Greetings, and among some of us, re-greetings! It is so wonderful to be asked to come and join you. I know so little, and know that in a hundred years I will say that I know less. And therefore, I repeat Plato and say, “I do not know, but I do perceive.” Herbs are the weeds of the world. They are classic origin. They must not be cultured. They must be our masters. And we must live with them, study them, adore them, and revere them. And out of them have always come, and do come, and will come, every blessed thing that we have in this world.
Is it an important subject? There is nothing in the whole world, but the comings from this area: the whole law of Nature. We make and create nothing, but we do manipulate. The herbs, in origin, the weeds: when horticulture began, the whole talk was growing herbs, and out of it came the word ‘herbaceous’. And herbs were, as you know, through Ptolemy1 to the ancient Orient, and then to the Persians, and then to the Phoenicians, and to the ancient Greeks, they were the matter of food for the body, food for the mind, and the vision of the spirit. What a deep and incredible matter to consider in the world of plants!
How ludicrous that today, the major question that one sees printed and asked everywhere is: “I say, how are we going to grow the food for the millions?” It has got nothing to do with it. It has never had anything to do with it. Within the whole secret of the law that governs the growth of herbs is an unending cornucopia that will never cease, and the quantitive is endless, and the qualitative is more endless.
Therefore, out of the origin herbs has the great image of man—the seed of his mind that germinates magic—out of this image has come all the exquisite things that we know to eat. And that is only the basic beginning, for the eating is nothing. How incredibly little do we understand what magic meals we have upon sight, upon scent, upon textural touch. What huge meals we have out of the scent of a flower, out of the greeting and observation of the dawn, and the rising of the Dog Star, and of its very opposition, the eventide, the equinox of spring of day, and the equinox of sleep, of night, which are complete opposites.
Are we aware of these things? Do we perceive them, or are we hypnotized with gadgets and machines and incredible thinkings in gurglings of words? Are we hypnotized? Are we aware of the infinite magic that is happening every second of every day? And it is always new, and never repeated. Everything, even classicism, is not static, nor education, nor knowledge: for knowledge is a journey. And behind the whole of this journey is a pathway, and that pathway is crystal clear. It is the pathway of the herbs beneath the government of the stars, and the aperture is the law of God.
Are the herbs important in our lives? Out of the whole of herb origin—and one talks, of course, of trees and shrubs, and flowers and roots and leaves, and many other things that we are going to touch upon that are almost indelible—but out of all of that has come, via the great horticultural University of Padua, commenced in the 1400’s, the great horticultural gardens that are schools, such as Kew (Royal Botanic Gardens), the sister of Wisley (Royal Horticultural Garden). Out of those gardens, out of those mastery of horticultures, from those herbs have come every single fruit, every flower, every vegetable, and everything that we look at, enjoy, smell, and eat.
What a gateway, what an enormous gateway this is! Where is one? Where is one here in the United States? Where is such a school in California? Then what are we talking about? Are we not talking about an enormity that is the revelation of the whole law of the universe? And are we not hypnotized into oblivion and not perceiving it?
In those very herbs, and the outcome of those herbs that are all the fruits and vegetables and flowers, there is as you realize, no difference at all. You can’t really talk about flowers, for the cauliflower that you boil is perfectly good in the herbaceous border. And you get married holding the Asparagus plumosus nanus (asparagus fern) whilst you eat Asparagus officianalis. And of course the whole background of asparagus is really very interesting because the name began in the Greek period, which is asparagos, which of course was used as it should be in America, in the Senate. When anybody got up and spoke too long, they simply said: (thump) “Asparagos!” And it was the duty of one man to pick up a wand of asparagus which always weighed about two pounds, which they grow in the Aegean wild in such a way, and strike him on the head, which of course did him no harm, but decidedly quieted the whole issue.
Now out of the whole matter of this is the vision which that remarkable person, Rudolf Steiner, so largely brought about, and which has not greatly been focused upon: relationship and dis-relationship. You are aware that every one of the herbs is governed by a planet or planets, and that every area of the body is likewise governed by planetary system and planetary invocation, and that therefore the interpolation between those two is so perfectly obvious.
If you question this matter you have only to put a bowl of water beneath a cucumber. The cucumber, as you know, is governed by the moon, and the cucumber will immediately grow downwards. If you place the water above the cucumber in a bowl, the cucumber will immediately go up to the bowl, or placed to the side, and it will go to the side. And as you know, if you place a
bowl of oil beneath the cucumber, and the cucumber will go in the opposite direction. If you place the bowl of oil above the cucumber, it will go down. If you place it to the right, it will go to the left. It is governed, as they all are, sometimes by two planets, sometimes by three, usually by one, sometimes by many.
And the areas of the body, also. Therefore there can be no question about this interplay of the essences of the herbs and the appropriations to humanity. Likewise, you understand that we are very much inclined to think of plants ad toto. And, of course, just as there are night birds and day birds, there are night plants and day plants, and the in-betweens of the equinoxes, all interweaving in relationships and dis-relationships.
Now not only is that interplay between man and his limbs and the plants, but likewise between all the birds, the animals, and the insects, and everything else that lives. For every grain of sand that comes from the rocks has spirit matter within it. It is a living entity somewhere. And all water is not just water. It is endless sisters of drops. A whole family, as mountains are families of mothers and fathers and children. And indeed when you look at a tree and you talk about a tree, what unutterable nonsense! For every bud which grows on every bough of every tree is a single entity, and you can indeed take it, and it will root and grow, and it has a root in the tree just like the roots of a tooth. Do you grow your eyelashes each day? Do you attend to the top of your ear and the bottom of your ear? And yet it all falls off and renews all the time as the skin of the trees and the plants does. Nothing is static—it’s always changing all the time.
Likewise such things as temperatures. If we talk again about the cucumber and you take a day like today and you would say, “Well, the temperature today at noon was seventy-nine.” Very well, you put your thermometer in the cucumber. And what is that crazy saying about ‘cool as a cucumber’? Why? Because of the moon. Is it as hot at noon at night as it is at noon in the day? Why not? Aha! Why not? And when you put the thermometer in the cucumber at noon today you will read about forty-nine. And when you place that thermometer amongst the roots of, shall we say, heirloom lilies—just to take a differentiation, you could put it among anything if you like and it will be all variations—but when you place it amongst the roots of heirloom lilies it will read one hundred twelve.
Relationships and dis-relationships: here you have science, scio, ‘to know’: the knowledge of the law of God. The total knowledge, and here it sits in the very seat of herbs, to be observed and discovered and lived with. Out of this magic of the attitudes of biodynamics is the focus upon fertility.
Fertility is of course a vast marriage. It’s the marriage of it all. It is the marriage of soil with moisture, with breathings, with decays: with life-into-death-into-life. And with plants and with birds and with insects, and with atmospheres, and with clouds. This is the knowledge of fertility. When man enters the world of herbs and creates the world of gardens, the world of horticulture, and from there steps into the world of agriculture—for there is no other path—to build a garden of an acre, it begins to teach you that you can build a field of twenty acres, and so on.
And so, this relationship and dis-relationship of the whole of the plants is being governed by the revolutionibus of the whole ordinance of the government of the Sun, with the prima mobile and the secundus mobile—the stars that we can see and the ætherial world that we cannot see. All of which is revolving and changing—in hundreds of thousands of years—but changing all the time. Even classicism is changing, and that is the seat of the import of the herbs.
For the herbs are origin. They began when we began. And they have not changed, and they have not been lost, and they have not been destroyed by man’s unbalances. Only the plants that we grow in the garden are the exhibition of that. They become unbalanced—or less unbalanced or more unbalanced—according to our environment that we create. No garden lettuce has the lactucarium that the wild Sativa has. From the wild lettuce you will take probably sixty-eight grams of lactucarium. From the garden lettuce, in most cases, you would be lucky to get eleven or sixteen grams.
If you want the ointment of camomile, do not go to Anthemis ‘Moonlight’, go to Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile), or Anthemis cotula (stinking chamomile) and you will get your camomile in its full ratio. The totality of Nature, the absolute totality. And everything that we, out of our image, construct out of that totality must be to some small infinitesimal degree a lessening. Because we are self; we have selfishness. Now perceive: self must go if you wish to be a gardener.
This matter concerning the herbs in origin and the plants that we grow that bring about varietal disintegration is so much faster than any change that takes place in Nature’s origins. Those changes are taking place when the forests have seed, and the trees are slowly changing. As the mountains grow in their families and the children spring up, those mountains are changing shape.
The oceans change their areas. But it is all within the whole ordinance of the government of the Sun and the prima mobile and the universal law of God.
The moment that you enter agriculture and horticulture you have a new, a lessened, government. You have the government of: “Excuse me. We want something to eat! I like it like this! I’d like a pink apple. I want the pears with the seeds outside.” “Very well, my child, you shall have it. If it is in your image and it is a desire, it will take place.” Have we not got expressways with millions of flying boxes?
And it is always possible to have the Garden of Eden.
Therefore, one points out the enormity that the whole of this matter of herbs in origin, what they have to tell us, what they have to direct us with, and what they have within them to take either as seed, or juices, or relationships to our bodies, with the planetary system that will at all times put right and rebalance our imbalances, and reguide us, and show us a path that we cannot talk about, but is only perceivable.
How is it that we have such great libraries? There have never been so many books. Indeed, it takes the poor student today one hundred years to read one hundredth of them. And we know less than we knew. We make noises about everything. We write down the expression of those noises, and we pass people out sheepskin on graduations for regurgitating them. We know nothing about the origin that they have come from. We know nothing about the whole spirit character of the world from which they come. And as a result of this we have become hypnotized by our selves, by our self, and by our requirements. That’s why we are all screaming our heads off, “What are we going to eat!” And the whole cornucopia is there.
What is the price of a tomato? It is what it has always been. Nothing. And it will give you a hundred thousand tomatoes again next year. One tomato. And it costs nothing. In fact it can’t cost anything. It’s our obscenity that costs a terrible lot. And so obscene has it become in its commercial and ludicrous unbalance that you can hardly afford one, and when you can, you wish you hadn’t got it.
Out of the whole study of herbs, the way they grow, the way they’re governed, to understand them and to sense them, out of this comes this magical matter that I now wish to place before you. You must never, never forget it again. Or lose it or leave it. It is the birth of fertility in the image of man. When you create fertility in the soil, and in the plants that you grow and the trees, and the birds and the insects and the fish that you introduce with it, something happens that is outside your verbal understanding. You are connected with the cornucopia of the birth of the spirit world, of the invisible through the four elements into the perpetual visible and temporal.
And out of that creation of that fertility brought about by the image of man through the life force of biodynamics into the living world, comes a birth and a consummation that you cannot calculate, that you cannot count, and that is without profit. It is so endless. And more than the utter fulfillment of all requirement.
And suddenly in the new cycle of the revolutionibus enters the entire magic of the matter. You discover within this little nonsense that you’ve created, of a few yards, you find new weeds that you have never thought of, and with those weeds come insects, and with those insects come birds, and animals and breathings and moistures, and new trees and new plants, and new image forever in ascendency towards the stars. A magnification of all that there is. And never, never, never, to usurp, never to turn self against the whole origin of the herbs.
So much was this understood in the days when talking was very little and doing was quite a lot, there was the practice of alchemy. And here you discover in the whole of what people call today ‘magic’: truth. For you must perceive that even with the joking today about fairies, elves, nymphs, undines and dwarves: it is ludicrous to turn around and giggle, because it is so unutterably true. You have only to look at what happens at the dawn, and you are stymied in stupidity. Of course there are elves and fairies and undines, and they are names. They are names for what? For the magic that the four elements—earth, fire, air and water—bring about in the perpetual marriage of the invisible into the visible. And this is a stupendous matter today that almost nobody, almost nobody who has ruling and authority, and leadership, ever thinks of spending: living tempo in the whole world of eternity, which is invisible. The only thing we talk about is ‘food for millions’. Eating.
Food has almost got almost nothing to do with eating. The greatest delight of food is smell. When you enter the house you say, “Oh! What have you been cooking?” And you’ll go much more to heaven than you will when you eat it, generally.
Likewise, I refer to this period of food and medicine and magic and healing. Now you understand that the ancient Greeks, from the other ancients upwards, realized that what they ate was an emphatic interplay of their physical body, the uplift of their mind into vision, and the living in spirit. And this enormity lived through that whole era of alchemy. And you perceive it because, they knew so well, as much of the medical world is beginning to discover, and openly admit: you can’t get rid of anything. You can’t get rid of disease. It’s part of huge balance. If you do something, you’ve done it, and there is a balance. Day and night. Hot and cold. Summer and winter. Spring equinox and fall equinox. And good and bad.
They realized, so clearly, that you can’t get rid of. What you must do is to have a joyful inducer. Therefore they used herbs, or relators that would attract this thing known as dis-ease, and urged it either into water, or into an animal, or a cat or a dog or a horse; or into a formation, or a ring, or magical drawings. And then to use a driver-out. That driver-out was very seldom a pill or an injection. It was odor; it was focus, focus of dynamic approaches. The scent of certain apples were used. Invariably were herbs burned in the area, often beneath the bed. And in this way, first of all the herb-inducer was used, away; and then the herb-driver was used. And therefore you merely pass one from another.
Do you understand in the whole world of biodynamics you can’t even think about garbage? It’s ridiculous. There is no such thing as garbage. Everything in Nature is life into death into life. It is revolutionibus. You can’t have cellophane bags that you can’t get rid of. It’s impossible.
I want to run through a few lists of plants and extractions and things that do relate to this and relate to that.
In one further remark about herbs and their origins, I want to talk about this very important matter: area of discontinuity, aura, emanation. Skin, that through which everything pulsates, can breathe out and can breathe in, and is that area which separates an entity into a self. Every picture on the wall literally has to have a frame. Otherwise, it only belongs to the world. And a theatre has to have a proscenium arch. And the audience has to be dark and the stage has to be light. Areas of discontinuity and bloom. Bloom—I am referring not to blossom—I am referring to that delicate matter which is infinitely more precise and articulate than the flower. It is that which rests on the stalks, the foliages, the roots, the whole emanation of the plant. It is emanation, it is a give-off, and it is all around all plants, all fruits—even molecules, even buds, even a hair has an area of discontinuity that contains bloom.
The earth, the soil, is the skin of the world, the delicate flesh of this revolving world. It needs a guard, and the guard is herbs. The herbs were created to cover the skin with a mantle. And man in participation, was partially then created with a whole ordinance to magnify this enchanting and exquisite magic. This is one of his great delights and works. And the whole of Nature adores and requests mankind to enter the scene and build and magnify that which can go on forever and ever into a magnification, until we find ourselves in this eternal garden of perfections.
Snails have lived for several of millions of years, which historians and other people will tell you a lot of rubbish about. It’s known as Tyrian purple, and a beautiful dye comes from it. There are none actually living today, this is part of the change of origin. There are eight hundred million tons of murex in the Dead Sea, from snails, from dragonflies, from birds, from wings, from beaks, from teeth, from beetles, from spiders, from gnats. What magic! What endless magic are all these creations that are participle in the whole world of these origin herbs.
You can’t have a garden without them. You can’t have a garden for ‘me’, because that is the beginning of the end. Your garden is one that you must enter forwards and go out of backwards, in utter reverence and obedience to the great law that governs it. You can not and must not say, “I will do this. I will have this here. I will have that. I will have ten thousand dollars!” Because you’ll get it, and it’s horrid.
The whole world is full of murex, of chalk, of sand, and all of these silly words that we give names to.
Now enters the whole thinking of Steiner, and those enormous visionaries, at the time when he was beginning to point, saying, “There’s a precipice. Look where we’re going.” And they all discovered a huge import of this matter: that if you take the contents of an herb, or if you take the contents of water, or an insect, and separate it and give it names, you haven’t got the total of the plant or the insect at all. It doesn’t add up.
I will give you an instance, of Dr. Bunge2 in 1921, of Bath, who kept white mice, and fed them all upon milk, and they were terribly happy and terribly well, and proliferated. And so, since this was the huge calumnious time of the industrial age into agriculture, he wanted to prove certain things. So he said, “Now, we will go into the laboratory, we will take milk to pieces, and then we will put it together and feed the mice.” So they took the milk into the laboratory, they took it into its five areas, and they fed the mice upon the partitions put together. And all the mice died. So they went back into the laboratory, and they dissected it properly, and took it to pieces, and fed the mice. And they all died. And they did it three times, and decided that there was something radically wrong.
Well, instead of looking at ancient mythology and the whole story of Psyche and Cupid, they went off. And one of them suddenly said, “Of course, I’ve got it. I know. How silly we are! Of course, it is the one thing that we’ve left out and we haven’t discovered: vitamins!” And all of them said, “Do you know, I’ve always noticed, he’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. You see, we didn’t see It’s ridiculous.” And you see, they’re still doing it. They’ve gone from a to zed; they’ve gone into x and unknown quantity, and they’re still looking for the vitamin. Has anybody ever found the germ inside a seed? You can’t do it. You will undo casings and casings and casings.
Now you do know also this Jacques Cousteau has recently had exactly the same example and exposed it to the world. He sent some beautiful little sea horses, to an aquarium. And that aquarium was inland, so they quickly said, “These seas horses need sea water.” “Oh! Oh!” said the professor, “Of course, of course.” So they went to the laboratory and made sea water. And you can guess what happened, like the mice. The sea horses died. So they sent somebody to the seaside and got some sea water and the horses lived. And that’s the answer.
Let us refer for a moment to this terminology that we are using about everything. Mustard. We use mustard, we use it with this; we use it with that. If you have rheumatism, you use a mustard bath for your feet, you have mustard bath for your head. And it cures it. Why? Aha. Sulphur, of course! Well, aren’t we clever. Why, we’ve gone slap in our faces, of course. That’s the whole trouble. The moment you give something a name like that you say, “Right. I’ve got it!” And of course you haven’t.
So they go straight to the coal mine, and they get sulphur. And it doesn’t work at all.
The Greek went to the Salix, to the white willow, and to the Spirea, and he got his aspirin, and it stopped his toothache, it stopped his headache, it stopped his stomachache. Because he took the white willow. So for ten hundred years, they used the juice of the white willow and the Spirea. And later they got bored and wanted to make some money out of it because it costs nothing to use willows, so they said, “What is Salix?” “Don’t tell anyone. It’s salicylic acid.” So they went to the coal mine and made some. Now everybody bleeds inside, as you know.
All of these scientific chemical names that we give to things, they come to life in a plant in a certain moment, on a certain day, and they’re there. And the next day, they’re not. It may be in the root; it may be in the leaf; it may be in the seed. Sulphur only develops in the mustard plant, when the seed, on a certain day with the Sun, develops forty percent sulphur. At no other time is there any sulphur in the mustard plant.
And this is throughout the herbs. We are always, in our ludicrousity, as our education, trying to catch everything and put it in the cage and make it static. And you can’t. Therefore, you perceive that the herbs are telling us, “Look at us! Observe! And find out that you can’t behave like this.” They are real. They live. And you understand that no moment ever repeats itself. No day is a repetition of a day. And we’re always talking about 1975, or “Well now, let me see, 1973, ah, that one.” I’m awfully sorry because there’s no connection between them at all. It’s perpetuoso. And there is no time at all. For the revolutionibus is there.
So you see that we are hypnotized.
If you have trouble with mice, either in the garden, or even field mice, or mice in your house, Mentha aquatica (water mint) will drive them out immediately. Any trouble with ants: tansy. Invariably, after I’ve tried to give a lecture somewhere, somebody gets up and says, “What do I do about ants?!” But they are magic. Have you read Maeterlinck3? These incredible people with their observations of such things! The other matter about ants is that sometimes they will probably want more of your fruit than you wish them to have. Well, it’s very simple. You understand, what I am trying to express to you tonight, in the whole ordination of Nature is: “I adore this! Oh, I hate that!” Black and white; hot and cold; day and night—and in the whole relationship of plants and insects and animals and birds and us is this matter. And this is knowledge. And this is what we’ve got to seek and observe and find out.
If you grow a Helianthis gigantica—the sunflower—if you grow one or two of those where ever there are ants, they will in the daytime, automatically go up the sunflower. They will all rest under the leaves. And all the little birds that you have induced in with such plants as Senecio (groundsel) and Sanchus (sow thistle), which will bring all of those birds, they will deal with the ants. Relationship and dis-relationship. For moles and gophers—endless—all the Euphorbia family, Sambucus (elderberry) in particular, and of course, Artemisia.
Now please understand I use international terms, but I am an American citizen. I use international terms simply because, if we go to Moscow, or if we go to Peru, they all know what we are talking about. In America we don’t. If you want the common names, you must ask in the questions, or look it up in one of those good books that give them already simply.
If you have cockroaches, and you don’t really enjoy cockroaches, it’s terribly easy, as all of these things are: Verbascum blatteria, or the moth mullein. Now it was of course Helen of Troy that it is only known to us because of Verbascum. She had golden hair, and the Greeks did not have golden hair. And she was not particularly beautiful, but her hair was. And she washed it every day with Verbascum. It also attracts all the moths and the butterflies, and drives away the cockroaches.
Well, you see, all that I am really doing is, I am not giving you a lot of stupid statistics, I am opening you up the whole book of Nature so that we can say, “Is there any argument?” For instance you realize that Petroselinum is the very rock of St. Peter, the keys of the gates of heaven, Petroselinum, parsley. Even in these blasted emporiums they still sell bunches of parsley. That look like parsley. Why? It is so important for the whole of our nerve system, the whole of our good health, to eat parsley with everything. And yet, you’ve only to get some of the seed to your pet and it will be
dead. And you see you take that beautiful plant Urtica dioica, that is the stinging nettle, the great big one, upon which all the Vanessas, those charming butterflies, as in those designs of the peacocks, the red admirals, the tortoise shells, and so on—those are all Vanessas—they all, although they are living on the nectar of flowers, they all go to the Urtica dioica, and they lay their eggs, because, they know, from the law of Nature, that that’s what the children have got to eat. And all butterfly caterpillars eat only one vegetable. What a consummation of knowledge is in this perpetuoso of the fulfillment of Nature.
If you have mold in your bread or mold in your flour, whether it is there or you don’t want it there, simply use Eupatorium cannabinum (hemp-agrimony). Eupatorium. There’s no common word, I’m sorry, you can go on as much as you like, but there isn’t one. But Eupatorium will even get rid of mold in bread. Aren’t these incredible magics?
If you have tied flesh, dried up flesh—anybody today who uses these terrible bleaches and cleaning things in their sinks—you will have tied skin, dried up skin that splits. The bulrush or Typha: if you take it when it’s tight, in blossom, the actual blossom when it’s tight, closed up. Be very careful where you put it, because you may not know it, but before those devils invented gunpowder, that’s what all the fireworks of Venice were made of. And if you put a match near that in the winter, you can blow the roof off. It is gunpowder, of a sense. You’ve only to undo one of those magical seeds, and you can practically fill this room with it, immediately. That will cure all tied skin, if mixed with a synergist particularly, such as petroleum jelly even, and placed upon it, two or three times.
If you wish to lose your appetite, and sometimes you should—you realize that in more religious days, with Easter, people always ate tansy cakes, and their appetite went, so all the wickedness of eating at that time was removed. Tansy will remove your appetite. If you want it back again, and you have lost your appetite, simply use the herb Origanum vulgarae (oregano), and your appetite is there. If, as a result of your appetite coming back you have started to overeat, and you have stomach ache, you should use cumin, and it will put you right immediately.
If you have weevils in your rice, or in your barley, or in any of your cereals, Parietaria, or
Pellitory-of-the-Wall will remove it completely. Even in the granaries and barns, it will remove it.
I spoke of a plant just now about which there was a magical matter. I must tell you a magical matter about a little plant known as toadflax. It’s one of the Linums, Linaria. This plant is a trailing plant of the Linaria. It’s one of the flaxes (Cymbalaria muralis or Linaria Cymbalaria, ivy- leaved toadflax). It goes along and it only grows upon the sides of walls, and wherever there is a leaf as it trails, as it is a complete trailing plant, it will travel for ten or twelve feet along the walls and hang down. Wherever a leaf grows out of a stalk, one of these charming little blossoms will come on a stalk about so long. And you will immediately perceive that it is hanging over a great precipice, and this plant only grows in a wall. “Oh dear, what on Earth is going to happen!” So it blossoms right out in space on this beautiful stalk, and is a beautiful lavender-pink-mauve. And when the seed has developed, and is about to ripen, the whole stalk turns inwards, seeks a crevice, and places the seed into a small crevice.
As indeed you understand with the Viola, violet, the Viola canina (heath dog violet), it grows so high and blossoms. And then although it seeds in two ways, it does sometimes seed from that blossom. And at the moment that the blossom is over, the stalk has stopped growing. But that area is not enough above the plant for its migration, for the plant spreads very rapidly by crown présentement. So what does it do? The whole ordinance of the law of revolutionibus then says,
“Again.” And so it grows that same distance again. The seed then develops twice the height, so that when it bursts, it migrates to the proper areas.
With the sweet pea: when the sweet pea seeds, it suddenly bursts on a certain day. Never is all the seed in the pod ripe, and it must migrate also. What happens is that the two halves of the pod split open like two propellors, and curl around to themselves, and then wrap each other around like that. And it is so instantaneous that you can’t even perceive it, you can only hear it, as a technical click. It hurls the seeds as much as twenty-five and thirty feet, that are ripe. Those that are not ripe, before they can escape—which they would, if they had the time, but owing to the little thread holding them, they are quickly closed up and caught like that—therefore they must proceed and ripen in the proper way and fall where they should, into a new area.
And so you perceive these magics are ad infinitum. For eyesight there are herb cures that have cured hundreds of thousands of people whose sight has actually ceased. One of the principals is the plant Hieracium, or common hawk weed. The oil from the seed taken inwardly will repair, improve the clarity of all sight. The most important is Euphrasia (eyebright). Euphrasia taken as a tea, as a drink, especially from the fresh flower, and especially as an eye bath with milk as a synergist, once a week will restore the clarity of sight that is becoming dim. In the event of cataract, there is the magical matter of the one seed of Clary, which is a sage. Clary. One seed of the Clary sage, when moisture is applied to it, shoots out—unseeable by the eye—shoots out little tiny daggers or scalpels. And not the greatest surgeon in the world has been able to equal the complex procedure that this little seed operates in the eye, when it is placed in there, removing the cataract. It has been used for something like five thousand years successfully. Until the age of lunacy.
The great celandine, or Cheledonium, it’s very important to the sight, as indeed, is the magic herb of the world, Verbane. And the second magic plant of the world, Betonica, betony. Both of those, Verbane (Verbena, vervain) and betony can cure fifty extreme disorders, bring about peace, tranquility, the removal of melancholia. If you suffer from nightmares, fifteen seeds of peony, and you will never have a nightmare. Neither if you take Anthemis nobilis, it will remove them. Also for good sleep, Humulus lupulus, or the hop. Why does everybody in that stupid old England drink beer? To go sleepy, and heaven knows they are. It used to be a practice with anybody who suffered from insomnia, to very quietly without anybody knowing, stuff a pillow with hops. And without them knowing it, they put their head upon the pillow, and the odors and the effects—note, effects: we must begin to lose ourselves in our observation of our inner senses in these matters—and they invariably slept most perfectly.
One of the most exquisite and perfect removals of pain and giver of good sleep with improved consciousness is Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower). And the greatest herb of all for the uplift of the mind, the improvement of memory, and of induction of spiritual vision is Angelica archangelica (garden angelica, Holy Ghost). And so, I’m sorry, we could go on ad infinitum, I have got sixty pages. It is time for questions.
May I please repeat to you the pathways between the stars and the flowers is crystal clear and unmistakable.
Q: Can you exclude cadavers from your diet?
Yes you can. You can exclude vegetables from your diet. As a matter of fact Steiner very nearly taught me to be a complete fruitarian.
Q: There are so many little children in the world that are suffering from some kind of a deficiency disease such as mental retardation and so forth. Do you have anything that you feel, in the ways of teas and so forth that would be beneficial?
Endless, endless. Yes, indeed endless. We’re onto a huge subject. You understand that what we said at the beginning is that man in his origin, his food was his physical, his mind and his spirit. Today, we stuff ourselves. Do you understand? We don’t think of anything else. And suddenly we turn around to a doctor, who’s had to come through the window, and say, “I’m feeling awful!” And so he goes, psquaaak, and he gets rid of it. But what does he do in getting rid of it? Because you can’t get rid of it. Do you understand?
Therefore, this is a building. When you are resuscitated, you are resuscitated. And that in the whole build of the body are the juices, and that illness is in us all. But all influenza is a wave, it passes through everywhere; it doesn’t suddenly, you know, somebody doesn’t suddenly give influenza to somebody else. The whole influenza sweeps along; it’s a wave. And according to your balances, so you either ride it, or fall under it. Do you understand?
Therefore you perceive where you’ve got to focus on this subject that your on. The malnutrition is incredible. Do you realize what’s inside an egg today? Do you realize that there are no juices in anything? That the whole soil has literally got nothing in it. You can’t feed the soil with chemicals. It has no textures. It has no fertility. Do you understand this at all?
I believe that. So how do we help these little ones?
A gradual—and as quick as possible—return into fertility! It is better to give a child one slice of whole wheat bread, one slice of something real that’s got the juices in it.
Do you understand where the whole thing about pest has come from? Because we fed the plants upon drivel, and all the blood in the plants was nothing, so the insects had to stuff themselves silly all day long like a child does on white bread, and still isn’t fed. As a result of it they get a mania and they breed like lunatics. It’s what is going on in the cities.
Do you understand what I’ve been trying to talk about tonight? It’s why you put your foot into something. If you want to put this right, put your foot there. But do it because it’s good. Because it’s right. Your approach is everything. Don’t do it in quantity. Don’t do it because they’re ill. We don’t want to feed ourselves because we’re all poisoned. It is the beauty of living that is biodynamic. Do you understand?
You will find that the revelation into Nature will restore. The observation of dawn. Stop them looking into this giddy box. You’re on a huge subject. It’s the whole subject that all the world is beginning. It’s likely to wobble on their feet and say, “What are we going to do now?” But they’re all going to sit in their motorcars and wait for somebody to put some gin in when there isn’t any petrol.
You must seek into this. You must find those herbs, those juices, those methods that are going to bring suscitation. If you would write to us at Covelo, I will try to deal with it. Other people will try to deal with it, and give you informations as much as they can. If you will write to the anthroposophical society—for I will tell you that I am not a sectarian, but I believe that almost in the whole world, there are not such deep thinkers as there are here. People who are seeking and thinking deep. This was the whole wave of Steiner. This incredible thing that he brought from there, and exposed it and magnified it.
Q: On the subject of garbage, I believe that you mentioned something about a balance, with life and death and balance. And I was wondering if you would elaborate on that a little bit?
All death is life. In the forest, all the great storms of the equinox, falling in love, breaking down the trees in their exuberance. All the boughs, the foliages, the dead animals, the birds, they’re all part of the whole incredible rebirth in the equinox. And everything in Nature is this revolutionibus. There is no waste of anything. All the water, all the trees, all the rocks—every single thing that there is in creation—has a place, a relationship and a dis-relationship. If you wish to build your paths, you can’t have enough rocks and stones in your garden. Do you follow?
If you have rubbish such as broken glass and bottles and tins, as people seem to delight in, there’s nothing like it. I don’t know whether you know it, but all of the great sports grounds of the world are built upon this matter. They’re built upon broken bottles and broken glass and tins, because such things as are are inclined to interrupt those lawns can’t move through them. And they are an excellent foundation for drainage.
Therefore everything in the garden—unless you have unrealistic things—is usable. They all belong somewhere.
On this idea that plants are the reclamation of the garbage is something…I remember reading something about that, where they cycle it, or something? Is there any good in that, any use of that?
Endless. You realize that you can have stagnant water, there is a pond weed that you can put in stagnant water and you can drink it two days afterwards. There are waters in which mosquitos and flies of all sorts will breed like mad. There is a plant which you can sow in that water, and every one of those will be devoured.
In the whole garden everybody today is terrified about the whole matter of aphids. The grey aphids, the green aphids, and the black aphids. There is a plant that we grow, and this is one of
our many discoveries of this sort, it is of course Nicotiana affinis (flowering tobacco). It is so exquisite, that you would think, that with one plant in your garden, your whole garden was madonna lilies at night, so enchanting is the scent. And so enchanting is the scent and the nectar of the whole plant, that no aphid can resist it. They prefer it to everything else that grows, and they will go straight to this plant to enjoy the nectar, which exudes out of its hairs all of the time, and the moment they alight, it closes its head and eats the insect.
Q: How do you deal with caterpillars?
You deal with caterpillars by the induction of relationship and dis-relationship. The induction of birds, principally. On the contrary, there are any amount of plants, inter-relators, that you can grow that no caterpillar can tolerate. That is the reason that all the old gardens had edges of herbs: lavender, parsley, alliums, rosemary, thymus. Do you understand? I’m talking, for the first time, probably for a hundred years, about scents in the garden.
Q: Is there a particular species of Vervain that is an herbal?
Vervain? There is only one vervain in the world and ever has been. This was the magic herb of the Druids. It’s the magic herb that has been used in every religious house to strew the water, and to bring goodwill, and happiness and peace. If you collect it in a certain way—which I’m not going to relate here because it takes a half an hour—but if you collect it in the proper way when the Dog Star is rising and there is no Sun and no Moon, you will never be attacked by a mad dog nor bitten by a dog, neither will a bad dog bark at you even. Oh yes you may laugh, but it is true. And this is the matter. You see there is a relationship between us and that. And we have got to learn reverence. And that’s the point that we’ve lost. We make a motorcar and think that we’re terribly clever.
Q: You mentioned the importance of destroying, sublimating, or some other way of getting rid of the concept of ego when dealing with the garden, and understanding these mysteries. Some first steps in that direction?
Concentro. Medito. Contemplo. To learn to concentrate. To learn to meditate. And to learn to contemplate. This was part of the whole discovery of Goethe4, that Nietzsche5 also delivered, and that Steiner was so engulfed in by these people. Concept. Percept. And precept. Do you understand that the whole of music comes from the intervals between the planets. This is
Pythagoras and tones. That is the perfect octave, between the seven planets of the prima mobile.
And that what this person is just talking about, do you understand that you can come under a note, to it, which is flat. You can hit the note straight, which is classic origin. Or you can come down from above, which is precept. Do you understand?
1 Claudius Ptolemy, Greek-Egyptian astrologer, mathematician and astronomer; (~90-168 A.D.).
2 This experiment by Dr. G. Bunge was written up in The Physician and Surgeon Monthly Magazine, Vol III, 1881.
3 Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian author and Nobel laureate in literature in1911; wrote The Life of the Bee in 1901, The Life of the Ant in 1930, and his play, The Bluebird, first performed in 1909, inspired Alan as a child to become part of the magic of the theater; (1862-1949).
4 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, poet and vitalist scientist; notably wrote Faust, and The
Metamorphosis of Plants, hugely influential for Alan; (1749-1832).
5 Friedrich Nietzsche, hugely influential German philosopher, (1844-1900).
Archive ID: CA1038
Title: LA Biodynamics Conference, Lecture 1: Nature’s Medicine Chest
Date: 25 Jul 1975
Location: LA Biodynamic Conference, Los Angeles, CA