On New Year’s Eve, the anthropopper will be joining colleagues at Plaw Hatch Community Farm in Sussex to prepare a very special biodynamic preparation. The Three Kings Preparation is one of a whole group of preparations created by Hugo Erbe (1885-1965) as a result of his lifelong work as a biodynamic farmer in Germany. He experienced a very close connection to the elemental world and sought ways of encouraging their beneficial influences.
Following the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Hugo Erbe observed a massive disruption and flight of beneficial elemental beings from his farmland. He experienced this deep wound to the living sheath of the earth as a process whereby the elementals were being demonised. To help heal the damage done to the earth’s organism and bring the elementals back into equilibrium he developed a preparation made from the gifts of the Three Kings, or Magi.
The Three Kings brought offerings of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the Jesus child. These three offerings are full of meaning, as you might expect of gifts chosen by initiates. Gold is the symbol of wisdom and of intelligence. Frankincense is a universal symbol for spiritual intuition and sacramental offering. And Myrrh is the symbol of dying, of death, the sacrifice of the earthly in order that the higher may come to life.
Rudolf Steiner gave significant insights about these substances from his own spiritual research. He pointed out that the gifts of the three Magi were meant to strengthen the development of the Jesus child in three ways. The first help was from gold for the growth of the physical body, connected to the sun forces. The second, frankincense, was for the development of a harmonious soul life. For this, the incense form was supposed to be paramount. Thirdly, myrrh was to enhance the spiritual development. Myrrh oil was used by the Egyptians, for example, for embalming and for those processes that have to do directly with the passage of consciousness into a higher spiritual world.
Most significantly, Rudolf Steiner pointed out that the resin of the frankincense tree not only protects the plant, but also enables the plant to reconnect itself to the world of the stars from which its growing impulses come. When introduced into the human body, it strengthens milk production in the mother and when passing from the mother’s milk into the infant, it then helps to optimise the development of the young brain. In adults it optimises mental functioning.
The three kings might be said to represent the three higher forces of man: Wisdom, Beauty and Strength. As long as man lives in his lower nature, these three forces are in him disordered and chaotic. But when man has so purified himself that the three forces work together in perfect harmony, and he can freely use them, then the way into the realm of the spiritual lies open before him.
Ancient mystery wisdom has always held these three substances as symbols of awareness for the spiritual events taking place behind the outer physical phenomena. When prepared in the right way these three holy substances can also serve as gifts to the earth and to the elemental world. The preparation is always prepared on New Year’s Eve and then spread on 6th January, the Festival of the Three Kings.
I will join the Plaw Hatch farm team on 6th January to spread the preparation around the boundaries of the farm. The idea is to walk the boundaries with a bucket in one hand and a brush in the other, dipping the brush and every few steps flicking the preparation in an outward direction, away from the farm boundary, where it falls in a fine spray. This is done so as to invite elemental life forces to manifest within the farm for the coming year and to help and guide us for the coming growing season. It is a kind of offering to the earth and the elemental kingdom and a way of giving thanks for what the universe provides. Some may scoff and call it nonsensical. All I can say is that it seems to me a natural extension of the old farming adage that believed: “the best fertiliser is the farmer’s boot”. I have always understood this to mean that, by walking the land with consciousness and intent, the farmer is somehow aligning himself with all the forces that work together to ensure good outcomes for the farm, the crops and the animals.
Finally, there’s a quotation from Rudolf Steiner that I would like to share with you, because during dark times, when it is so easy to despair, we should remind ourselves of what people of good will working together can achieve:
“Human communities are the mysterious locations that higher spiritual entities move and sink into so as to work through individual human beings, just as the human soul works by means of the limbs in the body…This is the secret of the advancement of future humanity – to work out of communities.”
(GA 54, Berlin, 23rd November 1905 – Brotherhood and the Fight for Survival)