It is easy to feel, when one is engaged in trying to manifest a natural, organic or bio-dynamic farm, that one is isolated, a lone pilgrim apprenticed to nature in the midst of a vast sea of corporate agriculture in the country and urban people in the cities who have zero awareness of the superior value of natural foods and instead depend upon corporate agriculture to provide their genetically altered vegetables and other food products cheaply.
Of course, that is a false impression. People are waking up to the health-content of natural foods. And that feeling of isolation vanishes when the world-wide web is utilized. My Inbox was abuzz with letters from people who wrote in to share their thoughts and stories after my article on Natural Farming was published. I want to share some of their responses with you.
One young woman living in Surrey, England, writes,
“A few years ago I was given a message to start to grow my own vegetables, and since that time we have enjoyed some chemical-free, organic, grown-with-love-and-respect produce. It is always a miracle to me when I pick and ingest what has grown in the garden. Most of the fruit never makes it indoors, especially our strawberries at this time of year. Our veggie patch inspires others to start growing – sometimes only on a balcony, but it is something! From little seeds, big things grow.”
That is so true! We can all consider ourselves as Johnny Appleseeds and ask ourselves what seeds we would like to toss behind us as we go through life, by what we say and do. She goes on to say,
“We have rescued some ex-battery hens from slaughter. These hens have the most terrific little personalities. When they arrived they did not have the strength to walk down the ramp from the hen house and had never seen the earth. They did not have the slightest idea what to do with a worm. However, their innate intelligence kicked in and now they thrive, take dust baths and simply love life.”
“Battery hen” is a British term for a hen grown by corporate agriculture, crowded in with so many other pullets that it cannot move its feet. In America we call such hens “big-business poultry”. On Avalon, we have rescued some abused chickens. It can be a heartbreak, as these chickens are weak and sometimes succumb to illness as soon as they are rescued from the ammonia-laden environment of their cages. However they are very grateful to be rescued, and ours, at least, began laying eggs for us the day after they were rescued and moved to our farm.
This same Englishwoman reflects, “It is a difficult but very exciting time for retrieving lost, simple pleasures and our connections to Mother Earth. The most unlikely of people are joining in with great enthusiasm. It is as though they were just waiting for this time to have the opportunity to turn away from their former lifestyles, which are not any longer in harmony with the universe. I feel that this is the real beginning of a whole new appreciation for what is wholesome, natural and pure; in short, healing.”
I know she is right. All over the urbanized world, community gardens are springing up. There are a growing number of balcony gardens using pots and troughs, and apartment window boxes often contain herbs now, as well as flowers. A family friend who is a high school teacher got a grant this year to create a summer gardening project at her school. As fourth density comes ever nearer, we are being drawn again to the healing energies of Mother Earth. And as our wallets slim down in this economy, we have a new appreciation for food we can grow ourselves.
Another reader, this one living in East Sussex, Great Britain, writes of my farming article, “This is a vital tapestry to weave, a matter of our nutrition, but also that of the earth and other sentient beings.”
Indeed, life is a tapestry, and we want to weave ours with threads not only from our interior lives of thought and emotion but also from our intimate connections with the larger-than-human community of earth and air, sun and water.
And a third reader, living in Arizona, writes, “God wants us to use love to grow our garden. I think we are all molecules, atoms and such which are part of Mother Earth. I feel such a connection to Earth, God and the universe, since we are all small universes in our own right. I feel this connection down deep within me.”
According to the Law of One, we are indeed small universes – the Ra group calls us sub-sub-Logoi – and we are very closely connected to the “Earth, God and the universe”. That connection is unity. We are truly one with all that there is. And all of us, humans, plants, animals and Earth herself, are children of love, for the Logos is pure and unconditional love.
She talks of Findhorn and Perelandra and then goes on to say, “Please help me understand more because I believe that if we concentrate more on the love that has been made available, wonders will literally pop!”
And this brings me to the Difference Maker celebrated in this present article, Michaelle Small Wright, creator of Perelandra Farm. Born in Baltimore in 1945, she experienced a tough childhood, literally raising herself after her parents’ marriage fell apart in 1958. She was only thirteen at the time. Her mother was an alcoholic who deserted her. Her father remarried quickly, to a woman who denied Michaelle even a telephone conversation with her father and banned her from her father’s house. Hard as it is to believe, neither parent was aware of Michaelle’s being stranded and alone.
Michaelle found a job and scraped by, somehow, putting herself through high school and gradually creating a good life for herself. Eventually she married and she and her husband moved to a 45-acre farm in the countryside near Jeffersonton, Virginia. She called it Perelandra. Her farm has since become a thriving business and her ministry in collaboration with nature has expanded amazingly. To surf around among her many fascinating offerings, go to http://www.perelandra-ltd.com/.
C. S. Lewis is responsible for the name of her farm. The second book of his Space Trilogy is Perelandra: Voyage to Venus. It follows Out of the Silent Planet and is followed in turn by That Hideous Strength, to make up that trilogy. Lewis wrote, in his eponymous book, published in 1943,
“Perelandra was a world of waves and murmurings and wandering airs, of life that rocked in winds and splashed on mossy stones and descended as the dew and arose sunward in thin-spun delicacy of mist.”
In this world, a grossly inaccurate version of Venus – but who knew in 1943 - life was magical and man and nature were inextricably intertwined. Lewis compared Perelandra to present-day Earth by saying,
“The triple distinction of truth from myth and of both from fact was purely terrestrial - was part and parcel of that unhappy division between soul and body which resulted from the Fall. Even on Earth the sacraments existed as a permanent reminder that the division was neither wholesome nor final. The Incarnation had been the beginning of its disappearance. In Perelandra it would have no meaning at all. Whatever happened here would be of such a nature that earth-men would call it mythological.”
Wright’s naming her farm Perelandra, then, meant that she was invoking the forces of nature which most people think are mythological – the devas and the nature spirits.
In her excellent book, Behaving as if the God in All Life Matters, she recounts how she began to communicate with these entities. In the book’s introduction, she writes,
“Individuals such as myself … have tapped into the truth within nature purely because of a personal need to understand something more about life. On a larger scale we have the world-famous Findhorn Community in Scotland, which began its growth and development … on a foundation of discovery of the co-creation between man and nature.”
I visited Findhorn in 2004, finding it every bit as magical a place as I had felt it to be when I first read The Magic of Findhorn, by Paul Hawken, in 1979. There I met with Eileen Caddy, who blessed our group, L/L Research’s, efforts in creating spiritual community and making of Avalon Farm a bio-dynamic one. She gave me advice that was simple and true: “Meditate and open to spirit every day,” she said, “and follow the directions you are given.” To the best of my ability, I do so, day by day.
By such simple faith, she and the group around her have created a thriving community, not simply a cluster of caravans, which is how they started, but a real eco-village, with houses built according to “green” principles and a vital social life. Their calendar is rich in service opportunities and gatherings that share all sorts of knowledge. View their web site, http://www.findhorn.org/index.php?tz=240, to familiarize yourself with what they have to offer.
Michaelle explains in her book that, “The desire of the intelligences within nature to touch in with us, to communicate and work with us, is intense. The quality of our life and of all life forms on Earth depends on our willingness to learn how to act and move in such a way that we enhance life-quality, not damage or destroy it.”
Think about that for a minute. Do we “act and move in such a way that we enhance life-quality”? I have been guilty, in just the past week, of using plastic bottles of water, plastic bags and batteries from a company, Energizer, which refuses to recycle them even though they know that their product is toxic in landfills. How hard would it be for me to use a water bottle that filters tap water? To carry shopping bags from home instead of depending upon “paper or plastic”? To buy consumer-rechargeable batteries made by an ecologically responsible company like International Batteries? It is not hard to talk about doing such things. It is just hard to change life-long habits of carelessness and thoughtlessness.
At one point, Michaelle asks the Overlighting Deva of Perelandra, “Why is it seemingly so important for humanity to re-connect spiritually to Planet Earth now?”
Perelandra’s Overlighting Deva responds, “I would emphasize to you the word ‘survival’ in answering a question such as this. But I would be quick to point out that I don’t mean survival in the traditional sense you humans tend to understand. You see survival as the opposite of death. We don’t recognize death as a reality, therefore we don’t use survival in the same context.
By survival we mean the act of maintaining the fusion and balance between spirit and matter on the physical Planet Earth. … On Earth the primary thrust is to fuse in balance spirit and matter. … We were always meant to work in partnership – we of nature and man.“
When I was a toddler, I had a habit which concerned my mother, one which she was forever trying to help me break. Whenever it rained, I would take off all my clothes, run out into the back yard and hug all the trees. The trees were happy in the wet, and I was happy with them, and the clothes got in my way! By the time I was four years old, I had learned that we humans do not remove our clothing in public, and we do not hug trees.
However as an adult, I have resumed the practice of communing with the trees around me, although I retain my apparel while doing so! And I recommend it to you as a way to start working in partnership with the forces of nature and to feel their real love for us.
I open my arms and embrace your spirit! Let us become better partners with the devas and nature spirits. Let us choose food grown organically, and give our bodies the love of the organic farmers and the health of natural foods. And most of all, let us come fully alive as human animals, and join in the rhythmic, loving dance of all of nature!