The details for a new type of mentorship emerged from the mists of my mind in the summer of 2016. In the early 1990s, Aurora Farm hosted an apprentice training program in biodynamic agriculture with aspiring farmers and gardeners who came through WWOOF (link is external) (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and SOIL (link is external) (Stewards of Irreplaceable Lands). In the late 90s, our group launched a more formal training program, and students came from around the world. My sons William and Nathan were thus raised on (by!) a biodynamic farm in an international community in the Kootenay River Valley of British Columbia, Canada. During the early 2000s, I began to teach and consult in various landscapes, including South Africa, Canada and America.
I was thinking about the general need for learning environments more akin to a school of life. Here participants could choose what would be most easily integrated into their own everyday circumstances. This would be something to assist each individual in becoming intimately grounded with the earth, listening to the needs of the landscape and taking action through sacred agriculture principles and meditative practices. I too have longed for a natural setting free from virtual reality and the sea of wireless electromagnetic radiation that is changing our collective reality, consciousness and health.
My most treasured childhood moments include sitting beside my father’s compost piles, feeling my heart–lung rhythm attune to the earth’s rhythm and sensing the earth breathe me. Later, I had the tangible experience of walking up river in the rain and feeling the resonance of water and air bring my nervous system into balance. These are some of the simple experiences that could help anyone know that he or she belongs to the earth and take the necessary actions to lovingly care for her.
The School for the Practical and Sacred—A Place of Joy (link is external) has come about through remembering a time when life was simpler, filled with meaning and abundant with nutritious food. Genetically modified food and forms of virtual reality detrimental to human health and consciousness were unknown. You could sit next to steaming piles of compost in the back yard, realizing that you belonged to the earth and were alive in both the seen and unseen worlds. It was natural to feel the etheric realm manifest in your life, healing you via light streaming into your cells, tissues and heart.
I was remembering a time from childhood when I thought the whole world was a garden. It is time to make it so again. Imagine placing our main priority on the greater health and well-being of Gaia, knowing that Earth’s mission is one of radiating love. And the source of the love streams forth from the Divine Cosmos into our conscious, awakened souls and returns the love to God in All through our daily practical and sacred work on the Earth.
The following are some comments by Alfredo Sanchez, an early guest at the burgeoning school:
“I traveled to southeastern British Columbia in April of 2017 to learn the theoretical, the practical and the sacred principles of biodynamic agriculture with Barbara. This work has inspired me for many years now.”
“We worked and played in three unique landscapes, including the home 10 acres with a flock of chickens, gardens, hay field and a fully outfitted fabrication and machine shop, 10 acres of forest and stream being developed into an off-grid homestead and a 400-acre second generation farm in the village of Nakusp, British Columbia. Barbara has been applying the preparations for friend Janet Spicer in this small village in the mountains. We stirred and sprayed the spring biodynamic preparations over the three days we were at Spicer’s Farm, which has served the Kootenays with organic vegetables for over 60 years.”
“I also learned much from Barbara’s partner, John—a skilled and experienced industrial arts professor. We did projects such as fencing a small garden and refining the techniques of grinding raw silica crystal into the finest powder for the horn silica preparation. The spiritual forces in the crystal became more and more palpable as the silica was more finely ground.
“I experienced Barbara’s strong sense of order and discipline and realized how essential devotion and discipline are in cultivating the individuality of the farm. This was a rewarding experience for me to know that my soul was individualizing along with the soul of the land.
“I learned about the many facets of making and using the Biodynamic preparations, the art of composting and the mystery of agnihotra—an ancient ayurvedic sunrise–sunset ceremony that purifies the atmosphere and surrounding landscape. And I completed the Reiki I and II attunements and assisted with light root (Dioscorea batatas) research and the daily care of the land.
“Light yam, one of my major interests, is known for its unique quality of storing etheric light and nourishing the human etheric body. Barbara has been using the light root in various ways to clear the ‘field’ for the biodynamic preparations to catch and take hold in the soil and the atmosphere. She noticed in the 1990s that because of increased environmental pollution (particularly electromagnetic radiation) it was increasingly difficult for the preparations to fulfill their intended purpose.
“It was a joy and an inspiration to perceive the plant growing in various locations—a Growing Spaces greenhouse in boxes made specifically for ease of harvest and as houseplants. Tubers grown in this greenhouse provide stock for research and homeopathic remedies as well as for food.
“The landscape of the Kootenays is awe-inspiring, filled with the beauty of the surrounding mountains and vibrant healing air. The silence and stillness were particularly healing to my soul,and I was truly nourished by Barbara’s homegrown meals.
“I am deeply grateful to Barbara and John for such a seminal experience. I was also delighted to spend time with their cat, Chester.”