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Conscious Building

natural building with Peter MacGill and Cathee Courter

Some buildings purr. Or is it that we purr when there? The building seems to rise up out of the land as a marriage of people and place. You can sense how living there is significant to the life of the people, and the unique people living there are special to the life of the land.

When we build in loving relationship to everything—land, building materials, each other, even subtle energies and geometries, we discover that everything has wisdom and consciousness. If instead of dominating, we participate creatively in sheltering ourselves, we can find ourselves living in environments with a magical, beautiful, nurturing quality to them. They feel "alive."

We offer you our expertise. Peter has a quarter century of building experience as a general contractor. Cathee has a quarter century of understanding human experience as a psychic counselor. Together we have done an intensive apprenticeship with nature spirits for a decade. We can catalyze, support, nurture and implement your process of conscious building. In the pages that follow we describe the steps. We're happy to help you with one or a few steps, or go with you from conception to delivery. Some clients want just a consultation. Others have plans in hand, and want Peter to be their general contractor. Many of these steps are appropriate for renters or people considering a move, as well as those persons, businesses or institutions ready to renovate or build from the ground up.


In our consultations, we offer advice covering a full spectrum from psychic insights to practical implementation.

These sessions are a wonderful flow between what you want to know, and what the universe has been wanting to tell you. Yours will be unique, so we'll just list a few areas we've worked with in the past.

We have come to expect surprises as the norm in the guidance that comes through. We have saved people from expensive mistakes, and helped others refine their vision of what's in the flow for them, to choose even better options than they were imagining for their lives.

The Land

We bring together many strengths in working with land. With a masters degree in geology, Peter was a government geologist for seven years, and loves sleuthing with a geologic map as well as a trained eye. What's under there has a great effect on what's on the surface, even beyond the coal under many towns having led to huge tunnels that houses can fall into!

For instance, living over a fault line can be polarizing and lead to rapid change. Your marriage had better be strong and flexible if you choose to move there as a couple. Living on mountain granite will expose you to more radioactivity, which can lead to fast evolution (not all DNA change is bad) or can undermine your emotional stability.

We were asked by business partners to evaluate a building they were considering buying and renovating into a spa. It was built on the kind of cliff that a soaring eagle would love. That cliff was made of poorly consolidated material that seemed crumbly, not solid. A series of faults were nearby. It was not a good place to relax and feel supported, as many would want in a spa.

Every culture has its traditions of geomancy—working with land energies. We find that human-generated "ley lines" caused by electric power substations, cell phone towers, sump pumps and the like have damaged the energetic integrity of most places. In parts of Europe, if your husband died of cancer, and your next husband also comes down with it, you might be likely to have someone check for "earth rays" going under his side of the bed. We can work with those, but to be honest, many homes in turning on their wi fi modems are creating worse. If you're serious about your health, start with the "off" button. Then we'll go from there.

Unlike many geomancers, we see large natural ley lines as having consciousness, and the points they connect are not necessarily in a straight line, but of a similar resonance. As our focus of perception is becoming more 4D as the Earth's vibration rises, one would expect this. So as with our ghost work, rather than bring technical equipment, we tune into the resonance of who is there and communicate with them, and ask for directions if work needs to be done. In contrast, when we work with human-generated electrical fields, we bring lots of detection equipment, because these flows are dumb and don't communicate!

We used to use academic phrases like "tapping into nature intelligence" or "the consciousness of nature." But as we find ourselves in love with spirits of specific places and flowers, we're finding the difficulty in human/nature relationships comes not so much in communication, or in differences in consciousness, but in our species' incapacity for intimacy. Asking you to open your heart to your land is similar to if several hundred years ago we had encouraged you to fall in love with your slaves. Could you do that and still run the plantation? Nowadays, can you still see your land as your spiritual peer after dealing with neighborhood association or zoning regulations, chopping down healthy trees for fire prevention as required by your insurance company as required by your mortgage holder, or watching the new cell tower go up down the block? And what if your home on this planet is not so much land-based as it is atmosphere, in an apartment ten stories up?

What we're asking you to do can be difficult. We're asking you to live on Earth in a body—not live in a human-dominated virtual reality. Most people don't know there's a difference. But the quality of life of those who manage to "stay real" with nature is infinitely rich. Conscious building can be a great exercise in developing the capacity for intimacy in the sweet succulence of real life. And that intimacy is the foundation for resolving our ecological mess.

Listening to land now is key, especially with global climate change. If you're living in "the right place at the right time," in loving relationship with it, you can relax about fires, droughts, etc. The rain may literally fall on your garden, and not your neighbors.

We have friends who lived on Storm Pass near Drake through the huge fires there a few years ago. They built consciously with their land, which looked out from the side of a high hill. The fire spread around the back three sides of their acreage, leaving their home like a peninsula of green in a charred forest. There was no rational explanation.

Land is calling people to it like never before. If you feel led to move, do it. If you've been visualizing your dream home and feel called to move into something quite different, do it. You'll be taken care of, if you follow these urges.

We recommend asking the land for permission to build, and we've been surprised sometimes at the results. A client who wanted to build a small "green" home on her beloved mountain lot received a clear no. She went ahead and had so many problems with well-digging, easements, and neighbors that she gave up and sold her lot. Conversely, another couple planned a palatial-sized not-green-at-all renovation and received a royal yes. Cathee received a vision of the homeowners sitting in the middle of a circle of plants growing up and over their heads, sheltering them in loving beauty. Places, like humans, have their own higher purposes. Not all places are meant to shelter humans.

It's our hunch that communion with land, where you feel like it senses you as well as you sensing it, is what most of the three million tourists who come to Rocky Mountain National Park each year are seeking, whether they be fundamentalist Christians or Wiccans. You can imagine the importance of this quality of "aliveness" for a spiritual retreat center, or even a mountain bed-and-breakfast.

We talk about "waking up the land" in our "Becoming Mud: Into the Heart of Nature" article. This refers to perceiving and resonating with (loving) nature spirits enough to create an interface between us that, like any relationship, grows stronger with attention. In this way we bridge our very different kinds of consciousness, making communication and communion possible. In some places we can do this, but not in all. Humans have damaged our relationship in some areas, for instance through growing genetically modified crops, so much that nature has had to in effect quarantine the area. This makes it all the more important for those who live in areas like our local mountains who have the talent, to work with the land spiritually, as there's more power gathered here to compensate.

A friend who was a radar engineer for years recognizes the dynamics of waking up the land, saying that humans can only perceive a small slice of the full electromagnetic spectrum in which radar is invisible. Some of us can stretch and sense more of the part considered invisible by others than most. We like his analogy, except that we see the electromagnetic spectrum as 3D, and feel these interfaces are more 4D, more soul-level. The scientific studies of relativity, cosmology, and quantum physics take place in four-dimensional space.

We are willing to travel to places west of the Mississippi for conscious building consultations and to wake up the land. We can offer workshops in your area while there.

Building Materials

Traditionally, Indians would carry stones from one place to leave at another place, experiencing that the stones connected the lands energetically at a distance. Today railroad cars full of stones connect places, but in a typical home, inhabitants don't even know where the materials that shelter them came from. And many don't want to know. If you had seen the beauty of an old growth redwood forest before it was clear-cut for your deck, would you still enjoy your barbecue there?

There's a psychological incentive to close down and not open our hearts to the stuff of the Earth that shelters us. We don't want to feel guilty about cutting down someone else's forest or mining their beloved land, we don't want to feel their grief or our own unresolved grief at losing favorite places, and we simply forget that things aren't created in stores. By shutting down, though, we miss out on the pleasure of nature housing us in loving relationship. Even if you suspect the wood in your already built house came from unsustainable sources, it's all the more reason to love that redwood in the deck now. Otherwise, part of the tragedy is not just that we killed the forest, but that we're living in dead-feeling buildings because we cut ourselves off from their life force. The energy of the whole forest can be felt in a two-by-four, as well as the spirit of the species.

Most people live in earthy houses. The drywall in the interior walls is made of gypsum—a mineral. Windows are largely sand. These are the minerals highly prized in rock shops in their crystalline forms—selenite and quartz points. Even the nylon in a carpet is of the earth—it comes from rich, dark oil. Copper wires and water pipes have a beautiful luster and strong energetic qualities.

Because humans seldom realize how precious the gift of human consciousness is to the nature realm in our ability to differentiate, focus and love, we tend to feel that we're always taking and not giving back. The truth is, plants love to be eaten by humans who appreciate them. Cathee is in the process of writing a book on how nature sees us.

Using local materials can be a wonderful experience, especially when you can visit the redstone quarry, or the straw field, or the forest. What a gift if you know the history of your salvaged pine paneling. But even if the closest you can get is the lumber yard, you might still be able to muscle test or intuit whether the timbers want to come home with you or not.

Using local materials certainly makes sense in terms of the fuel used for transportation. But that Italian marble countertop may be calling you for a reason. It may be calming for you to live in its presence.

We're so inundated with mass media images of buildings, it can be hard even when you're standing in an actual one to really feel how you feel there. You may be haunted by some image in your mind of what you think you should want based on advertising, catalogs and magazines, a friend's house, or supposed resell value. What building materials will best hold and give shape to the events that will happen in that space? If you're fortunate, you can get a sense of the materials choosing you, as you choose them.

The Building

In our experience, the spiritual aspects of nature beings like flowers and mountains go as high in dimensionality as our human oversouls do. Together nature and humans can create things like buildings that are not quite as creative as we are, but can still be considered conscious beings. We call the center of consciousness of a flower species, a human body, or a building a "deva." All the material world is a play of consciousness.

We know of nothing outside of ourselves except through relating to it. So really when we speak of the deva of your home, we're talking about the deva of your relationship with your home. This consciousness will begin to fill in energetically and feel like it has a unique, identifiable presence the more you give it your attention.

If you're renovating, you've got a deva to begin to work with. If you're building from the ground up, you'll need to co-create one with nature. You can do this by putting yourself into a meditative state, calling in your higher self and the land and nature, and feeling the subtle energy of your new building. What is its purpose? How do you want to feel when you're there? How will it hold space for you and others within its surrounding environment?

All things that exist in 3D begin as a thought or subtle form in higher dimensions. Begin by sensing the deva of your new building as energy, and then let it gradually reveal to you what it will look like in form. This can happen in meditation, dreams, daydreams, coincidences, impulses to read a book or drive through a neighborhood, etc. Work back and forth between feeling its subtle energy, and seeing if the blueprint or carpeting or whatever you're looking at matches its vibration. Take it shopping with you, and you'll know when you see the right fixtures, etc. You may find yourself drawn to things quite different than you liked in the past. By the time you move in you will have a friend—the deva of your building.

Here's an example of how we can help. Say you've read that orange stimulates digestion and yellow stimulates good dining room conversation. You're renovating and can't decide between yellow and orange paint samples. You pull Peter aside. He calls in the universal nature spirit, the deva of your home, and your and his higher selves. You ask a specific question like "with which color will I be most satisfied and happy?" He tunes into your energy signature, and puts one hand to each paint sample in turn. With the other hand he "muscle tests," pressing one finger against another to see with which color the first finger stays strong. Neither color checks out. So you together muscle test your way through other color samples, until an apple green sample tests strong.

You go back to your color book and read that green is a balanced color, containing warm yellow and cool blue. You remember your New Year's resolution to eat a balanced diet, and to eat less. And realize that yellow doesn't remind you of stimulating conversation. It reminds you of MacDonalds golden arches and french fries—the fast food you're trying to wean yourself of. And orange stimulates not only digestion, but appetite. You might soon outgrow the need for green in the dining room, so you might want to use it for things easy to switch out later—i.e., not the carpet. But you smile, seeing that your renovated home will be fine-tuned to what you need now.

Cathee can let your building "team" speak through her in words, and bring through far more information than muscle testing can give. She can also make suggestions based on feng shui to be sure natural subtle energies flow easily through the building. And she is sensitive to building materials like stone and the energies they hold, and can help you choose compatible elements.

Likewise, Peter can suggest unique architectural details like arches, or ways to use sacred geometry.

"Sacred geometry" proportions are the underpinnings that create beauty, balance and harmony in nature. Plants, animals, and humans all grow in proper proportion to themselves. (A baby growing arms to adult size in the first four months of life would not work well.) All life grows according to the phi ratio, often called the golden mean—1.618. If you divide a line into two segments, the ratio of the small segment to the larger segment is the same as the ratio of the larger segment to the whole. When the phi ratio is used in the size of rooms, windows, and skylights, or even in ornamentation such as display cabinets, artwork etc., even a small change can make a big difference in the feeling of harmony and balance to those frequenting the building. Many other shapes used in sacred design and architecture are permutations and elaborations of that basic proportion. Labyrinths can also shape energy powerfully, as well as symbols and photographs.

Conscious building is a creative process, going back and forth between you and the building, or the higher purpose of an organization and the building, and fine-tuning. It can be hard to predict exactly how a space will feel with certain changes, until you try them out. Furthermore, in these days of intense evolution, people are changing so rapidly, you may not be the person tomorrow that you are today. So you might want to paint one wall a certain color before painting the whole room, and test it out. You might want to have temporary partitions dividing the room, like cloth hanging from the ceiling, and try out how various shapes and sizes of space feel before committing to walls. In fact, you might want to not commit to walls, but have movable soundproof partitions built instead. If you'll be working with an architect, you'll want a "conscious building" oriented one—we can make recommendations.

Basically what we're doing is creating forms in 3D that will shape your fourth dimensional experience, which is usually thought to be comprised of thoughts, emotions, and etheric energies. Different "atmospheres" engender different thoughts and feelings in people. For instance, it's easier to stay angry in a red room than in a blue one. It's an art to create a space that resonates beautifully with your own energy field, perhaps even pulling it in a direction that you prefer over your habitual moods. When we work with your uniqueness - especially within a framework of what feels harmonious to anyone, like sacred geometry proportions or feng shui arrangements—you can truly feel like your space is a creative extension of you. And if we do this work within the relationship you have with the land (and building materials), there enters an element of feeling known and loved by your space. Nature is meeting you in your co-creation and reflecting back to you who you are. Likewise, when your home seems to rise up out of the landscape, you are meeting nature with appreciation and reflecting back to it who it is, with love.

Spaces are often thought of as being functional backgrounds to the activities of our lives. But the spaces you frequent may influence your sense of well-being more than most of your activities. Every event happens in a place. Buildings and landscapes comprise your third and fourth skins (your second being clothes)—they're a part of "who you are."

An administrator of a facility for Alzheimer's patients asked for help designing a hospital ward for them. Our guidance came through with detailed suggestions for designing a space that would boost the ability of visiting family and friends to be able to interact with the patients on 4D levels—to connect soul to soul beyond the brain damage.

Designer Tony Robbin wrote even before the turn of the century, "We designers of spaces that people inhabit—artists, architects, and engineers—owe it to our audience to make spaces that enhance our capability to visualize the four-dimensional, hyperbolic, fractal, and quasicrystalline world that we are really living in."¹ Robbins also states, "Problems arise when the idea of beauty is anachronistic; if the public feels that its built environment is less vital than its conceptual environment, then buildings become a drag on consciousness."²

Green Building

We heartily recommend using non-toxic, sustainable "green building" materials, practices, and technologies. We also recognize the elephant in the living room, the question of whether it's even possible to build in such a way that six billion plus humans on this planet can live comfortably—or live at all—even if we were willing to make drastic changes in lifestyle. As the "green" concept has spread, it has been hijacked as a way to boost the economy with questionable products, or one more venue in which high tech will save us. Greenwashing prevails in advertising and building practices because most of us haven't examined our assumptions about our relationship to the Earth collectively and, well, established a relationship to the Earth personally.

One example of "green tech" is the compact fluorescent lightbulb. The selling of incandescent lightbulbs was recently banned in Europe. They produce heat as well as electricity, so they use a lot of fuel at electricity-producing coal-burning plants that put mercury into the air. Would you rather have that mercury directly in your bedroom? Compact fluorescent lightbulbs contain spillable liquid mercury, and how many of us have never broken a lightbulb? Even worse, these bulbs emit radio frequencies that make people sick. And it's illegal to manufacture them in the U.S. because the materials and processes used are so toxic.

In our heated arguments over whether electricity from smoggy coal is better than electricity from nuclear power plants, we tend to ignore the fact that the electricity that runs through our wires from any source is unhealthy for the human body. In the U.S. its frequency is 60 Hz, in Europe and other places 50 Hz, and it sets up electric and magnetic fields around the wires through which it passes both outdoors and in our walls. Electricity can become even worse for our health when it picks up other frequencies and becomes "dirty," such as when it passes from solar panels through an inverter to make it usable in our homes. Home wind turbines put out vibrations that similarly cause symptoms such as headaches, sleeplessness, etc. Putting huge solar or wind farms in "remote areas" means trashing the last of our wilderness, and forcefully disrupting the well-being of humans, other species and the land along high intensity wires which waste 70% of that electricity through leakage.

We're not recommending that you forego electricity in your home or other structure, but we're saying you'll have to choose from imperfect options. The same goes for choices in flooring, insulation, heating, etc. How to find your way through the maze? Realize that you are making choices for a particular embodied person or persons, for a particular building in a particular land area—even if your condo is up a few floors. Realize also that a body, a building, and land are not separate from the whole of nature, and they often possess wisdom about how it can all best come together for you in harmony and balance to the whole under the circumstances.

Our approach is to fill our minds with as much up-to-date technical information as we can about obvious options. Then we call in the spirits of people and places involved, and even the deva of the future building, and ask questions. Often we channel useful information that goes far beyond the initial question.

When most people think of asking nature spirits for help, they think of esoteric ancient tribal ceremonies. We have found nature spirits to be up to the task of advising in technical, detailed projects. We believe the best chance for creating truly green building innovations will come from teams comprised of knowledgeable building professionals, appropriate nature spirits, and the psychics who are their mouthpieces, all experimenting together.

Conscious building implies a human intimacy with the Earth that is nourishing to both. It goes well beyond being "politically correct" under the bankrupt paradigm of human domination.

Electromagnetic Fields

The most neglected factor in green building is the reduction of electromagnetic fields. These are the biggest pollutants of our time, and are exacting a tremendous toll on human health and the health of other species. The subject deserves a large section on our website for itself, which will be forthcoming. Suffice it to say here that we can measure magnetic and radio/microwave frequency fields in your existing building and make suggestions for mitigation, or help you design a new building with low fields.

The Builders

Peter works solo, or gathers a crew of hard-working, witty craftsmen who love their work and care about each other. You may find yourself a tad dusty in a flutter of decision-making, but what a wonderful feeling it is to set this dynamo of creative energy into motion in support of your dream. It can really be fun. Which is probably why Peter has so much repeat business from clients. Most of his building clients request energy clearings and enhancements—they can probably already feel the good energy going into the building during the work and want more.

Peter worked alongside a man who had cancer the year before he died, building part of his legacy—two additions on the family cabin. His widow later wrote Peter how much he enjoyed it, and said it was the best way he could have spent his final year.

The lowest paid laborer on Peter's crew renovating the Solstice Institute in Boulder, who demolished walls and wheelbarrowed out debris, told us later that it was the most fulfilling job he'd ever had. His other jobs had included dance teacher and massage therapist. But there's something very special about being a part of the energy of conscious building. Likewise, after Peter's last big project, another contractor on the crew said it had been his most satisfying job in decades of building experience.

Photographer Jonathan Machen chronicled the Solstice Institute job. You can see the work as it progressed on www.youtube.com. Search youtube for Solstice Center Renovation. (Cathee's favorite is Part III where framer Rob Peritz demonstrates how manly construction dudes eat rocks.) Still photos of the job can be viewed at Solstice Center photos.

In our impersonal culture of real estate mutual funds, and investments in distant rental properties sight-unseen, it can be refreshing to participate in an activity as old as humanity—creating with people we trust a beautiful sheltering space for our lives. Done with love, it still feeds the soul.

An Overview of Conscious Building

Please see our channeled overview on working with the aura of the building for "the refugees from the earlier stages of human development."

¹"Quasicrystal Architecture: The Space of Experience," Beyond the Cube: The Architecture of Space Frames and Polyhedra (1997): 428.

²Ibid., 436.

©Cathee Courter and Peter MacGill, photos and text. Building photos are from Peter MacGill's portfolio.

Copies may be distributed with credit given, but not sold.