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Celestial Forces

Conversations with Trees Listening with Heart and Hands

by Elyse Pomeranz, 2019 Celestial Planting Calendar

“Where are you going next?” asked my five-year-old goddaughter, as I tiptoed out before dawn trying not to awaken the sleeping household.  “The trees are guiding me.  I’m a tree listener.  I follow their guidance,” I told her.  She nodded, then paused. “And I’m a heart listener,” she said emphatically. Then she hugged me and went back to bed.

In spring, summer and autumn, you will find me somewhere on the planet with my back against a tree silently drawing, paper balanced on my lap.  Using what Rudolf Steiner called “Imaginative Cognition,” I listen with my heart. 

This heart-guided perception enables me to be directed by the tree as to what to draw. Little by little, for over an hour or so, the drawing reveals itself.  The tree “speaks” through images that are mysterious and pregnant with meaning, although I often do not fully understand what it is that I have been shown.  I have over 500 of these tree-guided drawings. Some trees I have sat under are thousands of years old. 

What is it that trees hope for?  They wait patiently to be included in our earthly work of healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and transformation. I call it co-evolutionary work. 

There are potential new partnerships with trees that can be offered in various areas of healing endeavors, for example, in the area of counseling and assisting people with Alzheimer’s and for those in trauma recovery.  There is also the more practical work with what the trees call “treeforestation.” This term refers to what most of us call reforestation but recognizes that trees are well suited to guide the humans who plant and monitor them.

Trees belong to groups as well as types, each growing in particular landscapes and ecosystems.  Some trees grow as singular beings, while others grow together in woodlands or forests.  Some are far from human habitation, while others are next door to world-renowned cultural centres.  

All of these factors play into the tree experience and their readiness to develop new capacities to relate to human beings in new ways.

As Steiner points out, the landscape can shape the activity that arises there. To quote from his lecture, Evolution of  Consciousness, “The wise men of the Druids, or others of that kind, sought out regions for their temples and sanctuaries where the conditions were such as to allow Imaginations to remain and not immediately vanish away like clouds.  In this region it has always been felt that the difficulty of holding an Imagination is not so great as in other places.”

The sites where ancient Yew trees are found were chosen by the Druids and later by the Church as locations for building sanctuaries for worship.  The drawings shown here were made in conversation with ancient Yew trees that are 1100 to 5000 years old. The ones on the lower left were made near two 5000-year-old Yew trees in Wales responding to my question regarding Steiner’s threefold social organization.  I deeply value my experiences of working with these beings in England and Wales.

Stefano Mancuso, an Italian experimental botanist, in his book Brilliant Green, helps us understand that tree senses are distributed over the entire tree, unlike the human senses, which are concentrated mostly in the front and sides of our head.  At one point, I realized that trees can see 360º all around!  With their amazing sensitivity, they are particularly vulnerable to the thousands of human-produced electromagnetic signals that are now creating a kind of electrical smog in our environment.  They have asked me to advocate for cell phone free zones in parks!

Elyse Pomeranz is a former Waldorf School teacher.  For the past 10 years, she has mentored and trained Waldorf teachers in Canada and China. She offers workshops and presentations on her work with trees.

There is so much to learn from and with trees.  I look forward to this ongoing research for the rest of my life!
Elyse refers the reader to Steiner’s Anthropsophical Leading Thoughts, pages 196 to 199. This leading thought is entitled “The Sense- and Thought-Systems of Man in Relation to the World” and dated March 1925.
For more of Elyse’s art, visit

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Water Awareness

by Hugh Courtney, 2018 Celestial Planting Calendar

Given concerns about the quality of rainwater these days compared to rainwater in Steiner’s time, I started off with some doubt about the use of rain as a source when making biodyamic preparations. Then in 2000, I had the good fortune to read in Rudolf Steiner’s collection of his lectures to the workers at the Goetheanum, From Mammoths to Mediums, a marvelous description of what he claimed is involved at a cosmic level when the earth receives rain. To quote Steiner: 

“Looking at a flower, one is able to say: ‘There the universe – the cosmos is also the universe – fertilizes the flower.’ ... Don’t look at a plant now, but at the earth, how mists rise at a distance ... There the mists are rising. They consist of water. ... But the mists also open out as they rise. So look at the earth here. It is only water which is rising not the solid parts you get when a plant is growing. But the water is rising. When the plant reaches a certain point up there it is fertilized out of the cosmos. When the water, here rising as mist, reaches a certain point, it is also fertilized out of the cosmos. And what happens then? Lightning develops ... the water is fertilized with light and heat by the universe. The same process which occurs in the plant happens up there, and lightning makes it visible. And when the mist has been fertilized up above it comes down again as fruitful rain.  So when you see a cloud of mist rising it is really a gigantic but extremely thinly spread plant. This opens up its flower up there in the cosmos, it is fertilized, contracts, and the fertilized droplets come down again in the form of rain.” 

When I first read this, I suddenly felt a jolt of understanding that rainwater might be the best choice to use in stirring the biodynamic preparations.

However, what can be done about the many contaminants that are now found in rainwater? And what can be done to make other sources of water as pure as unpolluted rainwater which was likely the intention when such water was initially suggested as the desired source to use in stirring the preparations? It appears that the original instructions that Steiner gave for stirring the preparations are already a significant contribution to ‘purifying’ the water. In stirring, we first create a deep vortex and when we reverse stirring direction, the resulting turbulence and chaos serves to impart a cleansing aspect to the water in ways that those researching water quality are still trying to understand.
For too long humans have taken water for granted, and only in the last century or so, have we begun to study water in a more meaningful way. An excellent summary of the current state of water research can be found in Energizing Water: Flowform Technology and the Power of Nature by Schwuchow, Wilkes and Trousdell, 2010. Throughout this book several quotes from various researchers provide a revealing picture of where our awareness of water now lies. “Water is the carrier of rhythm 
and as such is the mediator between organism and environment” (Wilkes 2003). “Water responds very sensitively to cosmic influences” (Schwenk 1967). “According to modern chaos theory, life occurs at the boundaries between chaos and order, whereby so-called ‘strange attractors’ are formed, which indicate turbulence. Turbulences and vortical movement appear to be enhancing and life-sustaining qualities (Gross 2000).”

“The scientific community is giving greater attention to phenomena of rhythm, such as contraction and expansion, and their effects, as it becomes increasingly evident that rhythms play a major role in all human activities and in all life processes.” (Schwuchow, Wilkes, Trousdell, 2010)

Various flowform designs have now been created that appear to substantially improve the quality of water. Numerous quality aspects have been measured using a number of methods, including capillary dynamolysis, sensitive crystallization, the drop-picture technique as well as the effect on seed germination.  These tests seem to bear out the positive effect of energizing water through flowform techniques which imitate water movements which are observed in nature. The stirring methods originally indicated by Rudolf Steiner appear to be a straightforward way to enliven the water as well as to transfer the energy of a preparation into that water.  

Hugh Courtney - Writer, Mentor, Researcher 

In addition to contributing articles, Hugh Courtney has taken on the advisory role of forecasting favourable and unfavorable times for this calendar. He has devoted more than 40 years to perfecting the art of making biodynamic preparations. Taking a cue from his own mentor, Josephine Porter, who declared, “These preparations are no secret, I will teach anyone who wants to learn how to make them,” he has mentored hundreds of people on the finer points of making quality preparations. 

Ever concerned about keeping this special art form alive into the future, in 2009, along with his grandson, Jeremiah Proctor, Hugh founded Earth Legacy Agriculture, LLC to provide quality preparations for discerning practitioners.

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Giving Thanks to the Elementals

by Hugh Courtney, 2017 Celestial Planting Calendar

In our use of a biodynamic calendar, one of the first things we learn is to pay attention to the nature of the constellations as the Moon travels through the Zodiac each month and year. We understand early on that we will likely have better results if we plant tomatoes in a Fruit period rather than in a Root, Leaf or Flower period. Going a little deeper into the meaning of the constellations, we learn that each of these plant organs also relates to a fundamental characteristic of the various constellations with Fruit equated to the element of Fire; Root to the element of Earth; Flower to the element Air; and Leaf to the element Water in a rhythm that repeats itself three times throughout the solar year. Each of these elements―Fire, Earth, Air, and Water―is viewed according to ancient wisdom as a condition of matter or material substance. Everything in the physical world manifests with one or a combination of these material conditions. 

The concept Earth encompasses everything deemed a solid substance. Water encompasses everything of a liquid nature. Air encompasses all that is of a gaseous nature. Fire encompasses everything possessed of warmth. It should be noted that present day material science no longer recognizes the concept Fire as a condition of material substance, allowing only the three conditions of Earth, Water and Air to exist in any scientific calculations. 

We are assured by Steiner in his numerous lectures that behind the visible world of matter there can be found an infinite number of spiritual beings who stay busy ensuring that the physical world continues to exist. Steiner, using the terms of traditional wisdom (or folklore), speaks of  “very useful” elemental beings referring to Gnomes, Undines, Sylphs and Salamanders. 

Each of these groups of beings has responsibility for a particular domain of the conditions of matter with Gnomes concerned about Earth, Undines about Water, Sylphs about Air and Salamanders about Fire. Steiner often uses the term Fire Spirits for the latter beings. He repeatedly indicates that without the work of these various elemental beings the plant world could not exist. 

Those of us not gifted with Steiner’s clairvoyance generally bring a hefty skepticism to the concept of elemental beings because we have been conditioned through modern education to disregard anything that cannot be perceived with the senses. Without capability of being weighed, measured and counted, such things as Steiner describes obviously do not exist to the modern well-educated person. Nevertheless, Steiner urges that recognition by humanity of the existence of elemental beings is absolutely vital to further the positive evolution of planet Earth and all that exists thereon, including human beings.  Besides Steiner, there are more than a few other people who seem able to perceive elemental beings.
One such individual was Hugo Erbe (1894-1953), who was a serious student of Steiner, a dedicated biodynamic practitioner and ultimately someone who could converse easily with elemental beings, having experienced their presence onward from his early childhood. Erbe became deeply disturbed by the disruption experienced by the elemental kingdoms after the plethora of atomic and hydrogen bomb testing and he worked with great diligence at developing new biodynamic preparations to address this disruption. Altogether, he developed a total of 21 different preparations; each one aimed at solving specific problems in agriculture which he felt could not be fully addressed by the original biodynamic preparations introduced by Steiner.


In particular, two of Erbe’s preparations are intended to foster a cooperative working relationship with the elemental kingdoms. The Three King’s Preparation (HE8), consisting of gold, frankincense and myrrh in a special solution, and made and applied at a particular time of the year, was intended to create a circle of protection within which positive elemental beings find both nourishment and sanctuary, while barring entry to malevolent beings. The Harmonizing Preparation (HE9), consisting of sunflower oil, salt, egg whites, honey, cow’s milk and red grape juice specially blended with wheat grits or whole wheat flour and applied during the season of Michaelmas (September 29), is intended as an expression of gratitude to the elemental beings.  

Another person who had a direct awareness of elemental beings was Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (1899-1961), who was largely responsible for bringing biodynamic agriculture to North America. Pfeiffer, in his 1941 presentation “Elemental Beings in the Spiritual World – The Bearers of the Lower Forces in Nature,” noted the following: 

“It is a peculiar reality, not just accidental, that the elementary world of North America is more easily accessible than the elementary world of Europe, except for certain regions of Scotland, Norway and the Swiss mountains. ... The elemental beings in Europe are in general older and more experienced. The American elementals as compared with the Eastern ones are relatively ‘young.’ ... As a matter of fact the elemental beings are nourished or starved by thoughts or feelings. The celebration of a ritual has an educational value to them. ... In general the elemental beings which have had the chance to follow the stream of the old mysteries in the center of Asia westward to Europe, finally a being connected with the mystery of Golgotha, are very refined beings filled with energy, harmony, peace, balance and health. Beings which have not had this influence are weaker, easier to disturb and so forth. Especially the lack of reverence among the peoples of any continent of the earth tends to make the elemental brings rather uneducated and naughty. ... It seems to be a great task to improve this spiritual undernourishment of the North American elemental world.” 

Pfeiffer recommends several steps to address this challenge: 
1. Open the human mind to the spiritual situation in the elemental
    world and the struggle these beings have in North America; 
2. Educate to increase the desire for beauty and harmony; 
3. Educate to develop feelings and thoughts of harmony, balance
    and construction;  and finally, 
4. Develop a spiritual school conducted by those persons 
    conscious of order where a ritual can be celebrated in which
    the elementals participate. Such a center needs to be free of all
    desire, including the impulse to become powerful. 

How then do we in our biodynamic practice rise to the challenge of working with the elemental beings? What can those of us who are still lacking the clairvoyant abilities of Rudolf Steiner, Hugo Erbe or Ehrenfried Pfeiffer do to answer Steiner’s call to recognize and work with the elemental beings? Of course we can continue our own efforts at spiritual development which can benefit from Steiner’s guidance in that regard. In the meantime, we can simply start a dialogue of recognition and acknowledge that these beings do exist and actually thirst for our awareness. 

One additional conscious step we can each take individually is to address the elemental beings directly at any time we stir or apply a biodynamic preparation. In other words, we each in our own way can consciously include the elemental beings when we apply these preparations. A thought that is worth holding is that these preparations constitute very positive nourishment for the elementals and they furnish powerful tools for these beings to use in accomplishing their work with the plant kingdom. 
An excellent starting point for creating a ritual to include the elementals, which each of us can implement on our own, is available in the Sequential Spray Technique which employs all nine of Steiner’s preparations in one form or another. This technique addresses the needs of each of the groups of elemental beings within the full spectrum of all the preparations. 

If beyond our individual use of this technique we arrange with others in the biodynamic community to participate with us at the same time of the year, say at St. John’s Day (June 24), we would already be fairly far down the path toward establishing a center such as Pfeiffer wished. Such a center does not require a physical, geographic location; it simply can be established in our hearts especially when accompanied by our deeds. In fact, Pfeiffer actually referred to such a center as a “cult of the heart.” 

If we also take up the use of both the Three Kings Preparation and especially the Harmonizing Preparation and incorporate them as part of our biodynamic practice each year, we will go a long way towards gaining the cooperation of these elemental beings as Steiner deemed so necessary. One of the most powerful aspects of using the Three Kings Preparation is to realize that dozens if not hundreds of people throughout the world are applying this preparation all at the same time. Such a concerted effort sets up a mighty resonance between each participating site that has to have a profound effect. If we also commit to using the Harmonizing Preparation during the time between Michaelmas and the Thanksgiving holiday (Canadian or American matters not), a further resonant energy will be created that may let the elemental world know that there are at least some humans who are acknowledging their presence and their role. 

Beyond the seasonal use of a Sequential Spray Technique, incorporating both the Harmonizing Preparation and the Three Kings Preparation in the yearly approach to our biodynamic efforts can go a long way in establishing a North American Biodynamic Elemental Cult of the Heart.

Sequential Spray Technique - involves a rhythmical application of all nine of the biodynamic preparations (including Barrel Compost, BD500, BD501 and BD508) over a two or three day period with all sprays preferably applied when the Moon is in a Leaf/Water constellation (for lack of moisture) or in a Fruit/Fire constellation (when moisture is excessive). 

For availability of HE8 & 9, contact Earth Legacy Agriculture, L.L.C., PO Box 72, Woolwine, VA 24185 USA; via e-mail at; or phone: 276-930-1377

Hugh Courtney - Writer, Mentor, Researcher 

In addition to contributing articles, Hugh Courtney has taken on the advisory role of forecasting favourable and unfavorable times for this calendar. He has devoted more than 40 years to perfecting the art of making biodynamic preparations. Taking a cue from his own mentor, Josephine Porter, who declared, “These preparations are no secret, I will teach anyone who wants to learn how to make them,” he has mentored hundreds of people on the finer points of making quality preparations. 

Ever concerned about keeping this special art form alive into the future, in 2009, along with his grandson, Jeremiah Proctor, Hugh founded Earth Legacy Agriculture, LLC to provide quality preparations for discerning practitioners.

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Weather Wisdom from the Elders

Weather Wisdom from the Elders: Life with the Cosmos Explained

by Rosemary Tayler, 2017 Celestial Planting Calendar

Dew on the grass, no rain will come to pass. Dew forms on the surface of the grass as it cools. This occurs under clear skies at night when the heat radiates from the ground. If the sky remains clear, there will often be no rain, but if a weather system moves in during the day, then a change in the weather will follow.

A cow with its tail to the West makes the weather best, a cow with its tail to the East makes the weather least. Cows prefer not to have the wind blowing in their faces, thus they stand with their backs to the wind. Westerly winds usually mean that fair weather will be arriving or continue, and easterly winds usually mean unsettled weather will be arriving or continue. A weathervane or cowvane is thus a good a way of knowing what the weather will be for the next few hours.

Clear Moon, frost soon. When the night sky is clear, Earth’s surface cools rapidly – there is no cloud cover to keep the heat in.  If the night is clear enough to see the Moon and the temperature drops enough, frost will form. Expect a chilly morning!

If there is a halo round the Sun or Moon, then we can all expect rain quite soon. This halo is caused by refraction of the light through ice crystals that form from high cirrus clouds.  Cirrus clouds are usually the first clouds to appear before a weather front moves in.

Tomatoes seem to know what next winter will grow. If your tomatoes seem to have a lower meat content and many small seeds, they are likely expecting a dryer season whereby they leave extra seeds to improve the odds that some will hold over for the next year and sprout.

When clouds appear like towers, the earth is refreshed by frequent showers. Large, white clouds that look like cauliflowers or castles in the sky, indicate lots of dynamic weather going on inside. If the clouds start to swell and take on a grey tint, they will likely turn into a thunderstorm.

No weather is ill, if the wind be still. Calm conditions, especially with clear skies, indicate the dominance of a high pressure system moving in. Because high pressure systems are broad regions of descending air, they discourage the formation of clouds, wind and precipitation. Calm conditions, however, may also result from a circumstance referred to as “the calm before the storm,” in which a large thunderstorm cell to the west may be up-drafting the westerly surface wind before it arrives. This situation is easily identified by looking to the west — such an approaching storm will be certain to occur. 

When windows won’t open, and the salt clogs the shaker, the weather will favor the umbrella maker. Moisture in the air causes wood to swell, making doors and windows sticky. Salt is a very effective absorber of moisture. With a high level of moisture in the air, the likelihood of precipitation is increased.
Bees nesting in trees, means lots of snow. When hornets, wasps and bees build their nests higher than normal in trees, expect lots of snow.

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