2015 Articles

Winter Application of Tree Paste

Biodynamic tree paste is applied once a year in late fall after leaf drop or in late winter before the sap flows and before bud break. It is applied in the descending moon (transplanting time in the Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar) and when the temperature is above freezing. Tree paste is used to provide a protective covering primarily on the bark of fruit trees to enhance the vitality, to help protect the bark from splitting, to discourage insect breeding and infestation, to heal injuries and to cover wounds made during pruning. It may also be applied to fruiting bushes, vines and roses. A coating of the tree paste may slow blossoming so there is less danger of early frost damage. It is recommended for newly planted trees to give them a good start and it is also helpful for ailing or stressed trees. 

The tree bark should first be gently brushed or scraped to remove moss, lichens and dead, loose bark which provides breeding grounds for insects. Backyard gardeners can use a whitewash brush or paintbrush to apply the paste by completely covering smaller trees and the trunks and lower branches of larger trees. Care needs to be taken that you do not break off buds as you are brushing the paste on. The paste may be further diluted and strained to use as a spray to cover the upper branches of tall trees. Hand application is impractical for large orchards and the spray is used to cover the whole tree. 

One of original recipes contained equal parts of sticky clay, cow manure and fine sand. Later, Dr. Pfeiffer modified it by adding one stirred unit of BD#500 (horn manure) and .5 to 1.5 percent Equisetum arvense (BD#508) tea for its anti-fungal properties. Over the years, practitioners have developed their own variations according to their individual needs. JPI currently makes available a version that contains bentonite clay with the Pfeiffer BD Field and Garden 

Article Repost - Originally Post by Josephine Porter Institute, January 2015
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Connecting with Venus: Her Rhythms, Patterns and Influences on Agriculture

One of the core principles in biodynamic agriculture is the sacred connection between the Cosmos and Earth.  Rudolf Steiner firmly believed that working with the land depended upon working in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of the star systems and the planets.  There is a “right time” to plant, to hoe and to reap such that this timing ensures better quality and quantity of produce.  Accordingly, the farmer/gardener must be in tune with these natural rhythms and patterns.  The focus of this article is to explore the rhythmic patterns and timings of the planet Venus and their implications on agriculture.

The symbol for the planet Venus is the same glyph used in biology and medicine to represent the female: a circle resting on a cross.  The circle is infinite, no beginning, no end; it represents eternity, perfection and wholeness.  This same circle with a dot in the middle is used to represent the Sun A.  The angles of the cross correspond to the four directions of the compass (north, east, south and west) and to the four elements (earth, water, air and fire).  The point where the horizontal line meets the vertical line represents the intersection between Cosmos and Earth.  In summary, the symbol for Venus D-- represents the bringing of spirit into matter.

Sacred Geometry of the Venus/Earth Cycles

Being closer to the Sun than Earth, Venus takes some 224.695 Earth days to complete a full orbit.  Sidera is Latin for star.  Thus, the sidereal cycle, that is the time taken for Venus to complete a full cycle around the Sun and return to the same spot, is 224.695 Earth days or one Venus year.  Earth orbits the Sun in 365.242 days, implying that for every eight orbits of the Earth around the Sun, there are thirteen orbits of Venus.

Venus is one of the brightest stars in the night sky.  Only the Sun and Moon are brighter.  Like the Moon, we see the Sun’s light increase and decrease as it reflects off Venus along her path around the Sun. From our Earth-based perspective, Venus takes approximately 584 days to travel back to the same spot in the sky (synodic cycle).  There is some variation in this cycle; it ranges between 580 to 588 days.  During half of this time, approximately 292 days, her light increases (waxing) and during the other half, her light decreases (waning).

Synodic Venus Phase Cycle

Once every 584 days (about 18 months), the Sun comes between Earth and Venus.  This exact intersection is called the Full Venus [point G] or the superior conjunction of Venus. Venus is behind the Sun and she is invisible from Earth.

Approximately 292 days (about nine months) later, Venus appears in front of the Sun as seen from Earth.  This configuration is called the New Venus [point A] or the inferior conjunction of Venus.  Ancient Meso-American astronomers tracked the path of Venus and recorded seeing her as a small dark speck when she was directly in front of the Sun.  This Sun/Venus eclipse is also refered to as Venus transiting the Sun.

In summary, there are approximately 584 days between two inferior conjunctions or one Full Venus cycle.  This New Venus to New Venus synodic cycle from our Earth-centred vantage point is similar to the cycle between one New Moon and the next New Moon. The superior conjunction of Venus is similar to a Full Moon event.  

Morning Star / Evening Star

When Venus is travelling out from behind the Sun and her superior conjunction [point G], towards her inferior conjunction [point A] in front of the Sun, she is visible from Earth for several months around sunset.  In this waning phase, Venus is called the Evening Star.

After the inferior conjunction [point A] in front of the Sun, she becomes visible before sunrise as the Morning Star and begins her waxing phase.  

Retrograde and Stations

From our vantage point, when Earth is moving faster in its orbit compared to the speed of Venus in her orbit, it appears to us that Venus is moving backward, or retrograde.  This is much like travelling on a faster moving train that passes a slower moving train going in the same direction.  The slower moving train appears to be travelling backward.

From our vantage point, when Earth appears to be moving at the same speed as Venus, we perceive Venus to be stationary.  Thus before going retrograde there is a stationary period.  Stationary retrograde is the point where Venus moves from direct to retrograde [point K], and stationary direct is the point where Venus moves from apparent retrograde motion to direct or forward motion [point C].

Venus spends approximately 40 days and nights moving in this apparent backward direction, that is retrograde.  In eight Earth years, Venus appears to move backwards five times.  Many ancient astronomers including Johannes Kepler and Sir Issac Newton understood this forwards and backwards dance by Venus.  They charted the course of Venus over time and plotted the famous five-petaled rose pattern of the Venus cycle. 

A most unique quality about Venus’s orbit is that it is the most circular of all the planets in our solar system.  It is this consistency that generates her beautiful repeating patterns.

The cosmic dance between the Venus and Earth rhythms is so harmonic that this 5-to-8 ratio has been applied to buildings of a spiritual nature throughout the ages, by many cultures and places around the world, including the great pyramids of Egypt, the Mayan pyramids as well as cathedrals throughout Europe.

Eastern and Western Elongations

While Native American stargazers paid close attention to the New Venus to New Venus cycle, they also made careful observations of this planet’s greatest eastern [point I] and western elongation [point E].  In theory, the greatest eastern elongtion is equivalent to the last quarter and the greatest western elongation is equivalent to the first quarter (similar to our lunar phases). 

The Meso-American astronomers constructed observatories and temples with specially-placed windows from which they observed these eastern and western elongations.  The timing of these elongation moments was carefully recorded for thousands of years.

El Carocol—This is one of several sacred places where the Mayans built observatories aligned with Venus’s position in the sky.  This particular observatory near Chichen Itza is also aligned with the summer solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset.

Maximum Brightness

These ancient stargazers also noted the relationship between maximum elongation and brightness of this planet.  A little over a month (37 days) before and after Venus reaches her inferior conjucntion [point A], she reaches maximum brightness as the Evening Star in her waning phase [point J] and as the Morning Star in her waxing phase [point D].  
While it is generally understood that Venus is the brightest star in the sky next to the Sun and the Moon, we now understand that this luminosity varies slightly with its position with reference to the Sun and Earth.  Her maximum brilliance occurs twice during one Venus cycle, that is, ten times in every five Venus cycles.  This tenfold pattern blends harmoniously with the fivefold image Venus portrays in her five-petalled rose pattern.

Mayan Calendars

According to Hunbatz Men, in his book, The 8 Calendars of the Maya, the ancient Mayan people developed and used over 17 different calendars, all of which were synchronized with the sacred calendar, the Tzolk’in.  These calendars were based on astrological observations such as the solar and lunar cycles as well as those of other planets, including Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn.  Observational records of these planetary cycles in relation to Earth were made over hundreds even thousands of years and from this work their calendars were refined and perfected. Hunbatz Men emphatically points out that the Mayan people firmly believe that “...our relationship with nature is firmly connected to our perception of time.”

Venus’s Message for Farmers

Based on ancient mythologies, Venus represents the feminine and fertility. Speaking of fertility, our planet is currently at a turning point with respect to health and well-being of the myriad of pollinators, including the honey bees.  With the extensive use of pesticides and herbicides throughout the world, there is a direct correlation to a depletion of these pollinators that is closely approaching a critical point.  Acknowledging their vital role to transform flowers and stamen into fruit and seed and protecting these pollinators is a clear and undeniable message Venus brings to us today.

Two additional teachings Venus offers are the supreme gifts of beauty and consistency.  Her rose-pattern cycle is uncannily identical to the five-petaled flowers of the dicotyledons (flowering plants whose seed have two embryonic leaves or cotyledons).  During a period of eight years, five synodical Venus/Earth rotations complete one full cycle.  After this eight-year period, the sixth rotation of Venus begins approximately at the same place that the first period started.  Consistency and beauty create a sense of harmony that goes beyond words.  The beauty of these flowers with five sepals and five petals are a reminder of this spirit/matter connection that Venus reflects.

The properties of the Golden Mean reflect the Venus/Earth cycle of eight Earth years compared to five Venus years. This ratio has not only an aesthetic appeal but also a practical application.  When building a barn, house or shed, this golden ratio of five to eight can be incorporated into its dimensions.

It is also worthwhile to observe what goes on during the retrograde periods of Venus.  It may be time to inwardly reflect on one’s values, one’s goals, one’s sense of self-worth, at a personal level, a farm level and at a community level.  How can we enhance fertility?  How can we honour our feminine powers?

Given that Venus takes care of blossoming and how flowers grow, how can we consciously connect with this energetic impulse from the Cosmos?

How is Venus speaking to you?  What is she guiding you to perceive?  Appreciate?  Enjoy?  Reflect?  Value?  What sort of harmonic rhythm can we introduce into our lifestyles to honour this cosmic connection?  How has our relationship with nature shifted as we observe and experience each Venus cycle?  

Steiner teaches that the most powerful astronomical times occur when Venus is directly behind the Sun, that is, in a superior conjunction and at the same time in the constellation of Scorpio. The following chart outlines one eight-year Venus cycle and identifies when Venus is in Scorpio.  Steiner taught that pest control using an ash preparation was best applied when Venus is in Scorpio and behind the Sun.

Article written by Rosemary Tayler and Cesar Gomez, Celestial Planting Calendar 2015

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Biodynamic Seasonal Rhythms

In warmer regions, during the month of April, unearth BD500, chamomile, dandelion and oak bark preparations.  Make yarrow, bladder and BD501 preparations.

During May and June, collect chamomile, dandelion flowers and stinging nettle to prepare for making autumn preparations.

Collect valerian flowers on flower days usually during July in order to make BD507 preparations. 
Spray BD507 on compost at the time it is to be applied to fields to enhance the release of phosphorus, thereby encouraging plant growth.

Dry yarrow flowers in late summer for making BD502 the following spring.

During September, collect cow horns and other ingredients for making BD preparations.
During October, prepare to make Horn Manure preparation as well as chamomile, dandelion, oak bark and stinging nettle preparations.  Bury yarrow and bladder preparations.  Unearth stinging nettle preparation and BD501.

Whenever there is a descending Full Moon combined with a lunar perigee (Moon closest to Earth), spray atmospheric preparations on fruiting vegetables and trees to compensate watery forces. 
To deter fungal growth in wet weather, consider spraying fresh Equisetum tea (BD508).
At the beginning of the plant’s growth and just before harvest, apply BD500 during a descending Moon around sunset when the soil is still warm.

Apply BD501 during an ascending moon around sunrise at the beginning of the plant’s growth and just before harvest.  Also apply BD501 at sunrise when the Moon is conjunct Saturn to minimize fungal attacks and improve quality.

Spray BD508 just prior to a Full Moon in perigee as a fungal control.  These lunar conditions are stressful times which bring watery influences to Earth leading to fungal attacks, especially in warm weather.

Descending lunar periods encourage an increased vitality within the soil making it appropriate for activities like the spraying of BD500 preparation and for making compost.

The best times for burning skins used in peppering is when Venus is in Scorpio and behind the Sun in an superior conjunction.  This alignment may only occur every two years.

Make and apply the Three King’s Preparation during the first week of January.  From mid-January to mid-February, the mineral world becomes very receptive to crystallizing forces coming in from the Cosmos via the outer planets—Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.  Rays of energy are received by Earth, releasing forces important for plant growth which, during the rest of the year is bound up in the rocks and minerals.― R. Steiner.


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Plants Might Move with the Moon Just as the Oceans Do with Tides

The gravitational pull of the moon may affect more than just the rise and fall of the oceans; scientists believe plants respond too. Through observation, they’ve noticed some plants’ leaves wave up and down at night, and this “leaftide” seems to correspond with gravitational changes.

One researcher calls it the "leaftide"

Tree in moonlight - A hawthorn tree in the moonlight (Robert Canis/Frank Lane Picture Library/Corbis)

By Marissa Fessenden
August 19, 2015

Plants typically move too slowly or too subtly for the unaided human eye to appreciate. Instead, we rely on time-lapse photography to reveal their waving branches, unfurling tendrils and grasping vines. But most of those movements are solely initiated by the plants themselves. Now at least one scientist thinks there is an outside influence tugging on the Earth’s vegetation.

The gravitational pull of the Moon doesn’t just cause the ocean to rise and fall, plants wave their leaves in response to the Moon, reports Jacob Aron for New Scientist. Peter Barlow of the University of Bristol, U.K., decided to investigate why some plants’ leaves wave up and down even when they grow at night (many day-growing plants have a similar dance in response to light levels, see these tomato seedlings nodding and bowing as they stretch taller). 

Barlow looked at data about bean plants from1920s to today and matched leave movements with estimates of the local gravitational pull of the Moon at the time. The motions corresponded well with the gravitational changes, he reports in Annals of Botany. Furthermore, plants on the International Space Station showed a 90-minute cycle that lined up with the 90-minute orbit and changing position relative to the Moon. 

Aron writes that the movement of water within the plant might be responsible:

Ocean tides are produced by a combination of the sun and moon’s gravity and Earth’s rotation, creating bulges of water on opposite sides of the planet. For plants, Barlow says water movement in the pulvinus, the “joint” where leaf meets stem, could be responsible.

Other researchers point out that the influences of temperature changes and plants' own internal circadian clock may actually overpower any minute tugs on plants’ water. However, the possibility that Earth experiences a "leaftide" is just romantic enough for us to wish for it to be true.

Repost of Article - Source:

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