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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Curative Eurythmy
GA 315

This is the first publication in English of this important series of lectures by Rudolf Steiner on curative eurythmy. They are primarily intended for the practising eurythmist concerned with the therapeutic and curative properties to be found in the various exercises explained, but they also serve the layman in showing the intricacies of rhythmic interplay between our physiological selves and the formative forces in the world about us. Language and the dynamism that is contained in individual vowels and consonants is revealed to show their relationship with our own being in both soul qualities, and in the means by which they can be transmuted into silent eurythmic movement. In such movements the performer is able to reach directly into the formative and etheric life forces themselves. These exercises have been termed by Steiner, ‘inner gymnastics’, and contain enormous potential for our psychological and physiological well-being. They offer a tremendous challenge to the existing medicine of today, offering a healing process that is concerned with both mind and soul as well as body.

This translation by Kristina Krohn in collaboration with Dr. Anthony Degenaar has been made from the German Fourth Edition, 1981. Cover by Derek Ritterband Studios

Foreword to the English Edition
Lecture I April 12, 1921
The relationship of the hygienic-therapeutic element of eurythmy to the pedagogical and artistic element. Larynx and metamorphosis. The larynx as a second human being within the human being. The eurythmy carried out by the larynx. Stasis of the head and dynamics of the rhythmic system, rhythm and arrythm and their connection with thinking. The effect of poetry and prose on the human being. The connection between movement of the limbs and thinking, digestion and headache. Curative eurythmy exercises. The essential element in eurythmic movement.
Lecture II April 13, 1921
The character of vowels and consonants. Speech and movement in earlier times. The ceasing of these expressions of movement as language becomes inward in our times. Bringing the body into movement again in eurythmy. Bringing the various eurythmic vowels into the realm of therapy. Man expressing himself through the vowel as person, as Man, as soul. The difference between vowels and consonants. Various exercises.
Lecture III April 14, 1921
When the human being performs consonants in eurythmy he goes out of himself in the process of coming to grips with the outside world; when he performs vowels he goes into himself in an inner activity. The three principles at work in the consonant and their effect. The speech-physiological processes that accompany the speaking of vowels and their use in curative eurythmy. The inner connection between the formative tendencies in speaking and eurythmic movements carried out for curative purposes. Movement in the will and movement in the intellect. The losing of the formative quality of language by the intellect as being the inner cause of illness. Eurythmy brings the formative quality and the will element back into language.
Lecture IV April 15, 1921
Vowels work directly upon the rhythmic organism, the consonants work upon it via the metabolic-limb organism. Various exercises. Reference to the syllable “Om”. Knowledge of the threefold nature of the human organism as a basis for the educational training of gymnastics (ensouled gymnastics) and of eurythmy. Bringing movement into man's etheric body, regulating the etheric activity in the human organism by means of hygienic-therapeutic eurythmy exercises.
Lecture V April 16, 1921
By means of eurythmy exercises we work from out of the soul via the etheric body. The necessity of making the etheric body flexible by means of eurythmy. The therapeutic effect of various exercises. Gymnastics that is merely physiological as being the school of materialism. The application of the given exercises in special cases. Reference to the length of time exercises should be done.
Lecture VI April 17, 1921
The hygienic-therapeutic effect of eurythmy on the spiritually-orientated physiological element. Example of a recitation of Goethe's poem “Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh ...”, performed in eurythmy first with the vowels and then with the consonants. The essence of listening. Listening is a condition similar to sleep, a gentle imagining. The ether movements of the person who is asleep or who is listening are made visible by the physical body in eurythmy. Doing vowels and consonants alternately in eurythmy stimulates the forces of growth.
Lecture VII (for doctors and medical students) April 18, 1921
The upbuilding process is brought about by the formative forces raying in from the cosmos, the forces of consolidation working from within. The processes of secretion as the mediating element between the formative forces and the forces of consolidation. The process of perception as a continuation of the upbuilding process (formative forces — secretion — consolidation) and its reversal in ascending to Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. Imagination is a becoming conscious of consolidation; Inspiration a becoming conscious of the processes of secretion; Intuition a conscious experiencing of the formative process. The use of certain curative eurythmy exercises when these forces are too weak, too strong or pathological. The difference between Yoga breathing exercises and changes in the breathing brought about by therapeutic eurythmy exercises. Penetrating power of conviction in relation to existing medicine. Challenge to put the newly-acquired ideas to work for the benefit of humanity.
Lecture VIII (for doctors and medical students) October 28, 1922
The significance of curative eurythmy. Its basis is artistic eurythmy. The difference between them. In the case of curative eurythmy the curative process arises through intensive cooperation between doctor and curative eurythmist. A thorough diagnosis is a prerequisite of curative eurythmy. The effect of speech and curative eurythmy on the organism (examples of exercises). Human organs should be observed in their polarity: centrifugal and centripetal dynamics. Sensitivity and an artistic disposition are essential for being active as a curative eurythmist. Curative eurythmy must be backed up by actual therapy. Curative eurythmy is more important than massage because it has an effect on all the members of man's being. Gym and curative eurythmy. Experience in curative eurythmy gained through practice. Not to be used in the case of fractures or carcinomas. A warning against dilettantism. Soul-spiritual element added to existing physiology and anatomy. Shallow criticism must not be tolerated. Opponents and misunderstandings.
Comments by the Editor of the Third German Edition
References to the Fourth German Edition