The Importance of Winter ©
By Hugh Lovel
Most of us have covered up a patch of sod in late autumn, only to find it ready to take off growing again in spring. However, in summer if we cover the same patch of sod up, it is dead and decaying in less than a month. What goes on in winter that is so different? Many farmers plant cereals in autumn and give little other thought to things again until spring. Yet something goes on in winter that must be of especial importance to agriculture. How can we grasp the importance of winter and use it to improve our farming?
Let’s examine some of our assumptions. A refractometer measures the diffraction of light as it passes through plant juice. The solids dissolved in this juice increase the angle of diffraction, and the percent of dissolved solids is measured in brix. Photosynthetic products like sugars tend to predominate in plant sap, but there are also enzymes, hormones and complex carbohydrates as well as mineral chelates, amino acids taken up from the soil. Basically high brix means dense amino acid uptake, high sugar and complex plant chemistry—with one exception. Under dry conditions salty fertilizer fed crops can run out of water and become salty, high brix, low energy, ‘easy meat’ plants that insects or diseases can easily consume. In this dry scenario high brix means low sugar, low energy, low complexity and a plant with low life force. But, ordinarily, high brix means efficient, high energy, high complexity crops that pests and diseases have a hard time digesting.
On the other hand, low brix warns something needs to be done. If you do the right thing brix will improve—sometimes dramatically. However, since a refractometer does not say what to do, overreliance on it can lead to unrealistic expectations about fixing things after they are broken. Often a crop runs out of puff after the summer solstice, as sap flow tapers back from its peak and vigour seems to lag. What if trying to fix things once they are broken falls short and even expensive inputs such as kelp and foliar chelates such as boron, silica and other traces fail to lift crops out of the doldrums?
There is potential here to fall into the blame game where consultants think the grower ‘didn’t do everything as recommended’, while the grower, looking at unrealistic recommendations, thinks ‘how the bleep am I supposed to get all this done? Both flirt with the too hard story, while neither has penetrated deeply enough into nature’s cycles so the midsummer blahs are easier to fix if they occur. For insight into what happens in winter to set the stage for high brix, let’s look at what happens in summer to yield high brix.
Though we must think about it for it to be obvious, in the sod that survives over winter despite being covered, we see the warmth and light forces active in the summer atmosphere. In winter these forces of warmth and light are drawn down into the soil. If they do not build up strongly in the soil over winter, they cannot stream back sufficiently in summer. Then crops will be too weak and watery and thus susceptible to insects and diseases. A better understanding of how to build up vitality in the soil over winter would give us high brix in every crop without expensive, time-consuming rescue efforts. Strange to say, winter is ideal for building life into the soil.
In the uptake of nutrients from the soil food web, sulphur is the catalyst for carbon chemistry, boron gives us sap pressure and silicon builds the capillary action that transports plant sap. Only then can calcium, magnesium and amino acids be delivered to cell division sites for chlorophyll manufacture. As chlorophyll catches light, phosphorous transfers energy into sugar production—after which a mix of sugars and more complex products follow potassium through the silica pathways to provide energy or its storage wherever required in the plant.
This means the role of silica is enormous. The capillary action provided by silicon explains why the most photo-efficient plants are silica rich C4 grasses—they have the most efficient transport. Abundant photosynthesis depends on how fast the reactions occur, and C4 plants are most efficient at moving carbon dioxide and water to photosynthetic sites while speedily getting sugar back out of the way. This is why with grasses like sugar cane, maize or sorghum brix readings may need to be taken from the base of the leaf or the stem rather than from the leaf panel, as these plants rapidly move sugars away from where they are made
In looking at this picture, we want to be aware that nitrates cannot be excluded from plant water uptake and nitrate is the antagonist of silica. While there will always be some nitrate uptake from the soil’s oxidation of amino acids and ammonia, excess nitrate correlates with low brix. Nitrates not only make the soil salty, but their affinity for water assures they dilute chlorophyll, photosynthesis and plant vitality. Of course, plants can and do convert nitrates to amino acids, but this takes time and energy and if nitrate uptake is too abundant or the plant’s conversion is too slow its protoplasm is watered down, its silica transport may be scalded and the result is a low brix plant that may be difficult to boost. Thus it is important to promote high vitality build-up in soils over winter so that nitrates are converted to amino acids before being taken up by crops, and if one uses fertilisers—including organic ones—that promote nitrification this is doubly important.
Brix testing near the end of the crop cycle is no substitute for preparing over the previous winter to achieve high brix throughout the cycle, crop after crop. For many growers taking the appropriate steps in winter might be a welcome change from crops losing their oomph after the summer solstice when the days start getting shorter and sap doesn’t flow quite so strongly any more. This raises the question of what is so important about having strong sap flow?
To fully get our heads around what warmth, light and sap flow mean, we need to think of what lies behind high brix—life energy. As we know, sugars amount to energy stored in carbon compounds. Even more energy is tied up in amino acids, DNA and complex proteins, enzymes and hormones. This biochemistry represents stored life energy.
The key characteristic of life energy is it runs up and life energy which is free and flowing, such as warmth and light, accumulates where stored life already is rich. Thus life energy suffuses the substance of a plant even when it is not locked into the substance itself. Warmth, light and sap vigour are not the substance of the plant, nor would they have such an intimate association with the plant were it not alive, and yet they work closely in tandem with the siliceous substances in plants.
The problem with chemical fertilisers is they are not suffused with life energy and thus impart no increase of life. Quite the opposite, they dilute what life energy the plant already has, leading to reduced complexity and possibly loss of immunity. A holdover belief from the early days of chemical agriculture asserts that plants only take up nitrogen as nitrate, but this is no more accurate than saying humans only absorb nitrogen as nitrate. We take up nitrates all right—along with amino acids. We even sometimes take up complex proteins that were not fully digested into their component amino acids, which is what ‘leaky gut’ syndrome is about.
Investigation shows that plants readily take up amino acid nitrogen—unless nitrates get in the way. In fact, plants are healthiest getting most of their nitrogen as amino acids from the soil food web around their roots. The microbes that fix nitrogen require abundant energy from root exudates to manufacture amino acids and support robust growth.
Advocates of chemical nitrogen say it is efficient because plants don’t have to supply the energy for nitrogen fixation. This may seem economical even though it takes ten units of methane to make one unit of ammonia, and still more to convert ammonia into other forms such as urea. But this not only is less energy efficient than biological nitrogen fixation, when artificial nitrogen is applied as urea, half volatilizes as NO2 gas while the rest oxidizes to nitrate and the plants taking this up have to convert nitrate to amino acids. Often converting nitrates takes more energy than soil microbes would have used to fix amino acid nitrogen in the first place. The clincher is that nitrate is the waste product of microbial nitrogen fixation, and nitrogen fixing microbes go dormant or die in high nitrate conditions. Thus artificial nitrogen fertilisation shuts down biological nitrogen fixation, ensuring that plants become dependent on getting their nitrogen as nitrates. Since methane is a non-renewable resource this could hardly be desirable even if nitrates grew healthy crops—which they do not.
In a low nitrate soil, microbes living around plant roots depend on strong sap flow upward in the plant by day so the plant gives off energy rich root exudates as the sun goes back down. With plenty of energy to fix nitrogen the soil foodweb can give the plant ample amino acids in the next day’s sap uptake. With strong sap flow, this in turn assures richer photosynthesis and more energy given off as root exudates the following evening and so forth. This means the less plants take up nitrate and the more they feed on amino acids, the more efficiently they photosynthesise and share their life energy with their microbial symbiotes in the soil and the more complex and vigorous they tend to be.
The Hieronymus Experiment
A beautiful illustration of the way life energy interacts with plants is the experiment of T. Galen Hieronymus (1895–1988) Conducting Chlorophyll Energy Over Wires with sprouting seeds in lightless boxes. This experiment eventually led to inventing what he called a ‘Cosmic Pipe’ the forerunner of today’s field broadcasters. It is a simple experiment which can be replicated both summer and winter almost anywhere.
As a summer project Galen built a wooden platform about six feet off the ground on the south side of his house. On this platform he placed seven copper plates varying in size from 2” x 4” and 4” x 8” to 8” x 10”, one of which was copper wire screen. He connected these with an insulated copper wire to aluminium foil under the lids of seven 2” x 2” x 4” wooden boxes on a light tight shelf below ground inside his basement. Aluminium foil was also placed inside the bottoms of these boxes and grounded with a wire to a metal water pipe that ran underground near the basement wall. An eighth box was used as a control with no foil sheets or wires connected to anything.
A half inch of fine, sandy soil was placed in the boxes and oat seeds selected for uniformity were placed on the sandy soil equidistant in two rows of five seeds each. A 5/8” layer of soil was then sifted on top of the seeds which were watered and the covers placed on each box. Thereafter the boxes were inspected daily by flashlight and watered.
All the seeds sprouted about the same time, but there was no chlorophyll in the ten plants in the control box, whereas all the plants in the boxes connected to the outside plates had good chlorophyll. Notably, the plants connected to large outside plates appeared to have been subjected to excessive heat. All of the plants were kept in the dark all of the time except when examined by flashlight, and yet an organizing, organic force that built the plants’ complexity to the point of turning them green flowed between the elevated plates in the sun and the grounded plants in darkness. Clearly a solar energy effect occurred, although it is also clear there is a flaw in the assumption that sun light drives photosynthesis. Something else is involved that contributes to the vitality and organization of a plant besides light.
The Big Picture
The universe is synchronous and integral—it is a big picture made up of both substance and energy. For example, magnetism is a result of spin, with is a dynamic all particles have because they are vortexial. But even at the subatomic level they don’t spin in isolation. Their spins all affect each other. If you try to imagine examining a compass needle to find out why it points north no matter where it is, the only thing that makes sense is the earth in its entirety has a magnetic field and compass needles align themselves with this field—which shifts a slight bit all the time.
It is also known that the Sun and planets all have magnetic fields of various strengths and orientations, all of which influence the solar system’s field. Moreover our galaxy has a magnetic field that our solar system interacts with. Indeed the universe has one, and each magnetic field influences all the others.
The gravitational fields of the Sun and its planets interact, each influencing the others and vice versa. Since Newton (1643-1727) and Herschel (1738-1822) it’s been understood that one body affects all the others. Herschel calculated for the probable position of something disturbing the motion of Saturn and found Uranus. Neptune was found the same way. Today quite a number of planetary bodies are found in this fashion around stars beyond the Sun. Astronomers accept that our sun is spiralling toward some ‘great attractor’ in the star rich region of Scorpio/Sagittarius, although since the universe is expanding we are not likely to get there.
The Moon rather obviously interacts with ocean currents, tides and weather patterns, and the Sun emits a stream of charged particles called the solar wind, as well as events known as solar storms or flares. The subtle effects of such things as sun spots are often beyond our detection with scientific instruments, but with biological organisms being far more sensitive it is not surprising to find related effects in crop production and stock market prices.
Thus it is scientific ignorance when agricultural pundits say the forces at work between Sun and earth and beyond to the edges of the universe—particularly in regard to the Moon and planets—have nothing to do with what happens in agriculture.
Rudolf Steiner’s Insights
Sometimes it is tough being on the cutting edge as the know-it-alls can be generous with scorn and immune to meticulous experiment. Such a cutting edge scientist was Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). With the best of educations in maths, chemistry and biology, he was an original thinker in a breathtaking variety of disciplines. He not only realized there was a nutritional connection to the chemistry and physics of thought and motivation, but he also saw there was something profoundly important in how apples get up in trees before ripening and falling. Despite gravity, they get up there; so Steiner went looking for the force of levity, as is seen in living organisms. He called this the ether, and he associated it with the outermost boundary of the universe.
In the winter of 1999-2000 astronomers found overwhelming evidence of levity in Hubble observations showing the universe is expanding fastest at its edges, but an understanding of levity comparable to Steiner’s still hasn’t gained traction amongst most physicists because they tend to studiously ignore the realm of life. Of course old teachings—like Newton’s treatment of gravity as a single rather than a polar force—tend to die hard. Indeed gravity is the idea most resistant to change in physics because it is thought of as the first force. If gravity needs re-examination as a polar rather than a single force, this will require re-examining everything else in physics.
Nevertheless, by studying Goethe’s (1749-1832) scientific works, Steiner learned that organization, which is the basis of what he called ether or life force, flows from lower concentration to higher concentration. Life increases. It is born, grows and matures in cycles, only dispersing in dying—and even then usually reproducing at its peak of vitality so that it evolves. Life ever trends toward enhancement, or in other words, life runs up instead of running down. Life builds in complexity and is organizational or syntropic rather than running down and being disorganizational or entropic.
Ever the scientist, Steiner wanted a better understanding of levity and life force and how life force surges from the earth in summer only to recede back inward in winter. Using the classic view of the elements in the order of increasing density as fire, air, water and earth, he looked for the organizational forces or ethers associated with each element, knowing that ether must flow toward greater concentration in order to be organizational. Starting with fire, the associated ether, or life force, could be described as warmth ether. Where air is denser than fire, the life force that permeates air is light ether. In water life force is even more concentrated as the chemical or tone ether. Finally, in the carbon based organisms of the earth, life force is embodied as life ether.
Lime and Silica
Though it wasn’t widely understood, with his investigations in analytical chemistry Steiner realized calcium and silicon lie at opposite poles in the chemistry of living organisms. Of course, since we only encounter calcium and silicon as their oxides, lime and silica, or their derivatives, Steiner preferred to call these opposites the lime/silica polarity, with clay as the mediator between their extremes.
Lime is heavy, opaque, sticky and strongly reactive with all sorts of things—particularly sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorous and protein. Steiner characterized lime as a greedy, grasping fellow. Indeed, it is responsible for nitrogen fixation and growth and is abundant in cell nuclei, muscles and bones where lime radiates its influences outward like the force of gravity. Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed when calcium hydroxide reacts in water with carbon dioxide and settles into the ocean deeps.
On the other hand, silica is transparent and light, interacting without necessarily reacting with things—especially water. Steiner characterized it as a generous aristocrat. He found silica has a lot to do with warmth, light and capillary action as well as hair, skin, hooves or horns. The force of levity works inward into things from the extreme periphery through silica, buoying things up. Silica forms the bedrock that floats atop the earth’s mantle holding up the continents. It raises up high mountains and predominates amongst the finest particles in the atmosphere.
In summer the warmth and light working via silica flow outward from the soil towards the sun, lifting lime, amino acids and minerals not only into growth but also into fruiting and reproduction. Flowers have sugary nectar on the female/silica side and protein rich pollen on the male/lime side. Since warmth and light work from the cosmic periphery via silica toward the sun, as the summer reaches its longest day these ‘cosmic’ forces are nearing their peak in the growth of plants on the side of the earth facing the sun. Thereafter, if the earth has not built up enough warmth and light over the winter, sap vigour may suffer and the silica in the plant will falter in sustaining the uplift of nutrients from the soil in the latter part of summer as warmth and light recede from the atmosphere, drawing back into the earth.
Also in autumn the condensing, concentrating ‘earthly’ forces of tone and life—channelled back from the Sun via Mercury, Venus and the Moon to soak into the earth—gain the upper hand as warmth and light recede. This gravitational side of nature works on the summer’s vegetation by digesting and absorbing it back into the earth as the earthly forces of tone and life work downward via lime. As the earth absorbs these fallen substances along with the tone and life ethers working through them it becomes more alive. It organizes woody materials, manures, amino acids and minerals into the formation of stable organic matter in the soil. Even the silica substances in cellulose, bark and skins are digested. Humus is formed, water and other substances tend to crystallize. With the approach of winter the earthly forces, along with the substances they work upon, build up in the earth more and more richly, reaching their maximum in mid winter.
As the life forces in the soil become stronger, they work like a magnet to draw in more and more life forces—both earthly tone and life and cosmic warmth and light—into the soil as life force flows from lower to higher concentration. This is the ideal time to boost the warmth and light forces in the soil so that come the following summer they stream back sufficiently that crops will be strong and sap flow vigorous. This should give us a better understanding of how to ensure we have low nitrate, high amino, high brix crops without expensive, time-consuming rescue measures.
Agriculture Of Tomorrow
To investigate this, Steiner enlisted Lily Kolisko (1889-1976) and her husband Eugen Kolisko (1893-1939), a pair of German physicians, to conduct extensive studies of crystallization and other phenomena having to do with organizational forces and their influences on substances, both in summer and winter and above and below the surface to a depth of 16 meters. Early on they shed light on one of the baffling riddles of chemistry. Every chemistry student finds that on some occasions crystallization produces large, light-weight crystals, and on other occasions crystals are small but much denser.
At her laboratory in Stuttgart Lily set out dishes of supersaturated solutions of various salts to crystallize at the lab window, at the soil surface and at one meter depths up 16 meters below ground in a 1.5 meter square shaft at various hours of the day and night, phases of the moon and months of the year over a period of several years, weighing and photographing the results and exhaustively documenting them. For the most part she used salts associated with the Sun, the Moon and various planets. Though there was considerable variation between results with different salts, it was clear the forces of crystallization were greatest at Stuttgart in the depths of winter in February. Her experimental documentation was so extensive she published only a small portion in her book, Agriculture Of Tomorrow. Nevertheless for researching this question—which every chemist encounters—she should have won a Nobel prize.
This says nothing of her extensive studies of homeopathic potencies where forces rather than substances come into play. Alas the world of science was not ready for this work and cynics made no effort to honestly duplicate her studies. Even at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland the Natural Sciences Section of The Anthroposophical Society ignored her work, but for those interested in further study, Agriculture Of Tomorrowcan be accessed online at:http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html )
A general study of her research with an honest and open mind reveals the forces at work in agriculture, from the local earth environment to the edges of the universe—involving, above all, the Sun, Moon and planets. Kolisko challenges many assumptions and paints a new picture of what actually happens in agriculture—and her research points the way to the crucial importance of what happens in winter.
We may have thought that in winter the earth goes to sleep, but winter is the season when the plant life above the earth falls down and is digested. In this process the earth itself becomes inwardly sensitive and alive. In autumn and winter both the silica warmth and light and the calcium tone and life forces recede into the earth. There in the soil they interpenetrate. The forces of warmth and light are caught up by lime while the forces of tone and life are caught up by silica. In spring the earth dozes off to sleep and dies off again as plant growth expresses the activity that took place within the earth while it was sensitive and alive. What warmth and light can do within the earth over winter can be seen in the abundant upwelling of sugary sap in Canadian maples in the spring. The amount of sugar produced in the soil over a long, dark winter speaks volumes about what warmth and light do while within the earth. With our summer crops, rising into the atmosphere, agriculture works with the dreaming of the earth which has gone to sleep. Even winter crops like wheat and barley live right at the soil surface all winter, spreading out a network of fine, sensitive roots within the earth while it is brimming with life. Then as the earth dies off again these cereals have a tremendous spurt of growth in spring, making fat heads of grain.
How The Ethers Work
Because life force flows from lower to higher concentration, warmth and light always flow toward the Sun, as the Sun is far more densely organized, at least in terms of warmth and light, than anything else nearby.
In winter, and especially in the higher latitudes (whether north or south), the sun spends a good deal more of the day below the horizon than it does above. Because the warmth and light are flowing toward the Sun, the outward flow in winter is weak and the inward flow is strong. Since these levitational forces coming from the outer extremes of the universe spiral into the solar vortex, they pick up the influences of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars along the way, soaking into the earth on its dark side before escaping again on the sunny side. From whichever side is in winter these levitational forces soak in strongly but escape weakly. Then when summer comes again they flow forth strongly but soak in weakly.
The situation is somewhat different with tone and life. Tone, which organizes water, and life, which organizes carbon, are a reflection of what goes on between the earth and the Sun, as given to the earth by the Moon from the night-time sky. Where the Sun is the focus of the forces involved with silica, the Moon is the focus of the forces involved with lime.
The Moon mirrors the Sun, whose reflection is strongest at full Moon. In this reflection we find the influences of Mercury and Venus, as well as those of the Moon itself. These are the earthly, gravitational influences from between the Sun and earth. They too flow most strongly into the earth during winter, as then they are no longer caught up and carried back upward by warmth and light streaming out of the earth. Moreover, since they are dense in their organization they act strongly to draw organization to the earth’s oceans and biosphere. The richer they become in any given area the more strongly they draw, and when boosted, as is customary with the biodynamic horn manure preparation, they can build up quite strongly over winter.
The gravitational stream is digestive (Mercury), supportive (Venus) and nutritive (Moon) in contrast to the levitational stream’s blossoming (Mars), fruiting (Jupiter) and ripening (Saturn). The danger is when this gravitational stream becomes so strong that, without sufficient balance by levitational forces, the digestive and nutritive processes overwhelm the fruiting and ripening processes in late summer when warmth and light run low. Then there can be trouble at the end of a crop cycle with insects and diseases before harvest, and the way to correct for this is to balance the boost given to the earthly forces by applying horn manure by boosting the cosmic forces with an application of horn silica.
This picture of Steiner and Kolisko’s takes into account the life energy streaming into the solar system as well as what is reflected back to the earth from the Sun via the Moon. How these two streams affect agriculture, from the furthest periphery through the earth, shows us the need for balance between the warmth and light forces that work upward via silica in summer carrying tone and life with them, and the tone and life forces that work into the earth via lime while warmth and light recede into the earth as well. When in balance the cosmic and earthly streams support each other—but when they are out of balance crops can either be undernourished and burn up from insufficient earthly forces or they can be too lush to ripen without problems due to insufficient cosmic forces. What we really want is to strengthen both streams in balance, along with enough of the substances associated with silica and lime for the growing of crops.
Understanding what life forces are and where they come from helps when balancing and enriching both streams of life forces. Chaos is a dynamic state of the universe where things are highly disordered. Order, which we should also think of as dynamic, is the opposite of chaos. Order arises out of chaos. Mathematics gave birth to what is called chaos theory back in 1961 with the discovery by Edward Lorentz (1917-2008) of the Butterfly Effect. In essence Lorentz found weather cycles could maintain themselves on the borders of chaos while both running up and running down. A brief introduction to chaos theory can be found at:http://www.schuelers.com/chaos/chaos1.htm
Order, which is the basis of organization, arises at boundaries. Any boundary with an inside and an outside has a pattern capable of organizing and accumulating energy, as Benoit Mandelbrot’s (1924- ) discovery of fractal geometry shows. Defining boundaries can give rise to infinite complexity. Thus if we want to impart such patterns to our farms or our environment to impart life forces we have to find a means of transferring patterns.
In organic chemistry, carbon provides the framework for a seemingly infinite variety of patterns, and water makes a good medium for transfer as its memory for patterns and their propagation lies at the basis of chemistry. Also, Hieronymus demonstrated pattern transfer using copper wire and other metals such as aluminium foil in his experiments, and this became the basis of his radionic analyser patent as well as his ‘Cosmic Pipe’ design.
Organisational patterns can be easy to transfer since by nature they propagate as they build. Moreover, patterns only have complexity without any appreciable mass—even though they may organize large amounts of substances. Steiner used the term ‘smallest entities’ in referring to pattern energy. Paracelsus compared the pattern of a remedy to the spark that sets a house on fire. In homeopathy patterns are usually transferred using water or lactose pillules. With radionics the transfer is done by way of a circuit using metal wires, some type of resistance and input/output coils or plates with reagent patterns at the input and a witness as the recipient at the output. With radionics there is the bonus that since the patterns have no mass, they can be transferred according to quantum rules over any distance faster than light without loss.
Patterns For Agriculture
With these options for transfer and more, the question is what patterns to use. While various colours, minerals, herbs, gemstones and geometrical designs can be useful, that question is answered for the most part by Steiner and Kolisko’s work. Steiner introduced earthly horn manure and cosmic horn silica preparations (made using cows’ horns with clay to cap the open ends of the horns) as remedies in his agriculture course. To grasp a cow horn’s resonant power, hold an empty horn up to your ear and imagine that resonant tone working on the contents while buried in the soil for six months or so. These preparations or their homeopathic or radionic patterns can be used to enhance the silica and lime streams of life force discussed previously.
Steiner also introduced several herbal preparations; one for each planet, ensuring whatever was needed could be supplied in terms of boosting the individual planetary forces. Unfortunately in light of the cult flavour that set in after Steiner’s death it is understandable but inappropriate that some dismiss burying cow horns as pseudo science. This shows lack of understanding—and perhaps in some cases arrogance on the part of know-it-alls.
Make no mistake, we cannot meet all our challenges in agriculture purely with substances. We need an understanding of life forces as well. We will never turn our farms around to where they run up instead of running down if we don’t impart life. To do this we must operate our farms (or gardens) as living organisms with boundaries. These can be the property boundaries, which are themselves patterns within which organizational energies can build up. Without boundaries life forces leak away, flowing to someplace else where they can collect.
Which method we use to get life energy to build up in our soil matters less than whether we impart life forces in an appropriate, balanced way. Timing and balance are key. The original method, introduced by Steiner, of stirring the preparations and sprinkling them out over the land is a beautiful adaptation of homeopathy. It works well on a small scale, and the main cost is labour. Of course, if there are enough participants it also works for large acreages.
Back in 1924 in Germany, Steiner envisioned that families could pool their energies on Sundays and apply the remedies festively. Stirring and spraying preparations is just the sort of thing that children, with their sensitivity to life forces, could delight in and derive enormous benefit from. Alas, that might have been true in Germany in 1924, but it no longer is true in most of western society. Probably in parts of India, China, Africa or elsewhere in the third world it may still be true, and where people can put their hand to the task very little other investment is required to apply these remedies by stirring and spraying three or four times annually over a family plot of land.
However, for large scale operations without enough available labor a variety of methods have become popular. These include stirring machinery, homeopathy, flow forms, vortex brewers, irrigation, spray rigs, radionics and field broadcasting. Despite prejudices and rivalries, all methods are effective since fundamentally it is patterns that give rise to organization, and organization is the basis of life. Regardless of method, transferring organizational patterns works within the realm of the living since the patterns are highly organized and they propagate themselves. It even works on cattle stations to put these remedies in watering troughs and irrigation channels to get them out onto the land at appropriate times of the year. As for the most important time of the year, this tends to be the most ignored time of the year—winter.
 In keeping with the traditions of alchemists such as Paracelsus (1493-1541), Kolisko used salts of gold, mercury, copper, silver, iron, tin and lead to examine seasonal relationships over a period of several years with the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
 “The remedy should operate in the body like a fire, and its effect on the disease should be as violent as that of fire on a pile of wood. This mystery of fire should also apply to what you call dosage. How would it be possible to weigh the amount of fire needed to consume a pile of wood or a house? No, fire cannot be weighed! However, you know that one little spark is heavy enough to set a forest on fire, a little spark that has no weight at all.” —Paracelsus