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About Biodynamic "500" spray.

This article orginally appeared in the Anthroposphical Journel of Australia in February 1991. It was subsquently picked up by the biodynamic gardening journal in the USA.

Mentioned in this article are Marion and Walter Burley Griffin. They created the forms and plans that have resulted in modern Canberra - the National Capital of Australia. Much of the material in this web site is related to them. Both were deeply into the spiritual aspects of reality. Oral history tapes about their personalities exists in the National Library of Australia. In time more about them will appear in the Ecognosis material.

Over two thousand Australians and New Zealanders use Biodynamic "500" spray on their land. The spray is one of Rudolf Steiner's ideas. It is made by filling cow horns with fresh cow manure and burying them in Winter. In Spring when the horns are dug up the manure has been transformed into the crumbly mixture known as "500" - the Soil Preparation. Correctly stored it keeps for years. Sprayed onto the soil in Spring it - in some mysterious way - improves the soil and the quality of the plants which grow in it.

What follows is an account of my experiences with "500" about ten years ago. It was an experience that was both practical and spiritual. At the time I was a concerned Anthroposophist who felt that I needed to make the Spiritual aspects of my experience available to readers of the Australian Anthroposophical Journal - who hopefully will not come to the conclusion that I am always "Off with the Fairies".

It all started about 5 years before I wrote the article when we visited Robert Walcott, a long time user of "500". His farm is a sheep property on the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. The property, to my slightly experienced but amateur eye did not appear to be anything special, it suffered from too many sheep and a run of dry years. At that stage I had no confidence and little knowledge about biodynamics or "500" spray. When pressed by my host I mumbled things like, "Interesting," and "Oh yes, it is QUITE possible."

We forgot our cooler box in the Walcott's kitchen. In it we had bananas, bread, a bit of cheese and some apples. Later the cooler was returned to us. The puzzling thing was that nothing in the cooler had gone off - everything was fine and eatable even after a week of sitting in the enclosed box in a corner of a heated kitchen. Peculiar, "Well," I said to myself, "It may be due to the quartz crystals which abound on the farm or to the "500" spray or to God knows what." I now know that I was almost right ... but therein lays more of the tale.

Rob gave us ajar of "500" preparation neatly tucked into a box of peat moss. Remaining cynical, I put it in my cellar and left it there for two years. This year we had a wet, warm Spring, and so we decided it was time to try "500".

It was the 6th of October, 1990, at about eight in the evening. The moon was full in the sky. Dew was starting to fall and. the earth, in the jargon of Biodynamics, was "open" or "breathing in". After a pleasant dinner on the veranda we hunted up a bucket, poured some "baby bottle"-warm rain water into it and dug through the kitchen drawers for a long handled wooden jam making spoon. We crumbled a bit of "500" Preparation into the bucket. Then we started to stir. There were four of us and we stir-red for the recommended hour. After about half an hour we noticed a smell - it was a bit like frangipani - a pleasant sweet smell and not at all what one expects to get from cow manure.

We stirred in the prescribed way, clockwise and anticlockwise forming a whirlpool in the Centre of the bucket. The biodynamic literature suggests that this whirlpool is a chaos situation. Seemingly, the forces of the cosmos and the stars enter the mixture during the stirring to activate the energies that were locked in the specially buried cow manure. Later, when the mixture is sprayed, it is said that the captured cosmic and earth forces are released to enliven the soil and give strength to plants. This is an interesting picture but one I doubt after my subsequent experiences.

At this stage I was still both skeptical and curious. I have been divining water and dowsing Geomantic energies for many years. So I hunted up a pendulum and held it over the mixture, curious to see what sort of reaction would result. I got no reaction at all. Now, I expected a strong clockwise or anticlockwise rotation of the pendulum over the bucket. Surely you would expect that, I mean here we had been stirring water in a bucket for an hour creating whirlpools in either direction but no, I did not get that. What I got was nothing, a complete blankness - most peculiar, because even an unstirred bucket of water has radiations that affect a pendulum, Intrigued, I walked around the bucket with its potentised "500" mixture trying to understand what had happened and discovered at about 1.25 metres from the centre of the bucket that there was a circle at the edge of which the pendulum swung in an anticlockwise direction. For a dowser it was a bit like Coming up to a water line and then finding a hollow, a thing that 1 have never known to happen. The circle, in three dimensional terms, seemed to be either a ball or a cylinder that surrounded the mixture and extended into the ground - a most unexpected and rather peculiar result.

We then poured the mixture into little spray guns and went into the garden in the moonlight spraying "500" up into the air. We walked around the house and did two large vegetable plots, in total, I guess we sprayed almost a hectare. When we had used up all the mixture we washed up and scraped the cow dung mixture - thin and homeopathic as it was - out of our hair, faces and eyes. We said "Well, you know, that wasn't much trouble, it was rather fun. Let's see what happens" . . . and of course we didn't expect anything to happen. In fact we had been warned not to expect marvellous results or else we'd be disappointed and give up Biodynamics without having given "500" a fair go.

When 1 woke the next morning 1 felt that we had a circle of "nothingness" around the house - a peculiar situation. Even the areas that were not sprayed (because we couldn't spray everything at night with our ineffective spray guns) were in this "nothingness " - so although our block is triangular we had a rough circle, or it may even have been a ball, of nothingness around us. Interestingly, this circle has gradually contracted back into the shape of our yard.

The nothingness persisted for about 2 or 3 days - I wondered if it wasn't drawing energy from around the village or from around other farms in the area. Certainly, energy was being accumulated in our circular space; it was the sort of energy that precedes a manifestation, a feeling that the threshold is very near.

On the third day after the spraying 1 noticed a web of formative force formations started to weave themselves into the air directly above the soil. To my minds eye it looked a little like bee cells or perhaps like those microscopic pictures one sees of aligned plant cells. Later in the day it became clear to me that the developing formations were more like aligned crystals than anything else - the spaces in between filling in with more crystals. The crystals were 6 sided and varied in size. They ranged from about 15 to 80 millimetres in width and from 2 to 30 centimetres in height.

1 don't know where this crystal formation came from, perhaps it came from the stars as Marion Griffin (see below) suggests. In my case, it took three days for these formations to appear but I see no reason why this period should be fixed and why only crystal shapes should appear to fill the "500" created void.

[Inset into the article... Over the years I have seen "500" used on many other occasions. Once, in the same garden as the experiences I am relating a friend did the stirring and spraying for me. What came into the space was mushroom shapes - fungus; and that year the garden was subsequently plagued with moulds. I have helped friends spray "500" I prepared with small hand sprayers, Returning later I found the areas I sprayed were having a growth spurt, while the areas they sprayed - from the same bucket received no effect.)

The crystal web was being held in place by something, perhaps will or thought. It created a formative force field which made the soil pattern itself into the shape suggested by the ethic 'crystals'. Soil structure is vital for the growth of plant roots and the activity of the millions of soil insects that are the actual creators of soil fertility.

By this time the moon was waning and the nights, as is often the case in Galong, were close to perfect with few clouds and bright stars. As usual, I went to bed early and around midnight began to get a dream. It started with the sensation of little worms with legs like centipedes crawling all over my body, they made me terribly itchy, they seemed to be biting and drawing juice out of me. Later they were exchanged for another sort of creature, a little leech-like beastie that clung to my arms and sucked my blood, these persistent little fellows moved around my body and began to make me feel very threatened and uncomfortable. "Ridiculous," I said to myself, "this is only a dream," and woke up. Next morning, when 1 thought about it, I came to the conclusion that the dream was related to what the "500" was doing to my garden. Perhaps, somehow or other, the soil creatures that lived in the garden had found a way to visit me during the night and to use me to help them work the soil.

In practical terms what did the "500" spraying achieve? Well, I sprayed my thirty or so tomato plants with seaweed (seaweed spray is often combined with "500", particularly in New Zealand) three days after we had sprayed the "500". A further two or three days later and the growth results were amazing. There was no two ways about it. The soil darkened, and seemed to be warm when I dug holes to put in extra tomato plants. The plants sat up clean and straight in a way I have never seen happen before - and I have been growing tomatoes for close to 15 years. Something clearly has happened.

Kurt, my neighbour who helped me with the stirring and who also sprayed "500" in his garden came to the same conclusion something really had happened. As Kurt said, "Steiner, well, let's face it, he was a genius. What happened, well, nobody really knows, but clearly something has."

In his garden Kurt noticed that the start of grape fungus disappeared three days after he applied the "500". Kurt has had fungus problems on his grapes for years, the result of a house that once was on his block. The leftover foundations had that strange musty feeling that one can often sense in old buildings.

This brings me back to my early "500" experience on my friend's farm when the food in our cooler didn't go off even after a week. Apparently, with "500" the forces of decay are reduced, yet the forces of soil growth which are related to the vital soil organisms like springtails seem to prosper. It is from the bodies of these creatures that healthy 'living' soil is built.

In my mind's eye I saw the "500" working to create an interlocking web of crystal like formative force structures held in place by thought. I know that my perception of these forms helps to hold them in place, but I am also aware, from an experience I will outline below, that Gnomes are helping to hold these etheric structures in place. Below is an extract from "Magic of America" one of the oddest manuscripts ever to come out of Anthroposophy. It was written by Marion Griffin, wife and vital helpmate of Walter Burley Griffin, the designer of Canberra and the creator of Castlecraig. The manuscript is available at the National Library in Canberra. Marion was a superb draftsperson and the sketches below tell me as much as her words.

A star is a point in the universe. Each star throws out certain beams, sometimes one kind of beam, sometimes other kinds of beams. Let us watch their play. Two stars send out a message each a living thing and a quadrilateral is created. All these great beings have children and we human beings call these children of the angelic beings Fairies.

We have spoken of the Star Beings, the Sun Beings and the Moon Beings but now we have come to the Earth Being whose children, the Gnomes, help her to live and grow. For when the Earth has come into existence as an idea of one of the Fire Spirits the other Fire Spirits become interested and begin to send out their rays and the quadrilateral is formed, the Gnomes get busy to keep this form fixed, a solid material body and as the stars create form after form the Gnomes gather them together and build up the solid earth as we know it.

For as the stars send out rays and rays they build up all the wonderful crystal forms in creation and the solid earth is made up of all those lovely crystals that the star beings imagined. When all the fairies got together in council to see they couldn't bring all the lovely forms that the heavenly beings were creating to the Earth where they could use the crystals to built up all sorts of lovely living, shining, moving, singing creatures.

About ten days after "500" had been sprayed in my garden 1 was confronted by a Gnome; it wasn't the usual representation one sees with a chubby face and a pointed little hat. It was like a knight in armour, without a head, The body armour was made out little plates similar to what one seems on the backs of slaters - except much larger. And there he was, sexless and very large, a gigantic size, he reached almost to the top of our 10 foot walls, he wasn't sharply defined but to my minds eye he certainly was very real. He had come out of the ground - where he really should have been and was trying to dominate the area. He wanted to become King of the area and the "500" had seemingly given him the opportunity to do this. Fortunately he was out of his realm and had no real strength. So when 1 confronted him he retreated. Certainly. the desire to be the King of the area, to be the chief Nature Spirit, to be the chief force of the area was very strong.

1 have met quite a number of Australian and European Nature Spirits. Tree beings, and the delightful little European fairies the dance around flowers - the sort of things that children have no trouble in seeing- but up until my "500" experience I have never been confronted by a being of this nature. I have met Gnomes before, they are there when you transfer yourself into the ground to cheek what's happening, they are more of the seven dwarf variety. This type of Gnome is a fascinating creature, that really can entice and enthral and lead people into what 1 guess is gold fever, or diamond fever, or mining fever - the Gnomes like to do that. But this was something else, this was a King Gnome, and a European King Gnome at that, called up by the ritual of making, stirring and spraying "500".

Three months after spraying the influence of the "500" has faded, the etheric crystal web seemingly being destroyed by the natural electricity that links the ground and the sky. In the first eight weeks the influence of the "500" extended up from one metre on hard ground to three metres on soft ground. On healthy trees it reached to their peak. Now, the crystal web extends out of the ground for only 10 to 30 centimetres. Associated with the shrinkage of the size and quality of the etheric crystal web has been a reduction in the domain and strength of the King Gnome.

At first the Nature Spirits in my garden, particularly the Australian ones were terrified by the King Gnome. They didn't like him and felt intruded upon. Now, although they do not cooperate with the King Gnome, they have called a truce, understanding perhaps that the King Gnome work in a different sphere than they do.

In practical terms the "500" allowed my unstaked varieties of' tomatoes to reach almost 1.5 metres. As the influence of the "500" faded the tomatoes started falling and have kept growing along the ground. The zucchinis (all hybrid types) have done marvellously. The beans have grown well, flowered badly and fruited not at all. I also had trouble getting the tomatoes to flower and fruit, I suspect that - certainly in the Australian home garden "501" the silicon spray, is needed to balance the excessive power and influence of the gnomes and to encourage flowering and fruiting to occur normally. I haven't tried "501 " and don't know what will happen when I do . . . I'll let you know next year.

Reference: "Man as Symphony of the Creative Word", Rudall Steiner, ( 1923). Particularly Lectures 7, 8 and 9.

Steven Guth Galong Village NSW 2585 Australia.

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