Horn and Antlers
2nd October 1947.
It is not very easy for me to speak about
the agricultural preparations, and especially the sheaths used,
because I have seldom made them myself. On the other hand I have
given much thought to what Rudolf Steiner gave to the world when he
gave us the knowledge of these preparations. He has shown us the way
to make the soil healthy, and thereby improve the health of animals
These preparations bring about balance in
the life of the Earth. We cannot take too earnestly what the
spiritual leader of our epoch thereby has given us. The balancing
forces for the whole of life of all kingdoms of nature have been
handed over again to mankind. This is an event corresponding to what
happened in the Persian Epoch, when grain was developed out of grass.
I am convinced that what we received at Koberwitz is of the same
importance. We must use the Methods Rudolf Steiner indicated with
great exactitude and with an over increasing attention to the
details. Without this the balance of time whole household of nature
would soon come to an end. A spiritual issue stands behind the
content of the Koberwitz Course. An image will arise in us when we
try to understand this spiritual issue. How is it possible that these
simple preparations can bring about changes in nature? What impulse
stands behind this?
We are dealing with alchemical processes.
Such processes must appear as a secret to those who cannot understand
them, and their meaning will remain secret even after all technical
details have been published.
What can be said in these four mornings will
be just the first few steps towards an understanding. We must bear
this in mind. You do not merely take substances, but you apply to
then certain alchemical methods. The substance itself is being
surrounded by another substance which is not used as a substance but
acts as a sheath. It is the form of the bladder, the
intestines, the skull and so on which acts; not the substance
of these organs.
The substance of the preparations is taken
from the mineral and the plant kingdom; the sheaths are taken from
the animal kingdom.
In making the preparation we put together
what is otherwise separated, except in the process of digestion. This
is, as I said, an alchemical process, because when substance and
sheath have been brought together, they are exposed to processes of
earth and cosmos, by being buried in the ground or being hung up in
the air. The preparation is ready for use only at the end of a
The substance of the preparation is taken
from one kingdom of nature; the sheath from another. But together
they are put into the soil or exposed to the sun. This is a process
of fertilization, of growth, culminating in the end in the formation
of an embryo. The dandelion, for instance, is fructified first (by
preparing it) and then placed into the sheath of a mesentery.
The egg of an animal is laid on the ground, or in leaves, and is then
exposed to the cosmos. After months the new organisation is ready,
that is the process which lies behind all embryological
A whole organic being is prepared through
the sequence of these preparations. For preparation 5O4, the stinging
nettle, for instance, the soil is the sheath, and it will be shown
later on how the soil can be understood as the lungs. All three
systems are used; skull, intestines, horn, mesentery, all these
formations are also used as sheaths.
Click image for large view
Why has "Antlers and Horn" been chosen as
title of this lecture if we do not use the antlers as a sheath?
Because we can understand the horn only by looking at the antlers,
the antlers by looking at the horn.
A fundamental fact we must realise is that
horns and antlers are possible only among mammals. Horns and antlers
are polar opposites, as far as their substance is
The horn grows out of the skin, is a
remnant of the skin as the nails are. The antlers, on the other hand,
are just bone substance. Both grow in the region of the
frontal bone; the horn out of the skin, the antlers out of the bone.
The bone is the most highly developed organ in the animal kingdom.
All animals have a skin, but only from the fishes onwards do
animals have bones.
The horns grow gradually over a period of
years. Layer after layer is steadily added from outside. The antlers
behave quite differently. They grow up in spring and are shed in the
autumn. This process is repeated again in the next year. Formation in
spring, shedding in autumn; and so it goes on.
The antlers grow richer in form with each
successive year. They become more beautiful and ramified. Goethe
speaks of the spiral and the vertical tendency in the plant. The horn
represents the spiral tendency, the antlers the vertical. Both
together might create the plant.
What lies behind this difference? Where are
our horns and antlers? The horn grows in one direction, towards the
centre. The horn seeks a central point, coming from the periphery,
but it never reaches this central point. The antlers grow outwards;
they seek the periphery. What does the horn seek in growing towards
the centre? What do the antlers seek in growing towards the
The stag is a very peculiar animal. During
the last fifteen or twenty years, much study has been devoted to a
great riddle which has been puzzling foresters and similar experts.
When hinds are killed in October or November, no embryos are found in
their uterus, although mating takes place in August or at the
beginning of September. Why can no embryo be found in October or
November? The fructification, i.e. the coming together of egg and
sperm, takes place; but it has been discovered that the embryo does
not begin to develop until about the 24th or 25th December. (This is
not a statement made by Anthroposophists, but by expert foresters who
have nothing to do with Spiritual Science.) The development after
this date is quick, right up to the time of birth. For orthodox
science of course no explanation of this phenomenon is possible. —
The antlers are a ‘thorn in the flesh of science.’ They
are regarded as a weapon or as a wedding garment, but why should they
be shed during the hardest season, in winter? Science can give no
This answer can only be found if the male
and female deer are seen together as a unit. From Christmas onwards,
when the embryo develops within the female organism, then the antlers
are shed. After the young one has been born and while the female deer
is barren, the male deer, the stag, grows the antlers. During the
whole year the creative process goes on in the whole realm of the
deer: during the winter in the female, during the summer in the male.
The antlers surround something like an embryo. In the female uterus
there is a physical embryo; the antlers surround an etheric embryo.
Click image for large view
The anatomist Soemmering, writing in 1850
about the antlers, and describing their growth in spring, said
something to this effect: ‘the rush of blood towards the
frontal bones reminds me of the rush of blood towards a gravid
uterus.’ — The antlers are the remnants of this blood
The whole ‘deer-hood’ is built
into the cosmic forces, it has little to do with the
The cow and the horn are just the opposite.
What expands in the deer, is kept back in the cow. The cosmic process
takes place within the cow. In the horn you have preserving
(bewahrunde) forces. What forces are these? The horn is what we carry
as cochlea in the inner ear. This is the organ through which we can
hear sounds. A cow hears by moans of the horn the sounds of the
chemical ether in the digestion. In this process of hearing, measure
and number of alchemical processes are inserted (eingebaut). The horn
becomes the ear of the whole metabolism of the cow.
We use as sheaths what has to do with
listening. The antlers are the speaking powers in us; the horns are
the listening powers in us. If the larynx could develop at its
pleasure, so to speak, it would grow into antlers. By pressing
together the inner ear, we develop our horn. The same processes
underlie speaking and the growth of the embryo, but in different
regions. In speaking we create, only not a whole human being as in