The Shepherd’s Almanac

March 2018

Maiola and Maiola Cyrillic have been beautifully used in the second volume of this extraordinary almanac, covering many different aspects of past and present pastoralism.

international confederation of shepherds

The Shepard’s Almanac (Pastevecký Almanach) is an extraordinairly unique publication. It has been prepared the past four years by a small group of dedicated shepherds, writers, academics, and artists. It is the second volume published by the International Confederation of Shepherds, which was founded in 2011 on the pastures of South Moravia in the Czech Republic. Their manifesto proclaims their members’ interests in literature, research, philosophy, sociology, and art related to pastoralism, even venturing into the mystical and surrealistic realms. The confederation subscribes to and promotes the idea of open pastoralism, without barbed wires and electrical fences, for the animals and shepherds to roam freely through the landscape. Taking this idealism further, they also advocate for intellectual freedom based on DIY principles and the Czech Underground.

the almanac

The almanac covers a variety of topics and stories about the history, current, and past traditions of shepherds and pastoral mysticism. According to the authors, a large part of this volume is focused on the pastoral culture of the Native American Diné people, also known as Navajo, and their complicated transition from hunter-gatherers to shepherds. Another part is centred on the relationship between shepherds and the industrial world, being discussed in several essays and photographic journals. The third major section covers pastoralism in Macedonia, discussing the past and present situation of pastoral life.

Back in 2015 we received an email from Michael Blail, one of the main founders of the confederation and a shepherd himself. He asked if we would be willing to collaborate with this endeavour by allowing them to use Maiola in the book and, later, on the web for free. This project seemed very special and worthy of our support. In return we suggested that one of the newborn sheep be named Maiola, which Michael happily obliged. He selected an ewe from the Northern-European short-tailed Romanov breed, which is now roaming somewhere in the Balkans. We love the fact that it is a black sheep!


Michael B. with the sheep Maiola.

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