The Biodynamic Impulse as Hope for the Future

Over the past two years, Eduardo Rincón, the new co-leader of the Agriculture Section, traveled in America and Europe to visit farms and farmers, young and old, and to have a dialogue about the future of agriculture. He spoke at this year’s Agriculture Conference out of what he perceived what was in their hearts and in their hopes—in themes encapsulated by these excerpts from his talk.

For some of us, the time of Michael, in the autumn, is a time to forge our metaphorical sword from the cosmic iron. We forge it for ourselves to combat the dragon—mostly our inner dragon, but also the dragon itself. Sometimes, we go and find other people who have swords. We may recognize them as anthroposophists and sometimes as farmers. And when we find one, sometimes we ask them: How do you do your preps? What is your methodology for doing compost? And sometimes we say, I don’t think you understand Rudolf Steiner like I do. And then we take our swords and say, I’ll meet you at 5:00 on the hill, and we will fight with our swords to resolve this conflict.

In my research, I have seen this a lot. Many communities of anthroposophists, of farmers, have the sword and use it not to slay the dragon but to slay our fellow anthroposophists. We spend a good deal of time, energy, will, and intelligence in combating each other. I think it is now time to use our energy and will to move forward. In Mexico, we call what’s happening with violence “organized crime.” They are very well organized. I think we should be organized in moving forward and not criticizing each other. Otherwise, it seems as if we didn’t understand the basic principles in How to Acquire Knowledge of Higher Worlds, where Steiner indicates that we should have inner peace, non-judgment, etc. [Big applause by audience!]

The Significance of the Agriculture Course at Pentecost

We find ourselves today at a very important moment in the history of our movement. A rhythm of 100 years has been completed, not only for biodynamic agriculture but for other areas of anthroposophy. At the very center of all of the commemorations is the Christmas Conference, which completed a 100-year cycle only some weeks ago, on December 24, 2023. One hundred years ago, Rudolf Steiner planted a seed in the hearts of humans for the future. He even called it planting in the “soil of the heart.” As farmers, producers, traders, students, etc., we are the stewards of the transformation of the Earth. Our task is now to nourish that seed from the Christmas Conference, with warmth from the love and the light of living thoughts that come down to our hearts. We have to make it germinate. We are farmers. I think we can do that.

The Christmas Conference and Steiner’s World Evolution lectures were happening at the same time, during the Holy Nights to Epiphany. The progression of the sun’s light brought Candlemas, the spring equinox, Easter, and then Pentecost. And that’s when our agriculture course was born: June 7, 1924. It was Rudolf Steiner’s last Pentecost. Our dear teacher from South America, Miguel De Marchi, asked, if we compare Rudolf Steiner’s biography to the cycle of an annual plant, at which time in his life did he bring the agriculture course? First, he said, “I think he was flowering.” And then he said, “No, I think he was already producing seeds.”

During the days when the agriculture course was given, Rudolf Steiner stayed in Koberwitz. Each day after the agriculture course was presented in the morning, Steiner commuted to Breslau to give the karma lectures and to meet with groups of young people. On the one side, there was the conferences with the youth; on the other side, there was the agriculture course; and over all arched the karmic conferences.

Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after Easter every year, commemorates the moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the twelve apostles and Mary, finding them in true community. Why did Steiner give the agriculture course in Pentecost? What was he trying to tell us? Perhaps it was because, among other things, Pentecost is a celebration of the future as it marks a new way to be in community. We can look at the image of the apostles and what took place at Pentecost: they were gathered in community, which allowed the Holy Spirit to descend upon them, first through their heads and then their hearts, whereupon they recognized this as a one and only Spirit. This allowed them to form a new community. Our individualism, which has made a very important contribution in our path towards developing our I being, in the most extreme way, leads us to the question posed by Rudolf Steiner: how will individualized human beings be capable in the future to find themselves forming a new community of free spirits? A response is offered in the Philosophy of Freedom: “It is only because human individuals are akin in spirit that they can live out their lives side by side. The free human being lives out their life in full confidence that all other free humans belong, with them, to one spiritual world, and that their intentions will coincide.”

Biodynamics goes hand in hand with being in community. Rudolf Steiner may have chosen to give the agriculture course on Pentecost to emphasize the theme of community and interconnectedness, mirroring the spiritual significance of the Pentecost event. By using this symbolic timing, Steiner may have aimed to convey the importance of unity and understanding among individuals, transcending differences in language or background, as in the case of the apostles. He might have been suggesting that in our pursuit of individual development, we should also strive for a harmonious and cooperative community of free spirits. This echoes the idea that despite our individual paths, we are all connected in a shared spiritual world.

The Conscious Farmer and the Inner Sun of the Human Being

During my work in biodynamic agriculture, I’ve had the chance to visit many different farms in various parts of the world. No matter where, the work of the farmer is profound and requires strong commitment and determination: tending the animals, planting, many activities that require attention, and most of all, wholehearted devotion to enlivening the soil by bringing forces both from the earth and the cosmos.

In my view, meditation is required for this. It is through the farmer that the cosmic and earthly are united, but it is the very consciousness of the farmer that brings about this possibility. When the farmer is able to bring consciousness to some of his or her activities, they are performing actions that could be considered small rituals which encourage and accompany alchemical activities in nature. For example, in bringing fodder to the cow, the transformed sun and cosmic forces that work in the earth and plant are brought together to feed the cow. The cow, with all of its metabolic and astral marvels, turns this into manure that we can use for our composts to enliven and bring vital forces to our land. In farming, we are privileged to have this opportunity while transforming the earth and by consequence transforming ourselves as well. I think this is a great job. You don’t have to go elsewhere to find the spiritual connection: You have it in front of you. You have it in your hands. You have it in your tools. You have it in your will. We are very lucky.

In this moment in history, amidst multiple world crises, this type of thinking is important. It empowers farmers to recognize their role as catalysts of transformative forces and active stewards of the evolution of the human soul towards the future. In the most fundamental way, the farmer’s role resembles that of a priest or priestess, uniting all these activities. The farmer’s own will becomes the substance of change and capable of bringing in renewed ways of feeling and thinking. As farmers, we must continually train ourselves to reach further in our feeling: perceiving the earth and all of its Being in a more profound manner, and bringing consciousness to the spirit that lies hidden behind every material manifestation.

Working With the Youth

The future of biodynamic agriculture rests primarily in the hearts of the youth. This thought was shared with me recently by someone who knows the movement very well, Mr. Manfred Klett, when I met him a few months ago.

There are many well-established biodynamic farms whose original farmers are reaching retirement age and are seeking the next generation to take over. There is a pressing need for the next generation to be prepared and engaged to take on the task of Biodynamics. But how do you go about being old in the anthroposophical community?

Aging within the anthroposophical community entails having a heart attuned to what is rising and emerging into humankind today, at any age. One must have a sense for what currents are permeating humanity and what is required in contemporary life, across all aspects for both young and old alike. Youthfulness is a quality that we can have at any age—the regenerative forces live in us, in our enthusiasm for living. Steiner emphasizes that the youth are attracted to elders who possess wisdom born of experience and inner development.

Personally, I find that engaging with young people is profoundly rewarding, as their enthusiasm and vitality infuse life with beauty and blessings. There is a very successful program in the movement going on in several parts of the world called Trainer of Trainers, where seasoned farmers mentor young people in biodynamics, fostering and strengthening the growth of the movement worldwide. In regions like Latin America, Africa, and beyond, initiatives are underway to empower youth through associative economics and financial literacy programs, forging new paths in farm management and resource utilization—a truly auspicious development.

The Seed that Lies in Our Hearts

Our task is to reach into the future doing what we do, but better. Hope for biodynamics in the future starts with the seed already planted in our hearts. With a view towards the future of biodynamic agriculture in the next hundred years, we are motivated to transform the way we bring Biodynamics to the world, to find new ways of collaborating, to invite farmers who are our brothers and sisters doing other types of agriculture, to embrace our youthfulness, and to work ever more in community despite our differences. As Ueli Hurter said to me a few days ago, we are all coming from the agriculture course – no matter what we do, we have that in common.

When we plant a seed, there is always an implicit question: Will it germinate? Will it survive? Will it produce a crop? We have faith. It is incredible that no matter how bad the crop was last year, no matter how difficult, we could even have lost everything, but somewhere around Candlemas, we light that inner light in our hearts, we close our eyes, and we say, okay, let’s do it again, let’s have faith. We are very stubborn. We try again and again, modifying, meeting with other people, fertilizing again, doing it differently.

Nowadays, we have become accustomed to the response of the living forces, we take the germination process for granted, and we expect seeds to sprout after sowing. We no longer marvel at this; we no longer consider this a miracle. If only we knew what and who is involved in the germination process, we would venerate and admire that process again. In Latin America and other regions of the world, where deep-rooted traditions of the sentient soul persist, planting still remains a sacred act, calling for reverence and prayer. That is the consciousness for the future. We now have the possibility to be immersed in knowing, living thinking, and at the same time to be actively perceiving the spiritual world. This is the step to the future.

After sowing the seeds and pondering the underlying mysteries, the answer is given to us in a majestic way: in abundance. Earth and heaven work together to bring more life. It’s one of the most beautiful feelings to see the field where you planted your seeds and then, all of a sudden, to see this really tender green coming up. It is really a moment of awe. We have learned to take this as a given, overlooking the great miracle that it is and that it represents—the work from the gods in partnership with the humans.

Image Eduardo Rincón, Photo: Xue Li

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Letzte Kommentare