Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979


Lecture 8: Fertility, Part 6

An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms

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Contents of this Segment:

Elephant manure. Dung beetles. Bees. Fertility is based upon what can be considered repulsive and objectionable, but transformed into beauty and vitality. Questions and Answers: How to transform one's life to embrace truth and beauty. The seeking of the knights for the round table. It takes time. Truth will reveal itself. Chains of basilisk. The garden is liberating. Verbosity will be released. The gateway into the garden. The forgiveness of nature and the misguided, misplaced values of the world. (10:01)



Full Text of this Lecture Segment:



New Market, Virginia, 1979, Lecture 8


Fertility, Part 6



Do you realize that there is a… I used to watch them. They don’t seem to be in the world anymore. I used to watch them as a boy in the fields a lot. There is a beetle, and that if some unfortunate gardener is not near the [toilet and] allowed to sit on the seat and misbehave, as it’s called. If he is in the garden too far away and can’t get there, or an animal like an elephant. An elephant eats three hundred pounds of green matter a day. Now when I was playing at the New Theatre in Oxford with Lena McCartey for the first time to open it, I had noted that the Circus arrived also—how suitable—and led through the whole of Oxford, you know, as a participant of advertisement of course. And unfortunately, one of the elephants “couldn’t wait.” And it certainly must have had its three hundred pounds of green matter. I strongly recommend them for every garden, both for the utility and the compost.

But, do you realize that there are two beetles, one beetle rather as a pair, male and female, that you may come across this and you may kind of… claps do that… and that that beetle, which is exquisite, absolutely exquisite—children would take it to bed and keep it under the pillow and stroke it and kiss it—will collect that [manure] during the night, every bit of it, and take it into tunnels three feet underground. That there was neither odor of any sort whatever, nor appearance of any sort whatever, and it is now of the utmost fertility in its purpose, as they are. And when you pass there the next day, you will inadvertently look, because of the horror and the shock, and it is beautiful.

You see, a bee coming out of the hive and can really only go to the toilet by flying up towards the sun. And that the whole concept of the bee, under the ruling of Venus under the Sun, almost has no toilet matter at all. Do you see these changes concerning the word fertility? They’ve been obedient to their law for five million years and more. And that all of this works so beautifully. And that all these things that we think repulsive and objectionable, somewhere they’re going to resolve. Oh, it’s too secret. There comes the period when you’ve got to go out of the garden gate backwards, and leave the secret in there.

Do you want to talk about it?

Question: Yes, Alan. I don’t know if I can express this right, but if I wanted to do what I must do in obedience to the cosmic law, if I wish to live and perceive as a peasant lived and perceived, how can I learn all this, undo all that I have lived and been trained and brought up in the world to think that I must know and search for knowledge, and search for certainty, and get to the bottom of the secret. How can I turn my back on the secret, it’s so tantalizing? How can I live a simple peasant life when I have been baited all my life by knowledge? The possibility of knowing?

Chadwick: You are placing this as a question?

Student: It’s a search.

Chadwick: Is this not the reason that the knights come, gradually, over the mountains, through the forest, and eventually there, they holler for a long time outside the castle, round and round, looking at this and looking at that, and then begin to take a seat. Don’t... there’s no rushing. I, we are not talking... Our approaches here are not talking about going back to being a paysan. I’m not talking about going back to being a paysan. I’m an incredible lunatic of the future. The whole garden that I’ve seen, it’s the most incredible garden, of pomegranates all made of emeralds and rubies.

But that’s a secret, you wouldn’t understand it. It will reveal itself. I think that you have a momentary difficulty. And I think your momentary difficulty is still that you have the chains of, the chains of Basilisk with your parentage upbringing and your educative upbringing, which is one incredible mass of a telephone of verbosity. Do you follow? From the moment that you are going to be loose in art, I mean painting, music, singing, movement, poise, breathing, the secrets and magic of the garden, the excitement of work, the operation of your muscles and glands and nerves. You’re going to be so busy, so occupied, so full of color and light, that verbosity is going to gradually release, and you’re not even going to worry about it’s extinguishing, it’s death, because it’s going to be. I don’t think that you’ve got anything to leap out of the window about.

I think that secretly, we’ve all got this same indigestion. Do you understand? I would trust that this poor little project, that has been run by such wonderful people here, giving everything to it, I would trust that it would be the gateway into the garden for you.  You can’t expect to accomplish it overnight. I think you will find that we’re going in the opposite, completely opposite direction to the White House actually. Does that help you at all?

Would anybody, you must all perceive something here. Could you not speak and assist because this is where we’re all going to be important to each other. If not, privately perhaps, if you don’t like to do it here. But you must always understand that I don’t say it every lecture, but of course I do when I go to a conference or I do when I go to a university, I simply say first “Greetings, I have no right to talk to you.” It’s a completely clear statement to begin with. I’ve no right to run my mouth and talk to you at all.


Student: I just want to say that I felt this incredible forgivingness of the garden, that even when we make mistakes in the garden, that the plants keep coming forth and they keep growing. And I feel like this is something we have to learn within ourselves, to learn from the plants about the nature of forgiving.

Chadwick: Yes indeed, you see. There is really rather another secret, you see. You can’t really tell the average person that, because they would ask you what make of car you have. This will lead us then, tomorrow into the subject, and I pre-mention it because one would ask you to be prepared for it. We will be referring now to ritual and festivalia, which you will never be able to escape that all this is going to lead us to as a performance of reflection.




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