7 selected lectures by Rudolf Steiner
In 1924—in response to questions about the depletion of soils and a general deterioration of crops and livestock—Rudolf Steiner gave eight lectures on “the spiritual foundations for a renewal of agriculture.” Based on his suggestions and spiritual science, generations of farmers, gardeners, viticulturist, and researchers developed biodynamics as a healing, nurturing, holistic, ecological, organic, and spiritual approach to a sustainable care of the Earth.
Biodynamic methods consider the farm or garden to be a self-contained organism, embedded in the living landscape of the Earth, which is in turn part of a living, dynamic cosmos of vital, spiritual energies. The aim is to increase the health and vitality of the whole, including the farmer or gardener. The biodynamic practitioner follows an alchemical, transformative path of working with the Earth through the nine “homeopathic” preparations created by Steiner.
What Is Biodynamics? collects seven seminal lectures—four on developing a spiritual perception of nature and three from his Agriculture Course, dealing with the preparations. Hugh Courtney of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics contributes an informative, passionate, and visionary introduction.
Whether you are concerned with the quality of agriculture and gardening in particular or have a broader interest in the ecological crises facing us today, this book offers a transformative approach that can truly change the way we live together on Earth.
C O N T E N T S:
“That the Earth May Be Healed”:
An Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture, by Hugh Courtney
1. Spiritual Beings 1
2. Spiritual Beings 2
3. Elementals 1
4. Elementals 2
5. Agriculture 1
6. Agriculture 2
7. Agriculture 3
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Hugh Courtney, a veteran and librarian, discovered Steiner’s agriculture course in 1975 at a health food store in College Park, Maryland. This led him to Josephine Porter, who was making biodynamic preparations according to Steiner’s indications. He apprenticed under Josephine and, when she died in 1984, took up her work. He created the Josephine Porter Institute in Woolwine, VA, where he has been making and selling preparations (six compost preparations and 3 others), editing the newsletter Applied Biodynamics, and consulting on all aspects of the biodynamic approach.