Biodynamics is a science of life-forces, a recognition of the basic principles at work in nature, and an approach to agriculture which takes these principles into account to bring about balance and healing. In a very real way, then, Biodynamics is an ongoing path of knowledge rather than an assemblage of methods and techniques. Some basic principles of Biodynamics are:
Broaden our Perspective:
Just as we need to look at the magnetic field of the whole earth to comprehend the compass, to understand plant life we must expand our view to include all that affects plant growth.
Reading the Language of Nature:
Everything in nature reveals something of its essential character in its form and gesture. Careful observation of nature—in shade and full sun, in wet and dry areas, on different soils, will yield a more fluid grasp of the elements. So, eventually one learns to “read” the language of nature. And then one can be creative, bringing new emphasis and balance through specific actions.
The light of the sun, moon, planets and stars reaches the planets in regular rhythm. Each contributes to the life, growth and form of the plant. By understanding the gesture and effect of each rhythm, we can time our ground preparation, sowing, cultivating and harvesting to the advantages of the crops we are raising.
Plant Life and Soil:
Biodynamics recognizes that soil itself can be alive, and this vitality supports and affects the quality and health of the plants that grow in it. Therefore, one of Biodynamics’ fundamental efforts is to build up stable humus in our soil through composting.
We gain our physical strength from the process of breaking down the food we eat. The more vital our food, the more it stimulates our own activity. Thus Biodynamic farmers and gardeners aim for quality, and not only quantity.
Preparations (Medicine) for the Earth:
Naturally occurring plant and animal materials are combined in specific recipes in certain seasons of the year and then placed in compost piles. When the process is complete, the resulting preparations are “medicines” for the Earth which draw new life forces from the cosmos.
The Farm as the Basic Unit of Agriculture:
In his Agriculture course, Rudolf Steiner posed the ideal of the self-contained farm—that there should be just the right number of animals to provide manure for fertility, and these animals should, in turn, be fed from the farm. The farm is also a teacher, and provides the educational opportunity to imitate nature’s wise self-sufficiency within a limited area.
* The above excerpt is from the 2007 “Biodynamic Resource Catalog” and written by Sherry Wildfeuer