There are so many narratives to choose from as we navigate this time of crisis… We have had to sift the wheat from the chaff and there is a constant flow. My phone pings again with another story distraction: another theory, another prophecy or forecast, another warning. I have a plethora of WhatsApp groups all pinging away. A researcher by nature, I tried for the past few months to keep up with what people were thinking and saying about the Covid lockdown and all related consequences, so I have hung on to most of them. However, I reached the stage where I had to disengage and detach myself.
One can be swamped if we engage with them all, we can become dizzy with fear and anxiety. When I returned to the Karoo for the past two months, I disconnected from much of social media, as I sunk my feet deeper into the earth.
Head-lead (as apposed to heart-lead) fear- based reality takes us into deeper isolation, disconnection and fear of an outside enemy. This is fear story triggers trauma, anxiety and panic. It’s a warlike “us and them” mentality- the story of separation. It’s the notion that germs and viruses are on the outside and that you can fight them off with weapons like chemicals and plastic gloves, masks, gun shaped thermometers and syringes with needles. Masks and handwashing have their place, but they are not the be all and end all. My common sense tells me sanitizing everything is just not the answer.
Any real scientist will tell you that there is a micro-biome and that every inch of your skin has a different kind of microscopic organism with it’s own unique purpose. So if you spray chemical antiseptic on it, then the area is wiped clean of all kinds of bugs, both good and bad. This makes way for all the more dangerous bacteria and pathogens to land without a fight. Organisms can develop resistance to antiseptic chemicals. Those are the “superbugs,” and they exist in hospitals where antiseptics are used all the time. An alternative is to use Pro-biotic cleaning agents, which put up a healthy barrier of good bacteria that fight off the bad bugs when they arrive. You can do this in both your gut and your kitchen. It’s about keeping things in balance.
When there is a sanitary barrier around everything and everything is wrapped in plastic, it’s easy to forget that we actually get most of our food from the soil and animals who live on the soil. Many city raised children forget that milk comes from cows, not bottles. Some people forget burgers come from cattle, not fast food packages. The disconnection is illustrated by the words people use. In America they call soil “dirt.”
They don’t realize that soil is the source of all life. This belief that animals and nature, have no soul, and exist only for the benefit of humans, reflects an arrogant and misguided and disconnected mentality. Just as arrogant, misguided and disconnected as the notion of making people of another race or tribe into slaves. Luckily, humanity is maturing, I wish to believe, and realizing that nature has always been more powerful than the human race and will carry on quite happily without us, unless we wake up and start treating her with more respect and realize that all humans of every race have a right to life.
Most people don’t even know about what is going on behind the scenes when they eat that fast food burger. The inhumanity of factory farms, the antibiotics in the animal feed, the crowded feedlots producing clouds of Co2, the waste swamps of toxic animal effluent that come from them and are too toxic to even be used to make compost, there is a reason all this is not on show to the public. It is a shameful scene and it shows how badly out of balance things are due to an unsustainable system of large scale food production. Having grown up on a modest family farm, where cattle live a pleasant pastoral existence, like the ones in the pictures above, I was horrified when I learned about the details of industrial agriculture. (I had to research the subject for a documentary series for Cooked in Africa Films about where our food comes from. )
It is important to understand where our food comes from and how it is produced in order to be in full control of our own health. We are what we eat, as the saying goes. Industrialized agriculture has not created cheep available food to feed the masses, as those who back the industry would like to believe, instead it has created a big very expensive problem, which may have caused the pandemic we are facing now.
Swine flu and bird flu have been linked to the pathogen breeding conditions of those factory farms. There have been warnings about the consequences of this for years. The consequences being a superbug that is not treatable by antibiotics. Huge numbers of animals living in unsanitary cramped environments and being fed antibiotics as a preventative, to compensate for their poor living conditions is the perfect environment for breeding pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. We should have known something like this was coming. There were plenty of warnings. When humans make war on the earth to create food, they create war on themselves and the web of life. No matter how arrogantly we think we can plan ahead, by stockpiling etc, we are not separate from nature, nor are we ever really “safe and secure” and there is no getting away from that.
The uncomfortable fact that industrial agriculture may be a cause of this pandemic along with some other bad flu’s which have swept through in the past decade, has mostly been covered up. Instead of addressing the problem at it’s root, most of the energy has been put into the superficial layer, protecting ourselves from “germs.” It’s a smokescreen. It would be nice to believe that we are safer behind a mask and a layer of disinfectant. All that extra paranoid paraphernalia is building up a pile of rubbish to be tossed back in the eco-system as waste, but nobody wants to think about that.
On the screens we now live, distracted. There is a new dependence on cyberspace and the internet for all our transactions. Inside an illusion created by a network, which is getting stronger. A man made network of telecommunications. More capacity in the form of a 5G network is being built as we are locked down and waiting for vaccinations that might make us feel safe again. A 5G network and a vaccine is being created to try and take control of nature rising up. The plan is for the internet of things to keep us conveniently safe and indoors away from the dirt and the soil in a bubble of virtual reality. The electromagnetic radiation we will be exposed to will rise massively. Computers may run the world, like in George Orwells prophecy, who knows?
Meanwhile the man at the street light stands asking for a coin, he now wears a mask and is even more desperate and hungry. Yet nobody has coins anymore. Nobody carries cash anymore. We hide behind our masks and wave our plastic card at the machine to buy our wares. Then sanitize again and wait for the inoculation to arrive.
Personally, I prefer the mycelial network of the forest floor. It feeds me and heals me. I would rather deal with real bugs than man made ones that listen to my conversations.
There is scientific evidence that nature finds the answer to any imbalance within her system eventually. When one tree in the forest is ailing, the mycelial network sends more of what is needed to it’s roots. I personally trust the credibility of an ancient remedy which has been used by wisdom keepers and traditional healers over thousands of years, than one that has just been invented in a commercial lab and has not been properly tested yet. And to have it injected directly into my bloodstream by a stranger with orders certainly does not make me feel safer either. Not at all.
Artemisia Afra, also known as Wilde Als, African Wormwood, Umhlanyane or Lengane (in Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho) is an effective antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic plant which has the power to cure even Malaria. This is scientifically proven but not advertised as it does not suit the pockets of the powers powered by “big pharma.”
Artemisia Afra/Wilde Als has been used as a remedy by traditional healers in many countries around the world for thousands of years. Artemisia Afra/Wilde Als, grows wild in the mountains where I grew up. My African mother, Impi/Jane, always used Wilde Als to steam the chest by boiling it in a pot and inhaling it covered by a towel. I have seen that it works. Wilde Als is effective as a soothing congest-ant warming tea. Jane boiled it up strong with blue gum leaves on the Aga stove. It was very bitter but better with honey and mint. It warms the chest and heals from the inside and one feels better immediately.
When my father was 6 months old, there was an outbreak of encephalitis. It was mandatory to be inoculated. Even still in the Karoo mountains of South Africa, a Red Cross medical van comes round to all the farms. A nurse onboard does check ups and if there is a routine vaccination to be done, she injects all the people on the farms. Back in the 1930’s, when he got the shot, my 6 month old father became extremely ill. It was during the great depression. Farmers were hard hit, as agriculture is always the first to feel it, when the economy is impacted. There was no money for anything.
His desperate mother phoned the doctor, who told her his fever was an over reaction to the inoculation and to ride it out. 6 months later, they discovered that nerves of his inner ear been destroyed by the illness. He was left with 15 percent hearing in one ear and zero in the other for the rest of his life. This has been a massive challenge for him. It has had boundless consequences, despite the fact that he has been extremely heroic courageous and bold in overcoming this difficulty. He became a celebrated sportsman at school and is a socially loved and respected member of his community, yet all his life, he has born this silent weight and disconnection and isolation created by not hearing. It was a brutal blow that he took from that inoculation, a well meaning precaution against an awful disease, but which he had no choice in taking.
I believe that we are all sovereign beings living in a dynamic biome, which is alive and full of choices and inspiration. We can decide to wall it off and hide away fearfully as our resources dwindle, or we can decide to engage with it consciously, with heart and soul and eyes wide open.
I am so proud of the members of the Muizenberg community, who jumped straight into action at the beginning of lockdown and clubbed together and started community kitchens, relying on donations to feed the neighbouring township, where many would surely have starved otherwise. Yesterday I attended a meeting to discuss the design of a community food garden in an attempt to create food a little more security locally. There is such richness is participation.
In making love and connection happen through the heartfelt story of integration we are enriched. Let it grow, let it flow. Let us learn, let us take turns. Let us breathe. Allow, trust, believe that there is enough in this world for everyone’s need as long as we collectively take care of our environment and don’t try and separate ourselves from it and live in fear and hoard. The more we share, the more we care, the richer we become. Because wealth is not about money. Wealth is knowing that you have enough and being grateful for it.
I raise a cup of Wild Healing Tea of Courage to the notion, that we don’t have to be victims to anything. This is my new product.
P.S. Wild Healing Tea of Courage (Pure wild harvested Artemisia Afra) can be ordered here: https://www.instagram.com/wildhealingherbs/
Also from the farm: Karoo Choice Non-Feedlot Beef can be ordered here: https://www.facebook.com/karoochoicegrassfedbeef/about/