Reverent Farming

Karla Riddell
3 min readSep 27, 2022

When the pandemic hit, I returned to my family farm in rural New South Whales to support succession. Well, more so to be home, the place that grew me up. That place is in every cell of my being. When the winds blow from my homelands I feel it and I am instantly there.

I have grieved for that land, for the loss of custodianship and the shame of being a part of the perpetuation of colonisation and consumerism. When I started really walking the world awake, it became painful to return home, because I could feel country, I could feel the spirit of that land… and I knew I had no power to change it… but, me being me… I still gave it all I had. In a way, I kind of went to war, because how else do you speak to someone who is unwilling to hear you or to change. I felt like I was at war with the patriarchy having history repeating. What was happening in my family was a microcosm reflecting the macrocosm. I felt like I had a responsibility to heal and to bring back the voice of the feminine and the voice of nature.

I really thought we were heading in the right direction. Me being the Aquarian had written up quite the elaborate plan for future farming, from sustainable farming, to regenerative farming and finally in my lifetime… reverent farming… yes, I possibly created a knew terminology there.I wrote it up in a document and put it forward to my father… we took on a regenerative Ag manager, all seemed to be going well… But the patriarchy reigned, the manager got sacked and my hopes and dreams for caring for my homelands completely crumbled. I had to withdraw, and I had to heal from that.

I have been on quite the ancestral grief journey since then. I mourn for the absence of my own family and for this life of reverent farming. I know my soul wants to work with the people, but one thing I have learnt in life… is the beauty of balance. Of balance between masculine & feminine, soulitude and community. To to heal in balance is perhaps to heal in self, community and… country. To me, reverent farming is a way of working with the land that is in communication with the spirit of country. I don’t know how to do that… but if I should become a caretaker of the land… I sure will give that everything I have, to listen and learn and invite the ancient ones back to their homelands and to finally make home somewhere where I get to be deeply woven into country, to heal her, to listen, to learn. This is my greatest yearning… and my greatest grief.

I pray, that the land that will be my home calls out my name and that I listen. I want to put down my roots in deep devotion to place. I pray for close kin, that can also hear her, hear country, feel country and be in reverent harmonious connection.

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Karla Riddell

Karla is the founder and facilitator of the Young Shaman Foundation. She is dedicated to creating rites of passage to connect people to self, nature and tribe.