run around in these little channels with blinders on… When we come together to make art and music, we celebrate the full spectrum of creation, and that is our highest power. What better way to wake up together than by celebrating and creating beauty?
I have had dance experiences where I’ve completely rearranged my spine… An ayahuasca medicine person once explained to me the relationship between the human spine and a single vibrating string, the physics of harmonics. When we all get vibrating together and transforming each other through shapes (of our bodies and with the sound currents)… It’s such a space of co-creation! I think people should make music with each other way more often, as a fundamental practice of culture. Heads of state should make sounds together before they start discussing conflicts – it gives you a non-verbal connection with spirit, and you can get so much done so much faster that way. Literally singing together makes people’s hearts entrain to the same beat with each other!
What is Evolver’s role in festival/conscious culture?
Evolver has a tour program ready to go to bring a traveling dome to festivals, to bring educational content and activist networking. We have a sponsorship deck together and everything – we just need someone to spearhead the fundraising, and then it’s a go. We think this can go a long way toward connecting conscious culture with what’s needed in the “default” world. The whole scene has matured to a point where it’s ready to integrate and shift the entire cultural landscape.
We’d like to host our own festival; it might be less music-centric so people can go deeper into learning the skills needed at this time in society. I don’t think I’m the only Sporeganizer who feels that bringing a club scene into the forest isn’t necessarily walking the talk about practicing “consciousness.” Granted it’s a glorious hyper-dimensional club scene, but still… There’s work to be done, and I think people hearing their environment instead of omnipresent whomp might be something important missing from these things. Not to be down on the scene, but the more I talk about this, the more people say “yes please, I’m ready for something different.” Which just means it’s time for another outgrowth or evolution of what we’re doing.
I wrote an outline for what an Evolver festival could be – if anyone reading this wants to help us make it happen, please get in touch! Also, if any festival producer wants to take elements of this layout and run with it under their own brand, go for it, or we can co-sponsor or something – “Next Level Festivals.”
We’ll likely also start to see more regional Evolver Convergences where we share skills and resources and celebrate. Network together the movements.
Reality Sandwich now has an Evolver EDM section, curated by Julian Reyes of Keyframe Entertainment. Lastly, our e-commerce website can help festival vendors reach new audiences. The caliber of art and music that comes from conscious culture is through the roof, and it’s not going to stop exploding.
Where do you see Evolver in five years?
Evolver’s Global Issues Forums will have influence on corporate ethics and production practices. Several cities will have established physical hubs where people can go to read, heal, drink tea, and find community, learn pray and play. Evolver Learning Labs will host think tanks that bring powerful minds together to engineer solutions for large-scale problems. We’ll have a new website that will facilitate inter-organizational collaboration and resource sharing, and perhaps an incubator for conscious businesses. Evolvers will be building community gardens, remediating soils and watersheds, and creating mind blowing art. We will also be hosting monthly healing video calls where people can heal themselves, their communities, and the planet.