The Inner Soil

Humus is the basis of our earthly life, it is literally its beginning and its end, it comes into being through life, and life comes into being through it.

— Annie Francé-Harrar

photo: Patrick Hendry

What you see in yourself is what you see in the world.

— Afghan proverb

After working with the Solo System for 20 years my attention was unexpectedly drawn towards the soil, fertile soil to be precise, the stuff that nurtures all life and growth.

»What does the soil have to do with the inner world?« you may ask.

I have come to understand the inner world as the inner soil. Everything we experience, do, feel, think and become has its roots in the inner soil and is nurtured by it. There are many parallels between the inner and outer soil. One can reveal secrets of the other.

Prompted by a life-changing event in 2017, I wrote a book about humus, the most vital essence of the living soil.

photo: Daria Nepriakhina

Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years.

— Wendell Berry

Humus is currently an endangered species. This is bad news, not only for snails, earthworms and dung beetles but for EVERYONE.

Humus is a vital organ of the living earth. Without it the soil dies, nothing grows, nobody can harvest any food, farmers’ markets have nothing to offer, and supermarket shelves will soon be empty as well.

Humus is not only a living environment for billions of creatures, it can also be regarded as a living organism in its own right. This perspective turns out to be more important than one might think.

Well meaning soil experts have defined humus as »the end product of plant and animal life.« Following this definition, humus has been considered a ‘dead matter’, and ironically, that is now becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy! 

photo: Sushubhan Badhai

The earth and myself are of one mind.

— Chief Seattle

At the same time, this can be taken as good news. It means, if we really understand humus and the soil as living organisms, then this can become a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ as well!

HUMUS, the black gold of the earth is much more than a book about soil. It is about the relationship between humans and humus, between us and the earth. The way we treat the earth must be a reflection of the way we treat ourselves. Nurturing a personal relationship with humus might help to literally grow out of an infertile inner space and become more fully who we can be.

Veronika Bond
author of The Solo System and HUMUS: the black gold of the earth

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *