Biodynamics: Earth Herbalism, Earth Alchemy

Biodynamics is a holistic agricultural study and practice that was birthed from a gathering in Poland in 1924. It includes a number of treatments derived from natural ingredients and from a certain lens, Biodynamics could be seen as healing the earth with herbs. This may be a way that an herbalist or holistic medicine practitioner could relate to the concept of Biodynamic Agriculture.


Then, add to the physical use of herbal healing on the earth, the idea that the use of these methods, actions, and applications is actually a pronounced statement, wish, or encouragement to elemental beings asking them to do their work here.


Let me begin by saying that I could not honor the work that is being done on the earth by spiritual beings with a single piece of writing.  This is not an ill begotten attempt to do so.  Rather, I want to encourage those who feel moved by even the possibility of the existence of these forces to continue along that path to wisdom!  I am but a walker on that path.


One of my biodynamic agriculture teachers reverently revealed the four elemental beings that are influenced by the individual OR collective will of humankind.  They are known by many names but among those names are the sylphs, undines, gnomes, and salamanders.  Othe names may be Air, Water, Stone, and Fire.  All cultures know them unless they choose to forget.  It was taught to me that these beings have important work to do here but are influenced by us. It’s important to know that this can go either way, these spiritual beings can be influenced positively, or negatively.


It’s been said that negatively influenced elementals could make a room (or a farm) smell terrible or affect children on a playground such that their play is violent.  Positively influenced elementals can bring joy to a place and may have the ability to enliven the soil and strengthen the plants. They can even bring plants what they need, sometimes from miles away.  It may be that our belief and acknowledgment of the elementals allows them to do their work.  It may be that our observation and deep study of them empowers them.  It may be that our mere intent to communicate with, see or understand them opens up pathways for us to see with the mind’s eye of our prior evolutionary periods, their form which is lost to our mind of densified and hardened reductionism.


In addition to those beings who dwell here, invisible to our modern senses there are also cosmic forces from past incarnations that appear to us as other celestial bodies.  From these celestial bodies come forces that can be weakened or strengthened by what we choose to do here and when we choose to do it.  Our ancestors looked up at the sky and saw a bull, fish, lions.  Our rational minds think they traced the stars but these were strong, beautiful and detailed pictures.  Thank goodness we at least have a record to put the pieces together in our own minds.


There is a strong and powerful rhythm to the universe and long ago, we danced to these rhythms of the universe.  As our ego developed within us, we internalized those rhythms and no longer rely on them and our ability to even recognize them has dwindled but this does not make them any less powerful.  There is intense energy pouring forth from all of these forces I describe and now we have a choice.


We can choose to recognize these rhythms and proximities, waxing and waning.  As our senses have been poisoned and infected, we now may rely on the use of data and scientific instruments to help supplement what we’ve lost.  Science will one day catch up to the truth of the spiritual world.  It is not different but EXACTLY THE SAME.


Unlike humans, the plants still use these rhythms as in-breaths and out-breaths both microcosmic and macrocosmic (day/night, seasons, years)  More often than not, our contemporary agriculture goes to inhibit these chronic forces just as with the rest of our non-consensual relationship with the natural world.  Be it developing systems of moving air and water in rigid organization rather than with the flow of everything or simply paving roads that act as walls between network nodes of mycelium not only do we not feel the forces, we are at war with them.


This is where biodynamics comes in.  It is the idea of working with forces that we know and forces that we cannot see but know are here.


A foundational application of biodynamics is in the preparation of compost in an effort to focus in spiritual and cosmic forces for transformation.  I can tell you first-hand that this compost is transformed in a way that is undeniable to a witness.  There are six preparations that are added to a compost pile and in this way, it is like we are treating the earth with herbs.  But these herbs have been prepared, in some ways very much like the way we may ferment a medicine or prepare a tincture or homeopathic remedy.

The Compost Preparations:

502 Yarrow
Works with Sulphur, potassium and fluid flow.  Assists in the uptake of these elements. Yarrow adds an element of intelligence to the soil.

503 Chamomile
Stabilizes nitrogen in compost and enhances soil life. Has a relationship with Zinc.


504 Nettle
Stimulates soil health, Works with Calcium Proteins, Magnesium, Iron and Phosphorus.


505 Oak Bark
Provides healing forces to combat plant diseases.  Uses calcium and carbon to reduce nitrates to amino acids. Limits “undisciplined growth and promotes good form.


506 Dandelion
Stimulates relationship between silica and potassium so that silica can attract cosmic forces to the soil. Improves size and shape and quality of fruit.


507 Valerian
Stimulates compost so that phosphorus will be properly used by the soil. Promotes heat and flowering. Is a protective shield of warmth that can protect from frosts.


Once again, biodynamics operates from the perspective that science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. Biodynamics is an example of holistic science and seems to suggest that while life may sustain in the vacuum of reduction (NPK), only in whole systems does life thrive and only in whole system thinking do we get a qualitative effect on the products come from our working relationships with nature.  The above list points out some but not all of the missing pieces.


The preparation for each of the compost preparations range from simple to complex, from easy and quick to long hard work.  For example, the Valerian preparation (507) is made from picking valerian flowers on a flower day, separating them as best you can from the umbel and squeezing and straining the juice from those flowers.  That juice is then allowed to ferment over the period of a couple of weeks.  At this point, the preparation is ready.  


Dandelion preparation (506) is made by drying half-open dandelion flowers and sewing them into a pouch made from mesentery (a lining between a bovine stomach and intestine that is typically discarded) This pouch is then buried in auto on a waning moon and dug up in spring.


Each has a very specific preparation that if nothing else is filled with intention and reverence.  These preparations are stored in a very specific way until your compost pile is ready to be inoculated with the preparations.  Typically five holes are made in a rectangular pile of partially decomposed compost. 

In each hole is placed one of the five “solid” preparations and lastly the entire pile is sprayed gently with a homeopathic mixture made with a few drops of the valerian preparation (507)


When this is done the pile is left to receive the cosmic and elemental forces that are received by them through our intention and reverence. The various preparations, or “preps” as they may be abbreviated are also used specifically to treat certain conditions or diseases that are actually an imbalance or weakness in the host plant’s ability to fight off these diseases be it a physical malady, a malnutrition or a sickness of the plant’s etheric body.


I wonder if herbal medicine when applied to our fully contained cosmic bodies works in similar ways.  Are we treating with chemical compounds, perhaps yes.  But are we also signaling the receipt of energy and healing with our intention and reverence?