Listening to the Hidden Heart of Seeds
Excerpted from Sacred Seed: A Collection of Essays
Photo Credit: Deana Holbova
Every seed carries a secret.
We will never come to fully know this secret, because it belongs to the mystery of creation. Yet we can learn again what hundreds of generations did before us, namely to live with the secrets, to use them as gifts, and to honour them as a source of life on this planet.
The first step in learning to live with a secret is to listen.
When I was a young child, my mother gave me a seed of a bean. She showed me how to plant it into a pot filled with black soil and how to keep it warm and moist. And then I had to wait.
For a young child this took a very long time. Every morning I would visit my seed, invisible in the darkness of the soil, and because I could not see anything, I remember that instead I tried to hear something. It was around the same time that my mother was pregnant, and I used to put my ear to her belly to communicate with the baby I could not see or touch. So I did the same with the invisible seed: I put my ears close to the soil and listened. I do not remember if I ever heard something, but I remember the listening. It was like an intimate conversation, though silent and unheard by anyone else.
The seed is a symbol for the deepest mystery of creation, and at the same time it is the mystery. For thousands of years farmers have known how to listen to these mysteries, and so found ways how to grow and to harvest, how to preserve the seeds, how to provide for them the best circumstances, considering the conditions of the earth, the soil, and the weather, and considering how much they connect us with the past and the future, our ancestors and our grandchildren. This goes back to an ancient feminine wisdom about the connection with the Earth, the knowledge of light being born out of darkness and an intimacy with the circles of life.
Every seed contains a light. Through greed and disconnection from the sacredness of life, this light is threatened. Genetically modified seeds become sterile. If the fertility is removed from a seed, its light is taken away; it withdraws. The divine light that is present in every seed is manifested through its fertility, through the potential to grow and to be a source for new life. When this light withdraws from a seed, it withdraws from the whole of creation, and our souls begin to starve.
As every seed embraces an outer as well as an inner reality, we need to care in outer and in inner ways. We need to protect the purity, diversity, and freedom of seeds through outer engagement, but we also need to protect the sacredness of life inwardly. The inner way is to hold the awareness of the sacredness in our hearts, to remember and to respect the feminine mysteries of creation—and to deeply listen. The same light that is contained in the heart of the biological seed is also present within our heart; it is the seed of love.