16th June, 1924.
Has liquid manure the same Ego-organising force as manure itself?
The essential point is to have the manure and the liquid manure properly
combined. Use them in such a way that they work together, each contributing
to the organising forces of the soil. The connection with the Ego applies
in the fullest sense to the manure, though this does not hold good,
generally speaking, for the liquid manure. Every Ego — even the
potentiality of an Ego, as it is in the manure — must work in
some kind of connection with an astral factor. The manure would have
no astrality if “manure juice” did not accompany it. Thus
liquid manure helps — it has the stronger astral force, the dung
itself the stronger Ego-force. The dung is like the brain; the liquid
manure is like the brain-secretion — the astral force, the fluid
portion of the brain, i.e. the cerebral fluid.
Might we have the indications as to the proper constellations?
(by Dr. Vreede): The exact indications cannot be given now.
The necessary calculations cannot be done in a moment. Broadly speaking,
the period from the beginning of February until August will hold good
for the insect preparations. For field-mice, the periods will vary from
year to year. For this year (1924) the time from the second half of
November to the first half of December would be right.
Steiner: The principles of an anthroposophical calendar, such as
was planned at the time, should be carried out more fully. Then you
could follow such a calendar precisely.
Speaking of full Moon and new Moon, do you mean the actual day of the
full or new Moon, or do you include the time shortly before and after?
You call it new Moon from the moment when this picture appears, approximately
speaking (Diagram 22). This picture is there; then it vanishes. And
you reckon it full Moon from the time when the following picture occurs.
New Moon, therefore, from the time when the Moon appears as a quite
narrow crescent, and then disappears. Twelve to fourteen days in each
Can insects, unobtainable at the season of the given constellation,
be kept until the proper time arrives?
We shall give more exact indications of the time when the preparations
should be made. The several forms of insects can no doubt be kept.
Must the weed-seeds be burnt in summer, or can it be done at any time?
Not too long after collecting the seed.
What of the sprinkling of insect-pepper taken from insects that have
never come into actual contact with the earth?
Sprinkle it on the earth just the same. For the insect, the process
does not depend on physical contact, but on the quality communicated
by these homoeopathic doses. The insect has quite another kind of sensitiveness;
it flees from what ensues when the preparation is sprinkled in the earth.
That the insect does not come into direct contact with the earth makes
no difference at all.
What of the harmfulness of frost in farming, especially for the tomato?
In what cosmic relationship is frost to be understood?
If the tomato is to grow nice and big, it must be kept warm; it suffers
greatly from frost.
As to frost
in general, you must realise what it is that comes to expression in
the effects of frost. These effects always represent a great enhancement
of the cosmic influences at work in the earth. This cosmic influence
has its normal mean when certain degrees of temperature are prevalent;
then it is just as the plant requires it. If, on occasion, we get frost
of long duration or too intense and deeply penetrating, the influence
of the heavens on the earth is too strong, and the plants will tend
to ramify in various directions, to form thread-like growths, to spread
out thinly. And the resulting growths, being thin, will under certain
conditions naturally be received by the prevailing frost, and destroyed.
Frost, therefore, when it goes too far, is undoubtedly harmful to plant-growth,
simply because too much of the heavens comes into the soil of the earth.
Should one treat the bodies of animals with the burnt relics of horse-flies
and the like, or should these relics be scattered over the meadows and
Wherever the animal feeds. Sprinkle the relics over the fields; they
are all to be thought of as additions to the manure.
What is the best way of combating couch-grass? It is very difficult,
is it not, to get the seeds?
The mode of propagation of the couch-grass you have in mind —
where it never goes so far as to form seed — will in the end eliminate
itself. If you get no seed, you have not really got the weed. If, on
the other hand, it establishes itself so strongly that it plants itself
and continues to grow rampantly, you then have the means to combat it,
for you will soon find as much seed as you require, because, in fact,
you need so very little. After all, you can also find four-leaved clover.
Is it permissible to conserve masses of fodder with the electric current?
What would you attain by so doing? You must consider the whole part
played by electricity in Nature. It is at least comforting that voices
are now being heard in America — where, on the whole, a better
gift of observation is appearing than in Europe — voices, I mean,
to the effect that human beings cannot go on developing in the same
way in an atmosphere permeated on all sides by electric currents and
radiations. It has an influence on the whole development of man.
quite true; man's inner life will become different if these things are
carried as far as is now intended. It makes a difference whether you
simply supply a certain district with steam-engines or electrify the
railway lines. Steam works more consciously, whereas electricity has
an appallingly unconscious influence; people simply do not know where
certain things are coming from. Without a doubt, there is a trend of
evolution in the following direction. Consider how electricity is now
being used above the earth as radiant and as conducted electricity,
to carry the news as quickly as possible from one place to another.
This life of men in the midst of electricity, notably radiant electricity,
will presently affect them in such a way that they will no longer be
able to understand the news which they receive.so rapidly. The effect
is to damp down their intelligence. Such effects are already to be seen
to-day. Even to-day you can notice how people understand the things
that come to them with far greater difficulty than they did a few decades
ago. It is comforting that from America, at least, a certain perception
of these facts is at last beginning to arise.
It is a
remarkable fact that whenever something new appears, as a rule in the
early stages it is heralded as a remedy — a means of healing.
Then the prophets get hold of it. It is strange, where a new thing appears,
clairvoyant perception is often reduced to a very human level! Here
is a man who makes all sorts of prophecies about the healing powers
of electricity, where no such thing would previously have occurred to
him. Things become fashionable! No one was able to imagine healing people
by electricity so long as electricity was not there. Now — not
because it is there, but because it has become the fashion — now
it is suddenly proclaimed as a means of healing. Electricity —
applied as radiant electricity — is often no more a means of healing
than it would be to take tiny little needles and prick the patient all
over with them. It is not the electricity — it is the shock that
has the healing effect.
must not forget that electricity always works on the higher organisation,
the head-organisation both of man and animal; and correspondingly, on
the root-organisation in the plant. It works very strongly there. If,
therefore, you use electricity in this way — if you pour electricity
through the foodstuffs — you create foodstuffs which will gradually
cause the animal that feeds on them to grow sclerotic. It is a slow
process; it will not be observed at once. The first thing will be, that
in one way or another the animals will die sooner than they should.
Electricity will not at first be recognised as the cause; it will be
ascribed to all manner of other things.
once for all, is not intended to work into the realm of the living —
it is not meant to help living things especially; it cannot do so. You
must know that electricity is at a lower level than that of living things.
Whatever is alive — the higher it is, the more it will tend to
ward off electricity. It is a definite repulsion. If now you train a
living thing to use its means of defence where there is nothing for
it to ward off, the living creature will thereby become nervous or fidgety,
and eventually sclerotic.
What does Spiritual Science say to the preservation of foodstuffs by
acidification, as in the Silage-process?
If you are using salt-like materials at all in the process — taken
in the wider Sense — it makes comparatively little difference
whether you add the salt at the moment of consumption or add it to the
fodder. If you have fodder with insufficient salt-content to drive the
foodstuffs to the parts of the organism where they should be working,
the souring of such fodder will certainly be beneficial.
suppose you have turnips, swedes, etc., in a certain district. We have
seen that they are especially fitted to influence the head-organisation.
They are excellent fodder for certain animals — young cattle,
for example. If, on the other hand, in some district you notice that
as a result of such fodder the animal tends to lose hair too early or
too much, then you will salt the fodder. For you will know that it is
not being sufficiently deposited at those parts of the organism which
it should reach; it is not getting far enough. Salt, as a rule, has
an exceedingly strong influence in this direction, causing a foodstuff
to reach the place in the organism where it ought to work.
What is the attitude of Spiritual Science to the ensiling of the leaves
of sugar-beet, etc., and other green plants?
You should See that you get the optimum effect; you must not go beyond
the optimum in the method used. Generally speaking, the souring will
not have a harmful effect unless carried to excess by the addition of
excessive quantities of admixtures. For the salt-like constituents are
precisely those that tend most strongly to remain as they are in the
the organism (the animal organism also, and the human to a still greater
extent) is so constituted that it changes whatever it absorbs in the
most manifold ways. It is mere prejudice to think, for example, that
any part of the protein you introduce through the stomach is still available
after this point in the same form in which you introduce it. The protein
must be completely transformed into dead substance, and must then be
changed back again by the etheric body of man himself (or of the animal)
into a protein which is then specifically human or animal protein.
that penetrates into the organism must undergo a complete change. What
I am saying applies even to the ordinary warmth. I will draw it diagrammatically
(Diagram 23). Assume that you have here a living organism; here you
have warmth in its environment. Suppose on the other hand that you here
have a piece of wood, which, though it comes from a living organism,
is already dead, and you have warmth in its environment. Into the living
organism the warmth cannot simply penetrate; it does not merely penetrate
it. The moment the warmth begins to come inside, it is already worked
upon by the living organism; it changes into warmth that has been assimilated
and transmuted by the living organism itself. Indeed, it cannot rightly
be otherwise. Into the dead wood, on the other hand, the warmth will
simply penetrate; the warmth inside is the Same as in the surrounding
mineral kingdom of the earth.
with living bodies. The moment any warmth begins to penetrate unchanged
into our organism, for example — as it would penetrate into a
piece of wood — that moment, we catch cold. Whatever enters from
outside into the living organism must not remain as it is; it must at
once be changed. This process takes place least of all in salt. Hence,
with the salts, used in the way you indicate for ensiling the foodstuffs
— provided you are just a little sensible and do not give too
much (for then in any case the animal would reject the food because
of its taste) — you will do no great harm. If it is necessary
for preservation, that in itself is a sign that the process is right.
Is it advisable to ensile the fodder without salt?
That is a process much too far advanced. It is, I would say, a super-organic
process. When it has gone too far, it can under certain circumstances
be extremely harmful.
Is the Spanish whiting (sometimes used to mitigate the souring effects)
harmful to animals?
Certain animals cannot stand it at all; they become ill at once. Some
animals can stand it; I cannot say which at the moment. Generally speaking,
it will not do the animals much good; they will tend to become ill.
I imagine the gastric juice will be dulled by using it?
Yes, it will be made ineffective.
I should like to ask if it is not of great importance in what frame
of mind one approaches these matters? It makes a great difference whether
you are sowing corn or scattering a preparation for destructive ends.
Surely the attitude of mind must come into question. If you work against
the insects by such means as are here indicated, will it not have a
greater karmic effect than if in single instances you get rid of the
animals by some mechanical means?
As to the attitude of mind — surely the chief point is whether
it be good or bad! What do you mean by the “destruction”?
You need but consider the whole way in which you have to think about
these things in any case. Take to-day's lecture, for instance,
and the way it has been held; when, for example, I pointed out how one
must know about the things of Nature: how one must see from the outer
appearance, say, of the linseed or the carrot, what kind of process
it will undergo inside the animal.
go through such an objective education if this knowledge becomes a reality
in you at all, that it is surely quite unthinkable without your being
permeated with a certain piety and reverence. Then you will also have
the impulse to do these things in the service of mankind and of the
were to result from the spirit in which you do them, it could only be
a question of your bringing in deliberately evil intentions. Yes —
you would have to have downright bad intentions. If, therefore, common
morality is at the same time fostered, I cannot imagine how it should
have bad effects in any way. Do you conceive that to run after an animal
and kill it would be less bad?
I was referring to the manner of destruction — whether it be by
mechanical means, or by these cosmic workings — whether that makes
This question raises very complicated issues, the understanding of which
depends upon your seeing them in large connections. Let us assume, for
instance, that you draw a fish out of the sea and kill it. Then you
have killed a living thing. You have carried out a process which takes
place upon a certain level. Now let us assume that for some purpose
you scoop up a vessel of sea-water in which much fish-spawn is contained.
You will thus be destroying a whole host of life. Thereby you will have
done something very different than in destroying the single fish. You
will have carried out a process on an entirely different level.
an entity in Nature passes on into the finished fish, it has followed
a certain path. If you reverse this path, you are bringing something
into disorder. But if I hold up, at an earlier stage, a process which
is not yet completed (or which has not yet come to an end in the blind-alley
of the finished organism), then I have not by any means done the same
thing as when I kill the finished organism.
therefore reduce your question to this: What is the wrong I do when
I make the pepper? What I destroy by the pepper scarcely comes into
question. The only thing that could come into question would be the
creatures I need to make the pepper. And to do this, I shall obviously
in most cases destroy far fewer animals than if I had to catch them
all with much trouble, and kill them. I fancy, if you think it over
in a practical way and not so abstractly, it will no longer seem to
you so monstrous.
Can human faeces be used, and to what treatment must it be submitted
Human faeces should be used as little as possible. It has very little
effect as manure, and it is far more harmful than any kind of manure
could possibly be. If you will use human faeces, so much as
will find its way into the manure of its own accord on a normal farm
is quite sufficient. Take that as your maximum measure of what is not
yet harmful. You know there are so and so many people on a normal farm,
and if with all the manure you get from the animals and in other ways
there is also mixed what comes from the human beings — that is
the maximum amount which may be used.
It is the
greatest abuse when human manure is used in the neighbourhood of Large
cities; for in large cities there is enough for an agricultural district
of immense proportions. Surely you cannot fall a prey to the demented
idea of using up the human dung on a Small territory in the neighbourhood
of a large city — say, Berlin. You need only eat the plants that
grow there; they will soon show you what it means. If you do it with
asparagus, or anything that remains more or less sincere and upright,
you will soon see what happens.
you must bear in mind that if you eat this kind of dung for growing
plants which animals will eat, the eventual result is even more harmful,
for in the animals much of it will remain at this level. In passing
through the organism, many things remain at the level which the asparagus
preserves when it goes through the human body. In this respect crass
ignorance is responsible for the most awful abuses.
How can red murrain (Erysipelas) in swine be combated?
That is a veterinary question. I have not considered it, because no
one has yet asked my advice about it. But I think you will be able to
treat it by external applications of grey antimony ore in the proper
doses. It is a veterinary, a medical question, for this is a specific
Can the Wild Radish, which is a bastard, also
be combated with these peppers?
The powders of which I have spoken are specifically effective only for
the plants from which they are derived. Thus, if a plant is really the
outcome of crossing with other species, one would expect it to be immune.
Symbioses will not be affected.
What about green manuring?
It also has its good side, especially if you use it for fruit-culture,
in orchardry. Such questions cannot be answered in an absolutely general
way. For certain things, green manuring is useful. You must apply it
to those plants where you wish to induce a strong effect on the growth
of the green leaves. If this is your intention, you may well supplement
other manures with a little green manuring.