The wild and wonderful world of nature spirits may remain hidden to those not living close to nature; and even gardeners may fail to recognize that they are working in cooperation with the nature spirits. Cosmic influences support healthy soil conditions and all plant growth, and include the great hidden work of nature spirits, also known as the elementals. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biodynamic gardening, referred to the elementals as the light-filled preservers of cosmic reason within and around the Earth. Our human capacity to live in harmony with nature, abide by natural law and to evolve with cosmic understanding are intimately woven into our ability to work in cooperation with nature spirits.

There are some who surmise that the elementals belong to the fictitious realm of fairy tales and mythical legends when in fact, our knowledge as to how the plant world truly works can be found in the secretive jobs performed by the elementals. I would surmise that our ancestors, living in close connection to the natural world, possessed a sentient understanding of such hidden forces at work in nature, and attempted to illustrate these covert characters through the gift of their imagination.


The gnomes work within the darkness of the soil as unseen messengers, and carry the essence of all creation with them on their nomadic roaming throughout the ground of the Earth. The healthy root systems of all plant life is governed by the gnomes.

The dreamy water spirits known as the undines govern the upward-striving growth of all plants by bringing them the necessary life-giving moisture.

The delicate air spirits known as the sylphs flow along the air currents absorbing the power of light with which they bathe all plant life in this illumination.

Lastly, the passionate fire spirits gather the heat from the sun and even far away planets and stars with which they carry warmth and light for nourishing all flowering plants.

Nature spirits work cooperatively with one another as they utilize earthly and cosmic wisdom for the gnomes to carry the life ether to the roots of all plants while the undines foster the chemical ether, the sylphs the light ether and the fire spirits the warmth ether. Thus do the elementals reveal the highest expression of synarchy at work within the ecological environment of our planet.

We humans are not so unlike the plants as our spirits search for the earthly and cosmic wisdom by which to grow and blossom. We depend upon plant life for our nourishment and survival, and our direct experience with the mysteries of sprouting, flowering and fruiting plants grants us the spiritual wisdom of the natural world and its laws that we need for our growth. Steiner suggested in his day that mankind had yet to evolve the super-sensible attributes by which to sense and perceive the presence of the nature spirits. It appears that we still remain limited in our ability to perceive the elementals, and to receive all the wonder that nature has to give us. Our lack of perception for the reality of nature spirits might explain why we continue to ignorantly assault our soils and plants with an endless bombardment of toxic pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers. This continuous rain of poisons upon our planet severely diminishes the presence of nature spirits, and prevents our production of healthy soils and food. So long as we fail to work in cooperation with the elementals, the health of humanity, our planet and all living creatures will remain at risk.

Our choice to work and live in harmony with nature spirits, as well as the natural laws governing creation, can produce such wonders as found at Findhorn in Scotland and Perelandra in Virginia. Both the community at Findhorn and the farm at Perelandra are true testimonies for mankind’s spiritual sensibility working in co-creative harmony with nature’s spirit and intelligence. The nature spirits require our full participation in working cooperatively with them so that we might heal the split between the seen and unseen realms, and return to living in harmony with natural law that assures us a soulful world full of magic and wonder.