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  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

News from the Edge of the World

A few thoughts and observations, possibly related, but not by design.

Stella Matutina Farm

Last week our CSA ended for the year (CSA, for those of you who might not know, stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”). Our last shares included onions, celery, winter squash, arugula, garlic, and the remnant of our hot and sweet peppers. I haven’t calculated how much produce we sent out over our nineteen weeks of the CSA, but it is certainly in thousands and thousands of pounds. We fed thirty-three families over this time—clean, biodynamically-grown, nutrient-dense produce. Our garden is only about ¾ of an acre. That’s a lot of people (not including my own family) who can be fed from a relatively small amount of land.

We practice what used to be called “the French intensive method” for growing and also observe “no-dig” approaches to cultivation. We almost never use heavy machinery. This was the seventh year of farming at this location, and the fertility and health of the farm are astounding. We had very few problems with insects—almost none at all—though we did have some rabbits poaching a few vegetables. But the creation of a biodynamic farm is the creation of a synergistic relationship with nature. That’s a long way of saying the farm is starting to come into its maturity. The being of the farm has shown itself to us.

That reminds me: I think I may have seen the Great Pan in the woods just beyond the garden a few weeks ago.

With the coming of the Fall, the rhythm of the farm changes. We haven’t been doing much in the garden (outside of harvesting), though I do need to plant garlic pretty soon. Instead, our attention turns more to getting through winter. To this end, we brought our lambs to the butcher and will process our geese next week (and I do have some older laying hens—no longer laying all that much—who need to follow them pretty soon thereafter and be turned into stewing hens). Our steer will move along sometime in late winter. And did I mention deer season is coming up? We’re still milking our cow, Fiona, and we’ve been trying to put up some butter and cheeses and will continue to do so. I also have been curing some pork bellies, rendering beeswax, and making meads and metheglins. In fact, I have a metheglin working right now I’ve flavored with juniper berries and spruce twigs—should be ready for Christmas. In the basement we have baskets and boxes full of potatoes, sweet potatoes, red and yellow onions, and winter squash and still have to pull the rutabaga, arugula, kohlrabi, and collards from the garden; but they should all be able to last in their beds for a few more weeks. Then we’ll plant spinach in the hoop house. And I haven’t even mentioned cutting up some fallen trees in the woods for use in the wood stove next year.

The take-home: scarcity is a myth.

Oh yeah, I’m a scholar. I almost forgot.

I recently delivered a keynote address for the “Pavel Florensky for the Twenty-first Century” conference sponsored by The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge University. The title of my talk was “The Colour Blue: On the Sophiology of Pavel Florensky” (note the British spelling!). I heard proceedings from the conference may be published in book form, but I haven’t heard anything about video of the talks being made available. Other speakers included my soul brothers John Milbank and Bruce Foltz. Many of my readers will be familiar with John, but, if you don’t know about Bruce, check out his very fine book The Noetics of Nature.

I will participating in a colloquium on The Brothers Karamazov in Washington, DC next month. This will happen right after the election. Last time I was in DC, it was for another colloquium just after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Women were still wearing their knitted “pussy hats.” I imagine this visit may be just as fun. Speaking of eye-rolling, I may do one touristy thing while I’m there: visit the Exorcist stairs!

In addition, I will also be giving a talk on Valentin Tomberg’s Meditations on the Tarot next month at the Detroit branch (though actually in Berkley) of The Theosophical Society on November 4th. Starts at 7:00.

Speaking of Meditations on the Tarot, Mike Sauter and I recently interviewed its English translator, astrosopher and spiritual researcher, Robert Powell about the book (and many other things) on The Regeneration Podcast, which you can listen to on Podbean, Podchaser, and Spotify or watch on YouTube. While you’re there, subscribe. We recently interviewed, among others, Dominic D’Souza, Mark Vernon, and Ronald Hutton--so check them out! Upcoming guests include David Bentley Hart, Jonathan Geltner (see below), and Matthew Milliner, whose Mother of the Lamb has just been published and is mandatory reading for anyone interested in Sophiology.

Oh...and I finally uploaded the video on my interview with biblical scholar and Methodist preacher Margaret Barker. which appeared in print in Jesus the Imagination, Volume 5: The Divine Feminine, to my YouTube channel.

Reading list: besides rereading Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, I have been reading Jonathan Geltner’s excellent Absolute Music. You should read it too. I also have a stack of books on Distributism, enclosure, agrarianism, and folk religion on hand as I plan on getting a book on these themes (and others) finished before the next CSA year gets into full swing in April.

If I do say so myself, I also wrote a lovely arrangement of (and departure from) Hubert Perry’s setting of Blake’s “And did those feet in ancient time (Jerusalem)” which I would love to record one of these days.

Plant your love and let it grow.

Michael’s latest book is Sophia in Exile. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: Flesh & Spirit. Twitter: @Sophiologist_

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