“In the first, spinning place”: Sophiology and the Idea of a Farm
Sophiology has deep, deep connections to various social streams in our world: in distributism and communitarianism, for example, as well is in some varieties of Christian anarchism, not to mention various strains of neopaganism. Indeed, Sophiology, as I have always conceived of it, transcends confessional boundaries, particularly in the phenomenological attention to the Things of This World which allows them to shine forth in all of their radiance. Because of this, nowhere is Sophiology so easily found than in farming.
This is not to say that the shining of Sophia can be located on the gigantic fields and feed lots of BigAg, filled as they are with GMO grains and cattle loaded with enough drugs to stock a pharmacy. What BigAg offers are not farms, but the outdoor manifestation of the factory, the dark satanic mills William Blake so rightfully condemned for the evils they inflict on human flourishing.
A farm, to be a farm, needs to be a place where humans live in accord with animal and plants—including so-called “pests” and “weeds.” This accord, as I’ve so often written before, is also cosmologically configured: the restoration of the relationship of the microcosm to the macrocosm. Without this relationship to Being, one should expect nothing else but pathology and disease, physical and psychological as well as spiritual. This kind of farm, as Rudolf Steiner, H.J. Massingham, and Masanobu Fukuoka (among many others) have asserted, can only appear as a totality and under the loving stewardship of a devoted caretaker. And it can only be an organic or biodynamic farm. Such a farm is what Dylan Thomas identified as “the first, spinning place,” evocative of Eden, in his beautiful poem, “Fern Hill.”
Our world’s over-reliance on pharmaculture, as we know all too well, is not just characteristic of BigAg, but infiltrates every aspect of our lives—often by governmental decree—a practice which further and further estranges us from the Real. We simply have lost touch with Reality. That so very few seem to panic about this may be the greatest cause for panic.
This disconnection with the Real, sadly, runs through most (probably all) of the power structures around us: the entertainment industry, education, politics, medicine, the military, the corporatacracy, and even, it pains me to say, our various ecclesial bodies. Truly, as the Book of Job inquires, “Where is wisdom to be found?”
One answer, and an easy one to enact, is in a return to the Creation as Creation, infused with the Glory of the Lord. Sophiology, certainly, can be discerned through the farm, but it is also revealed—through scripture, through vision (as in the cases of Jane Lead, John Pordage, and Vladimir Solovyov to name just three), through the arts, and, importantly, through community (“where two or three are gathered in my name”). And what is an organic farm but a community? So, let us return to how “it must have been after the birth of the simple light.” It’s really not that difficult.
Watch this documentary inspired by the work of Masanobu Fukuoka.
Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses.