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    I’ve seen Carlos Santana in concert many times. He has a way of communing with the cosmos when he is up on stage. There was an article in Guitar Player magazine that I took an excerpt from:

    “Fear only has one agenda—to negate your beauty and your truth. Ego only has one agenda—to create death, destruction, and failure. That’s the only function of the ego. We should compliment it, because at least it’s predictable. E-g-o stands for “Etch God Out.” But even an atheist can understand the need for wonderment. You don’t have to believe in God. God believes in you. God could not care less if you call him Buddha, Allah, Jesus, or Krishna. The best part of you—that’s what God is, and it is in all of us. It’s called the spark of the divine.

    Do you remember that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the astronaut was being bombarded with all these colors? It’s like some type of Coltrane solo, or Jimi when he’s feeding back. That’s what we call the stream of consciousness—which is actually the state of grace, because all is one and one is all. The mind is not equipped to understand that, because the mind likes to compartmentalize. The heart just takes it all in.” – Carlos Santana

    He has a way of incorporating all of life and the universe in his music just as he does when he talks to the audience. I’m sure the acid and mescaline he used to take regularly helped get him that umbilical cord to the great unknown, but nearly everyone likes what they hear.

    At this point I bet you’re wondering what any of this has to do with wine.

    Nothing. It has absolutely nothing to do with wine. It does however segue nicely into what I want to talk about.

    Rudolf Steiner in the way he goes about discussing farming sounds an awful lot like Santana.

    Who is this mysterious Rudolf Steiner you speak of you might ask.

    (kinda looks like Jeremy Irons)
    He was the grandfather of biodynamic farming. He was well published in an array of areas like mantric verse and mystery dramas, but in the wine community he is known for a lecture on biodynamic farming that he gave in 1924 when he tried to tackle a problem that farms were having with lower yields, poor seed strength, increased need for crop rotation, and the seemingly diminished energy derived from the food once eaten.

    The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association defines biodynamic farming as this:

    Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.

    There is a ton of mysticism in Rudolf Steiner’s lecture notes that pushes the boundaries of what most people are comfortable with. He was into communing with a higher race of beings, spirits and the like, but he was also a renowned architect (one of the few master architects that did not study under a master architect.) Whatever he did to assist him in his studies worked.

    (a building he designed)
    The effects of these practices are undisputable in my mind. Now whether of or not you need to follow all his guidlines to acheive the results that these wineries are getting. I don’t know.

    “Love starts when we push aside our ego and make room for someone else.” – Rudolf Steiner

    “Ego only has one agenda—to create death, destruction, and failure.” – Carlos Santana

    Seriously..

    I read all of the lecture notes and the discussions after each lecture. About 200 pages of very intriguing cosmic gardening. He presents a basic formula for using the lunar cycle with natural soil enriching materials to replenish what the garden or farm needs. Its kind of like organic practices on steroids.

    In the discussions he wings it, so to speak. Making off the cuff adjustments to the procedures based on the question.

    To combat weeds one burns some of the weed’s seeds and sprinkles the ash, or “pepper” as he calls it, onto the areas in question during a certain lunar cycle in sort of a homeopathic little goes a long way sort of manner.

    In order to rid your farm of pests, like the field mouse, one must catch some mice and skin them, but you must obtain this skin of the field mouse at a time when Venus is in the sign of Scorpio. Then you burn the skin(s) and sprinkle this pepper in the same manner as with the weed.

    The same is done for insects. The time to catch them is different, and you burn the whole insec. The peppering is just the same.

    As for the vineyard he suggests a manner of homeopthically rejuvinating the soil through a variety of animal, plant and mineral compositions that are “planted” in the earth at various times in the lunar cycle. These are then spread throughout the vineyard to give your vineyard compontents it needs and also to create a oneness with the  its place in the universe.

    He goes on to describe good feeding habits for animals on the farm/vineyard to increase milk production or fattening.

    As a whole he put together a very convincing method of farming that is a self contained ecosystem using a macrocosmic womb.

    He died the year following this lecture, but his work has really been taken to heart by a lot of vineyard owners.

    A few wineries you may have heard of use Biodynamic farming practices at some or all of their vineyards:

    Bonny Doon
    Robert Sinskey
    Beckman
    Ceàgo Vinegarden
    Araujo
    DuMOL
    Littorai

    I’m going to do an abridged post of Rudolf Steiner’s lecture because it was some very interesting reading. The one following that will be on my tour of Benziger. They put biodynamics to the test with some amazing results.