Farming with biodynamics
0.08.2018-18.09.2018, Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Traduction / Übersetzung / Translation / Tafsiri / Tradução / 翻訳 / అనువాదం / अनुवाद / Dịch / ແປພາສາ / Traducción
We spent one month volunteering at Finca Sagrada, a farm working with biodynamics, in a sacred valley close to Vilcabamba, south of Ecuador. This has been the most incredible experience I could dream of.
There are several reasons why we chose this project: it addresses all the criteria we were chasing:
More than a practical experience in the field of biodynamics, Finca Sagrada and its people offered us a spiritual journey in the world of the natural forces.
This article drives you through our experience. Here are the pieces of wisdom we want to share with you:
Hereunder are some beautiful pictures from our dear friend Trace.
Trace is an awesome artist and a remarkable person. He invites us to contemplate the beauty and the divine that surrounds us, here and now.
We kindly invite you to visit his space of arts, love, gratitude and compassion: "Leaf no Trace" (https://www.leafnotrace.space/).
As stated on his web space: "Chosen content will be available digitally for free and others will be available in a highly sustainable high quality print for just the cost of production and shipping."
We fully support him and wish him the best; may you also be touched by his shining love.
Located south of Ecuador in the Andean mountains, the sacred valley is a bomb of energies and peace. I have never felt so at peace and I cannot re-call a more magnificent place on earth. The mountains are surrounding the farm from every sides, gigantic and protective. In the night they recall a very deep and intense presence. The valley is alive and has a soul. The stars glow more than anywhere else I know. There are light birds everywhere who make the night landscape a real fairy. From the spirit house we can ear the wind, the fire, the water from the river behind. You can feel the earth under your hand and the either in your deep meditations....
Our hosts Susan and Walter, guided us through their kingdom of peace, love, gratitude intentions, mindfulness and worship. Here, nature is our god and intuition is our bible. Susan taught us how to ear our intuition, open up to the unknown and the invisible. Walter shared his experiences, believes, faith, and incredible wisdom.
We also met Jose, the president of the Palta people, the native people of the valley, and Christian, another Palta young man highly involved in the farm's activity and vision. We worked with them and they taught us their deep love and respect for mother earth, all her children, the plants, the trees, the vegetables and fruits, of which we have to care for as our own babies.
At Finca Sagrada we also met amazing volunteers that became close friends.
We learn together and from each other, opening up every day a little bit more, allowing more meaningful and significant exchanges. We have been blessed to meet these people and to be present, "here and now", together as a community, in this piece of sacred paradise.
As we arrived at the farm we soon acknowledge that the environment was set for openhearted and open-minded relationships.We had to be ourselves. We had to speak true words and embrace what's going on around us with care. This is community life. As a community we had to communicate to plan the activities and the life together. We would take a few hours each week to meet and discuss whatever needed to be discussed. Thanks to Susan who introduced the Satir meeting, we were adopting a certain system developed by Virginia Satir.
"Virginia Satir (26 June 1916 – 10 September 1988) was an American author and therapist, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her pioneering work in the field of family reconstruction therapy."
Here is an official summary of Virginia Satir's method: https://satirpacific.org/uploads/documents/Satir%20Transformational%20Systemic%20Therapy%20in%20Brief.pdf
As we have been experiencing it at the farm, meetings were divided into four parts:
Instead addressing situations with an egoistic view we would value the community level and face concerns as a group. Therefore the concerns were addressed with the good of all as ultimate focus and goal. We always found solutions by taking everyone's integrity and well being into account.
Destiny path of happiness
Susan is an adept of exploiting the power of mind. She is an expert for helping people recognize and listen to their intuition. She did a great job with all of us who were willing to have individual sessions to find our destiny path of happiness.
Susan believes that we were all born with a mission on earth that we need to achieve within our present life. Everyone's mission is usually connected to the past, whether with our present life, i.e. childhood, or with a past life. In other words we are all carrying a karma that we need to balance within our present lifetime. Finding our destiny path is highly dependent on our ability to let our intuition speak out loud and guide us.
People have different sensibilities and openness towards their intuition. I personally discovered that I was muting my intuition for a long time. We tend to resist our intuition and search for happiness on the paved road that society advertises to us. However, doing the work of letting our intuition speak and reveal our true values can lead to surprising urges. For example I realized through my sessions with Susan that I needed to achieve something I had planed for a long time: write a book. I already knew that I wanted to do that but I had not accepted how crucial this was to me. I had for a very long time attached myself to getting a degree, pursue a career, nurture my relationships, and strive to live conscious and ethical life, etc. Although all of the above are very important and reasonable goals, I had overlooked the one thing that was actually meaningful and would eventually fill my spirit. The good news is that in most cases taking this kind of reflection on yourself does not mean turning your whole life upside down. It is not because you overlook your destiny path that you are doing it all wrong. This just means that you absolutely need to find what is missing within the world you created to yourself.
You have to find this one thing that you need to achieve in your life in order to fill it up completely and perfectly. This one thing will make you immensely proud of yourself, and this one thing will have the greatest positive impact on your world and potentially on others' world.
"Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Biodynamics is rooted in the work of philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner, whose 1924 lectures to farmers opened a new way to integrate scientific understanding with a recognition of spirit in nature. Biodynamics has continued to develop and evolve since the 1920s through the collaboration of many farmers and researchers."
As we started our trip, we were very superficially familiar with biodynamics but we knew we wanted to dig into it and experience it practically. In one hand we were fascinated by the spiritual aspects of the approach as well as the sometimes very obscure methodologies applied. On the other hand we had noticed through reputations and tasting that biodynamics products are qualitatively outstanding, for instance in the wine industry. There are also various studies showing significantly better yields produced through biodynamics in comparison with conventional methods of growing food. Driven by our curiosity we decided it was very important to find a project that would welcome us and initiate us to biodynamics.
That is one of the reasons why we chose to work with Walter, who is a passionate biodynamic expert. Once a week Walter would treat us with a class on biodynamics. This was one of the most important and enjoyable times for me. He always had incredible stories to tell and we would engage in lively debates. Walter has found his destiny path when he discovered biodynamics as he was 17, visiting a farm in law in New Zealand. He knew very early that he wanted to be a farmer and work with biodynamics. With his solid fourteen years of experience in biodynamics, Walter wrote a great book that introduces biodynamics through the spectrum of his life, his various experiences of farming, of living in communities, and in his quest for spirituality. The book is called "A farmer's love" by Walter Moora.
"A Farmer’s Love is the story of the author's spiritual journey and how his relationship to the Earth evolved from an experience of basic utility to an experience of abiding love. Farmers seldom bare their souls in books, but Walter Moora struggled and wrestled the words in this book from his heart. He offers more than specific descriptions of farming; he tells his life story as a biodynamic farmer and how he learned the lessons of creating healthy ecosystems on the farm through biodynamic preparations and by planting according to the stars. The author learned early in his farming career that working with Nature is infinitely more satisfying and ultimately far more successful than working against Nature with chemicals. His experience of farming biodynamically on four continents taught him to listen to what the land itself asks for. A Farmer’s Love explains how nutrition in the food we eat comes directly from nutrition in the soil in which the plans grow. The book also explains ways the author learned to work with the soil to make it nutrient-rich without the use of synthetic chemicals. It chronicles Walter’s experience of learning both the physical and spiritual aspects of creating a whole, healthy farm ecosystem. Through his life experiences, the author learned to trust his intuition, to take risks around his values, to find his soul’s destiny, and to deal with death and loss by trusting that the very best things can come directly from the very worst things. This story is for those who want to enrich their spiritual connection with the Earth and for budding farmers everywhere who are interested in caring for the Earth in a new way."
In his book, which we read during our stay at Walter's, we learn more about our host, his life, his loves and his values.This is a deep and intimate book which does not only share Walter's love of biodynamics but also his love of nature and life.
Walter gave us four classes on the fundamental principles of biodynamics. Instead of getting into too much details of this complex and deeply spiritual approach to farming, I prefer to simply share the pictures of our classes' paperboards, which are fairly self-explanatory. This will give you an idea of the topics we discussed and for those who have a higher interest in biodynamics, we would be very happy to get in touch and have longer discussions about it. Since I am still a novice on these topics I chose not to develop the learning we had with Walter in this article. For now, let Walter's paperboards speak for themselves:
Introduction to biodynamics
From the first day we arrived, Susan, Walter, Jose, Christian and Trace became our mates and family. We were still in the car on our way to the farm as we got to feel that we were exactly where and with whom we needed to be. Susan and Walter told us they were waiting for people like us for a long time and that the farm just started to attract the right people. The energies the farm is radiating brings the individuals with the right level of consciousness to work at the farm and grow up with the community. As days went, Susan and Walter appeared to us as inspirational and spiritual guiding figures for us. The achievements and goals they pursue in their life speak loud to us.
We also met Jose, the president of the Palta people, a father and grandfather whose wisdom brightly shines.
His love and care for the people is as deep as his surrender and worship to our mother earth. Jose inspired us a lot as a leading figure of the indigenous minority of south Ecuador. We feel blessed to know him as a great example of a powerful traditions' keeper.
Christian is also a member of the Palta community, just as Jose, and he is the person that contributed to building and caring for the spirit house for months.
He is dedicated and ambitious. His contribution to the life at the farm is immeasurable and his friendliness has been a treat for us.
As we met Trace, we kind of fall in love instantly. Trace was here for a few months already before we arrived. He welcomed us, showed us the farm and as we finished the tour in the kitchen we stayed the three of us talking. At dinner time, Susan and Walter came in and found us exactly where they left us hours ago. There was no small talk about the weather but instead deep conversations that would feel weird to be recollected here, but it is needless to say that we had already made a new friend. After dinner on this very first day we went to the spirit house and spent a long evening catching up on our previous discussions, getting more and more intimate, touching the question of spirituality.
This week together for us three volunteers with our hosts was very intimate and sweet. We instantly found a flow on which we all felt at ease. Even some frustrations regarding spirituality and metaphysics questions would be rapidly overcome with the help of Trace. I remember how Trace reassured Mathieu from the first night telling him that appreciating the feeling of the sun on your back is a form spiritual manifestation. We came to realized that vocabulary can cluster our comprehension of the world and that words like "spirituality" or "meditation" can be covered by occult cliche that make them sound weird or scary. Mathieu came to acknowledge that he was able to meditate and that he had a spiritual sensibility, which he just never called with this terms. Nature is our god and being amazed by the natural manifestations is a form of meditation. Being attracted to nature is inherently spiritual. More than an introduction, this first week between Trace and our hosts eased us into this world of love, compassion, spirituality and surrender to our mother earth.
On the second week, three more volunteers arrived: Rebecca and Johan from Germany and Victor from France. Their presence reinforced our group, in no time we were already telling each others about our greatest pains and joys. On his last night Trace told us he strongly believes we could form a real strong community for life. I do believe it too.
Rebecca is a sweetheart. Her and Johan her boyfriend are only eighteen years old, yet they are incredibly mature and passionate. They travel hijacking and couch-surfing up to north America. I admire their courage and simplicity greatly.
Victor is a French baker who is heading soon to a one year “work and travel” journey in Australia. He has a refreshing mind and he is so joyful and smart, we had the best times together cooking body creams, doing yoga, working, cooking. Every kind of activity was just becoming a feast with those folks because we were getting along together so well that every minute was amazingly perfect. The association of our different personalities played like a symphony with us being each a note of the beautiful music of life.
On the third week a new volunteer arrived: Anne Jan from Holland. This long life traveler is an impressive source of stories and laughter as he dares to open up to the human world. Anne Jan looks like a child even though he passed his 50s, he has the look of the little prince, he is pretty shy and sensible, yet an invaluable team member to have great fun with.
The fourth week Trace left us, which was a great challenge for all of us as we got pretty attached to this very sensible friend. This first separation moved us and prepared us for our departure. We enjoyed every second of our stay and we did it even more consciously as the days and hours brought us closer to the end of our stay. Indeed we did not wanted to leave, I personally felt like I belonged, like I could live there forever, like if it was home for real.
I am blessed I could sincerely feel myself and at home with these people as family. This is the first time for me during the trip that I got attached so much to a place and community. All the previous experiences lead us to this point in time, in space, in life, in spirit, where we could deeply create ties and embrace the journey. I am grateful for the time there and for it will stay in my heart and mind forever, reminding me that bliss exists.
Spirit house and the Kogis
The spirit house was built over the past four months at the farm by the Kogis and the Finca Sagrada community. In this house, there is a fire burning day and night. The purpose of this fire is to connect sacred places of the earth together.
The Kogis from Colombia, the Palta from Ecuador, and other indigenous communities met at the Finca Sagrada for several ceremonies and recognized the sacred character of the farm. We were told that some spirit houses of the Kogis are kept burning for many generations.
I have not found any official literature about the Kogis' spirit houses, but Susan and Walter told us that they want to build a dozen of such houses located around the world. The Finca Sagrada house might be one of the firsts. The Kogis presumably choose special places with high energy, places that are located on what we could assimilate to earth's chakras. These different houses have a vocation of connection and sharing in order to heal our mother earth. Even though I could not find more about this online, I assume this is part of the Kogis' engagement in the modern environmental crisis.
For those who are not familiar with the Kogis, it is important to mention that they consider themselves as the keepers of the earth and they call us younger brothers. They have started many years ago to enter in contact with us in order to tell us that we need to change.
"The Kogis are a genuine lost civilization hidden on an isolated triangular pyramid mountain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, nearly five miles high, on the Colombian-Caribbean coast. The Kogi say that without thought, nothing could exist. This is a problem, because we are not just plundering the world, we are dumbing it down, destroying both the physical structure and the thought underpinning existence. The Kogi believe that they live in order to care for the world and keep its natural order functioning, but they recognized some years ago that this task was being made impossible by our mining and deforestation. In 1990 they emerged to work with Alan Ereira, making a 90-minute film for BBC1 in which they dramatically warned of our need to change course. Then they withdrew again…" (http://www.alunathemovie.com/)
Since then, the Kogis have re-emerged as they realized that the importance of their warning had not been grasped. As well as warning Younger Brother they have decided to share their secret sciences.
In this regard, I see and understand the work of the Kogis with the spirit houses as an effort primarily to heal our mother earth, and additionally also to re-connect people together all over the world, starting at very meaningful places that act as the earth's organs. While healing the earth the Kogis might as well attempt to heal the little brothers and push them towards re-connecting with their mother. As it happened between the Kogis and the Palta people, we also acknowledge that the indigenous people enter in contact with each other and gather in a common effort for the good of nature.
The indigenous wisdom is an infinite source of inspiration for us. As I listen to the indigenous believes and teachings, I have the feeling to remember what I had forgotten. I know they tell the truth, I feel it in my soul and in my bones.
I do not listen their call, the call vibrates inside me. The call of the earth, the call of life.
Additionally I want to bring to your attention the fabulous work done by a French association that supports the Kogis. "Through the Operation Carré Vert, Tchendukua raises funds in order to help the inhabitants of the Sierra Nevada to return to their ancestral homelands, essential for the preservation of their culture and the transmission of their ancestral knowledge."
May all people be conscious and connected.
Walter and Susan are invaluable examples of how your life energy and path's flow brings you where you need to be to do what you need to do and show you which contribution you are meant to give to the world. Thank you for inviting us and sharing your life with us.
We are little brothers and sisters, we are children of our mother earth, we are family, we are all. May all understand, feel and connect.
Amen, namaste, om.
Laura & Mathieu