To truly practice the art of Biodynamic® agriculture, one must recognize, understand and engage in the foundational premise of Steiner’s teaching: “Spirit is never without matter and matter is never without Spirit.” Regardless of an individual farmer’s location, environment or cropping plan, the basic principles of Biodynamic® practice require the practitioner change not only his or her thinking, but change the way he or she ‘sees’ the world around. Most people accept that gravity, radioactivity, radio waves and the wind exist, but how do we know these things exist when we cannot see them? We ‘know’ these things exist because we can feel or see the results of wind and gravity; or we have instruments that can ‘measure’ radioactivity or sound waves. Thus we ‘know’ these things exist because we can see the results of the ‘forces’ they bear. The same goes with Biodynamics®. We can see or feel the effects of food that is grown with the proper Biodynamic® method; however, at the present time, there is no scientifically recognized means to measure the ‘forces’ of Biodynamics®. Just as it took time for people to understand the forces behind the wind, gravity and sound, it will take time to understand fully the subtle forces involved in Biodynamics®.
The fundamental difference between the Biodynamic® method and the bulk of the organic and conventional agriculture method is not only the use of the Biodynamic® preparations, use of cosmic rhythms and the creation of a whole farm system, it is that Biodynamic® practitioners work in the realm of ‘forces’ and matter, whereas organic and conventional practitioners work in the world of matter or physical substance only. Conventional agriculture is the culture of death. In this world, the conventional farmer is always trying to kill something: a bug, a fungus, a disease, a weed. Chemical farming relies on substances to alter, change or ‘combat’ the natural world. Organic agriculture can operate within a similar symptomatic mindset in which organic inputs are substituted for synthetic inputs. Instead of using toxic chemicals and fertilizers, the organic grower uses less toxic substances, yet the way of thinking is often similar to that of the conventional operator. Keep in mind, there is a subset of organic growers who actually do try to work with nature holistically by trying to balance forces at work in the every changing living world (unlike their conventional and input substitution driven counterparts).
Biodynamic® farmers, who subscribe to the foundational teachings of Steiner and the concept of the ‘farm organism,’ see the farm as a magnificent symphony, in which the farmer is not there to control, manipulate or overpower nature, but rather to be the conductor of a great symphony within it. The entire cosmos is the concert hall, the Living God is the composer and it is the farmer’s job to harmonize the rhythms of the seasons with the melodies of the circle of life. No small task.
The Biodynamic® practitioner takes the indications given by Steiner at Whitsuntide (Pentecost) in June 1924 and puts them into practice. He works to find synergy between the terrestrial forces of the Earth and the celestial forces of the cosmos. What does that mean? It means one works to balance the calcium forces of the nearby planets (Moon, Venus, Mercury) with the silica forces of the distant planets of (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn), with clay acting as the mediator. Every farm location and environment is different. Every soil type and cropping component is unique. Thus, depending on the nature of the farm’s soil and environment (with weather being a huge factor), the farmer has to determine the best course of action using the Biodynamic® toolbox as laid out by the Agriculture Course and come to learn the finer nuances of the surrounding etheric, or unseen, formative forces that are given by our omnipotent and omnipresent Creator.