While biodynamic methods have been used by farmers for centuries, the term biodynamics came into use as of the 1920s and was based on the teachings of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and his student Maria Thun. Sometimes described as a “spiritual science,” biodynamic farming involves managing a farm holistically as a regenerative living organism. Vines are fertilized using compost created on the farm, and soils are regenerated naturally through the waste droppings of farm and ranch animals. Harmful pests are controlled by encouraging a population of beneficial pests that feed on them, creating a “living balance.” Biodynamic practitioners envision plants as existing in a “middle kingdom” influenced from below by the forces of the earth and governed from above by solar and astral forces. Thus, vineyard practices such as pruning are done according to the movement of the moon through the twelve houses of the zodiac. The goal of biodynamics is to align all of the forces of Nature, creating a natural harmony.