12th June, 1924.
Should the dilution be continued arithmetically?
In this respect, no doubt, certain things will yet have to he discussed.
Probably, with an increasing area you will need more water and proportionately
fewer cow-horns. You will be able to manure large areas with comparatively
few cow-horns. In Dornach we had twenty-five cow-horns; to begin with
we had a fairly Large garden to treat. First we took one horn to half
a bucketful. Then we began again, taking a whole bucketful and two cow-horns.
Afterwards we had to manure a relatively larger area. We took seven
cow-horns and seven bucketfuls.
Could one use a mechanical stirrer to stir up the manure for larger
areas, or would this not be permissible?
This is a thing you can either take quite strictly, or else you can
make up your mind to slide into substitute methods. There can be no
doubt, stirring by hand has quite another significance than mechanical
stirring. A mechanist, of course, will not admit it. But you should
consider well what a great difference it makes, whether you really stir
with your hand or in a mere mechanical fashion. When you stir manually,
all the delicate movements of your hand will come into the stirring.
Even the feelings you have may then come into it.
Of course the people of to-day will not believe that it makes any difference;
but you can tell the difference even in medical mattes. Believe me,
it is not a matter of indifference whether a medicament is prepared
more manually or mechanically. When a man works at a thing himself,
he gives something to it which it retains. To mention one example, this
is notably the case with the Ritter remedies, with which some of you
are no doubt familiar. You must not smile at such things. I have often
been asked what I think of the Ritter remedies. You are perhaps aware
that there are some who sing hymns of praise on their behalf, while
others spread the tale that they have no particular effect.
they have an effect. But I am firmly convinced that if these remedies
were brought on to the market in the usual way they would very largely
lose their influence. With these remedies especially, it makes a great
difference if the doctor himself possesses the remedy and gives it to
his patient directly. When the doctor gives such a thing to his patient,
when it is all taking place in a comparatively small circle, he brings
a certain enthusiasm with him. You may say the enthusiasm as such weighs
nothing; you cannot weigh it. Nevertheless it enters into the vibrations
if the doctors are enthusiastic. Light has a strong effect on the remedies;
why not enthusiasm? Enthusiasm mediates; it can have a great effect.
Enthusiastic doctors of to-day can achieve great results. Precisely
in this way, the Ritter remedies can have a far-reaching influence.
great effects can be called forth. But if you begin to do it in an indifferent
and mechanical fashion, the effects will soon evaporate. It makes a
difference whether you do the thing with all that proceeds from the
human hand — believe me, very much can issue from the hand —
or whether you do it with a machine. By and by, however, it might prove
to be great fun — this stirring; and you would no longer dream
of a mechanical stirrer even when many cow-horns were needed. Eventually,
I can imagine, you will do it on Sundays as an after-dinner entertainment.
Simply by having many guests invited and doing it on Sundays, you will
get the best results without machines!
No doubt there will be a little technical difficulty in distributing
half a bucketful of water over one-fifth of an acre. But when you increase
the number of cow-horns the difficulty will rapidly increase —
quite out of proportion to the number. Can the given quantity of water
be diluted still more, or is it essential to preserve the proportion
of half a bucketful? Must you take about half a bucketful to one-fifth
of an acre?
No doubt it will be possible as you suggest. But I think the method
of stirring would then have to be changed. You might do it in this way.
Stir up a cow-hornful completely in half a bucket of water, and then
dilute it to a bucketful; but you will then have to stir it again.
whole, I think it would be best to stir only half a bucketful at a time.
Reckon up, in the given instance, how much less of the stuff you need,
even if it should be less than the contents of a cowhorn. It all depends
on your bringing about a thoroughly intimate permeation. You are far
front achieving a true permeation when you merely tip the stuff into
water and stir it up a little. You must bring about a very intimate
permeation. If you merely shake in the more or less condensed substance,
or if you fall to stir it vigorously, you will not have a thorough mixture.
Therefore I think it will be easier to stir several half-bucketfuls
with small amounts of substance than to dilute the water again and stir
it up a second time.
Some solid matter will remain over, no doubt, even then. May the liquid
afterwards be strained so that it can be distributed with a mechanical
I do not think it will be necessary. For if you stir it quickly, you
will obtain a fairly cloudy liquid, and you need not trouble whether
any foreign bodies are left in it. You will not find it difficult to
distribute the manure; pure cow-manure is best for the purpose, but
even if there are foreign bodies in it, I do not think you need go to
the trouble of cleansing it. If there are foreign bodies, they might
even have a beneficial effect and do no harm. As a result of the concentration
and subsequent dilution, it is only the radiant effect that works; it
is no longer the substances as such, but the dynamic radiant activity.
Thus there would be no danger, for example, of your getting potato plants
with long shoots und nothing else upon them at the place where your
foreign bodies happened to fall. I do not think there would be any such
I only had in mind the mechanical spray.
Certainly you can strain the liquid; it will do it no harm. It might
be simplest to have your mechanical spray fitted with a sieve from the
You did not say whether the stuff from the horn should be weighed out,
so as to get a definite proportion. Speaking of half a bucketful, did
you refer to a Swiss bucket, or a precise measure of litres?
I took a Swiss bucket, the ordinary bucket they use for milking in Switzerland.
The whole thing was tested practically, in the direct perception of
it. You should now reduce it to the proper weights and measures.
Can the cow-horns be used repeatedly, or must they always be taken from
freshly slaughtered beasts?
We have not tested it, but from my general knowledge I think you should
be able to use the cow-horns three or four times running. After that
they will no longer work so well. There might even be this possibility:
Use the cow-horns for three or four years in succession; then keep them
in the cow-stable for a time, and use them again another year. This
too might be possible. But I have no idea how many cow-horns an agricultural
area can normally have at its disposal; whether or not it is necessary
to be very economical in this respect. That is a question I cannot decide
at the moment.
Where can you get the cow-horns? Must they be taken from Eastern-European
or Mid-European districts?
It makes no difference where you get them from— only not from
the refuse yard. They must be as fresh as possible. However, strange
as it may sound, it is a fact that Western life — life in the
Western hemisphere — is quite a different thing from life in the
Eastern hemisphere. Life in Africa, Asia or Europe has quite another
significance than life in America Possibly, therefore, horns from American
cattle would have to be more effective in a rather different way. Thus
it might prove necessary to tighten the manure rather more in these
horns — to make it denser, hammer it more tightly.
It is best
to take horns from your own district. There is an exceedingly strong
kinship between the forces in the cow-horns of a certain district and
the forces generally prevailing in that district. The forces of horns
from abroad might come into conflict with what is there in the earth
of your own country. You must also remember, it will frequently happen
that the cows from which you get the horns in your own district are
not really native to the district. But you can get over this difficulty.
When the cows have been living and feeding on a particular soil for
three or four years, they belong to the soil (unless they happen to
be Western cattle).
How old may the horns be? Should they be taken from an old or a young
All these things must be tested. From the essence of the matter, I should
imagine that cattle of medium age would be best.
How big should they be?
Dr. Steiner draws on the board the actual size of the horn — about
12 to 16 inches long (Diagram 9), i.e.
the normal size of horn of “Allgäu” cattle, for example.
Is it not also essential whether the horn is taken from a castrated
ox, or from a male or female animal?
In all probability the horn of the ox would be quite ineffective, and
the horn of the bull comparatively weak. Therefore I speak of cow-horns;
cows as a rule are female. I mean the female animal.
What is the best time to plant cereals?
The exact answer will be given when I come to sowing in the main lectures.
It is very important, needless to say, and it makes a great difference
whether you do it more or less near to the winter months. If near to
the winter months, you will bring about a strong reproductive power
in your cereals; if farther from the winter months, a strong nutritive
Could the cow-horn manure also be distributed with sand? Is rain of
any importance in this connection?
As to the sand you may do so; we have not tested it, but there is nothing
to be said against it. The effect of rain would also have to be tested.
Presumably it would bring about no change; it might even tend to establish
the thing more firmly. On the other hand, we are dealing with a very
high concentration of forces, and possibly the minute impact of the
falling raindrops might scatter the effect too much. It is a very delicate
process; everything must be taken into account. There is nothing to
be said against spreading sand with the cow-manure.
In storing the cow-horns and their contents, how should one prevent
any harmful influences from gaining access?
In these matters it is generally true to say that you do more harm by
removing the harmful influences, so-called, than by leaving them alone.
Nowadays, as you know, people are always wanting to “disinfect”
things. Undoubtedly they go too far in this. With our medicaments, for
example, we found that if we wished absolutely to prevent the possibility
of mould, we had to use methods which interfere with the real virtue
of the medicament.
I for my
part have no great respect for these “harmful influences.”
They do not do nearly so much harm. The best thing is, not to go out
of our way in devising methods of purification, but to let well alone.
(We only put pig's bladder over the top to prevent the soil from falling
to clean the horns by any special methods is not at all to be recommended.
We must familiarise ourselves with the fast that “dirt”
is not always dirt. If, for example. you cover your face with a thin
layer of gold, it is “dirt” and yet, gold is not dirt. Dirt
is not always dirt. Sometimes it is the very thing that acts as a preservative.
Should the extreme “chaoticizing” of the send, of which
you spoke, be supported or enhanced by any special methods?
You could do so, but it would be superfluous. If the seed-forming process
occurs at all, the maximum of chaos will come of its own accord. There
is no need to support it. It is in manuring that the support is needed.
In the seed-forming process, I do not think it will be necessary to
enhance the chaos any more. If there is fertilising seed at all, the
chaos is complete. You could do it, of course, by making the soil more
silicious. It is through silica that the essential cosmic forces work.
cosmic forces are caught up by the earth, work through the silica. You
could do it in this way, but I do not believe it is necessary.
How Large should the experimental plots be? Will it not also be necessary
to do something for the cosmic forces that should be preserved until
the new plant is formed?
You might experiment as follows. It is comparatively easy to give general
guiding lines; but the most suitable scale on which to work is a thing
you must test for yourselves. It will not, however, be difficult to
make experiments on this question. Set out your plants in two separate
beds, side by side — a bed of wheat, say, and a bed of sainfoin.
Then you will find this possibility. In the one plant — wheat
— which of its own accord tends easily to lasting seed-formation,
you will retard the seed-forming process by the use of silica. Meanwhile,
with the sainfoin, you will find the seed-forming process quite suppressed
or very much retarded.
these things, you can always take this as a basis of comparison: Study
the properties of cereals — wheat, for example — and then
compare them with the analogous properties of sainfoin, or leguminosae
generally. You will thus have the most interesting experiments on seed-formation.
Does it matter when the diluted stuff is brought on to the
Undoubtedly it does. You can generally leave the cow-horns in the earth
until you need them. They will not deteriorate, even if after hibernating
they are left for a while during the summer. If, however, you do need
to keep them elsewhere, having taken them out of the earth, you should
make a box, upholster it well with a cushion of peat-moss on all sides,
and put the cow-horns inside. Then the strong inner concentration will
be preserved. In any case. it is inadvisable to keep the watery fluid
after dilution. You must do the stirring not too long before you use
If we want to treat the winter corn, must we use the cow-horns a whole
quarter after taking them out of the earth?
It does not matter essentially, but it will always be better to leave
them in the earth until you need them. If you are going to use them
in the early autumn, leave them in the earth until you need them. It
will in no way harm the manure.
With the fine spraying of the liquid due to the spraying machine, will
not the etheric and astral forces be wasted?
Certainly not; they are intensely bound. Altogether, when you are dealing
with spiritual things — unless you drive them away yourself from
the outset — you need not fear that they will run away from you
nearly as much as with material things.
How should one treat the cow-horns with mineral content, after they
have spent the summer in the earth?
It will not hurt to take them out and keep them anywhere you like; you
can throw them in a heap anywhere. It will not hurt the stuff, when
it has once spent the summer in the earth. Let the sun shine on them;
it will not hurt, it will even do them good.
Must the horns be buried at the same place — on the same field
which you will afterwards be wanting to manure, or can they he buried
all together at any place you choose?
It makes so little difference that you need not worry about it. In practice,
it will he best to look for a place where the soil is comparatively
good. I mean, where the earth is not too highly mineral, but contains
plenty of humus. Then you can bury all the cow-horns you need in one
What about using machines on the farm? Is it not said that machines
should not be used at all?
That cannot really be answered purely as a farming question. Within
the social life of to-day, it is hardly a practical, hardly a topical
question to ask whether machines are allowable. You can hardly be a
farmer nowadays without using machines. Needless to say, not all
operations are so nearly akin to the most intimate processes of
Nature as the stirring of which we were speaking just now. Just as
we did not want to mix up such an intimate process of Nature with
purely mechanical elements, so it is with regard to the other things
of which you are thinking. Nature herself, in any case, sees to it
that where machines are out of place you can do very little with
them. A machine will not help in the seed-forming process, for
example; Nature does it for herself.
I think the question is not very practical. How can you do without machines
nowadays? On the other hand, I may remark that as a farmer you need
not just be crazy on machines. If one has a particular craze for machines,
he will undoubtedly do worse as a farmer, even if his new machine is
an improvement, than if he goes an using his old machine until it is
worn out. However, in the strict sense of the word these are no longer
purely farming questions.
Could the given quantity of cow-horn manure, diluted with water, be
used on half the area you indicated?
Then you would get rampant growths; you would get the result I hinted
at just now in another connection. If, for example, you did this in
potato-growing or the like, you would get rampant plants with highly
ramified stems; what you are really wanting would not develop properly.
Apply the stuff in excess and you will get what are generally known
as rank patches.
What about a fodder plant, which you want to grow rampant — spinach
There, too, I think we shall only use the half-bucketful with the one
cow-horn. That is what we did in Dornach with a patch that was mainly
vegetable garden. For plants that are grown over larger areas, you will
need far less in proportion. It is already the optimum amount.
Does it matter what kind of manure you use — cow- or horse- or
Undoubtedly cow-manure is best for this procedure. Still, it might also
be well to investigate whether or no horse-manure could be used. lf
you want to treat horse-manure in this way, you will probably find that
you need to wrap the horn up to some extent in horse-hair taken from
the horse's mane. You will thus make effective the forces which in the
horse — as it has no horns — are situated in the mane.
Should it be done before or after sowing the seed?
The proper thing is to do it before. We shall see how it works; this
year we began rather late, and some things will be done after sowing.
We shall see whether it makes any difference. However, as a normal matter
of course, you should do it before sowing, so as to influence the soil
Can the same cow-horns that have been used for manure be used for the
mineral substance too?
Yes, but here too you cannot use them more than three or four times.
After that they lose their forces.
Does it matter who does the work? Can anyone you choose do the work,
or should it be an anthroposophist?
That is the question. If you raise such a question at all nowadays,
you will be laughed at, no doubt, by many people. Yet I need only remind
you that there are people whose flowers, grown in the window-box, thrive
wonderfully, while with others they do not thrive at all but fade and
wither. These are simple facts.
that take place through human influence, though they cannot be outwardly
explained, are inwardly quite clear and transparent. Moreover, such
things will come about simply as a result of the human being practising
meditation; preparing himself by meditative life, as I described it
in yesterday's lecture. For when you meditate you live quite differently
with the nitrogen which contains the Imaginations. You thereby put yourself
in a position which will enable all these things to be effective; you
put yourself in this position over against the whole world of plant-growth.
these things are no longer as clear to-day as they used to be in olden
times, when they were universally accepted. For there were times when
people knew that by certain definite practices they could make themselves
fitted to tend the growth of plants. Nowadays, when such things are
not observed, the presence of other people disturbs them. These delicate
and subtle influences are lost when you are constantly living and moving
among men and women who take no notice of such things. Hence, if you
try to apply them, it is very easy to prove them fallacious. And I am
loth to speak openly as yet about these things in a large company of
people. The conditions of life nowadays are such that it is only too
easy to refute them.
ticklish question was raised, for example, by our friend Stegemann in
the discussion in the Hall the other day, namely, whether parasites
could be combated by such means — by means of concentration or
the like. There can be no question about it that you can, provided you
did it in the right way. Notably you would want to choose the proper
season — from the middle of January to the middle of February
— when the earth unfolds the greatest forces, the forces that
are most concentrated in the earth itself. Establish a kind of festival
time, and practise certain concentrations during the season, and the
effects might well be evident.
As I said,
it is a ticklish question, but it can be answered positively along these
lines. The only condition is that it must be done in harmony with Nature
as a whole. You should be well aware that it makes all the difference
whether you do an exercise of concentration in the winter-time or at
midsummer. How much is contained in many of the old folk-proverbs! Even
the people of to-day might still derive many a valuable hint from these.
have mentioned it in yesterday's lecture: Among the many things I should
have done in this present incarnation, but did not find it possible
to do, was this. When I was a young man I had the idea to write a kind
of “peasant's philosophy,” setting down the conceptual life
of the peasants in all the things that touch their lives. It might have
been very beautiful. The statement of the Count, that peasants are stupid,
would have been refuted. A subtle wisdom would have emerged —
a philosophy dilating upon the intimacies of Nature's life —
a philosophy contained in the very formation of the words. One marvels
to see how much the peasant knows of what is going on in Nature.
however, it would no longer be possible to write a peasant's philosophy.
These things have been almost entirely lost. It is no longer as it was
fifty or forty years ago. Yet it was wonderfully significant; you could
learn far more from the peasants than in the University. That was an
altogether different time. You lived with the peasants in the country,
and when those people came along with their broad-brimmed hats, introducing
the Socialist Movement of to-day, they were only the eccentricities
of life. To-day the whole world is changed. The younger ladies and gentlemen
here present have no idea how the world has changed in the last thirty
or forty years. How much has been lost of the true peasants' philosophy,
of the real beauty of the folk-dialects! It was a kind of cultural philosophy.
peasants' calendars contained what they no longer contain to-day.
Moreover, they looked quite different — there was something homely
about them. I, in my time, knew peasants' calendars printed on
very poor paper, it is true; inside, however, the planetary signs were
painted in colours, while on the cover, as the first thing to meet the
eye, there was a tiny sweet which you might tick whenever you use the
book. In this way too it was made tasty; and of course the people used
it one after another.
When larger areas are to be manured, must the number of cow-horns be
determined purely by feeling?
No, I should not advise it. In such a case, I think, we really must
be sensible. This, therefore, is my advice. Begin by testing it thoroughly
according to your feeling. When you have done all you can to get the
most favourable results in this way, then set to work and translate
your results into figures for the sake of the world as it is to-day.
So you will get the proper tables which others can use after you.
is inclined to do it out of pure feeling, by all means let him do so.
But in his attitude to others he should not behave as though he did
not value the tables. The whole thing should be translated into calculable
figures and amounts for the sake of others; it is necessary nowadays.
You need cows' horns to do it with, but you do not exactly need
to grow bulls' horns in representing it! These are the things
that lead so easily to opposition. I should advise you as far as possible
to compromise in this respect, and bear in mind the judgments of the
world at large.
Is the quick-lime treatment of the compost-heap, in the percentages
as given nowadays, to be recommended?
The old method will undoubtedly prove beneficial, only you must treat
it specifically, according to the nature of your soil — whether
it be more sandy or marshy. For a sandy soil you will need rather less
quicklime. A marshy ground will need rather more quicklime on account
of the formation of oxygen.
How about digging up and turning over the compost heap?
That is not bad for it. When you have dug it up and turned it, you should,
however, provide for its proper protection by putting a layer of earth
all around it. Cover it over with earth; peat-earth or granulated peat
is very good for the purpose.
What kind of potash did you mean, when you said it might be
used if necessary in the transition stage?
What is the best way of using the rest of the manure after the cow-horns
have been filled? Should it be brought on to the fields in autumn, so
as to undergo the winter experience? or should it be set aside until
You must remember that the cow-horn manuring is not intended as a complete
Substitute for ordinary manuring. You should go on manuring as before.
The new method should be regarded as a kind of extra, largely enhancing
the effect of the manuring hitherto applied. The latter should continue
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