14th June, 1924.
course of our studies must be based on such insight as we have already
gained into plant-growth, and into animal Formations too. Aphoristically
at least, we must now consider a few among the spiritual-scientific
ideas that relate to harmful plants and animals and to what are commonly
called plant diseases. These things can only be studied in concrete
detail. Very little can be said in general terms; they must all be specifically
dealt with. Therefore, to begin with, I will give examples which —
taken as the starting-point for your experiments — will lead you
on to further instances.
me deal with weeds and harmful plants in general. We are not so much
concerned to define “weeds.” We only want an insight into
the problem, how to rid a given field or area of plants which we do
not want to have there. You know, one sometimes has strange harkings-back
to one's student days. Thus I endeavoured, though with no great
enthusiasm, to look up a few text-books to see how they defined “the
weed.” Most of the authors, I found, if they tried to define what
a weed is, described it thus: “Everything that grows at a place
where you do not want it is a weed” — a definition which
certainly does not take us very far into the essence of the matter.
we shall have little good fortune in considering the essence of “weeds”
as such — for the simple reason that in Nature's judgment
a weed has just as much right to grow as a plant which we find useful.
These things must be looked at from a somewhat different point of view.
The simple question is, how can we rid a certain field or area of what
will naturally grow there through the prevailing conditions of Nature,
while we do not want it there?
only answer this question by taking into account what we have dealt
with in the past few days. I showed how we must strictly distinguish
between the forces that are there in the growth of plants — forces
which, though they come from the Cosmos, are first received into the
earth and then work from the earth upon plant-growth. As I said, the
forces which are mainly due to the cosmic influences of Mercury,
Venus and Moon (though they do not work directly from
there planets, but by the round-about way of the Earth) — these
are the forces we must consider when we are tracing what produces the
daughter-plant after the mother-plant and so on in succession. While
on the other hand, in all that the plant derives from the surrounding
sphere, from that which is over the earth, we must perceive the workings
and potentialities which the more distant planets transmit to the air,
which are in this way received.
Moreover, speaking in a
wider sense we may say: All the forces that work into the earth from the
near planets are influenced by the chalk-or limestone-workings
of the earth, while that which works from the surrounding sphere is
influenced by the workings of silica. Although the silica influences
proceed from the earth itself, nevertheless they transmit what proceeds
originally from Jupiter, Mars and Saturn
— not what proceeds from Moon, Venus and Mercury. Nowadays, people
are altogether unaccustomed to take these things into account. They
pay the penalty for their ignorance. Indeed, in many regions of the
civilised world a heavy penalty has been paid for this ignorance of
the cosmic influences — ignorance both of the cosmic influence
when it works through the air through all that lies above the level
of the ground, and of the cosmic influence when it works from below
through the mediation of the earth. They have had to pay the penalty
for this lack of insight.
in widespread regions of civilisation. (It may be of no concern to you,
but it is a very grave concern for many people). They had exhausted
all the resources that were once upon a time applied. They had exhausted
all that had been done since ancient times by an old instinctive science.
Not only the soil of the Earth was exhausted — the traditions too
were exhausted, though sometimes simple peasant folk would lend a helping
hand. So it has come about: far and wide, the vine plantations
have been subjected to the ravages of the grape-louse,
and they are pretty helpless against it. I could tell you a tale of
the editorial offices of a Viennese agricultural paper in the 1880's.
They were approached from every side to find a remedy against the grape-louse,
and they were at a loss. For by that time the plague had grown acute.
These things cannot be treated thoroughly by the scientific methods
of to-day. They can only be dealt with effectively by entering into
all that can be known along the lines which we have indicated here.
show it diagrammatically (Diagram 11). Imagine
this as the level of the earth's surface. Here we have all the influences
that come in from the Cosmos — from Venus, Mercury and Moon —
and ray back again, working upward from below. Everything that works
in the earth in this way causes the plants to bring forth what grows
in a single year and culminates in seed-formation. From the seed a new
plant arises, and a third, and so on. Once more then: everything that
works from the Cosmos in this way flows out into the reproductive forces
— into the sequence of generations.
other hand there is all that which comes by another way — above
the level of the earth — all that which comes from the forces
of the distant planets. Diagrammatically we can draw it thus: it represents
all that is transformed in the plant so that it spreads out and expands
in the surrounding circle. Here therefore we have what makes the plant look
thick or bulky — i.e. what we can take away as nourishment,
because a continuous stream reforms it, ever anew. I mean, for example,
what we take from the apple- or the peach-tree—the fleshy fruit
which we consume. All this is due to the influences of the distant
alone will tell us how to act if we wish to influence the plant's growth
in a particular way. It is only by taking these varied forces into account
that we gain an idea, how we can influence the plant's growth. Now a
large number of plants — notably those which we ordinarily count
as weeds — are greatly influenced by the workings of the Moon.
These are often medicinal plants. Precisely among the “weeds,”
so-called, we often find the strongest curative herbs.
we know of the Moon in ordinary life? We know that it receives the rays
of the Sun upon its surface and throws them back again on to the earth.
We see the rays of the Sun reflected — we catch them with our
eyes — and the Earth, too, of course, receives These rays from
the Moon. It is the rays of the Sun which are thus reflected, but of
course the Moon permeates them with its own forces. They come to the
Earth as lunar forces, and so they have done ever since the Moon separated
from the Earth.
the Cosmos it is just this lunar forte which strengthens and intensifies
all that is earthly. Indeed, when the Moon was united with the Earth,
the Earth itself was far more living, fruiting, inherently fertile.
When the Moon was still one with the Earth there was nothing so mineral
as we have to-day. Even now, after its severance, the Moon works so
as to intensify the normal vitality of the Earth, which is still just
enough to bring about the growth in living creatures. The Moon intensifies
it, thus enhancing the growth process to the point of reproduction.
a being grows, it becomes larger. In this process the very same force
is at work as in reproduction. Only in growth it does not go so far
as to bring forth a fresh being of the same species. It brings forth
cell upon cell. That is a feebler reproductive process — one that
remains within the limits of the single entity. What we commonly call
reproduction is an enhanced growth-process.
Earth by itself is still just able to transmit that feeble reproductive
process which growth represents; but it has no power, without the Moon's
assistance, to produce the enhanced growth process of reproduction.
Here it requires the cosmic forces shining in upon the Earth through
the Moon — and, in the case of certain plants, through Mercury
and Venus too. As I said, people commonly imagine that the Moon merely
receives the Sun's rays and throws. them down on to the Earth.
In considering the Moon's effect they only think of the Sunlight; but
that is not the only thing that comes to the Earth.
Moon's rays the whole reflected Cosmos comes on to the Earth. All influences
that pour on to the Moon are rayed back again. Thus the whole starry
Heavens—though we may not be able to prove it by the customary
physical methods of to-day—are in a sense rayed back on to the
Earth by the Moon. It is indeed a strong and powerfully organising cosmic
force which the Moon rays down into the plant, so that the seeding process
of the plant may also be assisted; so that the force of growth
may be enhanced into the force of reproduction.
all this is only there for a given district of the Earth when it is
Full Moon. When it is new Moon, the country does not enjoy the benefit
of the Moon-influences. It only holds fast in the plants, during the
new Moon, what they received at the Full Moon. Indeed, we should attain
important results if we only tried to see what progress we could make
by using the Moon, let us say, in sowing — i.e. for the
very earliest germinating activity within the Earth. So the old Indians
used to do until the nineteenth century. They also sowed according to
the phases of the Moon.
Nature is not so cruel as to punish man forthwith for his slight inattention
and discourtesy to the Moon in sowing and in reaping. We have the Full
Moon twelve times a year, and that is adequate for a sufficiency of
the full-Moon influences, i.e. of the forces that quicken the
fruiting process. If on any occasion we perform what tends to fertilisation,
not at the full Moon but at the new, it will simply wait in the Earth
till the next full Moon. So it gets over our human errors and takes
its cue from great Nature.
sufficient for men to make use of the Moon all unawares. But that is
all — and we get no farther along these lines. Treated in this
way, the weeds will demand their rights just as much as the vegetables,
and everything grows confused, for we are strangers to the forces that
regulate growth. We must first enter into them. Then we shall know that
by using the fully evolved Moon-force we work for the reproduction of
all vegetable life, i.e. for that which shoots up from the
root, right up into the seed-formation. Thus we shall get the strongest
of weeds if we let the kind Moon work down upon them — if we do
nothing to arrest its influence upon our weeds. For there are wet years
when the Moon-forces work more than in the dry. The weeds will then
reproduce themselves and increase greatly.
If on the
other hand, we reckon with these cosmic forces, then we shall say to
ourselves: We must contrive to check the full influence of the Moon
upon the weeds. That is to say, we must only let work upon them the
influences coming from without — not the Moon influences, but
those that work directly. Then we shall set a Limit to the propagation
of the weeds; they will be unable to reproduce themselves. Now we cannot
“switch off” the Moon. Therefore we “ treat the soil in
such a way that the earth is disinclined to receive the lunar influences.
Indeed, not only the earth, but the plants; too (i.e. the weeds)
can thus become disinclined to receive the lunar influences. We can
make the weeds reluctant, in a sense, to grow in earth which has thus
been treated. If we attain this end, we have all that we need.
the weeds growing rampant in a given year. You must accept the fact.
Do not be alarmed; say to yourself: Something must now be done. So now
you gather a number of seeds of the weed in question. For in the seed
the force of which I have just spoken has reached its final culmination.
Now light a flame — a simple wood flame is best — and burn
the seeds. Carefully gather all the resulting ash. You get comparatively
little ash, but that does not matter. Quite literally, for the plants
thus treated by letting their seeds pass through the fire and turn to
ash, you will have concentrated in the ash the very opposite force to
that which is developed in attracting the Moon-forces.
the tiny amount of substance you have thus prepared from a variety of
weeds, and scatter it over your fields. You need not take especial care
in doing so, for these things work in a wide circumference. Already
in the second year you will see, there is far less of the kind of weed
you have thus treated. It no longer grows as rampantly. Moreover, many
things in Nature being subject to a cycle of four years, after the fourth
year you will see, if you continue sprinkling the pepper year by year,
the weed will have ceased to exist on the field in question. Here, in
fact, you will make fruitful the “effects of smallest entities,”
which have now been scientifically proven in our Biological Institute.
Much might be attained in
this way. Quite generally speaking, you have far-reaching possibilities
if you really reckon on these influences which remain unconsidered
nowadays. Thus, for the dandelion which you need as I explained
yesterday, you can perfectly well plant it where you want it, and use
the dandelion-seed. Repeat this fire-process with it, prepare your little
pepper and scatter it over the fields. Then you will have the dandelions
where you want them, and at the same time keep the fields, thus treated
with burnt dandelion, free of the dandelion plant.
to-day will not believe it; such things were known and mastered once
upon a time by an instinctive farming wisdom. They could plant together,
in circumscribed areas, whatever they wanted to have. They knew of these
In all these matters,
I can only give indications, but as you see, these indications are
capable of direct practical application. And as there is still the
prevailing judgment — I will not call it prejudice that all things
must be subsequently verified, good and well! Set to work and try to
verify them. If you do the experiments rightly, you will soon see them
confirmed. If I had a farm, however, I should not wait to see them
verified. I should apply the method at once, for I am sure that it will
work. So it is for me. Spiritual-scientific truths are true in themselves,
we need not have them confirmed by other circumstances or by external
have all made this mistake of looking to external methods to verify
these truths. In the Anthroposophical Society, too, our scientists have
done so. They at least should have known better; they should have known
that a thing can be true in itself. However, to get anywhere nowadays
we must always verify things externally. It is no doubt a necessary
compromise; in principle it is not necessary. One knows of these things
inwardly. They stand inherently, by their own quality — that is
how one knows them.
another illustration. Suppose I have something manufactured by fifty
workers. I say to myself: I want to produce three times as much, therefore
I will employ 150. Now comes a clever fellow and declares, I do not
believe that 150 workers will produce three times as much; you must
first put it to the test. Let us suppose you make the experiment. You
get your work done — whatever it may be — first by one,
then by two and then by three people, and now you tell statistically
how much the three get done between them. Well, if so be they spent
their time in chattering, they may have done even less than the one
worker. Your premiss is wrong; your experiment has proved the opposite.
But it proves nothing in reality. If you are working exactly, you must
consider the other case with equal exactitude. If you do so, whatever
is inherently true will beyond doubt be outwardly confirmed.
can speak, more in general terms, of the harmful plants or vegetable
pests of the field. But we can no longer speak so generally when we
come to the animal pests. Let me choose one example — a characteristic
instance, whereon you can make your experiments and see how these things
are confirmed in practice.
is a very good friend of the farmer — the field-mouse. What do
they not try to do to fight against it! Read of it in the agricultural
text-books. To begin with, all manner of phosphorus preparations were
used; then, other things, such as the “Strychnine-Saccharine”
preparations. Nay, an even more radical method has been proposed, namely,
to infect the field-mice with typhus. Certain bacilli, harmful only
to rodents, are added to mashed potatoes and the bait is distributed.
Such things have also been done — at least, they have been recommended.
try to get at these happy, simple-looking little creatures in untold
ways — by methods which do not look very humane, to say the least.
They try to attack the mice once they are there. I think even the State
is being set in motion. When you attack the mice in this way, it is
no good unless the neighbouring farmer also does so, for they only come
back from the neighbouring field; and so the State must be called in
to see that everyone is compelled to drive the mice away by standard
methods. The State will have no modifications. It makes its regulations
once for all. Once it has judged a method right — no matter whether
it is so or not — it decrees that everyone must do it. It issues
are mere external rulings and experiments at random, and one has an
underlying feeling: the experimenters themselves are not quite happy
about it. For in the end the mice always come back again. What we need
to do in this case is also not quite applicable on a single estate by
itself, though to some extent it may help even then. It will not be
very easy to carry out. One will have to work towards a general insight,
so that one's neighbours too will do it. (I venture to say that
in the future we must look far more to intelligent insight than to police
regulations. That will be progress in our social life).
imagine that you do the following: You catch a fairly young mouse and
skin it, so as to get the skin. There you have the skin of a fairly
young mouse. (There are always enough mice albeit, they must be field-mice
if you wish to make this experiment). But you must obtain this skin
of the field-mouse at a time when Venus is in the sign of Scorpio.
of olden time, you see, were not so stupid with their instinctive science!
Now that we are passing from plants to animals, we come to the “animal
circle” — that is, the “Zodiac.” It was not
called so in a meaningless way. To attain our end within the plant world
we can stop at the planetary system. For the animal world, that is not
enough. There we need ideal that reckon with the surrounding sphere
of the fixed stars, notably the fixed stars of the Zodiac.
in the growth of plants the Moon-influence is well nigh sufficient to
bring about the reproductive process. In the animal kingdom, on the
other hand, the Moon-influence must be supported by that of Venus. Nay,
for the animal kingdom the Moon influence does not need to be considered
very much. For the animal kingdom conserves the lunar forces; it emancipates
itself from the Moon. The Moon-force is developed in the animal kingdom
even when it does not happen to be full Moon. The animal carries the
force of the full Moon within it, conserves it, and so emancipates itself
from limitations of time.
not apply to what we here have to do; it does not apply to the other
planetary forces. For you must do something quite definite with the
mouse-skin. At the time when Venus is in Scorpio, you obtain the skin
of the mouse and burn it. Carefully collect the ash and the other constituents
that remain over from the burning. It will not be much, but if you have
a number of mice, it is enough. You can easily get enough.
obtain your burned mouse-skin at the time when Venus is in Scorpio.
And there remain, in what is thus destroyed by the fire, the corresponding
negative force as against the reproductive power of the field-mouse.
Take the pepper you get in this way, and sprinkle it over your fields.
In some districts it may be difficult to carry out; then you can afford
to do it even more homoeopathically; you do not need a whole plateful.
it has been led through the fire at the high conjunction of Venus and
Scorpio, you will find this an excellent remedy. Henceforth, your mice
will avoid the field. No doubt they are cheeky little beasts; they will
soon come out again if the pepper has been so sprinkled that a few areas
remain unpeppered in the neighbourhood. There they will settle down
again. Undoubtedly the influence of it rays out far and wide; nevertheless,
it may not have been done quite thoroughly. But the effect will certainly
be radical if the same is done in the whole neighbourhood.
to think that you will have considerable pleasure in such things. You
may begin to find your farming very tasty — like certain dishes
are when they have been a little peppered. So we begin really to reckon
with the influences of the stars without becoming superstitious in the
least. Many things afterwards became mere superstition, which were originally
knowledge. You cannot warm-up the old superstitions. You must make a
fresh start with genuine knowledge. This knowledge, however, must be
gained in a spiritual way — not through the mere physical world-of-the-senses.
the way to treat the earth, if you have to combat field vermin which
can be reckoned in any sense among the higher animals. Mice are rodents;
they are included among the higher animals. But you will not do much
with the insects in this way. Insects are subject to different cosmic
influences. Indeed, all the lower animals are subject to different cosmic
influences than the higher animals. And now for once allow me to tread
upon thin ice and mention the nematode of the root crops as
an example; so you will have something near at hand.
“beginning” of the disease is seen in the well known swellings
of the rootlet and in the limpness of the leaves in the morning. That
is the external sign. Now we must remember that this middle part (it
is the leaves that here suffer a change) absorbs the cosmic influences
from the air; whereas the roots absorb those forces which come into
the plants from the cosmos via the Earth.
now, when the nematode appears? The absorption of cosmic forces which
should normally be going on in the region of the leaves is pressed downward,
into a region where it eventually comes near to the roots. Diagrammatically
speaking, we may say (Diagram 12), if this be
the surface of the earth, and this the plant, then — in the nematode-infested
plant — the cosmic forces which should be working up above are
working down here below. This is the real phenomenon. Certain cosmic
forces are sliding too far down. Hence, too, the outward appearance
of the plant. But this too gives the animal the power to receive within
the earth, where it must live, the cosmic forces upon which its life
depends. For it would otherwise have to be living in the leaves. (The
nematode is a wire-like worm). But it cannot live up there, for the
earth is its natural domain.
creatures, nay, all living creatures have this peculiarity: they can
only live within certain limits of existence. You try to live in an
air whose temperature is seventy degrees centigrade, hot or cold, above
or below zero. You cannot do it. You depend on a certain temperature.
Above and beneath this level you can no longer live. Nor can the nematode.
It cannot live if the earth is not there, nor can it live unless the
cosmic forces are there at the same time. Otherwise it would have to
die out. Thus, for each living creature, there are quite definite conditions.
The human race too would die out if it were not for certain conditions.
the creatures that evolve in this particular way, it is important for
the cosmic element which normally makes itself felt only in the Earth's
surrounding sphere, to come right down into the Earth. Moreover,
these influences take place in periods of four years. The nematode is
something highly abnormal. To recognise its nature, we might equally
well investigate the cockchafer-grubs which come in cycles of four years.
The forces are the same in both cases. The very same forces which give
the Earth the tendency to unfold the potato-seedling — these forces
the Earth also receives for the formation of the cockchafer-grubs, which
occur with the potatoes every four years. Wherever this is so, we have
a four years' cycle. Though it does not apply to the nematode
itself, it certainly applies to what we must do in counteracting it.
case you do not take part of the insect as you do with the mouse. You
must take the entire insect. An insect like this, which settles harmfully
in the plant-root, is altogether an outcome of cosmic influences; it
only needs the Earth as its underlying basis. Therefore you must burn
the whole insect. It is best to burn it; that is the quickest way. You
might also let it decay; possibly this would be even more thorough,
only it is difficult to collect the products of decay. But you will
certainly attain what you need by burning the whole insect.
is necessary to perform this operation when the Sun is in the sign of
Taurus. (If need be, you can keep the insect and burn t when the time
comes). This, you sec, is precisely the opposite of the constellation
in which Venus must be when you prepare your mouse-skin pepper. In effect,
the insect world is connected with the forces that evolve when the Sun
is passing through Aquarius, Pisces, Aries and Gemini and on to Cancer.
In Cancer it appears quite feebly, and it is feeble again when you come
to Aquarius. It is while passing through these regions that the Sun
rays out the forces which relate to the insect world.
are unaware what a specialised thing the Sun is. The Sun is not really
the same when in the course of a year or a day it shines on to the Earth
from Taurus, or from Cancer, or the other constellations. In each case
it is different. It is comparative nonsense to speak of the Sun in general
terms — albeit, pardonable nonsense. We should really speak of
Aries-Sun, Taures-Sun, Cancer-Sun, Sun, and so on. For the Sun is a
different being in each case. moreover, the resultant influence depends
both on the daily course on the yearly course of the Sun, as determined
by its position in vernal point.
do this — if you thus prepare your insect-pepper — once
again you can spread it out over the beet-fields, and the nematode will
by and by grow faint — a faintness you will certainly find very
effective after the fourth year. For by that time the nematode can no
longer live. It shuns life if it has to live in an earth thus peppered.
In a strange
way we come again to what was formerly described as “Wisdom of the
Stars.” Modern astronomy serves as a mere mathematical orientation,
nor can we put it to any other use. It was not so in former ages. Time
was when they saw in the stars something from which they could take
their direction for earthly life and work. Such science is utterly lost
way, therefore, we can also hold the animal pests at bay. It is important
for us to come into relation to the Earth in this way. We must be aware
of these things. On the one hand, it is right that the Earth should
receive the faculty to bring forth plant-life out of itself. This faculty
the Earth receives, as we have seen, mainly through the Moon- and
watery-influences. But that which is in the plant — nay, that which
is in every living being — also carries within it the seed of its
water on the one hand is a sine qua non of all fertility, so
on the other hand, fire is an absolute destroyer of fertility. Fire
consumes fertility. Therefore, if you treat by fire in the proper way
that which is normally treated by water to bring about fertility in
the plant-world, you will bring about destruction — annihilation
in the household of Nature. These are the things you must consider.
A seed will develop fertility far and wide through the Moon-saturated
water; likewise a seed will develop forces of annihilation far and wide
through the Moon-saturated fire — and altogether, through the
cosmically-saturated fire, as we have seen in the last example.
our reckoning upon this great force of dispersal (while pointing out
the precise effects of time in the process) need not seem utterly strange
to you. The force of the seed always works in dispersal and expansion.
Hence, in the force of annihilation too, it works far and wide. Expansive
power lies inherent in seed-nature. It is the very property of the seed
to have this power of dispersal; so, too, the pepper we prepare in this
way has a real expansive power. (I only call it pepper on account of
its appearance. The preparations generally look like pepper).
remains for us to consider so-called plant diseases. Properly
speaking, we cannot really say “plant diseases.” The rather
abnormal processes which occur as plant-diseases are not diseases in
the same sense as in animal diseases. (We shall understand the difference
more exactly when we come to the animal kingdom). Notably, they are
not at all the same kind of process as in human diseases.
speaking, disease is not possible without the presence of an astral
body. In an animal or human being, the astral body is connected with
the physical through the ethereal. There is a certain normal condition.
The astral body may be connected more intensely with the physical
(or with any one of its organs) than it should normally be. In such
a case, the ether-body falls to provide a sufficient cushioning or “padding,”
and the astral body drives into the physical too strongly. It is under
these conditions that most of our illnesses arise.
plant has in it no real astral body. Hence the specific way of being
which can occur in the animal and in the human being, does not occur
in the plant. We must be well aware of this fact. Thus we must first
gain an insight into the question, what is it that can bring about illness
have seen, from my descriptions, how the whole earth in the plant's
environment has an inherent life of its own. With all this life in the
Earth — albeit not so intensely as to bring forth plant forms,
yet nevertheless with some intensity — manifold forces of growth
and faint suggestions of reproductive forces are present all around
the plant. Moreover, there is all that which is working in the Earth
under the influence of the full-Moon forces, mediated by the water.
Here is a wealth of significant relationships.
the Earth — the Earth which is filled with water — and you
have the Moon. The Moon, letting its radiations pour into the Earth,
makes it to some extent alive in itself; awakens waves and weavings
of the ethereal within the Earth. It does so more easily when the earth
is saturated with water, and with greater difficulty when the earth
is dry. You must remember, the water is only a mediator. It is the earth
itself — the solid, mineral element — which must be made
alive. The water, too, is mineral. There is of course no hard-and-fast
line. Thus we must have the lunar influences in the soil.
Moon-influences in the soil can also become too strong. This can happen
in a very simple way. You need only call to wind a thoroughly wet winter,
followed by a thoroughly wet spring. Then the Moon-forces will enter
the earth too strongly. The earth will become too much alive. Once more,
you will have an over intense vitalisation of the earth. I will indicate
it by making little red dots (Diagram 13) where
the earth is too strongly vitalised by the Moon. If the little red dots
were not there — if the earth were not over-vitalised by the Moon
— plant-life would grow upon it, developing normally up to the
seed: corn, for instance, growing upward to the seed.
Moon imparts precisely the right vitality to the earth, this vitality
will work on and upward till the seed develops. Assume now that the
Moon-influence is too strong; the earth is too much vitalised. Then
it will work too strongly from below upward. That which should only
occur in the seed-formation will occur at an earlier stage. Precisely
when it is too strong, it will be insufficient to reach to the top.
Through its very intensity, it will work itself out more in the lower
regions. As a result of the strong Moon influence, the seed-formation
proper will have insufficient power.
receives something of dying life into itself, and through this dying
life there arises, as it were, above the soil — above the primary
level of the earth — a secondary level. Although it is not earth,
the same effects are there — above the proper level — and,
as a consequence, the seed (the upper part of the plant) becomes a kind
of soil for other organisms. Parasites and fungoid growths arise all
manner of fungoid growths.
see the forming of mildew, blight, rust, and similar diseases. The over-intense
Moon-influence prevents what should work upward from the earth from
reaching the necessary level. The true force of fertility depends upon
the Moon's influence being normal. It must not be too intense.
It may seem strange, but it is so: this result is brought about, not
by a weakening but by an over intensity of the Moon-forces. If we merely
theorised about it instead of looking at the process, we might reach
the opposite conclusion, but we should be wrong. Perception shows it
as I have now described it. What, then, should we do?
somehow relieve the earth of the excessive Moon-force that is in it.
And we can do so. We need only perceive what works in the earth so as
to deprive the water of its mediating power; so as to lend the earth
more “earthiness” and prevent it from absorbing the excessive
Moon-influences through the water it contains. We can achieve this result.
Outwardly, it all remains just as it is. But we now prepare a kind of
tee or decoction — a pretty concentrated decoction of equisetum
arvense. This we dilute, and sprinkle it
as liquid manure over the fields, wherever we need it — wherever
we want to combat rust or similar plant-diseases. Here again, very Small
quantities are sufficient — a homoeopathic dose is quite enough.
you see how the several fields of life work into one another. Understand
the strange influence which equisetum arvense has upon the human organism
through the function of the kidneys, and you will have your guiding
live. Needless to say, you cannot merely speculate. Nevertheless, you
have a guiding line, and you will now investigate how equisetum works
when you transform it as described, into a kind of liquid manure, and
sprinkle it over the fields. You need no special apparatus. It will
work far and wide, even if you only sprinkle a very little, and you
will find it an excellent remedy. Strictly speaking, it is not a medicament,
for in the true sense of the word a plant cannot be diseased. It is
not a healing process in the proper sense; it is simply the opposite
process to the one I described.
must learn to see into the workings of Nature in all her different domains.
Then you will really take the processes of growth in hand. (We shall
afterwards see the same for animal growth — animal normalities
and abnormalities). To get the growth-processes in hand — that
is the really important thing. To experiment at random on these matters,
as is done to-day, is no real science. The mere jotting-down of isolated
notes and facts — that is no science.
only arises when you begin to control the working forces. But the living
plants and animals — even the parasites in the plants —
can never be understood by themselves. What I said in our first lesson
when I referred to the magnet-needle is only too true. Anyone who thought
of the magnet-needle alone — anyone who looked in the magnet-needle
itself for the causes of its always turning northward — would
be talking nonsense. We do not do so; on the contrary, we take the whole
Earth and assign to it a magnetic North Pole and a magnetic South. The
whole Earth must be included in our explanation.
we draw in the whole Earth to understand the properties of the magnet-needle,
so, when we come to the living plants, we must not merely look at the
plant or animal or human world; we must summon all the Universe into
our counsels! Life always proceeds from the entire Universe —
not only out of what the Earth provides. Nature is a great totality;
forces are working from everywhere. He alone can understand Nature who
has an open sense for the manifest working of her forces.
science do nowadays? It takes a little plate and lays a preparation
on it, carefully separates it off and peers into it, shutting off an
every side whatever might be working into it. We call it a “microscope.”
It is the very opposite of what we should do to gain a relationship
to the wide spaces. No longer content to shut ourselves off in a room,
we shut ourselves off in this microscope tube from all the glory of
the world. Nothing must now remain but what we focus in our field of
by it has come to this: scientists always have recourse, more or less,
to their microscope. We, however, must find our way out again into the
macrocosm. Then we shall once more begin to understand Nature —
and other things too.
1. Phylloxera vastatrix.
2. Mare's-tail, horse-tail, shave-grass.
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