In Part 2 of my reorganisation of the Agriculture Course I trust it is very clear that a good 25% of the Dr Steiner’s Agriculture course was dedicated to the practical reality of the four physical activities of Cosmic Forces, Cosmic Substance, Earthly Forces and Earthly Substance. In contrast to this we find Dr Steiner making only a passing comment to the existence of the etheric forces in the second lecture. His main focus – apart from the activity of the dominant Energetic activities of Spirit Astral Etheric and Physical (Part 1) – was on how the Physical Activities organised. More importantly, he gives clear indication of what carries these activities and therefore provides us with the way we can influence these activities. He talked of the Silica pair of Cosmic Forces and its relationship to Clay and the Cosmic Substance and its direct relationship to Sand, along with the Calcium pair of the Earthly Forces and its relationship to Humus and the Earthly Substance and its relationship with Calcium.
Trials I have carried out on the reality and effect of this information, has proven this is a rich seam of insight that can provide very significant steps forward for practical Biodynamic practice.
See http://rimu.geek.nz/garuda/Agriculture/Ag%20Course%20remix%202.pdf notably the trials on ZeroIn, Etherics 7, Kale flowering control, Mandarin ripening, Capsicums fruiting and the pictures of Dahlias in my commentary of the second lecture.
Within modern Biodynamics however, this part of the course appears to have very little understanding. Not only has it been consciously ‘set aside’, the story around the Cosmic and Earthly processes has been bastardised from the fourfold processes outlined in the course to a garbled two fold processes ( which way is the cosmic and earthly processes coming from? The answer varies with who you talk to.) with Clay being suggested as the ‘mediator’ between the two processes, regardless of the three times RS says it activates the upward Silica process. Even in the one place he says it mediates, he checks himself by saying it works more with the Silica process.
In contrast to this we do not have to go far to see the central role ‘The Etheric Formative Forces” plays in modern Biodynamics. So central, that some people ( and most of the BD educators) believe they are the primary formative influence on plant manifestation. This then leads onto a theology based primarily around the Etheric body and the Physical body, with the Astrality being an abstract external influence that somehow influences flowering. While this is a fair assumption given the organisiation of energetic bodies in plants, it does diminish the role of ALL the energetic bodies as the primary influences on plant growth. Most notably, it diminished the primary formative influence of the Star sourced archetypal forces, we call Spirit. In doing so the emphasis moves from the real astronomical electro magnetic forces coming from the stars, to a belief based theology that does not conform to the Astronomical realities we live within. Once this line is crossed, any manner of beliefs can then be entertained and indulged in, and most notably the Christian religious theology of Anthroposophy soon begins to enter.
So instead of a view that says, the real forces coming from the stars, constantly, ( Spirit) activate the planetary spheres, to give us Astral forces, before activating the Earth magnetic field, to direct the Etheric forces and onto the Earths physical forces, we have a confused image that gives the primary Formative role to the Etheric, with the Astral and Spirit being far less significant and for some people they are completely irrelevant.
I am not saying the etheric forces do not exist. What I am saying is that firstly, they are NOT where the primary impulse to order comes from, this comes from the Stars. Secondly, the Etheric forces gain their individual character from the influence of the other activities. Warmth ether arises from the World Spirit activities (the Stars) working within the Etheric sphere, ( the atmosphere) the Light ether arises from the influence of the World Astrality ( Planets) working into the Atmosphere, while the Chemical ether is the World Atmospheric activites, while the Life ether arises from physical activities working upwards into the Etheric sphere.
This places the Etheric forces as a secondary influence to that of its bigger brothers the Spirit, who has the plan, and the Astral, which is the Spirit’s go to guy, that takes the plan and organises the troops, the Etheric, into the action of bring matter into life forms. Without the external influences of the Spirit and the Astral, the Etheric is just an amorphous blob of cell division. Dr Steiner’s story is primarily how all four activities interact to bring us life forms
So while the BD knowledge of the influence of the etheric activities on plant growth is a nice story, and in the most part true, we also need to look at how we can use this information to influence plants growth, which comes down to influencing the etheric forces twins, the Elements. So if we want to influence the Warmth ether we need to bring the warmth element to the plant. For the Light ether we bring more Light, the chemical ether more moisture, and the Life ether, cold.
There are some commentators who ‘divert’ the course information about the BD preparations, to suggest they influence the ethers, however if we look honestly at Dr Steiner’s comments about the preparations, he ONLY talks of their influence upon all of the energetic bodies. With the nettle prep he talks of the harmonising of the astral activity, with regards to the Oak Bark preparation he talks of the etheric body being drawn harmoniously into the physical body. Dr Lievegeod then goes further and suggests the Yarrow prep opens the etheric body up to the incoming astrality, while the Chamomile preparation stimulates the etheric body. I have then gone on the suggest the Valerian preparation strengthens the Spirit, while the Dandelion preparation helps this spirit activity bind with the physical body. Hence, the preparations primary activity is directly upon the energetic bodies, NOT the ethers.
Why this perversion of the original intention has occurred I do not know, however I hope it is as simple as it having to do with the course being essentially incomprehensible, to most of its readers.