Biodynamics--why the horn

I know that part of Biodynamics is Preparation 500, or the burying of cow manure in a cow horn from the fall to spring equinox. I know that with added water and then sprayed on the fields it promotes healthier soil, stimulates growth of roots, healthy microorganism activity.

But the question is … does anyone know why or how this works? What changes occur to the manure over that 6-month period?

And, why the horn as a vessel? Porosity? Size? Why not a different vessel?

Anyone have any ideas? I am so curious.

The cow manure is an integral part of biodynamics. If you eliminate the bull shit, what’s left?

The cow horn, from a cow that has calved, channels the cosmic energy into the manure, which is then dynamized over the winter for 500 or over the summer with the quartz for 501.

Biodymanics pulls from Ayurvedic farming tradition then blends it with European peasant wisdom.

Try this on for size;" onclick=";return false; and if you have questions, I will try to answer them as best I can. I have a decade of practice, but believe it impossible to do Biodynamics in a monoculture. Most BD is a farce.

I asked Paul Achs once, why the damn cow horn, and he said “It’s an ox horn”

secret handshake I guess…

There is no objective evidence that any of the biodynamic preparations work.

If you want to find the supposed reason for the horn, Steiner himself says in his agricultural lectures:

“The cow has horns in order to send into itself the astral-ethereal formative powers, which, pressing inward, are meant to penetrate right into the digestive organism. … Thus in the horn you have something well adapted by its inherent nature, to ray back the living and astral properties into the inner life.”

Isn’t that the defintion of what a cow is, otherwise it would be a heiffer, no?

I asked Alan York how prep 501 worked to supercharge photosynthesis if light saturation occurs at 35% of available light.
He changed the subject.

Sure. Makes perfect sense to me. [rolleyes.gif]

Heartily agree with your sentiments concerning BD as it is currently preached, but I do feel the philosophical ideals behind it have merit and warrant more serious and realistically very long term investigation. Whether the 500 series of preps have an effect is something I’m still ambivalent about. But I do think looking at BD as a guide, to develop a better, and more terroir suited form of agriculture is important.

In addition to the original question, the horn’s internal ridges of a cow that has calved (or lactated?, I forget) is supposed to provide additional surface area for microbes to colonize and help prepare the resulting 500.

Whether any of this has any conventionally measurable effect is subject to much debate (and conclusions from some perspectives), but the basic idea is that introducing natural substances, patterns and systems at all scales and steps and where appropriate, will result in a more natural and in theory better wine. Something I think all of us can agree is a worthy goal.

Brian Maloney

Mechanically, it is just BS: common sense would tell you this. I think what you could say it provides is a sense of intent on the part of the farmer; nothing else.

time to put on your [foilhat.gif]

It is bs, but I think the best part is that it does help you put a new hat on (albeit foil lined) that helps make you think about soil microbes, green manuring, trying to work in a closed loop, composting, using botanical teas and on and on. These are good things, and there are many more aspects to draw a benefit from. I studied and tried, stirred a lot, and not for nothing as I now have more arrows in my farming quiver to deal with issues as they arise. But when I hear of people saying they are starting with BD I always think, not for long…

Where is Zuccs, our resident expert, to help with these questions?