Biodynamic agriculture has developed from the anthroposophical spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner. The lectures which form the basis for this are published under the German title "Geisteswissenschaftliche Grundlagen zum Gedeihen der Landwirtschaft" (Spiritual-scientific foundations for a flourishing agriculture) (translated into English as The Agriculture Course, GA 327). It is this spiritual content which arouses the interest of many people for biodynamic agriculture.
A broad range of themes
Nowadays there is an increasing wish for an expanded conception of the material world view – whether due to the longing for a spiritual world; whether based on personal spiritual experiences; whether due to the absurdity of materialism with all its excesses in science, economics and the social realm; whether arising from practical experience with biodynamic agriculture; whether based on epistemological insights; or whether simply due to the recognition that spiritual forces are required in order to ensure the existence of humanity. In Rudolf Steiner's words "... we can see how necessary it is to derive forces from the spirit, [...] so that human life on Earth can continue at all, since as physical beings we depend on what the Earth provides." There is a broad array of reasons for interest in the spiritual in biodynamic agriculture and for devoting our attention to this.
Between opening up and remaining true to yourself
Since the start of the 21st century the biodynamic movement has increasingly become a global movement. It is developing rapidly in Asia as well as in South and Central America, South Africa and many other regions and countries. This has brought it into contact with the traditional spirituality of native peoples. How can we, as a biodynamic movement, develop an understanding and a relationship to this kind of spirituality? Can the meeting of biodynamic agriculture with these kind of 'traditional forms of spirituality' lead to a mutual enrichment, from which each person can find their individual path in new freedom? Are there any examples of this kind of successful personal integration? How can the biodynamic movement itself and its roots in anthroposophy remain true to itself without getting stuck in old traditions? And lastly, how can the human being in this search for the spiritual do justice to the wakefulness and power of judgement of their present-day consciousness?
The culture of the spiritual in daily life
How can we learn from each other? How can we keep a sympathetic ear for the spiritual experiences of the other person and how can we develop a proper mutual understanding for this? This kind of support for one another can be the basis for developing a culture of the spiritual in daily work.
The whole human being is needed
The search for the spiritual is often linked to the idea of losing our down-to-earth and practical qualities. It is often associated with a flight from the earth and intellectual abstraction. However, when we are dealing with the experience of the spiritual in the world around us, then there is always a need for the whole human being, the creating active willing, the feeling, and the contemplative reflective human being. And the nature of the spiritual experience differs, depending where the emphasis lies: some will have relevant experiences in the working application of the content of the Agricultural Course, others will come to visions of occult perceptions.
Working in agriculture nowadays presents us with great challenges: from the environment (e.g. climate change) via myself (e.g. personal competence) all the way to cooperation in the social realm. How can the intentional inclusion of the occult or spiritual dimension of reality be a real help for coping with all these challenges? How can spiritual faculties and exercise paths help to strengthen me, considering the current confrontation with the virtual and digital world and the increasing nervousness and loss of concentration?
And finally, how can I combine the material world with the spiritual reality in order to find a better basis for my practical actions in agriculture, in order to be able to act confidently, with self-consciousness and responsibility?
The theme of 2019/2020 is related to the following Michael Letter: "Historic Cataclysms at the Dawn of the Spiritual Soul" and its three Leading Thoughts (GA 26).