Winter in Hades

Solstice Sunset

December Sunset

Experimenting with biodynamic practices includes doing some things that are a bit off the beaten agricultural path, such as filling cow horns with manure and burying them.  The cow horns full of manure are fermenting underground as I write, under a layer of snowy white.  More on that in a post soon to come!  There is a reason the cow horns are buried in the Fall, as opposed to the Spring; they need to be underground during the dark winter months.  Why? you ask. Rudolf Steiner made the observation that in the summer “life forces” are strongly focused above ground, and in the winter, things reverse.  So in winter, there is much activity under that blanket of snow, and the soil forces are most powerful.  Powerful enough to transform fresh manure buried in cow horns; hopefully in Spring we shall see if the experiment was successful!  I’ll be sure to document the results.

In winter, the underground life, the soil forces, are more active.  The Greek myths tell us about the abduction of Persephone by Hades, borne away into the underground.  But for her mother’s persistent love, and the ability of Hermes to negociate, there would be no reprieve!  However, in Spring, she is allowed to come back to the world of light and brings that living activity.  Persephone, the mythological goddess daughter of Demeter/Mother Earth, is spending her days underground, very much alive but out of sight.

Here in Nova Scotia, we have just come through several weeks of arctic cold, which is unusual for here.  Another snowstorm hit yesterday.  Working around the farm, I see some life in the form of animals; the farm animals and also wild birds looking for seeds and other things to eat.  The woods, the plants that are above ground, seem to be asleep.  I take it for granted they are alive, but they don’t show much by way of life signs at the moment.  They are silent and still.  Except when being whipped about by wintry winds.  It’s hard to imagine the world of summer, the bursting green fertility that can’t be held back. Right now, I see a world that is dreaming. At least on the surface.  I see a world hunkered down against the cold.  Waiting it out.  Awaiting the release of Persephone once again.