It does not take a rocket scientist to see the ways in which our industrialized model of society struggles to adequately satiate the heart. For the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, he too believed it was impossible for the psyche to feel properly nourished living within a concrete jungle, out of touch with verdant landscapes and blossoming trees. We can reflect momentarily and see, just as much as our bodies would struggle to settle into strait jackets, so do our psyches resist their own claustrophobic and homogenized environments.
In his own words, Jung was “fully committed to the idea that human existence should be rooted in the earth”. We see this same belief having its origins in some of the animistic traditions of the world that experienced the indwelling presence of spirits in the material world. These same traditions sought not to transcend the world of matter but focused their energies on revealing the space where the spiritual and material intersect, working to enlarge it by uncovering it in its least suspected places.
Farming regeneratively while keeping in mind the core theories and principles of depth psychology strikes the perfect balance between seemingly disparate spheres of experiencing. By reflecting upon the processes of the natural world and seeing them as root metaphors for psychological life, we feel ourselves belong to something primordial and ancient and of great intelligence. Farming this way helps us reshape some of our misguided beliefs about the natural world and inspires us to treat the planet and its inihabitants with respect – not because we are motivated by guilt or fear, but because we appreciate its beauty so much. And naturally, this extends to include that nature that lives within us. This means learning to regard the instincts not as lower, animalistic drives that need to be transcended, suppressed, or repressed, but as that which connects us to our innermost core.
As a therapeutic practice, regenerative farming with a psychological twist honors the garden as the temenos in which participants grow and change together. It relies on the recent discoveries of the new-physics and the ecological commentaries of world religions to help occasion the realization that the same processes inherent in the natural world also are alive within and shape one’s own being.