by Christine Collings
While some use walls to keep their secrets in, last summer I had the opportunity to use walls for letting farm secrets out. The cement foundation blocks made for a very sturdy farmhouse structure but the solid grey was a bit drab for our taste. With my artist eye, paint, and some time, I created a mural on top of the grey paint featuring images of stone shapes. My partner, Tom, was delighted. Soon, these mock mortared rock designs, in natural stone colors, became purposeful shapes such as moon phases, Biodynamic symbols, and even the crops themselves. The walls of our farmhouse are now anything but drab.
Mural One: The Elements
I took on the largest wall first. South facing with one window in the middle, this 7’2”’ high x 18’ wide area received the basic building blocks of life – the five elements. They were drawn according to Pythagoras’ sacred geometry of the Platonic solids: Earth = Cube/Hexahedron; Water = Icosahedron; Fire = Tetrahedron; Air = Octahedron and Ether = Dodecahedron. Admittedly, I derived some pleasure knowing that I could display shapes like the sacred Dodecahedron in public. It is rumored that in Aristotle’s time such an act could be punished.
Mural Two: The Moon Phases and Tree
I proceeded to the next wall which was about half the width of the first. Many people growing food benefit from being in touch with the moon phases, which I painted on right side of the window. A stony looking tree was painted on the left side of the window.
Mural Three: Biodynamic Torus
It wasn’t until the next wall of similar size that I ventured into mixing a geometric figure with farm symbols. I call it the Biodynamic Torus. Also, incorporating my fondness of the elements, Biodynamics has the following symbology: Earth = Root; Water = Leaf; Fire = Fruit; and Air = Flower. These representations, along with Biodynamics’ cow horns, crystals and seed, were put together in the shape of a torus. Moving beyond simple geometry, the torus is a dynamic flow process of sustainability. So this donut of circulating energy is a good representation of Biodynamic farming’s cosmic and earth energies moving back and forth to find balance for plant creation.
Mural Four: Fuller Moons and Silica Preparations
I took my painting project a step further. Why not have images depicting useful growing information? So my goal became to reference what might be done when more watery “feminine” qualities are present. This wall emphasizes the use of Biodynamic Preparations “501 Silica Horn (501)” and “508 Horsetail Herb (508)” to balance watery forces.
On the lower right of the mural, two big grayish-blue stones in rain drop shapes depict the heavy water side of the equation. Two moon phases were painted above and below the horizontal crystal shape in the middle. Full and near full moon phases tend to increase moisture providing conditions for seed germination. Kidney bean, corn, acorn and squash seeds are presented at the top of the design to help signify planting at these moon times.
Below the seeds and above the water drops are Horsetail Herb illustrations for the 508 Preparation. The bulb shape stone on the left is what the top of the Horsetail Herb looks like and the stone to the right of it show’s a stalk looking like its name sake horse’s tail. The Horsetail Herb contains silica and helps plants overcome fungus.
Also containing silica but from ground quartz crystals, 501 strengthens the plant’s structure to help it overcome fungus. As shown in the mural, it is applied when the moon is in opposition to Saturn (bottom right). By helping with trace mineral uptake, 501 increases the plants ripeness, flavor and shelf life. Applied during the leaf stage, it helps with photosynthesis and brings the plant into blossom and fruit. Correspondingly, a leaf sits at the bottom left of the picture with flowers on the left, as grapes sit under and a pear appears over the tip of the crystal.
Gathering lighter summer energies during its horn burial process, 501 applies “masculine” qualities to the crop. With our farm sitting at the end of a mountain watershed, sprinkling hundreds of twinkling and reflecting crystal particles on a plant is just what the cosmic forces ordered.
Last in the depictions of this wall, is the name “501”. The two stones below the waxing moon create a “5” when you tilt your head left. Keep your head titled to read a “0” as the waxing moon and a “1” as the crystal.
Mural Five: Waning to New Moon Activities
To contrast mural four’s emphasis on fuller moon times and increasing the “masculine” forces, the next wall was painted for waning-to-new-moon times containing earthy images. When there is slow plant growth during a waning moon (pictured in upper left corner), activity under the soil is emphasized by planting root vegetables as seen toward the wall’s top with an illustrated carrot and beet. The new moon offers the ideal time for weeding as depicted by the hoe shaped stones; and composting as shown by the worm on the left and to the right a mushroom and mycorrhiza next to it. Mycorrhiza’s web helps build the soil and provides a relationship to the tree roots.
Mural five was the last one painted in 2016. Five smaller walls still await designs and paint.
Somewhere at the intersection of sacredness and sustainability, my walls meet the needs of both functionality and aesthetics, while providing a deeper look into the organic world around us. As this undertaking began, my mind compiled ideas from various sources including the Organic Growers School’s Conferences and Farm Beginnings Classes, training at Living Web Farms, Biodynamic studies and research in sacred geometry and the elements. They came together in a beautiful synergy which now educates as well as beautifies.
Christine Collings is a relatively new farm owner in Candler, NC and an experienced Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in Polarity Therapy. While seeking ways to connect with her farm, she found some similarities between Biodynamics and Polarity Therapy. Both use the knowledge and application of elemental forces to find balance.
Organic Growers School is a non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and support people in our region to farm, garden, and live organically.