Biodynamic Agriculture…the Spiritual Science of Rudolf Steiner
The essence, principles and practices of biodynamics are vast. If you’re someone who has no past knowledge of Energy Medicine or spiritual science it may seem a bit far-fetched. But if you’re curious and open-minded enough you’ll start connecting with Steiner’s understanding of life and nature and his knowing that there’s more to life than what the eye can see. I think you’ll find it fascinating, fulfilling and fruitful.
Mother Earth is currently speaking to us in a big way…her health is a reflection of our health…mind, body and Spirit. Biodynamic agriculture is one way that as humans we can assist in the healing of the planet…which leads to the health of all living beings and brings balance back to the rhythms of Nature. It is science based, holistic and regenerative…but differs from conventional and even organic farming practices. Growing Biodynamically works with life processes and Spiritual aspects and imbues a greater vitality into plants/food and the farm overall.
Rudolf Steiner, also the founder of the nature focused Waldorf School, in the early 1900’s saw the implications and results of chemical methods being used since the mid nineteenth century in agriculture. He combined his scientific knowledge, study of homeopathy, native cultures, herbal medicine, Eastern religions with many other disciplines and his clairvoyant nature to develop a lecture series on Agriculture.
Biodynamic gardening and farming depends on observation, intuition and intention grounded in Rudolf Steiner’s guidelines.. The cosmic forces (stars and planets), and the earthly forces (plants, water and animals) all play together to create vitality according to Steiner. The farm/garden environment is considered to be it’s own self-sufficient and self-contained organism. Steiner saw the benefit of using as many as possible materials for the preparations and compost from the farm organism.
The compost pile and the preparations are most essential to creating that vitality. Steiner considered the Biodynamic Preparations, BD preps or just preps for short, to be remedies for agriculture. There are 8 most common preparations…BD 500 Horn Manure, BD 501 Horn Silica, BD 502 Yarrow, BD 503 Chamomile, BD 504 Nettle, BD 505 Oak Bark, BD 506 Dandelion, BD 507 Valerian and BD 508 Horsetail. There also a few others but these are the ones most widely used. Each one is prepared in a different way and often take months because they are living substances. As Hugh Lovel says “given the necessary ingredients, biodynamics has a toolbox of compelling preparations to impart the life processes needed to draw what nature freely provides into living activity.” So the land can thrive.
All the preps are used in the compost pile once it’s built. And they can each be used for certain reasons. Each prep has a specific organic process…sort of like what each of our organs has. Take the horn manure BD500 prep, it’s function is for inhaling, taking things in (Central nervous system). BD 501 is about exhaling or giving things off ( Senses), Yarrow for refinement (Kidneys, bladder), Chamomile for digestion, assimilation (Intestines), Nettle for circulation (Heart, blood), Oak Bark for inner or outer structure (Skeleton), Dandelion for regulation (Liver), Valerian for respiration (Lungs) and Horsetail for boundaries (Hair, Epidermis). So depending on what the land needs for coming into balance, there’s a preparation to energetically enhance that aspect.
The preparations when used in the compost pile are left in their earthy state. When preparing them for a spray, they are added to fresh water from rain, river, melted snow and then stirred. Vortexing, stirring in one direction until a vortex is created and then changing direction again until a vortex forms creating chaos, is a fun and an important part of energizing the prep for application… foliar, drenching or spraying on the field/garden space.
For the scientifically minded person, there are lots of resources for becoming acquainted with the elemental aspects of each prep. But for more intuitive folks, like myself, the energetic pathways of the preps give a fascinating insight into how the cosmic and earthly Natures mix and mingle changing in unseen ways and bringing life to the land.
If you are interested in learning more about Biodynamics, I recommend some of my favorite resources: Hugh Lovel’s Quantum Agriculture:Biodynamics and Beyond (along with his YouTube channel), the Biodynamic Association website, the Josephine Porter Institute website and Steiners Agriculture course in both audio and written book form.
Biodynamics is more than about farming and gardening…it’s a lifestyle. It’s about looking at life in a very different way. It not only changes the life of the land, it will also change you, your health and your view of life. Enjoy!