Sacred Harvest

e-Notebook: November 2013

“Happy Thanksgiving”
Are there two words more welcoming and heartfelt? That more effectively draw together family and friends in authentic communion? That make you feel like you are inside a Norman Rockwell painting or coming in off the farm — boots dirty, cheeks rosy, stomach rumbling? Yet, what really lies at the core of this holiday, this fascinating and eloquent merging of the sacred with the harvest? Why is Thanksgiving so precious to the American identity? And what does it tell us about our modern selves that this day of rest and spiritual renewal is immediately followed by Black Friday, a grotesquerie of conspicuous consumption?

Where is the meaning in this hallowed tradition of extending blessings for food, family, and community? In this eNotebook, we reflect on some of the ways in which our deep and complex relationship to food has historically been treated, and introduce you to innovative ways in which agriculture is currently being used to heal minds and enliven souls, as well as improve rather than emasculate the land. And, yes, we even offer you a number of yummy recipes that you can enjoy with those close to you during this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!
– Laurie, Corin, and the rest of the Seven Pillars Team


Bless This Food
Ancient & Contemporary Graces from
Around the World

Food blessings provide a window to the profound spirituality that we all share and that connects us to all humankind, nature, and the infinite.

The thanks-giving food blessing is the prayer said most often in the home. Whether impromptu words or a formal prayer, the food blessing is a powerful medium that enriches the meaning of family and allows us to touch a higher realm of spirituality. From humankind’s earliest beginnings to today, food is the thanks-giving link and universal form of expression for gratitude to the Almighty.

Included within this offering is an article by Adrian Butash adapted from his recent book Bless This Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World and gallery of blessings, which together explore the sweeping history and cultural significance of blessings from traditions all over the globe. Read the article…

Gould Farm Cookbook & Recipes
A Hundred Years of Good Food


Gould Farm is a progressive mental health treatment community and hundred-year-old working farm, committed to the recovery of people challenged by a mental illness. As the first residential treatment community in the nation, Gould Farm has become a model for other programs around the world and a beacon of hope for people looking to regain their lives.

Gould Farm’s model of care is based on three key ingredients: expert clinical care, meaningful work, and a place of belonging in a kind and authentic community. From growing the hay that feeds the cows to processing the milk that becomes cheddar cheese on a Harvest Barn bagel, to harvesting kale and making soup, providing for this community’s needs becomes a therapeutic exercise in interconnectedness and productivity.

This gallery features images and quotes from farm life paired with over a dozen mouth-watering farm recipes from their recently published cookbook, Gould Farm: A Hundred Years of Good Food. Some recipe highlights include Farm Swiss Chard Leaves Stuffed with Lemon Risotto, Lasagna Sage, Farm Squash and Ricotta, Sticky Buns and an unexpected Turnip & Pear dessert. Enjoy! View the gallery and recipes…


Agriculture and the Sacred
Robert Karp

To live, we must daily break the body and spill the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration.
— Wendell Berry

In ancient times agriculture was intimately connected with the sacred. We find evidence of this in a host of texts and in many traditions which survive to this day.  We know, for example, that for the indigenous people on the American continent, the corn plant is believed to have come into being through a long process of cooperation between human beings and the gods, and to grow corn is still a sacred activity for many Native American people today.

If we try to discern the ultimate source of these traditions, we discover that people in ancient cultures experienced the natural world much differently than we do. Where today we might see, for example, simply a corn plant (tall stem, tassels, ears, husks, silks, kernels, etc.), they saw the body of a spiritual being whom they felt to be the ultimate source of the unique traits and gifts of that particular plant species. These spiritual beings endowed all creatures and all creation with a special kind of dignity. Read more…

Click here to view Sacred Garden
A Gallery of Images Showing Biodynamic Farming in Action





Seven Pillars Holiday Open House

Stay tuned for more details!
Tuesday December 17th, 4 – 6 pm
Abode of the Message, Red Barn
New Lebanon, New York

On Tuesday December 17th, Seven Pillars will host a holiday Open House in our offices in New Lebanon, New York. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for some refreshments and conversation. Use this link to check back for updates.




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25 November 2013

Tagged Under
cosmology, Living Universe, food, blessings,
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