It's in our language: We are of our parents' seed, our ancestors' seed, Adam's seed ultimately. We are born into, thrive in, die in, a seed sowing, seed garnering heritage. To deny the status of the sacred to these time capsules, these enfoldments of life we call seeds is to court foolish disaster. We have always known this.
But...now they're messing with our seeds. The power grabbing corporations and governments propose in their arrogance and disrespect to irradiate...manipulate... defructify...monopolize and further commodify our ancient birthright, our real wealth: SEEDS. We are strong when we have our seeds, and they know this. They would enslave us and they would use as leverage the seeds we cherish, the seeds that nourish us. What we would pass on to the seventh generation as bridegift they seize as strategy. They would put a price on the priceless and sell it back to us.
Leave our seeds alone. Leave our seeds in the hands of the people who feed us...the family, the clan, the village group. The profession of "seedsman" was created only 130 years or so ago. Perhaps it was an aberration to try to centralize, and then commodify, a process that had before been disbursed in village gardens, homestead gardens, middens and small fields. Grandmothers and Great-uncles collected, watched over, cherished the seeds that came down to them. Grew them out with love and patience and infinite care. Grandmother's seeds... grandmother's blessing...passed from generation to generation. Ancestors' blessing. Reckon three generations to a century and 150 centuries in the history of agriculture and you have several hundred generations of seed gathering folk, seed saving grandcestors, passing on precious seeds to descendants. Seeds too precious to buy and sell; seeds that must be gifted, presented. There is memory encapsulated in this line of life stretching so far back. Feelings are there too...feelings of gratitude to Gaia, of holding dear, of well wishing to the future generations, feelings of faithfulness...feminine feelings.
The memory is right there in the seed, in our cells, in the mitochondrial DNA passed down the feminine line. When I touch my seeds I tap the memory that is there, instinctive wisdom almost lost, beaming itself into our consciousness just when it is most needed.
John Trudell said: " It's about our D and A. Descendants and ancestors. We are the descendants and we are the ancestors. D and A, our DNA, our blood, our flesh and our bone, is made up of the metals and the minerals and the liquids of the earth. We are the earth. We truly, literally and figuratively are the earth. Any relationship we will ever have in this world to real power-the real power, not energy systems and other artificial means of authority-but any relationship we will ever have to real power is our relationship to the earth."1
Seeds are concentrated wealth. Seeds are worth far more than we pay for them now, in this aberrant commodity trade. You can pack in a suitcase $10,000 worth of garden seeds in any variety you choose. The slavemasters and their propagandists would have us believe that money is power and, since they have money in plenty, that they are in control. They don't want us to have that suitcase, to be free to leave and plant elsewhere; free to stay and plant many gardens, feed many people with real food.
If we are staunchly of the Earth, her power is ours to neutralize and transmute the evil work of the authority-mongers, those without conscience. We can do this with life enhancing actions. Repeat. Life-affirming actions override, overwhelm, the lifeless. Always the great stone temples of the arrogant become topsoil for living systems. It's something the corporations and governments fail to appreciate. Their authority rests on entropic processes, explosions, coercions, cultural lies. They cannot take into account the power of life, the connectedness of life. They would have us forget where we come from...so we can be entertained and exploited and addicted to their cheap dream, their gadgets and their ersatz food. If we are staunchly of the Earth we have access to the strength of the generations, the ancestory, to help us put life and affirmation in the places where death-dealing had been. We can REMEMBER from where our power comes. Let us plant gardens. Let us plant trees. Let us tend cows.
Let us join Wendell Berry's "Mad Farmers Liberation Front." No dues. No meetings. You just have to be clever. Don't be depressed, be clever.
Our weapons are our tools...
our ammunition is our seeds...
our fuel is our sacred intent to do right by the future of life on the Planet...
our marching song is the thrumming of memory in our cells.
We march in concert, but we do not march en masse. Our aim is not to dominate or overpower. There has been enough domination and power grubbing. Rather, our aim is service. Each of us has a plot of earth to serve, our own elementals and devas to consult...intuition that speaks in us. We know how to surrender to the task, to the plants and soil, in order to earn our harvest. We bend to it in joy and service, each individual one of us mustering pure intent, a gutsy laugh, with the power of life upholding us.
Let us be clear. There is no money in this, only sustenance. This passing forward of seed on the family or clan level is a matter of right livelihood, not of commerce.
And right livelihood brings joy. If I can feed myself, my family, a few others perhaps when surplus appears, then I have done something REAL. Something subversive. I am in touch with my power, and my delight.
JOY...What if the picture that's been drawn of medieval peasant life as basically "Nasty...Brutish...Short" is a cultural con job put out by the rationalists and the materialists, the ones who shortly would have something to sell us? What if life on a subsistence level has joys and satisfactions outweighing the challenges? What if people used to have time to laugh and sing? What if there were still people in the world who could catch the memory of this and show it to us??
A friend tells me about life in the Philippines, far back on the rural islands...tells how, when two rice farmers or donkey drivers meet and begin to talk, they're laughing most of the way through the conversation. "They laugh and say a couple words and laugh some more. One starts laughing and then everybody's laughing." There is something boisterously entertaining about what is going on in their poverty-stricken lives.
John G. Bennett wrote of an encounter in Africa: "Following a lightly trodden path, I came upon a Basuto village. All the inhabitants were out hoeing mealies. Their ages must have ranged from seven to seventy, and they were singing and hoeing to the rhythm of their own music. As they saw me they all stopped and stood straight up in surprise. Then with one accord they began to laugh. I have never heard such laughter. It was pure joy and friendship, without malice and without thought. I joined in, and we all laughed together for several minutes. I waved my hand and walked on, and they resumed their gravity and their hoeing.
"This was one of the unforgettable moments of my life. A lifetime's experience had convinced me that happiness is greatest where material prosperity is least. I had seldom seen a happy rich man, but I had seen many happy people among the poorest villagers of Asia Minor or Greece. I had seen happiness in Omdurman, but this happiness that I saw before my eyes was beyond all the others. Here was a village totally lacking even the smallest of the benefits of civilization. They had not even a plough or a cart. And yet they were the happiest people I had ever seen. They were without fear and without pride."2
The meek inherit the Earth, for the meek remember who they are and where their power comes from. The meek overcome oppression by serving the Earth.
1 John Trudell, on the occasion of a memorial service for Earth First! Activist Judy Bari.
2 J G Bennett, _Witness_ Claymont Communications, 1983, pg. 229.