Farmer as Quintessential

Tools of the Trade



It isn’t how we think it should go: by cutting back, we strengthen the core. Pruning is painful! It means relinquishing possibilities in order to direct attention and vitality in a considered way. The focus, hopefully, is for the good of the whole, whether that be the whole of one’s self— or a plant.

We are pruning away too much new growth in the vineyard this week. This means removing tiny shoots so the plant’s vitality is directed to an appropriate amount of fruiting. Too much green and future canopy mean the vine’s energy is used up in too many canes and/or leaves. Too much fruit can mean a slowness or inability to ripen, and/or lessened quality of the fruit.

This is how the farmer preforms as quintessential: cooperating with nature to direct growth, while at the same time respecting balance and the health of the plant. In the end all are strengthened: the vine, the quality of the fruit, the individuals eating the fruit—and the farmer. When you start attending to the energetics of the process, you enter another frequency, one that impacts everyone involved.

The invisible truth is this: the way we grow our food is part of what we take into our bodies, not only in terms of whether there are residues of agricultural chemicals, but also the resonance of care and attention to life that has gone into the cultivation. Rudolf Steiner stated that plants grown in depleted soils with chemicals resulted in inferior food which could not sustain humans and would limit spiritual growth. For the farmer or the gardner, this partnering with the earth also offers a spiritual discipline. In the terms of C. G. Jung, farming is a path of individuation.