The Shower Prophecies — Wisdom on a Bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Soap : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Saturday Jun 2 | BY |
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Grab your reading glasses, cause Dr. Bronner’s kicking some serious knowledge in your bathroom.

A few months ago, I took the Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle out of the shower with me, dried it off, and started to read…

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably skimmed the bottle from time to time while taking your shower or bath. My challenge is that I was never able to get past the “All-One or None!” proclamations or the “health-meat-salt-soap-tape” to read more than a few seconds.

This day, on which I clearly had nothing better to do, I thought I’d write a parody article poking fun at all the crazy things written on the label (again, see: “health-meat-salt-soap-tape), but instead I unexpectedly found some incredibly wise teachings.

Now, from all accounts I’ve heard and seen, Dr. Bronner was a very smart and very nutty man (and my article was originally going to highlight his eccentricities), but now after finding myself inspired by the words I’ve read, I’m going to share the 12 life’s lessons I’ve found on this incredibly loquacious soap bottle label written by this modern day sage.

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #1: Embrace Work Hard and Discipline

“A great teacher, must first, be a self-supporting hardworker be, like Alesen – Baeck – Carnegie – Cousteau – Hammer – Leibman – Paine – Pike – Sanger – Spinoza – Strauss – Szasz – Wilke – Yadin – Zamenhof, or he’ll turn our greatest teaching into spades, to bury our people!”

“All freedom loving children hate the word “Discipline!” Yet, self-discipline is the key to freedom! Without it, even the most brilliant head remains useless, ineffective, small! How basic is self-discipline? Anthropologist, Margaret Mead, found Arctic Timberwolves litter abandoned, the mother probably killed: ‘So, we put the timberwolf pups with out Dachshund mother, since she had only one pup of her own. She raised the timberwolves. Within three months, they were twice as large as their foster mother. Now when we threw a chunk of raw meat into the kennel, the pups attacked it ravenously, like timberwolves, but one grunt from their Dachshund mother, and they jumped back, stood still like a soldier at attention waiting obediently until the Daschund mother has eaten her fill, then with a loving grunt she gave them permission to go back and eat!’ That illustration of love-discipline was amazing; but any wild animal bird or bee, has that self-discipline down to a “T,” or there is no survival!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #2: Be Brave

“To dream the Impossible dream! To reach that unreachable star! ’til All-One, All-One we are! To fight that unbeatable foe! To go where the brave dare not go! To right the unrightable wrong! To love pure, chaste, from afar! To try when your arms are too weary! ‘Til All-One, All-One we are! For this is my goal! To reach that unreachable star. no matter how hopeless, no matter how far! To fight for the right without question or pause, to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause! For I know that if I follow this glorious quest, my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest! And I know that the world will be better for this, that one main, tortured, blinded, covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to reach that unreachable star ’til united All-One, All-One we are!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #3: Eat Healthy

“2nd, every body in God’s tremendous Universe must eat or there is no body! To shine on, eat must even the sun, consuming every second 4 million metric ton! To shine on, eat must even the sun!”

“Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Balanced food for body-mind-soul-spirit is our medicine!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #4: Work Together

“3rd, every ton of good food requires teamwork in harmony with God’s law, timing-team-work-wisdom-power-mercy-love can reap 6 million more fruit above.”

“The trouble is that the wrong people are always the most energetic, united & intense, dividing the hardworker to die in self-defense! That fact alone brings Hitlers & Stalins to power & that fact will only change when we teach the whole Human race the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith, lighting-like, 6 billion strong & we’re All-One! All-One! All-One!”

“Beavers, by family teamwork, stay alive! Building dams, surviving the toughest winters without any welfare help to enjoy life!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #5: Be True to Yourself

“If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you! If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, and yet make allowance for their doubting too! If you can wait and not be tired of waiting or being lied about, don’t deal in lies! Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good nor talk too wise! If you can dream and not make dreams your master! If you can think and not make thoughts your aim! If you can meet with triumph or disaster and treat those two imposters just the same! If you can bear to hear the full-truth you have spoken twisted by crooks to make a trap for fools! Or watch the things that you have given your life to broken, and stoop to build them up again with worn out tools! If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it at one turn of pitch or toss! And lose and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss! If you can force your heart, your nerve, your sinew, to serve you long after they are gone! And so hold on although there is nothing left within you except that voice that says to them “Hold on! Hold on!” If you can talk to crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings and not lose that common touch! If neither loving friend nor enemy can hurt you; if all men count with you, but none too much! If you can work hard to teach each unforgiving minute the Moral ABC, mason Hillel taught carpenter Jesus to unite all mankind free, come hell, hate, ban, you’ll enjoy God’s spaceship Earth & do great work within it; & which is more my son, you’ll be man! A man!”

“99. ‘An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot! It will succeed where diplomacy may fail! It will always unite the Human race where all else divides All-One-God-Faith!'”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #6: Be a Leader

“7th: Each swallow works hard to be perfect pilot-provider-builder-trainer-teacher-lover-mate, no half-true hate! So, each day like a bird, perfect thyself first! Have courage and smile my friend. Think and act 10 years ahead!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #7: Have Faith

“The 1st law of God’s tremendous Universe is order! Absolute all-embracing, ever-evolving, ever-recreating, ever-loving order! Exceptions eternally? Absolute none!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #8: Make the World a Better Place

“4th, any man raising 600 fruit trees in harmony with God’s law, timing-teamwork-wisdom-power-mercy-love can reap 6 million more fruit above, above! Exceptions? Eternal? Absolute”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #9: Share Your Wisdom with Others

“4th: Only hard work – God’s law can save us, but if we teach only our clan? We’re all hated then! So, we must teach friend & enemy, the whole Human race, the full-truth, hard-work, free speech, press-&-profitsharing Moral ABC’s All-One-God-Faith, lightning-like, 6 Billion strong, we’re All-One or none!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #10: Be a Little Nuts

“8th: The mark of the mature man is his ability to work brave, teaching all, every slave, hot to replace coal-oil-gas-mineral-nuclear, unemployed-inflation, welfare-waste-war with Essene Birth-Control for very girl, Swiss 6000 year Universal Military Training UMT for full-employment, raising 1 trillion Isreal-system treas, 2 million Dutch dikes, 3 Greek mirror-solars, 4 Hannibal windpower plants, 76 million Planetemples teaching All-One-God-Faith, Austrian music, Babylon roof-gardens, California rain forests, China-bikes, Cartha-UMT, Catspaw sandals, compost tree, CO2 bomber, the Moral ABC, cattle-lemon-Esperanto. Finn-jails, gasohol, German solar-Zeppelins, Health-meat-salt-soap-tape, jojoba-aloevera-chia-ginseng-garlic, Kibbutz, Nature Friends, patents, Swiss economy, Town-Without-Toothache, Patrick Henry teaches PHt’s of USA-USSR H20 co-op, with 76 million battery-banks, powering every car-factory-farm-home-Milorganite-monorail!”


Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #11: Embrace Love

“Love is like a willful bird, do you want it? It flies away! Yet, when you least expect its bliss, it turns around and it’s here to stay!”

“12th: Over-population destroys God’s spaceship Earth, unless Essene controls limit all birth! Who else by God gave man this sensuous passion. Love that can spark mere dust to life! Beauty in our Eternal Father’s fashion! Poetry, uniting All-One, brave, all life! Who else by God can make Love last 1 trillion years of sweet eternities! For when conquered after years of toil-sweat-blood, Love can strike like greased lightning sent by God to spark mere dust to intense blazing fire and create new Love-faith-hope-guts-strength, as only God inspire!”

Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #12: We are All One!

“95: ‘I’ve never stooped so low as to hate any man! For I’ve learned that in the long run, all mankind needs-wants-loves whatever good work you’ve done! Regardless of your race, color, nationality or religion!’ Booker T. Washington, born a slave!”

“American democratic President Wilson, 1917, replaced Marxism by Lenin. “We are not a nation of classes, races, minority or pressure groups! Anybody trading on our race color, nationality or religious is not yet American, does not yet deserve to enjoy the liberties of the Stars & Stripes!”

(Extra quote is Dr. Bronner’s punctuation, not mine!)

There you have it, 12 life lessons from a crazy, old soap-maker.

Makes you wonder just how crazy he really was. Maybe we’re all nuts and he’s the one who had it right.

Anyway, today, why not get out there and live these principles like you never have before. What have you got to lose? Let the wisdom of a soap bottle change the way you live your life and teach others just the same. Who knows, you may just end up the “perfect pilot-provider-builder-trainer-teacher-lover-mate.”

We’re All-One! All-One or None! Eternal exceptions? None!

(But don’t eat the health-meat-salt-soap-tape.)

If you want to read more, head on over here.

Your Question of the Day: Have you ever read the entire Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle?

Extra Credit:

Watch the trailer for the Dr. Bronner documentary…

Click here if you want to watch the whole thing:

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Nik the pommeFritt says:

    i have the european version. Its shorter. and yes i read the whole bottle. or nealry. i skip some languages.

    I would love to see the american version!

  2. Audrey says:

    “To dream the Impossible dream! To reach that unreachable star! ’til All-One, All-One we are! To fight that unbeatable foe! To go where the brave dare not go!
    I have been reading your blog and following you for some time. So glad you found Dr. Bonner! My nineteen year old is “travelling” Canada this summer and is a self proclaimed “freegan”. These words somehow touched home for me. ” To go where the brave dare not go”. She dropped out of school in Grade 10 and has been ” finding herself” since then. Love her to pieces and am so proud of her courage to travel her own path. Hard as a mom, but I also know that by having and explaining to her why we use Dr Bonner products has skewed her thinking in the right way. Never underestimate the influence you have on your child by making choices yourself….just a pitch in your direction since you have a new baby coming along. Congrats! It is not an easy road, but if you can get past the pain of their breaking away and know in your heart you have made healthy choices for them when they weren’t able then you can rest assured they see every thing you do for them. AND will follow in your footsteps.

  3. IH says:

    No, I haven’t and we have 3 big bottles of that stuff in the shower. My husband uses it but I got never used to it.

  4. christine says:

    Thanks for something different (again) Kevin. I watched the trailer and it sounds like a fasinating story. I had never heard of Dr Bronner or his soap and I am not sure if it is available where I live (New Zealand) but I will check it out or maybe buy some online just to read the label myself.

  5. christa says:

    I have been using Dr. Bronner’s soap since the early 70’s – have read the label often over the years….at least now the label doesn’t peal when it’s wet…enjoy!!!

  6. Chris Wark says:

    Yep Dr. Bronner’s soap bottles definitely make for an entertaining and eye-straining shower read!

    Fascinating fellow.

  7. deb says:

    I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s in the shower for years, but I’ve never been able to read the entire label. Recently, I started using the Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap to brush my teeth with. It works just as well as Tooth Soap and is so much less expensive. I got the idea to do this after watching the documentary. All-One!

  8. Chris Wark says:

    Oh and there are supposedly 18 uses for his soap, hence the 18-in-1 claim, but I have yet to find a list of the 18 uses on any bottle.

    You would think he could have found some room on there for that…


  9. Charlotte says:

    Ha, so many times (especially when I’m really tired) I’ve found myself reading the bottle thinking WTF…
    How’s are you and Anne doing btw? I miss the videos (especially the Q&As)…

  10. zyxomma says:

    I read Dr. Bronner’s label around 1970; not since. Btw, Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #2 is cribbed almost in its entirety from The Impossible Dream’s lyrics, written by Joe Darion for the musical Man of La Mancha. I’m very familiar with this song, because we used it to eulogize my dad, who died in 1968. (The rabbi who performed the service had never met my dad. He asked my mother to write a bit about him. I wrote down the lyrics to this song, and we were very pleased that the rabbi, a learned man, was able to give them context.) Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (the peppermint castile, anyway) was too strong and drying for me. Health and peace.

  11. Nikki says:

    Yes ! …
    Bronner was crazy.

    But then, so was Don Quixote…the chaser of Windmills, who battled the wind. And it is the song and lyrics of “To Dream The Impossible Dream” from the film Man of la Mancha (based on the book about Don Quixote by Cervantes) , that Bronner quoted in the above Lesson #2 about Bravery.

    (go to YouTube to hear the many different versions of this song including
    Peter O’Toole, Jacques Brel, Frank Sinatra, Pacido Domingo, and even a heartfelt Elvis !)

    Albeit, a song to which Bronner added his own refrain of “‘Til All-One, All-One We Are!”. Many have paraphrased this Biblical saying… even Martin Luther King, Jr during the Freedom marches).

    Too bad Bronner did not know that in raising his own family, he would have been able to learn the secrets of the MACRO-cosm within the micro-cosm. For by knowing the few, we know the many, and change begins with one.

    But, instead, Bonner ventured off to create a Soap of Spiritual as well as Physical cleansing. By which he envisioned us all being able to partake in a ritual of Baptism in the privacy of our own Baths and Showers.

    And we read the label.. and saw that it was Good !

    Blessed be the SOAP Makers .


  12. kat says:

    Yes! Many times! It’s wonderful. . .

  13. Oscar says:

    This is very good, now I will give a try to this Castille Soap.
    By the way, lesson 5, the long part, is the poem “if” by Rudyard Kipling.

  14. I have read the entire bottle. Not only that, but Dr. Bronner’s had a neat promotion going where they would travel to various fairs with a giant bathtub. You would get in the bathtub with other like minded individuals and get hosed down with peppermint soap. Wow! Did that feel great after a hot yoga class at Bhakti Fest. I understand that the effort has now been terminated and I for one wish they would reconsider. Love the tingling feeling of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint….

  15. Michael says:

    8th Lesson #10 has always been the most inspiring. Aim high and shoot high! I believe we can. Thanks for your time Kevin.

  16. Nomi says:

    I think Dr. Bronner and Ann Wigmore might have made a great couple. Both considered by man to be very much’nut cases’. But simliar in disposition in their passion to save the world and the way they went about it.

    Years ago I read the label. Too drying for me too. So glad the sons are carrying it on…His passion and dreams live on in them and they have reached many more people with it than he ever did.

  17. Teresa says:

    I still think he’s nuts. Just about everything on there is a direct quote (with a bit of editorializing) from someone. His #5 was my dad’s favorite poem, don’t remember the author, but he had it hanging in his bedroom. Looks like #10 was the only original thing on there, and ‘huh?’ is right!

  18. Nancy Lynn says:

    Kevin – funny (true) story – I found a bottle of his soap and started using it – and noticed the address on the bottle – then talked to my mom because I remembered her telling me about a crazy old man who gave her buckets full of soap – and wanted her to help him package and sell it (this was back in the late 60’s) – and, sure enough, we were living on his avocado ranch in Escondido Calif while my dad was interning at the local hospital!

    I continue to use (and LOVE) his soap – and wish my mom had taken the crazy old man a little more seriously!!!

  19. Nell says:

    Hey Kevin,
    I love the way you you show and share the good, true and beautiful when you come across it.
    And I also appreciate your good, on the ground, common sense.
    Much happiness to you and Annemarie,
    Nell in Australia

  20. Louise Butler says:

    Love the documentary, especially when he’s washing up at the bathroom sink and there’s a 4 ounce bottle of an Herb Pharm tincture on the sink back. (retired and loyal former employee). Love the soaps, no others in my home. And, I STILL miss Bronner’s Bullion!

  21. Julia says:

    LOVE Dr. Bronner’s soaps. I currently have bottles of the citrus, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavendar.

  22. Lori says:

    Yes, I read the bottle, or most of it anyway. I love to use the lavendar one as shampoo, safe to use, just a small amount works great and rinses so easily!

  23. Lena says:

    I Have had a soap sitting on top of my bathroom cupboard for ages, now it is in my shower and will use it tonight. But on my soap it has not got all the writing.

  24. Lynda says:

    I have been using Dr. Bronner’s Castile liquid soap since around 1970 when I first discovered it in a health food store and yes I read eery word of it. I am currently using the almond fragranced soap.

  25. Kathy says:

    I suppose over the years I probably have read the whole bottle, in bits and pieces! My mom used to say “it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round”, I think that applies to Dr. Bronner!
    For those who find the soap too drying, be sure to dilute it!
    I do remember on of the uses that used to be on the label was to dilute and spray on houseplants as an insecticide, works too! But I supposed some law or another doesn’t allow this information on the label any more….

  26. D says:

    FYI, Sounds like Dr. Bronner was a Mason, which means his god was Lucifer. Might want to reconsider following that, even if it sounds wise; since it leads to the path of eternal judgement. Only Jesus cared enough for mankind to step down from his throne on high to suffer and die for our sins and then be raised from the dead. He alone offers forgiveness and new life to save us from our sins and the creator’s wrath.

  27. Galatea says:

    The text of “Dr. Bronner’s Lesson #5: Be True to Yourself” has been written by Rudyard Kipling, the title of this poem is “If”. Dr. Bronner gave it a new ending. The original says:

    “If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”

  28. Denise Davies says:

    Every so often i will pick up the bottle and read! I have the European version. The famous Rudyard Kipling poem “If” still stands up today, great wise words. (No. 5) When i read your listing i thought; that it isn’t the original wording at the very end but what a great idea to put your philosophy on a soap bottle. As it is very concentrated, if you dilute it is more gentle on the skin. Denise – from Cyprus in the mediterranean

  29. 12 Lessons from the Soap Bottle, from Dr.Bronner, are indeed worthwhile adopting
    to practice them if life has to have meanng
    and purpose. Thanks so much for sharing this email.

  30. IdaFish says:

    I got my first ever one for christmas when I was younger (16-17ish aka 10yrs ago) cause my cousin thought it looked as spaced out/hippy as me. Never did/have read the whole label no…
    I was confused about the soap tho, if it was complete bullshit or a worthwhile and awesome product – i do think its the latter now 😀

  31. Marge says:

    I have used Dr. Bronner’s Sals Suds for years. I dilute it for floors, use 2 Tbsps. for a load of laundry and put drops in a spray bottle with water to clean counter tops, etc. It has no scent and is a good natural cleaning soap.

  32. susan says:

    late 70’s stuck in a cabin in the alaska bush for a few days, this was in the cabin and the only thing to read! i think the bottle i had said some different things back then and it did have the many uses listed on there which was great because it was all i had.

  33. Carol says:

    Way to go “D”. I agree with you completely!!! Only Jesus Saves. Nothing else will do it.

  34. Rebecca Cody says:

    He was put in a mental hospital. He escaped to California. That says it all! (Just kidding, though I escaped FROM California.)

  35. Anna21 says:

    Everyone needs a little crazy in their lives. I’m a big fan of Dr. Bronner’s soaps. Like you, I thought he was crazy when I first read it. Then I re-read it a few times & it started to make sense.

  36. Valerie says:

    Kevin: Pretty good stuff. Thank you for taking the time to gather it all, together & bringing this to our attention. I’m going to re-read, & go over this material.

  37. Linda says:

    Sounds like a real Don Quixote de la Mancha! 🙂

  38. Brooke says:

    I love the Dr. Bronner documentary! I watched it last October and was so inspired that I bought my boyfriend the Dr. Bronner’s men gift set for Christmas. Dr. Bronner was a little crazy, but aren’t we all? 🙂

  39. Karen says:

    No, I had never read the label – thanks Kevin. I’m a huge fan of Dr. Bronner’s soaps. They can be used for so many things.

  40. Les says:

    we have been using this for about a year now…..i never read the entire label……i only looked for what was in the bottle not what was on the label…..hmm

  41. honey our Doctor Bonner’s SOAP – xo

  42. Marcia says:

    I saw the documentary years ago. I’m in love with Dr. Bronner and his son who is carrying on his legacy.

  43. Pam says:

    We’ve used Dr. Bronner’s soaps since the mid 70’s. They used to have different statements back then, maybe different ones through the years? I do remember they had the recipes for the different used printed on it. It would tell you the dilutions for shampoo, surface cleaning, toothbrushing, etc. we sure smelled great all the time, like Peppermint. Always dilute it in half for washing in the shower. And, yes, I have always read the labels and wondered what Dr. Bronner looked like and pictured him running a commune of some sort. Still love the soap.

  44. Pam says:

    P.S. I hated how the labels used to come off in the shower. Spent lots of time cleaning them out of the drain so the water would drain out. Those were the days, my friend we thought they’d never end . . .

  45. Darlene says:

    Laughing because I agree with the comments. I discovered that the peppermint should not be used on certain parts of the body for obvious reasons and that using the product as a shampoo left my hair stripped of all oils. Fly away hair for days. Love the lavender.

  46. lizzy says:

    funny, i had thought i was brilliant that i started using this soap, i just loved it so much. It felt so healthy, didn’t realize this is what the natural health community uses. and i always thought it was so weird to have all this stuff written on it, that I never read it!

  47. Nadia Harper says:

    I have read bits and pieces of the label – never the whole thing in its entirety.

    I use this soap for hand washing and in my homemade toothpaste recipes and home cleaner recipes. I tried it for washing dishes but it left everything very ‘cloudy’ – perhaps I didn’t have the dilution correct?

    Here is my tooth soap recipe if anyone is interested;

  48. I read my first bottle of Dr B’s perched on a counter in a college dorm bathroom, someone had left it in there and I took it as yet another bit of evidence that going away to college thrust me into the wider, weirder world. Dr B was pretty out there, yes, but from him I get the idea to live with my eyes and heart wide open, embracing joy, having a heart for others, seeking to fulfill my full potential. His children, from the documentary, seem lovely and kind. I took a bottle of Peppermint soap to a hot, dusty music festival last month and was extremely thankful to have it! It was the only thing that seemed to clean off the combination of sunscreen and dirt at the end of a long day.

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