(Editor's Note: L.A. Rotheraine is the master gardener for one of the only state and federally funded Biodynamic gardens for the handicapped in the U.S. Rotheraine reports that he found it interesting that it was the media coverage of the 12-foot tall "Selke Biodynamic" Cherry Tomato plant reported in Issue 191 which gave Biodynamics credibility with the government. More interesting to him is that the original seed stock came from a tomato plant found in his Biodynamic Compost heap.)
By L.A. Rotheraine
"Why do I say that the agricultural individuality is standing on its head? For the following reason. Take everything there is in the immediate neighborhood of the Earth by way of air and water-vapors and even warmth. Consider, once more, all that element in the neighborhood of the Earth in which we ourselves are living and breathing and from which plants, along with us, receive their outer warmth and air, and even water. All this actually corresponds to that which would represent, in man, the abdominal organs. On the other hand, that which takes place in the interior of the Earth -beneath the Earth's surface - works upon plant-growth in the same way in which our head works upon the rest of our organism, notably in childhood, but also throughout our life. There is a constant and living mutual interplay of the above-the-Earth and the below-the- Earth."
- Rudolf Steiner, Koberwitz, June 10, 1924
My previous articles in Biodynamics No. 181 and No. 185 tried to show how Biodynamics is the continuation, the metamorphosed Hibernian Mysteries in the 20th century. What follows is a brief summary and enhancement leading into Part III.
It was intimated that human thought is a microcosm of earthly weather. The thought processes impregnate the brain with pictures from the spirit, much like nature's seasonal changes give us different pictures at different times of the year. Everything on earth is a thought form even a car or TV are substances sculpted and designed by human thought.Dr. Steiner said at Count Keyserlingk's estate on June 16, 1924:
"What is this brainy mass? It is simply an intestinal mass, carried to the very end. The premature brain deposit passes out through the intestines. As to its processes, the content of the intestines is decidedly akin to the brain content. To speak grotesquely, I would say: That which spreads out through the brain is a highly advanced heap of manure! Grotesque as it may be, objectively speaking, this is the truth. It is none other than the dung, which is transmuted - through its particular organic process - into the noble matter of the brain, there to become the basis for Ego- development."
The brain is a mass of earthly substance for the reception of cosmic forces - thoughts from our soul and spirit and thoughts from the macrocosmic Spirit-Beings, both above and below the human race.The brain, in many ways, is a compost pile. The compost pile is composed of earthly substances and is transformed by spirit-forces that manifest as weather and microorganisms. The brain is transformed by our thoughts. It is a recorder of thoughts (internal weather) for our individual spiritual forces.All material substance, be they composed of solids, liquids, gasses or heat "energies" are thought turned into form by Beings above the human race that the Bible refers to as angels and ancient cultures throughout the world called gods. Ancient humanity had an instinctive knowledge of the life giving "energies" that emanated from these angelic hierarchies. The most important aspect to understanding ancient cultures (particularly their agricultural science and architectural art) is that they knew that the "energies" that formed the earth, that created the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms are these angelic-godly hierarchies. It is the angels that are behind nature, indeed, are Nature. The Biodynamic science now puts mankind behind nature, makes us consciously working creators with the angels as a select few of us were in ancient Ireland.
Dr. Rudolf Steiner
Thus in studying Biodynamic agriculture, when we refer to plant forms as archetypes or plant images as ideas, we are referring to life forms produced by divine, angelic Beings that create Cosmic Ideas. These spirit beings create and mold earthly substance give it life.
The Hibernian initiation with its representative statues of Cosmic Beings taught the primeval Irish the "Great Mysteries" of creation a living science and a living art. These "people of the megaliths", as they were called, utilized the aforementioned knowledge, as did all ancient cultures to a greater or lesser degree, to create healthy plants, seedstock and animals. From the Hibernian Mysteries came the wisdom that all earthly seeds, be they plant or animal, are but carriers of stellar force. It was to enhance the earth, through the stellar forces of the cosmos, that our ancient cultures built their architectural wonders, which in themselves were monuments, sanctuaries and earthly demarcation points for these Cosmic Intelligences, that are the stars in heaven and the nature kingdoms on earth.I concluded Part II with a comparison of the Irish initiation process that taught the Irishmen the skills to work with the angels in creating plant and animal life on the planet. These were termed by Rudolf Steiner the winter and summer experiences. I likened the summer experience of the Irishman with the centering of forces inside horn manure 500 - both processes dealing with earth's future - in many ways creating it. The Irish student centered his soul and spirit in his heart to first experience his life immediately after death; this eventually led to his experiencing the Cosmic Future of the earth. In horn manure 500 the manure is transformed as astral and etheric "plant forms as archetypes enter the horn". I stated: Thus we create a thought organ in 500 to capture the secrets of the earth in winter as a microcosmic summer experience takes place in the horn; this, to enhance the earthly, female principle in the soil. The human being then places this living future into the dead thoughts (soil) that we are going to plant into, in the spring. We give the future to the past life to what is dead by using 500 (or the Biodynamic Compost Starter). The transformed substance from the grave of the horn resurrects life through the human being.
I see the manure in the cow horn functioning as a brain and the horn as a cranium. The horn is buried in the winter when the forces of the earth are strongest, to digest the spirit forces of the earth, that they might impregnate the manure (brain) vis-a-vis the cow horn's inward radiating effect. We are using form and substance to capture force when we use the cow horns.Dr. Steiner makes this quite clear on June 10, 1924, at the Keyserlingk estate:
"The seed must be driven to the state of chaos. On the other hand, when the first beginnings of the plant are unfolding out of the seed, and at the later stages also - over against the cosmic form which is living as the plant-form in the seed we need to bring the earthly element into the plant. We must bring the plant nearer to the Earth in its growth. And this we can only do by bringing into the life of the plant such life as is already present on the Earth."
A very young substance is placed in the 500 horn - fresh cow manure. Most of its forces have been digested by the cow except the potential ego forces. Dr. Steiner did not say much about its creation in the horn at Count Keyserlingk's in 1924, but I feel he gives us a glimpse of the process transpiring in the horn from the Hibernian perspective seven months earlier. On December 1, 1923, in the lecture cycle that later became "Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centers", Dr. Steiner says:
"Silica came from the Cosmos into the Earth with a consistency similar to that of wax, and then it hardened. I described yesterday how pictures of the Cosmos arise in clairvoyant contemplation of this hard, rocklike substance. These pictures represent a more spiritual aspect of the
phenomenon that was once concretely perceptible as a kind of plant-form in the portions of this transparent, waxlike silica emerging from the Cosmos. Any observer of Nature will know that in the mineral kingdom today records of an earlier age are still to be found. When you look closely at certain stones you will see something like a plant-form within them. But in that distant past a quite unusual phenomenon was that pictures were projected from the Cosmos into the albuminous atmosphere within the waxlike substance, where the pictures were not only seen but were reproduced, photographed, as it were, within this substance.
And then there was a noteworthy development: the fluid albumen filled these pictures and they became still denser and harder; and finally they were no longer merely pictures. The silicious element fell away from them, dispersed into the atmosphere, and in the earliest Lemurian age there appeared gigantic,floating plant-formations which remind one of the algae of today. They were not rooted in the soil - indeed there was as yet no soil in which they could have taken root; they floated in the fluid albumen, drawing their own substance from it, permeating themselves with it. And not only so - they lit up, glimmered and then faded out; reappeared and again vanished. Their mutability was so great that this was possible.
Try to picture this vividly. It is a panorama very different from anything to be seen in our environment today. If a modern man could project himself into that far-off time, set up a little observation-hut and look out on that ancient world, the spectacle before him would be something like this: he would see a gigantic plant-formation somewhat like present-day algae or palms. It would not appear to grow out of the Earth in springtime and die away in the autumn, but would shoot up - in springtime, it is true, but the spring was then much shorter - and reach an enormous size; then it would vanish again in the fluid albuminous element. A clairvoyant observer would see the verdure appearing and then fading away. He would not speak of plants which cover the Earth but of plants appearing out of the Cosmos like airy clouds, condensing and then dissolving - it was a process of "greening", taking place in the album inous atmosphere. Of the period which would correspond more or less to our summer, an observer would say that it was the time when the environment of the Earth became "green". But he would look upwards to the greening rather than downwards. In this way we can picture how the silicious element in the Earth's atmosphere penetrates into the Earth and draws to itself the plant-force from the Cosmos, in other words, how the plant kingdom comes down to the Earth from the Cosmos. In the period of which lam speaking, however, we must say of the plant world: it is something that comes into being and passes away again in the atmosphere."
But to stop "plant images as ideas" from passing away again, we place the fresh manure into a cow horn, to intensify the recording of these living pictures and stop their escape. Of course, the pictures we implant in the manure are quite different today, but the process is the same living pictures captured by man and given to the soil in the spring.I likened the winter experience of the Irish initiate to the expansion of forces inside horn silica 501 when it is buried in the summer - much like the expansion of the soul and spirit of the Irish initiate when he experienced pre-birth and Cosmic Past of the earth. I stated: We create a cosmic feeling organ in 501 to capture the formative forces in the heavens in summer, as a microcosmic winter experience transpires in the horn; this is to enhance the plant and the male principle (seed) in the plant. The human being then places these living perceptual and absorptive qualities in the plant so that the plant can reach out and receive its particular qualities and form from the living beings that are light, warmth and air. The transformed substance of 501 horn creates a levity in the plant that helps it become its particular heavenly star on earth.
What is silica? Why did Dr. Steiner choose the oldest substance on the planet to place in the cow horn and bury in the summer? He doesn't say in Agriculture but I see a possible answer to the question contained in the ancient Hibernian Mysteries. We know an expansion took place in the soul of the Irish student when he experienced the 501- winter experience. As Dr. Steiner states:
"He actually travelled into the outer limits of the cosmic ether... to the very boundaries of space... he recapitulated the condition of inner numbness deliberately, with the result that he felt his own organism as a kind of mineral, as something quite foreign to him, and his soul as though it were merely hovering over and surrounding this mineral structure. Then, in the resulting state of consciousness, he had a clear vision of the Old Moon experience... Old Sun... Saturn...
"... in these Hibernian Mysteries the pupil was actually led into the past of the Earth's planetary existence. He came to know the Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon existence as the successive metamorphoses of the Earth,"
- Rudolf Steiner, "Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centers", 23 November to 23 December 1923.
And a few days earlier on November 30, 1923, in the same lecture cycle I feel Dr. Steiner answers the silica question:
"I will begin today describing how this connection between man and Earth-existence appears to supersensible vision. Let us suppose that someone with Imaginative Consciousness were to take a journey through the primeval Alps where the rocks consist of quartz, of silicious minerals and similar formations. These primeval mountains are composed of the hardest rocks on Earth, but as well as being the hardest, these rocks, when they appear in their original form, have an inherent purity about them, a quality untouched by the commonplace things of Earth. We can well understand it, when in a beautiful essay which has already been read here, Goethe speaks of his experiences among these primeval mountains, of the solitude he felt as he sat there, and the impressions made upon him by these granite rocks, towering up from the Earth. Goethe speaks of granite, composed as it is of silica, mica and feldspar, as the "enduring son of Earth".
"When with ordinary consciousness a man approaches these primeval mountains he can of course admire them from outside; he is deeply impressed by their forms, by their wonderful moulding, primitive as it is, but extraordinarily eloquent. But if he approaches this hardest rock of the Earth with Imaginative Consciousness he penetrates beneath the surface of mineral nature and is then able with his thinking to grow together, as it were, with the rock. The soul reaches into the depths of the rock, and in spirit, man enters into a holy palace of the Gods. The interior is revealed to Imaginative vision as transparent, and the outer surface as the walls of this palace of the Gods. At the same time the knowledge comes that within this rock there is a reflection of the Cosmos outside the Earth. The world of stars is mirrored once again before the soul. Finally we get the impression that all quartz rocks are like eyes through which the Earth can see into the Cosmos. We are reminded of the many-faceted eyes of insects which divide into numbers of parts whatever comes toward them from the outside. We should and indeed must, picture innumerable quartz and similar formations on the surface of the Earth as being eyes enabling the Earth inwardly to reflect and indeed inwardly perceive the cosmic environment. And gradually the knowledge dawns in us that every crystal formation present in the Earth is as sense- organ for perceiving the Cosmos."
- Rudolf Steiner, "Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centers"
And thus, the following year, on June 7, 1924 at Count Keyserlingk's estate in Koberwitz, Dr. Steiner can say from a truly Hibernian perspective:
"Now we can go still farther. Everything that lives in the silicious nature~contains forces which come not from the Earth but from the so-called distant planets, the planets beyond the Sun - Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. That which proceeds from these distant planets influences the life of plants via the silicious and kindred substances into the plant and also into the animal life on Earth. On the other hand,from all that is represented by the planets near the Earth - Moon, Mercury and Venus -forces work via the limestone and kindred substances. Thus we may say,for every tilled field: Therein are working the silicious and the limestone natures; in the former, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars; and in the latter, Moon, Venus and Mercury.
"On the other hand, when plants become foodstuffs to a large extent - when they evolve in such a way that the substances in them become foodstuffs for man and animal, then Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, working via the silicious nature, are concerned in the process. The silicious nature opens the plant-being to the wide spaces of the Universe and awakens the sense of the plant-being in such a way as to perceive from all quarters of the Universe the forces which are moulded by these distant planets. Whenever this occurs, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are playing their part. From the sphere of the Moon, Venus and Mercury, on the other hand, is received all that which makes the plant capable of reproduction.
So, in using horn manure 500 or the Biodynamic Compost Starter the gardener or farmer gives the soil of the earth the living Thought it needs to enhance the soil's fertility. In using horn silica 501, the gardener or farmer gives the plants the Feeling they need to harmonize the particular stellar and earthly energies to become an earthly replica of its heavenly archetype. But what of Willing?The gardener or farmer using the Biodynamic Preparations, Biodynamic Compost Starter, Stella*Natura Calendar and Agriculture Course, becomes the metamorphosed Hibernian initiate. He becomes Cosmic Will operating from the belly of the earth.
"Taking our start from a study of the earthly soil, we must indeed observe that the surface of the Earth is a kind of organ in that organism which reveals itself throughout the growth of Nature. The Earth's surface is a real organ, which - of you will - you may compare to the human diaphragm. (Though it is not quite exact, it will suffice us for purposes of illustration.) We gain a right idea of these facts of we say to ourselves: Above the human diaphragm there are certain organs - notably the head and the processes of breathing and circulation which work up into the head. Beneath it there are other organs.
"If from this point of view we now compare the Earth's surface with the human diaphragm, then we must say: In the individuality with which we are here concerned, the head is beneath the surface of the Earth, while we, with all animals, are living in the creature's belly! Whatever is above the Earth, belongs in truth to the intestines of the agricultural individuality, of we may coin the phrase. We in our farm, are going about in the belly of the farm. Indeed we have to do with an individuality standing on its head. We only regard it rightly if we imagine it, compared to man, as standing on its head. With respect to the animal, as we shall presently see, it is a little different.
- Rudolf Steiner, Koberwitz, June 10, 1924
Thousands of years before the Cosmic Word, Logos, The Sun God or in the vernacular of the present, the Son of God Christ, descended to earth, the seeds of the Biodynamic science were given to us in the Hibernian Mysteries.At the time of the Hibernian Mysteries the etheric energy (life energy) of the earth was of a much purer and living state. In fact, the farther back we go in earth evolution, the more alive do we find the earth. This explains the large organic forms that once existed in "prehistoric times" (dinosaurs, etc.). But, by the time of the last "Great Mysteries" (Hibernian Mysteries) the life forces of the earth were on the wane. As the Mysteries declined, so did the life forces of our planet. It would take a consciously working humanity to resurrect the aging earth. The spiritual hierarchies foresaw this consequence and prepared a group of souls to work with them in this joint human / angelic project Biodynamics. Rudolf Steiner became the ambassador between man and the angels for this task. He gave us the Hibernian Mysteries, the Biodynamic Preparations and the Agriculture Course. I feel the Biodynamic Preparations should be called the resurrection preparations.
L.A. Rotheraine is a writer, lecturer and award winning biodynamic gardener in Bradford, PA.