Introduction to Presentation on the Wave Principle

Farmer John did the following presentation on Wave Principle to a large audience at the 33rd Guelph Organic Conference, Sunday, August 2nd, 2013. About 2/3 of the audience were farmers, many of them Biodynamic farmers. Only Part 1 of his keynote is found here, the part about Wave Principle.

Much of the content of Part 2 is available at Metamorphosis of the Peterson Farmstead.

Much of the content of Part 3 is available at The Farm as Social Organism.


The text below was the basic framework for his talk about the Wave Principle, but much of the presentation was improvised, not read.

Sketch of the Wave Principle

Since the theme of this Conference is “Catching the Wave,” I’m going to start with a sketch of the Wave Principle. How many here are familiar with the Wave Principle?

[Note: only a very few people raised their hands.]

I mean a sketch. When I agreed to this keynote, I thought I was going to have more than an hour and a half for the whole presentation, which will include how I’ve transformed farmstead infrastructure to support social life at Angelic Organics, and a look at social life on and off the farm, but time is limited to this hour and a half. Think of my introduction to Wave Principle a little like getting a field planted in less time than is available, because the rain is coming. You get the field planted in the window that is there. At the end of the whole session, there will be some time for questions, and I’m sure many questions will come up about Wave Principle. There are books, webinars, and workshops on this topic, so if your questions aren’t answered today, you can find a great amount of information on the topic later. I’m not trying to convince anyone here that Wave Principle plays a role in our lives and throughout the universe; I just want to offer some pictures of what might be going on.

I’m going to get personal right off the bat. I feel I’m taking a little risk with this, because it’s mostly about me, my life, my journey, but for months something has been nudging me to present on this, so here goes.

My first conscious encounter with Wave Principle came about in a somewhat mysterious way. For those of you who might know a bit about me, maybe you watched the film The Real Dirt on Farmer John, I lost most of my farm in the early 80’s and became quite incapacitated with grief.

From a story I wrote about my journey to classical homeopathy and then to Biodynamics, “I Don’t Believe It,”…this story is available for anyone who wants a copy after the presentation…just pick up a copy on your way out…

“For two years after the sale, I could hardly get out of bed. I barely recognized myself. Land gone. Friends gone. Money gone. Rashes over my body. I was terribly weakened.

“Just cleaning my house back then was the biggest struggle—just sweeping the floor. ‘This is a broom,’ I’d think to myself. ‘A broom sweeps the floor, but in order to sweep the floor, I’ll have to take hold of the broom with both hands. How will I accomplish this huge task, of taking the broom with two hands and then pushing it about on the floor?’

“‘Who is this person?’ I would ask myself. I used to run a big farm.

grain truck
I rented hundreds of neighboring acres, raised corn, wheat, soybeans, hay.
Feeding the Hogs.300
I raised hogs, cattle.
john with cows 20 years.100
I milked.

I made things happen, kept things going. And there I was, sweeping the floor of my house—I was not sure I could do it. Perhaps I could sweep half of it now. Then take a little nap, and maybe then I would be able to sweep the other half.”

Here’s an excerpt of this deranged life I was living, from The Real Dirt on Farmer John:

I had lost my strength, my power. I had lost my capacity to transform will into action. I pondered this loss: what is power? what is strength? what is will?

About this time, my early 30’s, I encountered Bob Prechter’s and Ralph Nelson Elliott’s book the Elliott Wave Principle, which is basically a model for how stock market behavior manifests patterns that are generated by phi, the factors .618, 1.618, .382 and their derivatives. Phi is also the basis for the Fibonacci series of numbers which I’m sure many of you have heard of. How many people here are familiar with phi or the more common way of expressing it, the fibonacci numbers, the Divine Proportion, or the Golden Mean? I’ll get into this more soon.

The Elliott Wave Principle contained a chapter about Sacred Geometry, which lead me to Secrets of the Great Pyramid, by Peter Tompkins. Some of you might be familiar with Tompkins as co-author of The Secret LIfe of Plants and Secrets of the Soil. The main takeaway from all of this research was that the ancient Egyptian culture honored and revered phi, the basis for the golden mean and the golden ratio and fibonacci numbers. In contemporary times, the invisible force we primarily honor is electricity; it organizes our lives in myriad ways. In ancient Egypt, it was the dynamic force phi that was considered to be the primary organizing power in all of creation.

In recent decades, people might say, “she’s so lit up” or “it was a real turn-on.” Imagine those ancient Egyptians, how their conversations might have gone.

“Hey, Bro, how’s the phi today?”

“Hey, trying for a .618, but it’s more like a .382.”

Tompkins offered considerable evidence that the ratios of pi and phi were incorporated into the dimensions of the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza. The coffer that most people think was a coffin for a king was most likely a representation of the geometric principles or forces that organize the universe. He made a strong case that Egyptians endeavored in their design of the exterior of the pyramid to create linear expressions or corollaries to both pi and phi, thus achieving the theoretically impossible, harmonizing the linear with the curvilinear: squaring the circle and cubing the sphere. So, we have electricity today and ancient Egypt had phi.

In the early ’80s, I envisioned for the farm a grain dryer, farrowing house, grain leg, augers and aeration fans, more studios and a large workshop.

exterior west 2_1

In anticipation of this growth, I constructed a glass and cement block building to house the electrical equipment. Its name was the powerhouse. It was a distribution center for electricity. I completed it after my farm went down. There was not going to be a grain dryer, farrowing house, grain leg, augers and aeration fans. I spent months working on it, in a kind of morbid but fascinating inquiry into how weak I had become, and could I learn something from this inquiry that could help to restore me? The powerhouse became my laboratory.

The powerhouse expresses through its location, structure, and decoration my interpretations of the origin, use, and nature of electricity, in addition to expressing references to pi and phi.


I Reynolds-Wrapped the electrical conduits. Then I blue-cellophaned them. I glittered its great switch boxes. Since we assign such a high status to electricity today (even those of us who recognize its ahrimanic nature, its true status as fallen light), I made the space ceremonial, reverential.

ceiling blue_1_3
Blue plexiglas filters the natural light as it enters under the eaves.
I paid homage to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which enshrined the forces of phi and pi.
Contemporary and ancient approaches to power combine at night.
ceiling 1_1

I invoked the sacred ratios of pi and phi with which the pharaohs had empowered their Egypt. Here you can see how the spherical mirror contains the cube of the powerhouse. You can also get a glimpse of a table on the floor with a blue ornament on top. If you look closely, you will see that the square of the table morphs into the circle of its base. The circle and the square are unified. The sphere and the cube are unified. I squared the circle, cubed the sphere.

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Phi shows up throughout nature, and in a lot of art and architecture, especially classical architecture. Here are some examples from the Elliott Wave Principle. When you make changes to your own homes, barns and sheds, you an work with the harmonizing principle of phi. You can design a room that is 1.1618 as long as it is wide. You can choose windows that are .618 as wide as they are high. You don’t have to be a trained architect to imbue your spaces with this golden harmony.


Here’s a sketch or basic outline of the Wave Principle. Ralph Nelson Elliott (namesake of Elliott Wave) was housebound with sickness during the Great Depression, so he spent a lot of time on his porch studying stock market charts. He believed he saw the power of phi expressed as wave patterns in the stock market, in 5 wave patterns, 3 in the direction of the trend, 2 opposite the trend, with the proportions of the waves often being in fibonacci or phi relationships. For instance, this wave 3 is often 1.618 the length of wave 1. Wave 2 might retrace .618 of wave 1. Wave 4 might be .382 of Wave 3.


It gets complicated


Here is the Wave Principle in Action, the Dow Jones chart from 1932 through the 1990’s.


Many market analysts use these fibonacci or phi relationships to predict the future of the markets. There is a whole industry that has grown up around applying Elliot Wave principle to the stock market. Are these people our modern day priests, applying phi to the markets when the ancient Egyptians applied it to the whole universe?

Bob Prechter has further developed Wave Principle to include many other trends and patterns. This new study is called Socionomics. It is based on the premise that phi or the Wave Principle determines trends and the patterns of these trends. Courses in Socionomics are actually taught now in several universities. (I actually wrote Prechter in the 80’s and asked if he thought he might have been a priest in ancient Egypt. It’s the only correspondence I ever sent him to which he did not reply.)


Here you see a wave chart of tobacco consumption.

DJIA Music

Here’s a chart of music fads correlated to stock market behavior. Prechter says that these two phenomena are merely expressions of underlying social mood, that the vacillations of social mood unfold in a way that can be charted in trends and fashions. The force that organizes the pattern of the seeds in the head of a sunflower is operating in our social lives, our economic lives, in our personal biographies.


This is a picture of classic storytelling structure, 3 acts and two turning points, or 3 waves forward and 2 corrective waves. The film about my life, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, conforms to this 3 act structure.


Here’s a picture of the force and pattern of phi in a vortex.


Here is phi expressed in a double spiral. Phi is a power that operates in our stirs of the Biodynamic preparations, the same power that operates in social, political and economic trends.

The Unfolding of the Anthroposophical Movement

Wave principle or phi expresses itself in baseball attendance numbers, golf popularity, amount of money spent on organic food, and membership subscriptions. The Anthroposophical Society’s development is also influenced by Wave Principle. I was going to do an analysis of the patterns of membership numbers in the Anthroposophical Society, since it has certainly unfolded in waves, but the data was not readily available.


One of the earmarks of wave principle is that the corrective waves, the waves that go against the main trend, waves 2 and 4 here, can seem erratic and interminable. If I could offer you an analysis of Anthroposophical membership over the years, I am sure that the society would find itself in a protracted corrective wave.

If Anthroposophy were not mired in a corrective wave, I want to give you a few indications of what it might look like today.


Here, at the newsstand, there would be several choices of Anthroposopical Magazines:







Celebrities would grace the covers and some example lead lines would be:

Lady Gaga Lazures the Town Red

Michael Pollan astoundingly regrows his hair with the Biodynamic Preparation Valerian

Katy Perry Eulogizes Eurythmy

The Kitchen Karma of Alice Waters

Justin Bieber Advocates for Social 3-folding at his Toronto bail-bond hearing

Exposed: The Internet is not the Akashic Record; it is the Mock Akashic Record. The Mockakasha dance craze sweeps the clubs.

Interview with former editor of the Biodynamic Journal Stir, Mark Ross, the new Sexy Secretary of Agriculture…I suppose that would be in AnthroNaughty.


Go with the Flow. Catch the Wave. Dance the Mockakasha!