Planet Earth is a living, sentient being. In the early 1970s, when I was learning to channel, I once channeled the Earth. I could not find that transcript for you or I would include a quotation from it. I suppose that it escaped being recorded. I channeled for some months before it was protocol to tape my work. However I know from first-hand experience that Mother Earth is alive.

She wears a garment of soil, sand, rock, fresh water and salt water. It is her cloak of soil upon which this article – Part Two of a five-part series on Penny Kelly’s book, From the Soil to the Stomach; Understanding the Connection between the Earth and your Health – dwells.

I have heard for years that we are destroying our good earth with industrial farming methods like non-rotated crops and the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. I thought I understood that pretty well – chemicals are bad, basically. When I read Kelly’s book, I realized that I had not understood the depth of our problem at all. Our problem is startling in its severity. We need to know this material! So I am excited to share Kelly’s discussion on soil with you.

Here is Kelly’s basic thesis, taken from page 44 of her book:

“Few of us think of soil as being a living thing in its own right, but it is. We don’t think of soil as something that needs to be healthy, and we don’t worry much when it’s sick, but we should. It’s hard to find anyone who really knows very much about the soil any more, yet a major part of learning to heal yourself comes when you begin to understand the connection between the soil and the stomach. Healthy soil equals healthy plants, healthy plants equal healthy people and it is your re-connection to the soil of the Earth that will provide the foundation for your healing.”

And now to the nitty-gritty details! In this long quotation, Kelly details the structure of this living soil that is Earth’s garment:

“Living soil has a structure to it – a crumb structure. This structure is made possible by the presence of billions of tiny living organisms, bugs and insects. As these fungi, bacteria, bugs, snails, slugs and other microorganisms go through the processes of everyday living, they excrete sticky substances as waste matter. They also die, then deteriorate into gooey globs. All this sticky, gooey material is very important.

“In the first stage of crumb development, the fungi living and growing in the soil put out fine, hair-like arms called mycelia that wrap themselves around an assortment of particles of clay, silt, sand, minerals and decaying matter. This creates individual crumbs with an assortment of goodies in them. Once the basic crumb parts have been wrapped in the arms of the fungi, the sticky, gooey waste material from all of the microorganisms acts like a glue that helps bind the crumbs of soil together quite finely. Once bound, the crumb will stay this way until it meets with the root hairs of a plant that then unlocks its cache of goodies and feasts on the minerals and other material it contains.

“These crumbs, together with the billions of microorganisms and other tiny critters, form what we call living topsoil. Topsoil should be at least five or six feet deep and have a complex honeycomb of air passages through which the roots of plants move easily in a constant search for tasty nutrients, moisture and minerals.

“A plant growing in good topsoil sends out main roots that descend into the soil at least three or four feet. Vegetables will reach down between three and ten feet. Some herbs and weeds will work their way down 20 feet or more. Trees go even further.

“From these main anchor roots, hundreds of very fine root hairs emerge, and it is the root hairs that do much of the work of feeding the plant. Each root hair extends itself outwardly, moving easily through the air passageways, searching the crumbs of soil for specific nutrients. When the root hair finds something of value in a crumb, it winds itself tightly around that crumb and emits a weak acid called humic acid. These plant-emitted acids react with the ‘glue’ and other excretions of the microorganisms living in the soil, creating an additional assortment of mild acids.

“Some of these acids cause the crumbs to break apart, exposing its valuable minerals and nutrients. The other acids then react with the exposed minerals, nutrients and trace elements in the crumb, dissolving them into a solution that can be sucked up by the plant to feed itself and build the structures that will become the vegetable, grain or fruit the plant was genetically destined to produce.”

When I weed – I am not a gardener because I have a brown thumb, but I am a dee-dandy weeder – I am plunged instantly into a world of crawling, moving, wriggling critters. It is an amazing variety of bugs large and small, earthworms and fungi that greet my garden-glove-encased hands. In and on the soil, in and around all grasses and plantings, it’s a party! Think of the bar scene in the first Star Wars film George Lucas created – you won’t be far off!

My husband and I have never believed in having a lawn. We like the model of the meadow, and hold off on mowing for the first time, each spring, until all the little wildflowers have seeded themselves. Our meadow becomes magical, sprinkled with tiny white, lavender, purple and yellow violets, winter aconite, fire-pink, wood poppy, clover and a host of other flowers. I do not believe that our little acre has ever been sprayed with any chemicals, and so we enjoy having healthy soil here.

The same is true up on Avalon Farm, which we lease to L/L Research so that the research organization can develop a bio-dynamic farm there. Its wilderness acreage was a dairy farm until the mid-fifties, when it was abandoned. When my husband bought the place in the mid-eighties, it had lain fallow for thirty years. And so it, too, has good soil. This means that it has a rich supply of microorganisms, bugs, beetles, fungi and worms.

Kelly goes on to say,

“When growers spray poisonous chemicals on their fields and gardens, it is the microorganisms that are killed.

“In spite of Mother Nature’s extraordinary capacity to constantly restore herself, it takes only three years of chemical applications to completely destroy the life in a garden or field. Without the fungi and its mycelial arms, without bacteria and tiny living organisms to excrete their sticky wastes, the crumbs of soil cannot form. The soil collapses into a compacted mass of packed particles. Without the crumbs the numerous air passageways do not form, making it extremely difficult for roots to move through soil looking for nutrients. Most of their energy goes into digging passageways through the soil instead of building healthy plants and an abundant harvest.”

Who knew or even guessed how vastly important these tiny critters of the soil were? I certainly didn’t. Other than occasionally startling when a particularly unusual bug appeared, I just worked around the critters. All the while, I should have been working WITH them.

This collapsed soil, as Kelly describes it, creates further problems, which I also never understood. When it rains, I always thought, “How good this is for the soil and the plants!” Kelly opens my eyes here too, as she says,

“When the soil collapses serious problems appear in other areas of life. Rainwater dropping onto healthy, living soil sinks in immediately and quietly. It does not splash all over the place, nor does it create mud. It runs deeply into and through the honeycomb of air passages. The deepest roots of plants get a drink and the water not only dilutes the humic acids produced in the soil by roots, it also prevents a chemical burn that can be caused by nutrient or fertilizer overdose.

“If the topsoil were five or six feet deep, which is what it should be in a viable soil system, it would hold up to 96 million pounds of water per acre before it started to run off. Not only is this powerful protection against flooding, it is quite a reservoir of water.

“This also shows why we are suffering from floods and mudslides in so many places while at the same time running out of good, potable drinking water. We have destroyed our soil and thus much of our rainwater runs across the surface of the land and into streams and rivers, carrying precious topsoil with it. From there it goes to the sea, where it turns into salt water.

“Mother Nature has a water purifying system all her own, but rainwater has to sink deeply into the soil for the system to work. When the rainwater doesn’t get down into the deep layers of soil, aquifers and springs dry up and we lose clean, clear drinking water.”

To cap off this spectacularly bad news, Kelly then explains that chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are volatile, so heavy metal salts such as arsenic and lead are used as fixers, to keep the compounds stable long enough to be applied. The chemicals are bad enough, being highly toxic carcinogens. But the heavy metal salts slake the lime in the soil and produce something like cement. Kelly says,

“This cement is called hardpan. It forms a thick layer only eight or nine inches below the surface of the ground. This cement-like layer seals off the subsoil quite effectively and contributes to the water run-off. Worse, roots cannot work their way past it into the subsoil, which often has at least some nutrients in it. Roots end up confined to the top eight or nine inches of soil where they overheat on warm days and then suffer from malaise, or failure to thrive. In shallow soil they quickly use up all available nutrients and end up taking in large amounts of the heavy metals sitting on the subsoil. The heavy metals are then incorporated into the structure of the plant itself, and the fruit the plants produce. (Farmers call everything fruits, whether they are vegetables, grains or fruits.) We eat the fruit and suffer thrice, once from the absence of nutrients, again by the presence of poisonous chemicals and once more by taking in the heavy metals.”

The coup de grace in this little horror story of how we are destroying our soil has to do with pests. It turns out that a healthy plant emits a vibration – an electromagnetic signal - she describes as white light. When the soil is collapsed and plants cannot get the nutrients they need, they emit an off-color E-M signal. Insects tune in to the off-color signals and eat the plant right up, doing their job as nature’s garbage-men. If we maintained healthy soil, the pests would have no chance, she says, because healthy plants have a lot of natural sugars which give insects a tummy ache.

So it is a vicious cycle. To boost production, chemicals are used and the soil is rapidly depleted of microorganisms. The soil collapses. Massive amounts of chemicals are used to kill the insects that are feeding on the unhealthy plants. We end up with plants bloated with water, deficient in nutrients. They look good, due to the workings of chemistry, but they do not taste good and they do not feed our bodies.

What can we do? Kelly suggests,

“Each time you go to the grocery store, ask the produce manager if they have any organic fruits and vegetables for sale. They probably won’t, so just say thank you and go about your shopping. But keep asking! These requests will eventually filter through to those who make the decisions about what to buy and put on the grocery store shelf, and later on to those who decide what to plant and how to grow it. If you can’t grow your own food, you can at least have a voice in the food that is available to you.”

Q’uo, in a session dated May 6, 2007, chimes in with Kelly’s sentiments about moving into a position of control, saying,

“If you think about the tides and the moon, you begin to see that there is an order and a balance which keeps the moon in its orbit and the Earth in its orbit; which keeps the sunlight and the stars moving in their cycles. And this moon energy moves through everyone’s blood so that your blood wanes and flows just as do the tides.

“You are a part of something that is in exquisite balance. You are in touch with the spirit world and the highest energies and at the same time you are in touch with the Earth and its heaviest energies. You know of everything from angels and cherubim to the degradation of war, murder, torture and the evil that entities can do to each other. And your gaze is that gaze which orders things in your world.

“So perhaps we would say that your most creative means of control is to create the world that you would like to see and live it. For you truly are a co-creator and you truly can create the reality that you wish to see.”

I open my arms and embrace your spirit. We are not victims! We are co-creators! Let’s create the world we wish to see, with love, patience and infinite respect.