Taking Root: Maturation from an Annual to Perennial Based Lifestyle

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Early in the year when the maple sap flowed from wounds in their bark, the grounds thawed, and animals came out of hibernation, I challenged myself to entertain a market gardener role on a productive bio-dynamic garden based on the agricultural principles of Rudolf Steiner. Fusing magic with method, technique with time based calendrical sowing and reaping. I stored aside most of what I knew about tending the soil and turned an eye to the stars to learn the bio-dynamic methods of annual crop rotation for the production of a farmers market store of fruits and vegetables. This is where I gleaned all the customer experience from those who support the organic and bio-dynamic food movements. In time, I was able to provide the finest heirloom and cleanest food from the cultivated ground, and some supplementary foods from the wild ranges surrounding my trailer home. Crops were picked on Fridays and Tuesday for the community supported agriculture programs, and then kept vital until the following day. Energies had their origin from the source but were hastily expended outwards.

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Managing a market garden means being on plant time, and this is one interesting aspect of farming, and my trans-continental permaculture journey, adapting to several different time zones, paces, and routines. In the garden, the conditions of the soil, rain, sun, and airborne nutrients (as well as social events) decide when to work, and when it is permitted to rest. Over two seasons of this recognition of yearly gardening schedule, and the greater five years of my travels, a pattern of impermanence also becomes prevalent. The annual lifestyle carries with it habits that are born, sown, cultivated, maintained, and reaped, to then lie dormant or go through a period of flux, adaptation or stasis for awhile, these annual cycles practiced in the garden, also have sway in the way I lived the rest of my life for five years. Thee annual, or oft times seasonal opportunities or experiences were also en-woven through all aspects of it, from part time farm placements, to in-temporary partners, highly mobile nomadic travel, short-lasting friendships, and overall a sense of shallow rootedness to a relationship with life and its inhabitants.

Now, I have been experiencing yet another turn of the tides, a new arrows trajectory or planetary perspective. This has seemed to happen in three to six year phases of my existence. This switch in conscious foci has enveloped me with new commitments, more adaptive cultural strategies of living on this planet, and has engendered a deeper root stratum with which to hold fast to the shifting sands of time. It is the transformation, (to use the agricultural metaphor, into one more in line with permaculture), from an annual based lifestyle to a perennial one. This means stronger and more integral relationships with others, my partner for instance, new archetypal energies of the settler, rather than the wanderer/lover/fool, which I have dance with before. Moving ever more intimately with the sacred masculine role of the provider-protector, and getting a better hold on the patterns of one place, one at a time. It can be likened to saving seeds and continuing their lineage for many years into your garden or food forest, or planting perennial crops and trees to last the bridging between generations.

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I think the metaphor of annual cycles becoming perennial has highly symbolic appliance into our personal lives, as the world scrambles to make sense of rapid change, and nuclear individualism threatens the community at large while we attempt to live long, healthy and sustainable lives, ones that I might add are in direct primacy with immediate experience while having an eye on the future of things to come. In also entails less reliance on a consumer oriented cycle of buying and selling, following yearly trends in society, and constantly halting the progress of the innate natural flow of place based living. It is like pouring grit into a well oiled machine that then needs to be taken apart, cleaned and started all over, or continually cutting down forests for gain and preventing the diversity of life to relish in its late expressions.

As I have observed my fellows who have come to the same place in life that I now look out from, and settled into a more refined, provident, and sanguine existence with their respective partners or children, it has waxed and grown in sense to me of the natural proclivity to do just that. Not to domesticate the species human, that is confine to the domicile, but to actually engender, the more lucid and genuine connections to life, love, and all that comes with it. To stay authentic in a very edited world, I have felt the need to slow down, to find myself where I stand, and work on that right where it is, using what I have within arms reach at first, and extending from the trunk to grow many branches back into the middle world, never struggling too hard for survival, preserving comfort while striving to get deeper in, more involved, and altogether a more human being.

24 months ago, this seed had not yet been planted and stratified in my mind to gestate into a full grown plan. I had been happy to simply follow loosely guided routes into the unfolding day with my own self styled navigational system, primarily one of nomadism, wanderlust, novel habits, and open ended relationships. I thought this might simply go on forever, but there was always a feeling that it could all change course, and the seas of fate would wash me onto another shore, maybe it would be accidental pregnancy of a lover, or mental breakdown, a rite of passage, or the sobering view of the worlds problems with a direct call to action for its citizens to do the work, and stop wasting time. It may have also come in the form of maturation, a rise of fathering instincts, and the realization of simple comforts that can be derived from seeing the fruit of your labor ripen before your eyes long term. The completely new habitation of mind, when yoked to the greater loom, and facing a new world, one in which you are not just yourself, the ego dissolves into another, be it your wife, tribe or child. We become cut of the greater homespun, and share a more integrated weave in the textile. Photo 2018-09-06, 3 30 57 PMThe title of ‘From Annual to Perennials is also a bit of word spinning on my behalf to describe the way I have amalgamated my experiences with earth stewardship, permaculture gardening, and long term habit forming creature comfort lifestyles, where there is less stress on the individual and a dispersal of energy and output among the pack living openly in its habitat. This openness creates space for innovation, culture forming, rest, creativity, and ritual, and serves as a free ground for spiritual exploration beyond mere survival and supplement. As we engender more room to grow, and cultivate our lives from the perennial standpoint, we see life as a more permanent place to live, and therefore treat it differently than we would if we were just passing migrants in a foreign land. When we become native to the land, and experience the subtle changes of years, these interests start to ferment and acquire even richer meaning, which eventually builds heritage, sustainability, and wisdom, which is expressed in the forms of family, legacy, and myth.

 

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That Time I Didn’t Take the Toad Venom

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About a year ago, I encountered a man who supposedly had something I was looking for. I had been passively seeking out any shamanic practitioners using the meso-American toad venom here in Canada, for healing, therapeutic, as well as psychedelic ceremony. The little know bufo alvarius or Bufo Toad, known to spend years underground in the Sonoran desert around Hermosillo and the chaparral of northern Mexico. The infamous ‘Sapo’, poison or medicine depends on dosage. It is administered into the blood stream through small burns in the skin that are scratched away and smeared with the secretion of the bufo toad, which is collected from its glands. The effects of which are blood cleansing, oft hallucinatory, clairvoyant, and heat inducing. The flush of the saponin chemical is what takes hold of the body. However, this won’t be the space to pontificate about the biology of the toad, nor the chemical constituents of its venom and how it affects the nervous system, nor is it about the long held tradition of use by the Aztecan Indians for visionary and hunting magic, but it is about the kind of relationships we form with the psychopomp, who in other world cultures also fulfills the role of the shaman, the trickster, or the medicine man.

In this global culture, people who are interested in magic and psychoactive medicines/drugs are more and more interested in travel to far off countries and cocoons of the world; the Amazonian rainforest, the Mexican desert, the highlands of the Andes, or the Siberian arctic, and some choose to stay at home, for localized ritual settings, with imported ingredients and plants shipped from the source countries. In this instance, the latter option was more practical for me as I had only returned from Mexico that winter and was not ready to return yet. I found a man, who told me he had some of the dried venom, and made ceremonies in a small yoga studio in a city near where I lived. I decided to book a session with him, I sent the deposit, and he returned a mail with vague directions to the studio, a date was arranged, and I had reserved a spot, I was committed. No turning back now…

On the day of the ceremony, I spent the morning in the garden thinking about what lay ahead of me, this calmed my mind into the potential changes that the frog venom is known to induce in a persons behavior, I knew I could not control the situation once I received it, but meditating on it seemed to create a sense of grace about it all. I arrived at the place of the studio, but only to see several commercial buildings in a kind of generic outlay fringing a large parking lot in a highly urban setting. The name of the yoga studio was no where apparent on any of the business signs, so I ended up calling the man of the hour with further questioning. When I looked up from the call, he was on the other side of the glass in one of the shops ahead of me, itself the least decorated, with no signage, only an A5 printed paper advertising for a therapeutic treatments, and an impromptu office space. He unlocked the door and we shook hands awkwardly. His grip was shaky as he held a Tim Hortons cup in the other hand, obviously much too caffeineated for 8 in the morning. His beady stare seemed to be like insect eyes, which were red from either severe lack of sleep or misuse of opiates. He started to complain about a couple of other individuals that canceled last minute for the ceremony, and discouraged me from joining this one, asking if I would like to reschedule. He led me to the ‘studio’ which resembled a warehouse or factory with high industrial ceilings and concrete walls. The ambiance was not particularly inviting, I rolled out my yoga mat in the center of the room but he insisted I should recline against the wall. He turned on the radio, which was a chaotic strain of brazilian music that was too intense for the mood. Something felt off, in this place, in this man, in the whole fluidity of the ritual, it just did not carry the consciousness that I expected from the use of a sacred medicine.

He exited the room, but it felt like he exited the engagement of the ceremony completely, then another man arrived and met with the same nonchalant hospitality, and was ushered into the studio with me to await the beginning of the rite. The man came back and set out a cloth and set upon it with mysterious looking snuff pipes, and unlabeled mason jars, then turned the music down at request. He scrutinized me for having eaten a breakfast of oats and cacao some hours prior, as this was not rote for the ritual. Apparently fasting was the protocol, of which I was not told beforehand. We were both asked if we desired to continue with the ceremony, the irony was relevant to me, because I instantly asked myself the same question. I had come here because I had pre-meditated this moment for years, yet now I felt a strange air about this whole operation, and actually did not feel quite comfortable. I acquiesced to my better judgment, as did the other man beside me. The sapo man, whom I shall keep anonymous waved his hands and commenced an improvised ‘four doors ritual’ that if not for the cultural language setting, was simply a charlatan attempt at the sacred, made in haste and which such error and lack of reverence, that I instantly lost the sense of grace and humility of presence that could have been preserved pre-ritual, and instead experienced a kind of commodified and watered down version of any brand of known shamanic workings I knew about.

I changed my mind, how I let myself be burned and poisoned by someone as unconscious as this. His demeanor was not the type of a wise medicine worker, his attitude was aggressive and his pace was rushed, he lacked the virtues or vitality of someone who used psychedelic plants and animal substances for self betterment and spiritual growth. His physical representation was like that of someone who did not take care of themselves, or used too many drugs irresponsibly. Maybe I was overseeing the scene, but with matters of this nature, I needed to temper me ego that I could get this sapo in me and talk about it afterwards, and come back to my sense of well being, and the ever important set and setting, that now had everything to do with my decision. While he was burning the first stick to mark the first ‘gate’, I told him that I would actually prefer to wait for the venom until another day. His disappointment came out more like resentment, so he proceeded with the other man who was of a more ordinary civilized type, to burn the gates and smear the sapo into his arm. He asked me if I would prefer to use the hape snuff, so I went with it, I had not come this way for nothing, and I had used the brazilian tree snuff before with interesting experiences. I took the snuff pipe in one of my nostrils and he blew the grey calcined powder through me, then the other side of the nose. Then I received two drops of iboga root extract in each eye, an eyedrop tincture for hunting magic which made my eyes burn…

The burn was lovely mind you, and the snuff was not altogether unpleasant, I felt a lightness of my skull and a loftiness in my entire body as it tingled with electricity and high vibratory energy. If it were not for the industrial style roof, it felt like my body could float out of the room and with closed eyes, I had sensual feelings of being in lush jungle with high canopy, launching from the ground and soaring above it, but I just couldn’t seem to transcend the rift between the physical reality of the studio and the green jungle plantation that tried to present itself. I lay in serene personal silence for twenty or so minutes before being asked if I was alright. I was definitely feeling good. I just focused on my yogic breath, while the man beside me seemed to be enduring some deep discomfort, which eventually led an air of anxiety to the whole scene as the man with the sapo kept knocking on the door of the rest room to ask if he was still breathing. He came out later sweating profusely, and the two started talking about various other chemicals and psychotropic plants they had used, while I simply remained present in the room, and eventually observed the snuff pipes and the mason of hape powder, of which I purchased a couple grams.

This time I did not take the toad venom, the effects of which I had observed in documentarial style footage of the Mexican indigenous and sourced from shamanic plant books by Christian Ratsch, and Terence McKenna. Now was not my time, nor did I know when that time would come, but I learned a lesson from not taking the poison’, in that it is highly imperative to be centered and aware at all times, and think for yourself when it comes to matters of the heart, and the nervous system in this case. That the guru, shaman, psychopomp can also deceive and embody the shadow side of the archetype, the trickster or huckster, out to glean their own personal interests before providing a bridge for healing and transformational experience. It is the plant, or the animal substance that is doing the real great work, not the person, they are merely an agent that purveys these hard to forage antidotes for us to experience, and it serves us well to not back down on our higher intuition and even or lower ‘gut feeling’, when it involves the dynamic interplay of medicinal magic and egoic personalities. Trust the spirit, and the heart when it comes to these things and you will remain unharmed.

Earth Haven Vibrations: Chapter of the Spring

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The moon is in an earth zodiac sign, that means today is a planting day, good for the roots, and the life below ground. My hand steadies over a polyeurathane seedling tray, as I carefully and methodically sink the solitary seed into the sweet smelling black soil. This seed was saved, and its ancestor was also a saved seed. This is how farmers always used to do it, preserving the best of the best seeds after harvest ensured a promising crop next year, one more adapted and genetically thrivable to their unique neck of the woods, or in this case, the plot of land on which I inhabit. As I ponder how this seed came to being and its fate to be planted, my mind went deep. This was the direct descendant of it’s nearest relative that once gazed sunwards in its passive solar pursuit of nutrients. This seed that grew on the stem of a medicinal herb, or staple crop or fruit, that then fell to the ground or was otherwise collected, dried and extracted, then put away for the winter months to be planted next year, an annual seed, that bore the genetic memory to make hundreds more seeds after its own growth spurt. Now it was finally time to dig it out of the seed bins, and its unique packet and sow it in the greenhouse. March 2018. With one final contact before it was relinquised to the chaos of nature and the mystery of the soil microbes, I pushed it into the dirt with a kind of prayer and good luck, added a dampening of fresh well water, and put it beside all the other trays; Brassicas of different kinds, Salvias, Ginseng and other Russian medicinal herbs, Tobacco, Tomatoes, Spinach, Leeks. Some of these may not thrive, but I am fixed on growing things and wanted to try my luck. Others would be so abundant in just a couple of weeks and by the end of harvest, I would probably grow tired of seeing and handling them all.

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Such is the life of a farmer, and a candid account of the kind of existence it is my personal conviction to live out, as the living archetype of the farmer, but this involved the symbiotic mythos of many other archetypes in tow, the pastoralist, the gardener, the medicine man, the philosopher, the astronomer, yes, even at this farm, the man who could read the stars and the celestial bodies elevated him one step above his merely terrestrially conscious neighbor. To live bio-dynamically with the earth, that is to say, to dynamically live with the biology of our planetary habitat, and more locally, the 200 acres of farm, feral and wild lands that engage our stewardship is an oath of place. To live and love one space for a long time, and to understand the complex relationships then are loaded with meaning from the moment they are encountered. On a bio-dynamic farm, nothing is quite what it seems, the fresh manure in the fields that are deposited after the cows lunch, is the future soil that will nourish the crops, fruit orchards, and the high field grass that will then again in turn feed the cow in the lushness of spring. What Salatan calls a ‘mobbing, mowing and mobile fermentation tank’ as the cow eats the grass that streams skywards by the sun, which is fermented and processed in the rumen, stored away as fat, fur, meat, protein and horn, then when optimal, the spirit leaves the body and we fill the freezer will all available cuts, that go into literally hundreds of meals, curried stirfry, maple marinated beef hash, bone broth soup, browned marrow, spicy burgers with wild food garnishes, and not only the choice cuts get eaten but all the edible meat, including organs, the ‘dynamic’ part of the cow. The cattle is a mainstay of this farm, and they are also the most noble companions, trusty coworkers, humble entertainment, ambassadors of wisdom, and they just look handsome, with their shaggy manes, perhaps an aesthetic trait as much as practical for the long cold Canadian winters.

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We have been busy as bees, coordinating the timeline of the annual farming hustle. When and what to plant, when and where to transplant, how much to have for harvest and who will reap the fruits of the bounty when it is off the field. How many CSA members are there this year? This is what coffee is good for, mingling in the morning when the long day of work is not readily embrace on the minds of others, we plan and map out a general routine of what we can get done before dinner, luckily we are three, and this is not our first rodeo, so we are all dedicated, talented, and can profer good ideas when progress and production must be made. Weeding tends to be interspersed with the labor, like the careful pruning of an apple tree, or the shaving of a winter beard. The seeds you plant, end up being the minority, and sometimes methinks the seeds of weeds just sow from the aether, to have lived so long under the frost and frozen snows all season and to appear again when the desired plant breaks free into its new home, only to instigate the others to rise before him and race for the light. Weeding is stoic, but also mindless. It is an emptiness, before an emptiness, after an emptiness, in a Buddhist tone, it is meditative yet numbing. It teaches plant distinction however, and I wonder how the visual acuity promoted by pPsilocybin mushrooms might help in this humble endeavor, to pull the weeds from ones garden.

All farming is really about sex, and everybody is obsessed with sex, so am I, even if its kale sex, or flower sex (true to admit they are not as seductive, but interesting nonetheless). It is all about the stamens and the pistils, the birds and the bees doing their mating dances in the sun, or of pollen grains sifting the wind and impregnating another vegetable with their floral semen. The cows come in heat and the bull has a field day, female fruit trees await their suitor, and every plant, animal and mushroom is giving birth to new life. To grasp the nettle, the mint, the leek, and the lily, and place them bulb side down in a leather or hemp pouch, to gather and forage the wild goods for the market, and those cultivated vegetable greens that had their early beginnings in a greenhouse, such is the nature of picking day. Else on other days is prepared the berry patch, the vineyard, the food hedge, and the bee hives, sitting patiently for their turn in the season. Their time will come, when the transplants have been made, and the cows have rotated to the prizest patches of grass first. Beet, potato, squash, bean and kale, such with the strong will to live, poking their heads above an inch of soil and greeting the ancient sun, the same that shines on the pyramids at Giza. Roots go deep, and the flowers of fruit bud, while the tipi needs for its new spring skin, so ceremony and sweat lodge may manifest their experiences. Rare is a storm but the charge is left in the soil, thunder and nitrogen, fire and cosmic rain. At night, the chickens retire to their boarding room, for fear of predator. No longer the jurassic scaled reptilians as they were their ancestors, still formidable animals. Today I watched two cocks fighting over a promiscuous hen. Their manes flared with bouts of explosive leaps into the air, wrangling with talons in mid jump, and posing a formidable display of primal avian violence to the other. One went the winner, and the other, left to the coop to harry in the dark.

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Kept in the dark are the preparations, dandelion, quartz, manure, bone char and tar, horsetail picked from the fen. They are plant fortifiers and herbivorous deterrents, rain callers, and sun prayers. A group of locals walk the land, looking for edibles while a maiden leads them at the perimeter teaching herbal wisdom. The cats make their home in a wood shed nook, while the dogs bark into the night sky at the detectable odor of a distant hare or badger. Evenfall, the a chorus of amphibian music lurches and rebounds over the organic architecture of hay field, hardwood grove, and crater ponds, then the night meditation of the owl, and the ushering of the whippoorwill. The feralness of the night’s mood lends a calmness to the chaos of the days dealings. All constellations in the afterglow, beaming their light down to earth, country, province, town, this land, my eyes, as they lend their celestial frequencies to my sleep and synchronize with my brain as I sigh the relief of another good day.

Bone Sauce and Alternative Preparations for Biodynamic Farming

Bone sauce… is precisely what it sounds like, a tarlike substance that is painted or flickered onto the bole, trunk, branches and base of trees to deter those herbivorous fauna that often frequent their grazing hours in a crop garden or fruit forest orchard. This is a preparation used for protection and acts as a chemical barrier to deter damage on vegetation. The product of bone sauce in fact separates the organic (marrow/blood) and the inorganic (bones), and renders them alchemically using the ashing technique espoused by Steiner. The result of which yields perfectly black bones, which supple the carboniferous, phosphoric, and calcined material for fertilizer fortifying, and the organic subconstituent of the bone sauce tar or Dippel’s oil. This is done by destructively distilling the bones using fire, from outside the vessel in which it is store. Made famous by Sepp Holzer, I make no claims to this idea as original, and stayed true to the ‘cooking’ recipe, the information about bone sauce however is gleaned elsewhere.

By heating up the bones without oxygen to temperatures in excess of 600 degrees C, the bones that are laid up in the vessel will ‘crack’, and melt out the marrow inside. I recommend using large cut bones, such as those acquired from a cattle butcher, femur and tibia bones would be optimal from a large mammal. To put together the bone sauce stove, you need two iron pots, or fireproof vessels, that fit on top of each other, one upside down on the other, a clay flu or crock may also work, in one pot the fresh bones are placed, these can be taking directly out of the cooking pot after making bone broth  but would yield less sauce because the marrow fat would have dissolved a little into the broth, or they can be placed in completely frozen, there is still moisture and ice crystals on the bone and so this will allow some water when they melt out. The other pot/vessel remains empty. One should cover the bone pot with a chicken mesh or other fire proof metal mesh, and flip it on top of the other. Then dig a hole and bury the pots halfway so the seem between the two pots is at ground level, and fill in with dirt while trying to tightly seal the seam between the two pots so no air can get into the chamber, hard packed dirt or mud works. Build your best tipi fire about 2 feet high around the pots, so now the top one is surrounded by wood, light it up from beneath and let it burn down to coals. Rake the coals onto the pot, and stack another tipi fire around it, and let it burn again, this took me six hours for the complete burn even while it lightly misted/rained outside, and I used mostly hardwoods like ash. Pictures are below in the slideshow of each stage. Leave it overnight to cool off, and settle, then unearth the pots while being careful to not scrape any dirt into your bottom submerged pot which is holding the tar. Just brush around it under the lip before pulling it out, and take the mesh off with the bones. They are now very fragile and should be black, with a slightly silver shine, this is almost pure carbon, and if the filaments and pores can be seen, it has been done perfectly, and no oxygen entered the chamber. If the bones are white and ashy it means there was fire in the pots and the bones were pyrolized and came in contact with the flames.

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When you get the bone sauce, now what to do with it? Pour it in a glass mason for easy storage, I personally keep it in a treasure chest filled with dirt in a basement, along with the jar of crushed of bone char which was easy to powder once it came out of the fire. It can be used raw or mixed with sawdust which contains much of the same nutrients. You can also urinate on it, and use that in the soil. Urine is a strong deterrent and the marking territory tricks works the same for humans with animals. The dust will bring carbon and phosphorous to the soil or your fertilizer, and can be diluted using the Steiner methods of stirring in a bucket or using a Verbela flowflorm. The sauce will ooze and should be used with an old paintbrush to selectively target the trees and crop you wish to form the protective force on.

It is effective not only for domestic herbivores like sheep, bison, goats, cows, but also browsers like moose, deer, elk. It would not kill them but they would certainly not love eating it and the sauce is meant to mimic the essence of death, and can come out smelling more like carrion or like soot, depending on conditions. Use it in tandem with thick woody, or senescent mulches like dead sunflowers, chipped trees, or glass stone mulch as another physical barrier. If you have understory plants it is more likely to deter the animals from become desperate for what is growing above their heads which requires more energy expenditure to acquire. I don’t think this would work on birds, and you would not want to put this too close to the actual fruit. Timing is important too. Put it on before flowering and budding of fruit, like in midwinter, or early spring before there is greenery. This is extremely important because the bone sauce can burn the flowers/buds while they may die or deform. If leaves are already growing, only apply this lightly to the trunk, the way you would paint limewash on the base of the tree, and you don’t need to lather it, simple stroke it on lightly with the bone tar. It is made of volative compounds and is very strong, so rationing is okay. So far, there does not seem to suggest any species specific problems about applying the sauce to certain trees. The thick bone sauce can be cut with tallow, 50/50 the fat should be animal based. This also makes the less desirous parts of the cow, pig, goat, be used in an effective and farm health promoting way, as not everyone wants to make soap from the tallows. This may also not work on generalist/omnivorous eaters like rats, coyotes or vultures, as they seem to like the carrion scent on their food. That said, the later are primarily meat eaters, and there would be no worries about them scavenging from your paw paw tree, or your kale garden.

The other two preps which I have collected are horn dust and bear scat. The bear manure was found on a foraging walk while looking for ramps, in our woods, there are black bears, who feast on blueberries before hibernation and start their spring diet forage looking for roots, tubers, moths and edible plants. The bear, like the cow also has an amazing and unique stomach that produces a bile that is stored in the gall bladder, this has profound digestive qualities, and everything that passes through a bear uses some of this bile to break down its food, making its manure particularly pure. I decided to collect a small pile of sun dried bear scat, that had only a slight sweet odor, to grind up with a stick for use as a fertilizer ration. Like a homeopathic dose for small plants who need a pure boost of energy in their first stage as a seedling. The experiment can be done with plants before they have been transplanted, and applied surrounding or scattered onto the new seeds while in the single pots or trays.

bear scat and horn dustThe second one is horn dust, which is mostly keratin, the same material our hair, and nails are made of. These were the dusts that came off of the external parts of the horn while making drinking vessels, and carry the same forces as the horn. It needs to be cured first, by aerating it in the sun, and perhaps stirring the small amount of powder with a spoon, so no moisture remains while storing, otherwise the fats in the horn(dust) go rancid, and smell like sulfur and rotting flesh. This was learned the inconvenient way by opening an old jar inside the kitchen and the smell lingered for several hours. These are both experimental preps to add to our curio of biodynamic preps. I am interested in exploring other organic options of building soil using other materials like elk antler, or different types of animal hair. Only time and experience will tell the benefits.

 

Re:Wild your Yoga

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This is a benchmark time for me, a time to check in and forge forward, as I am finally taking my yoga practice into the world of teaching and on site daily ritual. The setting in reference is the farm I have settled on to earlier this season, called Earth Haven, located in Tweed, Ontario. Throughout the year I shall be focalizing classes, organizing private one on one for those needing extra attention, and potentially doing a couple workshop and yoga retreat. My yoga website is now launched and so far in a minimal bare skin state, but it will not become too complex. On the site I will be tailoring the events, providing information on where to find me, and how to get in touch, as well are sporadic articles dealing with yoga, primal movement, and documenting alternative fitness modalities like hanging rings, slack line, movnat, or barefoot running. I want to teach yoga as a mainstay to compliment my agricultural work, and the two blend very well together to keep me in perfect condition when on the farm, to stretch, tone and flex my body, from muscles to fascia. Any classes for volunteer farmhands will take place on the farm, as will any further teachings or yoga sessions for public, either in a small learning hall or outside. Tell some friends, and let me know if you are keen to come for an outdoor yoga class on a warm day. This is the first post of the website below.

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Though the journey for me commenced seven years ago, in a quiet yoga studio in downtown Hamilton, little did I know that Yoga would become a mainstay of my life, and a primary technique for keeping myself healthy, focused, and in tune with the cycles of nature. In the years since stepping onto my mat, I have practiced yoga in fourteen countries, demonstrated yoga to youth in the rural mountain regions of Oaxaca, participated in yoga sessions in the jungles of Yucatan, and trained as a teacher in southern Mexico. I’ve found hundreds of different ways to manipulate my body, and found myself lost in meditation for hours at a time in some remote corner of the world. Mastery is a strong aim of my practice, full awareness fused with the natural flow of movement over a piece of ground. I see yoga as dynamic, rather than static, and experience yoga as a healing, transcendental process, one of pure embodiment and activation of our primal bodies.”

Agrarianism and the Preservation of Culture & Tradition

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When I became a farmer, I literally knew overnight this was what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. As Christopher McCandless spoke in Into the Wild, “careers are a twenty-first century invention and I don’t want one.” Farming is the lifeway in which I primarily connect to the land, and the cycles of nature that mirror the inhabiting nature of my very own self, as one and the same. On the farm, it is easy to observe beyond the domesticated aspects of livestock, plants, and routine, and see the wildlife that dwells on the fringes, in the air, or in a square inch of soil, to witness diversity and abundance as primary elements of a healthy land. Every day I am so grateful to wake up on a farm, work on a farm, and understand my ecological role in stewarding nature’s processes, that are only lightly modified designs of their wild examples, especially in the fields of organic permaculture and biodynamic agriculture. I have always observed that the spiritual aspects of agrarianism has been preserved in the peasant populations. The backbone of the enlightened culture of India is because of peasant farmers, the Nordic people of Scandinavian have in tact a folk tradition of farming passed on by small frugal populations of people back on the land, from Australia to Mayan America, to the United States and Iceland, the spiritual continuity of farming has largely been left in tact because of the more humble class, and those who gleaned their education from the land, by watching, waiting, and learning from the soil.

I find myself reflecting in the crepuscular hours of dawn and dusk, on everything I am grateful for, that usually contrasts to other modalities of living, but gratitude none the less. Hearing amphibious music all night, gazing on star planets from the comfort of my bed, the absence of traffic sounds, the smell of petrychor after it rains, going to sleep in the same place every night, seeing my hands caked with dirt after a hard day, my sore muscles and the ease from the pain after my morning yoga sunrise sessions, having megafauna on the land and healthy chicken eggs, foraging wild plants, and morally responsible and sacred work to do. The glimpses of animals almost unlike this place reminding me of tropics or meso-american bio-regions; the hummingbirds good vibrations, the sweet citrus, and the dog days of summer. I thought I would share some of my sentiments about the other paradigms of farming that are important to me, as an instigation for further conversation.

Farming is the sole occupation which offers total independence and self-sufficiency. Urban life, capitalism, and technology destroy independence and dignity while fostering vice and weakness. The agricultural community, with its fellowship of labor and cooperation is the model society. The farmer has a solid, stable position in the world order. He has a sense of identity, a sense of historical and religious tradition, a feeling of belonging to a concrete family, place, and region, which are psychologically and culturally beneficial. The harmony of his life checks the encroachments of a fragmented, alienated modern society. Cultivation of the soil has within it a positive spiritual good and from it the cultivator acquires the virtues of honor, manliness, femininity, self-reliance, courage, moral integrity, and hospitality. These result from a direct contact with nature, and through nature a closer relationship to the Gods. The agrarian is blessed in that he follows the example of beauty in creating order out of chaos.

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Savage Herbals for Men

Since as far back as Otzi the Ice Man, and even into our proto-hominid lineage before him, man has been walking upright on the earth, foraging plants, and ingesting them to enact positive changes in his own health. When man chose to selectively eat from the grasses certain plants that made him stronger, helped him to survive in dark caves through the winter, gave him protein and adrenaline for long hunts, and helped his body to quicker heal from injury, he learned the codes of the plants and how to not only survive but truly thrive.i It is these codes that have also sculpted us into our current form, so brilliant in his potential, strong, fierce and feral. To be in tune with your manhood, also prepares you for being ready for embracing the woman. Every man wants to have vigor, and vitality in the wilds, endurance, stamina in the bedroom, or to inspire awe and intelligence in his public domain. A true man is a force to be reckoned with, or to be allied with, it depends how you see it. How do we do this? The quick answers may be to head to the gym, but this is a mediocre solution at best, what about being a badass, and making people look up to you as a hero? This may be an ingredient, but there is a deeper spiritual vein I am talking about. How we always aligned ourselves with nature, and in particular with the wild plant, lichen and fungal species that lived there to boost our health, promote superior well being, and support a thriving savage existence. If you are a man seeking the feral concoctions to kinder for your own primal activation, I am going to share with you some plants, fungal agents, wild allies and live cultures, I use on a daily and weekly basis for my own nurturing. So you can stop relying on synthetics, drugs, and processed substances, and you yourself become the new barbarian.

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The first important essence I use daily is pine pollen, ethically harvested in the Vinlandic boreal forest, and spagyrically processed using non gmo spirits. Pine is one of the fastest growing and toughest of all trees in the woods, and it makes sense that it contains high level of human identical testosterone, which men can convert into freebase testosterone, and high intensity energy. When the pines are shedding their pollen grains in the air, is early spring, when we return the the land, and step back into the wildlands after the thaw of winter. This is when we are waking from our restive winter, and need to kickstart our energy stores, as the sunlight keeps us out of doors for longer in the day, and we expel more energy in our work. Pine pollen is pure solar power, as some of the first gifts from nature, before fruit, flower or even images.duckduckgo.comleaf, we have pollens in the air, and just simply walking in a mature evergreen forest on a windy day is beneficial for intaking these pollens into our bodies. The swiftest and most hardy deer eat pollen buds when ready and incorporate the wild coniferous medicines into their diet, to thrive in the harsh conditions, to ward off infections and build firm muscle, the same effects can be observed in men who use this tree. The pollen also contains many compounds that impact health, and phytosterols that are like natural plant steroids, that can be metabolized sustainably by man. Take for increased adrenaline and viril performance. I use this in tincture form from preserved pollen, kept in russian 99 proof alcohol.

Also in my tincture blend is the sub-Arctic Maral Root (Rhaponticum Carthamoides), named after the deer that eats the roots. It is a potent energy condensed medicine with a number of antioxidants and ecdysteroids, that increase muscle mass with training, while also helping with weight loss of non healthy body masses. It is good for recovery after injuring or simply for after a good hard days work. The Russian Scythians, Vikngs, Picts and Celts would have probably encountered this wild plant and used it after battles and fights. It is well known in Russia as a cardiac tonic and nervine with properties for liver protection. And if to simply put the icing on the cake, it is a libido booster and aphrodisiac that is working really well with another herb I have come across called Horny Goat. I believe this is considered a weed, and though it is a herb, is used enough in natural male sex drive enhancement, for those who want to get their kicks from the plant world, rather than the pharmacy. This one I actually learned of from a female friend, ironically enough, who is a master herbalist, and knows a lot of the ancient and secret potencies of these northern superplants. This really adds some power to your arsenal, literally and figuratively, whether it is to help you live more riskfully, productively, and proactively, or imbibed in a ritualized manner for erotic enhancement with your woman, facilitating a longer lasting and more vigorous experience of lust and lovemaking. They are warming, blood cleansing, and saturate the body with surging power, plants that are enriched from the deep black soils of our forest, rich in the atomic elements and mycelial energy transfer systems. Take these and engage in beast mode and increase sexual power in its full example!

Beyond this I have been experimenting with Canadian ginseng, ethically collected and processed straight from the French territory of Quebec where many other tumblr_p1zqnp7J891romrx1o1_1280medicinal herbs grow abundant in the cold climates and shorter winters. This is another forest herb, and rarely cultivated in North America due to its intensive agricultural detriment and slow return. Our nomadic ancestors would have observed the most fit animals in the forest to ingest certain herbal supplements in their foraging practice side by side with these beasts, and notice which ones were the strongest, fastest, most adaptable to weather, most sexually driven in the rut, and they were naturally inclined to collect these same plants almost literally from the jaws of other wild creatures in effort to use them on themselves. We know this from the rich folklore of mythological and oral traditional tales past down to us. These myths serve as the soul and spirits hyper-topographical map, and cosmological structure for our current existence. Even though we are not as connected to the stories anywhere, one elements of these past lives that remained with us are the plant lores. The edibles that never really got interfered with on a mass domestic level and still remain relatively secret to those who use them. These wild species like the Canadian ginseng was has naturalized in the sub-arctic climates very well have preserved their ancient genetics and given us such a rich store of micro nutrients, chemicals, and compounds that we have learned to evolve with tangentially.

These are four plant extracts; coaxed from the pollen, root powder, and leaves, respectively, that I have started to use on a daily basic in tincture form in russian spirits. In my reserves I have remaining roughly a pound of chaga, harvested by axe in the cold -30 winter of northern Canada from the Golden Birch. Along with coffee infused with spores of the Ganoderma Lucida, a Reishi species, these have served as bulletproof coffee supplements when I prefer to have less butter and caffeine intake. As a decoction, I will take this 1-2 times a week as it is not as important now in the warmer days, but when the barometers and atmospheric pressures are changing and the land is receiving more stormy weather, these dark brews are helpful for adapting to the new season, and allowing us to rapidly integrate our nervous systems to the changing climate. The bio-availability of the Chaga can’t be underestimated and it would probably be a less substantial list to name what it is not good for than its positive attributes, from balancing adrenals (another antidote to excessive coffee), to tonic and focusing effects, cleansing the liver and the heart. Reishi is another of the Hyperborean fungus proxy.duckduckgo.commushvarieties that shared the enlightened use by our ancestors, used for the worst illnesses, cancers, and gastro-intestinal problems. The black plants of nature usually have some concealed value, whether it is a mass of chaga or a dark root growing in the shade. These two are perfect mycomedicinals that are gaining some headway in health circles, and I certainly rely on them.

Beyond drinking or tincturing the potent plant allies, the herbal smoking mixtures of wild weeds and some flowers are also in my cabinet for use in not only daily waking hours but also during sleep. The Mugwort plant (related to wormwood), has been used since medieval times and perhaps before into the early iron and bronze age as a dream potentiator, for lucidity, and as a sleep inducement. I have been smoking a blend of mugwort, with rare blue lotuses that thrive in small microclimates, roses and desert flowers for help with sleep, easement into my subconscious and focus in meditation and dynamic yoga practices. Many of these herbs, and flowers are nootropic and therefore taken for the mind, and the subtle energy bodies. Understanding masculinity is also about sympathizing with the less dominant forces of our inner archetype, the tranquil, passive and sensitive aspects of nature given through provider plants. Acting usually on deeper and less accessed realms of our behavioral complex, plants that are needed for shamanistic, intuitive, and psyche-spiritual healing purposes. Many old herbs and flowers were also infused into intoxicating meads and drunk, wormwood, and mugwort being two of them, along with Swedish bitters. I should mention if you are keen to use plants like these they should be wildcrafted and organic, especially in the case of tincturing when chemicals become more potentized. These are simply just moral codes held by herbalists and old school forest plant people. Those who forage their medicines from the wild, or get it from someone knows that it is more about the preservation of culture, pure quality, and sustainability, over supply and quantity.

These are ancient pagan traditions and recipes and then became the secrets of monks and nobles, but originally they were used by everyone, from peasants to warriors to kings, they all knew the value of these plants, herbs, and wild supplementations and health remedies. The cordials I have recommended are all made by a close friend for me, I focus on male herbs because that is what I want to promote, herbs for men, I drink ashwaghanda root decoction, an Indo-Aryan proxy.duckduckgo.comayurvedic herb used by men for ages for freebase testosterone, dreams, and male libido, this is often also mixed with raw honey from northern plants. A lot of these plants are aphrodisiacs, some of them even being studied to increase sperm count, strengthen erections, promote endurance and stamina for body building, and better metabolize and convert sugars, fats and carbohydrates into muscle mass and body weight. Sprouted fenugreek and brocolli is also good for these purposes, which I am growing organically with potent cow manure fertilizer and natural well water.

 

The effects of modern life, the stagnation of blood, the overworking of the organs from oxidative stress, the chemicals killing valuable soil organisms and therefore our gut biology and microbiome, to GMO’s, pollutants, and processed foods growing in toxic dirt all create a perfect storm of adrenal fatigue, burnout, depression, digestive problems, and huge lacks of energy. The herbals and plant essences mentioned are purveyed with the intention of awakening ourselves to our local flora, and understand that what we need is simply all around us, growing from the ground, and are useful in all manner of ill-offsets of health, the deteriorating effects of age, winter sress, and after bouts of indulgences and nutrition lack in our diet. I would suggest taking these substances with a paleo or wild food complemented diet for ultimate effect. If you are to truly reclaim your health, you need to act on your whole ecology. It would be pointless to engage with these allies if you are not eating clean. These are some of my own antidotes for simply waking up each day with vigor, throwing up some personal bests on some cardio and calisthenic workouts, staying endurant in the field when I work the farm, or just recovering from a bad dose of lethargy or inefficency. We can not make our legacies without the plants, and we must learn to recognize these old folk uses as the exact thing we need in today’s wolf age.

The Farm as a Social Unit

I was thinking the other day about what it means to have a social life when you live on a farm, and just the kind of social lifeway a farmer has and the relationship with the land on which they inhabit. There is a myth that farmers are backwards folk who don’t really have any friends, are perpetually lonely, less educated and with a low intelligence. I think this is pretty far fetched, and a shot way clear of the mark. In speaking of these country dwellers, I mean to include the masculine and feminine in representation of the farmer archetype. Just a couple nights ago, I was asked by a dear friend if I felt lonely, on the farm, and who I take my company with, if not on my own. This kind of tangiered into a branching of different thoughts about my own social life,  and where a farmer finds their outlet for socializing.

For the urban population, it is common to mingle with hundreds of different people everyday, and each new day several other hundreds of individuals that can be come into contact with, each with their own unique persona, ideas, philosophies, ideologies, religions, beliefs, styles, professions, families, personal histories, karmas, relationships, associations, etc. This can be a dizzying perspective for a single person to grock. Bonds are loose and moral responsibility is thin to any one individual, because their relationships are diluted thinly to include a morass of others into their social circles, not to mention their online following, and long distance connections through social media. The staggering amount of base conversation that can occur in a single 24-hour time period is nearly overwhelming. We are deep into the communication age, and urban people are inundated with tremendous amounts of information and opinions, and quickened communication in their workplaces, that more often than not are just transitory and ephemeral voices that don’t impact on one’s psycheto any great importance. Then to fill this void, one will invite company, or “go out” to express their social mores in the metropolis in ways that can not be gleaned from going in. The social life of the city dweller is made with haste, like instant yeast, that swells to proportions in which inclusion of the other is extended beyond the emotionally sustainable limit, and leaves one feeling lonely even amongst the masses. The weariness of things unsaid, the deep and profound words that rarely get a space and time to be shared amongst bar room banter, office discourse and coffee shop chit chat do not seem to get to the root of the social beings that we are as humans. They leave us hungry for more, and often result in a kind of egoic identity that does not speak to share, and form unity but talks into order to hear oneself, and heighten ones self image. Observations are easy enough to see. City people speak faster and with less enunciation than rural farming folk, and only tend to linger over the commonalities of modern society, while making sure all words spoken are filtered through political correctness, and absolutely dissolved of any taboo or spiritual vein whatsoever.

In the absence of instantly available social hubs, and the lack of rapid communication systems, it frees up a lot of time to contemplate and appreciate life, rather than talk so much about it. It is regaled to the feeling senses more than the occupation of the mind. Gossip is not really a mainstay of a farmers social life because relatively speaking, connections are few but close, and it would be detrimental to acquire a bad reputation, there is less anonymity in a farming community, as opposed to an urban environment when anonymous encounters are commonplace. A homesteader friend of mine in Vermont once told me, “you get a lot done, without hi-speed internet”, he meant this in a practical workaday manner, but it also applies to social life. Without the crux of constantly being online, farmers and their friends turn to each other and talk over the days chores, while jarring maple syrup, collecting eggs, grooming cows, or weeding. Conversations tend to just pick up where they left off the last time, and there is no beginning or end to a subject discussed, only segways into many diverse topics.

A farmer will tend to make voice to their mind in a much slower fashion, speaking wise words or none at all, and find his company not in the bright lights of the night life, and novel thrills of the metropolis, but the slow motion appreciation of organic change on his/her homestead, and farm, with the circle of other farmers who just ‘get it’, and with those eclectic souls who live on the outskirts, and don’t mind provoking or speaking about the sensitive and tricky subjects that everyone thinks about. The genre of their tongue is altogether different. In any given day a farmer might talk about the weather, the plants and the animals, but also wax greatly on topics like like evolution, sex, travel, spiritual tradition, all the most interesting conversations really. On the farm, in the absence of authorities and public eyes, communication breaks from its culturally sanctioned shell and is allowed to be free of rules, time restrictions, or limitations.

A farmer does not experience loneliness in the same way a city person does. Where he may by all means feel alone, and experience vast amounts of solitude, he rarely needs to confront loneliness because he makes his company in the presence of his present companions, the animals, his work, the spiritual beings of the land, the moods of the weather share in his mindset, and the plants talk to him, in a metaphorical sense, when he takes a keen conservation of their own language. His friends are also near, maybe down the road, or the ones he sees on the weekends at the market, thus breeding a familiarity of context in their social sphere. The farmers social life is integral to where he is, as he makes a bio-regional pact to living and loving one place for a very long time, and commits himself to deepening the relationships with that place, carefully sliding into his niche wherein he finds the solace of a friend in those wild and cultivated spaces. This idea was also espoused by Thoreau, of making companion with ones home. Of course, there are social connections on the farm with other people, and these tend to be of the same type; interns, neighboring land keepers, local hunters and foragers in the area, travelers that visit the farm, or customers that loyally support the business. It can revolve around some aspect of planning, maybe discussing a planting calendar. A farmer learns practical things every time he trades words with another; where to find the edible berries, what animals are in season to hunt, the forecast for harvest, possible celestial events. The kind of dynamics of a farm social is usually practical, and happens simultaneously along with working, or as a result of the work. Thus there is a focalizing center, and even a brand of dialect on the farm, as it is an integral unit in and of itself.

In the case of the city person, it is hard to fathom these form of relations, they tend to a view that it is dull, boring, and limited, because they need constant communication, novelty and thrills, and silence remains a hard prospect to have. Ask any urban dweller to just do nothing, or be in complete solitude for even a few minutes, and they will start becoming unglued. The kind of questioning I often get is related to those I quoted earlier, “what do you do will all your time? is a big one, or “where are all of your friends?”. As someone that does not have a social media presence, outside of this journal, I am not a ‘collector’ of friends via the standard means used today (a.k.a. facebook, twitter, snapchat etc.) The lastingness of social media is so ephemeral, that there is even apps that instantly delete your conversation seconds after it happen. It can be argued if these are even true social means at all, because they are so incredibly new to us a communal species.

We all evolved and originated from small intensive tribal units, and some studies have shown that we are not even capable of forming lasting relationships with more than 50 individuals at any one time. This is because we adapted to be hard wired for closely knit clanic connections with our locality, tribal gatherings, small family hamlets, and so forth. Whereas in the digital age, it is not uncommon for someone to have upwards of thousands of ‘friends’ in their revolving social spheres, not to mention the co-workers, strangers, business associates, etc. that one intermingles with everyday. This creates a whole culture of alienation, where lasting relationships are extremely hard to come across, and unclaimed conversation never allows real and radical communication to flourish.

The reality of modern social life is rather illusory and ephemeral, as people feed on constant instant gratification reward circuits and this reflects back to intimate love partnerships as well. There is less time to process the thoughts and ideas, as they rush through and therefore don’t stay around long enough to be integrated or involved in any practical way in real life. Relationships fall apart because of broken communication. A societies social life is bound to only send shallow roots into the collective unconscious, rather than mining the deep well, for pure and original inspirations. City folk communicate in abbreviated tongues, fast flowing memes, and slang. A farmer distills the essence of what he wants to say when he wants to say it, and their is great weight and perspicacity in their words. On a farm, communication occurs naturally as a result of what is going on in a dynamic and holistic way, rather than preternaturally as a means to an end.

So these are just a few of my own biased visions I witness on the social life of a farmer, and the nature of communication that exists on a farm, in comparison to that of an urban dweller. You may have your own conceptions of this, and each perspective can have strong grains of truth in them. But it is my answer to the question of what kind of a social world a farmer lives in.

The Biodynamics of Horns

In various world cultures, the ungulate horned beasts have always been revered for their seemingly supranormal nature, and phenomenal aspects, not only from a biological and anatomical perspective but from a spiritual and mythical incline as well. The Celts worshipped Cernunnos, the horned god, the caves of Lascaux, France are painted in earth pigments of primordial beasts wearing horns and fauna with antlers, the Hindu still consider the cow to be sacred, and herding cattle are regarded as integral to African desert societies, the Aryans of the hyperborea held great mystique over the now extinct Aurochs, the predecessor of todays bovine family, and the Sami call their reindeer sacred. Myths and stories about in Scottish highland culture of the white stag, while other masculine horned creatures are to be found portrayed in northern Scandinavian lore, Thor’s goats, Audhumbla, there is something mysterious and awe filled about these beings, and it is in truth that the magic mushrooms grow in the dung of horned and hoofed ruminants, i.e. cattle, goats, bison, etc. The horns and hooves are essentially made of the same material, it is a derivative of hair, an article in itself to show the mythical allegory of long strong hair and importance of hair to the ancients would be needed to go further into such a subject, but this one is about the horns, and of one animal in particular, the cow.

The cow is the primordial giant, and even when megafauna walked the earth like mammoths, and cave bears, there was the aurochs, a massive animal that was much more muscular and larger framed than the modern cattle, it was wild and ate its sustenance from the forest, not grasslands and meadows. It also fought and had quite a veracious bout of testosterone fueled aggression and defense which inevitable would have helped it to survive many ages against predators like dire wolves, and sabertooths. The modern hindu ox is probably the closest we have to the ancient aurochs genetically speaking, and the East Indians know exactly why the cow is to be considered so important, and what this essay is all about. That is, the special forces and effects of the cow horn, and in this case, how that relates to agriculture.

At this time in my life, I have chosen to be free from a nomadic existence and settle into a more sedentary albeit homely sort of lifestyle. Adhering to old principles of seeking land, and connecting deeply to one bioregion. Farming has been a strong tie of tradition for me in the last five years, and the culmination of which I have landed for the year on a biodynamic farm based on the principals of rudolf steiner’s teachings. Steiner was a strong proponent of raising cattle, and using all parts of domestic livestock in what he referred to ‘the biodynamic preparations. On a biodynamic farm, all life functions as a single organic unit, and the farm is an entity in a balanced state that can use everything made from upon it and the grows within its bounds. The animals are incorporated as coworkers, and plant mixtures are made to ensure the health of the soil. Such herbs like valerian, dandelion, yarrow, nettle, horsetail and chamomile, as well as cow manure, crystal powdered quartz, and oak bark are all packed into horns. The horn as a central tenet of biodynamic farming is what I wish to highlight here.

Steiner, and later, his proponents and teachers of biodynamic agriculture espoused that horns carried the latent force of the cows digestive system. The sheathed horn of the free range cow, that eats a biologically appropriate diet is connected via the lymphatic system to the four stomachs and the rumen of the cow, that means that the horn as an agent of digestion, and enzymatic breakdown of nutrients happens on the outside of the body as well as on the inside, or as above and so below. The cattle horns are linked to the gut system, and so carries the memory as well of the food processing, and alchemical breakdown of the prima materia, so to speak. The grass, tubers, insects, vegetables, clay and grain amongst other things that cattle eat on a daily basis move through all the stomachs, and are chewed a second time as cud, then cycles through the stomachs again. The horns act as a post-mortem replication of the digestive tract, as they serve as a carrier for fermented plant substances like the earlier herbs described, the fresh manure, and ground up mineral like the silicate of the quartz. When buried underground in the auspicious times of right alignment, usually around the winter solstice, and coinciding with other planetary and lunar events, they begin to work their magic, and literally alchemize the matter within into something altogether different. A potent soil, biodynamically rendered, aged, and transformed by bacterial microbes, life enriching nitrogens and a varied flora in its microbiome. The horn does this because it had stored the processing power of the nervous and digestive system within its capillaries, and still ‘lives’ to a degree even when off the animal. Further, the horn must be from a female cow, or sow, who has already given birth, whose hormonal shifted has triggered lactation and the chemical compounds that literally transform a calf into a mother cow. The inside core of the horn which is mostly porous bone is also useful, and one friend has suggested its potential use as a water filtration system, as it can collect pollutants or toxins from water free flowing through its cavity. The spiraled shape of the horn also would activate and charge the water as it pours or drips through it.

Besides the biopreparations, there are a slew of other practical and cosmic importances of the cow horns, that should be spoken of. The horn serves as a conduit for orientation in cows, as they roam fields, forest, and meadows in search of grass

and habitation. A cow with fully developed horns will be much more in tune with his or her natural environment, that is because the horns acts as a kind of bio-antenae to geographically position itself in space, in this case, the cultivated and feral land. With the horns, a cow is about to locate water, like dowsing with rods, it is the same concept, their are magnetically polarized and have an electrical force that pumps with the blood and water constantly running through the horns. In nature, like substances attract, and thus the horns will aid the cow in finding ponds, streams, springs or watersheds to drink from. They may also help in finding salt deposits, because of the mineral attraction of keratine and absorption of hair with soluble saline/silica substances, like certain rocks or the equisetum, a.k.a. horsetail plant.

Horns act as defense mechanisms and usually can be found with many scars and battle wounds on them, because they are used to fight other bulls for dominance over their harem. Dehorned cattle often lose this hierarchical structure of dominance, like the pecking order, and will often still fight but end up injuring each other to greater degree as they ram each others stomach region, even so as it sometimes will cause still birth. A cow without horns can prevent the population growth, and increase death rates of other cows. So the male horns represent the active, protective and aggressive force, while the female horns represent the nourishing, provider force, after they have calved. They can be used accordingly in agri-spiritual practice.

Two horns on the head also serve as sensory attachments, and are used to detect minute changes in weather, and danger. A cow with horns will often be seen to find a low valley or sheltered spot when inclement and storming weather is approaching, one without will merely sit down in place in confusion and not move unless further instigated by his herd. Therefore the horns are as indicators of the mood of the weather, such as they are used biodynamically with lunar and stellar alignments, they are cosmically connected to the spatial realm that is influenced by non terrestrial forces. The spiral of the horn can be found in many other animistic forms, like the spiral of an ammonite or snail shell, mesquite tree rings, the flower of life in the central flowering bud of a dandelion, and so show an inclination to sacred geometry in their expression. A further few notes about the properties of horns would include their use in instrument and tool making, and as a vessel. Below I have prepared some drinking horns and raw cored horns for use in the plant composts. By boiling the horns I was able to remove the boney core for use in filtering, and therefore gain the sheath for craft and agricultural use. By sanding and polishing them I could expose the mutli-colored grain of the horns as a particularly gray or ruddy colored horn can reveal streaks of blue, purple, red, orange, and gold. Sealed in wax, they can be used to hold ale, and have been traditionally drunk from with mead, in old Viking and Teutonic iron age societies.

The horns seem to be one of the most sensitive parts of the cow, next to the genitals of course. If you have ever tried to grab the horns of a cow, male or female, they often pull their head away before you have a chance of touching them. They can perceive movement just like our fingers and extremities touch the boundaries of our personal space bubbles, and define our surroundings by how we move within it. I am experimenting with creating a horn dust that also serves a cosmic/fire/fruit principle when applied to plants, that may help in producing better harvest of fruiting plants or healthier and more expressive orchard trees. The marrow inside the horns can also be rendered chemically similar to ashing, by making a ‘bone sauce’ whereby marrow (fat) that is inert inside the bone of the horn can change substance when heated from without, in an iron pot surrounded by fire and allowed to drip out of the bone and be collected subterraneanly. This makes a carrion smelling liquid substance that can be flicked onto bushes, trees and around the perimeter of herbs gardens to protect from browsers and grazers like deer, rabbits, and raccoons. Even after death, the cow horns are still defending territory.

Such are some of the miraculous properties of horns and their use in the field of agriculture and pagan traditions. New methods for the use of horn are still surfacing, and the importance of this relics of transformational power are only still loosely understood.

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Tree Medicine

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This winter has brought the sacred tree medicines in abundance, so I have been getting my local terroir in strong doses, birch chaga from Quebec and Ontario, maple syrup tapped from the many sugar maples growing on the farm, and several different coffee cultivars, hand roasted on an iron skillet over the central hearth. Sometimes I like to mix all three of these and have a mushroom coffee with maple, and starting my morning with a few drops of 95 proof pine pollen tincture, hand made by a friend of mine living in the Pontiac region of Quebec. These tree medicines are powerful allies in the cold months when our immune systems may be compromised and while most people go into semi-hibernation and stay in doors. Pine pollen being a natural source of testosterone, bio-identical to human t. Packed full of good hormones, and micro-nutrients. The chaga drunken black and earthy is immune boosting, adrenal support, life extension, adaptogenic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, phytosterols and triterpenes that give it a therapeutic benefit. I drink it piping hot and brew it 4-5 times before it gets weak. All the wood cutting of late winter would not be the same. And for the coffee, I’ve been using Peruvian beans as of late, roasted in coconut oil, another medicine. Bulletproof (that is blended with butter) is usually my go to, and though it is an imported buzz, unlike yaupon, I think of it as a minor medicine, and certainly a folk placebo for starting the day with vigor. This year we have had spells of warm thaw, and are expecting a week of -celsius in the double digits even now as spring is just days away. This will probably affect the maple harvest, and I have been learning a lot about the processing of syrup, the coloration, and alchemy behind this beautiful amber medicine. It’s health benefits are beyond compare when taken in moderation. Like I always like to say, all food can be either a drug or a medicine, it is about the dose that is dependent on how it will work for you.