When I saw this picture on Facebook (GMO-Awareness) the other day, an Alpine myth came to mind, that I’d like to share here:
It is said that witches lived near the Tyrolean village of Umhausen. They knew when something bad was about to happen to men or livestock. In front of the witches‘ house was a beautiful garden with a multitude of good smelling flowers in all kinds of colors. People walked by just to enjoy the fragrance and the beauty. The witches tended to the garden not to help people, though, but to harm them. All the flowers were poisoned. When someone passed by, one of the witches came out immediately and gave a bunch of flowers to the delighted person. But no one who smelled on the flowers got away without disease.
If you are wondering why an awful photo can trigger such an association in me, I can only say what Gerald of Wales observed in Druids – “people inspired “ – in the 12th century: “…when consulted upon any doubtful event, they roar out violently, are rendered beside themselves, and become, as it were, possessed by a spirit.” There you have it.
But in all seriousness: I am roaring out violently because this is the second wave of attack on Mother Earth’s gifts.
Originally (in Neolithic times – this is how conservative I am) the knowledge of plants was the domain of the HAGAZUSSA, the by-the-hedge-sitter, the old lady hanging out at the impenetrable hedge (raspberry, blackberry, wild rose etc.) around the clearing in the vast European forest. Inside were the huts, pastures and fields, outside was the darkness of the woods, home to all kind of dangerous critters and spirits. The HAGAZUSSA, where the German term “Hexe” comes from, didn’t just sit idly at the hedge, though. As an elder woman (take the first three letters of HAGAZUSSA and you get a not-so-nice English expression for old lady) she has gathered a lot of knowledge throughout her long life, which made her VIS (wise.) “Wisdom” comes from that old word, too, and “wizard.” And of course “witch,” for that is what she was, a wise old lady.
Her knowledge concerned the plants, especially those that could heal, and therefore the health of the clan lied in her bony hands. The knowledge derived from her ability to cross that hedge in spirit (sometimes with the help of a lotion made out of Belladonna, Fly Agaric, Datura and such,) where she met with plant devas and her spirit guides in the darkness of the forest, receiving insight.
Fast forward a couple of millennia, and you have robed and tonsured reps from a huge organization with its headquarters in Rome saying, “Not so fast, little old lady, what you know is bad; unless of course we take over this knowledge, and monopolize herbal healing within our monastery walls. And if you keep on practicing your knowledge, we’ll drag you to court. Since there was no Dollar at that time, punishment was not a Dollar amount, say $84,000 as in Bowman vs. Monsanto, but delivered in form of an excruciating death on the burning stake.
Let me reveal now why some parts of the Alpine myth above are in cursive: Every such story you find nowadays is Christianized, i.e. given a negative spin, often just buy adding a few sentences, however clumsy like in this case. Take out the cursive parts and you’ll see that in reality it’s a story about wise women practicing divination and helping people with healing herbs.
They took away the peoples’ knowledge back then, made knowing illegal, and they doing it again.
Because if you fast forward another millennium and a half, and replace Ecclesia Sancta (the holy Church) with Monsanto (what’s holy about them I do not know,) and you get to the second wave of attack.
Again, there is an organization that wants to own all plant knowledge, and that drags people to court when they dare practicing the devilish olden ways (i.e. use some seed from the old crop to plant the new one.)
NO! I am roaring out violently, beside myself. NO!
It can’t be our brave new world where the only way our grandchildren know how to grow plants is by buying seed from a chemist!
It can’t be right that the very people that provide us with the food on our table are being burned at the stake for the profit of a few.
It can’t be viewed as just when seven justices, who apparently don’t see the immorality inherent in the notion of owning a patent to procreation of plant life, overrule the long standing laws of Mother Earth (and that right after Mother’s Day!)