In addition to looking at the world from a truly holistic perspective, Steiner’s gift to Biodynamic® agriculture was the indications given regarding the making and use of what are known as Biodynamic® ‘preparations’ (BD preps). The preparations are used for soil and plant enhancement or to assist in the composting process, as with the compost preparations mentioned by Ehrenfried Pfieffer. In chapters 4-6 of the Agriculture Course, Steiner lays out the particulars of each of the nine BD preps. The numbering system of 500-509 to describe each prep came about after the course through what was called the ‘ag experimental circle.’ This circle was made up of a number of individuals, most of whom were are able to attend Steiner’s agricultural course given at Koberwitz (in modern day Poland). The BD preps are composed of various herbs and in some cases animal sheaths. The preps are made at specific but different times of the year, relating to the seasons and desired forces. The amazing and beautiful thing about the BD preps is that man does not ‘make’ the preps; only God can do this. Man can only put the various ingredients together as Steiner indicated. It is God with the Divine Cosmos that truly ‘makes’ the Biodynamic® preparations.
Below is a list of the Biodynamic® preparations and a short explanation of their composition:
500 – The ‘horn manure’ preparation is made with fresh cow manure placed in a cow horn and buried in the Earth over the winter months.
501 – ‘Horn silica’ preparation is made by placing finely ground quartz into a cow horn and burying it in the Earth over the summer months.
502 – Made from yarrow blossoms placed in a stag’s bladder, which is exposed to the sun over summer and buried in the winter.
503 – Made from chamomile flowers placed in a cow intestine buried in the Earth over wintertime.
504 – Made from stinging nettle plant that has been placed in the Earth for an entire year (fall to fall).
505 – Made by placing pieces of oak bark into the cavity of a cow or sheep skull and buried in the Earth over the winter time in a moist area.
506 – Made from dandelion flowers that have been rolled into the mesentery of a cow and placed in the Earth over the winter.
507 – Made from valerian flowers, which have been juiced and fermented.
508 – An auxiliary preparation, not used in compost piles, but made into a spray from dried horsetail (Equisetum arvense) that has been boiled in water as a tea.
Some view the BD preps as weird or nonsensical. However, all of the ingredients for the preps are borne out of nature. None are man-made. For those familiar with herbal remedies and pre-modern medical traditions, one can clearly see, for example, the relationship of BD #503, (the combining of chamomile and intestine) with the issue of proper digestion – in this case, the digestion and conversion of raw organic materials into to humus-filled compost. Steiner goes into some detail as to why he indicated the combining of various herbs with different sheaths and why these combinations where made at certain times of the year.
The various BD preps go into the ground or undergo other processing or handling as substances, but come out of the ground or process as ‘enlivened’ substances containing cosmic etheric formative forces that man can neither create in a laboratory nor protect by a patent. In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, that which is ‘good, true and beautiful, is of God.’ That which is given by God, is given freely to man. So too were the recipes for the Biodynamic® preparations given freely, to be owned by no one.
Standard Biodynamic® practice calls for the BD #500 to be used on the soil, the BD #501 be used on the plants, the BD #502-507 to be used in the compost pile, and BD #508 to be used fresh or fermented on the plant or soil. Here at Marian Farms, we follow these standard protocols, and we do much more. We use the individual compost preps on either the soil or plant at different times of the year and we use the BD #508 in both of its forms (fresh and fermented) on both soil and plants in an effort to produce a desired result. What does that mean, desired result? It
means working with nature. Working within the parameters that nature provides. Working to mitigate and neutralize certain plant or soil behavior as a result of weather conditions. It means
‘fine tuning’ the symphony, embracing the farm and all its members (soil, plant, animals) in effort to bring forth food that contains the life forces that people so greatly needs to partake in their vocations and to realize their missions in life