I thought first that we would talk about the productivity of the French intensive system with biodynamics. Then to talk about the approach of biodynamics, and then talk to some degree about herbs, and then you have a period of questions and answers.
In the productivity of a garden, the question that comes up is: What is it that we want? We want beautiful flavor in our food; we want good color in the flowers; we want lusciousness; we
want youth, so we don’t have to cook anymore than is necessary, or not at all. And so, what are the ways in which we approach the growing of these matters? The French intensive system is the result of thousands of years of master culturists culminating in a whole answer of this matter, and adjoined with biodynamics, brings about a whole fruition and gives those very answers.
The primary essential to all good growing is drainage. This the ancient Greeks taught us by telling us that the finest plants grow not in the alluvial soils of valleys, but on landslides. And it
was because of that, that they built landslides in the valleys, and eventually called it, like furrows:
‘plowing’. We do it all today, and that is the whole reason for it. With that method came about the raised beds of ancient culture, right up to today. Through that method you get perfect drainage, and warm moist air to the roots, as well as to the foliages. For one must think of roots as leaves in the ground, and leaves as roots in the air. In this way you get a much better picture of a plant.
One must also realize that there is no division such as we make about a vegetable garden, or a flower garden, or weeds, or plants. They are all plants. You happen to cook a cauliflower, and we happen to eat the bulb of an allium, an onion. There is no difference between any of them. They are all plants. But the most important plants of all in the garden are weeds.
There is no more important plant than weeds. Weeds are origins. From the weeds, we have everything that we have in the garden: every lettuce, every bean, every apple, every berry has come from the origins, the weeds. And in those weeds are more nutriments and more total juices than any of the cultured plants of man which gradually become less and less. However, the method of the French intensive bed is now a raised bed above ground level with a small walkway around it to be get-at-able.
The next matter to consider is the word fertility. Fertility is not ‘something’. It is a marriage of everything. It is a marriage of the matters in the soil, of de-combustion, of the production of warm, moist gases in the soil and in the air, which is what all the plants live upon, and the intermarriage of all of those matters. Therefore, it is perfectly justified to say that literally any soil is a good soil. You can grow perfectly in sand. You can grow perfectly in loam. You can grow perfectly in peat moss. Not everything, but many things, and most things. The word that we all look for, and that the whole world is looking for at the moment, in its demand, is fertility. And added to fertility is the magic of man’s mastery of the understanding of the laws of Nature. When that is applied, into what is called the French intensive bed, you produce the very classical result of true fertility.
Texture is probably the most important matter which the world agriculturally has forgotten. Texture is entirely essential for the production of warm moist gases and for the production of the important word: capillary. Capillary really means, as we understand it, the rising of the waters from the deep Earth. It also has a resultant upon the dews, which you might call the compressions from the atmosphere. But in this word, texture in the soil is vitally important. You cannot have capillary if you have a seething surface on your soil, neither can you have capillary if you have a fine loose soil underneath. You must have a loose, flexible soil about two inches on the surface, and below that you must enter textured soils. That means actual roughage; and the more roughage the more down, the better. In this way you will get de-combustion, capillary, and the action of pulsation into the soil. That is breathing; that is action of the revolutionibus, as spoken of by Copernicus1: the
effect of the planets and the ruling of the cycles.
When those things are interwoven, the next procedure to produce the fertility in a French intensive bed is the high culture of stratification. Is it not true to say that in the whole procedure of Nature she lays her soils in lengths? In this way, the roots of the plants and the surfaces of the
plants growing, grow through the areas, which they need, in their different ages. A child begins on milk, and then goes into bread and milk, and then goes into more and more things and more things. It is exactly the same with plant life. They demand texture. It’s a word we have forgotten. The idea of chewing your compost up with a machine is most developed. If you wish to use compost immediately, instantly, then chewing the compost up is advisable. But if you want compost in its true important form, you must have it as enormous texture. And you must use that compost in the form of decomposition, not as decomposed as soil. It is as the structure of decomposition that its forces play and produce the warm, moist gases, which is what all the roots and the leaves live upon.
When one talks now about roots and leaves living upon this, in the French intensive bed, you have to entertain the interplay of the planetary system, which, with its sleeping and waking, inclination and declination, does the matter of feeding through the atmosphere, so that the plant breathes in through the air, and travels down through the roots into the soil. Thus actually feeding the soils. Likewise, in the opposite pulsation, feeding out through the roots, through the soil, up the stems, through the leaves, into the air. This is a procedure, which goes on in opposition, like breathing in and breathing out, and this is the whole essential of the study of biodynamics, introducing the play of the cycles, the work of the revolutionibus of the planets.
Now, when these beds are stratified, with different soils, different composts, and different fertilizations, the plants are aware of this, and the planting of those plants must be placed so that they make, literally, a thermal control of their fate. That as those warm moist gases are being built up inside the bed, by decomposition, those gases are rising and are held by the foliage of the plants themselves, like a small conservatoire—like a small conservatory—like a glass house. Therefore, those plants need to be planted so that they cover the entire bed, or if not planted, so that they are sown, so that they cover the entire bed as quickly as possible. How superbly all Nature grows in meadows, in places where the plants cover the whole soil. How unhappy plants are when they are distraught by the inference of the elements, destroying the soil area.
That whole soil area, of a half inch above, and two inches below, is indeed the very skin of the world. It is the area of discontinuity between earth and air. It is the four elements, earth, fire, air, and water that are all the time bringing about interplay. The Sun is shining, drying it up. The only reason that you water plants is that they should dry. You want this continual change from one thing to another. It is the whole original vision of a holiday: this perpetual change that brings pulsation, inclination and declination, excitement, change.
Nothing in Nature is ever static for one moment. Therefore, the Sun dries the soil, and we moisten it. And the wind blows, and dries the soil more than the Sun does. And the cold comes, and the heat comes, and the four elements play, and all the time are destructive. But if you place these plants so that they protect the skin of the world—the half-inch above, the two inches below— you have a further control. It’s like a sheet of glass with a window. The whole of the procedures that are taking place within the soil bed, and within the atmosphere under the plants is not being disrupted, but is being held above the plants by their foliage, which are not disturbed by the matter. Therefore you get within that area perfect growth control. It is only when plants stop growing for a time that they get tough. And if the collar of any plant gets tough, it will never recover in that area, and the plant will never be a good plant again.
You must, in growing all plants, think of the word ‘acceleration’. From the time that the seed is born, there must be a continual acceleration of that plant. Faster and faster and faster. Therefore you must sow your seed, and get germination on a certain cycle that is going to proceed, seed, and continue ad lib. For if the plant stops, it will not be worthwhile. That is the whole reason and purpose behind the huge culture of French intensive beds. The result of the formation of that bed, which is an endless and extremely cultured work, has this result: that all the crops grown in such a bed, formed in such a cultured manner, when you take that crop out, that soil in the bed is infinitely more fertile than when the crop went in. And can this be said today about the approaches of horticulture and agriculture? This is the whole matter that the whole view of agriculture is striving and hunting for. It is the utmost importance that you improve, improve, improve. And that is exactly what this classic system brings about. It cannot be otherwise.
In the interpolation of the planting of that bed must come the study of deep-rooteds and shallow-rooteds. Now, one of the greatest achievers of Nature, of which man has no competence whatsoever, is worms. Worms are enormous cultivators and enormous fertilizers. They do both. Normally, in ordinary soil where you have a strata of compaction, which is perfectly natural throughout the world, the worms will go into dormancy both in the summer and the winter and curl up, in that strata, and merely come out in the equinoxes, and operate. The moment that you have deep-rooted plants—and lucerne (alfalfa) will go down sixty-two feet, rhubarb goes down fourteen to sixteen feet, chicory will go down ten to fifteen feet; there are endless, endless, endless herbs and plants that do these things—now the moment that one of those roots goes through the stratification, the worms are all delighted. They do not go into dormancy. They travel down beside the roots, and they cultivate and they fertilize to get where no machinery of man can ever attempt. For you know yourselves that four feet is about the extreme that most horticulturists and very few agriculturists ever even dream of.
Now, plants breathe out of the air into the soil, and out of the soil into the air. In this very matter, the interpolation of your plants—that is the choice of the growing of your plants, interpolated—since every plant has certain of what we would call ‘chemical attributes’: magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, iron, they all have different major attributes. Silly words that you must get out of your mind because they’re completely untrue. But, all of those plants do, through those very items, have an inference into the soil. So that if your soil is lacking in iron, or lacking in magnesium, or lacking in phosphorus or potassium, there are an enormous amount of herbs and plants, which if you grow, will induce that within six months, and increase it, and increase it, and increase it.
Therefore, the whole vision that leads out of that French intensive bed, into biodynamics again, is relationship and dis-relationship. So you will perceive that the course of excellent drainage, and the course of the method of planting that bed in that system, you will realize that the use of irrigation or water is literally, completely, the minimal as you would ever think of. Very, very little water is required because there is no serious drying out. There is no seizing of the soil surface. It doesn’t even have to be worked. The plants themselves maintain that perfect texture on the surface. At all times, that bed is articulate breathing, and full of all the capacities of Nature, of excellent health. And now you can see the result upon the excellent nutriment and juices, that must then operate in those plants, for your soil is now the very basis of the very things that you are praying for. Therefore, you have the utmost nutriments, the utmost breathing abilities, and strength and vitalities. And this goes to show the enormous importance of the whole of that system, because it immediately undoes the words pest and disease.
Pest and disease come as a result of weakness, impure blood, poor juices, and general such matters. When you have strong vitalities, when you have strong soil which is getting stronger and stronger and stronger, you are not running into weakness and weakness and weakness. You know very well that if you feed a child or a person upon white bread out of the emporium, they will go on eating it all day, and be completely unsatisfied. And, they will get no nutriment from it; they will merely be stuffed with it. Likewise, it is true to say—and this is not negative—that if you grow plants upon extracted sub-terrestrial chemicals, you are doing exactly the same as feeding a person on white bread. The plant will fill itself, and fill itself, and fill itself; hunting, and hunting, and hunting—which is exactly what those chemicals are supposed to do—and will be full of weak juices. When all the insects, which after all are a complete ordinance of God’s law, and the laws of Nature, come to feed upon the foods which are ordained for them to feed upon, they will find something which is the equivalent of white bread. And they will eat and eat and eat until they are sick, and they will breed and breed and breed until they are sick. It is exactly the same as life in the city.
And here you have the whole region in which the real words pests and disease came into agriculture. It is the result of dis-ordinance and unbalance in the cultivation, the fertilization, and the propagation of the land. When insects eat their proper food, with good food, they only need a certain amount, and then they are fed. And they have every right to have it. And the whole attitude of biodynamics is that all the insects, all the birds, and all the animals do belong, not only in Nature, but in the garden. And if we are the great administers of this world, which we proclaim that we are, we should indeed see that they are properly looked after. And if necessary, we should indeed feed them.
And if indeed you have too many birds in the garden—which is high question these days—if you have too many insects: in the whole vision of nature, is relationship and dis-relationship. Have you ever seen a butterfly, or a moth, or an aphid on Sambucus, that is, elderberry? Have you ever seen a fly on Anthemis (chamomile)? Never. You never have. I can’t possibly describe all the relationships and the dis-relationships. They are absolutely complete. They are endless. In every plant is a relationship and a dis-relationship to something.
You will probably know well that Senecio, groundsel, when you give it to a Hartz Roller canary or to any of the finches, within two minutes, they will be singing. It is also Senecio that gives the softest water filter in the world, next to the Fagus, the beech. You would know, probably, that if you stand under a Fagus when there is a lightning storm, you can never be struck with lightning.
No Fagus, no beech tree, is ever struck by lightning. It cannot be. But an oak can.
If you are afraid of bees, and don’t wish to be stung, you must carry Anthemis (chamomile), or Matricaria (chamomilla, German chamomile), and they won’t come near you. They just don’t like it at all. But if you want bees to come to you, why, you must carry Melissa, or bee balm, and they will come to you at once. This is day and night, hot and cold, good and bad, black and white, breathing in and breathing out. It is the whole thought of Nature. And it is all operated through the arithmetic of the planets and the stars, which all revolve and move all the time.
Nothing, absolutely nothing in Nature is static, except, you might say, the law of God. That is, all the great, great botanists, and biologists, and true scientists with a knowledge of Nature, always said, when they have searched into the whole laws of Nature, they would say, “If the stars are going that way, and the planets are going that way, and it takes fifty-six years for Saturn to revolve, supposing that God decided that they should go the other way: Would they?” And the answer every time, of course, is, “Yes, they would.” And there sits the whole seat of the matter.
Everything is governed by an invisible law. Invisible. And today we are so presumptuous because we unfortunately can make a motor car, and it does go along—sometimes—we think we make things. And we cannot make anything. We make nothing. But everything that we ever want is supplied to us through Nature. The big roof, everything that we eat, everything that we wear, every single thing that we do—a tennis racket—is all given us by Nature. But we do not think, it is all participant from this incredible rule of the revolutionibus, the revolvement.
And in this must come in somewhere, a huge vision that concerns education. We are inclined to be taught that twice two is four, and that this is this, and that is that, and the moment we regurgitate it on paper with pen and ink, or repeat it, we can get a graduation upon it, and that when we regurgitate it again and wind out to somebody else, they can wind out, and they get graduated. And so it goes on, it goes on, and goes on, and so there are libraries and libraries, of piles of books, and reams and reams, and what is going to happen in three thousand years with everybody trying to read all that, and regurgitate it all? Doesn’t the forest change? The whole forest changes. Where are the pterodactyls? Where are the dinosaurs? We don’t know. We’re really not very clever.
Every tree that drops seed: none of the children are identical to the tree. We just say, “Oh, there’s the metasequoias! They’re all wearing togas!” It’s absolute nonsense. There isn’t any such thing. We live in an attic of words, and we believe them, intimately, and it’s complete, unutterable rubbish. Every seed that is reborn in this world is new. It is not identical to the parent. It cannot be identical to the parent. The only repetition that we ever make in the garden is when we take a piece of a parent tip, and plant it. You see, we are even so statically ourselves, in cages, that we believe that a tree is a tree.
Have you not ever realized that all the buds on a tree are an enormous family? They’re all really seedlings with little roots, that live through the bark into the pith of the great parent. For you can take any one of those buds and stick them into an origin root, and they will grow. And the whole bush or tree that you have done that to will be what the bud was. But if you take the seed from that tree, the origin root will have its total inference in the matter, and none of it will come true. Therefore all classic repetition in the garden in horticulture must come through seeds. Seed is the rebirth of origin. It is part of totality, and is part of invisibility.
All that I am really arriving at is this incredible vision that concerns the biodynamic approach, not only in living, but principally in horticulture. And it is, that behind the whole of our living, behind all the plants and all the manifestation is a spirit. Invisible. You can’t talk about it, its not even tangible. And this is the precise reason why all great gardeners—real great gardeners— are really illiterates. I studied under some of the greatest gardeners in the world, and they were completely illiterate. They couldn’t even pronounce the Greek and Latin names. But they were great and superb illustrators, because they always had to draw.
But, as you would know, nearly all the people who grow wonderfully, who really grew up with it, never talk. They can’t talk about it. It’s all invisible. And this is a very articulate matter that we have to look at: the whole incredible miracle about the very magic of a garden. All the jewels of the world, and all the maharajas put together are not the equivalent of the plants of one little backyard. They are full of the inestimable, invisible magic. Every herb—in other words every weed that grows—is related to the government of one or more of the planets or the stars. Every limb of the body—a finger, a wrist, the heart, the liver, the kidney, the eyes, the nose, and ears—are all related astrologically, as you know, to astronomy and are governed by planets and stars.
Now you will perceive why it is that within plants—as Dioscorides2, as Pliny3, as all of the great botanists and visionaries and philosophers realized—that there was, in all plant life, both food and medicine. And it was here that the ancient Greeks went much further, for they discovered,
and knew very well, from their observance of the laws of Nature, that it was inadequate for any man to eat food for his physical sustenance. That within that food is invisible concern, and that by the adaptation of herbs with food, is found spiritual vision: uplift. That the very world of Nature, the plants, the insects and the birds can actually feed man in inspiration into vision of higher evolvement, of further sight. And that with the whole of that aspect comes perfection of health. That food is not just food, all food that we use should have it with it the herbs that are also the medicines. Therefore, in eating food and medicines together, remains perpetually, always perfect health.
You must know somewhere that the very plant Sympyhtum, which you would commonly call comfrey, contains in it such endless elements, that if you eat it regularly for two or three years, that is the leaves and the root and so on, you indeed have perfect teeth and bones, and repairs, and flesh and skin. And indeed it is the very plant Symphetum, Symphetum number six, that is the reestablishment of the excellence of cattle. Bones which have become solid—animals will vary upon this matter—again become hollow and beautiful as they should, and the whole structure of an animal becomes right, and the whole tremendous fat, which is issued, returns to its proper lean quantities.
You must know, and you must surely perceive the importance of so many of the plants. You would realize Digitalis (foxglove) is an incredible plant for the heart, and that all of the herbs are relators and dis-relators. I can give you a whole list of herbs that will restore baldness to anyone for any reason whatever. They will grow hair, however nakedly bald. And if you want your hair to fall off of your head, I will give you two herbs that will do. That if you want to stop mice in the house, or mice in the beds, you have only to use Mentha aquatica (water mint) and they will not come near
That the most magical herb in the world, vervain (verbena), cures fifty human ailments, and keeps everybody in perfection. The Angelica archangelica and Melissa officinalis will lift your mind and your whole mental attitude into perfect memory, and good thinking. Passiflora incarnata is one of the most magical of all plants to produce good sleep for insomnia. It will always relieve intense pain, and produce a gentle sleep. And of all these matters, it does not reduce consciousness, but raises it. It improves the clarity of consciousness. Much of this is over-ridden today because of the enormous belief in the sub-terrestrials in synthetics. Everybody lives on synthetics.
Could you please tell me why does anybody grow a field of peas, and out of inner fear and terror and disbelief in the enormous law and goodness of Nature, freeze the lot on the spot, and imagine they’re not going to have anything else to eat in the world? And this is the huge absurdity of the planet today. There is no starvation; there can never be any starvation. It is not of reason. There is always beautiful soil, endless fertility, endless quantity of seed. It is only our absurdities that remove it from us.
When, out of fear, we must kill something—we cannot kill something. You cannot get rid of anything. The whole ancient magics were with diseases, but you don’t just—squawk—get rid of them, because you’ve got two or three more serious things at once. But you can always induce something to go from something into something else. So they always used a herb in an animal or a horse or a rabbit, as a receptive herb to that disease or ailment. They then used the driving-out herbs to lay to the person suffering, and with incantations and numerous such matters, drove the ailment into the other body. But you must realize that there is no destroying anything in this world. And indeed, Nature has no waste. Everything that is created in Nature is useful. Everything. And this is what is so magical. How absurd it is that we make all this hideous cellophane stuff and can’t do anything with it; and never will, literally, be able to destroy it. Literally.
So within this view of what is biodynamics is an essential matter. It concerns the word ‘approach’. Why do you want to grow something? What is the reason? Do you want money?
Because any idiot can get money. You must never go to Nature and say to twenty acres, “I want fifty thousand dollars.” Because you can have it. You must go to Nature and ask her for the laws. And observe and learn, and be obedient, and reverent. Because the whole laws of Nature are the governance.
And out of that observance and following and enormous provisionment—which is increased all the time—comes an enormous fruition. And from the fruition of that fertility, out of that observance, comes the most magical matter of all. And it is this: you will now receive your bonus. Having produced, through your labors, and your sense of goodness and magnification— having produced that fertility—it will rebound, in that in the ensuing circle of cycle will come new growth, new atmosphere. And in that new growth, new atmosphere will come new weeds, new seeds, that you know nothing about, that you’ve not seen in the area before. That you don’t even know of. And will come new insects, new birds. They will all circulate and produce a further growth that you have never been able to conceive. They have come out of the invisible. And because of this, and because it is something new in your pulsation and inclination, it will lift your very image. Your very seed. Man’s image, his very seed, from which he sees vision, and increases.
And here Nature lifts the image of man, and again it rises and climbs the ladder to further heights and further procedures.
If it is not irrelevant, in the talk about herbs, we see that herbs must be grown and used au natural. You will probably know that in ancient days all real gardens had couches, divans, made of Anthemis noblis (Roman chamomile). There is a beautiful little herb—so high—that adored to be trod upon, like Daucus (wild carrot) do. And they grow much much better. And since it is full of enormous strength and vitality, as is Petroselinum—parsley, the rock of St. Peter, the keys of the gates of heaven—so they always made couches in the garden of Anthemis noblis and mowed them. And at all times, when feeling a little melancholia or tiredness, the thing was to go and lie upon this couch for an hour, and all of these plants with their give-off, their emanation, restore your vitality and your goodness. Is it not true that however we live, however monstrously we live today with all our perniciousness, is it not true that the trees and the plants and the grass breathe in our perniciousness? And absorb it and dissolve it and give it out as pure air again? Which is absolutely true. What an incredible magic is this!
Steiner used to teach me to lean up against the different trees and to be suscitated by them, and to feel what their give-off was. The pine tree, as you know, is dry and it effects you here. And the whole world, of all the plants, and the insects and the birds, have this relationship and inter- relationship. There is no use, no reason at any time, because you find something out of balance, to fly to a shop full of hypnotism and say, “Quickly, quickly, give me a spray, give me a powder! And right, right now! Go! Get out!” And it’s all nonsense. In the whole law of Nature, the whole revelation of the stars, none of them run into each other. None of them. The flight of the birds, they never fly into each other. And that within all of that is a relationship to this matter. You’ve only to seek it out. You’ve only to find it and know it. And discover it. When you use the deep- rooteds beside the shallow-rooteds you have got your method.
No whiteflies like nasturtiums. No aphids, at all, will ever survive in a garden for long where you grow Nicotiana anthemis (Flowering nicotine). Nicotiana anthemis is one of the most beautiful plants in the garden, and it is covered, as you will know, with the most delicious nectar. It goes out of the flowers. It’s nocturnal, and the hummingbirds go crazy over it. They adore it. And it will bring the hummingbird moths. The hummingbird moth flies at twice the pace of the hummingbird, and the hummingbird flies at seventy miles an hour forwards, and seventy-five miles an hour in reverse! But the Nicotiana anthemis is so astonishing in the garden because it is covered, as all plants are, with little hairs. And all of these hairs give off this delicious nectar. And the whole garden—at night only—when it is dusk, is filled with the scent of lilies from this plant. As dawn comes, the scent is gone. It isn’t there at all. Do you understand? Is it catching?
Well, all of the aphids—whether they be green, or red, or black—absolutely adore this nectar more than any other nectar in the world, and they can’t resist it. It doesn’t matter what plants there are in the garden, they can’t resist it. So they go straight to this plant to have a wonderful drink of death. They alight upon the hairs, and they suck, and the moment the alight and suck the hairs just close upon them and eat completely. This goes on, as you can perceive, ad infinitum. Givers and takers. Relators and dis-relators. Inclination and declination.
And so, this is the basis and the approach of biodynamic. Behind it, is again, the word ‘approach’. Reverence and obedience for that incredible, endless knowledge which is always changing. We must not ever think that we can get hold of something, put it in the cage and say,
“I’ve got it”, because everything is changing. And all education is exactly the same. There is no such thing as knowing anything. There is no such thing as actual, no such thing as actual knowledge. It’s a journey. It’s a passage. And therefore it’s absurd for us to create temporal things and say they are permanent and eternal. It is eternal things that we perceive, and the invisible, and then all the temporal plays itself. It’s so easy.
This is the basic of the attitude and approach of biodynamic: spiritual vision behind everything that you do.
Would you care to have a short period of questions and answers?
Q: Where is all this information available? It’s impossible for me to get it all down. Is this in this book, or…
No! I would not say so. If you would play the violin, would you get a book from the library? As you would say, sir, “How do I find out?” What I suggest to you is this: that every area in California, as soon as possible, should be given a piece of land by the state, by the civic authorities,
that over it should be a reasonably good professional classical horticulturist, who understands some of these matters, and that this person should be responsible for leading the children, the youth, and the public into the vision of those incredible matters that are our very life, that we have utterly and hopelessly forgotten. And there is no other way about it.
Where did all education come from? Fairy stories, mythology, parables, handed down from regions and regions long before anything was written in words—an incredible magic of reality. The moment that you put things into regurgitated words, you have put them into brackets of unutterable limitations. You must first know the laws of Nature, the characters of plants, how they grow, where they grow—then we can give them a silly name, and call it Hunkey Dunk, and Pliff Poff and Lady Blue Eyes. Then we can stand at last; but until then, no. That’s my best answer to you,
I feel that this has to be a growth of study. And it is one of those things that we have thrown away. And it must come back. There was a period when every country person understood their climatics, understood their soils, their animals, their wild plants, and knew them intimately.
What children today are really educated or led into the whole of this? There is no approach to it. It is all how to make a motorcar, how to watch a television set. If you are terribly busy with that, you can’t be very, very busy watching the sunrise. And I think that that’s the whole answer. And it’s a huge enigma. And I don’t think we ought to look at it too closely because it’s rather frightening. But I think we should undo it as quickly as we can.
Q: I don’t know how you even study it, if you have no authorities, if you don’t know where to go to study it. You have to be able to find masters…
There are an enormous quantity of people who have a reasonable knowledge of the techniques of horticulture, of the knowledge of plant character. I am not at all refuting the enormous knowledges of universities, schools and education. I am not refuting any of it. What I am possibly trying to prevent are the hallucinations of words—that there is knowledgeability—but that we are not making use of it. We have lost our palate, we have lost our taste. Are you aware of the egg that you eat, that you would far better not to eat. The way in which that chicken is kept is absolutely monstrous. It is no connection with a bird at all. And do you realize, apparently, that had you turned to doves, or crows, and asked them to lay an egg a day they would, through the goodness of God, have done it; and that elephants would give you eight gallons of milk as a cow does, if we had asked them to do it. There is nothing in Nature that we are not going to get when we ask for it. If you want a purple pear and a white plum, it is there…in no time, abracadabra. It is all there.
Q: Where are we going to learn it if it is not written down? We haven’t time to go out and commune with nature as you have probably done all your life.
How high, how high is the price of a tomato? (Right now it costs…) No. There never has been a price on a tomato. Or an orange. It is free. It is absolutely free. It is our incredible insanity that makes you tear all over the place so that you can’t afford it, and after a short time you can’t eat it. Yes, it is true. Search into Nature and be obedient and reverent.
Q: Can you tell us something of Pan, of the gnomes, the elves, and the fairies?
Yes! You have indeed struck an interesting matter. But again, it concerns verbosity, curiously enough. Gnomes, elves, undines, nymphs, all of these matters, of course, are absolutely real; no question about it. They are, and always have been the inter-weavers of the intermediaries. And they always are those things that are not seen. How is it that a flower suddenly opens? How is it that a seed pod will turn back and face itself in a ball? In ways ineffable, that you can’t understand. How is it that a seed would even germinate? And that a plant will fall to the ground? It is the actual intermediary between the visible and the invisible. And one period of verbosity that, preceding, had to be given a name, and those names were elves, undines, nymphs and numerous others.
Thank you very much. Wonderful.
1 Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer and first modern heliocentric cosmologist; Alan’s use of the term revolutionibus comes from his major work, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres; (1473-1543).
2 Pedanius Dioscorides, Greek physician and medical botanist; (~40-90 A.D.).
3 Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder), Roman natural philosopher; (23-79 A.D.).
Archive ID: CA1036
Title: Urban Gardening Symposium: Everything is Governed by an Invisible Law
Date: 18 Apr 1975
Location: San Jose City College, CA