Honour not plunder

Henning Kullak-Ublick

Only the Wiesenbauer, a farmer who owns low-lying marshy fields, still has water and uses his monopoly to force his neighbour to pledge her land in return for a loan. Mother Stine has a feeling that the slumbering Rain Maiden must be awoken but the Wiesenbauer with his “modern” beliefs merely laughs at her and challenges her with a bet that she won’t manage to end the drought within one day – with or without the Rain Maiden. Thus the gripping story runs its course, which I won’t spoil here by revealing how it ends but which I can highly recommend as holiday reading.

In March 2015 the German newspaper Die Zeit reported about a little known dimension of the war in Ukraine, the “race for Ukrainian black earth” and the takeover of Ukrainian agriculture by western corporations, namely Monsanto, DuPont and Cargill. It is not just Ukraine which is on their shopping list: globally operating investors and speculators are buying up land and water resources and are making increasing numbers of people dependent on them through the food chain. According to UNICEF, even today 780 million people no longer have sufficient access to clean water, a situation which will only grow worse unless we act very quickly.

Some years ago the Dalai Lama sent a delegation of Tibetan monks to North America, telling them: “Go and learn the way of the Native American peoples, it is the only one for survival.” In 2013 a full assembly of the leaders of all Native American tribes decided to share the Native American knowledge of nature with the rest of the world because they were convinced that there was no longer enough time for us to gain sufficient insight without their knowledge.

Before the barbaric conquest of their continent by “civilised” Europe, there was no such thing as private ownership of sacred “Mother Earth”, which encompassed all living beings, among the Native Americans. If the balance of nature was disturbed through human action it was restored through other actions which also included ceremonies through which they communicated with the spirits of nature.

With biodynamic agriculture Rudolf Steiner laid the foundations at the start of the twentieth century for dealing with the earth and its realms of nature in a new way which was based on a living understanding of the forces at work in nature. That was the start of organic agriculture. Today “Demeter” is one of the ten most popular brands in Germany. Does that merely serve our egoism or the whole world? And if the latter, then how?

The time has come to listen to the Native Americans and honour Mother Earth once again. Let us give her what she needs so that not only humanity, heading towards ten billion, but all other creatures also can be fed. The global plunder of land and water has to end. That is a major political task but it starts with our own consumption.

Let us search for the Rain Maiden.

Henning Kullak-Ublick, class teacher from 1984–2010 at the Flensburg Free Waldorf School; board member of the German Association of Waldorf Schools, the Friends of Waldorf Education and the International Forum for Steiner/Waldorf Education – The Hague Circle.