Plant Predators come in many forms. There are the various insect predators as well as many fungi, bacteria and virus's. For all of these Biodynamics accepts the same basic axiom as the basis for their existence. Whenever they cause a problem they are always a manifestation of an imbalance in the relationship of the four bodies to each other. The causes of which are manifold and the solutions as varied as the problems we find. Undoubtedly though it will be some form of stress factor which causes the imbalance.
One imagination I use to visualise the existence of an insect attack is to imagine a finely woven cloth of four different colours. When everything is harmonic no light shines through the cloth. As stress factors mount the basic colours begin to separate into their individual groups. It is as if oil and water are separating from one another. As the separation continues large holes appear in the fabric (of space) and it is to these vacuums in space, that the insect or fungi is actively sucked. The solution is not to kill the insect and leave the vacuum open, for another insect to be sucked into, but to close up the hole. This means to alleviate the physical cause of the stress as much as possible and then to use the Biodynamic preparations to further enhance the spiritual body recombination.
The biodynamic preparations have shown that they can be used by themselves as a solution. However their effect will only last for a period of a few weeks before the underlying physical imbalance reasserts itself once again. So solving the physical problems as much as possible is the long term answer.
Due to the symbiotic relationship of living organisms of the Earth and their environment, it is possible to look to the organism for indications as to what the spiritual imbalance might be. This is where much of the information provided in the Biodynamic literature is very valuable. Firstly by exploring the nature of the problem we find the common elements between the problem and its environment. With regard to insects and the animal kingdom in general, the work of Eugen Kolisko, which has been presented in the 12 fold chapter of Biodynamics Decoded becomes useful. He has outlined the predominate activities present in the various species of the animal kingdom from which some determinations can be made.
Climate and the soils state is naturally a prime consideration, as these show us the ways the four physical elements of Warmth, Light, Water and Earth are working. During the growing season it is the alteration of these elements which generally cause the primary state of stress. Better drainage, more humus in the soil, mulching and even just watering plants is often all that is needed to bring back the balance.
Insects were one of the earliest group of species to evolve in a different direction to most other animals on the Earth. It is therefore reasonable to see insects in quite a different light to problems caused by the higher animals.
While adult insects generally still maintain a threefold division of their bodies, into head, abdomen and thorax, they do have a significant difference from other animals in that they literally have air flowing through them. Just as we have our circulatory system for our blood which moves through ever branching veins to our extremities. So insects have holes down the side of their bodies which allows air to flow into a similar vein structure through their bodies. To such a degree that insects can be considered 'air beings'. It is as if they are manifest Sylphs. Wherever we see insects, we see the activity of the air body, the Astrality. RS comments on this in the sixth lecture of the Agriculture course where he mentions birds also being intimately entwined with the Astrality. Birds also generally have hollow bones filled with air.
Insects are also quite rare in their ability to form specific relationships with plants. Often a particular insect will have some unique adaptation which will make it the only insect that can pollinate a particular plant or even only eat a particular plant. Often flowers and their insect pollinators will have a similar shape so as to be indistinguishable until they fly away.
So it is within the bounds of possibility to accept the insects at least as a symbiotic partner to the plant kingdom. In fact plants evolvement has been intimately linked to the life of the insects .
If we look at the spiritual make up of the Kingdoms of Nature, presented earlier, we can see that the plant kingdom has an internalised Etheric body, while the animal kingdom, which includes the insects are different to the plants in that they have internalised the astrality. Koliskos work has shown that the degree by which an animal has developed true organs is an image of the degree it has incarnated the astrality. Insect organ development is still relatively fundamental however they are definitely on the road. From this, we can make the general statement, that plants are beings of the water in the same way that insects are beings of the air. In the relationship between plants and insects we see the relationship between the Etheric body and the Astrality.
Remembering that plants have an internalised Etheric body they therefore live within the ‘body' of the World Astrality and World Spirit forces. This means that generally the Astrality lives outside the plants, and so the rightful place of the insects is to hover above the plant, drawing their sustenance from the air and that which lives in the air.
So now imagine that when a plant grows through the spring it is a Physical and Etheric organism, carried on the minerals and water from the soil. It does this all the time pushing back the World Astrality as it grows. Once the summer begins and the water begins to diminish from the environment and the plant, we see the Etheric body beginning to withdraw into the Earth again. From earlier chapters you should by now appreciate that the Etheric and the Astrality are like marriage partners. That while they are of opposite quality, they form a creative polarity which allows both a creative tension from which to become active and ‘alive'. In life wherever the Etheric body goes so the Astrality follows. It can be considered that they are inseparable in life. So as the Etheric withdraws during a dry period so in comes the Astrality into the physical body of the plant. Instead of having a physical /etheric matrix of substance, we now have a physical / astral substance. It is this astralised substance which the insects can now move in on and consume.
This suggests that the easy answer to pest control is through the revitalisation of the Etheric activity. The etheric activity returns and the astrality is expelled and the insects have to leave. In the beginning of my studies I worked on this premise and for a small number of insects this solution works. For many insects and plants though, it does not, as there are many things which cause the Etheric to flow or not, in the various plants and many different pests which can attack a plant at various stages of their growth. This brings us back to the need to find the specific nature of both the plant and the insect and for these prime conditions to be reinstated.
One example is my ‘Pest protection' pest control. It works well on slugs snails and some grubs. By looking into Koliskos work and others we can appreciate that the four stages of the insect, egg, grub, pupa and adult correspond to the Earth , Water, Air and Fire elemental stages. Hence the grub , of which the snail could be considered, is indeed a very etheric being, and hence a stimulation of that energy will counteract that of the being of that energy. However over the years I have noted that it will only repel those insects on particular species of plants and not on others. One cool spring my basil plants were being eaten by slugs while my lettuce and brassica plants where not. Both had been sprayed similarly. I realised that basil likes warmth and does better in the later summer and so I sprayed it with a warmth spray, upon which it began to grow normally and the slugs no longer attacked it. With the warmth the etheric could once again begin to flow and hence the balance was restored. It is not simply a case of restimulating the etheric, it is more about re-establishing the conditions which will allow the etheric to flow naturally. Both the nature of the pant and the nature of the insect need to be investigated and considered before a successful biodynamic solution using just the Biodynamic preparations can be used.
Mammals such as rodents, possums, rabbits and even deer, can be seen is a similar way however slightly different forces are active. Again I refer you to Dr Kolisko's work on animals to gain a picture of what your particular pest is energetically and therefore what it is doing in your environment.
The OregonBD groups website also has a useful article on this http://www.oregonbd.org/animal_form.htm
Being mammals, these animals have fully developed organ systems and are relatively close cousins to Humans. Therefore we must look more to the working of the Ego or World spirit in their activity rather than just the Etheric / Astral balance. The Ego Astral balance may also need to be considered.
If these pests are inside the house, and this goes for ants and cockroaches as well, we must look to the inhabitants of the house for the cause of the infestation. You will find the infestation most directly effects the person with the imbalance. Eg rats in the ceiling above a persons office or bedroom. In these cases while the spray can be applied around and inside the house it can also be given to good effect to the person who has the corresponding imbalance.
Dr Steiner gave very clear indications regarding fungal attacks. He suggested that fungal attack was an overly active etheric activity, which sees an activity that is at home in the soil, being drawn up into the plant sphere, due to a satisfactory environment existing in that region. He suggested we needed to draw the etheric back into the Earth and plant and that this could be achieved using 505 (Oak Bark). We can also push the etheric back into the Earth with Silica in the form of Equisetum or horsetail.
In most cases this is so, however I would suggest that Powdery Mildew, which is a renowned dry hot fungus may not easily fit into this description.
Part of the solution is to also change the physical circumstances as much as possible, which allow for a rampant etheric to exist in the first place. This can be caused by over fertilisation , especially with nitrogen. It can be caused by low light and low air movement or a wet season.
Bacteria and Virus
If Fungi are an imbalanced Etheric, then bacteria could be an imbalance with the astrality while Virus are an imbalance with the World spirit activity. It might be more appropriate to talk of these as too active or uncontrolled light and warmth ethers, within the etheric sphere of the plant.
This is a method where the ash of a seed, insect or skin of a mammal is burnt and then spread about the area to be protected. I use it with success for my commercial clients. Its main drawback is that it does not ‘close the hole' that the pest came into, and so another like species will come and fill the hole till it is closed.