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.

“The Yoga Road Goes On…tumblr_p1a6hvX3f31romrx1o1_1280

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.”

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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.

301 Moved Permanently

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.

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

“In our bourgeois western world, total labor has vanquished leisure. Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture.. and ourselves” images.duckduckgo.com

– Josef Pieper

This is the opening missive in an extended essay entitled Leisure: the Basis of Culture, one that I just finished reading and found particularly striking in its accuracy and conviction. The sentiment is postulated that total work as it currently makes the crutch of society, is dehumanizing and lacking in the spiritual and divine counterpart which is free leisure. In the essay Pieper explains how leisure was the foundation of Western culture, that hearkens back to Aristotle’s time, when he was writing his politics. He splits the hair between intellectual work and worker, Kant and the Romantics, how knowledge is related to work, and what the modern picture of work looks like now. He uses many greek terms, like acedia (meaning sloth or the inability to fully enjoy leisure), and brings in mythological figures like Sisyphus to represent the quandary of working for works sake, without taking the divine rite of ceremony between works. Attention is paid to the feasting days, when humanities gathered to worship, and let down their industriousness for at least one day a week in the name of his or her Gods.

Personally speaking, I have held the notion that our indigenous ancestors did not work as much as we do today, partly in reason that they were far more efficient than we are, and did not have a superfluous field of work that is so irrelevant to any sense of well being. Their ‘work’ revolved around procuring the basic needs of life, hunting for meat and fish, foraging wild food or growing it from the soil, procuring and bettering the shelter, midwifing, raising children, making tools and keeping them in good shape, fixing implements, boats, weapons, and tending the homestead.

Henry David Thoreau statue located by his Walden cabin replica, next to the Thoreau Society stor ...These would not all be done in one day however, and a lot of leisure time was freed up midway the tasks. Some anthropological studies I have heard stated that our tribal nomadic ancestors worked as little as 3 hours a day, while agrarian people around 6 hours, while the rest of the day was spent in leisure; singing, practicing their faith, making jokes, sitting around a fire eating or drinking stimulating foods and plants, making music, dancing and laughing. All the finer things in life, many of them, as Henry David Thoreau spoke of in Walden, makes to better an existence. The simple and beautiful things that make us essentially human.

Fast forward to the 21st century and it is easy to recognize how industrialized, co-modified, regaled, regimented, oppressive, and labor intensive the modern working man and woman fits into his world. One does not work to live; one lives to work, but shall the objective be to ‘work so we may have leisure’. All spiritual tangents come when the mundane work is done and the sacred work begins. The sacral can be infused into normal work as well of course, but the objection is about man’s enslavement to his work.

‘But the Gods, taking pity on mankind, born to work, laid down the succession of recurring Feasts to restore them from their fatigue, and gave them the Muses, and Apollo their leader, and Dionysus, as companions in their Feasts, so that nourishing themselves in festive companionship with the Gods, they should again stand upright and erect. – Plato

My own bias reveals what I think about this social stratification, and my careful observations of the working world, and as a hard worker who also enjoys plenty of rest myself, I have reached a conclusion that man is rather foolish, an echo Nietzche in saying that most of his work is futile, and that he is the accumulation of dust, as the north Germanic rune poem reads. I encounter many folks and have during my  travels who appear to be completely in bondage to their work, unhappy, misdirected and seeking a way out. During their time off, they ‘spend’ their time, literally or figuratively on experiences that have no substantial meaning or value like watching movies, or inebriating their mind with libations and speak no good words amongst others who are on the same level. Their energy is completely spent on their work, so often they will fill their leisure with more work, and eventually suffer burnout because they were never able to open the window for the divine to influence their leisure. Virtues can be obscured to the depth of masochism wherein a kind of believed true virtue only gains merit through struggle. Instead of mastering their natural bent in day to day life, to extract and refine the idle hours down into pure experience of leisure, the times are whittled away until they become recognizable, and he loses his will to power and his drive for spirit.

The Education of Ancient Greece | Interesting Facts for Kids

Aquinas writes “It is necessary for the perfection of human society, that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation -nota bene, necessary not only for the good of the individual who so devotes himself but for the good of human society.”

Culture lives on in religion, and tradition through divine worship. And when culture itself in endangered, and leisure is called in question, there is only on thing to be done, to go back to the first and original source. The forced onset of total labor and man in perpetual work is like Sisyphus pushing his burden, never stopping to ask why? I think this book opens a lot of interesting materials and cover some ground that I have been perpetually looking to traverse in the classic literature. It is the only essay I know of in its kind, and hits close to home because I have always suffered my own questions and doubts of the modern workaday world, the relevancy of it all, and the importance of real work imbued with meaning. I think it is our job, our prerogative as human beings to truly embrace the being part of human, where leisure is allowed to thrive. Too often we are simply human doings, following a set of parameters and being far too good sheep. To step out of the constant, on tap supply, of doing and working oneself into the ground, take time out to write, lose your mind in a real work of great literature, recognize the ancient pagan holidays, and enjoy the finer strains of music, art or architecture that the centennial ages of yore have given us through leisure. Stop re-creating and re-acting and start creating new things, ideas, artworks and songs that out progenitors can behold and understand what it meant to live as full humans, all the way alive.

Permies

This upcoming spring I will start work on a Biodynamic Steiner farm in Tweed. The principles of the farm obviously espoused from the late and great Rudolf Steiner, who also invented the Waldorf schools, Eurythmy movement therapy, Naturopathic medicine company Weleda, a branch of philosophy called Anthroposophy, and designed several architecturally beautiful buildings throughout Europe. His lecture and subsequent book Agriculture held in Berkowitz has come to be a seminal sourcework for those integrating a biodynamic farm. It is a blend of permaculture, organic farming and astrological/astronomical cycles to build a holistic healthy farm. I decided to build up a permaculture cv of the last five years of my experience in the world, from my work varying from small scale homesteads, embassies, eco-communities, guilds, and permaculture farms. This does not stand alone as a summation of my experience but is a representation of what can be done with a lot of hustle and some creativity in the world of permaculture. I intend to use this to further my involvement in the organic agricultural circles, and add to it over the years for a future business. Click through the picture to view.
permies

 

The One Eyed God: Odin & The (Indo) Germanic Männerbünde review

This is a book I have been trying to get my hands on for nearly five years while I perused the amazon market and found only overprices used copies and out of print stock from foreign distributors. As part of the old Galgragildi curriculum, it is one that intrigued my interest early on when I first forayed into the schools of heathenism and proto-European study. It is published by the Journal of Indo-European studies, written by Kris Kershaw.

The One Eyed God (referring to Odin), is a dense and academic work focusing on the central tenets revolving around the myth of Odin (wodanaz) and the various symbolic attributes that are ascribed to or involved with him, mainly speaking, the male oriented cult of initiation, the Mannerbunde. The archaic rites and rituals of the Mannerbunde are observe first from Scandinavian and European sources, in the gangs of Berserker and Ulfhednar, and then further into the Greek, Roman, Latin, Celtic, and Indo-Aryan sources, as well as the cults of Vedic-era India. Kershaw mines into great detail using heavy notations, and sourcing of scholarly works sourcing several languages and often referring to many at once in each sub chapter, this makes it a challenging read, but there is a conceptual and organized arrangement of the multi-faceted aspects of his central theme. To get an idea of some of the headings assuming the subject matter of each chapter, are; ‘The Einheriar, Furor Teutonicus, The Vratyas, Odin Analogs, warrior brahmins, Rudra, darkness dogs and death, and so forth.

After starting with the Indo European sources discussing early brotherhoods, the wild hunt, agrarian rites of sacrifice, old customs and beliefs, he branches further out into the greater European sources, talking about ancestor cults, the formations of cities like Roman by theriomorphic demigods and roving bands of outlaw men, and then further back into the Indian texts, and information about the Saivites, the Aghori, the soma cults, etc. There is much to digest, and I would suggest reading slowly. The book can be hard to follow at times with the constant language switching and annotations, so one might find themselves glossing over words or sentences that can be hard to comprehend. But this is a purely scholarly work, and contains such a wealth of information for those who are truly seeking to understand more about the paradigms of the mannerbunde, male cults, the wild host, and these early Odinic wolf god attributes of pre-Christian Europe. The parallels with other mythologies are extremely valuable as well, and Kershaw does a good job of drawing the comparative similarities of customs and traditions over spans of time that the student with only a surface interest of these subjects would probably not associated as potentially linked. The implications of the continued tradition and roots of the mannerbunde is fairly intriguing though I don’t agree with all of it. For the serious reader, who wants to implore the mysteries of the proto-cultic brotherhoods and early gang mentality of the early European empire, this is a solid read.

Hunting Rites

We have few real rites of passage in our western civilization. When we are of the age of sixteen in Ontario, one can acquire a drivers license, and two years later, are of legal age limit to drink. At twenty we are generally considered an ‘adult’ and are given new responsibilities but what are we doing to attain these rites of passage and new privileges? I would argue, not a heck of a lot, and though  rites of passage, ceremony, and ritual is a topic that is dear to my heart, one I can write at length about, I will just give an annotated version of what that means for me.

People believe that things acquire for free or gained without effort intrinsically do not have value. To simply reach a certain age is not a requisite in my opinion of having reached a personal stage in ones maturity and development where they are capable of taking on new roles, embodying man/womanhood, gaining new privileges that may or may not be reliant on a persons emotional intelligence, behavior, skill ability, and common sense. The majority of people between 18-40, don’t know how to handle their drink, because they were never taught how to, as banal as that sounds, and the sense of entitlement that young adults feel still eschews so many juvenile and immature tendencies as to wonder, how they were given certain autonomous ‘rites’, and responsibilities. This is because we lack the proper techniques of rites of passage and coming of age rituals in this age. Fortunately there are some cases where these tenets have been preserved still. The training of a hunter and fisherman.

Most folks I know who hunt, and fish have it in their blood. Their father taught them from young how to cast a line, how to reel in a big one, how to skin small game, or fillet a fish, how to stalk, track and spend days out in the woods at camp, hunting dinner with old school weapons and your wits. This aspect of the hunting and fishing world always appealed to me, that there is still a sense of tradition, even if it may not be as savage as it once was, there is a continuity of practice, a lineage, it’s the art of manliness, man as hunter/provider, and allows a boy to become born in his hero/fathers image as he takes up a shotgun/bow/baitcaster, and goes out into the wilderness to procure himself a lot more than just dinner, but his reputation as a independent, and also aid to his legacy. Hunter education in the 21st century can be fairly cut and dry but there is also a wealth of practical insight, application and first hand knowledge from real world hunters. The outlet has changed, learning in a workshop or classroom, maybe not from your blood born father or grandpa, but someone’s for that matter, and one who has lived the reality and walked the talk before teaching you. It is still much like a guild in that sense. Here we have something called the Ontario Federal Anglers and Hunters Association, which is first a group of hunters, but largely a large conservation act, which ties in the natural truth that humans are part of natural ecology just as much as a moose, salmon, or deer can be.

I recently passed my hunter education and firearms safety course. Though the firearms training portion I have levied to take at a later date to get a pal license (license to acquire firearm for hunting), the rites of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthis particular course will open me to more freedom of acquisition of meat, fish, and game. While I intend to start with more intimate/primitive/skillful hunting using a bow, as the years progress I see myself opening up to using a shotgun or firearm for longer range and bigger game hunts. The course itself was engaging and laced with many relevant stories, comprehensive educational photography, tool/equipment handling, and thorough rules and regulations. As a celebration I cooked up a nice rainbow trout, with its brilliant red striping of scales for a reward to myself.

I have wanted to move into the hunting world for two years now and finally made the dive, after over a year of research, exposure, and dabbling with various hunting modalities on the fringes. To start I will probably save money for a used bow, and begin with small game, or deer hunting. I have always seen the deer as an icon of the wild, and it is one of my favorites animals, and venison, one of the tastiest protein rich meats in my opinion. I already feel very close to this animal, and the symbol of what it represents, to take the life of one would be hard, but also exhilarating and ancient feeling. From the forest to the table, this is where I believe our sustenance of meat should come from. Supplement mountain/lake/field, for this wild range, whence the living and breathing beasts of the land, share this space with us, and us them. We are all the descendants of hunters and gatherers, and this is the biologically appropriate diet I have come to realize we should be eating, as conscious omnivores. Knowing where your food comes from, and how it came to your hands, how it was slaughtered, and ultimately realizing that it too lived a full life, and life feeds on life. This is the first rite of passage in many that becoming a hunter of the land entails, and a ceremony of age that is determined by a keen sense of maturity, discernment, embracement of ones place in the universe, and awareness of our impact on the earth. To be a more sustainable human being, and actively involve ourselves with the nature around us, the way we always have from the time we peeked out of our caves, to the times of now, when we track, trail, and trust our instinct, that our instinct will not fail us, and in the end the encounter of predator and prey is the only thing that exists, and it is a fair hunt. It is there we realize just who we are as mortal creatures, and hunt to face another day.