TODAY’S THE DAY!!! Preparation 500! September 22, 2010 @ 7:28 A.M. Burying cow horns on the Autumnal Equinox – SPIRITUAL MANURE!
Here is the very essence of Biodynamics. Preparation 500 is the burying of cow horns, probably the most visible and controversial of the nine preparations. To be a Biodynamic farmer you must be certified by Demeter USA, and Demeter USA is an absolute follower of Rudolf Steiner. Demeter USA requires the use of preparation 500 and 501 at least annually. There is no such thing as being “Biodynamic lite”.
A Biodynamic practitioner obtains a cow horn, stuffs it full of cow manure and buries it on or around the autumnal equinox. On or around the spring equinox, it is dug up and the “horn manure” is made into a highly diluted (homeopathic) spray that when applied to your fields enlivens it with cosmic forces. It’s all bull manure to me, but Biodynamic farmers like Mike Benziger claim they use Preparation 500 “because it works!”
But don’t trust me; let’s go to the original material: What does Herr Steiner have to say during his Lecture Four, June 12, 1924, pages 64-74. This is a longer post than most, and there are more quotes from Steiner, but understanding preparation 500 is at the center of Biodynamics and we should deal with it as completely as this format will allow. But first, a note for Americans by Herr Steiner when he was asked the following question following the lecture:
“Where can we get the cow horns? Do they have to come from Eastern or Central Europe?”
Steiner: “Life in Africa, Asia, and Europe has a totally different significance than life in America. So it is possible that horns from American cattle would have to be treated somewhat differently to make them effective.…” (Most cows after three or four years of living in one place) “belong to that land, unless they are Western cattle.”³ Note 3 says “Western cattle may adapt more slowly because their bodies are especially “dense”; the bodies of human beings in America are described by Steiner as being “very, very, dense” (1921, Jan. 6).”
Steiner, LECUTURE FOUR:
“You see, if we want to manage things properly in the various domains of agriculture, it is certainly necessary to have insight into the way substances and forces work, and also into the way the spirit works.… We must recognize that fertilizing must consist of enlivening the soil, so that the plant is not in dead soil…”
“Have you ever thought about why cows have horns, but certain other animals have antlers? Remember that I said that something living need not have (cosmic) forces that only stream outward, it can also have forces that stream inward. What happens at the places where the horns and hoofs grow? At these places the streams (cosmic forces) are especially strongly turned back inward, and the outside is particularly strongly shut off. All outward communication, such as can occur through skin or hair, is completely ruled out. In this way, the development of the horns and hoofs is connected to the form and development of the animal as a whole.”
“Antler formation is something totally different. In the case of antlers, the streams (cosmic forces) are not directed back into the organism; instead the antlers serve as outlets so that certain streams can be led outward for a ways and discharged there.”
“A cow has horns in order to send the formative astral-etheric forces back into its digestive system, so that much work can be accomplished there by means of these radiations from the horns and hoofs. So you see, there is something inherent in a horn that makes it well-suited for reflecting living and astral influences back into the activity of the interior. In a horn you have something that can radiate life, and even astrality.
“Next let us take the manure, in whatever form is available, and stuff it into a cow horn, and bury it in the ground at a certain depth – I would say between ¾ and 1 ½ meters … You see, by burying the cow horn with the manure in it, we preserve in the horn the etheric and astral force that the horn was accustomed to reflect when it was on the cow. Because the cow horn is now outwardly surrounded by the Earth, all the Earth’s etherizing and astralizing rays stream into its inner cavity. The manure inside the horn attracts these forces and is inwardly enlivened by them. If the horn is buried for the entire winter – the season when the Earth is most inwardly alive – all this life will be preserved in the manure, turning the contents of the horn into an extremely concentrated, enlivening and fertilizing force.”
“Once the winter is over, we can dig up the cow horn and take the manure out of it… After spending the winter underground, the cow horn contains an immense astral and etheric energy, which you can now use by diluting the contents with ordinary water, which should perhaps be warmed up a bit.”
“The next thing to do is to spray the substance over your plowed fields, so that it can really unite with the soil…. If you manage to supplement your usual manuring with this kind of “spiritual manure,” you will soon see what fertility will result.” Underlining added
I have three comments:
1. Why is it that I try to quote Steiner as much as possible and Biodynamic practitioners never do? Because I don’t think anyone would believe me if I tried to paraphrase him. Steiner’s words clearly and forcefully demonstrate a lunacy that must be experienced firsthand to believe.
Why do all the practitioners speak in broad generalities which I call “Biodynamic Speak” such as “yes, it’s a little strange, but it works because my vineyards have never been healthier or my wine has never been better,” but never speak directly to what Steiner said? Because of what I call the TV test. Could Bart Araujo, Kevin Morrisey or Mike Grgich stand in front of national television cameras and talk about burying the cow horn so the “Earth’s etherizing and astralizing rays stream into its inner cavity? (thus) The manure inside the horn attracts these forces and is inwardly enlivened by them.” They’d look like fools, which is why they all utilize Biodynamic Speak and never directly quote Steiner.
2. Preparation 500, and the other eight preparations, have no history before Steiner. I have not found any mention of burying a cow horn in past farming cultures or as ancient practices from past civilizations. Supporters claim that Biodynamics is based on old farming practices, forgotten and abandoned with the onset of the industrial age. As far as I can tell, these claims are false, because Biodynamics is completely the unique creation of Herr Rudolf Steiner.
3. I believe it is correct to call this animal sacrifice. Not just any animal will do. The horns shouldn’t come from an animal killed at the slaughterhouse, it has to be a cow, the cow must have given birth at least once, and it should have lived in the surrounding area for several years. I assume the rest of the animal is used, but that is not the point. A Biodynamic farmer’s protocol is to kill the cow for its horns and then ritualistically bury them in the ground for six months in the belief that it will make their crops grow better.
So there you have it, preparation 500 and the very essence of Biodynamics.