Many years ago when we were first learning Biodynamics we worked with a consultant who I've called B.B. in my recollection of that time (Farming Soul: A Tale of Initiation. Soon to be republished by Leaping Goat Press, 2014.) He helped us on many levels, giving us tips and how-to’s about the practicalities of biodynamic farming but also direction in learning to perceive spiritual/subtle energies.

One morning as B.B. and I were walking in the vineyard, B.B. was pointing out things that I normally paid little attention to. See those birds flying in a spiraling circle? he asked. The diva there is orchestrating that, showing you something. 

As we walked on he pointed out an energy spout across the valley. I saw a kind of shimmering rainbow of color, which he explained was the work of the nature spirits trying to integrate energy into the valley.

At one point he described tiny swirls of energy around the vines. We had sprayed the biodynamic preparation 501 that morning (horned quartz, or silica,) and he told me these were the sylphs (air spirits) at work. Close your eyes for 30 seconds to clear them and then look, he instructed. As I opened my eyes, an orangish red surrounded the vines momentarily, then was gone.

I will always remember what he said next: One person may look and see red, and another see green, but the meaning will be the same. My green may be your red. It is just coming through a different observer. 

What is important is that we learn to observe in these ways and to trust what we see. Then we can dream on what it might mean. There may well be an objective reality to what we are seeing, but it is colored by our own personal psyche. It is critical that we come to notice and accept our own perception and not override it with what we think we are seeing or what we think we should see.

C. G. Jung talked about the period called The Enlightenment as a period in which we became more rational and less open to this way of perceiving. While our intellect developed, use of our imaginative abilities atrophied, abilities that are critical in the perception of subtle energies. The alchemists, he said, used the age-old method of the imagination to perceive and work with subtle energies in the creation of the alchemists' philosophical stone, or the Self.

One of the more important tasks in farming or in analytic work is to approach the other as if for the first time, to forget what we think we know, and truly listen and see. Unfortunately we too often use our intellect in a dogmatic way, forgetting this other way of taking in information about the other that may actually be a dialogue.  For myself, I have had to remember and often learn again these more playful, open ways of taking in information and communicating with the other.

What are the little dogmas in your own life that override this other way of seeing?