Home » A Druid's Blog » A Druid’s Web Log September 2017 Living together in an inter-dependent world

A Druid’s Web Log September 2017 Living together in an inter-dependent world

Mycorrrhizal Fungi

Photo from Garden Culture Magazine

This Moonth I went to the New England Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) annual meeting at Hampshire College, in Massachusetts. I always try to attend the Friday night lecture because it never fails to inspire me. This time the speaker was Michael Phillips, acclaimed author of “Mycorrhizal Planet” and other volumes. He spoke about root synergy and the soil-food web and how fungi live in the root systems of plants. This partnership developed in the very early history of life on our planet when chlorophyll plants combined with fungi that could absorb carbon and minerals. This symbiotic relationship is what enables plants (and fungi) to feed themselves and each other.

Fungi are able to bring in nutrients from beyond the end of a root and can break down organic matter from as far as twelve feet away from a plant. Fungal pipelines fuse together and form a mat that can also send nutrients to other plants that need them. This mycorrhizal network is one of the ways that plants communicate with each other, some of the softwood species of trees such as Alder, Willow, Birch, Maple and Poplar have fungi that dissolve minerals from rocks and pass them along to other plants like clover.

Water and other nutrients are passed around the plant community via this “underground economy”; plants and fungi make decisions about what to pass around and who needs it most. It’s a kind of “social Democracy” where more is sent to those that need it. Fungi mediate the distribution of nutrients so that no one plant or tree has too much, and so that others do not lack.

Phillips spoke about the importance of leaving plants undisturbed over the winter – that roots should be left in place to rot naturally, because fungi in the roots hold on to lipids all winter. He said non-disturbed ecosystems have as many as fifty species of fungi that each pull different nutrients and operate at different times of the year. They will even deliver water to distant plants during drought conditions.

In other words, cooperation and support networks are the natural state of things and we humans can learn from that. Fungus and bacteria work together to dissolve bedrock and that mineralization, combined with the pipelines of the fungal mats underground, are what make the metabolic process in plants efficient and also repels insects when the plants are well mineralized and healthy.

Nitrate fertilizers and herbicides are destroying the fungal mat upon which all plants on Earth depend. Heavy equipment used in farming, construction and logging does this too, by smashing and compressing the delicate fungal mats in the soil. Our culture is literally killing the soil that feeds it.

So what to do? If you live in an area where the soil has been sickened or killed by chemicals, go to a natural forest or wild meadow ecosystem and dig up several cups of live, healthy soil. Put that soil in water and stir it well. Then spray or spread the mixture on the sickened land. Let the microbes do the work they know best.

As Rudolph Steiner once said; “Everything in nature is interdependent. Everything”. If we as a species are to survive, we will need to become mature enough to recognize this truth. So far the fungi and bacteria are wiser than us. They are, after all, our elders on the planet.


  • Saturday, September 30
    2:30 pm – 5 pm
    Just in time for Halloween!
    At the Sirius Community, Shutesbury, MA
  • October 14, 2017 – April 2018
    Intro to Herbalism and Self Care~ A Six Month Intensive
    Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA, PLEASE MESSAGE ME WITH YOUR INTEREST.
    Western Materia Medica, Chinese 5 Element Theory, Flower Essence Counseling, Formula making, Hands on Herbalism, Ethnobotany, Herb walks, Case taking and more.
  • Sunday, October 15th
    Celebrate Samhain!
    A talk about using herbs to communicate with the Spirits
    10 am to 6 pm at the Courtyard Marriott
    2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua, NH 03063
  • Help Create a Druid Film Featuring Iron Age Herbalists and Healers!
    Based on the Priestess of the Forest trilogy of Celtic novels the film will be set in ancient Ireland. It features strong female characters, Iron Age Herbalists, warriors, Druids, and early Christian missionaries.We have a script, a director, a lead actor and actress, a composer, and a film editor. The next step is to film a scene to put on Yahoo, as a way of attracting a major producer. We need YOU to become a patron with on-going support, or just to make a one-time gift!
    Patrons receive bonuses and perks!
    How to Contribute: Patreon
  • A Botanical tour of Ireland!
    May 12-23, 2018.
    If you have ever wanted to roam the Emerald Isle and spend time with its trees, herbs and flowers this might be for you! Meet local Irish Herbalists, story tellers, crafts people, roam the Burren and sacred sites.
    Trip Cost Includes: The cost of the trip is €2595 (Euros)(1 Euro is about $1.16) and includes; Lodging: Rooms are double occupancy (extra fee for private room) Meals: Three meals a day are included in package. You will be fed with wonderful nourishing food both while dining out and other meals catered by specially selected chefs. One lunch and one dinner are on you own (not included in price) where you can choose where you wish to dine in two different towns we will be visiting. All entrance fees. All classes, instruction, and educational materials.
    Transportation: from Shannon Airport (our meeting place) to the accommodations and all destinations throughout the entire journey. Our own private, comfortable bus and incredible driver, Fred. The trip costs DO NOT include round trip airfare to Ireland, or items of a personal nature (telephone calls, personal tips, etc), alcoholic beverages at meals. Please inquire now about private rooms, as there is limited availability and an additional fee.

Below you will find the usual collection of Archeology, Nature, Climate, Celtic, Religion, Fairy, Herb and Ethics news.

*Reminder – Yule is coming! You can purchase books from this website and get a signed copy with a personal note from the author!* (If it’s a gift please specify who you want the book signed to)









As Fall Equinox approaches may we all live in balance, a lofty goal in chaotic times.

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