Other than the
'tradition' (b. 1920s) of using biodynamic preparations,
until the mid 1980s I had only heard of one person suggesting Dr Bach's
Rescue Remedy for a sick house plant, and of QR for
improving compost. Now, I am familiar with several approaches (some
of which have lead to commercial products) and you can read
their stories here. All
these disciplines use preparations whose effect cannot be explained
within the orthodox western scientific understanding (although there are ever more investigations within the scientific tradition), and which leave
infinitesimal or zero material residues. Whilst some are derived
from the biodynamic preparations, others take their heritage
from homoeopathy or other disciplines dealing with 'energy'.
There is no universal agreement between the practitioners and advocates
on the application rates, the modus operandi, or the bigger picture that might incorporate the ability of such preparations to interact
with plants to their benefit.
For some this is yet another reason to dismiss such an approach to plant
health as barren. However, I am of the opinion that the trickle of
reports of success - some backed up with unsolicited
testimony from well respected and independent horticultural laboratories -
is a spur to clarify the ground and to establish a firmer foundation.
A cheap, safe and easy-to-make set of solutions with zero-residue and
a 200 year history of, at the very least, being harmless, seems to
be a very attractive avenue down which to stroll, especially when contrasted
with the corpse-strewn highway which is the current alternative. This part of the Considera initiative is an invitation to chose this
avenue and join in the work of constructing that secure platform.
Much of the existing work is inspired, directly or indirectly, by Rudolf
Steiner's agriculture course lectures of June 1924. It is clear
that this is the case for the 'classical' BD preparations. For these,
as far as theory is concerned, the agriculture
course itself, Karl
Konig, Enzo Nastati and Glen
Atkinson have given me the most help. Otherwise,
without some insight, it really seems like pantomime witchcraft!
I am particularly heartened
that, in recent years, there have been original developments from
the biodynamic preparations; creativity has been seen to flourish.
Conservative feathers have been ruffled, and questions asked about
whether this is 'real biodynamics', but it has got to be good for the
transition from dogmatic to critical practice. May
E Bruce, Glen Atkinson and Enzo Nastati have
taken their lead from these biodynamic preparations but have then
potentised them as homeopaths do, although May E Bruce dispensed
with the sheaths that are usually used when making the BD preps.
Hugo Erbe, although continuing
to use the classical preparations, added another 21 to the originals and
used them to great effect in his plant breeding. However, his work was clearly
influenced by the approach to the natural world as being the physical manifestation
of beings and the work of beings - another barrier for the orthodox modern scientist.
I thought that I had found a spontaneous and original departure when I found
the work of GSR Murthy in
Andhra Pradesh, India. Indeed it would be unfair to simply call it derivative, but I was very interested to discover that Mr Murthy was
inspired in his work by reading Dr Dorothy Shepherd's 'A Physician's
Posy' (p230 in my 'Health Science Press' 1969 Edition) in which the
biodynamic work was mentioned. Mr Murthy spent 30 years experimenting
with 'homoeonutrients' and homoeopathically potentised plant strengtheners.
Something similar has been attempted by those behind the Biplantol range
in Germany and Switzerland. Independent
some encouraging results with these too.
I came across the work of Vaikunthanath
Das Kaviraj, a Dutch homoeopath
who had created a materia medica and repertory (available in book form
since August 2006 from this
site and as an ebook from here). These were the fruits of 12 years of research
into the effects of remedies from the
homoeopathic pharmacopoeia when used on plants in Australia. Vaikunthanath
Das Kaviraj based his approach and recommendations firmly on the
shoulders of Hahnemann and Kent and the classical school of homoeopathy:
single remedy, minimum dose, repeat only with great caution etc.
Incidentally, it seems that Margery Blackie ('The Patient, Not the
Cure', p 143+, 1989 Woodbridge Press edition) know of some work
with dying trees and grain growing, and before her von Boenninghausen's
interest in agriculture threatened to spill over into his homoeopathic
work ('Lesser Writings') but, if it exists, it seems not to have
been printed. Lucietta Betti in Italy worked within an orthodox academic framework and you can read of others 'doing science' in the
literature survey. Stephan Baumgartner has taken on diligent scientific investigation into homeopathy as the result of a national referendum in Switzerland. He works from the University of Bern, frequently using plants for his work.
Dr. M. Abdul Lethif is
working on his 'Agrocare' range in Kerala. The Comenius Institute are working in South America.
There are schools which consider that they have harnessed
the effective aspect of biodynamic and homeopathic remedies without
even the water, alcohol or milk sugar 'carrier' used in most homoeopathic
schools. Cosmic pipes and radionic broadcasters transmit
the 'pattern' directly. And then there are those who think
that this is all unnecessary and that 'intention' is enough, and
'you grow what you think'.
As an individual I have interest in all
of these ideas, but it all depends on when one hits ones 'boggle
threshold'. By this I mean to acknowledge that all of this is
'off the map', it is 'weird' stuff. For each person there is a
point at which the madness overwhelms the method, and there is no obvious
way to sift out the geniuses from the charlatans ... or is there?
Well, yes I think there is a way to get beyond ones skepticism, and this
is where the dull plodding scientific method comes in. The Considera
conviction is that research needs to be continued, both in the field and
in the laboratory, and results need to be collated. Furthermore, a common
language needs to be found so that people from across the spectrum
can communicate about these things.
The method that is being suggested by this site is that of trial, observation,
and cataloguing, followed by distillation of these experiences by those
interested. The language is that of observation (phenomenology), standard
botanical pathology (named diseases) with a very restrained sprinkling of biodynamic
jargon. I have found it hard to avoid the latter because - outside of
such circles - there are no culturally accepted terms for many of the
aspects which biodynamic growers recognise.
The framework that has been used for humans and animal health is the literature
of the homoeopathic materia
catalogue of what each remedy does) and repertory (the
index to this catalogue). Considera has taken the seeds of these
from Vaikunthanath das Kaviraj and making them available
for the democratic processes of science: trials, research, peer review
and time. Let's try it!