WHO WE ARE
Leob Croft is a project. It’s an enfolding mystery. And whoever joins us is part of it. The natural backbone of it though is a piece of Paradise (11 Hectares) on the Isle of Mull.
"We" refers to Leob Croft as a "healing biotope" (borrowing this term from Tamera) including the land, and all its non-human and human beings such as Jonathan Knight, the owners of the Croft, Charlot and Renatus Derbidge with little Fiona (3 years old) and Marie (1 year old), who moved there in 2018.
"We" refers also to Leob Croft and all its inhabitants as a venue for these events to take place. "We" includes place. To us, Leob Croft is an entity which is more than just a vessel in which something takes place, it’s part of it!
"We" somehow is not quite correct. Because behind this website and its events is mainly one person, Renatus Derbidge. He organizes and facilitates the events. Sometime it is just himself. If its bigger events like the Summer School, when there are co-facilitators they will be introduced at the respective event (and not here).
Renatus, born 1979 in Frankfurt, Germany, is a nature boy, a trained biologist, geographer and philosopher. His passion are birds and birdsong. As a crofter he tries to remember what he learned 20 years ago when living on a farm for 1 ½ years as a young man. He is totally into cows, pigs and growing beetroot. If not looking at plants or listening to birdsong, then it’s probably raining, and he is indoors at his desk writing about nature and soul and the curiosities of life. After a short (4 years) intermezzo of being a high school science teacher, he went back to academia. He worked for the past 10 years as a Goethean scientist in Switzerland at the "natural science section" of the "Goetheaum" ("Free University of Spiritual Science"). In 2018 he finished his PhD with a study about the healing plant mistletoe (used in natural cancer remedies) at the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany.
Mull and Leob Croft are his new home. He knows the place since he organized and facilitated the “Summer School Isle of Mull and Iona" – a summer course for about 30-50 people from all over the globe who want to reconnect with nature and their neglected spirituality – which happens since 2016 each year.
He loves to lead and to share observations and to explore, alone by himself, with someone, in groups, with children or with friends all kinds of phenomena- the wildlife, wilderness, animals, plants and their secrets on Mull and beyond. This includes meditation, spiritual ecology, phenomenology, Goethean science and hands on experiences, hiking, drawing, photography, early morning birdsong excursion etc.
Next to the events presented here Renatus works as a lecturer at "Freie Hochschule Stuttgart", as a freelance researcher currently with a study on tree buds, as a workshop leader in different countries and as a writer and travel journalist for different magazines and - hopefully - some books to be published when time comes. He is also a singer-songwriter, speech artist and father of two daughters.
WHAT WE DO
The Goethean Approach
Goethean science is a holistic, sensual approach to nature, scientific, yet not excluding feelings and other wonderful things that belong to our human experience. Its scientific, since it embraces the methodological frame of science, like objectivity and reproducibility. The methods are orientated at the sense world, using the senses and thinking. Yet, it is also not scientific at all, but rather an artistic approach, since its not aiming for abstract laws, but rather works with the subjectivity of the observer, it counts on the subject of observation as a tool and trusts the observer’s abilities (which are not regarded as biasing the results, but in fact are boosting them). Such Goethe’s science is also about self-observation. So, if you know yourself, you know what and how you might "bias". You can take that into account! Because the observer always brings about a certain perspective. Normal science neglects that. Goethe say: "know yourself" and then its valid, because science is always perspectival, but you need to know which perspective your applying. And once you master it, you can share and communicate it perfectly well. And then, others can come to the same conclusions if they take on this exact perspective as well. And then its objective again! Everyone comes to the say result, without excluding the subject. And with it, comes again into view: joy, devotion, morality. This sounds rather sophisticated, which it is! But it’s also very simple: Just go on with observing and take everything serious including yourself: embrace the full, rich experience. Live in the sense world without just consuming it. Take everything in. And then, observe yourself at the same time. Take nothing for granted and explore! You might then discover, that “you” (the subject) is the door and the key to understanding the world.