page 2 - Operationalising Ziraat - Firos Holterman ten Hove

Operationalising Ziraat - Firos Holterman ten Hove
The robbing of Proserpina, Albrecht Dürer, 1516

In so doing, he was giving the ancient mysteries (like Eleusis or the cult of Osiris) a new perspective. There would be no skyscrapers, no aircraft, no computers, and so on, if their builders, technologists and business executives could not rely on the farmers to provide the basic need of life ´s sustenance: food.


Was war die Zielsetzung der Mysterien-Kulte? Murshid: “Manche haben gemeint, dass es sich um eine geheime landwirtschaftliche Schulung handelt, andere, dass es eine über Jahrhunderte von Priestern aufgeführte Maskerade war.”


What was the aim of the mystery cults? Murshid: „Some have supposed them to have been a course of agriculture, taught secretly, others a mummery carried on for centuries by the priests.”


Current superficial opinions about Ziraat are similar. Some say: we can't all become farmers! Others: Yes, I am also close to nature, but why these strange rituals?


The old mystery cults revolved around the topic of dying. The productivity of the earth, personified as Proserpina by the ancient Greeks, was lost every autumn and that caused an enormous fear among the people. Who shall ensure that there will be a new beginning with enough food for everyone? That's the fear.


A real farmer should be able to overcome the dying processes in nature so that the grain grows again in spring. Only the one who knows about dying and resurrection can be a good farmer and guarantee sustainable food security. Only a person who has shown that he/she has mastered this frightening process and has overcome the threatening darkness can take responsibility for agriculture. Murshid quotes Apuleius, an initiate in Eleusis from the 2nd century: "I went to the boundary between life and death, I passed through the four elements, I stood on the threshold of Proserpina, at the time of deepest midnight I saw the sun shine in brightest splendor, I saw the greater and the lesser gods and revered them near at hand."


We in the West in the 21st century do not know this fear, which overcame the people in antiquity every autumn. We take it for granted that there will be something to eat in winter and next year.


But ... can we also rely on agriculture to provide healthy food for the next generation? In this respect, we are in the middle of a major existential crisis. The number of farmers has been greatly reduced in the last 50 years and today only accounts for 2% of the population in Central Europe. And now this small group of people has fallen into disrepute. It is becoming clear that the farmers are co-responsible for climate change. The confidence of the population that the farmers will meet the basic needs of life has been lost. This triggers enormous existential fear! And so it becomes clear that there is a need for agriculture that can carry us across the threshold of darkness and provide food security even in the Anthropocene Age.


In a crisis, we may discover how lucky we are to be able to rely upon a piece of land having its own water supply. These will, indeed, appear to be the greatest riches on the planet.


 Just as Freemasons discussed whether the construction of the temple should be understood practically or allegorically, Ziraat circles philosophize about whether the lodge should be understood operationally or speculatively. Is it about concrete agriculture or are the agricultural terms symbolic?


Murshid: „Symbolism is the mature or ripened aspect of art, and if symbolism is used at the time when art is only beginning to develop, it is a drawback; then this art will not flourish. When art is in its infancy it should not touch symbolism, for symbolism should appear as the result of a natural development. It is an inspiration; it becomes natural when the artist becomes natural; then everything he does has a symbolical meaning. But when the artist begins by thinking, 'I must apply some symbolism', then he destroys his art. Symbolism should come by itself.”


Hat dieses Zitat etwas mit Landwirtschaft zu tun? Ja! Hazrat Inayat Khan sagt “Ackerbau ist Musik, Gartenbau ist Musik”.

Die Kunst von Ziraat fängt also mit einem Stück Land und einer Wasserquelle an. Und desto näher der Ziraat-Bauer an die Natürlichkeit des Ortes und sich selbst herankommt, desto inspirierter wird er. Das Glück liegt darin, mit der Natur in Einklang zu wirken. Die Rhythmen von Tag und Nacht, die Jahreszeiten bekommen eine neue Bedeutung. Die Naturreiche, inklusive die unsichtbaren Naturwesen, fangen an, sich in ihrer tieferen Bedeutung zu entfalten.


Does this quote have anything to do with agriculture? Yes, Hazrat Inayat Khan says "agriculture is music, horticulture is music". So the art of Ziraat begins with a piece of land and a spring of water. And the closer the Ziraat farmer gets to the naturalness of the place and of himself, the more inspired he becomes. Happiness lies in working in harmony with nature. Rhythms of day and night, seasons take on a new meaning. The kingdoms of nature, including the invisible beings of nature, begin to unfold in their deeper meaning.


The price is effort. Therefore the Ziraat adept is asked if he is ready to work. Not an easy decision, because with the vow a modern cultural freedom is lost, one which consists in being bound as little as possible to the natural necessities. The Ziraat initiation contains the tying of a cord, crossed over the shoulders. Hazrat Inayat Khan: “Zarathustra himself wore this sacred thread… (It) expresses that he is on duty - not free to do everything he wishes, but only that which he is appointed. ... For, to that which is the Will of God, his whole being responds, and in doing His Will his whole being becomes satisfied… The kingdom of God, which is heaven, then comes on earth. It does not mean that it disappears from heaven, but it only means that not only heaven remains as a Kingdom of heaven, but even earth becomes a Kingdom of heaven. The purpose behind all this creation is that heaven may be realised on earth; and if one did not realise it on earth, he cannot realise it in heaven.”