Earth Ethos is led by Valerie and Lukas Ringland, who have been life partners since 2011.
Dr. Valerie Cloud Clearer Schwan Ringland
I am an East Frisian–Sumerian (Jewish) woman. My spiritual name is Cloud Clearer (Wulkenkloorjer) because I facilitate clarity and receptivity to inner wisdom and nourishment. Honesty is vital to me, my cosmology is Indigenous, and I am an animist. Schwan is my family totem, swan in German, a shamanic signifier across cultures.
I am an Indigenous scientist, researcher, writer, space-holder, medicine woman, teacher, mother, partner, friend, caretaker, and community member. I integrate Indigenous science throughout all of my work. I have over a decade of experience in facilitation, research, and social policy and practice around the world (Australia, U.S., India, South Africa and Peru). In terms of formal training, I have a Ph.D. in social work, a J.D. in law, B.A. in maths, and certifications in mediation and restorative justice. I currently am writing a book about Indigenous social science and teaching an Indigenous science research methods course at UPeace, as well as working with individuals. You may view my CV here.
I have lived experience knowledge of intense trauma, grief and loss, health challenges, spiritual crises, grounding, ancestral communication, and conflict resolution. I have over a decade of experience in healing work and have done apprenticeships in indigenous healing methods, including ceremonial dancing, earthing ceremonies, dreamwork, sweat lodge ceremonies, and sacred circle-keeping. As my spiritual name suggests, I work to clear internal clouds polluting the mind and to transform ‘shitty’ experiences into fertiliser for learning and healing. I specialise in holding space for passionate, fiery people.
I am an Anglo-Celtic Australian decolonising on Yuin Country, the land of my first settler ancestor. I’m on a long journey to unpack the depths of my identity. So much of who I am has seemingly been shaped by the darker and overwhelmed aspects of Judeo-Christianity, masculinity and whiteness. I see it as being of vital importance to acknowledge and honour this darkness, whilst also trying to revitalise these aspects of being. Through this lens, overwhelmed masculinity becomes the sacred masculine, patriarchal and shame-based Judeo-Christianity becomes an honoured if flawed ancestral belief structure, and obliterating oppressive whiteness becomes a celebrated ethnic and tribal identity, in equal relationship with other tribes.
I know, too, that I must find balance with earth-based, feminine qualities of being and knowing that have for so long been repressed. Exploitation of the earth, and the controlling, patriarchal dominance of the “engineering/fix-it mind” becomes an “earth ethos”, more in tune with emergence instead of forceful logical positivism, and open, intuitive complexity instead of narrow, limiting rationality. In other words, I want to find my Indigeneity once more, complicated as this is by my being a recent arrival on Australian shores in ancestral terms with such deep ties to other places, despite being born here. Often unconscious, destructive and stagnant longing for the old countries must shift into grief and transition.
My professional life was once defined by a vision of being “the man in the suit” who dominates through his intellect. I may have chosen a “softer” line of work in the not-for-profit sector, but “suit man” remained the vision of success, with all the collateral damage — internal and external — that this archetypal journey through the world entails. The transition away from “suit man” has been one of the most painful yet vital journeys of my life.
I’ve now come to see my greatest strength as my empathetic heart and intuitive wisdom expressed through interpersonal and community work. I no long define myself in terms of “career”. I am a husband, father, community member, friend and brother. I seek at all times to protect, nurture and teach mind, body and spirit, and that of my community, both those parts that are strong, and those that are healing. I value and respect synchronicity and The Middle Way.