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The Story of the RainbowWeb

I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware of our dependence on nature, and whenever possible I've lived simply, grown food, kept poultry, and used rainwater. I also became aware back in the late 1950s not only of the extent of industrial pollution, but the possibility of global warming due to the increasing emission of greenhouse gases.

But it was not until my youngest child left home in 1988 that I became actively involved in any environmental actions. After the Australian Greenhouse '88 conference, I had the privilage of experiencing a COUNCIL OF ALL BEINGS facilitated by John Seed, and for me this was an epiphany.
My radically changed and deepened awareness contributed to the breakup of my marriage, leaving me free for the first time to make my own lifestyle choices, although homeless, and without an income. Should I travel like a gypsy in the Kombi, since I was living in it anyway, maybe visiting various alternative communities & eventually settling in one of them? Or, as I had done more than once in the past, find an abandoned house in a rural area & make it into my own private paradise? Whenever I was meditating, (& even when I wasn't!) the plight of the cities kept coming into my mind & especially the need to demonstrate & practice sustainable living in the city. After several months of this inner pressure, I "agreed" to make my home in an inner city environment. The support of a Women's Practical Magic group helped me to swallow my pride and apply for Public Housing, and on the eve of the May Full Moon we held a powerful ritual for various of our private intentions.

After an incredibly brief interval, the SOUTH AUSTRALIAN HOUSING TRUST (Now known as Housing SA) allocated me a tiny brand-new cottage within walking distance of the city centre. Not only did it have a very small but self-contained garden, but, as I gradually discovered, because of it's location on the original floodplain of the River Torrens, it has some of the best and deepest soil in the State, as well as having an unusual amount of sub-soil moisture. This seemed so miraculous that I determined right away to regard my new home as a sacred trust, and to dedicate the rest of my life to loving and caring for Gaia in every way of which I was capable.
Not that I felt capable of very much! Although I had managed, at the request, and with the support, of the staff at the Campbelltown Community Health Centre, and together with my friend Joanne Hill, to devise and run a series of environmental workshops at the Centre during this time.
They also succeeded in getting the SA Energy Forum to fund a series of environmental workshops I had previously devised, but not run, for the WEA. These were offered by various communty centres, and I ran them on a voluntary basis.
The various leaflets I produced are now on this website, and listed here.

When I moved here I had been living in my Kombi for several months, & was so severely depressed I was unable to work, & eventually put on an Invalid Pension.
(I was later diagnosed for the first time with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although I had suffered from it's effects for many years. I still do. I was also born with DYSPRAXIA, a much neglected motor disability, which has only been properly understood in recent decades. Finally, in 2020, at the age of 82, I was diagnosed as Autistic - high-functioning, which was formerly known as Aspbergers.)
When I approached Permaculture SA for help with designing & setting up the garden, they were in the process of disbanding. So I had to develop the design, collect the materials, propagate or purchase the plants, set it all up, & develop & maintain it single-handed. What I couldn't physically do myself, I had to pay to have done.
In spite of this, not only did I, with the help of a couple of stalwarts, design & set up the SA Permaculture Network, but I ran it from my own telephone until PASA re-formed to run the Australasian Permaculture Convergance at Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1995.
Back in 1992 no-one was available to teach Permaculture locally, although there was an increasing demand. So I designed & facilitated a number of on-site Intros. although I had no official Permaculture Design qualifications. Then to save enough to do a PDC and an Educator's Course with Robin & Skye at Earthcare Education, I lived on even less money than usual for several months. Since by then I had replaced the Kombi with a bike, I travelled to Crystal Waters by bus & train, & stayed there for a month before travelling back the same way.
Two years later I received my Diploma, in Education, Site Development, & Community Development.
In 1994 I facilitated a PDC, conducted over a full academic year, and in 1997 a similarly structured course for women.
You can read the story of these early years in this article from the June-August 1992 issue of the International Permaculture Journal
The entire journey was the best treatment for depression anyone could wish for!

Then, having decided to retire & live the life of a hermit, I taught myself to build this website, which makes it possible to share my habitat & philosophies much more widely than when I gave physical 'tours'. In any case these are just no longer possible without seriously disrupting the delicate balance of the eco-system which has developed here.

One of the first steps in settling into my new home in August 1989 was to choose a name for it.


kept suggesting itself, possibly because of John Seed's connections with the Rainboweb community in Byron Bay. So, in spite of my preference for something more conventional, this is what I decided upon. Instead of a name plate, I created a spider's web of yarn, with silver spokes, & rainbow colours, & fixed it to the door.
It is still there - inhabited by small spiders who have overlain it with their own tiny webs.

Gradually, over the years, the meaning of this unconscious choice of symbolism has surfaced.
'The RainbowWeb symbolises integration of all kinds:
the practical/aesthetic; tangible/intangible; horror/beauty;
Earth/Sky; Iris/Ariadne; Innana/Erishkegal;
It symbolises the four elements: Earth & Air/Fire & Water.
It is a spiral & a star.
All it's paths lead both to & from the centre.
It may be observed in nature, on a dewy morning at sunrise.
Blessed be!'

Without being aware of it, I was describing my own journey,

The poet William Wordsworth wrote:

'My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.....'.

This is literally true, I believe, of all of us. I have sometimes stopped strangers in a busy street to point out a rainbow they would otherwise not have noticed. Their reactions have varied widely, but all were positive. So much about the rainbow cannot be expressed in words - but words are not necessary. One feels the heart lift.

The Rainbow appears in the spiritual symbolism of so many cultures. It is real magic, still effective - perhaps more so - since it has been explained by physics. If I want someone to really stop & think, I often ask: 'Is a rainbow real?'

Images & feelings rather than words express, but cannot capture, the essence of the RainbowWeb symbol. It is about contrasts, contradictions, & paradox. It is about the magical, spiritual nature of real things - what we so often refer to, disparagingly as 'the material'. It is about the interconnectedness of all that exists, that has existed, & is yet to come into being. It is about a sense of place combined with an oceanic feeling; a sense of wonder combined with affection & respect. It is about the constant change inherent in life itself, & about the absolute security derived from being poised in the moment.

My home - there is little distinction between house & garden - has become a sanctuary, & rainbows are everywhere. Some are living visitorsRainbow Lorikeets use the almond tree as both larder and playgroundCaterpillars are not sprayed in this garden, so there are lots of butterflies

Some are contrived with crystals which have found their way here - others in fabric, photos, & pictures. Frequently in the early morning, a rainbow arches over the city of Adelaide, & frames the view of the heart of the sanctuary.

After seven years, I felt I wanted to change my name. Again, RainbowWeb kept nagging me. So I took the necessary steps, not without a feeling of embarrassment. But it seemed important that I should become totally identified with everything that my habitation is & may become.

Then, in 1998, I was taking photographs to add to the pictorial record I have made of the garden's development. All I saw when focussing the camera was a statue in a shaft of sunlight. The rainbow in the sanctuary's heart only became apparent when the film was printed. It was a true benediction. It also seemed a sign that this concept & its energy needed to be shared world-wide. So I overcame my parsimony & technophobia, bought a computer & learned how to set up a website. Technically its construction is simple - but it is designed as a web, which becomes infinitely more complex as it is explored. The aim is provide an experience, not just information.

So this site is just one part of an Energy Web connecting, ultimately, all the websites & resources that can in any way assist us in the Re-earthing process. Verbal, musical, artistic, snailmail, & many other networks intermesh, reaching even where the Internet does not - everything is connected to everything else!

Click the graphic below for an inspirational piece on the true meaning of networking(22kb)

The true meaning of Networking 22kb - graphic by Silverhair

Why not join me, and get really creative with the way you use this amazing World Wide Web. Learn to use Search Engines effectively - they are a wonderful tool, but each one has its idiosyncrasies which need to be mastered. Help the RainbowWeb to extend its filaments & strengthen its fabric, so that it surrounds & nourishes the Earth & all Her creatures, & reaches into the atmosphere & beyond....................Allow yourself to follow your truest instincts.....take the time to respond rather than just reacting.........some items on this site will provoke powerful feelings. Breathe rhythmically, allow yourself to go deeply into those feelings, breathe them through.......please don't 'shut down'........Each time you allow yourself to respond fully, you are taking some of the emotional & psychological risks that are essential to personal growth & the deepening of your understanding.

Throughout my life, and particularly in creating this website, I have drawn on my experiences of living for 25 years in London, before the emergence of the Clean Air Act & other initiatives to improve the city environment, and including the 5 1/2 years of WW2, when services were to say the least unreliable, food, clothing, fuel & household & personal necessities were strictly rationed, & a great deal of ingenuity was required to sustain the semblance of ordinary life. (Many people may not realise that rationing did not finish until 1954 in the UK, & serious shortages continued into the early 60's).
But my grandparents (See GRANDPA'S VICTORY GARDEN) and parents, all of whom had lived through WW1 & times of great depression, not only taught me many practical skills, but also how to find green and peaceful places in the midst of the terror, the pollution, and the difficulties.
For an in-depth look, and some pictures, please go to A Green Childhood in 1940s London

I have also lived & raised children in the Australian bush, without any modern amenities. But as well as the education, skills, & inner resources I was privileged to receive during my childhood, the people of the Pindan, in North Western Australia, taught me much about my new environment, and it's amazing resources.

For the wisdom & inspiration of all these elders I am deeply grateful.

This website is aiming to be as Global as possible, it's energy reaches far beyond the limits of the Internet, and it outlines some of the other strategies that have been used to generate rainbow energy.

You can add to the energy of the RainbowWeb simply by tuning into its healing energy; or by emailing me

Before you leave this page, why not come & meditate for a while in the RainbowWeb

My habitat - A Virtual Tour...............................Original Permaculture design Notes

Courtesy of Earthly Pursuits

Visit this excellent SPIDER WEBSITE to learn about nature's web spinners.

Rainbow around the earth - a potent symbol of powerful planet healingRAINBOW ROUND THE EARTH The Rainbow Maker's Home Page - Global Messages - All you ever wanted to know about rainbows.

And for a fascinating collection of lore & environmental wisdom, visit Kathleen Jenks' beautiful page
Takes a while to load, but is well worth the wait; good links, too!

Home | Re-earth the Cities | The Permaculture Journey | The RainbowWeb Story | Sustainable Solutions | You Can Save the Earth!
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Margaret's Sustainability Articles

Australia - This is an Australian website - Contact Margaret RainbowWeb

URL - http://www.users.on.net./~arachne/rainbow.html