Sunday, March 22, 2009

Of Jar Gods and Biodynamic farming

Several of our friends and acquaintances through the Steiner school have been very interested, even insistent on using Biodynamics for farming that we do with the children. I don't disapprove entirely, but I think farming principles don't necessarily translate. For example the horn-manure principle. In Biodynamics, there is a method of improving the soil by diffusing cow manure that has been buried in a river bank for some time. Cows and the use of cow manure is a concept that may resonate with Western or more specifically German mythology and spiritualism, but it does not here. I say mythology and spiritualism, because this horn-manure has no fertilizing ingredients as measured by modern agricultural science. I am not so narrow minded as to believe that this science can explain all things, or that there is a lack of evidence that Biodynamics works. What I am saying is that the context is different and that instead of building a context for cows and bovine products that we adapt what we have to the process.

There are two artifacts that explain the mythical creation of Japan, the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. In these stories are tales of "Mika" or Jar Deities. In research by William P. Fairchild, "'Mika'-Jar Deities in Japanese Mythology," he makes these conclusions about Jar Gods.
a. According to mythology, jars were important in food production even before agriculture.
b. Jars became integrated with fertility rites and shamanism after the introduction of agriculture.
c. Jars were buried in river beds and in the ground to divine and fertilize the soil. That is why archaeologists find jars in agricultural areas.

It is apparent to me that instead of importing some kind of mythology based on cows and cow manure, that indigenous mythology and systems should be employed to the same end. I offer jars as one possible alternative based on Japanese mythology.

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