Chapter 6

The Activator

The Indore method mainly relies on animal manure for its activator; but we have to face the fact that the great majority of workers on the land cannot get manures.

Without an activator, the compost heap disintegrates slowly. Chemical activators break down the material, but destroy the working micro-organisms, and so do more harm than good.

I have urged the importance of retaining the natural heat of disintegration; in the pleasant atmosphere of subsequent moist warmth, the work of the micro-organisms proceeds apace. The quick breaking down of the fresh living plants, the disintegration of leaves, flowers, and stems, releases the life, the vitality, of the plants.

Life is eternal. It must go on.

Like all natural forces (water, electricity), it follows the lines of least resistance. With the enclosed heap, it cannot escape into the air. It turns back into the heap, vitalizing, energizing every part of it, all its internal activities.

Into this mass of pulsating life, we insert the herbal activator. (The Q.R. methods must not be confused with those connected with Dr. Rudolf Steiner. He first advocated the use of the abovementioned herbs in agriculture, as publicly stated by the Anthroposophical Society. The activator used in the Q.R. method is entirely different from the secret and private preparation made and used by the societies connected with Dr. Steiner's name. This note is inserted to prevent any possible confusion.) The herbal activator holds the following ingredients, which contain among them the chief elements needed by plant life:

    Iron, Lime, Potash, Soda, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Nitrates

    Potash, Lime, Phosphorus, Sulphur

    Iron, Soda, Potash, Phosphorus

    Oak bark
    Potash, Lime

    Formic Acid, Acetic Acid

    Oil, Formic Acid, Ammonia, Carbonic Acid, Iron


The herbs and honey are reduced to a fine, very sweet-smelling powder. (For formulae see below, Appendix 2.)

The strength of the dose for treating the heap is: 1 grain (weight) to 1 pint of rain-water. (One grain will cover a sixpenny or an American cent piece.)

The grain is made up of seven ingredients, i.e. one-seventh of a grain of each!

How can it work? The answer is 'by radiation'.

Shake the bottle, as soon as the powder is dropped into it. The powder will rise, but nothing else will happen. Let the bottle stand for twenty-four hours. Shake it again. You will find a new activity, a bubbling, and a little foam on the surface. It has come to life. Smell it. The sweetness of the dry powder is in the liquid. Pour it into the heap, allowing about three ounces to each hole; the holes are made twelve to twenty-four inches apart, and penetrate nearly to the base of the heap. Fill up the holes with soil and ram it down (this is important to avoid air spaces).

The whole process takes about ten minutes. When you open the heap, in four, six, eight or twelve weeks, according to the time of the year, you will find it evenly composted, and will discern in it the sweet smell of the herbal activator. How is this?

The water has released the living forces of the elements in the herbal powder. From the focal points at the bottom of the heap, these forces radiate upwards, and outwards; they diffuse yet more energy, more life, through the heap, and it is the energy and life of those particular elements, needed by plants, given in plant form, i.e. in the same rhythm of life that manifests in the vegetable kingdom.

But why bother with the powder, and the tiny dose? Why not use layers of the same weeds? Nettle and yarrow and the rest?

Why? Because the power in a large quantity would be so great that the radiations would pass out of the heap before releasing the forces they hold. The power when released would be great indeed, but it would develop in the upper air, and be lost to the heap.

With the minute dose, the elements within the radiations are able to develop and free their full power, within the confines of the heap. It is the same law that governs the fact that whereas a small dose of certain poisons will kill a man, a large dose will pass through him and leave him unscathed. It is the law of the 'power of the infinitely little'.

I cannot explain it further. All I know is that this minute quantity of herbs ripens, quickens, enriches the heaps without further turning, without interference, and after ten years of constant experience, I have never known it fail.

The Herbs

The list of herbs given is for the full formula, which is the one I use, and send out to all who want it, as explained in Chapter 2.

Experiments have proved that any combination of herbs will work as an activator if they contain, between them, the chief elements needed by plant life provided they are used in homeopathic doses. This fact may be of real value, for people who are unable to find all the herbs in the full formulae.

Further, I believe it is better, if possible, to use plants indigenous to each country. There must be many plants in every land that contain the essential elements. Very few plants have been analysed for their constituents. I suggest that scientific herbalists in every country should investigate this question , and issue a list of native plants, and their essential constituents.

Ideally speaking, every farmer, every gardener, should be able to make his own herbal activator. The full formula is given in Appendix 2. For those who have neither opportunity nor time to do so, the activator can be bought for a few pence (see Appendix 4).

The following combinations have been tested with success.

Honey is always included; it is a powerful activator -- very lively.

Nettle is an essential; it is the only plant I know containing carbonic acid and ammonia. Alternatives are:

    1st: Yarrow Nettle Honey

    2nd: Chamomile Coltsfoot Nettle Honey

    3rd: Chamomile Dandelion Nettle Honey

Of these, the first is the best.


With the radio in every home, the mysterious power of radiation is generally accepted. With the new radio discoveries of the war and its marvellous developments, people are beginning to realize that its possibilities are unlimited, and its powers universal. Once this power is admitted, may it not explain many of Nature's secrets? Is it not even obvious, once we know where to look? Can we not discern it in the waves of scent that greet us from garden and hillside and wood? In the silent S 0 S of the ant struggling with a burden too great for her individual effort, and in the amazing hurrying response? Might it not explain the action of the trace elements? Boron, for instance, beneficial at one in ten million. And might it not explain this delightful story of the bees:

A radio station suffered, throughout the summer, from an epidemic of bee swarms! They came constantly and clung to the door of the building. Why? Surely by the fact that a wave-length used by the installation was the wavelength of bees. They tuned in, and literally arrived 'in their swarms'!

In my book From Vegetable Waste to Fertile Soil (Faber and Faber) I wrote in 1940:

'When it comes to these fine radiations we are beyond the scope of material chemical analysis, and are within the sphere of physics -- in the region of emanations, vibrations, waves, energy, forces of nature all recognized by modern science. Do horticulture and agriculture really shut themselves off from these realities? A man of science, a physicist, must soon arise who will investigate these proven facts, to find an explanation and open the scientific door to a pathway of discovery, a pathway that, judging from the results of practical experiments, will lead to better health of soil, of plants, and of mankind.'

A few weeks ago I read a book called The Secret of Life by Georges Lakhovsky, a Russian-born, naturalized French citizen, a scientist, an engineer physicist. His investigations on 'Radiations in relation to living beings' first appeared in 1923. His subsequent work with plants, animals, and man, his theories and conclusions have been presented to the French Académie des Sciences by Professor d'Arsonval, spoken of as 'one of the greatest scientists of our time'. He also sponsors the book. It has been translated into five languages. The English version is the latest, published in 1939. It is amazingly interesting, and so simply written, so clear, that the layman can understand and follow it.

In the book Lakhovsky develops the theory that

  1. 'Every living being emits radiations.'
  2. 'Every living cell is dependent on its nucleus, which is the centre of oscillations and gives off radiations'.

He states that the cell, essential organic unit in all living beings, is . . . an electro- magnetic resonator capable of emitting and absorbing radiations of a very high frequency.

To the question, What is life? he answers: 'It is the dynamic equilibrium of all cells, the harmony. of multiple radiations which react upon one another.'

He holds that all disease comes from the dis-equilibrium (unbalancing) of the vibrations of the oscillating circuit, i.e., the nucleus of the cell. This can be effected by the stronger vibrations of an invading cell, i.e. a microbe. Health, resistance, can be achieved by strengthening the natural vibrations of the weaker cell by outside interference. He links all vibrations with the Cosmic Rays, in which he says: 'Every frequency finds its counterpart.' (By a simple device Mr. Lakhovsky succeeded in filtering the cosmic rays and used the device to cure plants of tumorous growths. He later developed this device into an instrument known as the Multiple Wave Oscillator. This instrument, based on his theory, has been tested and used by the leading medical faculties on the Continent. Since its inception in 1931, it has been installed in hospitals in France, Italy, Germany and Sweden. The book has many illustrations of the results of its use, especially in reference to cancer.)

He speaks of 'the individual frequency of each cell', and states further 'that each group of cells has its own frequency, with its own characteristic vibrations'.

Do we find here the scientific explanation of the radiations in the compost heap? I wonder.

(Georges Lakhovsky has been awarded the red ribbon of the Legion of Honour for his services during the war. The book is published by William Heinemann (Medical Book Dept.). Since writing this I have learnt that G. Lakhovsky escaped from France, but died in New York in 1943: a terrible loss to the world of science.)

7. The Conviction

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