Bio-dynamic Agriculture Course
By Rudolf Steiner
Koberwitz, June 10, 1924
The Forces of the Earth and of the Cosmos
Tranalator unknown, edited here.
The first lectures shall be devoted to building up knowledge concerning the conditions on which the prosperity of agriculture depends. Thereafter we shall draw the practical conclusions, which can only be realized in direct application and are only significant when put into practice. In these first lectures you must observe how all agricultural products originate, how agriculture lives in the totality of the universe.
A farm is true to its essential nature, in the best sense of the word, if it is conceived as a kind of entity in itself — a self-contained individuality. Every farm should approximate to this condition. This ideal cannot be absolutely attained, but it should be observed as far as possible. Whatever you need for agricultural production you should try to have within the farm itself,including, needless to say, the due amount of cattle. Properly speaking, anything which you bring into the farm from outside, such as manure and the like, should be regarded rather as a remedy for a sick farm. That is the ideal. A thoroughly healthy farm should be able to produce within itself all that it needs.
We shall see presently why this is natural. Inasmuch as we do not regard things in their true essence but only in their outer material aspect, it may be justifiable to ask: is it not a matter of indifference whether we get our cow-dung from the vicinity or from our own farm? As I have already said, things cannot be carried out so strictly, nevertheless, if we wish to do things in a proper and natural way we need to have this ideal concept of the necessary self-contained nature of a farm.
You will recognize the justice of this statement if you consider, on the one hand, the earth from which our farm production springs forth, and on the other hand, what works down on that earth from the universe beyond. Nowadays, people tend to speak very abstractly of the influences which work on the Earth from the surrounding universe. They are aware, no doubt, that the sun's light and the sun’s warmth, and all the meteorological processes connected with them, are related to the form and development of the vegetation that covers the soil. But present-day ideas can give no real information as to the exact relationships, because they do not penetrate to the realities involved. We shall have to consider the matter from various standpoints. Let us today choose this: let us consider, to begin with, the soil of the Earth as the foundation of all agriculture.
I will indicate the surface of the Earth by this horizontal line:
[Above the line: dead warmth; below the line: living warmth]
The surface of the Earth is generally regarded as mere mineral matter, which may include at most some organic elements, with the formation of humus or the addition of manure. In reality, however, the soil as such contains not only a certain life, a vegetal nature of its own, but an astral element as well; a fact which is not even thought of, let alone admitted nowadays. But we can go still further. We must observe that this inner life of the soil (I am speaking of fine and intimate effects) is different in summer than in winter. Here we come to a realm of knowledge, immensely significant for practical life, which is not even thought of in our time.
Taking our start from a study of the earth's soil, we must observe that the surface of the Earth is a kind of organ of the organism which reveals itself through the growth of nature. The Earth's surface is a real organ, which could be compared to the human diaphragm. We’ll get a right idea of the facts if we say to ourselves (and though this is not quite exact, it will suffice for the purpose of illustration): above the human diaphragm there are certain organs, notably the head and the processes of breathing and circulation which work up into the head. Beneath it there are other organs.
If from this point of view we now compare the Earth's surface with the human diaphragm, we must say: in the individuality with which we are here concerned, the head is beneath the surface of the Earth, while we, together with all the animals, are living in the belly of this individuality. Whatever is over the surface of the Earth belongs to the entrails of the agricultural individuality, if we may use that phrase. In a farm we go about in the belly of the farm, and the plants themselves grow upward in the belly of the farm. Indeed, we have to do with an individuality standing on its head. We´ll only regard it rightly if we imagine it as standing on its head in relation to man. With respect to the animals, as we shall see in the course of these lectures, it is somewhat different.
Well, why do I say that the agricultural individuality is standing on its head? For the following reason: Take everything there is in the immediate vicinity of the Earth by way of air and water vapors and also warmth. Consider all the elements in the vicinity of the Earth within which we ourselves live and breathe, and from which the plants, along with us, receive their outer warmth and air, and also water. All this corresponds to what represents in man the abdominal organs. On the other hand, what takes place in the interior of the earth beneath the earth's surface works upon plant-growth in the same way in which our head works upon the rest of our organism, notably in childhood, but also throughout our life. There is a constant and living mutual interplay of the above-the-Earth and the below-the-Earth.
The activities above the Earth are immediately dependent upon the Moon, Mercury and Venus, which support and modify the influences of the Sun. Thus the so called near-the-Earth planets exert their influences on all that is above the Earth's surface. On the other hand, the distant planets, those that revolve outside the circuit of the Sun, work upon all that is beneath the Earth's surface, assisting those influences of the Sun that act from below the Earth. Thus, as far as plant-growth is concerned, we must look for the influences of the distant heavens beneath the surface of the Earth, and for the influences of the earth's immediate cosmic environment we must look above the surface of the Earth.
Therefore, all that works inward from the far spaces of the cosmos to influence the growth of plants works not directly —not by direct radiation— but in this way: it is first received by the earth, and the earth then radiates it back up. Thus the influences that rise upward from the earth's soil — beneficial or harmful for the growth of plants — are in reality cosmic influences radiated back up. The direct radiation from the cosmos which acts on the air and water which are above the surface of the Earth is stored up there and acts from there. Now all this relates to how the soil, in its inner constitution, affects the growth of plants. (We must afterwards extend this to the animals).
Consider the earth's soil. To begin with we have all the effects that depend on all the substances that manifest the influence of the farthest regions of the cosmos. These effects are found in what is commonly called sand and rock and stone. Sand and rock, substances impermeable to water which are commonly considered to contain no nutrients, are in reality no less important to sustain growth than other substances, and they depend completely on the influences of the most distant cosmic forces. And above all — improbable as it may appear at first sight — it is through the sand, with its siliceous content, that there comes into the earth what we may call the ether of life and the chemically active elements of the soil.
The way the soil itself becomes inwardly alive and develops its own chemical processes depends above all on the composition of the sandy portion of the soil. What the plant-roots experience in the soil depends in no small measure on the extent to which the cosmic life and cosmic chemistry are captured by the rock substratum, which may well be at a considerable depth beneath the surface. Therefore, whenever we study plant growth, we should pay special attention to the underlying geological foundation over which it arises. And for those plants in which the root-nature is particularly important, we should never forget that a siliceous component in the ground is indispensable — even if it be deep below. Thank God, we could say, that silica is widespread on the Earth, in the form of silicic acid and silicates. It constitutes 47 to 48% of the surface of the Earth, and for the effects which are needed we may be sure to have the required amounts almost everywhere.
But that is not all. All that is thus connected with the root-nature by way of silicon must also be able to be led upward through the plant. It must flow upward because there should be constant interaction between what is drawn in from the cosmos by the silicon, and what takes place up above in the belly —pardon the expression; and through this process, the head beneath must be supplied with what it needs. The head must be nurtured from the cosmos, but this must be in mutual interaction with what goes on in the belly above the earth's surface. In a word, what pours down from the cosmos and is caught up beneath the surface must always be able to flow upward again. And for this purpose is the clay component in the soil. Everything that is clayey in nature serves to transmit the influences of cosmic entities within the soil, upward from below the surface of the earth.
When we pass on to practical matters, this knowledge will give us the necessary indications as to how we must deal with a clayey soil or with a siliceous soil, depending on the kind of plant we wish to grow in that soil. But first we must know what really goes on. Knowledge about clay and indications as to how to proceed to be able to grow things in it, all that will certainly merit great attention, but in second place. The first thing we should know is that clay is the propellant of the cosmic upward streaming.
But this upward streaming of the cosmic influences is not all that is needed. Something else should also be drawn into the soil, something that I will call terrestrial or earthly, which undergoes in the belly a kind of external digestion. (Everything that goes on in the air above the surface of the earth throughout summer and winter is essentially a kind of digestion for plant growth.) All that takes place in this way as a kind of digestion must be drawn down into the soil, so that a real interaction occurs. The forces engendered through the water and air that are above the surface of the earth, as well as all that is generated in the form of substances in fine homeopathic dilution, should be incorporated into the soil by means of its greater or lesser calcium content. The calcium content of the soil and the existence of calcareous substances in homeopathic doses in close proximity to the soil serve the purpose of incorporating back into the soil the inherently terrestrial that is directly above the soil.
In due time there will be a science of these things — not the mere scientific jargon of today — and it will then be possible to give an exact description. It will be known, for instance, that there is a huge difference between the warmth that is above the Earth's surface — the warmth that is in the domain of the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon — and that warmth which is within the soil, and consequently under the influence of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These two warmths, one of which may be described as leaf-and-flower warmth, and the other as root warmth, are completely different from each other, so different that we may well call the warmth above the surface of the Earth as dead, and that beneath the surface as living.
The warmth beneath the earth decidedly contains something of an inner principle of life, something alive, especially in winter. If we human beings had to experience the warmth which works within the earth, we should all be dreadfully stupid, for to be clever we need the warmth that comes into contact with our bodies to be dead. But the moment the warmth is drawn into the earth by the calcium content of the soil and other substances within the earth — the moment any outer warmth passes over into inner warmth — that warmth is penetrated by a subtle life.
Today it is known that there is a difference between the air above the earth and the air below the earth, but there is no awareness that there is also a difference between the warmth above and the warmth below. It is known that the air beneath the surface contains more carbon dioxide and the air above more oxygen, but the reason is not known. The reason is that air is also permeated by a subtle breath of life the moment it is absorbed and drawn into the Earth. Both warmth and air acquire a subtle breath of life when they are incorporated into the earth.
The opposite is true of water and of the solid earthy element itself. They become still more dead inside the earth than they are outside it. They lose something of their external life, but precisely because of this they become susceptible to the influence of the most distant cosmic forces.
Mineral substances must emancipate themselves from what is immediately above the surface of the earth if they want to be affected by the most distant cosmic forces. And in our cosmic age they can most easily do so between January 15th and February 15th —that is in wintertime, when they can most easily emancipate themselves from the earth's immediate vicinity and come under the influence of the most distant cosmic forces which work within the earth. The time will come when such things will be recognized as accurate. This is the season when the strongest formative-forces of crystallization, the strongest forces of form, can be developed for the mineral substances within the earth. It is at this time when the earth is least dependent on its own mineral masses, and comes under the influence of the forming forces of crystallization that are out there in the farthest reaches of the cosmos.
Think of it this way. Towards the end of January the mineral substances of the earth have the greatest yearning to be crystallized, and the deeper we go into the earth the strongest is this yearning to become purely crystalline within the household of nature. In relation to plant growth, all that happens with minerals at this time is mostly indifferent. That is to say, plants at this time are mostly left to themselves in the earth and they are least exposed to the mineral substances. On the other hand, for a certain time before and after this period –especially before it, when minerals are, so to speak, just on the verge of turning crystalline – they radiate forces that are particularly important for plant growth.
Thus we may say that approximately in November to December there is a point of time when what is under the surface of the earth becomes especially effective for plant growth. The practical question is: How can we really make use of this for the growth of plants? One day it will be seen how very important it is to make use of these facts so as to be able to direct the growth of plants. If we are dealing with soil which does not readily of its own accord carry upward the influences which should be working upward in this winter season, then it is well to add a dose of clay to the soil. (I shall indicate the proper dose later on). Thereby we prepare the soil to carry upward what is inside the Earth and make it effective for the growth of plants. I mean the crystallization forces which we can observe plainly when we look at snow crystals. These forces of crystallization grow stronger and more intense the deeper we go into the interior of the earth and must be carried upward at a time when they have not yet reached their culminating point — which they will only attain in January or February.
Thus we derive the most positive hints from knowledge which at first sight seems remote. We get indications that will really help us, when we would otherwise be merely experimenting.
Altogether, we should be clear that the whole area where agriculture is carried out — including what is beneath the surface of the earth — constitutes an individuality persisting over time, and that the life of the earth is especially strong during the winter season, whereas in summer it tends, in a certain sense, to die.
Now, for cultivating the earth a most important thing should be understood. I have often mentioned it to anthroposophists: it is important to know the conditions under which the cosmic space, with its forces, is able to act on the earth. To understand this, let us consider now the seed-forming process. The seed, out of which the embryo develops, is usually regarded as a highly complicated molecular structure, and the utmost importance is placed on understanding the seed’s complex molecular structure. It is said that molecules have a certain structure. Simple molecules have a simple structure. Then it grows ever more complicated, till at last we get to the highly complex structure of the protein molecule.
With wonder and astonishment we stand before what is considered to be the complicated structure of the protein in the seed. It is thought that the protein molecule must be extremely complicated, for out of its complexity the next organism will grow. And this next organism, terribly complicated as it is, was already prefigured in the embryonic condition of the seed. Therefore this microscopic or ultra-microscopic substance must also be terribly complicated in its structure.
To a certain extent this is quite true. When the earthly protein is built up, the molecular structure is indeed raised to the highest complexity. But a new organism could never arise out of this complexity. The new organism does not arise out of the seed in that way at all. What develops as the seed, out of the mother-plant or the mother-animal, does not simply continue its existence in what afterwards becomes the descendant plant or animal. That is not true. The truth is rather as follows.
When the complexity of structure has been enhanced to the highest degree, it disintegrates. And where the highest complexity is attained within the earthly domain a small chaos takes place. We might say that it all disintegrates into cosmic dust. Then when the seed, having been raised to the highest complexity, has disintegrated into cosmic dust and the small chaos has occurred, then the entire surrounding universe begins to work upon the seed, it imprints itself on the seed and builds up out of the small chaos that which can only be built from all directions by the forces pouring in from the cosmic space. Thus in the seed we get an image of the cosmos.
In every seed-formation the earthly process of organization is carried to the very end, to the point of chaos. Time and again in the chaos of the seed the new organism is built up again out of the whole cosmos. The parent organism, through its affinity to a particular cosmic situation, only has the tendency to bring the seed into that particular situation which enables the forces from the right cosmic directions to work, so that a dandelion is begotten from a dandelion, and not a barberry.
What is imaged in each single plant is always the image of some cosmic constellation. Ever and again it is built out of the cosmos. Therefore, if ever we want to foster the influences of the cosmos in our earthly realm, we must drive the earthly as far as possible into a state of chaos. For plant growth this is done to some extent by nature itself. However, since every new organism is built out of the cosmos, it is also necessary for us to preserve the cosmic process in every organism long enough for the seed-forming process to take place once more.
Let’s say we plant the seed of some plant in the earth. Here in this seed we have the stamp or imprint of the whole cosmos from a particular cosmic direction. The constellation takes effect in the seed; thereby the seed receives its special form. Now the moment it is planted in the earth the surroundings of the earth exert a strong influence on it, and it is then infused with a longing to renounce the cosmic — that is to say, to grow hypertrophied, to grow out of control in all directions. For what works above the earth does not really want to preserve this form.
The seed must be driven to the state of chaos. On the other hand, when the first beginnings of the plant are unfolding out of the seed, we need to bring the earthly element into the plant in contrast to the cosmic which lives as the plant form in the seed. We must bring the plant nearer to the earth in its growth. And this we can only do by bringing into the plant such life as is already present on the earth. That is to say, we must bring into it life that has not yet reached the state of complete chaos — life that has not yet gone forward to the stage of seed formation, but which has come to a stop in the organization of the plant before the formation of the seed.
In districts which are particularly favored by fortune, a rich humus formation is of great assistance to man in the household of nature. For ultimately, man can only deficiently replace by artificial means the fertility afforded to the earth by natural humus formation. But what is this humus formation? It is the result of a process of nature on all organic matter that comes from plant life. Such matter, which has not yet reached the state of chaos, rejects to some extent the cosmic influences. If this humus is made use of in plant growth, the effect will be to retain in the plant what is essentially earthly. And the cosmic will work only in the stream that goes upward to seed formation. The earthly, on the other hand, works in the development of leaf, blossom and so on. In all this the cosmic exerts its influence by irradiation.
We can follow the process quite exactly. Imagine you have a plant growing upward from the root. At the end of the stem the little grain of seed is formed. The leaves and flowers spread themselves out. Now, you see, the earthly element in leaf and flower is that which produces shape and form and the filling with earthly matter. The reason why a leaf or a grain grows thick, absorbs its inner substances and so on, lies in all that which we bring to the plant by way of earthly life that has not yet reached the state of chaos. The seed, on the other hand, develops all its force through the stem, but vertically and not towards the periphery; it thus irradiates the leaf and the blossom with the force of the cosmos.
We can see this directly. Look at the green plant leaves.
The green leaves, in their form and thickness and in their greenness, carry an earthly element, but they would not be green if the cosmic force of the Sun were not also living in them. And in the colored flower there live not only the cosmic forces of the Sun, but also the supplementary forces which the Sun-forces receive from the distant planets — Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. If we consider such relationships in plant growth, then when we look at the rose in its red color we shall see the forces of Mars. Or when we look at the yellow sunflower we’ll realize that it is not quite rightly so called, that it is so called on account of its form: because of its yellowness it should really be called the Jupiter flower. For the force of Jupiter, which supports the cosmic force of the Sun, brings forth the white or yellow color in flowers. And when we approach the chicory (Cichoriuns Intybus), we shall sense in the bluish color the influence of Saturn, which supports that of the Sun. Thus we can recognize Mars in the red flower, Jupiter in the yellow or white flower, Saturn in the blue flower, while in the green leaf we see essentially the Sun itself. But what thus appears in the coloring of the flower works as a particularly strong force in the root – for that which comes from the distant planets and lives within the soil works in the root.
[rot=red, gelb=yellow, blau=blue, grün=green]
So when we pull a plant out of the earth we must say to ourselves: in the root is the cosmic; in the flower the earthly is predominant while the cosmic is only present in the subtle nuance of color.
If on the other hand the earthly nature is to live strongly in the root, it expresses itself in the form. For the plant always gets its form from what can arise within the earthly realm. That which unfolds the form is earthly. Thus if the root is ramified and much divided, then the earthly nature is working downward, just as the cosmic nature works upward in the flower's coloring. Therefore in the case of roots that are more or less simple in form we are in the presence of cosmic roots. On the other hand, in the case of highly ramified roots, we have a working of the earthly downward into the soil, just as in the color of flowers we have a working upward of the cosmic.
The Sun quality is in the middle between the two. The Sun-nature works most of all in the green leaf, and in the mutual interplay between the flower and the root and all that is between them. The Sun-quality is what is related with the soil itself as a kind of diaphragm, while the cosmic is associated with the interior of the Earth and works upwards in the plant. The earthly, which is particularly active above the surface of the earth, also works downward, and is carried down in the plant with the help of the calcium element.
Observe those plants in which calcium strongly draws the earthly nature downward into the roots. These are the plants whose roots shoot out in all directions with many ramifications, like the good old forage plants — I do not mean turnips and the like, but plants like the common sainfoin. To understand plants, we must be able to recognize from their form and from the color of their flowers the extent to which the cosmic and the earthly work within them.
Suppose that by some means we cause the cosmic to be strongly retained — held within the plant. Then it will not reveal itself to any great extent. It will not shoot out into blossom, but will express itself in a stalk-like nature. Where then, according to what has been said, does the cosmic nature live in the plant? It lives in the siliceous element.
Take the equisetum (horsetail) plant. It has the peculiarity of drawing the cosmic nature to itself; it permeates itself with the siliceous nature. It contains no less than 90% of silicic acid. In equisetum the cosmic is present, so to speak, in very great excess, yet in such a way that it does not reveal itself in the flower, but appears in the growth of the lower parts.
Let us take another case. Suppose that we wish to hold back in the root of a plant that which would otherwise tend to flow upward through the stem towards the leaves. It’s true that this is not so important in our present earthly epoch, for in various ways we have already determined the different species of plants. In former epochs, in ancient times, it was different. It was still easy then to transform one plant into another; hence it was very important to know these things. Today it is also important if we wish to ascertain which conditions are favorable for a certain plant.
What do we then need to consider? How must we look at a plant when we desire the cosmic forces not to shoot upward into blossom and fruit, but to remain below, so that the formation of stem and leaf is held back in the root? What should we then do? We should put such a plant into a sandy soil, for in a siliceous soil the cosmic is retained; it is actually captured. That’s what we should do with the potato. The potato should be planted in sandy soil to retain the cosmic force, so that the forces of flower-formation as well as those of leaf and stem-formation are retained in the potato itself. For the potato is not a root, it is rather a stem held back. We should plant the potato in sandy soil, otherwise we shall not succeed in having the cosmic force held back.
This, therefore, is the ABC for our judgment of plant growth. We must always be able to say what in a plant is cosmic and what is terrestrial or earthly. How can we get the soil, through its particular constitution, to make the cosmic element denser, and thereby retain it more in the root and the leaf? Or, conversely, how can we make it more diluted so that it is more easily drawn upward, right up into the flowers, giving them color, or into the fruit-forming process, permeating the fruit with delicate flavor? For if you have apricots or plums with delicate taste, this delicate taste, just like the color of flowers, is the cosmic quality which has been carried upward, right into the fruit. In the apple you are in fact eating Jupiter, in the plum you are actually eating Saturn.
If humanity with its present state of knowledge were to find itself in need of producing the wide variety of fruit species existing nowadays from the small number that existed in the ancient times of earthly evolution, it would not go very far. And that’s because our present fruit species have been inherited from the time when they were produced, a time when humanity knew, from instinctive wisdom, how to create different kinds of fruits from the primitive varieties that then existed. If we did not already possess these different kinds of fruit, which we hand down by heredity, if we had to do it all over again with our present cleverness, we would not be very successful. Nowadays it is all done by trial and error, there is nothing rational in the process. But this is a fundamental requirement if we want to continue working on the earth at all.
Extremely apt was the remark of our friend Stegemann to the effect that a decrease in the quality of the products is observable. You may take amiss what I’m about to say, but this decrease is indeed connected, as is the transformation in the human soul itself, with the end of Kali Yuga * in the world in the last decades and in the decades to come. We are also witnessing a great transformation in the inner being of nature. What has come down to us from ancient times, which we have propagated, be it natural talents, naturally inherited knowledge and the like, as well as what we have inherited in the way of medicines, all this is losing its meaning.
We must gain new knowledge in order to be able to understand these matters within the full context of nature. Mankind has no other choice. Either we must learn from the whole of nature and the universe, in all domains of life, or else let nature and human life itself die out, degenerate. Just as in ancient times, we need to gain again the kind of knowledge that penetrates into the inner workings of nature.
As I’ve already said, man today has some knowledge of how air behaves in the interior of the Earth. But he knows practically nothing of how light behaves in the interior of the Earth. He does not know that what is rocky cosmic, the siliceous element, captures the light within the earth and enables it to act there. Whereas what is related to living earthly nature, namely humus formation, does not let light in; it does not let the light act in the earth and therefore engenders a lightless process. Such things must be clearly understood.
Now, however, plant growth on the earth is not all. To any given region of the earth corresponds a specific form of animal life. For reasons which will presently be evident, we may for the moment leave man out, but we cannot omit animal life. This is due to the remarkable fact that the best cosmic qualitative analysis, if I may call it so, is achieved in the spontaneous interaction in a certain region of plant growth and animal life peculiar to that region. There exists a remarkable relationship –and I should be glad if this were investigated, for it would be confirmed: if there is, in a given farm, the right number of cows, horses and other animals, all those animals as a whole produce the right amount of manure necessary for that particular farm in order to add something to what has been driven to chaos. And if there is the right number of cows, horses, pigs, etc., then the manure will also have the right composition. This is related to the fact that the animals eat the right amount of plant growth existing on the farm, for they eat exactly what the earth can provide. Hence they produce, through their organic processes, the exact amount of manure that needs to be given back to the earth.
Consequently, the following principle is in fact valid and, although it may not be possible to accomplish it in an absolute way, it is ideally right: A farm is healthy only as long as it can provide the manure it requires from its own animals. Therefore, if one is obliged to use manure from outside the farm, that manure should be considered and used as medicine for a farm that is already ill. Naturally, all this requires that a true science be developed as to the number and kind of animals needed in each particular farm. Such a science will evolve naturally once there is knowledge of the inner forces at work.
In effect, what was said at the beginning of this lecture — describing what is above the Earth's surface as a kind of belly, and that which is beneath as a kind of head — is not complete unless we also understand the animal organism in this way. The animal organism lives within the whole complex of nature's household. Thus we find that in form and color, as well as in the structure and consistency of its substance, it is subject to the following influences from the front to the back: from the snout towards the heart, the effects of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars; in the heart, the effects of the Sun; and behind the heart, towards the tail, the effects of Venus, Mercury and Moon. In this respect, those who are interested in these matters should in the future develop knowledge through observation of the form. To be able to do this is of very great importance.
Go to a museum and look at the skeleton of any mammal, and observe it with the awareness that in the form and configuration of the head the influence of the Sun is predominant, the effect of the Sun, whose direct radiation flows in through the snout. For reasons I shall discuss later on, an animal exposes itself to the Sun in a specific way (a lion exposes itself to the Sun differently from a horse). The conformation of the head and what comes immediately behind the head depends on the way the animal exposes itself to the sun. Thus in the fore part of the animal we have the direct radiation of the Sun, and as a consequence the conformation of the head.
Now, as you will remember, sunlight enters the sphere of the earth in another way as well: when it is reflected by the moon. So we should consider not only direct sunlight, but also the sunlight reflected by the moon. This sunlight reflected by the moon is completely ineffective when it shines on the head of an animal. It has absolutely no influence there (this applies especially to the embryo). The light that is reflected by the Moon, however, exerts its greatest influence when it falls on the hind part of the animal. Observe the form of the skeleton in the hind part, and its peculiar relationship with the formation of the head. Cultivate a feeling for this contrast: the way the hindquarters are attached, how the digestive process is conformed in contrast to what, as an opposite pole, is shaped from the head. Then you will see the contrast between sun and moon through the contrast between the front and the back of the animal.
Moreover, you will find that the Sun’s influence goes as far as the heart, it stops at the heart; that Mars, Jupiter and Saturn work in the formation of the head and of the blood; and that then, beyond the heart towards the back, the influence of the moon is supported by the forces of Mercury and Venus. Thus if you place the animal with its head stuck in the ground and its hind part pointing upward, you will get the orientation that the agricultural individuality possesses invisibly.
This will enable you to discover, from the image of the animal’s form, a definite relationship between what the animal provides as manure, for example, and what is needed by the soil that sustains the plants that the animal eats. For you must know that the cosmic influences which are active in a plant come from the interior of the earth and are led upwards. And if a plant is especially rich in such cosmic forces and an animal eats it, the animal will transform the plant into manure according to its own particular organization. Thereby that animal will produce the right kind of manure for the soil where the plant grows. Thus if you can read nature's language of forms, you will find all that is needed by that self-contained individuality which a true farm or agricultural unit is. The animals must also be taken into account.