Friday, March 2, 2018

It's all about the Seeds

Erythrina flabelliformis, red coral bean seeds

I have been immersed, during my days and weeks on Lake Atitlan, reading "The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic" by Martin Prechtel. HIs writing glows throughout with indigenous wisdom. His words about the origins, durability and vital importance to us all of the Seed are particularly memorable:

"But our souls, like the seeds, remember. We need to find them, or we shall go mad or destroy ourselves trying to speed away from the incrementing trail of suffering unsung ghosts we leave in the wake of our flight into amnesia. Make the effort to look into the real past of the seeds you plant. Go as far as you can get, even into the annals of the standard empire-serving common system of belief, and you will find the people of the seeds and the seeds of your own past. Look into the people, and you will find your “seeds,” for all of us have them. Like all the languages, clothing, songs, ways of living, the seeds too have been taken from us, but their memory lives on, waiting to burst forth again if we just look beyond the Great Wall of cultural and historical prejudice and self-hatred. 

In every family, if you are courageous enough to stay on the trail beyond the prejudice of a family’s selective memory and belief, and don’t get your fate stunted by getting mired in some self-involved psychology, there are vestiges of customs, sayings, beliefs, that if assiduously looked into could easily lead to the more ancient evidence of your people’s unique version of the original spiritual “Agreement” with the Holy in Nature that all peoples have. Strange little shoots of bigger vines that have miraculously survived the simple-minded revisionist imperial histories we have all been taught yet dangle there unnoticed. 

These little leftover things are the signs of the “souls of our seeds.” The stories of these souls and our plants are the stories of our people; between the people, the seeds, and their stories, evidence of the ritual agreement with the Holy almost always pokes through if you know what you’re looking at when it does. 

In this way, whether you plant a small garden or sow a larger farm, if you know that many things about what your seeds carry on their backs, then you are cultivating origins to whose story your own story is then attached. By tending, growing, and worrying about the welfare of the living things you have planted, you are both caring for and are part of a true origins, and you are no longer stranded in time. You have become a vital part of the long umbilical cord of a life attached to the Holy in Nature."