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Posts from the ‘Remebrance’ Category

Day of memories

“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.”

– Robert G. Ingersoll

memorialdaywikiMany online images remind us that this is a day of memories, one that clashes with wishes for a “Happy Memorial Day” and with images of barbecues and shopping.

I served on an aircraft carrier. Please don’t thank me for my service today. Save those kind wishes for Veterans Day. Thank those who didn’t return for giving everything they had.

This is a day of reflection, I think. What do we have? Who helped us establish it and preserve it? Have we honored their sacrifice by doing the best we can to govern fairly within the scope of the Constitution? Were the wars that took their lives just and meaningful and necessary?

Difficult questions, I know, but more important that asking “Where can I get 25% off on my purchase of a new riding mower?”

Barbecue if you must, but don’t forget why you’re able to do it.

–Malcolm

Book Review: ‘Farming Soul: A Tale of Initiation’

Farming Soul: A Tale of InitiationFarming Soul: A Tale of Initiation by Patricia Damery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author and Jungian analyst Patricia Damery and her husband Donald grow grapes and heather in California’s Napa Vally where their biodynamic farming practices and spiritual attention to the land have brought them a rich harvest. That harvest, as described in “Farming Soul: A Tale of Initiation,” is simultaneously agricultural, psychological and transcendent.

“Storytelling opens us to aspects of ourselves that we override in every day life,” writers Damery in the book’s introduction. “It weaves both teller and listener into a larger fabric, suggesting correlations and increasing understanding.”

Damery’s story echoes John Muir’s words, “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” Going out and going in intertwine in Damery’s journey where the lessons learned en route to becoming a Jungian analyst complement lessons learned in the vineyard.

Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamic agriculture, wrote that “All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature.”

We discover through Damery’s holistic journey that Steiner’s words also apply to the process of discovering one’s true self. Damery quotes an old Tewa prayer to Mother Earth and Father Sky that includes the lines, “Weave for us a garment of brightness that we may walk fittingly where birds sing, that we may walk fittingly where grass is green.”

Damery’s memories, dreams and reflections are woven from the warp and woof of her experiences arising out of analysis, meditation, shamanism and farming. “I understood,” she writes, “that the ‘garment of brightness’ from the Tewa song was being woven for me, and that, in time, perhaps I could ‘walk fittingly’ on this earth.”

Farmers, psychologists and other seekers on the path will find many correlations between their own journeys and the one that so beautifully unfolds in “Farming Soul.” Damery’s garment of brightness is kind lamp for eager eyes.

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