Skip to content

Education and Wisdom at Regional Biodynamic Gatherings

November 11, 2015

2015 Colorado Biodynamic Workshop Series

By Cache Stone Hunter

Workshop at Sustainable Settings (by John Ray)

Workshop at Sustainable Settings (by John Ray)

This year I was fortunate enough to attend three in a series of four biodynamic workshops in Colorado and Nebraska as an apprentice in the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program. In July we gathered at Meadowlark Hearth, where Beth and Nathan Corymb are growing and saving seeds for the future, in addition to milking, and cultivating vegetables. Here we explored the spirit of the plants, reproduction, the various gestures and roles of different plant families, and some projective geometry exercises. I also helped to milk their beautiful cows in the morning and inoculate one compost pile with all of the compost preparations.

I was unable to attend the following workshop at Pat Frazier’s home in Paonia, where they integrated biodynamics with permaculture and holistic management. In September we hosted a workshop at Sustainable Settings with Brook Levan and Lloyd Nelson where we made and buried horn manure, barrel compost, nettle, chamomile, dandelion, and oak bark compost preparations. This was my second time attending the prep-making workshop, and it was a profound experience as we honored and sacrificed our cow, Tulip, together. We came into intimate relation with these preparations as we cut, stitched, stuffed, dug, and buried them. As a group we felt the potency in our shared creation of preparations specific to our region, and the responsibility we carry to give devotion and gratitude to our farms with the help of these homeopathic remedies.

We closed this series of workshops in Boulder, at Shining Mountain Waldorf School and Lightroot Community Farm. Three other apprentices and I stayed at Lightroot during the three-day workshop, and we got to participate in the morning milking of an eclectic group of cows with Daphne Kingsley. At the farm I witnessed Cameron Genter’s honed skills as a horseman, and helped to harness and drive the draft team. We practiced Goethean observation individually and then shared our insights in small groups. At Shining Mountain there were presentations on Rudolf Steiner’s life and legacy, the threefold social order and Camphill communities, and communities stewarding agriculture with the transition of biodynamic farms from for-profit enterprises to community-supported commons. We harmonized together as Cristina Geck led us in several eurythmy offerings themed around the unfolding of the plant world and the rhythmic exchange of receiving and giving. This practice of receptivity and sharing permeated our conversations, and I believe we all felt nourished in heart and community when we left to return to our homes.

I grew up at an intentional community in Colorado and have known biodynamic practitioners including Beth and Nathan and Dennis and Bailey Stenson since I was very young. Now to be an apprentice and represent the younger generation that wishes to carry this work forward with these mentors is a true honor. There is an opportunity to focus the perspectives and lessons we encounter at broader gatherings, like the biennial Biodynamic Conference, or in our smaller regional groups. Not only does this allow for us to make preparations and collective offerings that are appropriate for the part of the Earth we call home, but it is also a recognition local wisdom carried by practiced elders and the need for this to be shared with younger farmers. From this exchange there may arise broader visions for the future that are informed by the wisdom of the experienced and sustained through the enthusiasm of the younger generation. There is a collateral education between apprentices and mentors — and a meeting of the past and the future in the present. For me this presents the possibility to work in our immediate communities and refine our practical, personal, and spiritual activities.

This workshop series was organized by Colorado farmers and educators with support from the Biodynamic Association and the Colorado Farm Development Initiative (CFDI).

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: