Steiner’s Biodynamic Vortex as Analogy for Chaotic Transtion

I studied Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic method of agriculture for a while. Much of it reads like witchcraft, actually — the magical application and use of the subtle energies. We may take it that this is significance of what Gebser calls the “effective” mode of the magical consciousness structure. Biodynamic agriculture is widely practiced in places like Switzerland and Australia. A few years ago I read that about 1 million acres of Austrialian farmland is given over to biodynamic cultivation

The “biodynamic vortex” is one of the more intriguing practices of Steiner’s method. It refers to the practice of energising water or compost tea by generating a vortex in the liquid and then reversing the flow of the vortex creating a period of turbulence — a clockwise flow is reversed to become a counterclockwise flow, and so on. In the transition from one direction to the reverse direction, there is, if course, a period of turbulence. You can observe this yourself when you make your morning porridge or when cooking liquids.

We might reflect on this biodynamic vortex in relation to Marshall Berman’s remark, from his book All That is Solid Melts Into Air, that today “everything has become pregnant with its opposite”, or what we sometimes refer to here as sudden “ironic reversals” or as the process of enantiodromia. In The Ever Present Origin, Geber himself refers to the chaotic transition as a “maelstrom”, which is a vortex. So Steiner’s biodynamic vortex may provide a useful analogy for reflecting on these transitional processes, and even Yeats’ notion of “the gyre”.

Moreover, there is some contemporary scientific support for Steiner’s biodynamic vortex, particularly in Ilya Prigogine’s chaos theory as described in Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue With Nature — an excellent book, by the way, for gaining insight into newer systems and chaos theories, and for which Prigogine won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Nor should we overlook here the significance of the “flow” in David Bohm’s physics — as “undivided wholeness in flowing movement”.

Prigogine, in the case of chemistry, describes states “far from equilibrium” as “chaotic” or turbulent, but also as states of transition from an old order to a new order. As you might surmise, this also describes the chrysalis state of the caterpillar or the crucible in alchemy — a state of disintegration that is also a preparation for a new integration — the worm to the butterfly, or lead into gold, respectively.

I do not know whether this technique also enthuses your morning porridge with subtle energy, however. Still, you can observe the process here discussed in your cookery — whisk the liquid clockwise and then reverse the motion counterclockwise, and you’ll witness the turbulence generated in the interim. That’s “chaos”.

I do think that Prigogine’s work in chemistry will also provide you with insight not only into David Bohm’s “holomovement” or the “flowing movement”, or the Heraclitean flux, but also into Yeats’ “gyre” symbolism and Steiner’s biodynamic vortext, as well as Gebser’s “maelstrom” at the social and psychological scale. I would think, too, it would also deepen your appreciation for the Holling Adaptive Cycle discussed earlier, since the “Release” phase of the flowing movement is just this chaotic or turbulent period of disintegration in preparation for the “re-organisation” phase of the ecological flow. The “release” phase could be said to correspond to the reversal phase in the biodynamic cycle as well.

Holling’s Adaptive Cycle

This has also influence D.C. Wahl’s pattern thinking of “regenerative cultures”.

Daniel Wahl’s Regenerative Model

This also you may think of as the biodynamic path of Steiner’s energising “vortex”.


10 responses to “Steiner’s Biodynamic Vortex as Analogy for Chaotic Transtion”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    By the way, I should mention that Steiner’s biodynamic vortex of clockwise and counterclockwise flows is pretty much how alternating current works, too, isn’t it? It’s the energy that runs your appliances. So, it just seems to be a general law of energy that manifests in all kinds of different ways — perhaps also as the up and down spins of entangled quanta.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    Dystopia is a lot closer than we like to think it is. Wired article on so-called “fusion technology” which is, in political terms, techno-fascism. Musk’s “StarLink” very probably has more sinister applications than is being promoted, as also a blanket surveillance system.

  3. Steve says :

    The universe is made of nothing.

    Consciousness is made of nothing.

    There is no biological basis for consciousness.

    There is no such thing as a body, mind, universe. These are all human constructs for modes of knowing and experience that we create. Nothing happens outside of consciousness. That which we call the universe is a human construct. That which we call the world, body, mind, is a human construct.

    Every living sentient being is a species consciousness having a narrow bandwidth of experience in an infinite consciousness. And that’s all there is. There is an infinite consciousness with bandwidths of experience that are species specific creating its own world.

    We are storytellers. Our human constructs. We are bamboozled into believing there is matter. It’s a superstition.

    No system of thought can give you access to reality. For that, you have to go to the source of thought, which is consciousness.

    Consciousness is the source of all experience which is any sensation, any perception, any thought, which we then construct out of those experiences — physical world, matter, body, mind which we can’t locate anywhere; all of that are constructs, human constructs. So if you want to ignore reality, you have a big struggle. You have to go through thousands of years of collective conditioning. We are born into an interpretive world: this is a shoe, this is a hand, that is a star.

    We are bamboozled into the superstition of matter. Matter is an experience, it is a modified form of consciousness, which is modifying itself into sensations, sense perceptions, images, feelings, thoughts, stories, constructs which we reify as the material world.

    But these experiences are transient, evanescent, ungraspable. As soon as they occur, they are in the past. We only experience the past, which we filter through our constructs and we call it everyday reality.

    “Our life is a dream but once in awhile we wake up enough to know that we are dreaming.” —Wittgenstein

    Let’s wake up to that which is having this experience. What is it that is having this experience? Is it here in the head? Then why are we having an experience of this and that and all of this? It’s us. We are modifiying ourselves as this, this, and all of this. But “you” is not the bodymind, “you” is the awareness in which the bodymind is also an experience. And it’s a moving experience; it’s a dream. It’s gone. It’s a dream we have constructed. It’s time to wake up.

    Take a second to be aware of that which is having this experience. It’s obvious, it’s not happening in the head. Even the thought that it is happening in the head is an experience. The brain as a perceptual object, is an experience. So, let’s wake up.

    —Deepak Chopra

  4. Dwig says :

    We’ve reviewed Holling’s adaptive cycle a few times in this context, If I remember rightly, though, there’s one “element” of the cycle that hasn’t been disccussed: the little “tail” labeled “x” emerging from the Reorganization phase, as an alternate outcome to the Exploitation phase. It may be worth pondering, under what circumstances the “x’ path would be taken, and where it might lead…

  5. lyleaolson says :

    Consider secussion in the process of creating a homeopathic remedy, repeated shaking of a potion in water, then a portion of that in fresh water, each time increasing the potency addressing subtler levels. What was negative becomes positive.

  6. Method of Digression says :

    I’m also drawn to systems of 4 and loop/knot structures that intertwine them. 4 seems like a deeply resonant number, fundamental to our body plan, our brain structure, our sense of orientation, our musical and poetic rhythms, etc. But don’t count 3 out! The branching form of the Y makes possible all other shape.

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