In this section of the book we are going to look at how the different layers of the Biodynamic Vortex work individually. Generally it can be said that whatever patterns we find in the early layers, these will be extended into the following ones. Below is a picture of Biodynamic Vortex. Keep this pattern in mind as you work through these next few chapters. The dialogue starts at the bottom of this diagram and works upwards.
LEVEL ONE - Individual spirit or the Earth
The first level is the point in between the macrocosmic and the microscopic universes. ( See 'Oneness' on the Double Spiral) It represents both the spiritual unmanifest state of oneness and the Earth as a being in its own right. Life only begins to manifest when the polarity level is reached. This can be experienced as a state of consciousness and can be seen as the individuals inner contact with the infinite. This is the spirit spark which holds the ultimate impulse to come into creation. As we hold our consciousness with this part of our selves we again feel our contact with the outer collective spirit outlined by level 6 the Zodiac.
LEVEL TWO - Duality - Calcium & Silica - 2 fold
In her adventures through Wonderland, Alice experienced the large and the small. In Bio-Dynamics, the understanding of opposites is also a major cornerstone of the philosophy. Balancing the opposites is necessary to create harmony. These opposites are referred to in many esoteric systems as "female" and "male"- Yin and Yang in the Taoist tradition. The female aspect represents the receptive nurturing, fertility principle, while the male is assertive and more outwardly active leading to the nutrition forming processes. Philosophically, these are seen as the moon force and the sun force . Rudolf Steiner (RS) points out these primary streams of force are mediated in living beings by the substances which focus their activity on earth. The female stream of the Earth is mediated by the Limestone of our planet. While the male cosmic stream is mediated by the Silica in the Earth.
These substances act as the carriers and anchors of these 'Macro' streams. It is along these major currents which all else flows. All of the influences identified in the other layers of the BD vortex use these two streams as their pathways. It is almost best to picture them as two separate trains running on over the same countryside but on different networks. Later on we will see how the other layers work in with these. Early in 'Agriculture' RS outlines how the planetary formative forces from the outer planets, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars impact the Earth through the Silica elements, while the inner planetary forces, Venus, Mercury and Moon are carried by the Calcium substances radiations.
In the first two lectures of Agriculture Rudolf Steiner outlines the complex manner in which these two primary forces function to create plant and animal life.
The plant has two planes evident in its growth. The first is the upright stem nature with its linear veins running up the length of the stem, the vertical. This we see strongly expressed in the monocotyledon plant families. The second is the horizontal plane made through netted leaf formations found in the Dicotyledons.
These same influences show up in plants tendency towards tap roots or netted root systems
These two basic force processes dominate plants, and also show up in the dual tendency to reproduce or to focus on the ability to provide nutrition for higher life forms. The forces which provide the power of reproduction and growth are carried by the Calcium stream and the "inner" planets, while the Silica and "outer" planets mediate forces which produce plants with a high nutritive value. "Silicon opens up the being of the plant to the expanses of the Universe, it awakens the plants senses. " (Agriculture)
We saw earlier in "Astrological Science" how the cosmic creative process eventually manifests a vertical and horizontal plane. Plants follow the same formative structures. While these can be seen in clear individual examples they also cross over. The grasses which have vertical veining right through their leaves also have a high silica content in them, pushing the Silica forces into an area which in other plants is dominated by Calcium forces. You could say the silica stem process dominate in these plants.
In lect. 1 & 2 of Agriculture we are told that for a plant to grow, the Silica stream carrying the forces from Saturn Jupiter and Mars, is first attracted to the soil through the Silica (sand) in the earth. These are the forces carrying heredity and the will for the furtherance of the species. The mid winter process anchors these silica forces to the earth through a process RS calls 'crystallisation'. After mid winter especially, these forces begin to move upward from the soil. They combine with the seed to initiate the plant on its journey of growth. The clay in the soil acts as a kind of mediator and allows this force to move upwards. If the silica content of a soil is too great this force will remain in the soil encouraging the tap root of the plants. The clay enables this force to move upwards forming strong stem growth and on towards the ultimate reseeding of the plant.
The calcium stream is drawn
from above and achoured to the soil through the lime and humus
in the soil.
At germination the calcium stream combines with this vertical silica push to create the physical quality of the cell division and tissue formation and shows also in the rhythmical spiralling development of leaf formation. This process is aided by the amount of humus in the soil which leads to the mass formation and size of the leaves and the abundance of flowers. This highlights the roll of compost in the Biodynamic venture. Without compost the inner planetary forces of reproduction and mass formation can not be drawn close enough to the Earth to give the Silica stream enough substance to reach its ultimate goal of seed formation.
Ca. & Si ( lecture 2)
The biennial plant gives us a picture of this process. In the first year the tap root is formed. The upward thrust is contained in the root. The Calcium leaf formation continues to spiral, with generally little leaf differentiation or stem development. The silica force is not yet moving upwards, but is being contained in the soil while the rosette is formed. In the second year, the silica force begins its move to seed. It bolts upwards and with it the leaves are drawn up along the stem into space. Greater leaf differentiation is evident. As it moves into space and in contact with the light and warmth, pushing into the World Astral sphere, the leaves become smaller and flowering occurs. Fruit set follows and the plants dies as it contracts all its forces into the new seed.
When the calcium stream and humus are not available the seeding process will begin too early, leading to premature ripening. Plants can become spindly and creeper like. Observe the plants growing in deserts or sand dunes. Similarly when Silica is lacking, plant roots become more ramified, stems become thicker with flowering and fruit set being minimal. Observe the growth on swamp land or lush dairy pastures.
This is an unusual concept at first, however on further investigation it does prove to be a most fundamental one. It is the task of the Biodynamic practitioner to balance the interrelationship between Calcium and Silica throughout the year to produce our desired results.
The Great Biodynamic Contradiction
There is some disagreement in Biodynamic circles about the interpretation of Steiners agricultural lectures. This due to RS appearing to contradict himself in what he says about Ca and Si in the second lecture and what is said in Lecture 6. He outlines two different directions for the Calcium and Silica streams. The answer may lie in the awareness that in lectures 1 through 3 he is describing cosmic formative or force processes of nature, while in Lecture 6 he is dealing more specifically with physical problems such as fungal attack.
When the Ca and Si processes are seen as circular processes with both and incoming and outward moving phase of their activity this contradiction disappears. See "How does the plant grow" for a further investigation of this question.
Preparations 500 and 501
With the Calcium and Silica forces being primary activities in nature and essentially the basis of any balance, Dr Steiner outlines two preparations that help to moderate any imbalances in their formative activity in life forms.
Preparations:.... " One to make you Larger... and One to make you small..." so the caterpillar says to Alice.
These specially mixed preparations, in combination with any physical adjustments, such as tree planting , composting, and crop rotations, help to establish the inherent harmony of any environment. The balance of the growth processes, characterised by Sun and the Moon, is achieved through the use of a preparation of cow manure (female, Moon) "500" and a preparation of Quartz crystal (male, Sun) "501".
Preparation 500 (Horn Manure)
This preparation is made by
placing fresh cow manure inside the horn of a cow. This is done
in early Autumn. The horn is then buried underground into the
living soil and dug out in spring before the soil begins to dry
out. Place the horn so that water does not collect in the horn
while in the ground. Place the horns in good soil not in the subsoil.
Make sure there is not too much organic matter in or around this
pit as worms will be attracted and they LOVE this mixture. Place
some manure on the top of the soil covering the horns to attract
any worms into that rather than into the horns lower down.
Physically, the cow manure preparation activates the soil micro flora. These silent chemists liberate minerals from the soil to enhance root and general plant growth. Spiritually, the etheric or life giving forces of the Earth and plants are enhanced, thus allowing them to grow more lushly. This leaves the impression of a stronger vigour about the entire landscape. Used to excess however, symptoms of over fertilisation develop in plants. Leaves become watery, and begin to droop under the weight of their own mass. As 500 processes use humus as their 'plate' of activity, excess use can deplete the soil of organic matter through over activating the soil biological processes. It is therefore important to replenish organic matter at the same time as using 500. The more organic matter and humus in the soil the better 500 works.
An excess however, would seem a physically impossible feat, as a two inch diameter sphere of this preparation - physically just cow manure - is applied to 1 acre of land. Symptoms of excess however, can be observed in some cases after three or four applications.
Preparation 501 (Horn Silica)
This preparation is made in essentially the same manner, however it is made from ground up quartz crystals. The crystal is ground to a talcum powder consistency before use. Slightly moisten the powder before putting it in the horn and then bury as before. This time however, the horns are placed into the ground in spring and left in the soil until mid autumn.
The quartz preparation is applied to the leaf and flowers of the plant and intensifies the quality of light within the general environment. This strengthens the structure of the plant and enhances the nutritive value. Flowering and fruiting are enhanced as well a general decline in the susceptibility of plants to fungal attack. One of the few known uses the plant has for silica , is to strengthen the cell wall. This may account for a portion of fungal prevention, however the infusion of an environment with a fine spray of quartz crystals intensifies the plant's use of available light thus effectively changing the whole growing environment. The damp wet conditions a fungus likes so much no longer exists.
One gram of pulverised quartz preparation is used to cover an acre of land with a fine spray. General effects to be noticed are that plants stand more upright and are able to respond to dry/ wet changes more readily. Flowers are of a deep colour and scent and the fruit will ripen more sweetly and earlier. There is greater resistance to fungal problems. Excessive use can be noticed after two successive applications, in close time proximity, causing sunburn of crops and desert like conditions. Fruit size can also be reduced. It is best to spray this preparation generally before 11am in the morning. More recently afternoon spraying has been suggested if the contractive aspects of 501 wish to be enhanced.
This preparation should only be used after the Horn Manure preparation has been applied at least twice.
These two preparations are used in conjunction with each other. Used individually they can create disorder but together they go along way to recreating an environment resembling an experience of the wild forest in your own backyard.
Once the preparations have been in the soil there is another step suggested by Rudolf Steiner. The prescribed amount of preparation ( 25gms ) is placed in a bucket with 3 gallons of hand warm water ( Rain water if possible ). This mixture is then to be stirred in alternating directions, creating a deep vortex in each direction before changing to go the opposite way. This stirring is carried out for one hour. The "horn manure" is then applied to the soil in large drops while the "horn silica "is applied to the leaves of the plant in a fine spray.
This stirring process activates and releases the forces contained in the basic preparations. This process essentially homeopathically potentises the preparations to the first potency.
The amount of substance or bacteria present in this process can not account for the effects produced. It is the forces contained within the 500 and 501 which are released into the water and then applied to the soil and plants. The preparation making process concentrates the 'spiritual ' forces already present in the primary substance and present in the environment during the 'composting' period. So during stirring and spreading it is not the matter, but the forces behind the matter which works for the Biodynamic grower. Science is now telling us everything is energy. Biodynamic growers work with and focus the abundance of unseen energy in life to create environments suitable for plant growth. The basis of health is balance and activity. These two preparations provide the primary basis of both of these.
The Garuda Institute have developed and activated these preparations further homeopathically. Etherics 1000 and 501 Compound, do not need further stirring in the way outlined above. They are diluted and a simple mixing stir is enough. They have the added advantage of maintaining their activity for a number of years in storage. The original preparations have special storage requirements and need to be spread immediately after stirring.
Commercial results since 1989 suggest these Garuda compounds act more vigorously than the original preparations. see (Case Studies)
Wherever there is duality identified in nature it is related to level 2 of the spiral. Similarly when using these preparations other manifestations of either pole can be used to enhance the overall effect of the preparation.
501 500 Male Female Summer Winter Morning Afternoon Heat Cold Light Dark Dry Moist Expansion Contraction Silica Calcium Clay Humus Sun Moon Waxing Moon Waning Moon Ascending Moon Descending Moon