"What bothers me is that, as with many teachings that end up going in the direction of a religion or philosophy, we lose the ecological context. What works for the soils in the Rhein basin, continental Europe or the Alps--or wherever Steiner actually came up with the preparations--of the early 1900s could very likely be quite different from whatever works in a different place and time. Understanding the processes behind the myths liberates the wisdom, making it accessible to other ecologies.
The use of animal parts worked great in those farms of central Europe, where dead cattle was a given, and, at a time when de-horning was a general practice, these recipes made good use of a resource that would otherwise become a waste. But, to me, importing cow horns just to be "true" to the original sounds like not the best ecological practice, no matter how biodynamically grown those cows were.
Funnily enough, one of the principles of biodynamic agriculture is flexibility: every farm being unique and different, requiring a lot of observation and individually designed amendments."
Just for interest, Biodynamics has not only been developed in Europe. There is a leader in the field called Alex Podolinsky, who grew up in Poland but emigrated to Australia, where he has been developing "Demeter Biodynamics" for over half a century.
In the past, I subscribed to the Australian Biodynamics magazine. What impressed me about this movement is how much time was spent observing their plants/soil. To me, it's the opposite of the approach that you get in industrial agriculture: "I read it in a textbook, so it must be true, and that theory fits with my other theory, so it will work, no need for study". I would far rather listen to a careful, thoughtful person tell me anything about the world, than one who has every degree known to humanity. That's not because I don't believe in science, because I do, but because humans often seem to be attracted to simplistic theories rather than complicated reality.
I never particularly believed in the theories of Biodynamics, but I could see the real-world results they produced. Each edition would cover several Biodynamic properties, and would include a photo of the soil, often with a photo of a neighbour's soil. It was quite clear that the Biodynamic soil was darker, fluffier and more crumbly. They also talked a lot about increasing the depth of their topsoil, and testing that showed a large growth in soil carbon. To me, no matter the method, any practise that increases soil carbon content organically is pretty good.
I am very satisfied with Dr RedHawk's explanations. I always felt the Biodynamic practitioners were onto something, but because they didn't actually know what it was, various rather airy sounding ideas were given. Probably the magical sounding theories put people off, where just a list of tests and results achieved may have been more convincing.
Just thought I'd post this, for the benefit of anyone who had not heard of Australian Biodynamics.