QUESTION: Should the dilution be continued in arithmetical
ANSWER: Certain experiments must be made in this connection.
The probability is that as the area increases, larger
quantities of water and proportionately fewer cow-horns will be
required. So that with a comparatively small number of the
latter it is possible to fertilise large areas. We had
twenty-five cow-horns and these served for a fairly large
garden. We took one horn to half a bucket of water. Then we
began again with a whole bucket to two horns. For the remaining
area, which was somewhat larger we took seven horns to seven
QUESTION: In stirring the manure for large areas can one use a
mechanical stirrer or is this not permitted?
ANSWER: Here, of course, it is a question either of adhering
strictly to stirring by hand? or else of
gradually slipping into all kinds of substitutes. There
is no doubt that stirring by hand is something quite different
from mechanical stirring. Prom a mechanistic point of view this
would not be conceded, but just consider all the delicate
movements, even the sensations that are imparted by the
hand, and ask yourselves whether this could be conveyed into
the mixture by a mere machine. Not many people believe in this
difference, and yet it has been noted in medicine. Believe me,
it is not — immaterial whether a medical remedy has been
prepared by hand or not. Man imparts something to the things he
handles and works upon. I hold this to be particularly true of
the Ritter remedies with which some of you are acquainted. As
you know, some people are loud in their praises of these
remedies while others declare that they have no
particular effect. They certainly do produce an effect,
but I am firmly convinced that if these medicines were marketed
generally in the usual way they would lose something
essential from their effect, because it matters very much
that the doctor should be in possession of them and hand them
directly to the patient. When the act of giving the medicine
takes place within this limited circle, the doctor brings to it
a certain enthusiasm. Now, you will tell me that enthusiasm
carries no weight. True it cannot be weighed. But it
vibrates into the remedy. Light acts strongly upon these
remedies. Why should not enthusiasm work upon them? The Ritter
remedies are particularly powerful in this way. Enthusiasm can
do wonders. If. however, the thing is done merely then the
effect will gradually wear off. This is the difference
“between what emanates from the human hand (and a very
great deal emanates from the human hand) and what comes out of
a machine. Besides, one could come to find so much enjoyment in
stirring this cow horn mixture that after a time one would
cease to think about machines for mixing. It should come to be
a light and pleasant job for a Sunday afternoon instead of
dessert and if you have invited plenty of friends you will get
the most splendid results.
QUESTION: The distribution of half a bucket of water over an
area of a third of an acre will surely be a little difficult.
If the number of cow-horns is increased, the difficulty
of handling will be increased not in the same ratio but at a
greater rate. This will make the distribution more difficult.
Is it permitted to add more water or should the ratio of half a
bucket to each cow-horn be retained? Must you take half a
bucketful for an area of a third of an acre?
ANSWER: It is possible to do this. But then I think the method
of stirring would have to be changed. After stirring one
cow-horn in half a bucket of water, you can dilute the mixture
with more water, but then you must stir again. I think,
however, it would be better to calculate how much less
than one cow-hornful is needed for half a bucket of water. The
great thing is that the ingredients should be thoroughly
mixed, and for this it is not enough simply to pour the mixture
into more water. If the mixture is still thick and has not been
thoroughly stirred into the water, no real interpenetration can
take place. In the case you mention I think it would be better
to mix the half bucket of water with less than one
QUESTION: If the liquid still contains solid parts, could it be
strained so as to be more readily distributed with a spray?
ANSWER: I do not think that will be found to be necessary. If
properly stirred the mixture will be more or less milky and
there will be no need to trouble about the presence in it of
any solid particle. It can easily be sprayed. Plain cow manure
is the best but I do not /' think one need bother to strain it.
The chances are that solid particles that may be present will
do no harm and may even do good, since as the result of the
concentration and subsequent dilution what works is not the
substance itself, but its dynamic radiation. You need not fear
that because of a solid particle in the mixture your potato
plants will bear long halms with nothing on them.
QUESTION: I was only thinking about the use of the spraying
ANSWER: Yes, it can be strained. It will do no harm. One could
contrive a filter on the spray.
QUESTION: Should the substance taken from the horn be weighed
in order to get at the right proportion? Is the bucket you
speak of a Swiss pail [i.e. approximately 9 litres — 2
gallons.]) or a litre measure?
ANSWER: I took a Swiss milking-pail. The whole experiment was
carried out with just whatever one had before one at the
moment. It should now be worked out in relation to weights and
QUESTION: Can the horns be used several times, or must they
always come from freshly slaughtered animals?
ANSWER: We did not put this to the test, but my impression is
that they could be used three or four times in succession, but
that after that they would not work so well. It-is just
possible that under certain circumstances if the horns, after
being used for three or four years, were placed for a time in a
cow-stable they might serve for another year. But I do not
know, however, how many cow-horns one may have at one's
disposal on a farm, so I can make no definite pronouncement on
QUESTION: Where can one procure the cow-horns? Should they come
from districts in Eastern or in Central Europe?
ANSWER: It does not matter where they come from so long as they
are fresh and are not taken from the waste dump. The curious
fact remains, however, that — paradoxical though it
may sound — life on the western part of the globe is
quite different from life on the Eastern part. Life in Europe,
Africa and Asia is not the same as life in America. It may
therefore be that in certain circumstances, the horns of
American cattle need different treatment in order to be
effective. The mixture made in these horns might have to be
somewhat thicker, more condensed. The best of all is to take
horns from the district in which one is working. There is a
powerful relation between the forces in the horns taken
from a district and the other forces at work in this district.
The forces of foreign horns might work against the things in
the home soil. It must also be borne in mind that cows which
supply the horns very often do not originally come from the
district in question. But this difficulty can be got over. If
the cow has fed on a particular soil for three or four years,
i.e. has lived in it, it belongs to that soil unless it
originally came from the West.
QUESTION: How old should the horns be? Should they come from an
old or from a young animal?
ANSWER: This is a matter which will have to be ^tested, but my
impression is that the best horns are those taken from an
animal midway between youth and old age.
QUESTION: How big should the horns be?
ANSWER: (Dr. Steiner drew the size on the blackboard.)
About 12 to 16 inches, i.e. the usual size in cattle from the
QUESTION: Does it matter whether the horn is taken from a
castrated ox (bullock) or from a male or female animal?
ANSWER: It is highly probable that with an ox's horn the method
would not work at all and that with a bull the effect would be
relatively weak. That is why I have always spoken of cows'
horns and a cow is generally a female!
QUESTION: What is the best time for sowing cereals?
ANSWER: The answer to this question will come out when I come
to the sowing of crops. The time of sowing, of course, plays a
very important part, and very different results are
obtained according as to whether it takes place at a lesser or
a greater distance of time from the winter months. If you sow
at a short period of time from the winter months you will get
crops with great powers of reproduction, if at a longer
distance, you will get crops rich in nutritive value.
QUESTION: Can the cow-horn manure be distributed with sand? Has
rain any significance in this connection?
ANSWER: One can certainly use sand. We did not try it, but
there is no reason against using it. With regard to the effect
of rain, this is something which only further research can
establish. We may assume,1 however, that rain
produces no change and may even strengthen the effect of the
manure. On the other hand, the forces in the preparations are
so highly, concentrated that one might easily imagine the
impact of a falling rain-drop causing them to be dissipated.
The action in question is a very delicate one and all this must
be taken into account. There is no objection to spreading the
cow-manure with the help of sand.
QUESTION: In storing the cow-horns and their contents,
how are harmful influences to be kept away?
ANSWER: As a general rule more harm is done by trying to keep
harmful influences away than by leaving them alone. Take for
instance the modern craze for disinfecting, which in all
spheres has been carried much too far. In the case of our own
medical remedies, for example, it was found that if every
possibility of their becoming mildewed were to be averted,
methods had to be employed which actually reduced the healing
power of the remedies. Now I do not pay much regard to these
tiny crusts which people consider harmful. They do not do so
very much harm. Instead of combating them with methods of
drastic cleanliness, it is much better to leave them alone. We
used to cover up the horns with pigs' bladders to prevent
the earth from getting into them. I do not recommend any
special cleaning of the horns. We must, remember that dirt is
not always “dirt.” If you cover your face with a
fine coating of gold, the gold will be “dirt.” Real
dirt on the other hand can sometimes act as a preservative.
QUESTION: Should we take any special measures to strengthen the
tendency of the seed to be “driven into chaos?”
ANSWER: One can strengthen it but there is no need to do so,
because if seed-formation comes about at all then there is
always a maximum of “chaos.” It therefore does not
need to be strengthened. Any necessary strengthening must
be done to the manure; but it is not necessary for the
seed formation. We could, of course, do something by making the
soil more siliceous. For it is through silica that the cosmic
forces work which have been absorbed into the earth. One could
do it in this way, but I do not think that it is necessary.
QUESTION: How large should the areas be on which the experiment
is made? Would it be necessary to do something to preserve the
cosmic forces until the new plant comes forth?
ANSWER: For these experiments, it is relatively easier to lay
down the broad lines to be followed. The actual proportions
will have to be worked out in individual cases. In answer
to this question I suggest the following experiment. Let us
plant two experimental beds with wheat and sainfoin
respectively. Then, if silica has been added to the soil, you
will be able to observe that the wheat (a plant whose natural
and permanent tendency it is to produce seed) is being
hampered in its seed formation. In the case of the sainfoin you
will also see that the seed formation is either completely
suppressed or is retarded. In such “experiments you can
always take the effects on the cereal as the basis for
comparison with the corresponding effects on sainfoin as
representing leguminous plants. In this way, very
interesting experiments can be made in
QUESTION: Does it matter how soon the diluted substance
is used on the fields?
ANSWER: Indeed it does. The cow-horns can usually be left in
the ground till they are wanted, even if this means leaving
them all the winter. If, however, they have to be kept on into
a part of the summer after they have been there all the winter,
we should have to put them into a wooden box padded with
peat-moss so as to
retain the strong concentration of the substance. But in no
circumstances should any dilution of the preparation be
kept in hand. The stirring must take place not very long before
it is used.
QUESTION: In dealing with winter crops should one use the horns
three months after they have been taken out of the ground?
ANSWER: On the whole, it is best to leave them in the ground
until one uses them. If they are to be used in early Autumn,
they should be left in the ground till the moment when they are
wanted. The. manure will not suffer through this.
QUESTION: Is there no danger that in using a very fine spray
the atomising of the liquid will cause the loss of the etheric
and astral forces?
ANSWER: By no means. These forces are very closely bound up
with tne liquid and in general it may be said that there is
less danger of the spiritual escaping from us than the
QUESTION: How should the cow-horns containing the mineral
preparation be treated when they have been in the ground all
through the summer?
ANSWER: It will not hurt them to take them out and keep them
wherever you like. So long as they have “summered”
in the ground, you can even throw them out in a heap anywhere
you like, and even let the sun shine on them. This may even do
QUESTION: Should the horns be buried at the spot which is later
on to be manured, or can they be buried all together in any
ANSWER: It will make so little difference that it is not worth
considering. The best way is to choose a spot where the soil is
fairly good, i.e. not too mineral in content but having some
humus, and bury in one place all the horns that will be
QUESTION: What is your opinion of' the use of machines in
farming? Some people say that machines should not be used.
ANSWER: This is a question which cannot be answered from a
purely agricultural standpoint. There can be no doubt that in
our present social life, conditions being what they are, to ask
whether one should use machines is rather out of date. No
farmer nowadays can dispense with machines. Of course, not all
the activities on a farm are as akin to the most intimate
processes of Nature as is the act of stirring which we have
been discussing. And just as it would be impossible to obtain
this intimate contact by purely mechanical means, so in
other matters too Nature sees to it that where machines are
unsuitable, one cannot achieve much with them. In
seed-formation, for instance, machines cannot help much as this
is done by Nature itself. One cannot, of course, do without
machines today, but I would point out that in farming there is
no need to become “machine mad” and always get the
latest machinery. Anyone who does so will probably be far less
successful in his farming than if he had gone on using his old
machine until it was no longer of any use. These, however, are
questions that do not strictly belong only to agriculture.
QUESTION: Can the given quantity of cow horn manure diluted
with water be used for half the area for which it was
ANSWER: In that case, you will get a growth which is luxuriant,
i.e. the same result which I mentioned before in another
connection. In the case of potatoes, for example, the
growth would become rank, the stems would spread too far and
the tubers would remain small; there would be what are
generally known as “rank patches,” if you apply too
much of the substance.
QUESTION: What about plants intended for food where a luxuriant
growth is wanted, e.g. spinach?
ANSWER: Even in this case I think we should only use the half
bucket of water to one cow-horn. We did so for an area which,
as it happened, was used as a vegetable garden. This is
the optimum. Where larger areas are put under one plant a much
smaller proportion (of horn to water) will be required.
QUESTION: Is it immaterial which sort of manure is used,
whether from cows, horses or sheep?
ANSWER: For this particular procedure cow-dung is undoubtedly
the best. But it is worth enquiring into the question of the
use of horse-dung. If one did use horse-dung one would have to
wind some hair from the horse's mane around the horns. The
horse has no horns, but the force that resides in its mane
could be brought into activity in this way.
QUESTION: Should the spraying be carried out before or after
the seed is sown?
ANSWER: The right way is to do it before the sowing of the
seed. Actually, we are waiting to see what difference it
makes, because this year we started rather late and a certain
amount was done after the sowing. We shall see, therefore,
whether this has any ill-effects. But the obvious thing is to
do it before the seed is sown, so as to reach the soil
QUESTION: Can the cow-horns used for manure also be used for
the mineral preparation?
ANSWER: They can, but not more than three or four times. After
that they lose their power.
QUESTION: Does it matter what persons carry out this work, or
can it be done by anybody?
ANSWER: That, of course, is a question, though one which will
nowadays bring a smile to the lips of many who hear it asked.
Let me remind you of the fact that flowers in window-boxes will
flourish under the care of some people while with others they
wither and die. These are simple facts. These things that are
seen to be due to human influence, though they are outwardly
inexplicable are yet inwardly clear and transparent.
Moreover, they will come about as a result of Meditation
— when the human being prepares himself through his
meditative life as I explained yesterday. When we meditate we
enter into a new relationship with the nitrogen, the
substance which contains the “Imaginations.”
We enter upon a state in which such things can become
operative; upon a state in which we confront quite differently
the whole world of plant-growth. Such effects are not so
obvious today as they were in the past when these things were
recognised. For there were times when people knew that by a
certain inner attitude they actually fitted themselves
for the care of the growth of plants. Nowadays these delicate
and subtle influences are overlooked, the presence of other
people disturbs them, as is bound to happen when one is
constantly moving about among people who disregard such things.
This is why it is so easy to refute their existence. I
therefore hesitate to talk freely of such. thing's before a
large audience, because they can so easily be refuted on the
basis of the present conditions of daily life. A particularly
ticklish question was raised in the discussion we had the
other day as to whether parasites could be combated in this
way, i.e. by methods of mental concentration and the like.
There is no doubt that if one sets about it in the right way
one can do such things. The period lying between the middle of
January and the middle of February is that in which the forces
which have been concentrated inside the earth are most
powerfully unfolded. If we were to set this period aside as it
were as a festal season and undertook these acts of
concentration, then we should be able to bring about' such
effects. As I said, it is a ticklish question, but a question
which does admit of a positive answer. But thi3 activity must
be undertaken in harmony with the whole of Nature. One must
realise that it makes all the difference whether an exercise of
concentration is carried out in mid-winter or in
midsummer. We get hints of this in many popular sayings.
Among the many things, which, as a young man, I
proposed to do in my present incarnation, was the writing of a
so-called “Peasant Philosophy,” which would
describe the conception the peasants have or all the
things that touch their lives. Such a book could have been a
very beautiful work, and could have refuted the charge of
stupidity often levelled against the peasant. A wonderful and
subtle wisdom would have emerged, a sublime philosophy which,
even in the words that it has coined, would “bear witness
to the most intimate contact with the life of Nature. One is
amazed to find how much the peasant knows of what is actually
going on in Nature. It is no longer possible today to write
such a “Peasant Philosophy” — too much of the
real thing has been lost. Forty or fifty years ago this was not
so, for in those days there was far more to be learned from the
peasantry than from the Universities. Things were different
then; one lived with the peasants on the land, and if those who
wore broad-brimmed hats, who introduced the present socialistic
movement, did come along, they were looked upon as
oddities. The younger members of my audience can have no
conception of how greatly the world has changed during the last
thirty or forty years. So much has been lost of the beautiful
folk dialects, and even of the genuine peasant philosophy,
which was m a sense a cultural philosophy. Even in the
peasants* calendars there were things which one can no longer
find in them. Moreover, they looked different; there was
something homely about them, I remember one, printed on very
poor paper but with the signs of the planets done in colours
and with a small sweet stuck on the cover, which the owner
could lick before he opened the book. This made the book tasty
and of course the people used it after one another.
QUESTION: Where large areas are to be manured should one simply
go by one's feelings in judging of the number of cow-horns to
ANSWER: I would not recommend this. In such cases one must use
one's common sense. My advice would be this. First go by your
feelings, and once you have obtained satisfactory results begin
to tabulate them in figures which can then be used by other
people. I would also advise anyone who has a natural gift
for judging by his feelings to do so. but when talking to other
people he should not decry the value of the figures he has
tabulated. As a matter of fact all these things should be
translated into exact calculations. This is really necessary
nowadays. We need cow-horns to carry out this work but not
“bull-headed” people to advocate the methods. This
is just what may easily bring us up against a certain
amount of opposition, and I would therefore advise you in this
case to adjust yourselves to current thought.
QUESTION: Can quick-lime be used in a compost heap in the
proportions usually prescribed?
ANSWER: The old method will have very good results, but
requires the following qualification. In sandy soil one needs
rather less quick-lime, in marshy ground rather more because of
the formation of oxygen.
QUESTION: What about digging up and turning over the compost
ANSWER: This will certainly do it no harm. But, of course,
after doing so you must cover it up again with
layer of earth. Peat or peat-mould is particularly good as a
QUESTION: What kind of potash is it which can be used during
the transition from old methods to the new?
ANSWER: Potash of magnesium (Kali magnesia).
QUESTION: What is the best use which can be made of the manure
which is left over after the horns have been filled? Should it
be put on the fields in the autumn so as to be there to go
through the “winter-experience,” or should it be
kept till the spring?
ANSWER: I must make it clear that this method of manuring with
cow-horns is not a complete substitute for ordinary manuring.
It must be regarded as an extra which enhances the action of
the ordinary manure, which continues to be used as
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