Storm's Journal

--| Poisons |--- 

If someone with knowledge of natural remedies mentions the word 'poison,'
it immediately stirs up all kinds of suppositions. but what is a poison?
what is an abnormal effect on the human organism? Whatever is introduced
into the human organism acts according to natural laws; that anyone should
think it could act otherwise is incomprehensible. But what is a poison?
water, if taken by the bucketful all at once, is a strong poison. What is
today looked upon as poison could have most beneficial effects if rightly
administered. It always depends on the quantity and the circumstances
under which a substance is administered. Nothing, as such, is a poison.

A tribe in Africa uses a certain species of dog for hunting; in the same
region there is a fly whose venom is deadly to the dogs they sting.
[Those] living by the Sambesi River have found a remedy for these stings.
They take the bitches in pup to an area where there is an abundance of
tsetse flies and let them be bitten. The tribe knows how to arrange
matters so that the bitches do not die before the pups arrive. The pups
born in this way are immune to the tsetse fly's sting and can be used for

This illustrates an important fact for understanding the element of life.
When a poison is taken up into the process of life, just where a
descending line passes over into an ascending one, the poison becomes an
integral part of the organism. What is absorbed in this way not only
strengthens but protects the organism. *

Spiritual investigation shows that such a process is involved in the
building up of the human organism. If you like, we might express it by
saying that pure substances, which were originally poisonous, form the
human organism; today's foodstuff can be absorbed because, through
recurrent processes similar to the one described, we have become immune to
their harmful effects. the more of such substances we have incorporated,
the stronger we are. rejecting external substances only makes us weak.

In regions where medicine is still based on occult knowledge, the healer
even enlists his own body in the quest for remedies. For example, there
are cures where he administers to himself the venom of a certain species
of snake, in order to make his saliva into a remedy against the bite. He
incorporates the poison into his on organism, thus making himself the
bearer of healing forces. He becomes strong himself and makes others
strong to withstand that particular venom.

The organism must necessarily incorporate what is outside in nature. All
the harmless substances contained in the body have become so through the
process indicated. However, as human beings are continuously exposed to
substances that could become harmful, the possibility always exists that
their effects go beyond the limit, and danger arises. This will depend
upon whether the ether body is capable of absorbing the substance or not.
If the organism is strong enough to absorb such a substance immediately,
its tolerance greatly increases. We cannot avoid illness if we wish to be
healthy. The possibility to gain sufficient strength to withstand harmful
influences depends upon our capacity to become ill. Thus, health is
conditioned by illness. The outcome, the gift bestowed upon us by illness,
is greater strength. When the illness is overcome, the fruit of the
experience is immunity to the illness, and this is retained even after

Whoever ponders these things will gain an understanding of illness and
death. if we wish to have strength and health, we must accept into the
bargain the preliminary condition of illness. To attain strength we must
absorb weakness and transform it into strength. if this is grasped in a
living way, illness and death become comprehensible.


* [as good a reason NOT TO POISON BUGS as any i've ever seen - the more you
  poison them, the stronger they eventually become, and you get super-bugs! -ed]


- Rudolf Steiner, Lecture V - 'Illness and Death', Berlin, Dec. 13, 1906.
  From: *Supersensible Knowledge*, pp. 86 - 88, Anthroposophic Press, 1987.

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