Transcript (click to expand)

Just a very short resume’ – please.

First of all, for anybody here who was not at the opening talks – just to say very clearly and precisely that I have no authority and no right to speak to you, and nothing that I have to say is literally my own, but are repetitions put together of those philosophers and horticulturalists under whom I studied; and that anything that I express here, since it is not within my legitimate province, must be accepted as suggestion.

Among the next three or four talks we intend to discuss propagation, cultivation and fertilization. Those are the connections both with the soil, with Nature and with art. Since we have got through the first two periods of the classical step into the garden it is suggested to you that if you would like during these periods, towards the end, to have a kind of discussion and questionnaire. Would you kindly express this matter and we would allocate time to that? Secondly, we are hoping within the next three or four talks that we will bring into the vision of the matter, Dr. Cooley, who is behind the whole of this study and such professors as Professor Paul Lee and other people, who will express visions and approaches which all delve into the same matters; so that it will become more and more communal in our approach amongst us. So that if you feel inclined and wishful to have more conversation in the matter, let us introduce it. Please to express this, if you will.

Now, you will find that all these talks are building up – in a certain sense – not, not very didactically, but they are building up towards and within a formation. And don’t forget that matter. Also, that you will find some of them technical in their approaches. And I, myself, do not enjoy or approve of this matter, but I feel that it is just that it should be so. I also explain that because there will be hesitancy, especially today.

The approach today is largely on a basis of [Dr. Rudolf] Steiner’s reinstatement of probably the most ancient approach to art and to horticulture and to agriculture. The cycles. Which could be said to be the entire mathematical basis of the vision of the approach of the whole matter. Without it, one doubts very much, having come into the scene, whether it is possible to ever be a horticulturalist or an agriculturalist or an artist without this consummate vision.

It is…very largely technical. It is also partly very intangible. And for that reason, I would like to suggest to you and ask you right away to relax in all your attitudes of approach to such matters as time. Please to forget that there is such a thing as a clock, and a watch and a calendar. Because they do not enter the scene. And the reason for that statement is a somewhat shocking one: that plants, soil, air, oceans, planets, birds and animals and insects do not, repeat, not, live and sleep as we do. We have very factually divorced ourselves from the cycles of creation. So if you can manage to loosen up and completely drop the educative knowledges of this matter, which are behind us, you will find it more simple to come into the comprehension of this Steiner vision and also, please, as I stated last time, remember that there is nothing novel about this. It’s nothing that everybody hasn’t known for all time. It so happens, and I’m sure that everybody here is aware of it, that Rameses the Great, over three thousand years ago, which, of course, is negligible, wrote…a…an almanac upon this very subject. And that there were long periods of which we have no written history. But again, in about 400 AD, was an almanac on this very subject. And the whole of this subject has been openly expressed and you realize that not many hundreds of years ago, nobody in the cultured or civilized world – and very much in the uncultured and uncivilized world, as one might say, nobody moved or did anything that was major without studying this matter. So, let us begin. And in the first stages you will find it very horticultural and agricultural.

Summer and winter. Everybody thinks it’s because the weather’s nice and warm or else it’s horribly cold with snow and frost. And, of course, it’s all rubbish. That doesn’t make summer or winter, at all. Summer and winter are brought about by an inclination and infusion of, and a declination or a ‘with-traction’ from. And now you will begin to sense that everything is on the move. Nothing, no thing whatever, is ever static. Nothing. [An opening up and closing down of light and other forces.]

In the second part of the talk today I shall be dealing largely with oceans and areas of discontinuity. And these will explain how the whole world is governed by the inter-working of the forces of planets. The Sun, in relationship to the power of the Moon, pushes. The power of the Moon magnetizes, draws. The immediate entry of the word pulsation – relaxation and tension – pulsation. The Sun pushes and the Moon draws. I speak symbolically, as you know, nearly all the time.

Summer is brought about by the Sun, starting in total declination on December the 21st. The great period of death and sleep in the whole atmosphere of Nature. And from December the 21st onwards, grows a gradual inclination. And that word inclination means: every morning a little bit lighter, earlier. Every evening, a little bit lighter, later. It begins on December the 21st with the longest, darkest night. And the angle proceeds for what we call a cycle of six months; increasing in that movement of excitement. A movement of excitement of living and of birth more and more and more, every day. So that on December the 21st, it is total sleep and death of the atmosphere of Nature, and begins an arc of awakening, which is very slow. And through January and February that arc is hardly discernible; but in March enters the total scene of the year [in that year] of birth.

And this scene is unique. Just as summer and winter are unique and are dormancy periods, both; so is the equinox of March, equi-nox: equal day and equal night; you must note these slight inflections on matters for they’re going to have re-bearings throughout. That the Sun, in rising by March, has brought about an equal of light and an equal of dark. And an effusion takes place in the whole of Nature, which is not exactly a period, at all. It’s a total awakening of birth throughout the whole of Nature. It is not just plants, it is not just insects, it is not just birds and animals. It’s the whole soil. It’s the clouds, the rain, the mountains. Everything is infused with birth, and this is what Botticelli and many of these fabulous artists were aware of; and this is why Botticelli painted his ‘Prima Vera’, the huge equinox of birth.

And from March, it passes out through April, slowly, on an angle of increase of light towards June the 21st, which is the longest light and the shortest night. Life…an infusion of …a growth, a total expansion from the beginning until June the 21st. At June the 21st begins a descent into a warning, a total information of sleep and death throughout the atmosphere of Nature. And you must remember in that statement that there are the two hemispheres, the northern and the southern; and they are both reversed.

On June the 21st , it is the summit; the height of the dormancy of summer. And slowly descends, with a very slow angle through May, June, July, August. Suddenly the angle paces and you enter again the opposite of the Spring equinox – the March equinox. You enter another equinox, the Fall equinox of September, and it is absolutely opposed to the Spring equinox. Whereas the Spring equinox was an opening out every day, more and more infusion of birth, of total birth in Nature, this equinox is a closing up every day; of slowing down, of sleep, of rest, of relaxation. And the Spring equinox is tension, tension! Arise! Wake! And then this huge dormancy of summer where everything blooms and lives; and then slowly, and then fast, through these angles of the Fall equinox, which is a warning to the whole of Nature that it’s got to go to sleep. It’s got to relax; it’s got to die! And down into December, through the long period of the end of October through November, into December, and the whole warning of total sleep; and back again into the longest nights and the shortest lights. A stoppage, a complete stoppage of flow, of vitality.

In conjunction with those two periods of the Sun, of inclination and declination, comes the twelve periods of the Moon. Just statistically, the magnetism of the power of the Moon upon the Earth is eight ninths. This is a very brief approximation, but it gives a very clear vision of the matter. The magnetism of the Moon is eight ninths drawing, to one ninth of all other matters of Sun and planets. Those who have lived at sea and navigated are aware that in certain positions of the oceans, when the Moon is full, the tide will rise in one certain spot, thirty-two feet. The waters of the ocean will rise thirty-two feet. And when the Moon is down, at that very same, identical spot, the tide will rise two feet.

In propagation, we shall deal what this effect is, upon the land. But let us just assess a matter before we proceed with the cycles – that that magnetism of moisture, which it is – of moisture, very largely, is of course, not just oceanic, at all. It is moisture – water, rivers, pulsation of water throughout the world. And not only throughout the world, it is the moisture in our skins. It is the moisture between two leaves and it is equally, the moisture that is applied to the seeds which has entered the husks; and that that part of magnetism at a certain position of the Sun, which we are about to explain, causes (clap) “Open! Wake up!” Draws. It’s a power. It’s a complete…drawing, power. And it splits the seeds open; and the ego, the soul of the seed, begins its life. And it’s a total information.

Now these twelve inclinations of the Moon balance into the gearing of the inclination and declination of the Sun. The Moon, magnetic, begins with the Sun in dormancy on December the 21st; and that first magnetism of the Moon is almost negligible because of the dormancy of the whole atmosphere of the Earth. And that those inclinations of the Moon and declinations of the Moon, operate as the angle increases and as the Spring equinox comes, two nights before the new Moon in March, comes this enormous infusion into the whole world where the Sun and the Moon are now in co-operation – in – tension. And when the Moon is declining they are in opposition and in relaxation. And so you get, when the Moon rises in March, with the inclination of the Sun in March, you get a matter which happens throughout the world where every insect, where every egg, where every atom of every plant is magnetized, drawn and pushed by these two, huge forces, which are the total manipulation, with planets, of the whole senses and pulsation, of relaxation and tension, which are going on throughout the whole atmosphere of the world; human beings, plants, animals, insects, and everything included.

And it is in this way that you will hear in the woods, in early March or the end of February, that such a bird as a dove or a pigeon, “Coo”. And a few days, “Coo”. And then they look at each other. And they’re different. There is an excitement; a pulsation begins and they say, “Coo, coo”; and that is exactly what they do; and a few days later that pulsation is increasing and nothing can stop it! Nothing can stop it! And they say, “Coo, coo, coo”; and they can’t help it! It’s an infusion; and all the plants have it, and the insects, and everything is beginning to scintillate…with excitement…of the ‘Prima Vera’. And they make a nest, and they lay an egg, and they’re then singing, “Coo, coo, coo, COO!” And the egg hatches and the whole of the seeds of the world come to life; and the ‘Prima Vera’ is finished. The cycle proceeds into the dormancy of summer, where birth and death become negligible; and the huge blossoming of that period takes place and is the longest holding period of profusion. Then enters the trend of the declination, and every Moon, descending, with the Sun’s descending, brings an intensity of feeling, of sleep, of rest, of death. And when I use the word ‘death’ it is, again, symbolic. And I will explain this in one moment, to be more understandable.

And so that angle of summer is very, very slow. And when the Moon and the Sun enter the Fall equinox, the whole world again is woken to a sensation; and that sensation is the coming…of total sleep and death. The Spring one is, “Wake!”, and tension, and the Fall one is relaxation, sleep and death. The very opposite. So there are all those opposites in Nature, such as, when the helios are in bloom in the summer, all the tulips, the daffodils, the scillas, the primroses, are totally asleep, in dormancy; when everything is woken up, and living! The excitement is absolutely total and exorbitant in its enormity of complete happiness without even infusion of birth; it is so huge. But in that time, must all the opposites of that, be totally asleep. And when all those helios, with their great heads, and their golds, facing the sun and exhuberating its rays… when they pass into sleep and death, in the Fall equinox, “It’s time to wake up, bulbs, all of you!” that have been sleeping down there and have nothing to do with that Equinox. It’s time. And they’re all rooting. They’re sending out their leaves in the soil and their roots in the air! And they’re breathing! The excitement of the huge dormancy is to them, the vitality. And they come to life when everything is asleep. And at the moment that the Sun begins, after December in inclination, and the Moon begins in inclination, they’re bewildered with excitement and they’re all in bloom, enjoying this huge period of opposite…as the North Pole and the South Pole.

Now, into that enters an extraordinarily fascinating picture of biodynamics, again, of control. And you will find that at no time does Creation allow anything to run completely away. Entertain the thought of what we have said about inclination and atmosphere. That it is the atmosphere that is charged, and that as the Sun inclines towards June the 21st, something else is happening; not in the atmosphere, but in the ground. All that ground, deep down into the center of the earth, which is part of our whole vision in this matter, remember, has been affected, in a totally different cycle. And that is that that huge area, going into sleep, and death, has gone down and down, through the roots that have breathed, and down into the soil; and through the soils through the moistures with the Moon, taking it down, saying, “Right the way down”, feet, and hundreds of feet, and thousands of feet down. And in the oceans, thousands of feet down, “Sleep, death, relax, now…total relax.” And it’s gone right down and entered. And meantime, the Sun and the Moon have started an inclination, and the rebirth of the ‘Prima Vera’.
But this is not with that, as the summer is not with the winter; and the Spring Equinox is not with the Fall Equinox. And so you get, a wonderful…control. That with March, and the effusion of February and March and April, where the whole atmosphere of Nature is saying, “Come on! Quick! Hurry! Wake up!” And the Moon, every night, is saying, “More, more! Come on you luggards, that haven’t woken. Get up! Wake!” And there is terrific excitement. BUT, that’s not total. The Moon descends in declination, and all the plants and the birds and the insects sleep at night; in relaxation. And at that time, the soul of the deep, deep earth says, to all this infusion of excitement, “Steady, steady there. Watch your step; it isn’t summer yet. It’s cold down here.” And it warms it and holds it. And all the time this infusion is wanting to rush. But Nature is keeping a balance for strength and for balance. And it is not until after the Equinox into April that the soil and the deep, deep earth becomes slowly liberated. And with the July and August, more, than the inclination, the declination actually starts the complete change of its effect into the atmosphere; when the whole of the atmosphere is beginning to say, “Now steady, steady now. You must get ready to sleep. It’s August.” And the earth is saying, “Ah, right down, the Sun is going. And the Moon is going right into the soil.” And it’s all vital and full of warm gases and excitement. It’s wanting life. And it says to all the plants, “Don’t listen to the atmosphere. I say, live, wake up. Come on, keep on going! It’s not winter yet!” And there’s excitement from underneath and pressure down below from up above. And you get this balance from both sides; all the way and all the time. And none of it, for one moment, is static. Nor is it ever repetitive. Not one year. Not one month. Not one day of one month, is going to be repetitive.

You are all aware we jump back with the calendar in our hands, you see. That there was 1971 – and we know what happened – if you lived out of doors considerably and were observant – you know what happened about the ‘climatics’ – about when the birds did this – when the robins came – when something came into bloom, and a bud broke, when something perished or went to sleep. We remember clearly, literally almost dates, and infusions of matters together, which coagulated into a complete sense of the cycle. But that didn’t happen this year at all. Not a bit. The rains, the warmths, the changes, happened all quite differently.

(Tape 2)

Just as indeed, night and day happens all quite differently throughout the month, throughout the week. And indeed, again when you live at sea, and you are on the bridge of a ship, and, the night-time is the danger time because of lack of sight. You think, “Now, let me see. I must watch carefully so that when it gets dark, um, my eyes will be right. And I will be able to see sufficiently, in the night, to be safe.” And what happens? Dusk begins and you think, “Hmm, well, it will be dark soon, so I must be ready.” And as darkness descends and you think you are not going to be able see, suddenly this thing, so commonly known as ‘afterglow’, takes place. Afterglow. Hmm…another vision of the cycle. And suddenly the whole thing becomes, almost as light, as it was before twilight. And then, you think ‘Now it’s going to get really dark.” And, of course, all the stars, even if there’s no Moon, suddenly produce a light; because of the darkness! Just like the deep soil and the atmosphere against each other. The darker the atmosphere gets, the more the stars make light. And you find you can see perfectly. And that what happens one night, doesn’t happen another night. In other words, 1971 is not…ever…a repetition, of 1970. And 1972 is not, in any sense, a repetition of 1971. It is a cycle. And certain things do repeat, in a form. But, as we shall see, in the second half of this talk, they actually don’t. That there is no true actual repetition…whatever.

And that there is a huge soul which is ‘procrastinatedly’ thousands of years old, whilst another soul of that soul is living a brief spell of a century. Now into this commodious vision, of these cycles of the control of the Sun and the Moon, and this matter of the control of atmosphere and depths, also enters the magical scene…of again, this astonishing thing of cycle that appears repetitive. And yet, in a sense, of course, it’s not. And this is the magic of the day. Of sunrise, and sunset. Oh God! What a magic this is! How astonishingly the same as the procedure of a year. There is no difference. As indeed, one thought of one person is like a lifetime in the eternity of living. That there is…no repetition in it. And you see, how fantastic it is in its ordination. That the Sun should what we call ‘drives’, and that the gentleness that comes through the dormancy of winter, into the Equinox of Spring, to prepare you for the rombusto, the EXPLOSION OF LIFE, which is to take place, is a gentle procedure of a slow arc; which doesn’t shock or destroy more that it’s meant to. And as the Sun rises, likewise, the air and the ground is full of capillary, and dew, and moisture, and all the foliage is covered with moisture. And the birds, ten minutes before the light begins to increase, one… the time to pray. And this fantastic symphony begins to greet it.

This knowledge, that all Nature has of itself, is about to begin, again, in a cycle. And that the dawn rises slowly when the Sun has no…summer or winter. It is gentle. And because it is gentle, and the arc is slow to begin with, the whole atmosphere of the Earth joins with it, and dries. And whereas, if the Sun started at noon, as, dear God knows, it does here sometimes, the whole of the foliage would be scorched, and ruined. But this is not the procedure of Nature. And how like, not only how like, but is, that early time of dawn, when so many people, who belong to certain planets say, “Oh, what a fabulous time this is! The smell of the air! What an ecstasy is this dawn!” And it’s then between seven and eight, or eight and nine, being summer or winter. And a magic is happening which is, of course, the Spring Equinox.

And so, it passes out of that magic time and indeed, that magic time does go. And everybody who loves the dawn realizes that something has perished and gone. And the day…well, we must get on with it. And the noon comes and the great Sun is hot and all the flowers have opened. And everything is opened. And the birds have stopped feeding and singing. And everything says, “Well, let me do tell…it’s is time for a siesta. We must have a nap.” And this huge dormancy of summer, of noon; and slowly the arc descends, until very quickly everybody says, “Oh gracious! It’s getting late.” The arc, dark is beginning to increase. And the Sun enters the Fall dormancy, or evening. And all the other people, who were born under the other collection of planets say, “Oh, this magic… twilight”, what about that fabulous artist Corot (1), who would never, never be content until he could paint…twilight…and did. This magic. This ethereal magic, which is the very opposite to the birth of dawn…it’s the approach of sleep and death. And it’s equivalent exactly to the Fall Equinox. And gradually the Sun descends and the light descends, and everything says, “Go to bed. Go to sleep. Rest.” But, of course, when the Moon is in inclination, the plants and the birds and the insects, as you know, do not go to sleep. They live all night and all day in that period. And it is only we who are divorced, by switching on electric lights, and motorcars and televisions and surrounding ourselves with all the paraphernalia which will shut out the law of creation. And therefore, we are unobscured by its observation, and able to attend to the toys of the nursery.

Now, how fascinating that this proceeds throughout everything, this pulsation, this tension into relaxation. How fascinating that it even extends into the very world itself. It is so obvious that the creation of the world is [in] such an inimitable balance as to be invisible to our senses. That areas are given up to the whole procedure of certain lives, which have no …place in other areas; indeed, are in opposite to. So that you get the North Pole and the South Pole. And you all know that they are completely opposed to each other; that the North Pole is indeed a water mass surrounded by land, and has great life in the summer. And bursts into an exhorbitancy. And that the South Pole is the very reverse; and never unfreezes, and has no such kind of birth. Indeed, there are only a few insects that live at the South Antarctic, the Pole; such as, even flies and midges that don’t even have wings. And there is nothing but one or two odd lichens which hardly bloom. Whereas, at the North Pole, as you know, there are berries and blossoms, and even plant life and mosses and ferns, and animals and birds and insects galore! They’re opposites. They are opposed. As the Sun and the Moon are an opposition.

And so the world, comes down, to the equator; which is the total in-between. But each side of the Equator is a thing called Cancer and Capricorn. And don’t worry about those lines, but enter the scene of those lines, the latitudes; either side of 10 to 15 degrees, should we say. And here you have, oh, ha ha…this is dark, the dawn, the evening? For they are Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere and work opposite to each other. And again, it is the Equinox. And it is in the Equinox where practically everything connected with man, and his happiness in Nature, is born and dies. And the whole vision of these cycles, is Eternity; which is life into death into life. And out of death, is life. And out of life, is death, into life. Pulsation: tension and relaxation…

An interesting herbal note commences the scene of areas of discontinuity – the sea and the soil. The ocean and the land. There is an area of discontinuity. It’s a vast – it’s a very big – a very obvious one. But interestingly enough, you will become unstuck if you try to be static. There is nothing static, even in that. For on the edge of discontinuity in that area, begins growth or life between the two. And that growth is invariably known, under a botanical term, as sedge. Sedge is a type or reed-grass. All words are destructive, in the facts that they give us inmature visions. Now sedge manages both salt air and fresh air, salt water and fresh water. And a fascinating matter happens out of sedge, and it’s one of the most, to my mind, interesting botanical matters! That sedge grows without soil, in grit, sand. And that having grown for some period in grit and sand, in salt and fresh, it makes something else…a …death. A de-composition of its own matters. And that that decomposition proceeds. And in a short while, becomes soil. A soil. And that after a short time longer, because there is nothing static, the sedge is ordained not to be able to grow in soil. And must give up…and depart. And does. And herbage and grass take over because this is what sedge has [was] made for; out of life, into death, into life. And you understand that this is also the oasis and the whole procedure.

After we have our little rest, I want to go, enormously, into the scene of areas of discontinuity of the oceans and how they control the climates and procedures of the world. Meantime, just for a few minutes let us enter the scene of art, in line with what we are looking at.

In the art of drawing and painting, how fascinating a matter, that when you draw, when you wish to draw for a reason of expression, you are really trying to do one thing, practically, only. You are trying to develop a line of area of discontinuity. You place an horizon around something to establish what you envision to express. That is draftsmanship.

Leonardo [da Vinci] almost evacuated it because he realized that draftsmanship was totally inferior to color, to painters. And this a classic matter. That, of course, all painting transcends draftsmanship. That you have to learn to be a draftsman, to understand to be able to be a painter. Some people can rattle through it very quickly. Some people take a great period. The whole vision of this matter is that with color you divorce, you eradicate the clumsiness of the line of area of discontinuity. And this was the whole proof of Leonardo’s life, and other great painters, even such people as Durer (2), who was this fantastic mathematician, and devised every manner of utensil and measuring the angles and strings in front of his eyes, till he could hardly work. But he too came, of course, to the same conclusion. That the whole magic of the matter is the eternity. That when there is something…to be expressed…the technique is never to be visible. That toy of the nursery will not be melted into the soul, the eternity of life…if there is any clumsiness in that technique.

And of course, at no time can the toy of the nursery enter immortality. But that if you draw…with a pencil…a black and white, you have chiaroscuro at the height. But if you now go to the soils and produce three colors, you will find that you can blend those three colors, that they have no line of area of discontinuity. And in this, Leonardo found that his thumb was infinitely better than the brush. And he wiped that line…until…that one disappeared into the air. And this one stayed out in the air, as it should. And he then found that, that furthermore, he could produce this magical matter of the invisible technique, by the use of the juice of the fig. Some had tried the gum of cherry and numerous other methods. But the juice of the fig was Leonardo’s secret; which has since come out, as you know, in his diaries. And that this juice of the fig is that melting medium that will join two colors where you have no, actual visible line of area of discontinuity.

Now this line of area of discontinuity is an extraordinary matter. For you see among many societies, among Steiner being one of the most…demonstrative… in the matter, enters the word ‘aura’. Now, I was taught by Steiner at that time, and by numerous others to become, as many people do, cognizant and visible of aura. And every thing has…an emanation. And, of course, it became an absurdity, people jumping in and out of motorcars and getting on trains, just thought that this was one huge joke. But you understand that when you look at this, everything gives off an emanation. And some things even physically visibly, are so obvious, that you can’t refute it. And you invariably look at something and say “Oh! Gracious. I’m dazzled.” Well, it means that the emanation is a little bit too much for your senses. And that you need to look away, to be able to look again. Otherwise, you’re blinded.

And, of course, every thing [being], because everything has a soul, has an emanation. Now the reason that I am banging on this is a huge import in this very University. That it is probably one of the all-important cycles of our lives. The huge area of birth of infusion… of the enchantment of the knowledge of God, of life. An enormous visional matter, and how important, but how un-spokenly, un-understandably, un-developedly important is our environ-ment, which is the word environment. Our total surroundings, that is the emanation and the infusion of birth, or of sleep. And that the totality of our surroundings, whether it be color, or land, or building, or the educative matter of the nursery…Oh God! How vitally, how enormously important, is this infusion upon us. That it must be…the good, the beautiful balance. Not the unbalanced, the divorcement of human beings from this…inestimable law of Creation, in which everything, sooner or later, must go with it.


(1) Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was a French landscape and portrait painter as well as a printmaker in etching.

(2) Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) was a German painter, mathematician, printmaker and theorist of the German Renaissance.

Archive ID: CA1004
Type: Audio
Title: Biodynamics of Horticulture, Lecture 3: Origin, Areas of Discontinuity
Date: 05 Feb 1972
Location: University of California, Santa Cruz