Tag Archives: Ehrenfried Pfeiffer

“This is a problem of nutrition.”

Mention of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer in recent posts has reminded me of the account he gives of a significant conversation with Rudolf Steiner. This was concerning the frustration experienced by Pfeiffer and others regarding their general “lack of spiritual experience in spite of all their efforts.” Dr Steiner’s reply was: “This is a problem of nutrition. Nutrition as it is today does not supply the strength necessary for manifesting the spirit in physical life. A bridge can no longer be built from thinking to will and action. Food plants no longer contain the forces people need for this.”

If that was the situation a century ago, how much worse must our situation be today? Nearly one hundred years on, the combination of depleted soils, chemical fertilisers, pesticides and now GMOs are providing even less support for the growth of truly nutritious food than was the case in Steiner’s time. Today we still think of food as primarily a kind of fuel for our engines; and therefore we are still without a science that can distinguish the innate qualities of foods beyond their value as fuel. Conventional medicine recognises only the physical aspect of food, which mainly amounts to counting calories and identifying the material nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates etc. But are foods a mere assembly of matter -or is there something more, such as an invisible life-energy, and a coherent, ordered template conveying essential information?

As regular readers of this blog will know, the anthropopper is fortunate enough to work for part of the week at Tablehurst Farm, a biodynamic and organic farm in Forest Row, East Sussex in the UK. A friend and colleague, the chiropractor David Thomas, called into the farm recently to present us with a copy of an extraordinary book by the founder and leader of a small Swiss food company, A.W (Walter) Danzer, who has investigated over 50 foods, both organic and non-organic, in his own specially designed laboratory.

Walter Danzer vegelateria.wordpress.com

Walter Danzer

The book is called The Invisible Power Within Foods and is published by Verlag Bewusstes Dasein in Switzerland (ISBN 978-3-905158-17-5). In it, the author says: “I have discovered that organic foods possess an amazingly beautiful life-energy or order force (life design principle), whereas the life-energy of non-organic foods is generally weakened, disrupted or destroyed. Since I find this important I wanted to share it with you, so that you can make informed decisions.”

So far, so underwhelming, you might think – we are used to such arguments from advocates for organic and biodynamic food – but where is the scientifically credible proof of such assertions that could convince professionals in the fields of food, nutrition, health and disease? This is where Walter Danzer has made a great breakthrough. He has developed a method of researching the life-energy in water, food and other substances so as to provide images that arise solely from the water or food-substance itself, and can be understood immediately by anyone.

Danzer pays tribute to the results of pioneering predecessors: he mentions specifically the image-generating methods inspired by Rudolf Steiner, such as crystallising drops of food on a metallic matrix of copper chloride, as well as Masaru Emoto’s experiments with frozen water, and the work of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and various naturopaths. But what Danzer was looking for was a process by which a suitable image would arise solely from the water or food substance itself, rather than from a metallic matrix that yields images that can only be interpreted by those with expert knowledge.

He appears to have triumphed. His method uses a precise standardised protocol to extract a test liquid from a particular food item, which brings to the fore the life-energy or “order force” of that food. Droplets of this liquid extract are then placed into a test tube, and dried and crystallised under specified, unchanging conditions. These dried drops are then studied and photographed under a microscope. The photos show not only the life design principle or order force of the minerals inside the food item but also in a form which can immediately be interpreted by anyone, expert and non-expert alike.

Danzer’s book contains photos resulting from his work with both organic and non-organic foods and some drinks, such as green tea and wines. He has not as yet published any photos looking at organic versus biodynamic foods, or organic versus natural Japanese cultivation, etc., but may do so in the future. He has, however, looked at the influence of a microwave oven on a herb and the effect of genetic modification on the life force of soy beans.


Walter Danzer’s photos – an organic apple is on the left, non-organic on the right

What do these photos reveal? The image of an organic apple seems to contain the figure of the entire apple tree, as well as the apple blossoms, seeds and even entire orchards of apple trees. In the non-organic apple, this natural essence is hardly visible anymore. It is blurred, lost and diffused into fragments. Startlingly, even in processed foods there are great differences between organic and non-organic ones. The structural arrangement of non-organic drinks and foods are shown to be amorphous, unorganised and without signs of life. The image of a soya drink made from GM soybeans looks like a lifeless, abandoned planet. By contrast, a drink made from organic soybeans shows what appear to be branches and even six-petalled blossoms.


An organically-grown orange on the left, a non-organic orange on the right.

Danzer suggests that when we first put food into our mouths, what happens is that the subtle energy of the food enters into our subtle body. The food first gives us its life, its wealth of information, its capacities, its knowledge, its order force (life design principle), its memories and experiences. All these are stored in the subtle body of the food. Foods are in fact highly developed information systems that sustain life. Foods are, of course, also fuels for our engine but only at the very end of the digestive process, and after our organism has first used the food in many other ways.


The droplet from a grain of rice, magnified x 400 – organic on the left, non-organic on the right.

What is more, the way in which food is grown and prepared can create foods that go far beyond the power of their organic ingredients. Most of us can sense that a meal prepared lovingly by a family member is more nourishing for us than a factory-made ready meal; the life inside us also needs subtle nourishment. Humans, farm animals and pets need naturally grown foods that are both materially and subtly wholesome, and thus able to support life. Danzer’s photos show that there are foods that fulfill this need on a fundamental level – and these are organic foods.

For many consumers, of course, organic foods cost more than they are able or prepared to pay. Yet it is a fact that conventional agriculture incurs costs that the consumer is paying for in other ways but which do not affect the prices in the supermarkets. Water pollution, toxic residues in the entire food chain, antibiotic resistance, soil erosion, soil nutrient loss, desertification, poisoning of the honey bee, etc., are just some of the consequences of our current model of industrial agriculture – all of which the consumer will have to pay for, in one way or another – not to mention the health-weakening effects of eating non-organic foods.

In a just society, the ‘polluter pays’ principle would operate here – companies such as Monsanto and Bayer and non-organic farmers would be required to meet the full external costs of industrial farming. There is an excellent organisation in the UK (the Sustainable Food Trust) that has set out the case for True Cost Accounting here.

When true cost-pricing is finally brought about, in the face of huge resistance from all the vested interests, it is likely that organic foods will have lower prices than non-organic foods. There is already one nation, Bhutan, which has decided to allow only organic agriculture within its borders by the year 2020. If Bhutan can do this, there is no reason why other countries cannot set out on a similar path.


Filed under Agriculture, Organic vs Non-Organic Foods

Was Rudolf Steiner poisoned after all? Part 2

The post immediately before this one generated over 140 comments. I’m most grateful to everyone who contributed thoughts and I would now like to share some additional information with you, which might be overlooked if it were to be added as a comment to the previous post. So here is a new post on the same topic, which I’m calling Part 2, while the previous post is now Part 1.

As you may recall, this blog first addressed the question of Rudolf Steiner’s last illness in a posting on February 26th 2016, in which I discussed the rumour that Steiner had been poisoned at a tea party on New Year’s Day 1924. This rumour had been inadvertently started by Steiner himself, who was struck down by some kind of health emergency at the tea party and had told a young eurythmist, Ilona Schubert, who had found him alone in a corridor in a state of distress and pain, that he had been poisoned.

I had nevertheless formed the view that the causes of Steiner’s illness were not to do with a poison attack but were instead a result of three main factors: i) the arson attack which had burnt down the first Goetheanum, and which had shattered his etheric body; ii) a grave weakness in his digestion, which had been developing at least since 1923, and which meant that he found it extremely difficult to take in nourishment; and iii) according to Ita Wegman, Steiner’s “delicate physical body was left behind too much and for too long by the soul-spiritual which was working in its very own homeland. The physical body was left to its own weight and physical laws, so that it became weaker and the digestion failed.”

In my response to a comment by Tom Mellett, I cited statements not only by Dr Ita Wegman (Steiner’s main physician, colleague on the Vorstand and pupil), but also by Guenther Wachsmuth (Steiner’s secretary and Vorstand member) and Steiner himself, which contradicted this rumour.

It must also be acknowledged that people close to Steiner, such as his wife, Marie Steiner, and the eurythmist Ilona Schubert believed to the end of their days that he had indeed been poisoned. Marie Steiner’s poem in the ‘Afterword’ to Rudolf Steiner’s autobiography contains the line “They laid waste with poison and flame” and confirms that this was indeed her belief. Modern anthroposophical authors such as Sergei Prokofieff and Thomas Meyer are also convinced that this was the case. My own conclusion, however, was that this was unlikely and that the causes listed in the third paragraph above were the real reasons for Steiner’s illness.

That remained my position until I saw the account of a talk given at Dornach by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, in which he had spoken of a meeting with an occultist in the USA who claimed to have been the person who had instigated the poison attack. Full details of this are in the previous post to this one. Further information from Thomas Meyer in his book Milestones then led me to conclude “that the balance of probability is that Steiner was indeed poisoned, and that this would have worsened his already shaky health and hastened the end of his life, though it was not the direct cause of his death.”

I have now come across a very interesting conversation between Wolfgang Weirauch and Emanuel Zeylmans (author of the four-volume work, Who Was Ita Wegman?). It occurs in the book, Ita Wegman and Anthroposophy published by SteinerBooks in the USA (ISBN 978-1-62148-012-9).

“WW: The rumour that Ita Wegman poisoned Rudolf Steiner keeps circulating. What is the truth of this, and where does this rumour come from?

Emanuel Zeylmans: This rumour surfaced while Steiner was still alive. I have encountered it in completely distorted forms, and the fact that it keeps surfacing is due to a psychopath who proclaims it loudly, and has also been circulating it in written form for years. The only helpful response is laughter. As you know, I grew up in a clinic where, as my father was a psychiatrist, there were many people suffering from mental illness. They, too, wrote sick fantasies like this psychopath does. One shouldn’t let oneself be taken in – just use one’s common sense instead.

WW: Was Steiner poisoned at all, or is the whole thing a fabrication?

Emanuel Zeylmans: It is pure rumour, though in fact caused by something Steiner himself said.

WW: This rumour is tenacious and seems to be circulated intentionally. A friend of mine said that a woman told him she was the young eurythmist whom Steiner had staggered up to saying he had been poisoned. (Presumably this was Ilona Schubert)

Emanuel Zeylmans: Yes, there are a whole lot of reports about this scene. While researching the Wegman book I had to investigate this carefully, and I published my research in the addendum to volume two. Ita Wegman was Rudolf Steiner’s personal doctor, of course, so I had to find out what she herself said about this. It all fell into place.

One shouldn’t forget that the possibility of a criminal attempt to poison Steiner has a colossal, sensational impact, which, once uttered, is impossible to eradicate from history again. Marie Steiner was also quite convinced that poison had played a part. Shortly before her death she said this to an Italian woman, begging her to keep absolutely silent about it, of course. This woman (…) naturally had to go and publish the news immediately. That’s how things work. It’s pure sensationalism.

I regard the whole affair as a manoeuvre aimed to distract from the real circumstances. In fact the corrupt soul substance of members poisoned Steiner. He could no longer breathe, and it became time for him to leave the earth. This is a form of poisoning which we should examine, but of course very few people want to admit such a thing. That is why they distract attention from themselves and transpose an occurrence to a lower level, speaking of physical instead of soul poisoning.”

Hmmm. Despite Zeylmans’ certainty that Steiner was not poisoned and his strange suggestion of soul poisoning, there are still some questions to which it would be very good to have answers, eg:

Why did Steiner never refute the rumour that he had been poisoned? In the three reports he wrote for the bulletin and Newsletter, he did not deal directly with the question of whether he had been poisoned (he must have been aware that this was what was being rumoured), but instead referred to his poor state of health and said that this had been caused by the unreasonable demands of the members.

It has been suggested that Steiner did not wish to let the instigator of the poison attack know that he had succeeded, and therefore gave instructions that no-one should mention it in connection with his health problems and this is why his doctors did not give it as a reason for his illness. If this is true, why did Marie Steiner not feel constrained by this prohibition?

Why was there no autopsy after Steiner’s death? Perhaps this was not a requirement in Swiss law in 1925. There was some kind of post-mortem medical examination by Drs. Wegman, Noll and Walter, at which Guenther Wachsmuth also claimed to have been present. But presumably they did not cut Steiner open to examine his internal organs.

What are we to make of the stories put about by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Walter Johannes Stein about the poisoner and an American connection? Were these two men fantasists? And did Guenther Wachsmuth really say that the poison “affects the ether body, and causes a crisis every Wednesday”, when in his public statements he denies that there was any poison attack?

These contradictions are both puzzling and unsatisfactory. And there, regrettably, we have to leave it, unless further evidence comes along, which seems unlikely nearly a century after Steiner’s death.


Filed under Rudolf Steiner poisoning

Was Rudolf Steiner poisoned after all? Part 1

One of the most viewed of all the posts on this blog has been “Rudolf Steiner’s last illness and last verse”. It is still getting many hits each week, even though it was first posted on February 26th 2016. It seems as though Rudolf Steiner’s death is still a subject of great fascination for people around the world; though, ironically, my object in writing that post was to concentrate not so much on the manner of his death but rather on the extraordinary efforts he made in the last year of his life, despite being terribly ill, to communicate to his fellow men and women the true nature of what it is to be a human being, and the evolutionary path which the spiritual world intends for us. I quoted the last verse he ever wrote, in which he warns of the ahrimanic beings, who seek to turn us into what Steiner calls “the human thing.”

That was my main purpose but the speculations which have surrounded the topic ever since his death on March 30th 1925 continue to exercise a fascination for many people to this day. Why and how did Steiner die, and who would have wanted to kill him? Was an attempt to poison him made at a New Year’s Day “rout” or tea party on January 1st 1924, as believed by Marie Steiner and Ilona Schubert, who had witnessed him being taken ill, and heard him say that he had been poisoned? Or were Steiner’s own later denials that he had been poisoned, as published in three separate bulletins, to be believed? Was the testimony of the three physicians who attended him and carried out some kind of post-mortem examination, that he had not died from poison, their genuine view or were they denying the truth so as not to let the poisoner know that he had succeeded? Were the statements of Dr Ita Wegman (his personal physician) and Guenther Wachsmuth (his personal secretary) that Steiner had died from causes other than poisoning – was this the truth, or were they also covering up the real reason?

In my post, I came down on the side of those who denied that Steiner had been poisoned, and gave instead other reasons for his death, with particular emphasis on the testimonies of Ita Wegman and Guenther Wachsmuth. The whole topic generated nearly sixty comments, and much disagreement between those wedded to the poisoning theory and those who, like myself, were inclined to different explanations.

It seemed clear to me (or as clear as it was possible to be nearly a century after the event) that Steiner had died from highly unusual natural causes related to the shattering of his etheric body after the burning of the first Goetheanum, to which Ita Wegman added another cause:

“The question that arises again and again: what are we to understand by illness of an initiate, why speak of an illness in the case of Rudolf Steiner? That is what I want to try to answer here. Well, why did he get sick?  The delicate physical body was left behind too much and for too long by the soul-spiritual which was working in its very own homeland. The physical body was left to its own weight and physical laws, so that it became weaker and the digestion failed.”

I found these two causes convincing explanations of Steiner’s last illness and there the matter rested, at least in my own mind. But now I have recently read a book of writings by and about Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, which puts the poisoning theory in a rather different light. I reproduce below the anonymous account which appears on pp. 225-6 of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer – A Modern Quest for the Spirit, which has been compiled by Thomas Meyer and published by Mercury Press (ISBN: 978-1-935136-02-6):

The Background to the Plot for Poisoning Rudolf Steiner on January 1st 1924

(This report has recently been received (1999), from someone who prefers not to be named….)

Toward the end of the 50s, when after recovering from a serious illness Ehrenfried Pfeiffer once again came to Arlesheim and to Dornach, I was called to an internal meeting in the Grandsteinsaal (Foundation Stone Hall) of the Goetheanum. There were only a few present – approximately thirty to forty people. Pfeiffer wished to communicate what had concerned him during his illness and what he still wanted to entrust to a few people; before this he could not leave this Earth. What he said, if I may summarise it, was like a ‘general confession’ of his whole life and striving. From this, the following detail: one reason for his going to America was to contact those with authentic knowledge about mechanical occultism. One such person he found fairly quickly. A trusting relationship developed. One day they discussed various phases in the life of Rudolf Steiner. His poisoning at the tea party after the Christmas Conference (January 1st 1924) was also mentioned. There followed a surprising and dramatic statement by Pfeiffer’s confidant. He said: “Please forgive me, I must say something, alas, which will greatly shock you and could separate us again, although I would deeply regret this: I was the one charged with poisoning Rudolf Steiner! This poisoning, however was not intended to be fatal, but to bring Rudolf Steiner into a condition in which he would no longer control his high occult facilities so that they would be practically extinguished. One would then be able to point to Rudolf Steiner and say: ‘See? When you strive for an occult schooling in his sense, as he describes it, for example in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, then you will end up like this.’ ”

Ehrenfried Pfeiffer did not say whether or not he continued his connection with this macabre occultist. He only indicated that Rudolf Steiner overcame this poisoning attempt with the aid of spiritual forces. The brothers of the left hand did not succeed.

There are of course many questions that could be raised about this extraordinary account. First, why is the person who wrote it “someone who prefers not to be named”? With a topic of such vital interest, for Thomas Meyer to quote from an anonymous source does not inspire confidence in the veracity of this account. But let us suppose for a moment that this story were true – in that case, surely Pfeiffer would not have just let the matter drop?


Ehrenbrief Pfeiffer (photo via AnthroWiki)

Pfeiffer was, after all, someone who was a very special pupil of Rudolf Steiner; he was, along with Guenther Wachsmuth, the creator of the first of the biodynamic preparations, (P 500 – the cow horn manure) out of indications given by Steiner; he conducted experiments in an attempt to develop a new technology based on the selfless management of etheric energy; he developed the method of “sensitive crystallisation” for the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, which can also be used for the determination of food quality; and he developed a compost starter and a new heat-resistant strain of wheat with increased protein content. What is more, it was Pfeiffer who, along with Edith Maryon, had stayed with Steiner during the night of the burning of the first Goetheanum – and who had sought to console Steiner, the human being who suffered and whose heart was broken in the night of the fire.

Given this, is it possible that Pfeiffer could have taken such an account of the poisoning of Rudolf Steiner with equanimity? We are told nothing further of his reaction or what he might have said or done subsequently.


Reuben Swinburne Clymer (photo via http://www.fra.org.br)

Who might this “macabre occultist” have been? My guess, and it is purely a guess from other details in Meyer’s book, is that Pfeiffer’s conversation was with a doctor and occultist called Reuben Swinburne Clymer (1878 – 1966), who since 1905 had been the Supreme Grand Master of the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, whose headquarters are located at Beverly Hall, Quakertown, near Philadelphia. The conversation, if it indeed took place, is likely to have been in the 1940s, soon after Pfeiffer’s move to the USA.


Paschal Beverly Randolph – see comment below from Veglio Blavijo. (photo via National Paranormal Society)

Francis Bacon begins his essay Of Truth with the words: “ ‘What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.” I would gladly stay for an answer to the question of whether or not Rudolf Steiner was poisoned, and by whom, but I fear that nearly a century after the event, the truth is now unlikely to be discovered.


Filed under Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Rudolf Steiner poisoning