The Second International Conference on Homeopathy for Plants was held in Maringa, Brazil over the weekend of the 7th and 8th September 2013.
I was flattered that this gathering of around 200 people took its lead from the first conference that I initiated two years before with the encouragement of Dr Waris of Lahore. The informal UK event at Oaklands Park attracted fewer people (50) but from more countries – 13. The Brazilian event was predominantly attended by Brazilians and was held in a convention centre in a very comfortable hotel in town. I could look across at the conical cathedral from the 22nd storey where I had a luxurious room and contemplate the contrasts.
Brazil has embraced homeopathy at the governmental level and this has made it possible for there to be two universities with departments dedicated to developing homeopathy within agriculture. The attitude which normally dominates UK academia is that homeopathy is intellectually bankrupt and should be bracketed along with Ouija boards and Harry Potter. Whilst this attitude is not absent, the university has labs, faculties, inter-disciplinary discussions, graduates and undergraduates busily producing academic papers as a result of trials that stick to the scientific method. The university gives guidance and trains farmers and gardeners through various outreach initiatives and undertakes research on the basis of the needs of those same growers.
Professor Carlos Bonato, head of department at Maringa University, invited me to address the delegates on experiences from outside Brazil and to form a link to the first event. I also gave myself permission to discuss the impact of the official recognition in Brazil for those beyond Brazil who have to fight to be taken seriously. I showed the delegates some of the more visible impacts of using potencies in a powerpoint (http://tinyurl.com/qd62kh4 ) and showed them images of Kolisko Farm since Lili Kolisko’s work is acknowledged to be the start of all such strivings.
I explored the tension between the agricultural homeopaths and biodynamics – an approach which is also present in Brazil and was represented at the conference by a handful of people. Whilst Lili Kolisko and Dr Steiner were clearly working 50 years before the homeopaths considered agriculture, biodynamics does little to bring academia and their work closer together. In part this is because Steiner, unlike Hahnemann, does not pull his punches about the spiritual foundations of his work, and the dominant scientific paradigm considers the so-called spirit to be an emergent or derivative phenomenon of the one actuality – matter. This is compounded by the lack of work in the academic tradition on biodynamics. However, I pressed on to show how Hahnemann’s process of trituration would seem to echo the one hour of stirring of the field preparations. I mistimed my translated talk so I had to leave out the clearest example I know which I consider to confirm this, but I pointed the interested listener to the paper (http://tinyurl.com/msryqvh) that I submitted for the annals in which this was described. Actually, this worked out rather well because those who were interested collared me in the breaks and social evening to discuss this episode at greater length. It is clear that Dr Steiner’s work may be a difficult cousin to integrate from the academic point of view, but it is of great fascination to the less restricted spirit of enquiry of the individuals.
I continue to ponder that the academic approach to the homeopaths’ work seems to be led by trial and error and anthropomorphic analogies from human homeopathy, whilst there exists an enlightened approach to biodynamics which not only slipstreams Dr. Steiner but also works from first principles. There is a fascinating area of overlap following Lili Kolisko’s work, and currently the baton is held by Glen Atkinson in New Zealand and Enzo Nastati in Italy.
Along with the many posters and reports of specific investigations (http://tinyurl.com/ICHA2013Papers ), presenters also discussed testing preparations and remedies, including the evaporated drop images being developed in Bologne and work from Russia on Excited Photon Imaging or Gas Discharge Visualisation. Some approach the mystery of agriculture and homeopathy from a material perspective, others from a spiritual perspective, but I feel that these different directions of travel do not make opponents.
I would like to thank the AS in GB who supported my travel. I hope that this input will be returned many-fold as this discipline finds its identity, and the best of homeopathy and biodynamics pollinate each other.