QUESTION: Can the method suggested for dealing with the
nematode be used for other vermin? Is it permissible to destroy
plant and animal life over wide areas by this method? The
method might be greatly abused. Surely a limit should be put,
so that one man cannot spread destruction over the whole
ANSWER; If we disregard for the moment the ethical aspect, the
occult ethical aspect of the subject, what would be the result
of assuming that we were not justified in adopting such
proceedings? It would be, as I have often pointed out, that our
agriculture in the civilised parts of the world would go from
bad to worse, and that periods of shortage and famine would
arise and eventually become universal. Such a contingency is by
no means impossible in the not very distant future, and
we must therefore choose between these alternatives,
either to let civilisation founder or to take steps to bring
about a new fruitfulness to the earth. The necessity is such
that really we have no right to ask whether things are
allowable or not. But from another point of view the
question is one that can be put. The point then would be to
devise some sort of safety valve to ensure against any abuse.
Once a method is universally adopted it can very easily be
abused. It must therefore be borne in mind that in the history
of civilisation there have been periods when such things were
known and applied on the widest scale, and that it was possible
to ensure that they were not abused by confining them to
circles of serious and responsible workers. There was far
greater abuse later in the days when these forces were not
confined in this way but were universally active, as in some
later periods of the civilisation of Atlantis, where such
abuses led to great catastrophes. The custom of keeping such
knowledge inside a narrow circle and not allowing it to
become universal is certainly justified. But this can
hardly be put into practice nowadays. Knowledge cannot be
confined to small circles. The small circles immediately
try to spread their knowledge. It was easy enough before
printing was invented, and in times when the majority of people
could not read. But today when a lecture is given even to the
most exclusive circle, the question always arises of finding a
stenographer. I do not like stenographers. One must put
up with them, of course, but I would much rather they were not
the other hand, have we not to reckon with another necessity,
the necessity of a moral improvement of the whole of human
life? This, of course, will be the universal remedy. It must be
admitted however, that many contemporary phenomena give cause
for pessimism. With regard to this moral improvement of life,
merely to use the phrase is not enough, what is needed is a way
of thinking informed by impulses of the will, and we ought to
be prepared to do something concrete for 'this moral
improvement. Such an impulse might very well come from
Anthroposophy, for there would be no objection to forming a
circle which would act as a sort of corrective against all the
mischief that might arise. In Nature itself, things which are
good can turn out to be harmful. If, for example, the forces of
the Moon were not working below we could not have them
above. But they have to be there, they have to effect what in
one sphere is highly desirable and in another sphere harmful.
What is moral on one plane is entirely immoral on another. The
ahrimanic element in the earthly sphere is harmful only
because it is in the earthly sphere. In a slightly higher
sphere, its influence is entirely beneficent.
With regard to the first part of the question it is quite true
that the methods applied to the nematode can be applied to all
vermin, to all lower animals whose characteristic it is that
they have a ventral nervous system and not a dorsal one. Where
there is a spinal cord, one must use the skin; where there is a
ventral cord, the whole animal must be burned.
QUESTION: Did you refer to the wild camomile?
ANSWER: I meant the camomile whose petals hang downwards — so
(see Diagram 21).
It is the Chamomilla officinalis, which grows by the wayside.
QUESTION: Do you also take the flower of the
ANSWER: Yes. You can take the leaves, and the whole plant when
it ia in flower, but not the roots.
QUESTION: Can the Dog camomile which grows in the fields be
ANSWER: This species is more closely related to the right one
than that grown in gardens. The latter cannot be used. The
species used for camomile tea is far more akin to the right one
and can also be used.
QUESTION: Is the camomile that grows on the railway lines
here the right kind?
ANSWER: Yes, it is.
QUESTION: Does what you say about the destruction of weeds also
apply to water-weeds, e.g. water-thyme (or American
ANSWER: Yes, it does. It applies to weeds growing in marshes
and in water. The banks should be sprinkled with the
QUESTION: Can parasites living below the soil such as the
cabbage club-root be combated with the same methods as
are used for those that live above the soil?
ANSWER: Certainly they can.
QUESTION: Can the remedy for plant-diseases be used in the case
of diseases of the vine?
ANSWER: The matter has not been tested experimentally, I
too have not tested it and little has been done by occult
means, but I am convinced that the vine could have been
safeguarded if one had proceeded as I have suggested.
QUESTION: What about leaf blight? (Blattfaulkrankheit).
ANSWER: It must be fought in the same way as any other kind of
QUESTION: Ought we, as Anthroposophists, to revive the culture
of the vine?
ANSWER: The function of Anthroposophy can in many respects be
only to say what things are. The question of what they ought to
be is today a very difficult one. I had a friend who was an
Anthroposophist, an owner of large vineyards, and who devoted a
large part of his yearly profits to sending all over the world
postcards urging total abstinence. I had another friend who was
a total abstainer and always very generous to the cause of
Anthroposophy, but he was one of the people responsible for the
placard we see in tram cars proclaiming “Drink Sternberg
Cabinet” (a kind of champagne). In such cases, the
practical question assumes a peculiar aspect. That is why I
say: Take cow-horns and put them in the ground, but to fight
bull-headedly against everything would surely only bring harm
QUESTION: Could not some substitute be found for the bladder of
ANSWER: I agree that it may be difficult to come by stags'
bladders, but how many things that are difficult are not done
in the world. Naturally anyone can experiment and see
whether a substitute can be found. I cannot say at the moment.
There might be a species of animal, perhaps in limited areas in
Australia, which could serve the purpose, but I cannot think of
any animal indigenous to Europe that would do. One should not
attempt to use anything except the bladder of some animal. I
cannot recommend you to look for substitutes right at the
QUESTION: In combating insects, should the constellation
be the same for all insects?
ANSWER: That will have to be worked out experimentally.
The Zodiac comes into play from Aquarius to Cancer as I have
stated. Variations within the constellations will
certainly have a significance for the different classes
of lower animals. This calls for experiment.
QUESTION: In what you said about the fight against the
fieldmouse, were you speaking of the astronomical Venus?
ANSWER: Yes, what we call the evening Star.
QUESTION: What is meant by “Venus in Scorpio?”
ANSWER: Every constellation of Venus is referred to where Venus
is to be seen in the sky and behind her the Scorpion. Venus
must be following behind the Sun (i.e. as evening Star and not
QUESTION: Does the burning of potato haulms have any influence
on the growth of potatoes?
ANSWER: The effect is so small that it is negligible. There is
a certain influence, as indeed there always is not only on the
individual plants, but on the whole field, when the refuse of
anything organic is dealt with, but it need not come into our
QUESTION: What do you mean by “Gekroese?”
ANSWER: I mean the peritoneum (the thin serous membrane lining
the internal surface of the abdomen and covering the viscera
contained in it).
QUESTION: How should the ash be distributed in the fields?
ANSWER: I had meant to indicate that it could be scattered like
pepper. The sphere of influence is so great that it is
sufficient to walk through the field, scattering as one
QUESTION: Do these preparations also work on fruit-trees?
ANSWER: In general, they do. Additional points which have to be
noticed in this connection will be mentioned tomorrow.
QUESTION: It is usual in farming to give stable manure to
turnips and the like. With regard to this specially prepared
manure can it be used for cereals, or is a different
ANSWER: Such practices as are already followed can be retained.
All you need do ia to supplement them with the methods I have
described. Other customary practices which I have not touched
upon need not be condemned, nor need one try to reform
everything. If they have proved their value they should be
retained, and the new methods added to them. Of the latter, I
should like to say that they will not work nearly so powerfully
if sheep or pig manure is used.
QUESTION: What if one uses inorganic manure?
ANSWER: It will be found that the use of mineral manure must
cease altogether in time. The produce grown in fields that have
been treated with mineral manure eventually loses its nutritive
value. This is the universal law. The methods I have
indicated will make it necessary for us to manure our
fields more frequently than once in every three years —
perhaps even once in every four to six years would be
sufficient. We shall be able to dispense completely with
artificial manure. If only for reasons of economy, we shall do
tend nowadays to judge things after too short periods of trial.
I heard recently of a bee fancier who advocated the artificial
rearing of Queen-bees, so that instead of breeding them oneself
in the single hives, they can be bought over the counter. You
may be right, I said, for the moment, but in thirty or forty
years, bee culture will have been completely destroyed. We
should watch these things carefully. Everything is being
mechanised and mineralised nowadays, but the fact remains
that minerals should only be allowed to work as they do in
Nature. Unless it is incorporated in something else you
should not put anything completely lifeless, like a
mineral, into the earth. This counsel may not bear fruit at
once, but in the end, it will be found to be right.
QUESTION? How should insects be caught? Can they be used in the
ANSWER: Both larvae and winged insects can be used. It may be
that a slightly different constellation will be required. When
one passes from the winged insect to the larva, the
constellation is moved from Aquarius towards Cancer. The
complete insect will be nearer to Aquarius.
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