I received a small brown paper bag in the post containing three packets: one of gold, one of frankincense, and one of myrrh. These were part of an order from the Biodynamic Association for ‘Three kings preparation’.
Developed by German farmer Hugo Erbe in the wake of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a way of giving back to his land in order to restore the elemental beings. Like the Wise Men’s offering: gold, a symbol for worldly wisdom, frankincense, a devotional offering to the gods and myrrh, symbol for the victory of life over death. Whatever his reasons, our elemental beings seemed as if they could do with some attention, too.
On Three Kings day (Epiphany, January 6th, my birthday) I met with Allan at lunchtime on the plot to stir the preparation.
It was another mercifully mild and still day, slightly misty from the base of the cloud that nestled on top of Hampstead’s hill. The plot was looking good. Allan had cleared a lot of ground and somehow in that, loosened winter’s grip. The chicories, which to me had looked beyond salvation, had been cleaned of their slimy outer leaves, revealing small but healthy bright red hearts. Some of the soil had been turned too and the plot seemed to breathing more freely again. The gloom I had been feeling on my visits before Christmas had been put on the compost heap along with all the rotting leaves.
We ate some delicious sandwiches Polly had made for my birthday picnic and started the stir. I had previously ground and mixed all the ingredients (along with a little rain water) to make a stiff paste. We took a small amount and mixed it into a couple of litres of (thankfully) warmed rain water, then stirred, taking it in turns to make a continual vortex for an hour. The combination of the swirling vortex and the heady scent of the frankincense and myrrh was heavenly and mesmeric.
As the light started to fade, the preparation was sprayed around the plot. By the time we’d finished, we felt in a good place to start the new year and hopefully the plot did too.