‘Putting Stars in the Soil’

Passing It On: Hugh Courtney's Preparation Making Workshops in 2019 |  Biodynamic Association
Photo by Rand Carter

Today, 88 years ago, on 8 July 1932, Biodynamic champion Hugh Courtney, founder of The Josephine Porter Institute For Applied Bio-Dynamics was born in the Heartland of Chicago, my hometown. He now spiritualizes the Earth from across the Threshold. (15 June 2020)

Hugh Courtney – Earth Legacy Agriculture
~Rand Carter

Abby Porter asked me to write something up after he died. And Rand Carter entreated me to make a tribute today on his birthday.


I wasn’t surprised to know that he was born under the constellation of Cancer, for he certainly had a reputation of being crabby. But under that stubborn shell & those snappy claws was a deeply feeling heart, dedicated to the service of the Earth. If you look at The Beehive Cluster (also known as Praesepe (Latin for “manger”), in the constellation Cancer, you see the vortex – symbol of transformation – the reflection & goal of the prep-stir.

The Whirlpool Galaxy | NASA

Hugh Courtney was in the room where the quality comparison samples were laid out. We were to go in during the breaks at the Fellowship of Preparation Makers Gathering at Michael Fields in February 2020. The theme was ‘BD 501 and 508: Tools to bring the cosmic light into the earth’, & I was asked to bring a ‘Candlemas Festival’ to ignite the weekend. 

Zinniker Farm

As a city girl I had only worked with the preps at the Zinniker Farm ( the oldest Biodynamic farm in America) over the years, so I was excited to learn more about them, especially since I am part of the Elderberries Biodynamic Outpost and 3-fold Cultural Hub here in Chicago.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hugh-courtney-logo.png
One of Hugh’s main initiatives

When I came in Hugh didn’t even look up. We both walked around the table taking note of our impressions of the various prep samples. After a while Hugh made a kind of grunt, & I came over to where he was. I made a comment about how that one in particular had the quality of being touched by the Salamanders. He looked up at me for the 1st time, grunted again, staring into my eyes for a bit before he said, ‘O so you see it too’. He asked me what I thought about another sample. I sat with it for a spell & then replied, ‘Well this one is very different; it almost seems like the opposite, very watery. This got me a smile. The ice was broken. We sat down together & Hugh shared with enthusiasm some of his many experiences working with the Elemental beings.

Umbra Perchiazzi

I will never forget this singular encounter with Hugh Courtney. This brief hour of true connection has given me the key to continue our communication. as the fruit of his labor expands on into the spiritual world, & rains down on all of us who are willing to continue his life’s work of spiritualizing the Earth. 



Vega in the Summer Triangle

8 July 2020 – “Speaking with the Stars”: Tonight, look eastward during the evening hours -it’s hard to miss the season’s signature star formation, called the Summer Triangle. Vega, Deneb & Altair are the first 3 to light up the eastern half of sky after sunset, & their bright sparkling radiance is even visible from light-polluted cities or on a moonlit night.

Try looking first for the most prominent star in the eastern sky, which is Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp. Vega is blue-white in color. It’s sometimes called the Harp Star. And many people recognize its constellation, Lyra, as a triangle of stars connected to a parallelogram.

Star field with lines of three constellations and summer triangle drawn on it.


Among the stars by Love Stepunina: History, Analysis & Facts
L. Stepunia

History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man“. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on this day


Feast day of Aquila & Priscilla, Companions of the Apostle Paul. When Paul came to Corinth (probably in the year 50), he met them as tentmakers who had just arrived from Rome, because the Emperor Claudius had recently expelled the Jewish community. They all went together to Ephesus. Aquila & Priscilla are mentioned six times in the New Testament (Acts 18:2,18,26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19), & the reader will note that in the odd-numbered mentions, Aquila’s name comes first, while in the even-numbered mentions, Priscilla’s comes first, as if to emphasize that they are being mentioned on equal terms.

Feast day of Saint Kilian an Irish missionary bishop & the Apostle of Bavaria. He was beheaded with 2 of his companions. Their skulls, inlaid with precious stones, have been preserved to this day. On St Kilian’s day, a glass case containing the three skulls is removed from a crypt, paraded through the streets before large crowds, & put on display in Würzburg Cathedral (dedicated to Kilian).

1099 – Some 15,000 starving Christian soldiers begin the siege of Jerusalem which took place from June 7 to July 15, 1099 during the First Crusade

1579 – Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, is discovered underground in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan

1625 – Birthday of Giovanni Domenico Cassini, an Italian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer & engineer. Cassini discovered four satellites of the planet Saturn & noted the division of the rings of Saturn; the Cassini Division was named after him.

1730 – A magnitude 8.7 earthquake causes a tsunami that damages more than 1,000 of Chile’s coastline, death toll unknown

Percy Bysshe Shelley
by Joseph Severn

1822 – Deathday of Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of the major English Romantic poets, one of the most influential. A radical in his poetry as well as in his political & social views, Shelley did not see fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets & writers that included Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, Thomas Love Peacock, & his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, including his father-in-law, the philosopher William Godwin.

Shelley’s theories of economics & morality, for example, had a profound influence on Karl Marx; his early—perhaps first—writings on nonviolent resistance influenced both Leo Tolstoy & Mahatma Gandhi. Henry David Thoreau‘s Civil Disobedience was apparently influenced by Shelley’s writings and theories on non-violence in protest and political action.

Shelley became a lodestone to the subsequent three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian & Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, W. B. Yeats, Upton Sinclair & Isadora Duncan. Shelley’s popularity and influence has continued to grow in contemporary poetry circles.

St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian: A Romance is a Gothic horror novella written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1810 was published anonymously as “by a Gentleman of the University of Oxford” while the Shelley was an undergraduate. The main character is Wolfstein, a solitary wanderer, who encounters Ginotti, an alchemist of the Rosicrucian or Rose Cross Order who seeks to impart the secret of immortality.

1831 – Birthday of John Pemberton, chemist & pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola

1838 – Birthday of Eli Lilly, chemist, & businessman, founded Eli Lilly a global pharmaceutical company

1838 – Birthday of Ferdinand von Zeppelin German general & businessman, founded the Zeppelin Airship Company

1839 – Birthday of John D. Rockefeller, founded the Standard Oil Company

1876 – White supremacists kill five Black Republicans in Hamburg, South Carolina

1908 – Birthday of Nelson Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States

1926 – Birthday of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross a Swiss-American psychiatrist, pioneer in near-death studies & the author of the groundbreaking book ‘On Death & Dying’ where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief

1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22

Wildcat! The wartime strike wave in the auto industry - Ed Jennings

1968 – The Chrysler wildcat strike begins in Detroit, Michigan.

Solar-powered plane flies in dark, bringing joy to pilots and backers - The  National

2010 – The Solar Impulse completed the first 24-hour flight by a solar powered plane

2014 – Israel launches an offensive on Gaza


 Kari Marie Olson

POD (Poem Of the Day)

~I stand before the mirror looking back in time
Gazing into unbornness – the other side of eternity
I am roused
To walk the circuitous path of the unseen
From no-thing – I come to thought
To birth


August 8-18 ‘Classroom Alive’ Youth Open-Source Learning in Chicago


We’re starting up with Culture in our community – join young people here in Chicago for a 10 day walking journey – Classroom Alive Chicago!

Exploration & experiencial learning all over Chicagoland, starting at at Elderberries 3-Fold Bio-dynamic Outpost & Cultrual Hub 4251 N. Lincolon Ave. Chicago, IL. 60618

for more info. contact Ultra-Violet Archer, or Frank Agrama

Details TBA #ClassroomAliveChicago2020

Thank you for forwarding this flier for any interested young people –

Co-sponsored in part by The Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Festival & Program Coordinator

August 20-23, 2020 Questions of Courage Youth Conference at Elderberries

Frank Agrma

Questions of Courage 2020 in Chicago – August 20-23 Elderberries Biodynamic Outpost and 3Fold Cultural Hub 4251 N. Lincolon Ave. Chicago, IL. 60618

August 20: Check-in, share conversation, build the ground for the journey together.

August 21-22: Travel to Wisconsin Move together towards the land, link up with Farmer John and Haidy Angelic Organics Biodynamic Farm, and also with Dana and Phil Burns at Healing Traditions and Alizur farm. Connect with the land, plants, animals, and one another, through creative explorations and “roughin’ it” type amendments. Sleep under the stars or indoors.

August 23: Return to Chicago Enter back into the metropolitan context, into the social questions of urban life, and close the gathering together at Elderberries, setting the ground for future work out of questions of courage that are present.

Other locations and collaborators are currently in dialogue, and will be updated here.

The gathering is essentially about stepping into the living natural element, step by step, making an integral connection, with one another, ourselves, and the elements that support us here on the Earth…”

registration: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSdY7KXHkjUPV2h9UD…/viewform

Thank you Elderberries for giving us an anchor to build our heartland gathering around!


August 27-30, HOW WE WILL 2020


At Elderberries 3-fold Bio-Dynamic Outpost

for more info. contact Frank Agrama or Dottie Zold

Details TBA Co-sponsored in part by The Rudolf Steiner Branch Chicago -Hazel Archer-Ginsberg, Festival & Program Coordinator

2 thoughts on “‘Putting Stars in the Soil’

  1. Hi Hazel,

    To acknowledge the death of someone close to you is a huge thing. It warrants a kind of admirable silence, and stillness of thought. After three days it becomes possible to say more. Rudolf Steiner specifically refers to this when he spoke about the beginning of chapter two of the Gospel of St. John. Here it says: “On the third day there was a marriage in Cana, and the Mother of Jesus was there”. According to Steiner in his Hamburg course on the Gospel of John, GA 103, something important occurs on the third day. What is it? It is understanding that begins on the third day. And this is a general principle. Why? Because it actually takes three days before anything received in its initial formulation to pass into the etheric body and become “rounded off”. This then becomes the beginning of understanding out of original and naive knowledge.

    So, I was thinking about Hugh Courtney, and without any desire or motivation to speak about him at all, and then something struck me that seems important. He died on June 15th, which was the very last day in which the Sun is in the sign of Taurus according to Rudolf Steiner’s assessment of the Sun’s actually progression through the signs of the Zodiac. He was born on July 8th, which according to Steiner is when the Sun is in the sign of Gemini, i.e., June 16 – July 19.

    Thus, Gemini is the sign of the Twins, and we know that our primordial members were Adam and Eve, and how is that a better representation than male and female for such a distinction. So, I like very much when you characterize Hugh as being both crabby and also having a gentle heart. Does that make him a Cancer, or a Gemini?

    Just thinking about this today. To live for 88 years doing what you love is a great thing. And to mark it is also a great thing. Thanks Hazel for enabling this kind of contemplation.


    1. Yes, the so-called dead are a portal into pure thinking. And we can bless & be blessed by making it our intention to be conscious of this divine opportunity to do powerful spiritual work in the world.

      Yes, since i am also a tropical Cancer & a Sidereal Gemini i can relate…

      thanks for taking these things in deeply & sharing them them so willingly…

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