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walking barefoot

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Found some good stuff re: barefoot walking in the articles section of


This was written in the early 1900s in England perhaps--full article entitled 'barefoot league.'


Fun to see a Victorian Taoist!


The reason for this is, of course, that through the soles of the feet, which are the best absorbers of the finest of solar energy, these young bodies had been drinking in the very strength of our sun's body while his heat was being radiated from the asphalt or Downs, which were simply charged with it. And so it came to pass that very soon their bodies were charged through and through with the most potent of all physical vivifiers; every call was alive with its virtue, and, through the intensity and swiftness of these vibrations, the activity of the whole economy of their nature was so heightened that really wondrous effects in the beauty of health were soon evident to all who had seeing eyes.

"Oh, the joy of touching the earth! Oh, the delight to feel your tread, your grip of earth!" was the invariable utterance of every initiate after the first assay.

And so it truly is, for the earth loves the tread of the human foot, and the foot loves the contact of the earth. For here, I feel, there is a very serious service of Love. Ay, every tread of the bare foot of man or beast is to the body of Demeter, our good Mother-Earth, as a kiss of filial love, and is grateful to her. And through this tread we give to her of our human virtues or magnetisms and she, in return, gives us of her virtues even in her kiss.

For she loves those who love her body. Ay, she loves and blesses them well. And she gives them all the choicest good they are able to receive from her rich bounty. And they are blessed indeed.

Thus do we receive through the bare foot, not only the finest of the sun's energy, but also the virtues of the body of our earth in all its manifold richness and power. Much would I now say concerning this were I qualified. But I am no physicist in the ordinary sense of the schools, and I leave it to those who are qualified to do so. But the physicist who can so discourse must be, first, a free lover of Nature, and, also, an open- minded student of the finer forces of her life, both occult and manifest. To such I can surely promise in this realm an inexhaustible wealth of beauty whose sane sweetness will never cease to fascinate and satisfy.

Such are the rewards Truth offers to her lovers. And only such lovers are worthy of the name of Scientist.



The soles become so tough, not necessarily hard, that you can walk over stones, thorns, and other broken surfaces with impunity and even with pleasure. Yes, it is a positive pleasure for me to walk over a roadway of crushed rock, the gritty feeling being just as a delicious spice to the appetite of the foot. Why, as children, we could run over the dry channel-stones of the bed of the river Tummel, and even now I walk as comfortably on the gravel of the Brighton beach as on the paved street.



Now this is saying much, is it not? And surely a hardihood, a sweet health of body, soul, and mind, is something worth possessing.

We Need Hardihood

Yes, we need hardihood, sweet, strong, sane, chaste, noble hardihood. Ay, we sorely need it even now, hardihood of nerve and muscle, of flesh and blood, of heart and brain, ay, more hardihood of mind and soul, of will and desire, even hardihood of our whole nature, animal, human, and divine.

And that this great and holy hardihood is very greatly increased and intensified in us through barefoot walking must be so evident to all who have had this chat with me, that I need not now tell you why is should be so.

The Manifold Nutriments Obtained for the Body through Barefoot Walking

All the parts of the earth's surface on which we tread will fulfil a particular service of life for the health of the body. Thus if we walk on the young and living grass we shall receive of its fresh and living, yet soothing, virtue. If we walk on the mountain turf, hot in the sun's rays, we shall receive of the very strength of the mountain, ay, of the power of its soul or genius and of the sweetness of the airs of the mountain side. And, if we only have the incorruptible, deathless vitality in us so that our flesh fail not, we can, by walking even in the deep of winter over the dry, grassy braes, swept by the north wind, win from Boreas his hidden and potent heat.

If we walk in a pine wood, an oak wood, a birch or a larch wood, we shall surely receive of the peculiar virtues of these fragrant creatures of Life; and we may become so sensitive that we may taste the difference to the tread of the foot in each of these woods. If we walk on the sands of the sea we shall, in like manner, taste the various qualities of the virtues of the salts therein. Thus, if we walk on dry clay or mud, we shall at once recognise that the nutrition thus imparted to our nerval body is finer or more comforting than that conveyed through rough sand or fine shingle. And I would say here that I know of no finer physical exercise for the toning of the jaded nerve than quiet and deliberate walking on dry sea mud or sand if we are in the hot days. If you walk on the mountain's rocky sides you will absorb of her various elementary virtues, and they will nourish your finer body. If you walk in a hill-burn you will taste the life of the trout of the hill-burn; and what taste is more exquisite? It is only to be compared to that of the mountain lamb, whose joy you will taste over the grassy braes. And I you wish to know even for once the fine intoxication of the radiant energy of the sun, you will soon get it by walking over the sun-baked pavements of any city, how grimy soever it be. Wondrous is the bounty of Nature! And these are the ways by which we can taste the fine sweetness of the life of her children. Surely such ways are preferable to killing them!


Now I do not profess to give here the innermost rationale of this most subtle process of reinvigoration, and a hint at it must now suffice. I believe that what is known to the occult physiologist as the etheric body is affected, being both quickened and nourished by or through the finger energy of the sun's heat. But, as this theme would lead us into a realm with which I have no need or desire to familiarize myself at present to any special degree, I shall not ask you to follow me into its mysterious ways, even did I feel qualified to guide you therein, which I cannot say I do. Yet shall we say what we do know to be fact.


The Curative Powers of the Sun's Heat


And now for a few words on the curative powers of the sun's heat. Of these I have already written more than once, but it may well be repeated here that there is no regime, so far as I know, for the cure of ordinary rheumatism to compare with the absorption of the solar energy by the soles of the feet.

The heat of the sun is the drier up of all damps, ay, often psychic damp as well as physical damp!

For does it not then stand to reason that a prolonged flooding of the fine cells and tissues of the body with the radiant stream will assuredly dry these acrid damps out of the tissues and cells? For the virus of rheumatism may well be spoken of as an acrid damp. Of this I feel sure, though I am no physiologist; and I have learned from much experience.

For I tell you that I have been allowed to bring about the cure of very severe rheumatism through getting the patient, after pledging him to a fleshless diet, to walk barefoot on the hot ground or grass or pavement.

Not only for ordinary rheumatism is there here a simple, safe, and pleasant cure, but also for those much more serious nerval disorders classed as neurasthenic, so manifold in their modes of expression in our day.

I consider this to be a more serious service of the sun for our health than the cure of rheumatism, for who is more to be pitied than the victim of this most subtle disorder? But this subject is too vast for me to do more than merely hint that in the judicious use of uncooked, especially fresh rain-water, fruit and other live foods, combined with this use of the sun's heat, Nature hath put at our service the best means for the restoring of these fine nerval bodies to their normal condition of sweet life. And of all this I have spoken fully in Corpus Meum.

In short, we can well say that, for the general health of the body, nothing is more vital than that we care well for our feet, even unto the simple habit of washing them every night before we retire to rest. For in them is the physical basis for our understanding, and it is well to enter the holy place of the recreating Presence with a clean mind. And so much is implied in this that we may now close by saying: If ye would be well in your whole body, see well to your feet.


Let us Go in Peace


And now we have had our little tete-a-tete as we have walked barefoot together over this fair land of our nativity.

Literally, our shoes have been off our feet; literally, we have been in the continuous contact and gentle embrace of the good body of her love, our gracious, our beautiful Earth- mother, Demeter.

And in this constant and most vital contact we have entered into and enjoyed the most holy, most natural, most sweet, and most real communion with the Innermost o' our cosmic Being.

Thus have we broken the Bread of Life together; thus have we eaten the Body of our God. Thus have we drunk of the one Life- stream, even in the radiant energy of our own living sun.

And this living sun is the most true and most beautiful symbol of the Holy Sun of our life, even the cosmic Presence and Nearness of the Absolute, the Incomprehensible, the Unnameable.

And this radiant energy is the most sacred symbol of the strength of the Holy One of our blessedness whom we name, for the very sweetness of the sound, the Christ of the Ages of our Race.

Thus, having eaten of the Holy Substance, we have received into our innermost the very Essence of the One. And thus have we, in the several degrees of our human nature, and in accordance therewith, become divine.



I HAVE for some time past been daily tasting the delight of working the fallow land. I have been trenching the "lye," i.e., the grassy field in which situate "Kelmscott," the Vegetarian Home for Destitute Children at Wallasey, by Liverpool.

I have thus been preparing the fallow land both for the growth of their vegetables and for the little gardens which I had long promised they should each have. Thus truly delightful work has given me much to ponder. And out of this reflection has arisen a desire to write a treatise on the values of all useful and productive labour for the health of our whole nature.

This truth was first brought truly home to me at the Netherlands, Redbourne, Herts, where I tilled the land for some two months in the company of my dear brother in service, William Thompson. And my present experiences have only confirmed my then conviction, that, for the fulness of our health, labour of a useful and productive kind is absolutely necessary. Specially is this so, I find, with manual labour, and of all manual labours, it is, I think, specially so with the tilling of the land.

For we are the children of Demeter, the good, the kind, the beautiful Mother of our earth-bodies. She has been, and is, gracious unto us, and we do owe her a debt of love, or, at the very least, of gratitude. And if we cultivate her beautiful body in the spirit of love or gratitude, we thus pay her our dues. And we shall assuredly find in this gentle service of love to her body the precious reward of life, life and ever more life: ay, life sweeter, finer, fuller as the years go by.

I have long time felt that the majority of our nerval and mental disorders arise from our neglect of this most sacred duty, and that they may be both prevented and cured through this holy exercise. Well, dear comrades of the Barefoot League, I promise you we shall yet talk more fully together on this most fascinating and highly significant theme, than which none is, I believe, more pregnant with power for the healing of the manifold disorders of our day. Yes, Life is sweet. God is good. Addio, Addio, Addio!

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I'm reminded that at the time he wrote Walden, Thoreau was led womans group in spiritual/hikes around the forrests. One critic called him the high priest w/ a gaggle of woman.





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