It may be that some of the wine producers today who use biodynamic methods in viticulture don’t know much about Rudolf Steiner or Anthroposophy, and probably consumers buy biodynamic wines only because these wines are supposed to be super healthy—even better than organic wines.
Nevertheless, several wine producing countries are using this method of agriculture based on Steiner’s formulas and following a planting calendar based on astronomy. An article in the December 3, 2017 edition of Forbes magazine features a few biodynamic vineyards in Chile that offer “must see” tours. More than 700 producers craft biodynamic wines throughout the world. Grapes, however, are not the only crop to receive this special treatment. Biodynamic farming methods are used for a variety of crops throughout the world. An article in the October 28, 2016 magazine, Shape, describes biodynamic foods as the new organics. So, how does a scientist from the turn of the last century have such an impact on agriculture today—the good kind of impact—wherein the earth is treated “as a living and receptive organism?”
We can also follow the growth of Waldorf Schools, the first of which Steiner founded in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. Currently, there are over 1090 schools in 64 countries and over 1800 kindergartens in more than 70 countries. The methods of Waldorf education are so effective they’ve gone public: since the first public Waldorf school opened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1991, 53 charter or magnet schools have opened in 15 states in the U.S. Incidentally, Waldorf schools are often favored by Silicon Valley executives; they send their children to these schools because of the low-tech environment in the early grades. Those of us who are concerned about media saturation in children (and ourselves) might be curious to know why these executives in particular have made this choice.
Which raises another question: How can Steiner’s ideas be so effective in these two vastly different areas? Where did he get such ideas? And why do so many people who work at the leading edges of science, technology, medicine, farming, education, and the arts choose his methods?
Let’s see what Rudolf Steiner* has to say:
… In the year 1909, the publication of this book [Esoteric Science: An Outline] appeared to me a venture of some temerity. For I was only too well aware that the professional scientists above all, and the vast number of others who in their judgment follow the “scientific” authority, would be incapable of the necessary openness of mind. Yet I was equally aware that at the very time when the prevailing consciousness of mankind was farthest remote from the world of the spirit, communications from that world would be answering to an urgent need. I counted on there also being many people feeling so weighed down by the prevailing estrangement from the living spirit that with sincere longing they would welcome true communications from the spiritual world. This expectation was amply confirmed during the years that followed.
The books Theosophy and Esoteric Science have been widely read, though they … are not written in an easy style. I purposely refrained from writing a “popular” account, so-called. I wrote in such a way as to make it necessary to exert one’s thinking while entering into the content of these books… The very reading of them is an initial step in spiritual training, inasmuch as the necessary effort of quiet thought and contemplation strengthens the powers of the soul, making them capable of drawing nearer to the spiritual world.
Excerpt from: Esoteric Science: An Outline, Preface to the 1925 edition 10/01/25 by Rudolf Steiner.
Because he was such a respected scientist in his own time, we can perhaps imagine how extraordinary and difficult it was for Steiner to report his spiritual scientific findings publicly. Yet, if we look at the fields to which he turned his attention and intention, we can be grateful that he chose to risk his reputation to bring us this knowledge.
No, not all who consume the produce of biodynamic farms or wineries, nor those who send their children to Waldorf schools, are interested in Steiner’s philosophy, his work in the realm of spiritual science. But one thing we can easily realize is that out of the man who explored the spiritual scientific world came important advancements that the world today considers not just relevant but cutting edge. These advances are in no way airy-fairy, but supremely practical. Perhaps we will one day be as curious about his spiritual science as we are about his more practical work. The books mentioned above tell us a lot.
“Travel 2018: Chile's Biodynamic Wineries Offer Luxury Among the Vineyards”
“What is Biodynamic Farming?”
“Silicon Valley Parents Raising Kids Tech-free”
https://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/silicon-valley-parents-raising-kids-tech-free-12623127.php (Waldorf School of the Peninsula is mentioned specifically)