At Live Power Farm in Covelo CA. the nights are chilly, with swirling mists covering the valley in a thick dewy blanket of Atlantean-like vapors. We came together on the 1st day of the BDANC Michaelmas Conference at dawn, for the traditional ceremony of ‘Honoring the Cow’. When I first heard this term I thought O we’ll be singing & perhaps put a flower crown or some such on the cow. But this ceremony is more practical, essential, & down to earth – It’s about life & death. The Autumn-Tide is harvest time after all, when the plant & animal kingdoms yield to the reaping – returning the individual to the group soul in the cycle of birth & death as we enter the dark of the year. And how often are we actually present to the sacrifice, able to add our human attention & intention to the process?
Monty, the butcher, a slim rugged mountain man showed up in his truck, & we followed him to the barn. Charles & Gloria had chosen 3 cows & put them in a pen separate from the herd. Monty, with white beard & red suspenders, his small rifle held reverently on his shoulder, took some time to commune with these beings to see which one was called to be honored for this year’s ceremony.
The brown cow stood looking directly at Monty as Gloria read the powerful prayer that Nancy Poer wrote years ago specifically for this ritual, to honor the sacrifice of these cosmic & earthly beings that do so much to spiritualize the earth, & provide sustenance for the human being.
Everyone stood around embracing each other in quiet reverence. Monty raised the rife & shot the brown cow once in the skull – it crumpled to the ground without a sound in one swift movement. The shot was surprisingly not very loud at all, but for this city girl it was a shock; I gasped, & then began to hum & tone, as they brought the sacrifice out of the pen into the straw where we were standing.
Monty began the work of skinning the animal with such precision & artistry, as the community bore witness & held the sacred space. Every part of the animal is used. Harold & Luke laid out the innards which became the sheaths for the various biodynamic preparations that we then engaged in making all that day.
After breakfast & the official Welcoming by Cynthia & Harald Hoven, I facilitated a calling in of the Elementals. Altars were set up in each of the 4 directions, adorned with substances representing Earth, Air, Fire, Water & in the Center Spirit. We went from the center point as individuals, out to the periphery to form the eternal circle, with the imagination that when you square the circle it becomes the symbol for Earth. We sang & moved around the circle passing each altar until we felt called to stop at one, to commune there with our fellows who also chose to stand in that particular quarter to explore the Elemental Beings of each realm: The Gnomes & Trolls of the Earth Element in the North, The Sylphs of Air in the East, The Salamanders of Fire in the South, the Undines of Water in the West, & in the Center the Human Being as the 5 pointed Star of Spirit. Then each group reported their experience, sharing with the larger circle. We ended with another song feeling enlivened & bonded with the Elemental Beings of the land, & the Spirit of Place.
We worked for the main part of the day making the Biodynamic preparations which Harald Hoven distributes to many farms in the region: Chamomile blossoms moistened with nettle tea are stuffed into the cow’s intestines – this helps the metabolism of calcium in the soil; Dandelion Flowers put into the sheath of the cow’s peritoneum – which has an important role for silicic acid; Oak Bark was ground from trees on the land & after the cow’s skull was cleaned it was filled with this substance to combat plant diseases; & Horn Manure stuffed into the cow horns to stimulate soil life & root growth.
As the day progressed it became quite hot, almost 100 degrees. After another Circle with introductions & lunch, we finished the prep making, & gathered in the newly constructed community building for a round table discussion led by Gloria Decater & Chuck Ginsberg on ‘The evolution of Biodynamic legacy farms – old farms that need new farmers’ – A difficult issue calling to open opportunities for the future.
The next event was a workshop bringing the questions raised in the discussion into a living perspective reminding us that we have helpers on the other-side waiting for us to recognize them by rising in our thinking to meet them. The workshop was called: ‘Bridging Heaven & Earth’ – Working in consciousness community beyond the threshold for the future evolution of the Earth. Thru singing, & storytelling I brought the picture that, in the realities which Rudolf Steiner shows us in his many teachings on communicating with the ‘so-called dead’, working with the spiritual hierarchies, & coming to know the Christ as the meaning of the Earth, we learn what our beloved dead & the unborn can teach us about what it means to be human in a spiritual sense here on Earth. I taught a song that Ultra-Violet wrote, & shared a story that I crafted especially for Gloria & Stephen Decater, inspired by a healing tale from Susan Down that I call: ‘The Farmer’s Hat’. You can listen to it on my podcast ‘I Think Speech’, along with parts 1 & 2 of the ‘Festival of Life Tour’.
It finally stated cooling down a bit as we set up outside for a very interesting ‘Discussion about Sequential Spraying for Drought Remediation’ with Michael Aldinger & Alexandra Kravetz. The original intention of this technique is ‘to use the BD preps to harmonize overly wet or dry atmospheric conditions, to help create Balance, by spraying each preparation individually. Stir and spray BD 500 & BC (Horn manure and Barrel Compost) together the first evening, followed by BD 501 & 508 (Horn Silica and Equisetum) the following morning. (Note: this can and should be adapted as needed for individual and regional needs!) By following the above schedule, all nine BD preparations are sprayed in a short period, ideally coinciding with beneficial energies from the heavens to achieve maximum benefits. This is ideally done while the moon is in front of the constellation you wish to work with. Three water trines in a row are happening this November. The very best dates to encourage moisture are: Monday November 14 Moon in Cancer, Sun trine Neptune (especially beneficial) Tuesday November 15 Venus trine Jupiter, Moon opposition Saturn (especially beneficial) Wednesday November 16 Mercury trine Jupiter (especially beneficial) December 1-3 Moon in Pisces’. (See works by Hugh J. Courtney, Hugh Lovel, Lloyd Nelson & others for more background)
What I love about this is that Alexandra is setting up a spreadsheet so that all the participating farmers can add their input to co-create a document showing the Spiritual Scientific results. Kudos friends! It is very exciting to see this kind of research being done, especially since drought conditions can be devastating.
We ended the evening with a Jody’s delicious dinner of Pork & Lamb roast sourced from the Live Power Farm; much lively community conversation, & a bonfire with music & socializing under that magnificent night sky. Willow & Lew Summer brought song sheets for the sing-along – there were ukuleles, guitars & drums. Jupiter was the 1st to make his appearance in the East; & since it was the eve of the New Moon the constellations were unveiled in all their glory. What a gift to a perfect day of work & fellowship.
Stay tuned for the last installment of our ‘Festival of Life Tour’
3 October 2022 – “Speaking with the Stars”: First Quarter Moon occurs at 7:14 P.M. CDT today. Bella Luna is now in Sagittarius, floating amid the stars of its famous Teapot asterism.
Above Sagittarius is Aquila, which contains the famous luminary Altair, part of the Summer Triangle with its fellow stars Deneb in Cygnus and Vega in Lyra. You’ll notice this large asterism stays relatively low in the sky these days, now that fall has arrived.
Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
508 BC – Deathday of Lucretia an ancient Roman woman whose fate played a vital role in the transition of Roman government from the Roman Kingdom to the Roman Republic. She committed suicide after being raped by an Etruscan king’s son was the immediate cause of the anti-monarchist rebellion that overthrew the monarchy. As a result of its sheer impact, the rape itself became a major theme in European art & literature
Deathay of Jarius. The record of the daughter of Jairus is a combination of miracles of Jesus in the Gospels (Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56) The story immediately follows the exorcism at Gerasa. Jairus, a patron or ruler of a Galilee synagogue, had asked Jesus to heal his 12-year-old daughter. As they were traveling to Jairus’ house, a sick woman in the crowd touched Jesus’ cloak & was healed of her sickness. Jesus turned round to the woman & says: “Take heart, daughter,” your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Moments later, a messenger arrived with the news that Jairus’ daughter had died, & he was advised not to trouble Jesus any further. However, Jesus responded: Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:36) Jesus continued to the house, where he informed all those present that the girl was not dead but asleep. He then went upstairs & restored the little girl to life. In Mark’s account, the Aramaic phrase “Talitha Koum” (transliterated into Greek as ταλιθα κουμ meaning, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”) is attributed to Jesus
Deathday of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a Syrian Christian theologian & philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, the author of the set of works commonly referred to as the Corpus Areopagiticum or Corpus Dionysiacum, portraying himself as the Athenian convert of Paul of Tarsus mentioned in Acts 17:34 (Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus) This attribution to the earliest decades of Christianity resulted in the work being given great authority in subsequent theological writing in both East & West. His works are mystical & show strong Neoplatonic influence. For example he uses Plotinus’ well-known analogy of a sculptor cutting away that which does not enhance the desired image.
In a letter addressed to Polycarp, pseudo-Dionysius asks “What have you to say about the solar eclipse which occurred when the Savior was put on the Cross? At the time the two of us were in Heliopolis and we both witnessed the extraordinary phenomenon of the moon hiding the sun at the time that was out of season for their coming together…. We saw the moon begin to hide the sun from the east, travel across to the other side of the sun, and return on its path so that the hiding and the restoration of the light did not take place in the same direction but rather in diametrically opposite directions.…” This is illustrated in an astronomical fresco in the main gallery of the Escorial Library, near Madrid, Spain, which shows Dionysius the Areopagite observing an eclipse at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.
Luke, 23-45 (It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over all the land until the ninth hour. 45The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn down the middle) We can notice a quadrant & an astrolabe in the hands of the amazed men!
287 AD – Deathday of Saint Candidus. The Golden Legend states that he was a commander of the Theban Legion, which was composed of Christians from Upper Egypt. He opposed Maximian, who had ordered them to harass the local Christians in his name, stating that “we are your soldiers, but we are also servants of the true God. We cannot renounce Him who is our Creator and Master, and also yours even though you reject Him.” Candidus, along with St. Maurice, the other staff officers & 6,600 soldiers, were martyred at the Swiss town of Saint Maurice-en-Valais
1226 – Deathday of Francis of Assisi, Italian friar & saint. Based on a study of the life of Francis of Assisi, Rudolf Steiner shows how the development of morality is based on the belief in the Divine at the bottom of every human soul, on the boundless love that springs from this belief, and on the hope for each human soul that it can find its way back to the Divine. Anthroposophical Ethics…St. Francis, Lecture III
1250 – Deathday of Gilbertus Anglicus. His major work, the Compendium Medicinae, written in Latin, running to seven books, is an attempt to provide a comprehensive encyclopedia of medical & surgical knowledge as it existed in his day. He quotes extensively from Roger of Palma, & acknowledges that his work is indebted to Greek physicians including Galen, Hippocrates & Theophilus Protospatharius, & Arab physicians such as Averroes & Avicenna.
1884 – Birthday of, Paul Foster Case, an American occultist, founder of Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.), original member of Alpha et Omega, an organization that inherited the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Paul Foster Case played the organ in the Congregational Church, where his father was a deacon. In childhood, he started working to have lucid dreams. Rudyard Kipling, spurred his interest in their correspondence, confirming that such a phenomenon is possible, & can be developed.
Case became a member of the Order of Alpha et Omega, but he was distrustful of Enochian Magic. He explored certain practical ceremonial magic, with his sometime partner Moina Mathers.
Case was fascinated by the “New Thought” movement, he met William Walker Atkinson, & co-authored the modern literary mystification “The Kybalion”, as one of the anonymous “three wise men”.
Case studied various yoga’s & the karma of past lives, & was said to have worked with “the healer Dr. Fludd” who claimed that the Count Saint-Germain had sent him to be his teacher.
1995 – O. J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson & Ronald Goldman
2008 – The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is signed by President George W. Bush – commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis authorizing the United States Secretary of the Treasury to spend up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets, especially mortgage-backed securities, & supply cash directly to banks
~my words are forged in star-fire
that i may speak the language of earth
a sacrifice on the altar of angels…
8 thoughts on “Festival of Life Tour (part 3)”
The offering of the cow sounded intense. It’s great that much respect was paid, though. An appreciation of its life and what it offers to the community. I remember when I was in Bali, I attended a wedding and witnessed a pig (very big one) being felled. It was done so casually.
On a side note, I love that blue shirt the one guy is wearing “Gnomies” 😉
Yes, it was intense & done with such consciousness & reverence.
That is Lew Summer the husband & co-farmer to my friend Willow from 3 Dprings Farm in Bodega CA. such a sweet soul
That’s wonderful there are many farms in Northern Cali. I traveled through there in 2017 and partook in a summer Soltice event in Grass Valley. The author Starhawk held a ceremony – quite beautiful. Maybe you know of her or have one of her books?
But yes, that whole region is very special.
O Yes, I worked with Starhawk when I was going to college in SF. She is still doing her community ‘Reclaiming’ ceremonies as well as promoting permaculture.
Have you read her book ‘The 5th Sacred Thing’?
Oh wow, what a connection! I didn’t know that part of her work, other than writing. I haven’t read it, but perhaps I should soon!
Well Starhawk has of course written many books on the craft & ritual for the cycles of the seasons & even on permacultural, but ‘The 5th Sacred Thing’, which she has been trying to get made into a movie, is a fictional novel with all those aspects in it…Totally poltical & compelling as to what the future can be…I highly recommend it
Wonderful, sounds like something I could sink my teeth into for sure.
It really is daunting how much resources it takes, let alone people, to make a film. This kind of reminded me of The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield). He was able to make the book into the movie, and produce it himself, mostly because the book sold so many copies.
Did Starhawk write a screenplay for the book?
O I remember the Celestine Prophecy books, that was quite the sensation.
I think Starhawk is working with someone for the screenplay. She did a crowd funding for it but then Covid hit & I’m not sure where things are at these days.