Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 5: Cultivation, Part 1
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
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Health of plants, soil, and atmosphere. Atmosphere highly important. Need wild areas to hold balance. Drainage is the primary consideration, both for soil and atmosphere. Breathing and pulsation. Natural processes of cultivation: glaciers, rivers, winds, plant and tree roots, heat, cold, moisture, drying, landslides. (13:12)
New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 5, Cultivation, Part 1
So, our subjects this week, running, will be: Cultivation, Fertilization, Propagation, and climaxing that with Fertility, and then Ritual and Festivalia to bring us back in conjunction with last week. We’re going to be considerably more technical this week, practical, shall we say. So: Cultivation. And do but bear in mind the cycles, and the revolutionibus, the cosmic forces that we have surveyed, and you will find all of this much easier to place where it belongs. So we are considering the health of the plants and the health of the soil, and the health of the atmosphere.
Do not place, as in agriculture, the attachment to the soil. Do you see, your primary, really, is below soil, and atmosphere is more important, almost, than soil. But, to consider the soil and not the atmosphere, for instance, is absolutely useless. And that the eradication of trees, and hedges, and copses makes the manufacture of soil, of course, impossible.
Drainage is always considered the whole focus. The very first thing surveyed by all agriculturalists is: What’s the position of the drainage? Is it possible to get drainage? Is the drainage good? And does it require no assistance, or does it require a lot? Again, I repeat, the same verdict. The drainage of the atmosphere is more important, or equally important, as the drainage of the soil. The drainage of the area, from both points of view, also. Therefore, now you see how vitally important the study of the revolutionibus is. We are dealing with the health of the soil. If you’ve got healthy soil, and healthy atmosphere, and good plants, you will have health. So one is also, then, pointing the finger astringently at breathing, pulsation. Therefore you see, nature, as it stands, and nature as it was in the past, and now, the whole nature into the future is what we should deal with at the end of the week, when we’ve surveyed these matters.
Let us look at the origins that take place concerning cultivation in nature. Nature is actually―people think it is not so―but nature is an ardent cultivator. And undoubtedly you will perceive the dire, delicious importance of the whole of humanity connected with this cultivation to nature. That she makes us hungry. She makes us adore strawberries, apples, pears, all the things that we haven’t dreamed of: wonderful cereals, beautiful vegetables, flowers, wonderful walks, avenues of trees, forests of woods of inimitable purpose, in order that we should cultivate and drain her beautiful skin, and place a mantle upon it, so that the whole of its performance can operate together.
One of the great principles of nature’s cultivators, of course, is glaciers. You’ve got a very good instance with the Hudson, and of course, all, all glaciers are excellent instances. They come creeping slowly down, and you remember how we spoke about our oasis? And now you get a huge version of that. That you get this glacier creeping down the mountains, gradually collecting the Xenophon’s waste from the forests and the mountains. And it collects it all up in its great arms, and as it goes along in hundreds of years, it makes two enormous deposits as it goes along, and builds two fantastic, great gardens.
Rivers and streams do similarly, in their own way, not so vast, but they make deposits, and they make deposits all the time. And the mountains also, do you understand, for instance, let’s look at the southern Alps, particularly, that run across Italy, the great Gotthard Pass, up there. And that all of those howling winds that come off Moscow and Petersburg, and all those yelling Muscovites, how that goes right down, through Europe and blows over the top of those great ridges that hang over the Mediterranean, so to speak. And that every time those winds blow, or the breezes blow, or the great gales come, or the ice storms come, they sweep down all of those dusts and soils and collections of debris into those great plains of Lombardy. And so you have there soils twenty-five feet deep and more, that are being constantly reconstituted, continually reconstituted every year in the different cycles of the seasons. Those soils are re-forming, both by little water performances and by wind deposits.
Likewise, you have, from all of the trees, this pushing of the roots. Therefore, in all forestations, in all woodlands, in all copses, in all avenues, you have got a cultivation going on from the force of the roots of trees. And you know perfectly well that with all the plants you get a more obvious performance of it. That with Lily of the Valley, with Rhubarb, any such plant, if you put it in too shallow, it will pull itself down. If you put it in too deep, it will pull itself up. This applies particularly to certain bulbs, like Daffodils, in the Narcissi family. You can actually leave them on top of the ground and they will eventually get themselves down to between three and four depths of their own length. And if you plant them six times their own depths, they will come up to three to four. They manipulate themselves. That therefore in that manipulation, you understand with those little roots doing that each year, and the shoot doing that, they are, of course, performing, all plants are performing this. All plants are pushing the soil up, and then the soils are pushing down. And vitally more important than any of them, you must of course apply our discussions of the cosmic, this interplay of the planets, and particularly of the sun and the moon, of this enormous pulling and pushing.
Likewise, the performances of the four elements must be looked at. That the heat of the periods of the cycle cause heat to enter and air to expand, and moisture to expand, and thereby, of course, lifting the soil. And, in the exact opposite, the freezings doing the same. All of the ice, and the frost freezings, of course swelling, and also lifting the soil. Enormous cultivators, especially in the winter, with open soil to bring about tilth, the freezing and the ice, vitally important. Wind, to some degree, will loosen the soils, and by drying up, will cause powdering and thereby loosening of the soil. Moisture, to a certain degree, works both ways, of course. And the performance of rains is largely a compactor.
Now, the Greeks discovered, and your observations must likewise be, and my observations have been, throughout life, have been very astonishing at landslides. Now the Greeks observed, that however beautiful an oasis was, in other words, the flat, rich soils of alluvial deposits, beside rivers and streams, and between lakes where waters flow, and around all marginal areas of that sort, oases of that kind, but what you would call flattish lands. They found that although plants grew very well in those, they grew quite differently to what they did on certain other areas, and particularly Alpine. Now you must note that when you grow a particular plant, if you like, Rumex, we’ll take a deep-rooted plant, which goes down six, eight, ten feet with its root, and goes up in the air, from four to eight. Now, if you grow that plant in a valley, in flat land in a valley, it will grow, probably eight to ten feet high, and the root will probably grow much longer also, than we stipulate. The moment you take it up onto a hillside, up a mountain, the higher up that mountain you go, up to a certain latitude, that Rumex is going to decrease in height, and decrease, probably, almost for certain, in root depth. But certainly in height of plant. But what is happening all the time in that growth, is that in the valley it is making stalk and greenery, and not much blossom. Whereas as you go up the mountain, you get less and less stalk, less and less greenery, and more and more blossoming, and therefore, of course, to a degree...
[Text transcription 2015 by M. Crawford and G. Haynes]