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Curative Eurythmy
GA 315

Lecture IV

15 April 1921, Dornach

As we have seen the vowels in eurythmy always work more or less directly on the rhythmic organism. With the consonantal eurythmic movements the case is that, although the rhythmic organism is, of course, also affected, this is accomplished by way of the limb-metabolic system. Naturally the first thing we must do today is simply to take a look at the details; here one can only arrive at a contemplative picture of what is involved when one can enter into the details. We will now go through the most important consonantal movements in eurythmy. Perhaps you would make a B for us, Miss Wolfram; and now this B in walking as well. Try to walk in such a manner, however, that one leg imitates the motion of the arm while moving; but repeat the B. Now imagine that done more and more quickly and repeated to begin with, let us say for four to five minutes. Perhaps Mrs. Baumann will now do the P for us in the same manner. The difference is not very great. Now you must attempt to do this with the legs as well. That brings about a complicated leg movement which is very similar to the movements of tone eurythmy. That must now be repeated frequently and in series by the person with whom one hopes to accomplish something by means of the P.

Now all of the movements that are connected with the eurythmic consonants have to do with that in the process of digestion which lies on the far side of the activity of the stomach and intestine. We will now ignore the actual intestinal space through which the food passes. When we consider the outer wall of the intestine, however, where the chyme passes through the intestinal villi and so on and then into the blood and the lymph—thus from the other side of that comprised in the first digestive activity—movement such as we have just made work back on the inward digestion, on all that which is digestive activity in the blood vessels, and moreover on what is digestive activity in the kidneys. Thus if you should be concerned with regulating the activity of the kidneys, you should have such movements carried out. Precisely the movements which we have just done, B and P, are those which work pre-eminently in the regulation of renal activity, for example in regulating the elimination of urine. These connections are certainly extraordinarily interesting for someone who remembers how the whole circulatory being of man is related to language, and how a connection thus arises between that which pushes itself into the circulatory system from the metabolic system and this particular manner of making sounds, of making consonants.

Let us try to make a D. Now attempt to make the same movement with the legs: you hop, and while hopping you bend the legs somewhat at the knee. Here one must try to get the patients to bend at the knee and hop more and more powerfully and have them jump. Perhaps Mrs. Baumann will demonstrate the T for us; here the corresponding movement will be a hop forwards with an attempt at making knock-knees.1X-beine; literally, X-legs. Thus while stepping forward you make the attempt to hop forwards and form knock-knees. That is what must be carried out. Our first concern is to demonstrate these things. So we have D and T. When one carries out the so-called soft sound one can remedy milder conditions, and with the so-called hard sound, the more severe conditions of this sort. Of course one must have the patients repeat them for several minutes until they are quite tired—in these things it is really a matter of carrying the exercise out until one is tired. And when one carries them out to fatigue, the D- and the T-sounds in particular are a force which works to strengthen the intestinal activity, particularly that activity which comes to expression in constipation. In this manner one can counteract constipation in many cases. Such a matter is unquestionably evident to the person who knows the physiological connections between the speech organism—which takes up the movement in the course of learning to speak—and the metabolic-limb system.

Now perhaps you will be so good, Miss Wolfram, and demonstrate the G-sound for us. Here is a matter of trying again to move forward in a similar manner while forming knock-knees. It would be the same thing with the K sound (Mrs. Baumann). And now you must try to hop forwards with the legs spread out sharply, with the Q as well; but that is the same thing again. Here in the case of G, as well as of K and of Q we have a movement which stimulates the forward motion, the inner mechanization of the intestine, which thus promotes the movement of the intestine itself. The difference in the physiological effect of D and T, G, K, and Q, is that in the case of D and T the processing of the food itself is more affected while with G, K, and Q the effect is more on the forward motion of the food in the intestine when the intestine itself lags.

Particularly important and therapeutically fruitful is the S. When you do the S-sound it is necessary to hop, to hop forwards keeping the legs continuously in the O-form, and to make the S-sound. Because one continually sets the legs down in this 0-shape, namely, this actually has a very inward connection with the human digestive activity, and that is with the metabolic activity as it works back upon the entire human organism. In this movement one has something which one can have those children do who show an insufficent digestive activity and, who therefore, have headaches, since this movement regulates in particular the formation of gas in the intestine. When this is not in order, when it is either insufficient or too strong, this movement in particular will have a most important effect.

Then we have the F-sound. (Mrs. Baumann). One has to do here with something psychic. One must try to perform the jump in the following manner: one begins and tries to go forward; in landing one must come down hard on the tips of the toes, however, and now bring the heels down—once again, a jump onto the tips of the toes, then down on to the heels again. In the case of the V,2V is pronounced in the same way as F in German. it would be just the same. Here we have a movement which should be practised when one finds that urination is not in order. It has a stimulative effect on the passing of urine. When it is necessary to animate this—for whatever reason—here is the movement to be performed.

It is, of course, entirely possible to combine the movements in the most varied manners; one will find in giving treatment that one will have to combine the one with the other—depending on the direction to be taken.

If we make an R (Miss Wolfram) I must ask you to please make it in such a way that in stepping forwards you always stretch distinctly, then with the left foot thus (here Dr. Steiner demonstrated the bending and stretching movement himself; the ed.), put the weight on the foot, stretch and as you step forwards—continuing in this manner to put the weight on the foot with the legs bent—you must try to make the R. That would have to be developed in this manner. If one were to practise this R with a person for a few minutes—one would have to practise it frequently during the day, however—it would regulate the rhythm of evacuation were that not in order. That is something which works directly over onto the rhythm of evacuation and regulates it.

Apart from its being necessary to do these movements not in a dilettantic fashion, but in a manner suitable to the matter at hand, in accordance with the diagnosis, it will be important for the observation of the whole dynamics of the human being to keep the connections which come thus to light in view.

Now an L, (Mrs. Baumann) here again together with the effort to place the legs in the knock-kneed position and hop forwards—draw together—now once again. It should be an effort to hop forwards, too. The forwards motion is entirely necessary in such a case. This movement works especially strongly on the peristalsis, on the movement of the intestine itself. With this movement one can also have the patient move backwards in the same manner. He will have much more difficulty in learning to do it, but it will have a significant effect in regulating the movement of the intestine itself, the peristalsis, as all these movements in fact work in a regulative manner out of the limb-metabolic system into what is in this connection a dependency of the limb-metabolic system (or at least adjacent to it) that is, into the circulation and into the respiratory movement as well.

A very interesting letter is the H, which actually has the most vowel nature attached to it. One should accompany the H in walking as follows: one tries to stand with the legs together, to hop forwards, and in the course of this hop forwards, to spread the legs and strike the floor with the legs apart; one should always be moving forwards. That is a movement which, I beg you to take notice, must be carried out thoroughly slowly, however. In the case of the other movements it is important to carry them out quickly; this movement, however, must be carried out slowly and there must be pauses for rest between each of the jumps as well. This must be taken into account with this movement as it has a very strong effect on the regulation of intestinal activity in the area of transition from the stomach into the intestine. Therefore, when one notices that someone eannot get his food from the stomach into the intestine, it will be greatly to his advantage to perform this movement, but, as I said, tranquilly and standing still after each separate hop.

Now we have the M. (Mrs. Baumann) This M must be made with the “peewit step”. It is good to do one step with one leg and the next with the other leg—forth and back. One can also do the peewit step backwards and then with the other leg forwards again. This technique of doing the peewit step backwards is something which one should really master. It is in fact a movement which it is important to study, then when the M is carried out in this form in movement it acts to regulate the entire metabolic system and limb system and it is extraordinarily important to practise it with the children during puberty. When this exercise with M is practised at the time of sexual maturity it will prove a strong regulator of over assertive sexuality. It will regulate over assertive sexuality when practised during puberty. One must only have developed an eye for whether it should be practised in this manner. It is not without reason the M was regarded as an especially important sound in the time when people still understood something of the inner content of the sounds; it is the sound which closes the OM syllable of the Orient. The OM syllable of the Orient is closed by M because the whole human being is in fact regulated through the metabolic-limb system by exactly this sound. Thus this movement is particularly regulatory. In the ancient culture it was customary to have the younger people perform such movements in order to educate them to be corporally complete human beings and, at the same time, reserved persons.

Then we have the N sound. The N-sound is accompanied by a jump in which the knees are bent from the beginning. So, one keeps the legs, the knees, bent and then jumps. That is a movement which strengthens the intestinal activity greatly and in such a manner that it can be applied where there is a tendency to diarrhoea. That can serve as a substantiation or as an indication of how one can see the effect of the system of movement on the metabolic system. That is something which one really only notices when one considers the connections between the system of movement and the metabolic system in the light of one's knowledge of the threefold order of the human organism. This threefold order of the human organism sheds light in fact on many things; in our present time where knowledge of the soul consists almost solely of words, one can think out at length all sorts of exercises in which one believes one has taken the soul element into account—or one can develop gymnastics in which one takes only the bodily physiology into consideration. One can talk at length around and about these matters; without knowledge of the threefold order of the human organism one will not attain to any clarity in them. It was mteresting, in fact, to have a physiologist of the present day here who listened to one of the introductions which I usually give at eurythmy performances and then saw eurythmy as well. Now I normally say that in education one will have to replace the sort of gymnastics that proceeds solely from physiology with this soul-filled sort of gymnastics. Thereupon the physiologist, who is also known as a very great authority in nutritional matters, said that for him it wasn't enough to say that one shouldn't overrate gymnastics; for him gymnastics was no method of education at all, but a barbarism.

Now, you see, behind something like this is hidden a very important Symptom of the times. It is, on the one hand, just as correct to say that the gymnastics of today is usually one¬sidedly conceived—since it is taken out of the physiology and anatomy of the organism alone—as it is at least one-sided on the other hand to say that gymnastics is a barbarism. Why? Because when one develops gymnastics out of the physiology of the body alone it becomes a barbarism. It is our materialistic education and civilization that first made a barbarism out of gymnastics. In the manner in which gymnastics is practised today, it is a barbarism. And this conception of gymnastics is connected with some completely false notions, is it not? For example, people believe—although the experts don't believe it anymore, still many people believe that if one has a person exert himself mentally (geistig) and then allows him to recover, as they believe, corporally thereafter, that constitutes a proper recuperation. But that isn't true at all! If a person does arithmetic or gymnastics for an hour he will become equally tired in reality; it makes no difference. That is known today, but people cannot properly judge how soul and Spirit should be brought into gymnastic movements, how the movements carried out are to proceed from the human being as a whole. Now one will have to develop gymnastics gradually in such a way that what we are developing as artistic eurythmy can unite with what is thus developed as physiological gymnastics. And one can make the transition from the eurythmic to the gymnastic quite well. It will only be necessary to see that this sort of eurythmy which actually takes the part of a sort of soul-filled gymnastics in the course of instruction is done with humour; before everything else it must give the children delight. It must give the children joy; that is a part of it. To teach eurythmy like a grumpy, dried-out school-master would be something which could really not be done at all.

Now we still have the Sh. (Miss Wolfram) When it is accompanied by a small jump, then a larger jump, a small jump, then again a larger jump, a smaller jump, a larger jump, then one has a movement with a strong effect in the Sh as well; however, it too must be carried out slowly. It is not necessary to slow the N-movement down particularly, but with the H and Sh movement it is essential to do them slowly and in the case of the latter to take a short rest after every three jumps, at the transition to the next set; thus a rhythm is brought into it as well: short, long, short—and now one rests—long, short, long—and now a rest—short, long, short,—now a rest. Thus one has in this a movement which in the appropriate cases—one can combine movements, of course—affects the beginning portions of the intestinal tract, which pertains to the stomach. When someone has what is in itself such a weck digestion that the food remains lying in the stomach—I have drawn attention to similar matters on other occasions—that will also be particularly the case where the H-movement is involved. with the Sh movement, however, one must notice, for example, whether stomach acid is easily produced and so on; then the Shmovement should be carried out.

So you see the consonants as they are performed eurythmically are connected with the formation of man in a totally different manner from the eurythmic vowels. As we considered the making of vowels in eurythmy I had to draw your attention to the manner in which the inward, that which lies more to the interior, is related to movement. Here we have to do with the effect on the third member of the threefold organism.

Now when applying that which we discussed the day before yesterday in regard to the vowels, it would be good to have the patient sound the vowel of the exercise to be done, slowly, before the exercise as such is begun. So that without singing—singing would be of less help in this case—he very simply entones the sound at length, and when he has done this for a time, when he has sounded it out loud, one would have him carry out the movement for the vowel in question. When he has done that one should try to call forth in him the impression that he hears the sound that he has just carried out. You will find that in the present day only very few people have the impression that they hear the sounds inwardly in a soul-spiritual manner. Thus one must tell him to enter into a state of soul such as if he were to hear the “I”. It is particularly important to understand this matter. Then, you see, when you have the patient speak the vowel, entone it, the organism as such feels as if the sound were being induced. If he then carries out the movement it appears to be the result of the spoken sound. And then one listens. One entones the “I”, then does the movement, and then in one's fantasy imagines that one hears the “I” sounding. Then we have: the calling forth of the “I”, that which arises through the movement of the “I”, the hearing of that which has moved, the hearing of the sound once again. This is something which brings a great deal of life into this human etheric body; and in precisely those directions we have pointed out it brings real life into the etheric body. In these matters, in these exercises the intention is to bring movement into the human etheric body, to bring an inwardly regulated movement into the etheric activity of the human organism. It is particularly interesting to see how the movement, which as a movement of the intestine progresses from the front to the hack, releases a movement in the etheric body which proceeds from back to front and then breaks on the abdominal wall—it does not actually break, but disappears. This latter movement is in most cases where the intestinal activity is not in order, in gross disorder as well. This activity which counters the physical movement will be aroused particularly by the R-movement, for example. Here there is a very lively vibrating from back to front and that is the element in the R-movement which affects the rhythm of elimination in a very specific manner.

It can also be used pedagogically as the whole human organism is a unity and everything in it works in a unitary fashion. If you were to survey children in school, for example, you would find amongst them some who can hardly pronounce an R, who are quite shocking in their pronunciation of the R. Of course, the factors can be crossed and the matter may not be self-evident—nevertheless, such children are always simultaneously candidates for constipation: one does them a kindness, in fact, by doing something such as I showed you yesterday with them: the R-movement, which affects the rhythm of evacuation positively. It is indeed possible to make use of these things pedagogically. One must only always have the indications and one must not go too far. The physician, however, can go much further as he will find that specific symptoms naturally appear when the exercise is practised for days and weeks. But he is, of course, in the position to counter these symptoms, which quite justifiably appear, by other means. I want to point out that if the effect of the N-movement were to become too predominant, one would only have to counteract it with the D-movement and one would nevertheless have achieved that which was to be achieved. Thus one can balance one by means of the other.

The only other thing I wish to say today is that I really do not want artistic eurythmy to be influenced in any way whatsoever by the discussion which must of course arise when eurythmy is considered as a hygienic-therapeutic discipline. I beg the artistic eurythmists to forget these things thoroughly when they practise artistic eurythmy so that they are not confused by their thoughts on digestive activity when they are involved in artistic eurythmy. That would be most troubling. One must nevertheless be entirely clear, however, that human art does have to do with the whole human being and does not proceed from the head alone. And especially in the case of an art of movement that must naturally be kept in view.

That is what I had as yet to tell you. In the following days we will discuss more what has to do with the evolution of man, with reference to what comes to the fore after certain intervals of time, that is to say, what occurs at a later age, as the consequence of an exercise affecting the organism of the child.