Like many other aspects in the biodynamic approach to agriculture, there is no one single pre-determined path towards deeper understanding of the essence of seed regeneration. In fact, the journey into this topic seems quite complex at first and individuals must choose what they need to take from the discussion. More importantly, it is wise to rely on one’s own understanding based on personal experience and observations. Our goal here is to briefly introduce several perspectives and raise awareness around basic principles and tools for developing self-knowledge on this subject.
During the early part of the 1900s, as the industrial era was becoming visibly dominant in Europe, Rudolf Steiner was in close communications with farmers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. These men observed how there was a distinct trend towards deteriorating viability and vitality of food crops. It was from this need to revitalize the land and the crops that Steiner delivered his eight lectures on agriculture. The lectures were meant as a basis to further research and understanding, not as a final piece of work.
Martin and George Wilhelm Schmidt
One of the early pioneers who picked up where Steiner left off was the German farmer and researcher, Martin Schmidt. He was affiliated with the Natural Science Section of the Goetheanum near Basel, Switzerland. Schmidt applied the usual organic practices as well as the biodynamic spray preparations, and he also meticulously took seeds out of each head of rye, one at a time, and recorded where on the head of rye each seed had come from. The next generation of rye was then examined to determine whether any differences had occurred from plant to plant. The best plants were then subjected to the same careful sorting and the experimentation process continued. Martin’s son, George Wilhelm Schmidt, joined in this work and gradually the patterns began to emerge.
Seeding Time Determines Cosmic Influences
One key aspect of the Schmidt research was the realization that planetary alignment at the moment of placing the seed in the ground played a crucial role in overall plant vitality. The first soil contact at seeding time determines the etheric influence. These men went on to conclude that when the Moon plus one or two planets were in the same part of the Zodiac at the time of planting, their combined energetic influence greatly added to a predictable outcome. Warmth forces brought nutritional quality; light forces brought disease resistance; earth forces brought yield increase and water forces helped germination rates.
By working in harmony with these natural rhythms, gained through many decades of observation, the Schmidt family have been able to develop among other things seed strains that are resistant to drought.
Enzo Nastati’s Teachings
The second and perhaps even more complex discussion of biodynamic seed regeneration is the research under taken by Enzo Nastati in Italy. In his 1999 book, The Regeneration of Seeds and New Plants, Nastati acknowledges how Mother Nature is losing her vitality partly due to what humans have done to the environment and plant breeding, but also due to the Earth’s own evolutionary path. While Nastati brings a Christian interpretation to his understanding around the nature of etheric forces, his reasoning is focused on the role of the constellations and their spiritual connection with plants.
Rather than wait for an auspicious moment when the planets are aligned in constellations that ensure optimal cosmic forces, Nastati uses seed baths made with the appropriate biodynamic preparations to bring in these desired transformative forces. These biodynamic preparations play a mediating role between the spiritual realms and the physical one.
Twelve Plant Stages
Nastati goes on to elaborate on his explaination that there are 12 stages of plant development, not just the four stages of root, leaf, flower and fruit. Each of these stages correspond to a constellation in the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus and Gemini influence the vegetative forces; Cancer, Leo and Virgo influence the nutritional value; Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius gather the forces of dissolution and death; and Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces act on the process of incarnation. Thus, the Zodiac represents a cycle during which the form becomes manifest, withdraws, is concealed and is preserved.
In terms of assessing seed quality, Nastati considers not only the planetary and astrological situation at the time of planting, but also the mood of the farmer at the time of sowing, and whether the plant producing the seed was grown within range of harmful electromagnetic energy fields.
In summary, while the most direct way to activate the connection with the inner and outer planets is through the use of the planting calendar, the use of biodynamic preparations in the form of seed baths is often more convenient and allows for greater flexibility.
Note: Reinhard Rosch in Eastern Ontario is in the process of translating the German text, Methods of Seed Regeneration According to George Wilhelm Schmidt. This English translation will be available on our calendar web site. Copies of The Regeneration of Seeds and New Plants by Enzo Nastati is available through Mark Moodie Publications.
“The Earth is a living organism, but life originates from the Cosmos. In the light of this it becomes necessary to implement all the measures that foster communication between Earth and the Cosmos.” — Enzo Nastati
Article by Rosemary Tayler and Cesar Gomez, 2015