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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Course for Young Doctors
GA 316


Goetheanum, March 11, 1924

Dear Friends:

We are sending this first circular to medical people who have ties with us, since we promised to do this during the Christmas conference, when we discussed the direction of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum. It is borne by the sentiments which united us during these medical courses after New Year's Day. It would most of all like to add some of that sympathy for suffering humanity to each word, from which not only the devotion to the art of healing but also its real power must proceed.

It was in ancient times,
There lived in the initiates' souls
Powerfully the thought, that ill
By nature is every human being.
And educating was regarded
Akin to the healing process
Which to the child maturing
Brought health along the way
For life's fullfilled humanity.

Es war in alten Zeiten,
Da lebte in der Eingeweihten Seelen
Kraftvoll der Gedanke, dass krank
Von Natur ein jeglicher Mensch sei.
Und Erziehen ward angesehen
Gleich dem Heilprozess,
Der dem Kinde mit dem Reifen
Die Gesundheit zugleich erbrachte
Für des Lebens vollendetes Menschsein.

If one wants to prepare one's soul for the grasping of curative effects through the right kind of inner concentration it is good to place such powerful thoughts and views from an old instinctive wisdom before one's soul.

Let us remember that the healing process has to be given a soul, since it must be directed towards a soul and not just towards a body. The more of such thoughts young physicians understand, the more of what thoughtful physicians yearn for will flow into medical life and patients will feel this to be a blessing when they experience the enhanced state of the physician's art in the healing process.

Dear friends, those of you who were assembled here in January received what wanted to approach you out of such sentiments with open hearts. We will never forget how this spoke to us from your eyes and how this pressed towards us from your warm words. Our thoughts remained with you, and they shall move towards you today for the first time in connection with the questions you asked. We are sending the following to selected addresses, and we ask those who receive a direct mailing from us to see to it that they get to the other addresses we listed.

Answers to Questions

1. With regard to a question about the difficulties which pre-med students have today in studying both school medicine and the medicine in the Anthroposophical movement, we can only reply that we will try to gradually eliminate these difficulties through what we write in these circulars. Dr. Wegman is prepared to give the meditation which was described in the letter as a supplementary one to anyone who feels a need for it.

2. Concerning studies at the Goetheanum. We ask you to be patient with respect to practical studies, although of course we will try to make them available. We will indicate in these circulars when you can begin to make applications.

3. With respect to the question of the suggestion of particular themes for co-workers at the Medical Section for spiritual science, we remark that we would like to begin work in this direction. But we will mainly be able to negotiate about such themes through individual correspondence, and not so much through inserts in this circular. However, we request that you be a little patient here also; we will get closer and closer to our goals but we can only proceed one step at a time. We would also like to add that therapeutic questions about special cases will not be answered in the circular anymore after this. However, we welcome questions of a special therapeutic nature which refer to the medical courses which were given here, and also questions which refer to physiological and anatomical problems, study, and the moral attitude of physicians.

4. To those people who asked whether they could participate in any work here at the school in the near future, perhaps after they have taken their exams, we would like to say that three to five more lectures will be given after the Easter lectures, in which interested people can receive guidelines for their further work. The theme will be the human being and orientation with respect to education and healing in the world and also with respect to the particularly important tasks of humanity in this area.

5. Although the direct dispensation of our medicaments to patients by physicians would no doubt be desirable, it cannot be done at the moment, because the laws say that only homeopathic medicines can be dispensed in this way by city physicians. Once we are in the same position as these homeopathic physicians (that is, with respect to legal recognition), we will be able to do the same. Meanwhile we will

6. Concerning the question about whether a patient should be told how the medication works, we can say that the effect is reduced if a knowledge of it enters into his thinking. However, the deleterious effect is less if the thoughts are merely intellectual ones, greater if they are pictorial and the greatest if the patient can follow the whole course of the healing in himself. But this should neither keep the physician from giving information about the way the treatment works nor should he withhold a cure from a knowing patient. For what is lost through the knowledge can be completely regained if the patient develops some reverence for the healing methods. One has to see to this when one informs them.

7. Question about the kind of injections. As a rule, injections would be given subcutaneously, but if the patient doesn't react to these after repeated attempts, one can inject highly potentized doses intravenously. In this case one has to wait and see what the effect of the first injection is.

8. The writer of a letter speaks of two lines, one of which runs along the spinal column, while the other goes down from the head in the hyoid bone to the arch of the lower jaw to the thyroid cartilage and then to the side of the ribs. He wondered what significance the direction of these two lines has. The latter line corresponds to what an animal's astral body forms out of solid substances. In man this line is brought into a slanting angle with the vertical by his upright posture. This is aligned by the ego organization, and, namely, in such a way that the earthly ego works in a hypertrophic way along the dorsal vertebrae; the developing ego which remains after death aligns the cartilaginous part of the ribs and the breast bone in a hypertrophic way. Since the human element is left out in spiritual beings like Lucifer, his spinal column, breast bone and the cartilaginous part of his ribs must be eliminated. This is why the writer of the question saw a peaked chest and a lateral tendency in the ribs of the Lucifer sculpture.

9. We have the following to say with regard to a question about the head's hollows and their significance. The physical and etheric parts of the head are arranged in such a way that the physical predominates in certain places and the etheric in others. The latter are the real bearers of thoughts, whereas the physical, completely filled out parts are bearers of life in the head and suppressors of thought experiences. If their activity is too great dizziness, hallucinations and the like arise.

10. Concerning a question about mediumistic talents. The mediumistic talents of certain people are based on an incomplete insertion of the astral body and ego into the metabolic-limb tract of the etheric and physical bodies when these people are in a trance. Thereby, the limbs and the lower torso are inserted into the etheric and astral environment in an irregular way as a kind of a sense organ. This results in perceptions of spiritual things, but at the same time the moral and conventional impulses which ordinarily work through these organs are excluded, just as they are excluded in other sense organs. Our eyes see blue, but not slanders. It is very difficult to cure mediums by physical means. They could only be cured by injections of highly potentized tobacco in some part of a sense organ, for instance, inside a Eustachian tube or in the eye's cornea, which of course is very dangerous. A psychic healing requires that the healer have a stronger will than the medium outside of the trance condition and that he can work through waking suggestion.

11. Concerning a question about whether one is interfering with the karmas of mother and child if one saves the mother through an abortion, we can say that one can hardly speak of an intervention in their karmas, since both karmas will be directed into other channels for a short time but will soon be brought back into the right direction by the natural course of events. On the other hand, there is a strong intervention in the karma of the one who does the operation. And he has to ask himself whether he really wants to do something which brings him into karmic connections which would not have existed without the intervention. But questions of this kind depend upon the particular circumstances and cannot be answered in general, like many other things in purely psychological cultural life which constitute an intervention in karma and which can lead to serious and tragic conflicts in life.

12. Concerning a question about cod liver oil. Cod liver oil can be avoided if the basis for the corresponding disorder is diagnosed and one uses things like our Waldon I = plant proteins and plant fats, Waldon II = proteins and fats of plants and iron silicate, and Waldon III = plant proteins and fats, iron silicate and calcarea carbonica.

13. Even a single injection of Belladonna D30 and Hyoscyamus D15 will be helpful for wounds which have come into contact with the ground.

14. Concerning a thirty-five-year-old diabetic. The rosemary cure would probably be best for this diabetic. It might also help to give Silicea D10.

15. A question about the treatment of ear noises (tinnitus). The general recommendation for tinnitus is poppy juice D6. One will gradually be able to bring about a subjective cure if the patient exerts enough force to transform the passive experience of the noises into an active ideation, as if he did this himself. Noises in the ears are based on a weakening of the astral body relative to the etheric body in the bladder region.

16. Question about a case of flu in the brain with subsequent symptoms. One would have to try to inject Agaricus muscarius D30 into the thirty-eight-year-old patient with aftereffects of flu, which do not react to the medicaments used, and see to it that a confident, cheerful mood is maintained after the injection.



Rudolf Steiner

Dr. Ita Wegman