This transformational story weaves three strands: Damery’s ordeal in becoming a Jungian analyst, a concurrent farming crisis that necessitated an unorthodox approach to farming (Biodynamic), and the yearly agricultural cycle on her ranch in the Napa Valley. As the book begins, Damery, a candidate to become a Jungian analyst, has been productively in Jungian analysis for many years. She is drawn to spiritual teachers when her familiar psychological view of life is challenged by a series of strange experiences.
One of her first mentors is Don, an analyst who studied with a Navaho medicine man. After a ten-day trip to the Southwest with Don and other analyst candidates, she joins a group studying the overlap of shamanism and analytical psychology.
Tension increases between the author and her personal analyst. Yet even Don disappoints her in the face of a shocking event. During a sweat lodge ceremony, the author sees a skeleton sitting next to a man who is murdered the following day. She grapples with a sense of responsibility for not telling anyone of her vision; Don, in pain himself over this loss, is unable to help her. Her crisis culminates when, after a long drive through a rainstorm, she fails a crucial step of the certification process. Within months Don dies of a sudden heart attack. Damery consults spiritual teacher Norma T. for a nine month intensive, unconventional training which helps her successfully navigate her certification.
Concurrently, Damery and her husband face a crisis in farming which brings them to Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamics. A new era of farming begins, one based on spiritual stewardship of the land. A new worker arrives, Natalio, who tends the plants and the ranch, bringing Mexican folk wisdom and lore.