A September afternoon in the lap of Mt Nebo, Samford Valley
In April 2021, a local group of twenty biodynamic gardening enthusiasts gathered to fill and then bury about forty cow horns to make Preparation 500 for their gardens. And on Saturday 18 September, they gathered again to dig them up! This is a short pictorial report on their biodynamic workshop, which took place on the rural property of Kate Sharp of qldanthropoSophia, Master gardener Rob Birse led the workshop.
The afternoon began with a Welcome to Country from Kate, drawing special attention to the spirit life in this garden environment, which lies next to a small, rocky creek. Then followed an opening verse (see below) accompanied by everyone doing simple consonant eurythmy gestures.
Rob Birse then spoke to the group about biodynamic processes, referencing the book, The Self-Aware Universe, by physicist Amit Goswami, whose ideas on the non-dualistic nature of the cosmos and the ‘etheric field’ have congruence with those of Rudolf Steiner, inspiring a lively discussion in the group.
Then into the garden! To dig for the cow horns and see what had been occurring in the manure contents while in the ground over the Winter.
Cow manure buried inside a cow horn during the winter months enhances the microbiological life of the soil and the relationship between plant and soil. This becomes the basis for the Preparation 500, which is stirred into clear water and sprayed over the garden.
There was much discussion about how the cow manure had changed in the intervening six months. It had been a dry Winter and although the contents were still moist, the substance responded well to being sprinkled with a bit of moisture, then kneaded into small balls. Everyone had a ball to take home.
Each ball will then be stirred into water for an hour, using the approved method of stirring alternatively clockwise and anticlockwise for an hour, to continually create the vortices which enliven the water by replicating the dynamics of natural water flow.
‘The flow of water into vortex formation through the act of stirring as one does in the biodynamic fashion mirrors cosmic law. The water willingly organises itself into an intelligent universal pattern, a formative pattern. The vortex is the visual result of creative formative forces in action through substance. It is through the (re)-ordering of these universal patterns that the substance becomes enlivened. Keep in mind that without the chaos the enlivening process would not take place’
Christy Korrow, editor of Lilipoh
After more than 40 years of working with and observing the application of biodynamics on farms and gardens across Australia, Rob is still convinced that the method remains at the cutting edge of agriculture. He is committed to continue promoting the use of biodynamics as a powerful tool for the restoration of our sadly degraded landscapes.
Our thanks to Rob Birse, Kate Sharp and Paul Bailey for hosting this biodynamic workshop and to Janet Bitschine for the photographs.
Susan Margaret, for qldanthropoSophia
Want to know more about biodynamics?
Interested in finding out more about the biodynamic approach? Have a browse in our agriculture and gardening section, do an online course through the Agriculture Section of the Goetheanum or contact your local branch for information about local groups. You can also you contact one of the national bodies, Biodynamic Agriculture Australia or Australian Demeter Bio-Dynamic.
Great exalted spirit
You who fill the vastness of the worlds
Who dip into the soul’s foundations
Fill our place of work
Fill our seeking souls
Strengthen our will
Warm our feeling
Purify our thinking
Now and evermore.
1903-1925, page 267.
Photo credits courtesy of Janet Bitschine