For thirty-five years I have been an organic gardener. I am the kind of person who gets excited about things like chicken manure, blood meal, and bone meal which I use as fertilizers for the vegetables, herbs and flowers.
I have never sold any of my garden’s bounty, but over the years I have given plenty of it away. And I have gardener stories that would put any fisherman to shame. Like the summer one mammoth leaf of swiss chard supplied the greens at dinner for the entire family. Or the time I canned tomatoes picked so sweet and ripe that in the middle of January I could taste the summer sun in them. After all this time the garden has become central to my life; it has a way of sticking with me long after the time of harvest.
The garden has always been my teacher. It has taught me basic truths about life, about the interconnectedness of all things.The garden is not just about plants, but about a whole spectrum of living beings that at some time or other gravitate there.
Like birds. Birds love a well kept garden, they are attracted to the health of it. Birds add color, keep the insect population down, and bring along their own brand of music. I always plant enough to share with the birds, and with the exception of Blue Jays and cherries, they never take more than what is fair. In the garden there is community and all things are created equal.
I don’t use herbicides or poisons, so there are always weeds growing in some part of the garden. Left alone, the garden will always revert to the wild. My job is to work with the energies of the garden as a kind of a shapeshifter.
Sometimes I encourage weeds, tend them, make a space for them to grow. I have discovered many weeds that are valuable herbs growing wild, like chicory, purslane, mullein, milk thistle, dandelion, chickweed and more. When they land in my garden, I incorporate them. From my perspective, weeds are not the enemy, and can even be the ally.
There is a mystery about the garden also. When I plant a seed, tend and water it, it is a mystery knowing that life is coming into being, unseen. It never fails to startle, amaze and please me to go out early in the morning and see sturdy green sprouts pushing up dirt.
In the garden there is also the element of the unpredictable. Like the summer a single red gladiola turned up, out of the blue. Or the year the morning glories reached out and grew into the sunflowers, forming a perfect bower. In the garden, I expect magic.
Humanity was born into a garden. Imagine what Planet Earth was like before the invention of the chain saw or the internal combustion engine. Archaeological evidence from the ancient Neolithic Goddess cultures indicate that our early ancestors lived in a garden consciousness. Though the Goddess religion varied slightly in different cultures, it held the hearts and imaginations of humanity for a very long time. Marija Gimbutas, an archaeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures said the Neolithic is the Goddess.
That is why I believe humanity began, lived and evolved in deep relationship with the Earth and the divine feminine principle. In this garden state, we did not make war against the Earth, its creatures, or each other, and women were the shapers of culture. It was a relational, participatory, deeply unified consciousness that humanity flourished in, certainly from the start.
It is liberating to realize our deepest roots as human beings go back to a peaceful, nonviolent, earth-centered existence. The original violence occurred to the Earth and woman when man began to reject the feminine principle, to deny the power of the feminine force in the process of creation, and obliterate the Goddess that had moved human culture and evolution for thousands of years in a consciousness of connection. Severed from its natural ties to the Earth, dominated by man and a transcendent Father God who ruled like a despot from his heavenly kingdom in the sky, humanity took a major turn in consciousness, from one of connection, to one of separation, the root violence against natural law that opened the way for the long and bloody history of massacre, oppression of women, and earth desecration we have suffered under ever since.