The Peasant and the Soil in Southwestern French Biodynamic Agriculture: A Ritualistic Creative Relationship Entangled in a Holistic Commitment.
Relationships between humans and non-human entities are at the heart of Biodynamic Agriculture, founded by Rudolf Steiner and inspired by the esoteric current he created, Anthroposophy. Biodynamic Agriculture’s spiritual origins have practical consequences. It is not about improving the productivity of the farm but is rather an agriculture of care, aiming to reach a symbiotic welfare for the individual and his environment through a process of ritualization of practices. This chapter, based on the ethnography of a peasant network involved in Biodynamic Agriculture living in Southwestern France (Occitanie), shows how ritual anthropology in its relational approach framed by Michael Houseman and Carlo Severi can give a special enlightenment to this peasant practice that is intertwined between agriculture and spirituality. Analysing the analogical way of thinking in order to understand the ontological recomposition that Biodynamic Agriculture proposes, this practice can be seen as an everyday life rituality through an anthropology of gestures. Biodynamicists develop gestures as techniques to understand and relate to the “Living”, as much for self-development.