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|GA 130. Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz — Rosicrucian Christianity I|
|What lies between physical and etheric substance is like nothing else in the world. It is neither gold nor silver, lead nor copper. It is something that cannot be compared with any other physical substance, yet it is the essence of all of them. It is a substance that is contained in every other physical substance, so that the other physical substances can be considered to be modifications of this one substance.|
|GA 130. Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz — Rosicrucian Christianity I|
It gives me great joy to be here for the first time in this newly founded group bearing the great name of Christian Rosenkreutz, which gives me the opportunity for the first time of speaking about Christian Rosenkreutz at greater length. What is contained in the mystery of Christian Rosenkreutz? I cannot tell you all about this personality in one evening, so we shall speak about Christian Rosenkreutz himself today, and tomorrow we shall talk about his work.
To speak about Christian Rosenkreutz presupposes great confidence in the mysteries of spiritual life, confidence not only in the person but in the great secrets of the life of the spirit. The founding of a new group, however, also always presupposes faith in spiritual life.
Christian Rosenkreutz is an individual who is active both when he is in incarnation and when he is not incarnated in a physical body; he works not only as a physical being and through physical forces, but above all spiritually through higher forces.
As we know, man lives not only for himself but also in connection with human evolution as a whole. Usually when man passes through death his etheric body dissolves into the cosmos. A part of this dissolving etheric body always stays intact, however, and so we are always surrounded by these remaining parts of the etheric bodies of the dead, for our good, or also to our detriment. They affect us for good or ill according to whether we ourselves are good or bad. Far reaching effects emanate also from the etheric bodies of great individualities. Great forces emanating from the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz can work into our soul and also into our spirit. It is our duty to get to know these forces, for we work with them as rosicrucians.
Strictly speaking the rosicrucian movement began in the thirteenth century. At that time these forces worked extraordinarily strongly, and a Christian Rosenkreutz stream has been active in spiritual life ever since. There is a law that this spiritual stream of force has to become especially powerful every hundred years or so. This is to be seen now in the theosophical movement. Christian Rosenkreutz gave an indication of this in his last exoteric statements.
In the year 1785 the collected esoteric revelations of the rosicrucians appeared in the work: The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians by Hinricus Madathanus Theosophus. In a certain limited sense this publication contains references to the rosicrucian stream active in the previous century which was expressed for the first time in the works collected and put together by Hinricus Madathanus Theosophus. Another hundred years later we see the influence of the rosicrucian stream coming to expression again in the work of H. P. Blavatsky, especially in the book Isis Unveiled. Much of the meaning of this image has been put into words. A considerable amount of Western occult wisdom is contained in this book that is still a long way from being improved upon, even though the composition is sometimes very confused. It is interesting to compare The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians by Hinricus Madathanus Theosophus with the works of H.P. Blavatsky. We must think especially of the first part of the publication, which is written in Symbols. In the second part Blavatsky deviates a little from the rosicrucian stream. In her later works she departs entirely from it, and we must be able to distinguish between her early and her later publications, even though something of H.P. Blavatsky's uncritical spirit already appears in the early ones. That this is said can only be the wish of H.P. Blavatsky who is not in incarnation now.
When we look at the characteristic quality of human consciousness in the thirteenth century we see that primitive clairvoyance had gradually disappeared. We know that in earlier times everybody had an elementary clairvoyance. In the middle of the thirteenth century this reached its lowest point, and there was suddenly no more clairvoyance. Everyone experienced a spiritual eclipse. Even the most enlightened spirits and the most highly developed personalities, including initiates, had no further access to the spiritual worlds, and when they spoke about the spiritual worlds they had to confine themselves to what remained in their memories. People only knew about the spiritual world from tradition or from those initiates who awakened their memories of what they had previously experienced. For a short time, though, even these spirits could not see directly into the spiritual world.
This short period of darkness had to take place at that time to prepare for what is characteristic of our present age: today's intellectual, rational development. That is what is important today in the fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch. In the Greco-Roman cultural epoch the development of the intellect was not as it is today. Direct perception was the vital factor, not intellectual thinking. Human beings identified with what they saw and heard, in fact even with what they thought. They did not produce thoughts from out of themselves then as we do today, and as we ought to do, for this is the task of the fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch. Man's clairvoyance gradually begins again after this time, and the clairvoyance of the future can now develop.
The rosicrucian stream began in the thirteenth century. During that century personalities particularly suitable for initiation had to be specially chosen. Initiation could take place only after the short period of darkness had run its course.
In a place in Europe that cannot be named yet — though this will be possible in the not very distant future — a lodge of a very spiritual nature was formed comprising a council of twelve men who had received into themselves the sum of the spiritual wisdom of olden times and of their own time.. So we are concerned with twelve men who lived in that dark era, twelve outstanding individualities, who united together to help the progress of humanity. None of them could see directly into the spiritual world, but they could awaken to life in themselves memories of what they had experienced through earlier initiations. And the karma of mankind brought it about that in seven of the twelve all that still remained to mankind of the ancient Atlantean epoch was incarnated. In my Occult Science it has already been stated that in the seven holy Rishis of old, the teachers of the ancient Indian cultural epoch, all that was left of the Atlantean epoch was preserved. These seven men who were incarnated again in the thirteenth century, and who were part of the council of twelve, were just those who could look back into the seven streams of the ancient Atlantean cultural epoch of mankind and the further course of these streams. Among these seven individualities each one of them could bring one stream to life for their time and the present time. In addition to these seven there were another four who could not look back into times long past but could look back to the occult wisdom mankind had acquired in the four post-Atlantean epochs. The first could look back to the ancient Indian period, the second to the ancient Persian cultural period, the third to the Egyptian-Chaldaean-Assyrian-Babylonian cultural period and the fourth to the Greco-Roman culture. These four joined the seven to form a council of wise men in the thirteenth century. A twelfth had the fewest memories as it were, however he was the most intellectual among them, and it was his task to foster external science in particular. These twelve individualities not only lived in the experiences of Western occultism, but these twelve different streams of wisdom worked together to make a whole. A remarkable reference to this can be found in Goethe's poem The Mysteries.
We shall be speaking, then, of twelve outstanding individualities. The middle of the thirteenth century is the time when a new culture began. At this time a certain low point of spiritual life had been reached. Even the most highly developed could not approach the spiritual worlds. Then it was that the council of the spiritual elite assembled. These twelve men, who represented the sum of all the spiritual knowledge of their age and the twelve tendencies of thought, came together in a place in Europe that cannot as yet be named.
This council of the twelve only possessed clairvoyant memory and intellectual wisdom. The seven successors of the seven Rishis remembered their ancient wisdom, and the other five represented the wisdom of the five post-Atlantean cultures. Thus the twelve represented the whole of Atlantean and post-Atlantean wisdom. The twelfth was a man who attained the intellectual wisdom of his time in the highest degree. He possessed intellectually all the knowledge of his time, whilst the others, to whom direct spiritual wisdom was also denied at that time, acquired their knowledge by returning in memory to their earlier incarnations.
The beginning of a new culture was only possible, however, because a thirteenth came to join the twelve. The thirteenth did not become a scholar in the accepted sense of that time. He was an individuality who had been incarnated at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. In the incarnations that followed he prepared himself for his mission through humility of soul and through a fervent life devoted to God. He was a great soul, a pious, deeply mystical human being, who had not just acquired these qualities but was born with them. If you imagine to yourselves a young man who is very pious and who devotes all his time to fervent prayer to God, then you can have a picture of the individuality of this thirteenth. He grew up entirely under the care and instruction of the twelve, and he received as much wisdom as each one could give him. He was educated with the greatest care, and every precaution was taken to see that no one other than the twelve exercised an influence on him. He was kept apart from the rest of the world. He was a very delicate child in that incarnation of the thirteenth century, and therefore the education that the twelve bestowed upon him worked right into his physical body. Now the twelve, being deeply devoted to their spiritual tasks and inwardly permeated with Christianity, were conscious that the external Christianity of the Church was only a caricature of the real Christianity. They were permeated with the greatness of Christianity, although in the outside world they were taken to be its enemies. Each individuality worked his way into just one aspect of Christianity. Their endeavour was to unite the various religions into one great whole. They were convinced that the whole of spiritual life was contained in their twelve streams, and each one influenced the pupil to the best of his ability. Their aim was to achieve a synthesis of all the religions, but they knew that this was not to be achieved by means of any theory but only as the result of spiritual life. And for this a suitable education of the thirteenth was essential.
Whilst the spiritual forces of the thirteenth increased beyond measure, his physical forces drained away. It came to the point where he almost ceased to have any further connection with external life, and all interest in the physical world disappeared. He lived entirely for the sake of the spiritual development which the twelve were bringing about in him. The wisdom of the twelve was reflected in him. It reached the point where the thirteenth refused to eat and wasted away. Then an event occurred that could only happen once in history. It was the kind of event that can take place when the forces of the macrocosm co-operate for the sake of what they can bring to fruition. After a few days the body of the thirteenth became quite transparent, and for days he lay as though dead. The twelve now gathered round him at certain intervals. At these moments all knowledge and wisdom flowed from their lips. Whilst the thirteenth lay as though dead, they let their wisdom flow towards him in short prayer-like formulae. The best way to imagine them is to picture the twelve in a circle round the thirteenth. This situation ended when the soul of the thirteenth awakened like a new soul. He had experienced a' great transformation of soul. Within it there now existed something that was like a completely new birth of the twelve streams of wisdom, so that the twelve wise men could also learn something entirely new from the youth. His body, too, came to life now in such a way that this revival of his absolutely transparent body was beyond compare. The youth could now speak of quite new experiences. The twelve could recognise that he had experienced the event of Damascus: it was a repetition of the vision of Paul on the road to Damascus. In the course of a few weeks the thirteenth reproduced all the wisdom he had received from the twelve, but in a new form. This new form was as though given by Christ Himself. What he now revealed to them, the twelve called true Christianity, the synthesis of all the religions, and they distinguished between this true Christianity and the Christianity of the period in which they lived. The thirteenth died relatively young, and the twelve then devoted themselves to the task of recording what the thirteenth had revealed to them, in imaginations — for it could only be done in that way. Thus came the symbolic figures and pictures contained in the collection of Hinricus Madathanus Theosophus, and the communications of H.P. Blavatsky in the work Isis Unveiled. We have to see the occult process in such a way that the fruits of the initiation of the thirteenth remained as the residue of his etheric body, within the spiritual atmosphere of the earth. This residue inspired the twelve as well as their pupils that succeeded them, so that they could form the occult rosicrucian stream. Yet it continued to work as an etheric body, and it then became part of the new etheric body of the thirteenth when he incarnated again.
The individuality of the thirteenth reincarnated as soon as the fourteenth century, roughly in the middle. In this incarnation he lived for over a hundred years. He was brought up in a similar way in the circle of the pupils and successors of the twelve, but not in such a secluded way as in his previous incarnation. When he was twenty-eight years old he formed a remarkable resolution. He had to leave Europe and travel. First he went to Damascus, and what Paul had experienced there happened again to him. This event can be described as the fruits of what took place in the previous incarnation. All the forces of the wonderful etheric body of the individuality of the thirteenth century had remained intact, none of them dispersed after death into the general world ether. This was a permanent etheric body, remaining intact in the ether spheres thereafter. This same highly spiritual etheric body again radiated from the spiritual world into the new incarnation, the individuality in the fourteenth century. Therefore he was led to experience the event of Damascus again. This is the individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz. He was the thirteenth in the circle of the twelve. He was named thus from this incarnation onwards. Esoterically, in the occult sense, he was already Christian Rosenkreutz in the thirteenth century, but exoterically he was named thus only from the fourteenth century. And the pupils of this thirteenth are the successors of the other twelve in the thirteenth century. These are the rosicrucians.
At that time Christian Rosenkreutz traveled through the whole of the known world. After he had received all the wisdom of the twelve, fructified by the mighty Being of the Christ, it was easy for him to receive all the wisdom of that time in the course of seven years. When, after seven years, he returned to Europe, he took the most highly developed pupils and successors of the twelve as his pupils, and then began the actual work of the rosicrucians.
By the grace of what radiated from the wonderful etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz they could develop an absolutely new world conception. What has been developed by the rosicrucians up to our time is work of both an outer and an inner nature. The outer work was for the purpose of discovering what lies behind the maya of the material world. They wanted to investigate the maya of matter. Just as man has an etheric body, so does the whole of the macrocosm have an etheric macrocosm, an etheric body. There is a certain point of transition from the coarser to the finer substance. Let us look at the boundary between physical and etheric substance. What lies between physical and etheric substance is like nothing else in the world. It is neither gold nor silver, lead nor copper. It is something that cannot be compared with any other physical substance, yet it is the essence of all of them. It is a substance that is contained in every other physical substance, so that the other physical substances can be considered to be modifications of this one substance. To see this substance clairvoyantly was the endeavour of the rosicrucians. The preparation, the development of such vision they saw to require a heightened activity of the soul's moral forces, which would then enable them to see this substance. They realised that the power for this vision lay in the moral power of the soul. This substance was really seen and discovered by the rosicrucians. They found that this substance lived in the world in a certain form both in the macrocosm and in man. In the world outside man they revered it as the mighty garment of the macrocosm. They saw it arising in man when there is a harmonious interplay between thinking and willing. They saw the will forces as being not only in man but in the macrocosm also, for instance in thunder and lightning. And they saw the forces of thought on the one hand in man and also outside in the world in the rainbow and the rosy light of dawn. The rosicrucians sought the strength to achieve such harmony of willing and thinking in their own soul in the force radiating from this etheric body of the thirteenth, Christian Rosenkreutz.
It was established that all the discoveries they made had to remain the secret of the rosicrucians for a hundred years, and that not until a hundred years had passed might these rosicrucian revelations be divulged to the world, for not until they had worked at them for a hundred years might they talk about them in an appropriate way. Thus what appeared in 1785 in the work The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians was being prepared from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century.
Now it is also of great importance to know that in any century the rosicrucian inspiration is given in such a way that the name of the one who receives the inspiration is never made public. Only the highest initiates know it. Today, for instance, only those occurrences can be made public that happened a hundred years ago, for that is the time that must pass before it is permissible to speak of it in the outside world. The temptation is too great that people would idealise fanatically a person bearing such authority, which is the worst thing that can happen. It would be too near to idolatry. This silence, however, is not only essential in order to avoid the outer temptations of ambition and pride, which could probably be overcome, but above all to avoid occult astral attacks which would be constantly directed at an individuality of that calibre. That is why it is an essential condition that a fact like this can only be spoken of after a hundred years.
Through the works of the rosicrucians the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz became ever stronger and mightier from century to century. It worked not only through Christian Rosenkreutz but through all those who became his pupils. From the fourteenth century onwards Christian Rosenkreutz has been incarnated again and again. Everything that is made known in the name of theosophy is strengthened by the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz, and those who make theosophy known let themselves be overshadowed by this etheric body, that can work on them, both when Christian Rosenkreutz is incarnated, and when he is not in incarnation.
The Count of Saint Germain was the exoteric reincarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz in the eighteenth century. This name was given to other people, too, however; therefore not everything that is told about Count Saint Germain here and there in the outside world applies to the real Christian Rosenkreutz. Christian Rosenkreutz is incarnated again today. The inspiration for the work of H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, came from the strength radiating from his etheric body. It was also Christian Rosenkreutz's influence working invisibly on Lessing that inspired him to write The Education of the Human Race (1780). Because of the rising tide of materialism it became more and more difficult for inspiration to come about in the rosicrucian way. Then in the nineteenth century came the high tide of materialism. Many things could only be given very incompletely. In 1851 the problem of the immortality of the soul was solved by Widenmann through the idea of reincarnation. His text was awarded a prize. Even around 1850 Drossbach wrote from a psychological point of view in favour of reincarnation.
Thus the forces radiating from the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz continued to be active in the nineteenth century too. And a renewal of theosophical life could come about because by 1899 the little Kali Yuga had run its course. That is why the approach to the spiritual world is easier now and spiritual influence is possible to a far greater degree. The etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz has become very strong, and, through devotion to this, man will be able to acquire the new clairvoyance, and lofty spiritual forces will come into being. This will only be possible, however, for those people who follow the training of Christian Rosenkreutz correctly. Until now an esoteric rosicrucian preparation was essential, but the twentieth century has the mission of enabling this etheric body to become so powerful that it can also work exoterically. Those affected by it will be granted the experience of the event that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus. Until now this etheric body has only worked into the school of the rosicrucians; in the twentieth century more and more people will be able to experience the effect of it, and through this they will come to experience the appearance of Christ in the etheric body. It is the work of the rosicrucians that makes possible the etheric vision of Christ. The number of people who will become capable of seeing it will grow and grow. We must attribute this re-appearance to the important work of the twelve and the thirteenth in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
If you can become an instrument of Christian Rosenkreutz, then you can be assured that the smallest detail of your soul activity will be there for eternity.
Tomorrow we will come to speak about the work of Christian Rosenkreutz. A vague longing for Spiritual Science is present in mankind today. And we can be sure, that wherever students of rosicrucianism are striving seriously and conscientiously, they are working creatively for eternity. Every spiritual achievement, however small, brings us further. It is essential to understand and revere these holy matters.
|GA 293. The Study of Man — Lecture X|
|In another connection I said how it must always fill us with wonder when we see how wires go into the earth to copper plates and how the earth carries the electricity further without wires. If you go into the school with egotistic feelings you need all kinds of wires — words — in order to make yourself understood by the children.|
|GA 293. The Study of Man — Lecture X|
We have spoken of the nature of man from the point of view of the soul and spirit. We have at least thrown some light on these two aspects. We shall have to supplement the knowledge thus gained by uniting the point of view of the body with that of the spirit and of the soul so that we may get a complete survey of man, and may be able to pass on from this to an understanding of his external bodily nature also.
First we will recall — what must have struck us from various aspects — that the human being has different forms in the three members of his nature. We have pointed out that the head is essentially round; that the true nature of the bodily head is given in this spherical form. Next we pointed out how the chest part of man is a fragment of a sphere. Thus if we draw it diagrammatically we give the form of a sphere to the head, and a moon form to the breast — realising clearly that in this moon form a part of a sphere, a fragment of a sphere is contained. We must consequently, allow that the moon form of the chest can be completed. You will only rightly understand this central member of man's nature, the breast-form, when you regard it, too, as a sphere but as a sphere of which only one part, a moon, is visible, and the other part invisible.
From this it is perhaps apparent that in ancient times, when men had a greater capacity for seeing forms, they were not wrong in speaking of the sun as corresponding to the head, and of the moon as corresponding to the breast form. And just as when the moon is not full we see it only as a fragment of a sphere, so too we really only see in the breast form a fragment of the middle system of man. From this you can understand that the head form of man is a comparatively complete, self-enclosed thing. The head form reveals, physically, that it is a thing enclosed in itself. It is, so to speak, just what it appears. The head form is the one that conceals least of itself.
The breast part of the human being, on the other hand, conceals very much of itself. It leaves part of itself invisible. It is very important for a knowledge of man's nature to realise that a large part of the breast portion is invisible. We can say that the breast portion of man shows its bodily nature in one direction, that is, towards the back; but towards the front it passes over into the soul element. The head is altogether body; the breast portion of man is body towards the back, soul towards the front. Thus it is only in that we have our head resting on our shoulders that we carry about a real body. We consist of body and soul in so far as we separate out our breast from the visible part of the breast system and allow it to be worked upon and permeated by the soul.
Into these two members of the human being, head and breast (more obviously of course in the breast portion), the limbs are inserted. The third principle is the limb man. How can we understand the limb man? We can only understand this third member when we realise that certain parts of the spherical form remain visible, as with the breast portion, only in this case they are different parts. In the breast system a part of the periphery remains. In the limb system it is more an inner part consisting of the radii of a sphere that remains over; so that the inner parts of the sphere are inset as limbs.
We never arrive at the truth — as I have often said to you on other occasions — if we only analyse things and divide them, into parts. We must always interweave one thing with another; for this is the nature of living things. We can say: we have the limb man, which consists of the limbs. But the head also has its limbs. If you look carefully at the skull you find, for example, that attached to the skull are the bones of the upper and lower jaws. They are properly attached like limbs. Thus the skull, too, has its limbs: the upper and lower jaws which are joined to it. Only in the skull the limbs are stunted. In the other parts of man they have developed to their proper size, but in the skull they are stunted and are only a kind of bone structure. There is yet another difference:
if you observe the limbs of the skull, that is, the upper and lower jaws, you will see that the essential thing in them is that the bone should perform its function. If you examine the limbs which are attached to our whole body, namely, when you consider the limb man proper, you find the essential fact is that they are surrounded by muscles and blood vessels. In a certain way the bones of our arms and legs, hands and feet are only inserted into our muscle and blood system. But in the upper and lower jaws — the limbs of the head — the muscles and blood vessels have shrunken. What does this mean? Muscles and blood are the organic instrument of the will, as we have already heard. Hence it is arms and legs, hands and feet that are principally developed for the will. Blood and muscles, which pre-eminently serve the will, are withdrawn, in a measure, from the limbs of the head, because what has to be developed in them is what tends to intellect, to thinking-cognition. If, then, you want to study how the will reveals itself in the outer bodily forms of the world, you must study the arms and legs, hands and feet. If you want to study how the intelligence of the world is revealed, then you must study the head, or rather the skull, as skeleton; you must see how the upper and lower jaws are attached to the head, and you must examine other parts of the head which are of a limb nature. You can regard all outer forms as revelations of what is within. And indeed you can only understand the outer forms when you look upon them as revelation of what is within.
I have always found that for most men there is a great difficulty in understanding the connection between the tubular bones of the arms and the legs and the shell-like bones of the head. Here it is particularly good for the teacher to master a conception remote from common life. And this brings us to a very, very difficult chapter, to the hardest, perhaps, of all the conceptions we have to gain in these educational lectures.
You know that Goethe was the first to turn his attention to the vertebral theory of the skull, as it is termed. What is meant by this? It means the application of the idea of metamorphosis to man and to his form. When we consider the human spinal column we perceive that one vertebra lies above another. We can take out the single vertebra, with its projections through which the spinal cord passes. Now Goethe was the first to observe (in a sheep skull, in Venice) how all head bones are transformed vertebrae. Imagine some organs puffed out and others indrawn — then you get the shell-like head bones out of the vertebral forms. This made a great impression on Goethe. It drove him to a conclusion of profound importance, namely: that the skull is a transformed, a more highly developed spinal column.
It is comparatively easy to see that the skull bones arise out of the vertebrae of the spine through transformation, through metamorphosis. It is very much harder, very difficult indeed, to see the limb bones — even the limbs of the head, the upper and lower jaws — as a metamorphosis, a transforming of the vertebral bones, or of the head bones (Goethe attempted to do this, but in an external way). Now why is this so difficult? The reason is that a tubular bone, wherever it may be, is indeed also a metamorphosis, a remodeling of a head bone, but a remodeling of a quite special nature. It is comparatively easy to think of a spinal vertebra metamorphosed into a head bone when you think of some parts of it being enlarged and some diminished. But you cannot so easily get the shell-shaped head bones out of the tubular bones of the arms and legs. To do this you have to adopt a certain procedure. You have to deal with the tubular bone of the arm or the leg as you do with a glove or stocking when you turn it inside out to put it on. Now it is comparatively easy to imagine what a glove or a stocking looks like turned inside out. But a tubular bone is not equal in all its parts; it is not so thin as to have the same form inside and out. The inside and outside are differently formed. If your stocking were of malleable material and you could give it an artistic form with all sorts of projections and indentations, and if you then turned it inside out you would no longer have the same form outside as that which would now be inside. And it is like this with the tubular bone. You must turn the inside outwards and the outside inwards and then you get the form of the head bone. Thus human limbs are not merely head bones metamorphosed, they are even more, head bones turned inside out. How does this come about? It is because the head has its centre somewhere within. It has its centre centrically, if I may put it so. Not so the breast. Its centre does not lie within the sphere. The breast has its centre very far away. (In the drawing this is only partially indicated because it would be too large if the whole were shown.) Thus the breast has its centre far away. Now where is the centre of the limb system? This brings us to the second difficulty. The limb system has its centre in the whole circumference. The centre of the limb system is a sphere; namely, the opposite of a point, the surface of a sphere. The centre is really everywhere; hence you can turn in every direction and radii ray in from all sides. They unite themselves with you.
What is in the head takes its rise in the head. What passes through the limbs unites itself within you. This is why I had to say in the other lectures that you must think of the limbs as inserted into the rest of our body. We are really a whole world, only what wants to enter into us from outside condenses at its end and becomes visible. A very minute portion of what we are becomes visible in our limbs. So that the limbs themselves are physical body, but the physical limbs are only the minutest atom of what is really in the limb system of man. Body, soul and spirit are in the limb system of man. The body is only indicated in the limbs, But in the limbs there is also a soul part; and there is within them, too, the spirit part which embraces the whole world.
Now we could also make another drawing of the human being. It could be said that man is, firstly a gigantic sphere which embraces the whole world: then a smaller sphere: and then a smallest sphere. Only the smallest sphere would be completely visible. The somewhat larger sphere would be partially visible. The largest sphere is only visible here at the end of it, where it rays in: the rest is invisible. Thus is the human form wrought by the whole world.
And again, in the middle system, the breast system, we have the union of the head system and the limb system. When you consider the spine with the ribs attached to it you will see that it tries to close up in front. At the back the whole is enclosed; in front an attempt only is made, it does not quite succeed. The nearer the ribs are to the head the more they succeed in making the enclosure, but the further down they are the more they fail. The last ribs do not meet because here the force which comes into the limbs from the outside is working against them.
Now the Greeks still had a very clear consciousness of this connection of the human being with the macrocosm. And the Egyptians knew of it also, but in a somewhat abstract way. Hence, when you look at Egyptian or, indeed, any sculpture of antiquity you can see that this thought of the cosmos is expressed. You can only understand the works of the ancients if you know that their work was an expression of their belief: they saw the head as a small sphere, a heavenly body in miniature; and the limbs as part of a great heavenly body which presses its radii into the human form. The Greeks had a beautiful, harmonious and perfect conception of this, hence they were good sculptors. No sculptor of human form can be a master in his art to-day unless he is conscious of this connection of man with the universe. Lacking this he will only make a clumsy copy of the forms of nature.
You will know from what I have said to you that the limbs are more inclined towards the world, the head more to the individual man. To what then will the limbs especially incline? They will incline towards the world, to that world in which man moves and in which he is continually changing his position. They will be related to the movement of the world. Please understand this quite clearly: the limbs are related to the movement of the world.
In that we move about the world and perform actions we are limb men. Now what kind of task has the head with respect to the movement of the world? It rests on the shoulders, as I told you when speaking in another connection. And further, it has the task of bringing the movement of the world continuously to rest within itself. Place yourself with your spirit inside your own head; you can get a picture of how you are then placed by thinking of yourself, for a time, as sitting in a railway train; the train is moving forwards, but you are quietly sitting in it. In the same way your soul sits in your head, which quietly allows itself to be carried forwards by the limbs, and brings the movement to rest inwardly. If you have room you may even lie down in the railway carriage, you can rest — though this rest is really a deception, for you are rushing in the train (in a sleeper perhaps) across the earth. Nevertheless you have the sensation of rest. Thus the head brings to rest in you what the limbs perform in the world by way of movement. And the breast system stands betwixt them. It mediates between the movement of the outer world and what the head brings into rest.
Now, as men, our purpose is to imitate, to absorb the movement of the world into ourselves through our limbs. What do we do then? We dance. This is true dancing. Other dancing is only fragmentary dancing. All true dancing has arisen from imitating in the limbs the movement carried out by the planets, by other heavenly bodies or by the earth itself.
But now, what part do our head and breast play in this dancing, this imitation of cosmic movement in the movement of our limbs? The movements we perform in the world are stemmed or stopped, as it were, in the head and in the breast. The movements cannot continue through the breast into the head, for the head, lazy fellow, rests on the shoulders and does not let the movements reach the soul. The soul must participate in the movements while at rest, because the head rests on the shoulders. What then does the soul do? It begins to reflect from within itself the dancing movements of the limbs. When the limbs execute irregular movements the soul begins to mumble; when the limbs perform regular movements it begins to whisper: when the limbs carry out the harmonious cosmic movements of the universe, it even begins to sing. Thus the outward dancing movement is changed into song and into music within.
The physiology of the senses will never succeed in understanding sensation unless it can accept man as a cosmic being. It will always say that vibrations of the air are outside and that man perceives sounds within: how the vibrations of the air are connected with the sounds it is impossible to know. This is what you find in books on physiology and psychology — in one of them it comes at the end, in the other at the beginning, that is the only difference.
Now why is this? It comes about because those who practise psychology and physiology do not know that a man's external movements are brought to rest in the soul, and through this begin to pass over into tones. The same is also true with regard to all other sense impressions. As the organs of the head do not take part in the outer movements, they ray these outer movements back into the breast, and make them into sounds and into the other sense impressions. Here lies the origin of sensation. Here, moreover, lies the connection between the arts. The poetic, the musical arts, arise out of the plastic, the architectural arts: for what the plastic and architectural arts are without, the musical arts are within. A reflecting back of the world from within outwards — such is the nature of the musical arts. Thus does man stand amidst the universe. You experience colour as movement come to rest. You do not perceive the movement externally — just as when lying down in a train you may have the illusion of being at rest. You let the train move on its outward course. Similarly you let your body participate in the outer world in fine movements of the limbs of which you are unaware, while you perceive colours and tones inwardly. This you owe to the circumstance that you let your head, in its physical form, be carried at rest by your limb system.
I said that what I had to speak to you about to-day was indeed a difficult matter. It is particularly difficult because in this age nothing whatever is done to facilitate our understanding of these things. Care is taken that the accepted culture of our time should leave man in ignorance of such things as I have described to you to-day. What is it that comes about through our present-day education? Well, a man cannot altogether know what a stocking or a glove is like unless he turns it inside out, for otherwise he never knows the part which touches his skin. He only knows the part turned outwards. Similarly, as the result of present culture man only knows what is turned outwards. He has concepts for one half of man only; he will never understand the limbs. For the limbs have been turned inside out by the spirit.
Another way of describing our subject would be as follows: if we consider man in all his fullness, as we meet him in the world and consider him in the first place as limb man he reveals spirit, soul and body. If we consider him as breast man he reveals soul and body. If we consider him as head man he reveals body alone. The large sphere (see drawing): spirit, body, soul. The smaller sphere: body and soul. And the smallest sphere: body only.
At the council of A.D. 869 the bishops of the Catholic Church forbade humanity to know anything about the large sphere. At that time they declared it a dogma of the Catholic Church that the middle sphere and the smallest sphere alone had existence, that man consists of body and soul only, spiritual characteristics being merely a quality of the soul. One part of the soul, it was held, was of a spiritual nature. Since the year A.D. 869 for Western culture derived from Catholicism there has been no spirit. But when relationship to the spirit was abolished the relationship of man to the world was abolished also. Man has been more and more driven in upon his egotism. Hence religion itself has become more and more egotistic. And to-day we live in an age when once again, if I may say so, from a spiritual observation we must learn man's relationship to the spirit, and through it to the world.
Who is actually to blame for the materialism of natural science? It is the Roman Catholic Church which is chiefly to blame for our scientific materialism, because at the council of Constantinople in A.D. 869 it abolished the Spirit. What actually came about at that time? Consider the human head. Its development in the course of natural evolution shows to-day that it is the oldest of man's principles. The head is evolved immediately from the higher animals, and, further back again, from the lower animals. With respect to our head we are descended from the animal world. There is no denying it — the head is only a further evolved animal. If we look for the ancestry of our head we go back to the lower animals. Our breast was not joined to the head until later; it is not so animal as the head. We only received the breast in a later age. And the organs we human beings received last of all are the limbs.
These are the most human of all. They are not remodeled from animal organs, they are added later. The animal organs were formed independently from out of the cosmos and given over to the animal, and the human organs were later formed independently and united with the breast. The Catholic Church concealed the knowledge of man's relationship to the universe from him: that is to say, it concealed from him the knowledge of the true nature of his limbs; and in so doing it handed on to succeeding generations an incomplete knowledge of the breast and a complete knowledge only of the head, of the skull. Thus, materialism made the discovery that the skull is descended from the animals: and now it claims that the whole human being is descended from the animals, whereas actually the breast organs and the limb organisation were only added later. By hiding from man the nature of his limbs, and hence this relation with the world, the Catholic Church caused the later materialistic age to apply to the whole human being what only holds good for the head. The Catholic Church is really the creator of materialism in this domain of the doctrine of evolution. It is the duty of the present-day teacher of youth to know these things. For he should take an interest in all that has happened in the world. And he should know the true grounds of the things which have happened in the world.
We have tried to-day to see clearly how it is that our age has become materialistic, taking our start from something quite different, from the spherical form, the moon form and the radial form of the limbs. That is to say, we began with something seemingly quite remote in order to make clear to ourselves a tremendous fact in the history of civilisation. But a teacher above all, if he is to do anything with the human being, must be in a position to grasp the fundamentals of civilisation. These are essential to him if he is to educate rightly out of the depths of his own nature through his unconscious and subconscious relations with the child. For then he will have due regard for the structure of man; above all he will perceive in it relationships to the macrocosm. How different is the outlook which sees the human form merely as the development of some little animal or other, a more highly developed animal body. Nowadays, for the most part, though some teachers may not admit it, the teacher meets the child with the distinct idea that he is a little animal and that he has to develop this little animal just a little further than Nature has done hitherto. He will feel differently if he says to himself: here is a man, and he has connections with the whole universe; and what I do with every growing child, the way I work with him, has significance for the whole universe. We are together in the classroom: in each child is situated a centre for the whole world, for the macrocosm. This classroom is a centre — indeed many centres — for the macrocosm. Think what it means when this is felt in a living way. How the idea of the universe and its connections with the child passes into a feeling which hallows all the varied aspects of our educational work. Without such feeling about man and the universe we shall not learn to teach earnestly and truly. The moment we have such feelings they pass over to the children by underground ways.
In another connection I said how it must always fill us with wonder when we see how wires go into the earth to copper plates and how the earth carries the electricity further without wires. If you go into the school with egotistic feelings you need all kinds of wires — words — in order to make yourself understood by the children. If you have great feelings for the universe which arise from ideas such as we have discussed to-day, then an underground current will pass between you and the child. Then you will be one with the children. Herein lies something of the mysterious relationship between you and the children as a whole. Pedagogy in the true sense must be built on feelings such as this. Pedagogy must not be a science, it must be an art. And where is the art which can be learned without dwelling constantly in the feelings? But the feelings in which we must live in order to practise that great art of life, the art of education, are only kindled by contemplation of the great universe and its relationships with man.
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture IX|
|In treating the lower organic sphere, on the other hand, one must keep in mind the affinity with copper, quicksilver, and silver, and in applying carbonic acid processes we must consider how to combine in some way either these metals themselves or those of similar nature, with processes yielding carbonic acid.|
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture IX|
We discussed yesterday what may be termed the approximation of the human organism to the external world. One can see in the interplay between the two senses, smell and taste, how human nature enters into a closer connection with the occurrences of extra-human nature. We make these investigations because it is important for spiritual science to co-ordinate remedial methods and human organic processes, as closely as possible. In healing, the main consideration is always the correct perception of the particular factors contained in what we apply to the body, whether by chemical, physiological or purely physical measures; and which factors are contained in the healthy functions of the organism and are missing in the morbid state. One must “think together” both processes, that external to, and that within, the human organism.
These two processes approach most nearly in the perception of taste and smell. In all that concerns the remaining senses, they lie further apart. For example there is considerable distance within the human body, between seeing and digestion — even using “digestion” in the more limited sense of what goes on between the chewing of the food within the mouth and its being worked up by the glandular activities in the intestines. The remaining region of the digestive apparatus I comprise within elimination, which may occur within the body (by absorption) and evocation which disposes externally of waste matter. The functions which occur below the great glands I would classify under the heading of elimination.
The sense of sight perceives those external objects which as it were lock up in themselves what comes to the surface in smell and taste. It is that element in the process of smell which leaves the extra-human nature in order to become perceptible to man. In other cases, this element locks itself up in the substance, and then we look at it from outside. If we contemplate the forms of visible things we have before us externally the formative principle which in the olfactory process reveals itself in substance only. I would even suggest that you follow up the phenomena revealed in smell, not only into the vegetable world but into the mineral kingdom as well. You will find that the same basic principle as appears in smell is at work in the formative processes outside us. Its polar opposite is the digestive process. This latter appropriates as it were the elements revealed to our sense of taste; and hides, secretes within our bodies, what is thus revealed in taste. It is significant that we have hitherto had to describe extra-human nature, as being almost wholly situated in the unconscious region. True, the connections with the whole universe are present in man: man is related to Saturn, Jupiter, etc.; but the relations are concealed in the depths of our organisation. At the risk of offending current modes of thought, I would suggest that the astronomical affiliations form the most deeply unconscious region in man, they are transmuted into the most secluded of his organic processes.
But we have also organs that open in a way our human organism from within; and thus bring man into relationship with what happens at a certain nearness to our earth's surface; that is to say, into relationship with the meteorological world, in its widest meaning. And if we do not limit our healing efforts to mere substances with curative properties, but extend them to tracing the curative processes, we must include within our purview the relationships of man to the meteorological processes — again in the widest sense of the term.
We are already able to distinguish what is associated mainly with the astronomical world from what is associated mainly with the meteorological world, in our organism. This distinction, to be sure, needs a more delicate method of observation. At first, no doubt, these statements may shock your preconceptions, but I hope to convince you in time that the classification above mentioned is the best of foundations for curative treatment. As a general rule we find that the organs which open to the meteorological sphere are those farthest from the surface and most deeply internal. The chief amongst them is the liver, and all the vesicular structures, especially represented by the bladder itself, the bladder being extremely important pathologically, even one of the most important of our attributes for pathological purposes. Another member of this group is the lung: which opens externally in order to mediate breathing. Then again, we must include the heart in this group, and if you have correctly interpreted much that has been said in our previous lectures, you will easily understand this fact. And indeed all these organs are associated with by going thoroughly into the problems of the human relationship to the world without, and especially into the connection of the human activities with the world environment.
I would urgently suggest that you make a thorough effort to trace back all the cases of cardiac lesions brought to your consulting rooms, to disturbance of human activity. Definite investigations should be made into the differences — and they are considerable — between the heart action of — for instance a peasant, who cultivates his bit of land, and has very few occasions for getting away from it, and the heart action of persons whose profession implies a good deal of motoring or at least a good deal of railway travel. It would be of utmost interest to obtain adequate comparative data on this topic. For you will find the tendency to cardiac complaints mainly dependent on the sedentary immobility of the person who, while thus sitting still, is carried forward by forces outside himself, whether in a railway carriage or a motorcar. This passive abandonment to motion is the cause which as it were deforms all processes dammed up in the heart.
All this acting and reacting between man and the external world, is dependent on the manner in which he develops warmth. Here you see the relationship of the heart's activity with the impulse of warmth in the world belong to man; and you conclude that if enough warmth is generated by man through his own activity, the sufficient amount of warmth developed in the process of life, is itself the measure of the soundness of the human heart. Therefore it is important for the treatment of cardiac cases, to provoke spontaneous movements that are fully permeated with life and soul. I am convinced that after perhaps no more than fifteen years have gone by, people will think more clearly and justly in these matters, than they do today. They will say — “It is certainly curious that cardiac cases have acquired sound heart action through the practice of Eurhythmy!” — for Eurhythmic practice mainly regulates the spontaneous movements permeated with soul and even according to law. So it is perhaps permissible to mention these truly remedial exercises derived from Eurhythmy (curative Eurhythmy), in the treatment of all irregularities of the cardiac functions.
Now let us turn to all the manifestations of sub-normal vesicular action in man. What I am about to suggest may appear somewhat amateurish, but it is not so; it is built on foundations more scientific than what passes for science today. The bladder is mainly an organ of traction or suction; I might say that its operation is that of a cavity vacuum in the body, it draws in or sucks. Its function really depends on our organism being hollowed out in this very region; its action on the rest of the organism is exactly that of a gas globe in a vessel of water. If you have a gas globe, that is a sphere containing a thinned out substance, surrounded on all sides by water, a substance of greater density, the effect proceeding from this globe of tenuous substance is similar to that of the bladder on the human organism. This is why the essential functions of the bladder are disturbed in persons who have not the opportunity to perform their internal movements sufficiently; persons who e.g., do not take sufficient care to chew their food properly, who gulp it down instead of masticating it, thus unduly over-taxing the whole apparatus of digestion; or who do not take care to secure the proper mixture of movement with rest, during the digestive process itself and so forth. All that impedes the interior mobility also impedes and injures what might be termed the functional life of the bladder. Is it not the nature of man to accept and even try some form of movement, permeated with soul if you prescribe for “heart trouble”; but he is unwilling to accept suggestions for regulating internal movements. You will, however, at once succeed with a patient who is not inclined to give the body the necessary rest and who devours his food and disturbs his digestion in some other way, if you cure him “meteorologically,” i.e., by bringing him into an atmosphere richer in oxygen, so that his respiration becomes quicker and deeper and he must give more (though unconscious) care to the breathing process. This quickening and regulating of respiration passes over into regulation of the other organic processes and you will find that “change of air” (whether by artificial means or better still by natural ones) into a more highly oxygenated atmosphere, causes a certain improvement in cases of bladder disturbance, simply through this change of life habits.
Most important is the third organ, the liver, which is linked up with the external “meteorological” conditions in the widest sense. Although apparently secluded within the organism, the liver is in a high degree correlated to the world outside. A proof of this is the dependence of the liver's health and activity on the special quality of the water in a given locality. In order to comprehend the exact state of liver health of any local group of persons, the composition of the local water ought to be studied.
The activity of taste is beneficial to the healthy development of the liver, but if indulged to excess, degeneracy follows. Degeneracy of the liver is synonymous with too gross and too constant feeding. The internal enjoyment of taste, the prolongation within of sensations which should be limited to tongue and palate, whether the sensations be pleasant and attractive, or repelling, leads to degeneration of the liver. Therefore one should try, in the case of liver disturbances (which are often difficult to find out), to induce patients to cultivate the sense of taste, and try to distinguish flavours as such, and appreciate them. Of course there will be considerable difficulties in the thorough study of the relationship between the functional life of the human liver and the composition of the water in any particular locality; for the dependence is extremely subtle, and it must be borne in mind that in districts with a water supply full of lime, e.g., the whole life of the liver will differ from that of districts with water poorer in lime. It would be well to pay heed to these factors, noting that the functions of the liver are promoted by water from which the lime has been withheld. Of course, the ways and means to carry this out must be found.
And again, the lung and its life are closely connected with the conditions set up by the geology and geography of the given locality. There is a great difference according to whether the soil is mainly limestone, as here in Dornach, or siliceous, as in the mountains of “old rock”; that is to say, the lungs are essentially dependent on the earthy and solid structure of the region in question. One of the first tasks of any medical man beginning practice, is to study the geology of his district thoroughly; for such study is identical with the study of its inhabitants' lungs. And it should be fully realised that almost the most unfavourable case is when the lung is totally unable to adapt itself to the environment.
Do not misunderstand the view just stated. I refer to the actual internal structure of the lung; I do not mean the function of breathing, although this function is, of course, in its turn affected by the adequate or defective structure of the lung. We are dealing with the dependence of the inner lung structure on environment; whether the lungs tend to encrustation (hardening) or to becoming mucoid (slimy), is mainly due to the nature of the environment. Moreover the lungs are peculiarly dependent on corporeal exertion, and are certainly injured in persons who are obliged to do physical work to exhaustion.
These are the relationships which lead us to the dependences of such organs which, as lungs, liver, bladder and heart, open themselves to the influences of the “meteorological sphere.” Curative treatments of illness in any of this organic group should therefore be sought by “physical” methods. [e.Ed: i.e., open air, light, warmth, etc.] For the results in such cases are — I would say — in certain respects permanent. It is the greatest of services to a patient with weak lungs, and resident in an unsuitable district, to induce him to change his abode and move to a district which suits him more. Indeed those organs situated above the lungs are often helped in an extraordinary manner, by complete change of locality and manner of life. Change of district and daily habit can do comparatively little to relieve morbid conditions in the sphere from the heart downwards but they are extraordinarily beneficial to the lungs and all that is situated above them. It must only be kept in mind that all functions in the organism are interdependent, and that one must find out whether or not a hidden interplay may be at work. For instance, we may find degeneration of the cardiac vessels: then we have to inquire whether there may not be a tendency to degeneration of lung in the same subject, and whether the cardiac symptoms should not be treated from the aspect of the pulmonary condition.
These are at least hints as to the meteorological dependencies of man. Behind the meteorological sphere, as it were behind a screen, there is hidden the astronomical domain in the external world as well as in the interior of man The distinctions here are as follows: the meteorological sphere within us comprises that which appertains to lungs, liver, bladder and heart; in the external world, it comprises the solid earth and the realms of air, water and warmth. Behind and beyond this region, lie the formative processes in the plant and mineral realms; and to these formative processes, which are so closely akin to the extra-telluric, i.e. the astronomical domain, there is a polar opposite in man, viz., the organs situated more deeply within our bodies than the four systems of organs mentioned above. As the relation of the processes in plant and mineral to what lies behind lung, liver, etc., is not so obvious, the study of the healing processes in this realm becomes far more difficult. The rational path of investigation is the clear comprehension of man's organic tendency to perform and produce, somewhere, the exact opposite to the happenings of external nature.
Take, as a concrete instance, the processes proper to silicic acid (silicon). These processes are especially conspicuous wherever silicates are being formed, as quartz or similar minerals. They have their counterpart within the human organism. And it is these processes which extend their work to certain occurrences (which receive far too little attention at present) within the soil, between the arable soil and the siliceous element in the earth, on the one hand, and those plant organs which grip the earth; the roots. Again all the substances derived from the ashes of plants, are closely related to the siliceous process outside ourselves.
This external siliceous process has its counterpart within us; namely in those organs situated — if I may so express myself — above the cardiac activity towards the pulmonary; I mean the inner organic formative activity, which moulds the lungs and is directed upwards towards the head region. In this formative activity which takes place above the heart we find the polarity to the formation of silicates in external nature. The particular internal organic process consists essentially in producing a high degree of homeopathic distribution — to use this term again — of the external siliceous process.
Suppose you are in charge of a case in which all the symptoms point to the seat of disease as situated above the heart — one of the obvious symptoms would be profuse secretion from the lungs, and meningitis is an equally pronounced indication. The results may be all sorts of other morbid manifestations in the body: for pulmonary disturbances act upon disturbances of the cardiac vessels, since everything in the organism is interdependent. Those disturbances which involve a tendency to inflammatory states of the brain, may not manifest directly but can reappear in inflammatory conditions in the digestive apparatus or its ancillary organs, and it is all important to be able to locate the origin of all these symptoms; we shall have to deal with this in later discussions. In all such cases we must introduce something which disperses and dilutes the action of the external siliceous processes to the highest degree. This particular connection is extremely significant and characteristic, proving the necessity of transforming the siliceous process which plays one of the leading roles in external nature, by dispersing, dividing, and triturating, in cases of marked symptoms in the upper portion of the body. But suppose we find injuries and morbid symptoms produced by organic interaction in the lower parts as, e.g., in the heart itself? Then benefit may be derived from introducing the process already transformed by such plants as are rich in silicates, either by directly using the plant substance or through a further preparation of it. In all plants rich in silicates, careful investigation should be made, to determine their effect on all the processes of our organism below the heart — those processes having, of course, their repercussions on the upper part as well.
The complete opposite of silicon formation is contained is all that we will term the process of carbon dioxide formation in external nature. The two are in certain respects true polarities. Therefore it is so necessary to follow up the carbon dioxide process in curative treatment of all cases of the opposite disturbance to that just dealt with, namely in everything connected with digestion or having its starting — point in the digestive system. All carbon dioxide preparations have remarkable remedial success in this class of illness, especially if used in the form moulded by nature namely, straight from the plants.
Here a certain connection must be kept in mind. Consider for a moment the substances with their characteristics of taste and smell: smell points to the outside visible world, taste to the hidden depth of the organism. Then examine the digestive process from this point of view and you will find that at the beginning of digestion, the substances merge together; they mingle and mix. But as the organic process goes on we are engaged in separating what again had been mixed; there is a renewed division, not so much of substances as of processes. This renewed division after merging and mixing is an outstanding task of the organism. First there is the principal bifurcation of excretion, on the one side through the bowels and in the other side in liquid form, as urine.
This bifurcation brings us to the consideration of an organic system which has more than any other to be approached by medical intuition in curing; this is the kidney system, with its remarkable ramifications which extend also to its special processes. We shall deal with these later on. Here I would only remind you of the interrelationship, already mentioned in these discussions, between intestinal evacuation or excretion, and the activities in the head. There is a similar interrelationship between urinary excretion and all the processes that take place around the heart, in the cardiac system. The formative process of intestinal evacuation is, in effect, a human copy of the siliceous process, and the process of urine formation is a copy of the carbonic acid process. Such connections are able to build the bridge from the process happening in the healthy individual to the process in the unhealthy. Herewith we have laid special stress on the relation of the processes proper. But they must not be viewed in isolation. And we shall see that it is only through mastery of these correspondences and relationships that we can arrive at a proper use of what Dr. Sch. recently described in his extraordinarily illuminating address, [Ed: A lecture delivered by a medical man attending Dr. Steiner's course.] as the Law of Similarity.
This Law of Similarity contains something very significant. But the Law must be constructed upon all the elements obtained by the taking heed of the relationships we are about to ascertain. For behind all the interactions to which reference has been made, there lies the connection between man and the realm of metals. If we speak on the one hand, of the silicon principle, as the force which forms us, and of the carbonic acid principle, as the force that dissolves us — this perpetual tendency to mould, to dissolve represents the process of life. In contemplating the formative forces of silicon, we must not forget that the regions of our bodies most akin to silicon are those related to all the metallic group comprising lead, tin and iron and thus related for reasons already indicated in previous lectures. Indeed we may say that in considering the region from the heart upwards, we must consider the workings in man of the silicon process on the one hand and of what is at work from the part of the metals, lead, tin, and iron on the other. The iron forces are connected preferably with the formative process of the lungs, those associated with tin with the formative principle of the head and those associated with lead, with the formative principle localised in the bony skeleton. For the formation and the growth of the bones are determined from the upper organic sphere, and not from the lower.
Furthermore, one has to learn how to weigh the co-operating factors, e.g., how to blend a remedy containing silicates with a metal which must bear a resemblance to the three metals aforesaid: iron, tin and lead. In treating the lower organic sphere, on the other hand, one must keep in mind the affinity with copper, quicksilver, and silver, and in applying carbonic acid processes we must consider how to combine in some way either these metals themselves or those of similar nature, with processes yielding carbonic acid.
In this way we build the bridge between what is of metallic nature in the terrestrial sphere (conditioned by extra-terrestrial forces) and what is of non-metallic, rock-forming nature; just as we combine what is formed under the control of the carbonic acid-principle and what is formed under the influence of the silicon forming principle. Thus we gradually become able to grasp concretely in external nature the substances which we have to introduce into the human organism in order to heal in a particular case.
Again, it should always be borne in mind that all substances working to a lesser extent on the lower senses, as, e.g., taste and smell, and thus not advertising their nature — so to speak — loudly and conspicuously, can for that very reason be effective in very strong dilutions, whereas much weaker dilutions are advisable where the substance proclaims its inner nature insistently to taste and smell. Substances of powerful odour and flavour are often excellent medicinally, without any additions, or combinations, especially if their healing effect is not counteracted by the habitual diet of the patient concerned. We must only clearly understand what is the point in the curative effect.
Before we can penetrate still more into these matters, let us realise that every one of the senses in man has fine shades of differentiation; and that the best material for tests to ascertain the reactions here, is the human being. Of course it is difficult to ascertain reactions to substances with no perceptible taste or smell. But may I draw your attention here to the possibilities of self education — a form of self-education of great value for medical smell especially — which consists in developing possible capacities of sensation which may give a sensory response even to — for instance — the process of silicon formation in external nature. Consider that there must be a meaning in the fact that quartz exhibits very regular crystal formations, and at the same time that this mineral and its allies so regular in their formations, tend nevertheless to the widest possible variety of crystallisation, for there is immense diversity in the crystals of all the silicates. He who can grasp these things can also perceive the action of a dispersing element in the possibility of all these different formations. There must of course be a fundamental dispersive force if there is the potentiality of such structural diversity as external nature reveals in the silicates. This is an indication for the therapeutic use of silicates in a “scattered” form. It is desirable to develop a capacity of sensation in these matters, such a sense will lead to a certain valuation concerning remedies. On the other hand, man must educate himself to become a suitable reactive instrument, and acquire sensory capacities for the fact for example — that the odours have a sevenfold classification just as the colour sensations. We have only to acquire the sense of difference between the sweet smell, the pungent smell and so forth to discover seven main nuances of smells, and the same is equally true of flavours. Moreover, if we acquire the power to differentiate all the odours in this olfactory scale — or olfactory spectrum if it may be so termed — we educate ourselves in the perception, e.g., of all the manifestations of burning and combustible substances. We penetrate into their essential nature. We shall see tomorrow how this can be done. If we also cultivate our capacity of taste and can perceive the difference between the faintest degrees of sweetness and of saltiness in flavours — and all the five shades between — we grow akin to the salt forming forces in external nature. And if we acquire this inner kinship, we also get a direct sensation from the natural sensory impression, as to which sphere or portion of the human organism this or that substance will benefit. Although the base must be careful and exact scientific investigations, it is most important that those scientific results should be accompanied by subjective perceptual experience; so as to develop a certain intimate feeling of kinship to the world of nature.
|GA 315. Curative Eurythmy — Lecture VII|
|The whole process in which this part begins to shine is the same process that I described as being especially under the influence of copper. It is the same process. Here one must draw the attention of the physicians to the fact that there are people with particular forms of illness. These forms of illness were brought to my attention again yesterday when I was shown some painted pictures that were very much admired in some quarters at least, and was asked whether they were particularly occult.|
|GA 315. Curative Eurythmy — Lecture VII|
Held before physicians(held before physicians)
In respect to particulars you will find it necessary to elucidate what I have to tell you today about eurythmy through your knowledge of physiology and so on. How that can he done will reveal itself to you as if of its own accord, if I may say so. When we look into a spiritual-corporeal process such as that which takes place in eurythmy, we may do no less than to indicate the deeper spiritual-physical connections as well. Thus I would like to draw your attention to the following.
First we must contemplate that extra-human world process which one usually traces only in its details and not in regard to what is actually inwardly active. Just consider what earth formation is, in reality: a formative tendency works from the planetary sphere inward. And furthermore, from what lies without the planetary sphere a formative working into the earth takes place: continuous, radiant cosmic forces revealing themselves in the individual potentialities (“Kraftentitäten”, entities of force) radiating towards the earth.
In this connection we may conceive of these cosmic powers as working centripetally and building up that which is on and in the Earth from without — although they encompass all that I have said about such rays previously as well. The fact is that the metals of the Earth as a whole, for example, are not in essence formed out of some force or another within the Earth, but are actually set into the Earth from the Cosmos. Now these forces that work through the ether can be called formative forces, formative forces working in from outside and not from the planets, for in that case they would work towards the centre; the planets are there for the specific purpose of modifying them, that is, the planetary sphere. Please take note of them in precisely this context: the formative forces. In opposition to them stand those forces in the human being and in the earth which take up those formative forces and make them fast, which assemble them around a point so that the earth can come into being. Those forces which make secure we may thus call the consolidating forces (“Kräfte des Befestigens”) (please see the following diagram, and the one shown on page 81.)
In the human being they are present as the forces that build up the organs plastically, whereas the other forces, the formative forces, have more to do with propelling the organs out of the spiritual-etheric world into the physical world. That is a process which becomes so tangible in the contrast between the propulsive powers of magnesium and the rounding-off forces of fluorine. It is a process active every-where: in the teeth from below upwards and rounding-off at the top, but from front to back as well and from the back forwards, from above to below, rounding-off at the bottom. This process will become directly tangible if you picture to yourself that, in association with the tendency to push something spherical forwards, from without inwards, some-thing is formed which is opposed by a process of spherical formation from below upwards (red, in the following illustration).
Between these two processes is that which mediates: processes of secretion and on the other hand, the absorption of what the other has secreted and so on, that which can be called processes of secretion in the widest sense; then in the final analysis absorption is dependent upon a secretion inwards which is in turn re-absorbed. In between lies thus what can be best called secretory processes.
Such a secretory process becomes tangible when you picture to yourself that on the one side lies what continually wants to secrete carbon (orange, in the illustration) and that which takes it up through respiration from the fore in the formation of carbon dioxide (white).
Behind this such a process of secretion is taking place. When you descend further into the metabolic-limb system, you have a proper process of consolidation. However, this process is present in the other direction as well. You will be able to follow it most tangibly by studying the eye, which is built inwards from without, as embryology demonstrates, but is consolidated from within. The formation is internalized. That is the manner in which the eye develops. It is internalized (see the following drawing: orange).
Thus, as we progress to that which is of soul-spiritual nature in man, to the organs of the soul-spiritual, to the sense-organs, we find that the process of consolidation has become spiritualized, truly ensouled and spiritualized in perception; that is, more or less, the descending process which leads to the formation of. the organs (please refer to the first illustration and to the chart which follows).
Thus we find at the lowermost end the process of sensory perception, objective perception. If this development continues, if it goes further in this direction, then the process of perception encounters the consolidating forces; should it become conscious in this encounter, it will become imagination. If imagination develops further and becomes conscious in encountering the process of secretion, it becomes inspiration. And when inspiration develops further in the direction of the formative forces, collides with them consciously and thus sees through these forces, it becomes intuition. Thus Dne can develop this progression in the life of the soul stage by stage from objective sensory perception to imagination, to inspiration and to intuition.
Formative forces Intuition Secretory processes Inspiration Consolidation Imagination Perception
This process which unfolds in the soul is based, however, on the process of coming-into-being. It is in fact, as you can see here, only the inverse of this genesis. One steps out to encounter what has already come into existence, rising into this becoming in the opposite direction. Formation takes place in the descending direction. The human being ascends in the opposite direction; he advances to meet what is coming into being. Thus, what one develops as powers of perception and cognition in imagination, inspiration and intuition always has its counter-activity in the creative powers which express themselves in the formative forces, in the processes of secretion and consolidation.
From all of this you will gather that what is active in the human organism in the opposite direction, in its coming into being, is that into which one ascends when rising in knowledge. You will perceive that in reality what we attain in imagination are the same powers which, without our being conscious of them, reveal themselves in the phenomena of growth, in the plastic phenomena of growth. If we ascend to inspiration, we come upon the forces which inspire man from without inwards in his breathing, which shape him through and through as he breathes, which shape themselves into the plastic forces as they work these forces through, to a degree. And if we ascend to intuition, we rise in reality to the primal mover (“Agens”) who enters into our plastic forms from the world without as substantial being.
You see, in this way we grasp the human being as he takes shape out of the Cosmos. If we now apply the knowledge which we have gained in one way or another through anatomy or physiology and illuminate it with what is given us here, then we begin to understand the organs and their functions. This is an indication of how to understand the organs and their functions. Thus what is always at work plastically in the human being, what permeates and shapes him, lives on the other hand in the movements for the consonants, the unconscious imaginative forces which call forth a permeation of the organism, as I said yesterday. Yesterday's lecture should be of help. Here you can perceive how consonantal eurythmy takes hold of deficient formative powers, deficient plastic forces in the human being and transforms them into something truly sculptural.
Let us assume we have a child before us and we see that he is insufficiently formed, that his growth is rampant. What does it mean, when we say that something of a plastic nature is growing uncontrolledly? It means that the plastic is working centrifugally, thus making the head large, and, in doing so, is no longer permitting the head to be permeated in the proper manner with imaginative forces. These must be supplied. Therefore one will let the child do consonantal eurythmy.
Here we have a question about “a two-year-old boy with a large head, who is nevertheless not hydrocephalic and is otherwise apparently healthy.”
Here you have the effective antidote, in properly applied consonantal eurythmy. Here we have arrived at the point at which a thorough observation of the morphology, of the more profound morphological facts, can provide a direct indication for the eurythmic treatment.
Another: “a twelve and three-quarter-year-old boy whose growth in height is distinctly retarded, with no organic findings other than worms; intelligent but intellectually quickly tired.” A most interesting complex of symptoms, all of which indicate that the imaginative forces are insufficent, that the plastic forces in the organs are running rampant because of a lack of inner fictile forces, of plastic soul forces. These plastic forces of the soul are those which destroy parasites. It is no wonder that when these forces are insufficient the child has worms. Thus one should have him do consonantal eurythmy; therein lies the antidote. These associations will provide you with concrete indications of where you can employ eurythmy. Although the phenomena are somewhat camouflaged here, eurythmy will have an extraordinarily positive effect even in such cases, particularly if one complements it medicinally.
Here I have an interesting question that has been presented to me. Naturally I must answer the questions in principle. If complications of any sort should appear, they can later be taken into special consideration as the case demands. However, although it may be necessary to combine something else along with it, the matter has nevertheless been thoroughly dealt with from the side characterized.
“I have as a patient a five-year-old child who lost a great deal of blood as the result of a bullet wound suffered in the outbreaks of violence; two years ago a deformation of the joints set in. These are things which could lead to anaemia and similar conditions in adults. How could one help this child therapeutically?”
Here you have a deformation of the joints. That is an outwardly-working tendency of plastic forces that are unable to remain within. Thus these forces ray outwards, leaving the human being instead of working within him as they should. They will be reflected in the most effective manner precisely through the practice of consonantal eurythmy. In doing consonantal eurythmy you will call forth the objectively effective imaginations which offset the deformations. As the manner in which the question is placed quite correctly indicates, people in the future will in general tend to deform in the most manifold ways, because they will no longer be able to build up the normalizing human form out of the involuntarily active forces. Man will become free; he will gradually become free even in respect to the building up of his own form. However, he must then be able to do something with this freedom. Ile must go on to engender imaginations which continuously counter the deformation.
Now as to the other; you see that we are here concerned with a dearth of objective imagination. We could have to do with a deficiency of objective inspiration as well, which would express itself in a deformation of the rhythmic system, if I may call it that. In the case of a deformation of the rhythmic system, the objective inspiration which goes inwards does not encounter the circulatory rhythm in the proper manner. One can work towards a normalization of the situation by practising vowels in eurythmy. In eurythmy the vowels affect internal irregularities which are precisely not accompanied by morphological changes, even as consonantal eurythmy affects deformations and the tendency to deformation.
As I said earlier, it may nevertheless be necessary to render aid when something appears in particularly radical form, as in the case of the deformations of the joints that we just discussed. There it would he necessary to come to the assistance of the consonantal eurythmic process therapeutically. This consonantal process works by stimulating through its imagination the inner breathing of the organs orientated from without inwards and lying on the far side, of the intestinal wall: the lungs, the kidneys, the liver, and so on. When a person does consonantal eurythmy, it is a fact that particularly the back of the head, the lungs, the liver and the kidneys begin to sparkle and flash; something is really there that indicates the reaction of the spirit and soul to what is _lone outside in the consonants. Man becomes a shining being in these organs, and the movements that are carried out are in continuous opposition to the luminous movements within. In particular, there appears an entire luminous reproduction of the excretory process of the kidneys, through certain consonantal movements. One has a picture of the excretory process of the kidneys in this luminous process which comes about as the result of consonantal eurythmy. And that works over into the unconscious imagination. The whole process in which this part begins to shine is the same process that I described as being especially under the influence of copper. It is the same process. Here one must draw the attention of the physicians to the fact that there are people with particular forms of illness. These forms of illness were brought to my attention again yesterday when I was shown some painted pictures that were very much admired in some quarters at least, and was asked whether they were particularly occult. In a certain sense, of course, they are occult, but it is extraordinarily difficult to speak to people about these things, for they are an objectively-fixed kidney-efflorescence; they are the objectively-fixed process of the excretion of urine. When in the case of persons predisposed to this illness the process of urinary excretion becomes an abnormal, luminous process, that is, when the process of excretion falters — a purely metabolic illness — the kidneys then begin to shine. When this inwardly directed clairvoyance then sets in, people begin to draw wildly. What they produce will be aesthetic, in an outer formal manner beautiful in every case. The colours applied will be beautiful. But, of course, people are not content when one says to them, “Yes, there you have painted something very beautiful; it is in fact your obstructed excretion of urine.” I can assure you that the obstructed urinary process and suppressed sexual desires — which lead as well in a certain manner to metabolic irregularities — are often presented by people of particularly mystical nature as mystically profound drawings and paintings. In much of what makes its appearance in the world in this manner one should recognize the symptoms of pathological abnormalities in the human being that are just bearable still.
As you see, anthroposophically oriented spiritual science is not mysticism as mysticism is commonly understood, since it fosters no illusions about matters such as we have just characterized. Quite the contrary: it investigates just such matters. People take exception to one for doing so, however. They resent my having gone so far in a public lecture as to indicate that the lovely poetry of Mechthild von Magdeburg, for example, or of Saint Theresa, are the inspirational reflexes of processes arising from repressed sexuality. Here, of course, the things are not drawn or painted, but poetically expressed. Naturally it is not pleasant for people to hear Mechthild von Magdeburg or Saint Theresa described as personalities with a strong sexuality which they restrained precisely because it was too strong for them, that certain metabolic-circulatory processes resulted from this retension, and that the reactions to this in turn appeared in such a form that they were fixed in very beautiful poetry. Indeed, this phenomenon leads extraordinarily deep into the mysteries of existence, when considered in a higher light. However, one must be able to rise to such an interpretation. And, therefore, one must have at least a notion of these peculiar processes which light up as inward processes when eurythmy is done outwardly. And in the moment when what is concealed within the poetry becomes eurythmy, as I showed you yesterday — when a beautiful poem is read and the eurythmy corresponding to it is done as we saw yesterday in vowels or consonants — then the one thing crosses the other; then an inward silent speaking joins what is carried out outwardly in movements in the person doing eurythmy as well. And when this process does not exude in sultry poetry but takes instead the course of accompanying beautiful poetry as eurythmy, then that which takes place in the human being does not become a recording of mysticism, but a definite process of healing for the human being. Thus one can say that when one lets the patients do eurythmy in such a manner that one continually brings to his attention: listen carefully, bring intensely into consciousness the sound that you hear, the relationships of the sentence you hear, to which you are doing eurythmy; then one will initiate his ascent to the outward formative forces, to the objectively intuiting powers. When one wants to affect all that has remained in the human being from what no longer took place between birth and death, but what materialism calls inheritance — the greater part of which, however, is carried over from the pre-existent spiritual soul-life — if one wants to affect what can be called congenital defects and so on, then one will do well to work — particularly during the course of youth — again and again through eurythmy by challenging the person doing it: make very clear to yourself what you hear outwardly! By this method one can drive out all the tendencies to fix inwardly what would like to arise and take form in something like mystical poetry or mystical drawing. Precisely that will be connected to the beautiful outer poem. It is the reverse process. A true mystic knows that that of an abnormal nature which is reflected by the human being as beauty always has a questionable side. By contrast, one cannot claim that, when what is beautiful in the outer world is experienced inwardly, it appears as a particularly magnificent and beautiful picture: on the contrary, it becomes schematic and thereby abstract; abstract as if it were sketched; abstract, as a drawing is abstract. That is precisely what is healthy, however, and what is desired. The beautiful historic process would not have taken place, but if for example Mechthild von Magdeburg had been instigated to do eurythmy to good poetry, her entire mystic fate would have been spared her. Naturally one can say here that a point has been reached where in a certain sense good and evil cease to exist; one enters into the amoral sphere of Nietzche, beyond good and evil. Of course, one cannot be so philistine as to claim that all the Mechthilds von Magdeburg should be eradicated. On the other hand you may be certain that from the super-sensible worlds care will be taken that the corresponding connections with these super-sensible worlds nevertheless remain, when man attempts to prevent this tendency from undue proliferation.
Although it is quite late, I would still like to go into a few matters in order to perhaps bring some clarification. I would like to start with the following question:
“Couldn't the therapeutic eurythmy exercises be reinforced by rational breathing exercises? It needn't necessarily be Hatha-Yoga.”
To this I would like to make the following remark. In our times, and within the direction that the continually progressing human nature has taken, rational breathing exercises, as a reinforcement of the eurythmic exercises, can in fact only be treated in the following manner. It will be observed that a tendency towards a modification in the rhythm of respiration arises of its own accord under the influence of the vowels in eurythmy. One will notice this quite clearly. Here one finds oneself in the uncomfortable situation that one should avoid stereotyping, avoid saying the one thing or another in general, but should first observe what is to be done. One should concern oneself in each individual case with the breathing of the person in whose healing one is attempting to be of assistance by means of eurythmic vowel exercises (in accordance with the diagnosis given, whatever it may be); one should observe the modification of the breathing and subsequently make the patient aware that he can consciously pursue this tendency himself. We are no longer human beings like the ancient orientals, who would go the reverse route and influence the entire human being by way of a prescribed method of breathing. This is something which today leads of necessity, in every case, to inner shocks, no matter how it is prescribed; it should really be avoided. We just have to learn to notice what kind of effect eurythmy itself, especially vocalic eurythmy, has on the breathing process. And then we can consciously continue the tendency which arises eurythmically, in the individual case. You will certainly observe that this respiratory process will be carried on individually, continued in varying manners in different people.
My esteemed friends, those are more or less the things that it is possible to answer at the moment. We have no real possibility of dealing with a number of matters that have got bogged down due to the shortness of time. In closing, my dear friends. I want to warn you that you must be prepared that your medical colleagues in the world will wage their wars no less intensely when they become aware of your bringing something of our sort to bear, and that you will have need of the penetrating power of conviction to weaken what will confront you. In no case, of course, may what you are confronted with lead you to neglect these matters; we may permit ourselves no illusions about those antagonistic forces we arouse.
At the end of this course I would as well like to state that, in order to make the movement possible, as it should now be inaugurated in the medical field, I will adhere everywhere to the policy of not involving myself directly with the patients in the therapeutic process, but will discuss and consult only with the physicians themselves. Thus you will always be in the position to refute any allegations that I myself interfere in any way in an unjustified manner in the therapy. I have already mentioned this at the end of the last course. This has been made extraordinarily difficult for me even from the anthroposophical side — this cannot he passed over in silence — as people naturally make all possible demands in this direction. It is also definitely the case that among anthroposophists the tendency exists, not only not to rise above egoism, but sometimes to become even more egoistic than normal people are. Then, when the occasion arises it is often a matter of complete indifference to the person, what the welfare of the movement may entail; that the welfare of the movement is dependent in each individual instance upon a rejection of the practice of what the world outside terms quackery; that a healing process should take place in the whole of medicine and should not be disturbed by the demands arising from an individual's personal aspirations. People will make it difficult, but it must be carried through in this direction, since we will only be able to succeed in this area when we can stand up to the outer world — as we are otherwise able to, in the anthroposophical movement, insofar as matters are conducted with understanding and not bowdlerized by people without understanding. Simply by virtue of knowing what is going on in the anthroposophical movement we must be in the position to say: what is being said there is certainly a lie, it is beyond doubt an invention. We must simply always be in the position to say that, in certain cases. And we come to be able to say that, when we are all inwardly initiated in the contents of matters such as those to which I have drawn attention here: that I myself do not intervene in the therapeutic process, but that within the anthroposophical movement the doctors are responsible for the therapy of the patients.
Having said what was necessary, I want to add nothing more than the wish that the stimuli — which, in this course in particular, have often remained mere indications — may work on in you and become active in the appropriate manner for the welfare of humanity. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to carry on in some manner what we have already twice begun; in any case we will make an effort to carry on with it. With this wish, my dear friends, I will close these contemplations, in the hope that our deeds in these directions may be in accord with our wishes. It was very satisfying to see you here. It will be a satisfying feeling to think back on these days here, which it was your desire to spend together towards the enrichment of medical science. The thoughts that hold us together will accompany you, my dear friends, on the paths that you will wander, to transform into deeds what we attempted to activate, to begin with here, as thoughts.
|GA 201. Man: Hieroglyph of the Universe — Lecture VIII|
|Instead of wishing to examine the structure of the molecule microscopically, we must turn our gaze outwards to the starry heavens, we must look at the constellations and see copper in one, tin in another! Out there in the Macrocosm we have to behold the structure of the molecule that is only reflected in the molecule. Instead of passing into the infinitely little, we must turn our gaze outwards to the infinitely great, for it is there we have to look for the reality of what lives in the little.|
|GA 201. Man: Hieroglyph of the Universe — Lecture VIII|
I would like to bring forward again, in a rather different form, a few remarks made in the course of our studies. You know that the fact of the intimate relation between man and the Universe was much better known to methods of perception used by the ancients than to ours of the present day. If we were to go back to the period of the Egypto-Chaldean culture, we should find that man did not look upon himself as a separate being who perambulates the Earth, but as a being belonging to the whole Universe. He knew of course to begin with that in a certain sense he was dependent upon the Earth. That can easily be observed; even our own materialistic age admits that Man, as far as his physical metabolism is concerned, depends upon the Earth's products, which he assimilates. But in those ancient times, by means of course of atavistic perception, Man knew himself to be dependent also in his soul on the one hand on the elements of fire, water and air, and on the other hand on the movements of the planets. These he related to his soul-nature in the same way as he related the products of the Earth to his physical metabolism. And the part of the Universe that is outside or beyond the planetary system, all that is in the starry heavens — this he connected with his spirit.
Thus in those past ages, when materialism was out of the question, man knew himself to be living in the bosom of the Universe. You may now ask: Yes, but how is it that the man of those times made such big mistakes in connection with the movements of the heavenly bodies, while today, in this materialistic age, he has made such magnificent progress in relation to the real truth of these movements? Well, we have spoken of these things for a considerable time and we have pointed out that the movements man believes in today are asserted by science merely on the basis of certain prejudices. Upon this subject I shall have more to say tomorrow, but for the moment we may remind ourselves that present-day man has entirely lost consciousness of the fact that that which belongs to the whole man can no more be discovered in the physical world than in the visible stellar world. For it is absolutely impossible to gain a true perception even of the visible starry heavens, unless man combines with the outer physical life the super-physical in his considerations — that super-physical part of his life through which he passes between death and re-birth. Yesterday we drew attention to the metamorphosis that takes place in man in this change from earthly to super-earthly life and showed how the organs which we consider as belonging to the lower man (and of which we said yesterday that they open inwards), transform themselves — as regards their forces, though obviously not in their substance — during the period between death and a new birth, and become what is considered to be the more noble head-organism. This latter is in reality nothing more than the metamorphosis — as regards the structure of its forces — of the so-called ‘lower’ man of the last Earth-life.
If we really think this matter over, we can see — in spirit — how between death and re-birth, man has a certain content within him of his experiences, as he has also here between birth and death. But the content is essentially different in each case. We may make this difference clear by saying: between birth and death, man has, as the circumference for his experiences, the circumference in Space, and also that which takes place in Time. He has these — Space and Time — as a circumference for his experiences.
You know in how small a degree man really experiences the processes of his inner organism. He is not conscious of them. All the organisation within the skin is known to man only indirectly and incompletely. The knowledge gained through anatomy and physiology is not real knowledge, for we do not by means of this investigation look into the actual interior of man; it is an illusion to believe that we do. Spiritual Science alone gradually reveals all that is within man. But how do we find conditions in this respect during the interval between death and a new birth? We have to put it in this way. In a certain sense we look then from the periphery upon the centre. And we know just as little of the periphery as we do here of our centre or interior. But on the other hand we have during this period a direct perception of the secrets and mysteries of Man himself. That which is hidden within us — within our skin — that we observe between death and a new birth as our experiences.
Now you will perhaps say that this world which we view during the time between death and re-birth must be a very small one indeed. But spatial dimensions do not count at all. It is the fullness or poverty of the content that matters, not the size. If we combine all we observe in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms, and add thereto the starry heavens, it would not compare in richness with the mysteries within Man himself. The real process is approximately as follows. We lose the structural forces of the head when we pass over in death. They have completed their office. But then the spiritual world takes up the structural forces of the remaining (lower) organism, which from being inner experience belong now to the periphery, and transforms them in such a way that when the time is ripe, from out of the spiritual world the human head is determined in the womb of the mother.
We must be absolutely clear upon this point. The very first beginning of the corporeal man within the mother, is a result of the whole process we have been describing. Conception is merely the opportunity given for a certain cosmic activity to penetrate the human body, and that which is formed first in the process of man's formation is indeed an image of the whole Cosmos. He who wishes to study the human embryo from its first stage onwards, must consider it as an image of the Cosmos.
These matters are today almost entirely overlooked. For of what do we generally think when we speak of the origin of a human being in the physical sense? Of heredity! We observe how the child-organism is formed within the parent-organism, and we are ignorant of how the cosmic forces which surround us are active within the parent-organism; we are ignorant of the fact that the whole Macrocosm projects its force into the human being in order to make possible the genesis of a new human being.
Of course, the great fault of our present-day world-philosophy is that we never take the Macrocosm into consideration, and therefore never become conscious of where lie the forces whose effect we observe. I must once again remind you of the following. The modern physicist or chemist says that there are molecules which are composed of atoms, that the atoms possess forces by means of which they act upon each other. Now this is a conception which simply does not accord with reality. The truth is, that the minutest molecule is acted upon by the whole starry heavens. Suppose here is a planet, here another, here another, and so on. Then there are the fixed stars, which transmit their forces into the molecule. All these lines of force intersect each other in various ways. The Planets also transmit their forces in the same way, and we come to realise that the molecule is nothing but a focus of macrocosmic forces. It is the ardent desire of modern science to bring microscopy far enough to enable the atoms to be seen within the molecule. This way of looking at the subject must cease. Instead of wishing to examine the structure of the molecule microscopically, we must turn our gaze outwards to the starry heavens, we must look at the constellations and see copper in one, tin in another! Out there in the Macrocosm we have to behold the structure of the molecule that is only reflected in the molecule. Instead of passing into the infinitely little, we must turn our gaze outwards to the infinitely great, for it is there we have to look for the reality of what lives in the little.
In this way does the materialistic conception of things also affect other domains of thought. Someone who considers himself capable of giving an opinion on the progress of human knowledge may say: the nineteenth century materialism is now overcome! No! It is not overcome so long as men still think atomically, so long as they fail to search in the great for the form and configuration of the small. Neither is the materialism relative to humanity overcome, so long as we continue to ignore the connection of Man the Microcosm with the Macrocosm.
And at this point we are confronted with a new — I might say a monstrous — evidence of materialism, to which I have previously drawn attention. It is in so-called Theosophy that its traces are often to be found, where a tendency is present to look at things in the following way. Here we have matter; then ether, thinner than matter but otherwise similar to physical matter; then comes the astral — again thinner or finer than the etheric; and after that quite a number of other beautiful things, all thinner and thinner and thinner. Call it Kama-manas, or what you will, it is not spiritual, but remains materialistic! The truth is that in order to arrive at a real understanding of the world, we must conceive of heavy, ponderable matter as ceasing at the ether; for we must clearly understand that this ether is essentially a very different thing from that substance of which we speak as filling space. When speaking of this latter substance, we think of space as filled with matter. But this we cannot do when we speak of ether, for then we must conceive space as being empty of matter. When ordinary matter strikes some other object, the object is repelled or pushed away. When ether approaches an object, it attracts it and draws it within itself. The activity of ether is the exact opposite to that of matter. Ether acts as an absorbent. Were this otherwise, you would present the same appearance back and front, for even in this diversity of the physical appearance of man we have the result, on the one hand of the pressure of ponderable matter, and on the other of the absorbing action of ether. Your nose is forced outwards, as it were, from your organism through the pressure of matter, while the eye sockets are drawn inward through the action of ether. It is therefore simply a pressing and absorbing substance acting within you which differentiates the exterior appearance of your front and back. These are things which are not usually taken into consideration.
Further, when we come to speak of the astral, we must not think of three-dimensional physical matter extending in a three-fold way in space, nor must we think of the absorbent ether, but of a third factor, one that forms the adjustment or connection between the other two. And should we then go on and attempt to form some approximate idea of that part of our being termed the Ego — the ‘I am’ — we would have to include a fourth factor, which acts as mediator between, on the one hand, the absorbent-repelling action of ether and physical matter, and on the other hand, the astral substance. These are the things that must be taken into consideration.
You cannot logically ask: If the ether has merely a sucking, absorbing action, how then is it possible for us to perceive it? The fact is, ether stands, figuratively speaking, in the same relation in respect to ponderable matter — I am speaking now in a picture — as the relation we find in another plane if we have a bottle of soda-water. We cannot see the water in the bottle, but the pearly bubbles we can see, although these are ‘thinner’ than the water. And so it is in the case of the ether, which is a ‘hollow’ in physical matter and therefore the essential antithesis of physical matter; it also can be perceived.
From the foregoing you will now see that it is necessary, when speaking of the life between death and re-birth, to realise that this life is actually lived beyond space — beyond the space of which we are cognisant on the Earth-plane; and we shall have to endeavour to gain a conception of this ‘beyond’ of space. You can best do so by trying first to imagine ‘filled’ space. Take for instance, a table; it fills or occupies space. Then you pass from ‘filled’ space to ‘empty’ space, and perhaps you would say that you cannot go beyond this. But as I have previously pointed out to you, this would be about as sensible as to say: ‘I have a full purse out of which I continue to take money till nothing is left; this “nothing” cannot be less than it is’. But it can be less if you get into debt, when you would have less than nothing in your purse! Similarly empty space can be less than empty by being filled with ether, when it becomes a negative entity.
And that which adjusts or connects the two, that which mediates also in you between pressure and suction, is the astral. No relation would exist between the front and back of a human body did not the astral activity within form the connection between the absorbent and the pressing elements. You will say: I do not observe this connecting element. But try to follow the digestive process, and you will find the connecting link very clearly manifested. The astral is active there, and its activity is based upon the contrast between the front and back nature of the human being, even as the connection between the higher (head) man and lower (limb) man by way of the astral is based upon the Ego. We must therefore consider man, as he stands before us, in a quite concrete manner and make clear to ourselves that while he has existence upon this plane between birth and death he imprints his astral part and his Ego in the absorbent and pressure-producing elements, but his being only manifests here on Earth as the mediator between the front and the back, and between the upper and the lower parts of the body.
Now, what is this mediator or connecting link? It is that which we experience within us when we feel our equilibrium. We do not jerk the head forward and backward; we stand and walk erect. We accommodate our posture to the demands of the laws of equilibrium. We cannot see this, but we experience it inwardly. When we pass through the gate of death we consciously adjust ourselves to this condition, of which here we take no heed. If we possessed eyes only, it would then be dark around us, and if we had ears only, stillness would envelop us. But we have also the sense of equilibrium, and the sense of motion, and so we become able after all to ‘experience’ there. We take part in that which on Earth is implied in the words ‘equilibrium’ and ‘movement’. We adapt ourselves to the movements of the external world, we find our way into them.
You see, here, in the life between birth and death, the only way we experience the activity of the Earth's revolution upon its axis is in our daily metabolic process. We must take our daily meals, and this together with the succeeding digestive processes takes place within the limits of 24 hours, uniform with one revolution of the Earth. These two things belong together, the one is proof of the other. When we die, the revolution of the Earth becomes something real, as real as are the visible objects here. Then we live with this terrestrial motion; we begin to experience this motion consciously.
There are also other motions connected with the starry heavens, all of which we experience after death. Correctly considered, the description of our experiences already includes this experience, for we do not expand into the Cosmos like a jelly-fish, but we take part in the life of the Cosmos — and as beings taking part in cosmic life we experience at the same time the inner being of man. Between birth and death we say: My heart is within my breast, and in it converge the streams or motions of the blood-circulation. At a certain stage of development between death and re-birth we say: In my inner being is the Sun — and by this expression we mean the actual Sun, which the physicist claims to be a ball of gas, but which is in reality something quite different. We experience the actual Sun in the same manner as we experience here the heart. Here the Sun is visible to the eye, whereas during the time between death and re-birth the evolution of the heart on its path to the pineal gland, as it undergoes on the way a wonderful metamorphosis, is the cause of sublime experiences. The complete system of our blood-circulation we experience consciously in its transformation; we have this system within existence between death and re-birth proceeds, these forces undergo transmutation, so that, when once again we arrive at the gates of a new Earth-life, they have become the forces of us — not, of course, the substance, but the forces. As our new nervous-system. Look at the plates and illustrations scattered through modern books on anatomy or physiology and examine the circulatory system of the blood in one incarnation. This in the next incarnation becomes the life of the nerves. (We must not depict in diagrammatic form the head, breast (rhythmic) and limb systems as existing side by side, for they interpenetrate each other.) Note the wonderful structure of the human eye; there we find blood-vessels, choroid and retina (omentum). The last two are transformations of each other. What today is retina, was in the last incarnation choroid, and what is choroid today will be retina in the next incarnation. Of course this must not be taken too literally, but such is the approximate course of events. So you will understand that we cannot gain an essential conception of man if we merely study him as he appears between birth and death or even along the lines by which he develops through the forces of physical heredity. For thereby we understand man at most as far as the circulatory system; that would be the last process we would understand. The nervous system of the present life is a result of a former life, and can never be understood if studied in connection with the present life alone.
Now my dear friends, I beg of you not to object to what I have explained, by saying that animals have also a nervous system although they have no earlier lives. Such an objection would indeed be very short-sighted; for though in man the forces of his nervous system are the transformation of the blood-circulation of the former life, that does not imply that the same is valid in the case of animals. It would be just as logical to go to a barber and ask him to sell you a razor for the dinner-table — a razor being a knife, and knives forming part of the dinner service! Razors however do not! Nothing carries within itself its immediate purpose, neither does a physical organ. The human organ is entirely different from the animal organ. It depends upon the use to be made of an organ. We should not compare the human nervous system with that of an animal, but rather observe the fact that human nerves have become similar — during the course of their evolution — to animal nerves, just as the razor has become similar to the table-knife. This again demonstrates that when man follows the ordinary materialistic line of investigation, he can arrive at no true conclusion. Yet that is just the path which is being followed today.
It is this kind of investigation that prevents us from arriving at a conception of man as a product of the spiritual world. Our religious creeds, as they have gradually developed, have pandered too much to human egoism. It may almost be said that their one and only aim is to convince their followers of a continuation of life after death, because the egoism of humanity demands it. Yet it is equally important to prove to men the continuation in this life of a pre-natal life, so that they may comprehend — ‘Here upon this earth I have to be a continuation of what I was between death and my present birth. I have to continue a spiritual life here on this plane.’ This indeed is not likely to please egoism so much; but it is something that must of necessity again imbue our civilisation, so that humanity can be liberated from its anti-social instincts. Try to imagine what it will mean when we can look upon a human countenance and say: ‘That is not of this world. The spiritual world has been at work upon it between the last death and this birth.’ For a time will come when we shall see within the material the imprint of the spiritual work between death and re-birth. It will indeed be a very different kind of culture which will guide humanity then; and it will bring in its train very different convictions and tendencies of thought, which will not permit the contemplation of the Cosmos as a vast machine set in motion by the mutual attraction between the stars — apart from the fact that this abstraction has already reached its zenith. Abstraction is deeply rooted in our ordinary conception of the planetary system, and it produces today some very strange results. For example, a great deal of popular literature is permeated with glorification of an idea which originates from Einstein. This idea is said to have shaken the theory of gravitation. Imagine that, far away from all celestial bodies — so that an interference by a field of gravity may be obviated — there is a box. Inside it is a man who holds a stone in one hand, and some down in the other. He lets both out of the box and see — they begin to fall — and fall until they reach the ground. Yes, says Einstein, men will no doubt say that the stone and the down both fall to the ground. But it need not be so; for up above a rope may be fastened and by some means or other the box is drawn up. The stone and the down — owing to the absence of any celestial body — do not fall, but remain where they are. When the bottom of the box reaches them, it takes them up with it.
This kind of discussion concerning an extreme abstraction, can be found today in the modern theory of relativity which Albert Einstein has propounded. Just think how far humanity has deviated from actuality! We can talk of relativity — well and good, but just imagine what would happen were this picture taken in earnest! A box, some inconceivable distance away from any celestial body that might attract (by gravitation) the stone and the down; and inside this box a man (air is only found of course in the neighbourhood of heavenly bodies, but the man is quite happy and content; as for his stone and his down, they of course need no air!), and now the box is suspended from outside and is then lifted up!
All this is a further development of the theory of Newton who postulated that ‘push’ or impetus which is imparted to a globe in the direction of a tangent, so that it is able with centrifugal force to escape the centripetal force. Such things as these actually form the contents of scientific discussions today, and are considered great achievements, whereas they are nothing more than a testimony to the fact that we have arrived at the most extreme abstraction, and that materialism has produced a state of complete ignorance in humanity as to what matter really is, and caused man to live in a series of mental pictures far removed from all reality.
But, my dear friends, these things are not in the least observed today, and we find our newspapers proclaiming that a new discovery has been made: the theory of gravitation has been replaced by the theory of inertia. The stone and down are not attracted; they remain in their original place — perhaps only because we can manage to imagine such a thing — while the box is raised! One can in truth say that so much nonsense masquerades as genius today that it becomes difficult to distinguish the one from the other. Can we wonder that in these times when in many other departments of thought too as well as that just described, men's ideas have grown quite crooked — can we wonder that we have at last been brought to the conditions of the last five or six years! These are things of which we need again and again to be reminded.
I have had to recall them to you today, and to-morrow I will add something further concerning the structure of the Universe.
|GA 221. Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom — Human Beings as Citizens of the Universe and Hermits on the Earth II|
|Truly, we are proud of accumulating insights people in ancient times considered worthwhile only after they had been illuminated by knowledge of the heavens. We do not have heavenly wisdom. We do not study copper by looking at Venus or lead by looking at Saturn. We also do not study primeval human beings by looking at the sign of Aquarius, and we do not understand what moves from the animal nature of the lion to certain inner impulses of human nature by studying the sign of Leo.|
|GA 221. Earthly Knowledge and Heavenly Wisdom — Human Beings as Citizens of the Universe and Hermits on the Earth II|
The great change in the spiritual development of humanity that took place in recent centuries and that I have described from many different perspectives has not only changed the intellectual and theoretical character of cognition and perception but has also affected the feelings and emotions in the human soul and therefore all of human life. To fully realize this, we will look today at the actual foundations of life, that is, not only at various more or less pronounced symptoms of this change, but also at life's characteristic forms of expression where we will be able to trace this shift in human consciousness.
We have often talked about the centers of learning in ancient times of human evolution, namely, the Mystery centers. These Mystery centers were, so to speak, completely clothed in human veneration. People spoke of the Mysteries as being the most important thing on earth for humanity. Everything significant and meaningful for human life was believed to radiate from them. Basically, people then believed that if there were no Mysteries among them, they could not be what the gods had intended them to be. Indeed, people looked with the greatest reverence and the deepest respect to the Mysteries. They felt gratitude for the Mysteries because they realized what they received from the Mysteries allowed them to become on earth what the gods had wanted human beings to be.
When we compare this with people's attitudes toward educational institutions nowadays, we will find nothing like that deep and warm reverence anywhere. In fact, we will often find that when people have completed their compulsory education, they feel a great sense of relief and are happy to be done with it. But even aside from this extreme, we know that educational institutions do not really give us what we regard as essential for our humanness, for being truly human. Even though we may venerate with a kind of theoretical reverence what we learn in chemistry laboratories, biology institutes, law schools, and in schools of philosophy, we will still not feel that the existence of such institutions gives us an awareness of our true humanity.
Thus, we cannot claim that people everywhere are directing their warmest feelings of reverence to these educational institutions even though they may have a certain kind of theoretical feeling for them. At any rate, nowadays it will not happen often that university students working on a paper for a seminar will feel themselves permeated by their whole elemental humanness the way a Mystery pupil did in ancient times when he or she had completed one of the stages of the training.
Yet, we need to be connected with something we can deeply venerate, something from which we feel the divine streaming out. Let us compare this cultural-historical fact with its origins, and go back two or three millennia before the Mystery of Golgotha when centers of learning similar to the Mysteries existed in the Near East. In these centers, people studied above all the natural sciences of their time, if we can call them that. They studied the starry heavens, the nature of the stars, their movements, their rhythmical appearance at certain times, and so on. People nowadays imagine that these studies in astronomy may even have had an element of fantasy. However, that is not how it was. These studies were carried out with the same, if not greater, methodical thoroughness and care as mineralogy, geology, or biology are these days.
What did people in ancient times think when they studied the starry heavens? They believed that if they could understand the starry heavens, they would know something about the nature and destiny of human beings on earth. Their studies in astronomy culminated in insights into the fate of human beings and whole peoples on earth based on the constellations in the sky.
They looked at the stars not merely with theoretical intentions and ideas. Rather they did so out of the awareness that if they knew the relationship of Saturn to the sun or to a sign of the zodiac at the moment when a person is born or has accomplished a great deed, then they would know how the heavens have placed human beings on the earth. They would know to what extent human beings are the creations, the children, of the heavens. They studied the heavens in order to understand what could be a guideline for their life on earth. All the insights they gathered in their astronomy were geared to understanding human beings. All their knowledge was warmed through and through by a truly human element. And people in those days believed what they were doing was connected to what they could study in the heavens.
We can look at an example from the realm of human artistic activity. In those ancient times, when people began writing poetry or composing music, they drew their inspiration from the heavens. I have often mentioned that Homer did not write the line "Of Peleus's son, Achilles, sing, O Muse, the vengeance deep and deadly; ..." just to use a nice poetic phrase. He used it because he knew he was expressing something that did not spring from his human poetic craft; he was expressing what the heavens were whispering to him. Those who made music on earth were reproducing through the sound of earthly instruments what they believed they heard in the music of the heavenly spheres. People felt that in the way they worked, related to other people, and formed communities here on earth they experienced the will impulses that streamed down upon them from the universe. They studied these will impulses in their observation of the starry heavens and felt that they were acting here on earth in accordance with the intentions of the heavens.
In other words, all the science, art, and religion of these ancient times flowed into human life and work. For in those days religion, science, and art were united; they were a unity that ultimately radiated into human beings so they could feel themselves as the beings the gods had wanted them to be on earth. This attitude prevailed as long as people found a spiritual element in their knowledge about the heavens—as long as they were open to perceive something spiritual in the nature and movements of the stars and in their rhythmic appearance. They perceived a spiritual element that streamed down to them through what they knew about the stars so that they could put their knowledge into practice on earth.
Astrology does not have a good name these days. However, when we think of it in the old sense, it has a more respectable name. People back then looked up to the stars, and that is where the Logos revealed itself to them. It worked through their thoughts, their imagination, and their language here on earth. People participated in what made the formation of sounds here on earth resound with the mysteries of the heavens by merely setting their speech organs into motion. The Logos, which is the intelligence ruling in the human race, appeared as an emanation of the world of the stars. People believed what happened down here on earth was a reflection of the archetypal picture they knew through their astrology.
When we look at our modern knowledge, we realize that it has been gained through sensory observation of earthly things. Even our modern astronomy, as I explained yesterday, is only earthly knowledge projected onto the heavens. Human beings nowadays are gaining knowledge based on their senses, and, indeed, they are integrated into the world differently than they were in the past. I described this difference recently in the course of these lectures. As I explained in my book, The Philosophy of Freedom, modern intellectual people are characterized by their abstract concepts and their freedom, which has become possible only because of the development of abstract and intellectual concepts that are not in any way compelling, but provide moral commandments originating in human individuality. These intellectual concepts and the consciousness of freedom are a relatively recent development in human evolution. They appeared after the consciousness based on astrology had vanished— the consciousness that saw human beings as creatures that carry out the intentions of the gods. We modern human beings with our intellect and our freedom are cut off from the heavens; we have truly become earth hermits and rely completely on the earth for all our knowledge. The way we gain knowledge explains why we have such a strong interest in and attachment to it.
In ancient times it would have been unthinkable to see religion and scientific knowledge as two different things. When people in those days arrived at a scientific insight, it immediately also gave them a religious feeling, showing them the way to the gods. In fact, they could not help being religious in the true sense of the word once they had gained knowledge. Nowadays people can learn the whole spectrum of current knowledge, and yet it will not make them religious. I would like to know whether anyone has become religious these days through having become a botanist, zoologist, or chemist!
People who want to be religious look for religion in addition to knowledge. That is why we have separate institutions for the cultivation of religious life besides those for learning and knowledge. In fact, many people think that knowledge diverts us from the path of religion and that, therefore, we must look for other ways to lead us back to religion. Nevertheless, in our lectures we have had to stress again and again the importance of modern knowledge. We have had to point out that recent insights and findings are indeed essential for modern humanity and its further development.
Modern human beings with their intellectualism and consciousness of freedom develop here on earth what people in ancient times, who still had a heavenly consciousness, developed only after death. In describing what happens to modern people immediately after death, we have to point out that they look back upon a picture of their life by discarding their etheric body. Then, in the period after that, they wander back through their life from the ending to the beginning. In ancient times, life after death was different. What people could see on earth only through higher revelation, namely, an intellectual world view, they did not get until after death. What they were to gain on earth could be present there only as an ideal; they would be free human beings only after death. In those times, the true human being appeared only after the crossing from the physical world into the spiritual one.
In other words, what people in ancient times experienced only after death in looking back on their earthly life, namely intellectualism and a consciousness of freedom, modern people have crammed already into their life between birth and death. They have become intellectual beings endowed with a consciousness of freedom while still on earth.
However, in the process we have to gain something through our sensory knowledge and our inferences based on it that does not much interest us at first. No matter how long we observe the world of the stars through our telescopes, it will not make us feel humanly and inwardly warmed and enlightened. Expeditions of astronomers and natural scientists are fitted out to verify Einstein's ideas. But nobody expects his or her findings to be something that belongs so intimately to our elemental human nature as did those of the astronomers in the Babylonian or Assyrian culture. What our modern knowledge gives us is very different: a lack of interest in the vast reaches of the universe. Though this or that recent biological discovery may be very interesting, we cannot say that through these biological discoveries people come closer to the divine-spiritual being they carry in their soul. Instead, people want to approach this divine-spiritual being in their soul through a separate interest in religion.
These days people do not have any clear idea of the relationship the ancients had to knowledge, even in the not so distant past. We need only think of what a fateful experience it was when Archimedes discovered the Archimedean principle while he was in the bathtub and exclaimed the fateful words: "I have found it!" A single insight such as this one was like a window allowing a glimpse into the secrets of the universe.
Such a warmhearted attitude toward knowledge certainly did not exist when X rays were discovered. We could say that the modern relationship to knowledge leads more to an open-mouthed gasping with surprise than to an inward rejoicing in the soul. From a human point of view these two gestures and attitudes are very different, and this difference has to be considered in terms of humanity's further development.
All this has led to a very strange development. For several centuries now, people have been receiving in their earthly life what they received only after death in ancient times, namely, intellectual understanding of the world and a consciousness of freedom. Yet, they have hardly noticed this; their world of feelings, the elemental part of their world, has hardly been touched. In fact, we could say that all this is more likely to have a bitter taste for people. After all, they do not consider pure thoughts the way I have tried to do in The Philosophy of Freedom, that is, they do not respond by wanting to sing hymns to them rather than analyze them. Consciousness of freedom has led people into all kinds of tumultuous things, but not to the realization that something has descended from heaven to the earth. Thus, not even the basic force underlying the modern development of humanity has been felt on a purely human level.
To explain why this is so is to answer one of the most important questions of human existence. In ancient times people gained knowledge by looking up to the heavens to find the Logos there. They looked for what the gods were telling them through the movements and the nature of the stars; their human intelligence was a reflection of the divine Logos. Everything people did on earth was illuminated by the content of the Logos, and this content had been received from the stars. In those days, human life would have been nothing if people could not have given it meaning on the basis of their knowledge of the world of the stars.
Similarly, all the knowledge we gain inwardly is in a sense a mere nothing. We get this knowledge by submitting ourselves to the study of botany, zoology, biology, physiology, or other subjects. We do all this out of ambition, at best, or based on the insight that it is necessary if we want to eke out a living here on earth. I know this is a radical statement, but in a sense it comes close to the truth. For surely the people who see great ideals here are under the influence of a certain illusion that allows them to interpret these things in accordance with their ideals. In any case, the people who can see meaning in the sentence "I pray a chemical formula" are few and far between. This is how we have to express an important cultural-historical fact, albeit a negative one.
It takes a person such as Novalis, who was gifted with a profound knowledge aglow with youthful enthusiasm, to feel that, for example, solving a differential equation is actually praying. Ordinary mathematicians are not in a very prayerful mood when they discover the solution to a differential equation. The obvious fact that we are involved with our whole being in the act of knowing, that we feel our longing for the divine with our whole being, is not at all self-evident to modern humanity. But people take it as a matter of course that those who climb to the heights of knowledge are glad when they have their exams behind them and do not have to go through any more. The joy of having passed through the stages of the Mysteries is hardly to be found in modern exam candidates. At least it is extremely rare nowadays that students talk with the full seriousness of the ancient Mysteries about the profoundly divine deed a professor has done in giving them a dissertation topic and enabling them to go through the waters of holiness while they work on their topic. Yet that would be the normal, the self-evident thing to do.
Keeping this in mind, let me sketch it for you. We have down here the earth with everything on it (see drawing below, white and green). In ancient times, those who were seeking knowledge saw all these things, but they believed that they could only fully understand them when they looked up to the stars and received from there the rays that illuminated everything for them in the right way (see drawing, red).
In ancient times, seekers looked for this reflection of the world of the stars in earthly life (see drawing, lower red). Without this reflection, everything I have drawn down here in outline would have seemed worthless to them. Nowadays we do not concern ourselves with what is up there, but study only what is here below. We study it in innumerable details, and when we have devoted ourselves to this or that specialized discipline, our head is filled with many details. However, evaluating and weighing these details has become a matter of indifference in our life, and consequently we also lack interest for the noble primordial human element in us. This has an especially striking impact on our spirituality as such.
The Swabian writer Friedrich Theodor Vischer poked fun at the fact that what we must leave behind in order to reach knowledge does not matter anymore to the consciousness of humanity as a whole. He claimed that one of the most "significant" treatises in the field of modern literature is the one on the connection between the chilblains of Frau Christiane von Goethe and the symbolical-allegorical figures in Part Two of Faust! Why shouldn't a dissertation be written about this connection just as well as about any other subject? After all, the method used and the human interest involved would not be of any different quality than in cases where somebody writes a treatise—as does indeed happen— on the dashes in Homer's poetry. Truly, we are proud of accumulating insights people in ancient times considered worthwhile only after they had been illuminated by knowledge of the heavens.
We do not have heavenly wisdom. We do not study copper by looking at Venus or lead by looking at Saturn. We also do not study primeval human beings by looking at the sign of Aquarius, and we do not understand what moves from the animal nature of the lion to certain inner impulses of human nature by studying the sign of Leo. We no longer draw anything down from the heavens to help us explain earthly things; instead, we turn our gaze solely on the vast number of details all over the earth.
Clearly, then, we need something that brings meaning into the separate details and helps us to see once again what people used to see when they beheld earthly objects illumined by the heavens. We know many things, but we need a comprehensive knowledge that can radiate into all the separate fields of knowledge and give them meaning. That is what anthroposophy wants to be.
Just as astrology looked into the heavens to explain the earth, so anthroposophy wants to look within human beings to see what they have to say out of themselves. From there it wants to illuminate everything we know about minerals, plants, animals, human beings, and everything else we usually know only in separate details. Just as people looked to the heavens to understand earthly life, so we with our intellect and our newly acquired freedom must now come to understand ourselves. Only then will we be able to look again at the moment of death when we enter a spiritual world where gods will gaze down upon what we will bring with us and what will radiate from us. For we are to become fully human already on earth, whereas in ancient times this did not happen until after death. How far we have been successful in becoming truly human will be evident from the strength we gain from the pure awareness of our humanity. We receive this pure consciousness of our humanity through what radiates from anthroposophy into everything we can know and accomplish on earth.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," (John 1:1) that is to say, in the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. The Logos was brought down from the revelation of the gods in the heavens. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," (John 1:14) and, indeed, it continues to live among us. The Logos has become flesh. What could once be found only in the heavens must now be sought in the human realm. In ancient times, people were right in seeing the Logos with God the Father, but in our time it has to be sought in the realm of God the Son.
We find God the Son in his basic significance when we understand St. Paul's words "I have been crucified with Christ,- it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me," (Gal. 2:20) that is, when we come to know ourselves. All of anthroposophy aims at penetrating into our very depths. What did people in ancient times find when they looked into their depths? They found luciferic forces at the heart of human nature. When modern people penetrate deeply enough into their own being, they find Christ. That is the other side of the change from ancient to modern times. Since intellectualism and the consciousness of freedom came down from the heavens to the earth and since Christ united himself with humanity on earth, human beings can find Christ in the depths of their own being if they penetrate deeply enough. In contrast, when people in ancient times penetrated deeply into themselves, they found luciferic spirits.
That is what the candidates of the ancient Mysteries were supposed to learn. They had to realize that when they penetrated deep down into human nature, they would ultimately find at the heart of their own soul something that would make them recoil in horror, namely, the luciferic forces. Therefore, they had to learn to look up to the moment of death, for they would become truly human only after passing through the portal of death. Then they would be rescued from the luciferic forces they found here on earth in the depths of their soul. That is what the death experience in the ancient Mysteries was about. That is why the Mystery pupils in ancient times had to concentrate on learning about and picturing the moment of death.
In our times, we have to take hold of what has been given to us: intellectualism and consciousness of freedom. If we take hold of them in the right way, by permeating all our earthly knowledge and our actions with what pours forth out of a pure consciousness of humanity such as anthroposophy strives for, then we find the Christ forces in the depths of our soul. We will then realize that while people looked to the constellations of the stars in ancient times to understand human destiny on earth, we must now look to the human being. In this way we learn how the human being, permeated by the Christ substance here on earth while possessing full humanness, then lights up for the universe. The human being lights up as the star of humanity after having gone through the portal of death.
This is the spiritual humanism that can take the place of ancient astrology. It can teach us to consider what is revealed in us as Sophia, namely, anthroposophia, as people did the revelation of the stars as Logia in ancient times. That is the awareness with which we must permeate ourselves. That is how we can come to know the cosmic significance of the human being. We will understand our cosmic significance that leads us to study first the physical body and then the body of formative forces or etheric body.
I want to mention here only one example. When we study our physical body in the right way, that is, by illuminating this body with anthroposophy, we will learn that it is subject to its own forces. When our body subjects itself to its own forces, it continuously tends to become ill. Indeed, our lower part, our physical body, always has a tendency to become ill. And when we then study the etheric body, we find there the totality of the forces that constantly work to make the sick human being well again. The pendulum swings between physical body and etheric body aiming to keep the balance between the pathological and the therapeutical. In other words, our etheric body is the cosmic therapist, and our physical body the cosmic pathogenic agent.
We can say the same about other areas of human knowledge. We have to ask ourselves what we have to do when we are confronted with an illness. Well, we have to manage somehow, through some combination of remedies, to call upon the etheric body for healing. Basically, this is what all of medicine is doing: it somehow calls upon the patient's etheric body for healing. We are on the right path toward healing a patient who can be cured when we appeal to his or her etheric body in the right way, that is, when we seek the healing forces that can flow into the patient from his or her etheric body in accordance with the individual's destiny. But I will say more about this tomorrow, when I want to speak in more detail about this last aspect of today's topic.
|GA 202. The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia — The Magi and the Shepherds: The New Isis|
|The Imaginations are the budding, the offspring of what the men of old saw in the starry constellations, the star-imaginations, the mineral imaginations, in gold, silver, copper. The men of old perceived in Imaginations, and their offspring are the mathematical faculties of today. The mathematical faculties of today will become those faculties which understand the Imaginations.|
|GA 202. The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia — The Magi and the Shepherds: The New Isis|
When it is a question of understanding the Event of Golgotha in the sense of the Christmas Mystery we may look in two directions: Towards the starry heavens with all their secrets on the one side and towards the inner being of man with all its secrets on the other. During these lectures I have spoken of how the Magi from the East recognised, from the starry heavens, the Coming of Christ Jesus upon the earth and of how from the visions arising out of man's inner being the simple shepherds in the field received the proclamation of this Saviour of mankind. And once again today we will turn our attention to these two directions whence, in reality, all knowledge comes to man — whence the highest knowledge of all, the knowledge of the very meaning of the earth, had to come.
In the epochs which preceded the Mystery of Golgotha the attitude of the human soul to the universe and to itself was quite different from what it was after the Mystery of Golgotha. This fact, of course, is not very vividly apparent to an external study of history because the ancient form of knowledge belongs to ages lying long, long before, thousands of years before the Mystery of Golgotha. By the time the Mystery of Golgotha was drawing near, this form of knowledge had already become feebler, and truth to tell it was only individual, very outstanding men like the three Magi from the East who possessed such far-reaching knowledge as was then manifest. And on the other side it was only possible for men particularly sensitive to inner things like the shepherds — men of the people — to bring such visions out of sleep as these shepherds brought. But in both the Magi and the shepherds it was a legacy of that ancient knowledge through which men had once been related to the universe. Even in our time we could not say, especially not in regard to the actual present, that men give very clear expression to that form of knowledge which has entered into the evolution of humanity since the Mystery of Golgotha. Speaking generally, however, what we are going to speak about this evening, holds good. The pre-Christian attitude to the starry heavens was such that men did not regard the stars in the prosaic, abstract way that is current nowadays. The fact that these men of olden times spoke of the stars as if they were living Beings was not due, as an imperfect science believes, to mere fantasy, but to a spiritual, although instinctive, atavistic perception of the starry heavens. Looking at the starry heavens in olden times men did not merely see points or surfaces of light but something spiritual, something that made them able to describe the constellations as they did, for to them the several planets of our system were ensouled by living beings. Men beheld the spiritual in the wide heaven of the stars. They saw the starry heavens as well as the mineral and plant kingdoms in their spiritual reality. It was with one and the same faculty of knowledge that men of old beheld these three regions of existence. They spoke of the stars as beings endowed with soul and also of the minerals and the plants as beings endowed with soul.
We must not think that the faculties of knowledge in olden times were similar to ours. A little while ago I spoke to you about a stage of knowledge which, although it was not so very different from our own, is nevertheless difficult for many people today to picture. I said that the Greeks, in the earliest period of their culture, did not see the colour blue, that the heavens were not blue to them. They perceived the colours that lie more towards the active side, towards the side of red-yellow. Nor did they paint in the shades of blue known to us. Blue came only later into the range of human perception.
Think of all shades of blue being absent from the world, and therefore of green looking different from what it does today, and you will realise that the world around the Greek did not appear to him as it appears to humanity today. For the men of much earlier times the surrounding world differed still more. And then from the world seen by men of old, the spiritual withdrew — withdrew from the worlds of stars, of minerals, of plants. The vivid active colours became duller and out of the depths there appeared what is experienced as blue. As the faculty for the perception of blue, of the darker colours arose, what the men of old experienced in the astrology which spoke to them in a living language, active and full of colour, changed into the grey, colourless geometry and mechanics which, drawing it as we do from our inner being, no longer enables us to read from the environment the secrets of the starry worlds. The ancient astrology was transformed into the world we picture today in the sense of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, into the world of celestial mechanics, of mathematics.
That is the one side. The other side is that in those olden times men possessed a deep, inner faculty for perceiving what was streaming around them out of the earth — the fluids of the earth. The fluids of the earth, the qualities of earth announced themselves as the counterpart of the starry heavens to certain inner faculties of perception. Man in olden times was highly sensitive to the characteristics of the climate of his country, of the soil on which he lived. A chalk or granite soil was experienced as different radiations from the Earth. But this was not a dim feeling or experience; it arose like colours or clouds inwardly felt, inwardly experienced. Thus man experienced the earth's depths; thus, too, the soul in his fellow-man and the life of animals. The experiences were more living, more intense. It was with a faculty of external knowledge that man gazed into the spirituality of the starry heavens, into the spirituality of the minerals and plants, with his atavistic, instinctive clairvoyance; and it was with instinctive inner vision that he perceived what was living spiritually in the earth's depths. He spoke not merely of chalk soil but he experienced specific elemental beings: one kind from chalk soil, other kinds from granite or gneiss. He felt what was living in other human beings as an aura but an aura bestowed upon man from the earth; particularly did he feel the animals with their aura as beings of the earth. It was as though the ground, soil and the inner warmth of the earth continued on in the whole animal world. When a man of old saw the butterflies over the plants he saw them drawing along with them what was rising from the earth; as in an auric cloud he saw animal life flowing over the earth.
All this gradually withdrew and the prosaic world remained for man's faculty of perception which now became external He began now to behold the world around him as we behold it, in its colours and so forth — without perceiving the spiritual. And what man had once seen through faculties of inner perception was transformed into our modern knowledge of nature; what he had seen spiritually through faculties of external knowledge was transformed into our modern mathematics and mechanics.
Thus out of the qualities which the simple shepherds in the field brought to their inner vision we have developed the modern view of nature; and out of what the Magi from the East brought to their faculty of perceiving the Star, we have developed our dry mathematics and mechanics. The faculties of outer and inner perception were still so rich in individual men at that time that the mystery of the birth of Jesus could announce itself from these two sides.
What really underlay this faculty of perception? During the period between death and a new birth, during the time through which we lived before entering through birth into earthly existence we have literally passed through the cosmic expanses. Our individuality was not then bound to the space enclosed by the skin; our existence was spread over cosmic expanses. And the faculty of magical vision still possessed by the wise men from the East was essentially a faculty which entered strongly into the human being from the period between death and birth — that is to say, it was a ‘pre-natal’ faculty. What the soul lived through before birth within the world of stars awakened to become a special faculty in those who were pupils of the Magi. And when the pupils of the Magi developed this particular faculty they were able to say: “Before I came down to this earth I had definite experiences with Mercury, with Sun, with Moon, with Saturn, with Jupiter.” And this cosmic memory enabled them to behold the spiritual in the whole external world as well, to see the destiny of man on earth. They saw it out of their memory of existence before birth within the world of stars.
The faculties by means of which the earth's depths, the mysteries of the souls of men and of the nature of the animals were perceived, were faculties which at first developed in germinal form in the human being and which manifested for the first time after death — but they were youthful faculties, potentially germinal. Although it is after death that these faculties become particularly creative, in earthly life they arise as potentially germinal forces during the first period of earthly life, in the child. The forces of growth in the child which bud and sprout forth from the spiritual, these forces of the child withdraw in later life from the human being. They withdraw and we are then filled more with those forces which were there before birth. But after death these child forces appear again. It was only specially gifted men who retained them on into old age. I have already said here that such faculties of genius as we have in the later years of life are due to the fact that we have remained more childlike than those who do not have these faculties or have them in a lesser degree. The maintenance of childlike faculties on into later life equips us with inventive faculties and the like. The more we can retain childlike faculties in mature years, the more creative we are. But these creative forces appear again more particularly after death.
Among individual peoples of pre-Christian times it had been possible for the after-death faculties to be fructified by those that had remained from before birth. Because such men allowed the kind of knowledge possessed by the Magi from the East to withdraw and the after-death knowledge to come more to the fore, and because the pre-birth faculties were able to fructify the after-death faculties, the gift of prophecy developed in these men, the gift of foretelling the future prophetically with the after-death faculties. Those whom we call the Jewish Prophets were men in whom the after-death faculties were particularly developed; but these faculties did not remain merely in the instinctive life as in the simple shepherds in the field to whom the annunciation was made, they were penetrated by those other faculties which had developed to greater intensity among such people as the Magi from the East, and which led to special knowledge relating to the secrets of the stars and the happenings in the heavens.
It will now be clear to you that the proclamation to the shepherds in the field and the knowledge of the Magi from the East were necessarily in agreement. The knowledge possessed by the Magi from the East was such that they were able to behold deep secrets of the starry heavens. Out of those worlds in which man lives between death and a new birth, out of those worlds whence came the faculties enabling them to penetrate the starry heavens, out of an enhancement of this knowledge this vision came to them: From that world which does not primarily belong to life between birth and death but to the life between death and a new birth — from that world a Being, the Christ, is coming down to the earth. The approach of Christ was revealed to the Magi out of their knowledge of the stars.
And what was the revelation to the shepherds in the field whose special faculty was to experience the Earth's depths? — The Earth became something different when the Christ was drawing near. The Earth felt this approach of Christ, bore in herself new forces because of Christ's approach. The pure-hearted shepherds in the field felt, from out of the depths, what the Earth was reflecting, the way in which the Earth was reacting to the approach of Christ. Thus the cosmic expanses proclaimed to the Magi from the East the same as the earth's depths proclaimed to the shepherds.
This happened at a time when remains of the old knowledge were still in existence. We are concerned here with men who were exceptional, even in those days, with men like the three. Magi from the East and these particular shepherds in the field. Both had retained, each in their own way, what had more or less disappeared from humanity in general. This was the reason why the Mystery of Golgotha, when its time was drawing near, could be proclaimed to them as it was.
In studying these things we must add to the ordinary, historical view, the knowledge that comes from Spiritual Science. We must try, as it were, to fathom the expanses of space and the depths of the life of the soul. And if we fathom the expanses of space in the right way we begin to understand how the wise men from the East experienced the approach of the Mystery of Golgotha. If we try to plumb the depths of the life of soul we begin to understand how the shepherds received the tidings of what was coming so near to the earth that the earth herself became aware of the approach of these forces. The faculties connected with existence before birth, which were manifested in the Magi, correspond more to an intellectual element — different, of course, in those times from what it is today; they correspond more to knowledge. What worked in the shepherds corresponds more to will, and it is the will that represents the forces of growth in the universe. The shepherds were united in their will with the Christ Being Who was approaching the earth. We feel, too, how the stories of the wise men from the East — although they are so inadequately recorded in the modern Bible — we feel how they express the kind of knowledge with which the wise men approached the Mystery of Golgotha; it came from their consciousness to the external universe. We feel that the story of the proclamation to the shepherds points to the will, to the heart, to the life of inner emotion. “Revelation of the God from the heavens and Peace to those men on Earth who are of good will.” We feel the streaming of the will in the proclamation to the shepherds. The light-filled knowledge possessed by the Magi is of a quite different character.
We realise the profundity and significance of the knowledge in the Magi and the proclamation to the shepherds as narrated in the New Testament when we try to fathom the nature of human knowledge and of human will — faculties connected with existence before birth and after death.
I have said that what was a world of spirit to the men of old — the stars, the minerals, the plants — I have said that this has become for us the tapestry of the sense-world; what was formerly inner knowledge has drawn to the surface. If we picture to ourselves the knowledge in the shepherds as being inward and what manifested in the Magi as being outward, it was this outward external knowledge in the Magi which reached out into space and there perceived the spirit The inner life leads to perception of the earth's depths.
The inner kind of knowledge manifested in the shepherds (red in diagram) grows, during the further evolution of humanity, more and more outwards and becomes the external perception of today, becomes what we call empirical perception. What gave the Magi their knowledge of the world of stars draws inwards, more backwards towards the brain and becomes our mathematical, mechanistic world (green in diagram). A crossing took place; what was inner knowledge, pictorial, naive, instinctive imagination in pre-Christian times becomes our external knowledge, perception through the senses. What was once external knowledge encompassing the world of stars draws inwards and becomes the dry, geometrical-mathematical, mechanistic world which we now draw forth from within us.
Through inner enlightenment man of today experiences a mathematical, mechanistic world. It is only outstanding persons like Novalis who were able to feel and give expression to the poetry and deep imagination of this inner, mathematical world. This world of which Novalis sings the praises in such beautiful language is, for the ordinary man of today, the dry world of triangles and quadrangles, of squares and — sums and differences. The ordinary human being is prosaic enough to feel this world to be barren, dry; he has no love for it. Novalis, who was an outstanding person, sings its praises because there was still alive in him an echo of what this world was before it had drawn inwards. In those times it was the world out of which the Jupiter Spirit, the Saturn Spirit, the Spirit of Aries, of Taurus, of Gemini was perceived. It was the ancient light-filled world of stars which has withdrawn and in the first stage of its withdrawal becomes the world which seems to us to be dry, mathematical, mechanistic.
The faculty that intensified in a different form in the shepherds in the field to a perception of the voice of the Angel in the heights has become dry, barren and feeble in us — it has become our perception of the external world of sense; with it today we perceive minerals and plants, whereas with the old faculty, although it was hardly articulate, men perceived the earth's depths or the world of men and animals.
What today has faded into the mathematical-mechanistic universe, what was once astrology, contained such a power that the Christ was revealed to the Magi as a Being of the Heavens. What today is our ordinary knowledge through the senses, with which we see nothing but the green surface of grass, the brown skins of animals and the like — to this kind of knowledge when it was still inward, when it had not yet drawn outwards to the eyes, to the skin, there was revealed to the shepherds in the field the deep influence on the earth, the power with which the Christ would work in the earth, what the Christ was to be for the earth.
We, my dear friends, must find the way whereby the inner faculty that is now dry mathematics may intensify pictorially to Imagination. We must learn to grasp the Imagination given us by Initiation Science. What is contained in these Imaginations? They are in truth a continuation of the faculty with which the Magi from the East recognised the approach of Christ. The Imaginations are the budding, the offspring of what the men of old saw in the starry constellations, the star-imaginations, the mineral imaginations, in gold, silver, copper. The men of old perceived in Imaginations, and their offspring are the mathematical faculties of today. The mathematical faculties of today will become those faculties which understand the Imaginations. Thus by the development of the inner faculties men will have to seek for the understanding of the Christ Being.
But external perception must also be deepened, become more profound. External perception has itself descended from what was once the life of inner experiences, of instinct in man. The power which among the shepherds in the field was still inward, in their hearts, is today only in eyes and ears; it has shifted entirely to the external part of man and therefore perceives only the outer tapestry of the sense-world. This power must go still further outwards. To this end man must be able to leave his body and attain Inspiration. This Inspiration — a faculty of perception which can be attained today — will then, out of Initiation Science, be able to give the same as was given in the proclamation to the naive, inner knowledge of the shepherds in the field.
Astrology as it was to the Magi, heart-vision as it was in the shepherds. With the knowledge that comes from Initiation Science through Imagination and Inspiration modern man will rise to the spiritual realisation to the living Christ. Men must learn to understand how Isis, the living, divine Sophia, had to disappear when the time came for the development which has driven astrology into mathematics, into geometry, into the science of mechanics. But it will also be understood that when living Imagination resurrects from mathematics, phoronomy and geometry, this means the finding of Isis, of the new Isis, of the divine Sophia whom man must find if the Christ Power that is his since the Mystery of Golgotha is to become alive, completely alive, that is to say, filled with light within him.
We are standing before this very point of time, my dear friends. The outer earth will not provide man with those things which he has become accustomed to desire in modern times. The conflicts called into being by the terrible catastrophes of recent years have already changed a large part of the earth into a field where culture lies in ruins. Further conflicts will follow. Men are preparing for the next great world war. Culture will be wrecked in more ways. There will be nothing gained directly from what seems to modern humanity to be of most value for knowledge and the will External earth life, insofar as it is a product of earlier times, will pass away — and it is an entirely vain hope to believe that the old habits of thought and will can continue. What must arise is a new kind of knowledge, a new kind of willing in all domains. We must familiarise ourselves with the thought of the vanishing of a civilisation; but we must look into the human heart, into the spirit dwelling in man; we must have faith in the heart and the spirit of man in order that through all we are able to do within the wreckage of the old civilisation, new forms may arise, forms that are truly new.
Nor will these forms arise if we do not bear in mind with all seriousness what it is that must happen for the sake of humanity. Read in the book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and you will find it said that a man when he desires to attain higher knowledge must understand what is there called the meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold. It is said that this meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold means that willing, feeling, thinking separate in a certain way, that a trinity must arise out of the chaotic unity in man. The understanding that must come to the pupil of Spiritual Science through his knowledge of what the Guardian of the Threshold is, must come to the whole of modern mankind in regard to the course of civilisation. In inner experience, though not in outer consciousness, humanity is passing through the region that can also be called a region of the Guardian of the Threshold.
It is so indeed, my dear friends; modern humanity is passing over a threshold at which stands a Guardian, a Guardian full of meaning, and grave. And this grave Guardian speaks: “Cling not to what has come as a transplant from olden times; look into your hearts, into your souls, that you may be capable of creating new forms. You can only create these new forms when you have faith that the powers of knowledge and of will for this spiritual creation can come out of the spiritual world.” What is an event of great intensity for the individual who enters the worlds of higher knowledge, proceeds unconsciously in present-day mankind as a whole. And those who have linked themselves together as the anthroposophical community must realise that it is one of the most needed of all things in our days to bring men to understand this passing through the region which is a threshold.
Just as man, the knower, must realise that his thinking, feeling and willing separate in a certain sense and must be held together in a higher way, so it must be made intelligible to modern humanity that the spiritual life, the life of rights, and the economic life must separate from one another and a higher form of union created than the State as it has been up to now. No programmes, ideas, ideologies can bring individuals to recognise the necessity of this threefoldness of the social organism. It is only profound knowledge of the onward development of mankind that reveals this development to have reached a threshold where a grave Guardian stands. This Guardian demands of an individual who is advancing to higher knowledge: Submit to the separation in thinking, feeling and willing. He demands of humanity as a whole: Separate what has up to now been interwoven in a chaotic unity in the State idol; separate this into a Spiritual Life, an Equity State, and an Economic State ... otherwise there is no progress possible for humanity, and the old chaos will burst asunder. If this happens it will not take the form that is necessary to humanity but an ahrimanic or luciferic form. It is only through spiritual-scientific knowledge of the passing of the threshold in our present day that can give the Christ-form to this chaos.
This, my dear friends, is something that we must say to ourselves at the time of Christmas too, if we rightly understand Anthroposophy. The little child in the crib must be the child representing the spiritual development towards man's future. Just as the shepherds in the field and the Magi from the East went after the proclamation to see how that which was to bring humanity forward appeared as a little child, so must modern man make his way to Initiation Science in order to perceive, in the form of a little child, what must be done for the future by the Threefold Social Organism based on Spiritual Science. If the old form of the state is not made threefold it will have to burst — and burst in such a way that it would develop on the one side a wholly chaotic spiritual life, completely ahrimanic and luciferic in character, and on the other side an economic life again luciferic-ahrimanic in character. And both the one and the other would drag the state in rags after them. In the Orient there will take place the development more of ahrimanic-luciferic spiritual states; in the West there will be the development more of ahrimanic-luciferic economic life — if man does not realise through the permeation of his being by Christ how he can avoid this, how out of his knowledge and out of his will he can proceed to bring about the ‘threefolding’ of what is striving to separate.
This will be human knowledge permeated by Christ; it will be human willing permeated by Christ. And it will express itself in no other way than that the idol of the unitary state will become threefold. And those who stand properly in the spiritual life will recognise, as did the shepherds in the field, what it is that the earth experiences through the Christ. And those who stand rightly within the economic life, within the economic associations will unfold, in the true sense, a will that brings a Christ-filled social order.
|GA 122. Genesis - Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation — The Forming and Creating of Beings by the Elohim. The Aeons or Time-Spirits|
|Of course, what we tread upon when we tread the earth's soil is earth, in so far as it is solid; but so are gold, silver, copper and tin, earth. Everything of a solid material nature is earth in the sense of occultism. The modern physicist will of course say that there is nothing in this distinction — that he himself differentiates between our various elements, but that he has no knowledge of any primeval substance lying behind those elements.|
|GA 122. Genesis - Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation — The Forming and Creating of Beings by the Elohim. The Aeons or Time-Spirits|
We have pointed out that in the Genesis account of the coming into existence of the earth, there is first of all a recapitulation of those earlier stages of evolution which today can only be reached through the clairvoyant investigation which we recognise as the source of our anthroposophical world outlook. If we recall what we have learnt from that source about the conditions of evolution in periods prior to the existence of our earth, we remember that what later became our solar system was contained in a planetary existence which we call Saturn. We must be quite clear that this ancient Saturn consisted solely of interrelationships of warmth. If anyone, from the standpoint of modern physics, raises an objection to my speaking of a cosmic body consisting only of warmth, I must refer him to what I said two days ago — that I could myself raise all the scientific objections against the things said here today or at any other time. But there is really not time in these lectures to touch on what this gullible modern science has to say. Faced with the sources of spiritual scientific investigation, the whole range of modern scientific knowledge seems pretty amateurish. I do intend one day to deal with many of the objections raised. I shall probably begin next spring at the time of my lecture cycle in Prague; and I shall there speak not only of the whole basis of Anthroposophy, but in order to satisfy contemporary minds, I shall speak also of the arguments against it. My Prague cycle will be preceded by two public lectures, of which the first will be called: How can Anthroposophy be refuted? And the second: How can Anthroposophy be substantiated? 1These lectures were in fact given in Prague in March 1911, and repeated in Stuttgart in November of the same year, and again in Munich and Berlin in 1912. Only the Berlin lectures have been published. (Ergebnisse der Geistesforschung, Basle, 1941.) They have not been translated. Later I shall repeat these lectures at other places, and people will then see that we are fully aware of the objections which can be made against what is taught in Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy has a firm foundation, and those who think they are able to refute it do not yet understand it. Time will show in the long run that this is so. As to Saturn's state of warmth, let me once more draw attention to certain observations in my book Occult Science, which may also help to satisfy those who are prompted by their scientific training to object.
Having said this, I feel free to resume my exposition from the anthroposophical standpoint, without further reference to well-meant objections. In Saturn, then, there was an interweaving of varying conditions of warmth. Let us get hold of that quite clearly. The Genesis account describes a repetition within the developing earth of this ancient Saturn state, these relationships of warmth or fire. That is the first thing in the elementary existence which we have to hold fast to. But mark, please, in what sense we speak of warmth or fire in the case of such a lofty existence as that of the Saturn evolution. We shall not get anywhere near it by striking a match or lighting a candle and examining the warmth of physical existence. We have to think of it as much more spiritual — or perhaps better say more psychic. Feel your way into yourself as a warmth-bearing being — and this feeling of your own warmth, experience of your own soul-warmth, will give you a proximate idea of that interweaving warmth in Saturn.
Then we pass on to the Sun, the second phase of the evolution of our planet, and speak of how in elementary existence warmth condensed to the gaseous or aeriform. Thus in the elementary existence of the Sun we have to distinguish between warmth and the gaseous or aery. We have already pointed out that together with the condensation of warmth into air — that is to say, with the descent of the elemental consistency in the direction of density — there is a corresponding ascent towards a more rarefied, more etheric condition, so that if we call “air” the elementary condition next below warmth, we must call the condition next above warmth, light, or light-ether. Thus, if we look at elementary conditions as a whole during the Sun evolution, we shall say that in the Sun there is an interpenetration of warmth, light and air, and all life during that time manifested itself within this condition of warmth, light and air. Now we must once more make clear that if we take into consideration only these elementary manifestations of warmth, light and air, we are only considering the outer aspect — the maya, the illusion — of what is really there. In reality spiritual Beings are announcing themselves externally by means of warmth, light and air. It is somewhat as if we were to stretch out our hand into a heated space and say to ourselves: “Since there is warmth in this space, there must be a Being who disseminates this warmth, and finds thereby means of manifestation.”
When we pass on to the Moon, there again we have warmth as the middle condition, condensing below into air or gas and still further below into water. Light once more makes its appearance above. Then, above the light, we have a finer, more etheric state. I have already said that we may give the name “sound-ether” to what works within substances as an organising principle, causing chemical combinations and chemical analyses; it is something which man can only recognise with his external senses when it is transmitted by the air, but it lies spiritually behind all existence. We might call it “ringing” or tonic ether. Alternatively, because this spiritual sound organises material existence according to number and weight, we might also call it the ether of numbers. Thus we rise from light to sound, but we do not confuse this sound with the external sound which is carried over the air, but recognise it as something which is only perceptible when the clairvoyant sense is in some way awakened. Thus both in the Moon itself and in what works upon it from without we have to see, in elementary form, warmth, air, water, light and sound.
When we reach the fourth condition, and with it the coming into existence of the earth proper, a further stage of condensation and a further stage of rarefaction are added — below, the earthy or solid; above, the life-ether, which is a still finer ether than the sound-ether. So we may describe the elementary existence of the earth in this way. Warmth is again the middle state; as denser conditions we have air, water, solid; as rarer conditions we have light, sound and life ethers. In order to be quite sure that nothing is left vague in this exposition, I will once more state explicitly that what I describe as “earth” or “solid” must not be confused with what modern science calls earth. What is described here is something which is not directly visible around us. Of course, what we tread upon when we tread the earth's soil is earth, in so far as it is solid; but so are gold, silver, copper and tin, earth. Everything of a solid material nature is earth in the sense of occultism. The modern physicist will of course say that there is nothing in this distinction — that he himself differentiates between our various elements, but that he has no knowledge of any primeval substance lying behind those elements. It is only when the clairvoyant eye penetrates the external elements — some seventy of them — and seeks the basis of solidity, when he looks for the forces which organise matter into the solid state, it is only then that he discovers the forces which construct, which build, which combine solid, liquid and gaseous. That is what we are referring to here, and that too is what Genesis is referring to. We shall, then, expect to find that according to Genesis the three earlier conditions are in some way recapitulated in earth existence, but that the fourth state appears as something new.
Let us check the account by the same method that we used in earlier lectures. In the coming into existence of our earth we should expect to find a repetition of the Saturn state. In other words we should expect to find the Saturn warmth working as an expression of a soul-spiritual. And this is what we do find, if we understand the account rightly. I have told you that the words which are usually translated And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters really mean that the soul-spiritual of the Elohim expanded and that a warmth element — the kind of warmth we conceive to be rayed down from the hen to the egg in the act of brooding — penetrated the existing elementary condition. In saying “The spirit of the Elohim radiates as a brooding warmth through the elementary existence, or the waters,” you indicate the recapitulation of the Saturn warmth.
The next condition has to be one which represents a recapitulation of the Sun evolution. For the time being let us ignore the condensation process which goes on from warmth to air, and let us turn our attention to the process of rarefaction, to the element of light. Let us take the fact that during the solar period light penetrates into our cosmic space, and then the recapitulation of the ancient Sun evolution will be the permeation by light of our developing earth. That is announced in the mighty words: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
The third recapitulation, considered with reference to the finer elementary states, must consist in the fact that the organising, tonic or sound-ether permeates our nascent earth. Let us then ask ourselves whether there is in fact any indication of such a recapitulation of the Moon evolution in the Genesis account. What should we expect to find? We should expect the sound-ether to set to work to organise the elementary substance, rather as the fine powder spread on a plate is organised when we pass across the plate the bow of a violin, and the sound-forms of Chladni appear. There would have to be a recapitulation which would be recorded somewhat like this: “The tonic or sound-ether set to work to organise matter in a certain way.” But what is actually reported about the moment of creation which followed upon the coming into existence of light? We are told that something was stimulated by the Elohim in the material elementary mass which caused it to radiate in the upward direction and to gather itself together, to contract, in the downward direction, as I described to you yesterday. A force enters into the elementary matter and organises it, just as sound takes hold of the powder and brings about the Chladni figures. Just as the powder is organised, so the elementary mass is organised through the radiation upward of part of it, and the concentration downward of the other part. The word rakia, which is used to indicate what the Elohim introduced into the elementary matter, is difficult to translate, and the usual translations are inadequate to render it correctly. Even when one takes into account all that can today be contributed towards its elucidation, including what philology has to say, one is bound to confess that neither the translation “firmament” nor any of its variants takes us very far. For there is an element of activity, of stimulation in this word. And a more precise philology would find that there is contained in this word what I have just indicated — that the Elohim stimulated something in the elementary matter which may be compared with what is stimulated in the powder ofthe Chladni sound-figures when sound sets to work to organise it. As the powder is organised in the case of the Chladni sound-figures, so the elementary mass is disposed upward and downward on the second “day” of creation. Thus, in the Genesis account, following the intervention of the light-ether, we see that of the sound-ether, and the second “day” of creation gives us, quite in accordance with the facts, what we must understand as a recapitulation of the Moon evolution.
You will soon see that these recapitulations cannot come about in an entirely straightforward manner, but that they overlap one another. And the apparent contradiction between today's exposition and that of yesterday will soon be explained. The recapitulation takes place in such a way that first there happens what I am now describing, and then there is a more comprehensive recapitulation, such as I described yesterday.
After the moment when the sound-ether has so disposed the substances that some radiate upward, and others accumulate below, we should expect to find that something sets to work as a still finer condition, one which we must call the earth element proper — what we have called the life-ether. After the second “day” of creation something should happen which would indicate to us that life-ether was streaming into the elementary mass of our earth, just as previously light and organising sound had poured in. There should be some phrase in Genesis to indicate that life-ether thrilled through the mass and caused life to stir, caused life to unfold. Look at the Genesis account of the third “day” of creation. It tells us how the earth causes green things to grow, the living element of tree and herb — as I said yesterday, in the mode of species — after his kind. There we have a vivid description of the instreaming of the life-ether, which evokes everything that is said to have come into being on the third day.
Thus in Genesis we find all that clairvoyant investigation can bring to light — which is what we should expect, if it really derives from occult knowledge. It is all there if we know how to interpret it. It is a wonderful experience to find confirmed in Genesis what we have first discovered by independent investigation. I can assure you that in the description I gave in my Occult Science of the coming into existence of the earth as a recapitulation of the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions, I quite deliberately and scrupulously ignored anything which could have been learnt from Genesis. I only described what I was able to discover quite independently of that ancient record. But if you then compare these independent findings with the Genesis account, you see that the latter says just what our independent investigation has enabled us to say. That is the remarkable consonance to which I called attention yesterday, when what we can say of our own accord comes sounding back to us from the spiritual faculties of seers who speak to us across thousands of years.
Thus, in the first three “days” of creation, we see as regards the finer elements of the earth's nature a successive activity of warmth, light, sound-ether and life-ether, and in what these activities stimulate and enliven we see at the same time the development of stages of densification — from warmth to air, then to water and finally to solid, to the earth element, in the way I have described. The processes of densification and of rarefaction interpenetrate one another and together they give us a unified picture of the coming into existence of our earth. Whether we speak of the denser states — air, water, earth — or of the more rarefied states — light-ether, sound-ether, life-ether — we are concerned with manifestations, with the outer garments, as it were, of soul-spiritual Beings. Of these soul-spiritual Beings the first to appear before the mind's eye in the Genesis account are the Elohim, and the question arises: what kind of Beings are the Elohim? So that we may know where we are, we must be able to give them their proper place in the order of the hierarchies. You will no doubt remember, from the various lectures I have given in the course of years, or from what you have read in my Occult Science, that in the hierarchical order going from above downward, we distinguish, first, a trinity which we call the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. You know that then we come to a second hierarchy which we call the Kyriotetes or Dominions, the Dynameis or Mights, and the Exusiai or Powers, or Revelations; when we come to the lowest trinity, we usually make use of Christian designations, and speak of Archai, or Principalities, or Spirits of Personality; of Archangeloi or Archangels; of Angeloi or Angels. Those in this lowest group are the spiritual Beings who stand nearest to man. Only then do we come to man himself, as the tenth member within the hierarchical order. Now the question is, where within this order do the Elohim belong?
We find them in the second of these trinities, and identify them with those Beings whom we call Exusiai or Powers, or Spirits of Form. We know from what we have been taught for years that during the Saturn evolution the Archai, the Spirits of Personality, were at the human stage, the stage at which we ourselves now stand. During the Sun evolution the Archangeloi or Archangels had their human stage; and during earth existence it is man who is at this stage. One grade above the Spirits of Personality we have the Spirits of Form, the Exusiai, who are also called Elohim. Thus the Elohim are lofty, sublime spiritual Beings who had advanced beyond the human stage before the time of Saturn, when our planetary existence began. We get an idea of the sublimity of these Beings if we bring home to ourselves that in the order of the hierarchies they stand four stages above the human. The spirituality which was weaving in this realm — which was, so to say, practising cosmic meditation, cosmic musing — and out of this cosmic meditation brought about our earth existence, was four stages above the human stage. Spiritual Beings at this stage can through their meditation work creatively — they are not, as men are, limited to the creation of thought forms. Because the meditative activity of the Elohim is four stages higher than human thinking, it is not merely an organising, a creative activity within the sphere of thought, but it forms and creates existence.
Having said this to begin with, the question now arises, what of the other hierarchies? First we should like to know what part was played in the Genesis account by the Beings whom we have called the Archai, or the Spirits of Personality. They constitute the next lower rank in the hierarchies. Let us once more remind ourselves that in the Elohim we have highly exalted Beings, Beings who at the time of the Saturn evolution had already risen above the human stage. They were active throughout the whole of the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions, creating and organising, and they are at work too in the earth evolution. Should we not expect to find the Spirits of Personality, the hierarchy next below that of the Elohim, mentioned in the Genesis account? Since we know what lofty, sublime Beings the Elohim are, we should expect to find the Principalities, or Spirits of Personality, at work in their service. Is there any indication in Genesis that after the Elohim had unfolded the main creative activity they made use of the Archai or Principalities as their servants in lesser activities? We know that the chief, the most comprehensive activity is undertaken by the Elohim themselves; but after they had laid down the main lines, so to say, after they had exercised their great creative forces, did they not appoint other Beings such as the Archai to represent them on the spot?
To find the answer to this question we must first learn to understand Genesis in the right way. There is a passage in the Genesis account which has been a veritable stumbling-block to all the commentators, because for centuries they have completely ignored what occult investigation has had to say about the real meaning of the words with which our Bible opens. If you are at all familiar with modern Biblical criticism, you will know what difficulty this point has caused the commentators. There is a sentence in Genesis which is rendered And God divided the light from the darkness, and it is then made to appear that light and darkness alternated. I shall come back again to a closer examination of the words. For the time being I will make use of a translation into modern speech — it is not correct, and I am only using it provisionally. At a certain point it says: And the evening and the morning were the first day. And further: And God called the light Day. This is a real stumbling-block for the world of letters! What then is a “day” of creation? The naive intellect regards a day as lasting twenty-four hours, as something which alternates between light and darkness, as does our day, during which we wake and sleep. Now of course you all know how much scorn has been heaped upon this naive idea of the creation of the world in seven such days. You perhaps also know how much labour — how much fruitless labour-has been applied to the task of identifying the seven days of creation with longer or shorter periods — geological epochs and so on — so as to make a “day” of creation signify some longer period of time.
The first difficulty arises of course when one comes to the fourth “day,” when Genesis first speaks of the setting up of sun and moon as directing time. Now every child today knows that the regulation of our twenty-four-hour day depends upon the relationship of the earth to the sun. But since the sun was not there until the fourth “day,” we cannot speak of a twenty-four-hour day earlier than that. Thus anyone who tries to adhere to the naive belief that the day of the creation story is a day of twenty-four hours has to do violence to the Genesis account itself. There may of course be such people; but it must be objected to them that in insisting that Genesis refers to days such as ours they are certainly not supported by revelation. As to the vagaries of those who try to find a way out by giving a geological meaning to these “days” of creation, they are really not worth bothering about. For in the whole range of the literature of the subject there is not the slightest evidence that the word yom (יוֹם) signifies anything resembling a geological epoch.
What then is the meaning of the word yom, which is usually translated as “day”? Only those can form a judgment about this who are able to transport themselves in feeling, in attitude of soul, into ancient methods of naming things. The process of nomenclature in ancient times needed quite a different kind of feeling from what we have today. To avoid too great a shock, let us take it step by step. Let me first draw your attention to a doctrine held by the Gnostics. They spoke of spiritual powers who played a part in our existence, who entered successively into the development of our existence, and these powers, these Beings, they called Aeons. By these Aeons they do not mean periods of time, but Beings. They mean that a first Aeon acts, and, having executed the work of which he is capable, is succeeded by a second Aeon, and after the second has exhausted his capacities, a third takes over, and so on. When the Gnostics spoke of Aeons, they meant Beings guiding development in succession, one taking over from another. It was only very much later that the purely abstract concept of time was associated with the word “Aeon.” Aeon is a Being, a living entity. And just as “Aeon” expresses “living entity,” so too does the Hebrew word yom. It has nothing to do with a merely abstract designation of time, but conveys the quality of being. Yom is a Being. And when one is dealing with seven such yamim following one another, one is dealing with seven consecutive Beings or groups of Beings.
We find the same thing elsewhere concealed in a verbal resemblance. In the Aryan languages there is a connection between deus and dies — god and day. There is an essential inner relationship between this pair of words; in earlier times the connection between “day” and a Being was clearly felt, and when one spoke of weekdays, as we speak of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and so on, one did not mean simply periods of time, but the groups of Beings working in Sun, Moon, Mars and so on. Let us then understand the word yom, which is usually rendered “day,” to mean a spiritual Being; then you have the hierarchical Beings one stage lower than the Elohim, Beings whom the Elohim used as subordinate spirits. After the Elohim through their higher organising powers had brought light into existence, they then appointed to his post Yom, the first of the Time-Spirits, or the Archai. Thus the spiritual Beings whom we call Spirits of Personality, or Principalities, are the same as those called in Genesis, Time-Intervals, Days, Yamin. They are the servants of the Elohim. They carry out what the Elohim direct from their higher standpoint. Those of you who heard the lectures which I gave recently in Christiania will remember that there too I called the Archai Time-Spirits, and described how they still work as Time-Spirits today. They were the servants of the Elohim. They were appointed by the Elohim to carry out the plans for which they themselves had laid down the main lines. In this way everything fits together into one great system, even for our understanding. But of course it is only when you have followed up what I am saying for years that you will acquire a real grasp of how everything without exception falls into place.
The exalted Beings of the Elohim entered into this interweaving of the several ethers, and of air, water and earth, and appointed Beings below them in rank as their servants. They gave these Beings their orders, so to say. In the moment when the Elohim had poured light into existence, they passed over to these Beings the task of carrying out in detail what had been set going. Thus we may say that after the Elohim had created the light, they appointed the first Time-Spirit to represent them. It is this Spirit who is hidden behind the customary phrase “the first day.” We shall only understand the still deeper meaning of this first day when we also understand what lies behind the verse: And the evening and the morning were the first day. The first of the Time-Spirits entered into activity, and with this activity was associated what can be described as an alternation of ereb (עֶרֶב) and boker (בֹּקֶר). Ereb is not the same thing as evening, and boker is not the same thing as morning. An appropriate translation would be: “There was ereb, confusion; and there followed boker, organisation.” There was a state of disorder, and it was followed by a state of order, of harmony, brought about by the work of the first of the Time-Spirits.
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture XIX|
|If these three do not operate separately but together their action is not specifically of the nature of mercury, copper or silver; but is comparable with the action of antimony in the earth. And of course this can be and must be investigated, by observing and registering the effects of such constellations upon man — constellations, that is to say, in which the three forces of Moon, Mercury and Venus neutralise each other, through the aspects of opposition or square.|
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture XIX|
In these two final lectures I shall try to deal with as many as possible of the questions before us. In a preliminary outline, such as has been offered in this series, the main purpose is to learn more accurately, in the way that can be given by Spiritual Science, the path taken within the human organism by substances external to man, and also their counter-effects. If we have a complete bird's eye view, as it were, of the way in which any substance operates, we have at the same time an indication of its therapeutic value, and can use our own judgment. To use individual judgment is far better than to keep to prescriptions which say that is for this and the other for that. On this occasion, I shall again start from something apparently remote, in order to reach something very near to us all. Among the written questions put to me, one continually reappears, and it must, of course, be of interest to you all — the question of heredity in general. Both in judging healthy — or at least relatively healthy — persons and the sick, it plays an extremely important part.
In the materialistic biology of the present day this heredity is only studied in a very abstract manner. Certainly it is not studied in such a way as to provide much practical use in life. But if we give it earnest and careful study, we shall find it remarkable (at least to the exoteric student, whereas the esoterist knows it as an obvious law) that all that mankind needs to know about the world and its relations, reveals itself somewhere in an externally visible form. There is always something that reveals externally those secret but — for mankind — most effective forces of nature. And if we investigate heredity we must keep that very specially in mind for on the other hand all the factors associated with heredity are continually confused and concealed by illusions, so that sound judgment becomes most difficult. If a judgment is formed on a question of heredity, there are always other phenomena to which it does not apply. For indeed, the facts of heredity are wrapped in the most powerful illusions which spring from the character of its law. But the very nature of this law implies that its regularity does not always become obvious. The manifestations of heredity follow a pattern of law, but one very hard to regulate. Just as the horizontal position of the arms of a balance depends on a special law, but is upset by adding to the weight of one side or the other, so that the law is difficult to regulate — so is it also, we may say, with the operation of heredity. It is a similar to that of the horizontal tendency of the scales; but it is sealed through a wide range of varying manifestations. This is due to the fact that always in heredity different elements, male and female, play their parts. The male always transmits what man owes to earthly existence, what he owes to earth-forces; whereas the female organism is more apt to transmit the cosmic influence from beyond the earth. We might express this difference as follows. Earth makes continual demands on the man; the earth organises his forces. Earth is the cause from which the male sexuality originates. On woman the heavens, as it were, make continual demands; they cause her shape, and prevail in all the internal processes of her organisation. This contrast may remind you of something already touched upon in these discussions. Now there follows this result; suppose a female being comes into existence through conception, and develops; it is inclined to become more and more attuned to the extra-terrestrial processes, to be taken up as it were by the heavens. If a male being develops it becomes more and more inclined to be taken hold of by the earth. Thus heavens and earth actually co-operate, for neither acts exclusively nor on one sex alone, but in the female the arm of the scale rises towards the heavens and in the male it inclines to the terrestrial. It is a strict law but is subject to variation, and hence arises the following result. In woman, the organism includes internal tendencies which wage permanent contest with the terrestrial elements. But the strange thing is that this only holds good with regard to her own individual organism, and not in the terms of life and the seed. This contest between cosmic and telluric forces is restricted in woman to all the processes apart from the formation of the ovule, that is to say from the organs which serve the functions of reproduction. Thus woman continually withdraws her organisation from the inherent forces of reproduction; the organs surrounding the reproductive tract are continually kept back. And we might say that there is a tendency to transmit through the male what is contained in the reproductive forces and can therefore be inherited. In woman there is a tendency to withdraw from this heredity — and concurrently in her own oogenous powers there is the stronger tendency of inheritance.
So we must ask how the human community can counteract the destructive forces of heredity? For we know, do we not, that heredity finds no barrier between the spiritual and the physical. For instance, in families subject to mental disorders, these may alternate in successive generations with diabetes; there is thus a metamorphosis which swings to and fro. Therefore it is a matter of immense urgency to find out how to shield mankind from the ravages of heredity. The chief preventative measure is first and foremost to do everything to preserve and improve the health of women, for in that case, the extra-telluric influence is drawn more actively into our earth process, and those processes which work continuously to transmit the harmful influences of heredity through the germ, can be combatted through the maternal organism. Thus a community which gives thought and care to the health of their women, wages war against the harmful influence which springs from the earth-forces in heredity, by means of an appeal to the forces proceeding from outside the earth, and acting as a counterbalance. For these cosmic celestial forces have, as it were, their earthly accumulator solely in the organism of a woman. This is most important, and holds good for all forces of telluric and cosmic origin; it is universally true. It becomes conspicuously evident in the case of hæmophiliacs, of so-called “bleeders.” It would be well if there were less vague talk about heredity, and more study where concrete facts point unmistakably to its operation. Observe this as shown among “bleeders.” You will find a striking phenomenon, known to you all, and illustrating what I have just pointed out. In the family descent among hæmophiliacs bleeding itself only appears in males, but the transmission of the illness occurs only through females. A woman whose father was a hæmophiliac, though she does not exhibit the disease herself, is liable to bequeath it to her male descendants. She gets it because she is part of the family. The males, however, become bleeders. But if these marry women free from hæmophiliac descent, the disease is not transmitted.
If you analyse the aforesaid facts, you will find a striking concrete expression of my statements, and indeed the facts of hæmophilia are far clearer proofs than all the recent experiments by Weismann, etc., of what happens in heredity. And they are also important for the general judgment of the human bodily organisation; this organisation must be to some degree estimated in the light of that which is apt to influence it.
What is the actual basis of hæmophilia? This can in fact be detected by superficial consideration. The blood does not coagulate properly, so that the slightest external scratch or prick may cause the hæmophiliac to bleed to death; they may die from attacks of nose bleeding, or the extraction of a tooth, for what would lead to coagulation in other persons does not do so in the case of a hæmophiliac. So the blood of these persons must possess some constituent or quality, which counteracts the power of coagulation. If this quality exists in too potent a degree, it is not neutralised by the external forces which begin to work from outside when the blood coagulates. For coagulation of the blood is caused by forces working from outside. If the blood possesses a quality which does not allow these external forces to prevail, there is an excessive tendency to fluidity of the blood.
It is easy to detect that a strong tendency to excessive fluidity is connected with the whole formation of the human ego. And not superficially but deeply, and with that which manifests in the human ego as will, not with that which manifests as “Ideation.” The constitutional tendency to excessive fluidity in the human blood is associated with all that either strengthens or debilitates the human will. And there is a fine historical example which proves that certain of nature's secrets are accessible to a proper interpretation. Both history and science are aware of the Engadine case; you will probably know it — the case of those two young girls of the Engadine district who have furnished us with a light on some profound — and medically helpful — aspects of human nature. Both of these young women came of hæmophiliac stock, and both formed and kept the steadfast and courageous resolution to refrain from marriage. So they have their place in history as personal champions of the fight against hereditary hæmophilia.
Of course we must lay stress on the real core of this case. It is certainly not peculiar to all the girls in hæmophiliac families to withdraw in this way from propagation. For such a course of action a strong subjective will must be developed; just the kind of strong subjective will that operates in the ego, and not in the astral body. Such a peculiar will power must have distinguished both of those young women. They must have both had something in their egos, in their power of will, that was connected in some manner with the forces operative in bleeders. If such forces are augmented in a conscious way, this could be done more easily in such cases than in persons who are non-bleeders. A just estimate of this interaction leads us to look into the specific forces and properties of the blood and their interplay with the extra-human world. And in studying those properties of blood that are associated with the conscious will, we can learn something of the general connection between the human will and the forces external to man. Certain of these external forces have a particular inner kinship with the forces of the human will, a kinship based on the course of evolution for the very last to be separated out in the natural realm, has been all that is connected with the conscious will of mankind. That is the latest precipitation to emerge in the realm of nature.
Let us now study something in external nature which is among the creations by which nature framed mankind, and which shows by its inherent qualities its association with that formative process of humanity. A substance of that description has long been a subject of study, and there are great difficulties in surveying the results because it is hard to make the forces preserved by atavistic medicine into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries active still in the intellectual modern man. The substance thus studied was antimony and all that is linked with it. Antimony is a most remarkable substance; it has attracted the most profound attention from all who have had much to do with it, including the legendary Basilius Valentinus. Certain attributes of this substance will reveal the peculiar manner in which it is interwoven with the whole process of nature. Consider, for example, what is perhaps the least of antimony's attributes: its extraordinary affinity to other metals and other non-metallic substances, so that it often appears in combination with other substances, especially with sulphur compounds. Now we have already touched on the specific operation of sulphur in this respect and antimony tends to appear together with the sulphur compounds of other substances. This inclination of antimony shows how it is interwoven in the nature-process. Yet another quality is even more significant. Whenever possible, it forms sheafs of needle-shaped crystals. That is, its urge is along a straight line, outwards and away from the earth. Whenever antimony collects longitudinally, we behold the lines along which the forces of crystallisation are directed from outer space to the earth. For the formative forces in crystallisation which generally work in more regular patterns, produce in antimony the spear-shaped and sheaflike structures. In this way antimony reveals how it is inserted into the whole of nature. The characteristics of the smelting process also indicate antimony as revealing — or betraying — the forces of crystallisation. By means of the smelting process we can obtain antimony in a delicately fibrous form.
Then there is this further quality: if antimony is exposed to temperatures it can oxidize — burn in a peculiar manner. The white smoke that forms from it reveals a certain kinship to cold bodies and attaches itself to them. The well-known “flowers” of antimony produce something in which the force of crystallisation as it were discharges itself in contact with other bodies.
And the most remarkable of all antimonial properties, is its peculiar form of resistance to all the forces which I have grouped together as sub-terrestrial, in a certain sense; those forces that play through electricity and magnetism. Suppose that we treat antimony with electrolysis, bring it to the cathode, and touch the antimonial deposit on the cathode with a metal point — the antimony produces tiny explosions. This active resistance of antimony to electric processes — if the substance is given a little stimulus — is most characteristic and distinctive, revealing its real position in the whole process of nature, no other substance reveals its interactions so emphatically.
We can only interpret the lessons so graphically presented by that substance, on the supposition that the forces present in nature are working throughout, are in fact ubiquitous; and that if certain substances show their operation to a marked degree, it is because the forces are especially concentrated in those substances. What operates in antimony is present throughout nature; the antimonising power — if we may coin the term — is everywhere. It has also a regulative action in man, so that in normal conditions human beings draw the antimonising force from the extra-telluric sphere. That is to say, mankind draws from the cosmos what in concentrated form is manifested as antimony. In normal conditions man does not have recourse to the antimonising force as present on earth and in its specific concentrated form, but turns towards the external, extra-telluric antimonial force. So we must obviously ask: What is the extra-telluric form of this antimonising force?
Speaking in terms of the planets, it is the co-operation of Mercury, Venus and the Moon. If these three do not operate separately but together their action is not specifically of the nature of mercury, copper or silver; but is comparable with the action of antimony in the earth. And of course this can be and must be investigated, by observing and registering the effects of such constellations upon man — constellations, that is to say, in which the three forces of Moon, Mercury and Venus neutralise each other, through the aspects of opposition or square. If all three are in such an aspect of neutralisation, there is the precise interaction which in the case of antimony is laid hold of by the earth. In all the antimony in and on the earth, the same force is exerted from our planet itself, as is exerted by these three planetary bodies upon the earth.
Here it is necessary to warn against a mistake. The constitution the earth is such as to make it erroneous to refer piecemeal, so to speak, to such substances as antimony. All the antimony on the earth is a unity in the earth's structure, just as all the earth's stores of silver or of gold are unities. If you remove separate lumps of antimony from the earth, you are simply extracting or amputating a part of that antimonial body which is incorporated into the earth. We have now attempted to delineate all the perceptible effect of antimonial action: and here, as everywhere in nature, actions meet counteractions. This oscillation between action and reaction, is just what gives rise to bodily form.
Let us then look for those forces which act counter to the antimonial forces. They reveal themselves if we are able to detect that the antimonial forces act on man at the moment in which something presses outwards which is regulated while within him. It is these antimonial forces which are operative in the coagulation of the blood. Wherever the consistency of the bloodstream shows a tendency to coagulate the antimonising force is active. Wherever the blood tends to withdraw from coagulation the counteracting forces are at work. So that hæmophiliacs manifest the forces antagonistic to antimony curiously enough. And these anti-antimonising forces are identical with those for which I should like to coin the term “albuminising forces,” the albumen forming forces, which work in such a health-giving way — that they promote the formation of albumen. For, let us emphasise once more: the forces that hinder coagulation are the albuminising forces.
Thus we arrive at some knowledge of the relationships between the antimonising and albuminising forces in the human organism. In my belief, careful study of the interplay of these two processes would reap very important harvests of knowledge as regards disease and its cure. For what are the processes which form albumen — the albuminising processes? They are those by virtue of which all that is plastic and formative in nature is incorporated into the human or the animal organism, in order to supply its actual substance. And the antimonising forces are those which, working from the outside, so to speak, take the part of the artist, the sculptor, giving the substance which builds the organs its form.
Thus the antimonial forces have a certain kinship to the internal organising forces of the organs. Please take as a concrete example, one organ, the alimentary canal. It is of course internally organised. You are able to follow up its inner structure, without considering the purpose it serves, or the manner in which food stuffs are carried along it and worked upon. It is possible, that is to say, to separate in the abstract the internal processes of the organ and those that take place in working upon the substance introduced from outside. This is an important separation, for the processes are indeed different. In the organ itself, the antimonising force works in man. For man is actually antimony, if we disregard all the ingredients brought into him from the external world. Man himself is antimony. But the internal organic formative force must not be overloaded with the antimonising force in the normal course of life, for the effect would be excessively stimulating, in fact a form of poisoning. But, if strong stimulation is necessary, we may supply antimony to the organism — which normally must not be supplied. The effect of antimony owing to these peculiar properties, varies greatly according as it is applied from within or without. If it is administered from within it is necessary to dilute it so far as to make it absorbed by the upper bodily sphere of man. If you are thus able to introduce antimony into the upper sphere, it will have an amazing stimulant effect on disturbed organ formations and internal organic processes. Thus very fine potencies of antimony can be most useful in certain forms of typhus or typhoid.
In the other case the effect is somewhat different, and is achieved by using lower potencies of antimony externally, in ointments, salves, and so forth. There may be occasions when it is desirable to have recourse to higher potencies in external application; but as a general rule, external application will have their beneficial effect in lower potencies.
This remedial substance is an extremely useful remedy in many different directions. It is at work within the law of polarity just referred to, yet shows constant slight oscillations. Thence arises a rule that should not be disregarded. Antimony should be administered internally by preference, in the treatment of individuals of very strong will power, and externally by preference, in treating persons of weaker will. Here is a first line of differentiation. Antimony represents, within the mineral realm, a substance with an inner kinship to the human will; that is to say, as the human will becomes more conscious, it feels more inclined to call forth the counter-effects to antimonial action. Human will has a destructive effect on all the forces previously described, constituting the characteristic operation of antimony. On the other hand, all that builds up the human constitution under the influence of thought and especially of unconscious thought — including the still unconscious thought forces at work in the child — all these are supported by the antimonial forces; antimony is, as it were, their ally. Thus if antimony is introduced, by any route, into the human organism and is thus able to exert its own properties, it forms a strong phantom (scaffolding or network) within the body. The internal organic forces are thus stimulated, and there is nothing left for co-operation with the substances brought into the human organism. There follow fits of vomiting and diarrhœa — showing that the effect is confined to the organs, instead of including their surroundings. The same is true in the counteracting process. You will be able to counter injurious effects of antimony in yourself by the methods instinctively employed by people when they want to keep their own circulatory and rhythmic processes regular. They drink coffee, through which the rhythmic processes are made even and harmonious. Please note that I am stating a fact; I make no recommendation here, for it may be very harmful in other ways, to relieve the ego of the task of regulating these human rhythms. If man is not strong enough in his soul to regulate his rhythmic processes, then coffee can bring about a certain harmony. And so in cases of antimonial poisoning coffee acts in some degree an antidote, restoring the rhythms between the working of the inner organic forces and their surrounding. For there is a regular interplay through rhythm. Indeed the real reason for drinking coffee, is to establish a continuous regulation of rhythm between our internal organs and what is happening in their vicinity to the food-stuffs we have consumed.
From this point we are led to inquire into the albuminising processes. These are reinforced — that is to say, all those processes are reinforced that lie on the other side of the dividing line, where there is no longer the inner organising force of the organs, but where they unfold their external digestive activity. All the mechanical processes of the movement of the intestines, and of the other digestive activities, are closely interwoven with the albuminising forces, which are virtually the formative forces of albumen, i.e., the complementary polar opposites of the antimonising forces.
Now I must once more refer to something already dealt with. That is the instructive object of study — or subject, if you like — the shell formation of the oyster. To a somewhat less degree the same occurs in the calcareous secretion in the egg. What is the key to these phenomena? What precisely is an oyster shell and egg shell? It is a product that the oyster or the essential substance of the egg must eject, because were it retained it would kill them. This shell formation is necessary for the preservation of life. And so, when eating oysters, we consume that life process which is manifested externally in the formation of the shells. (I put the facts to you in these simple terms; if I sought to impress current science, more intricate and technical terms would of course be necessary.) In eating the oyster we eat this albuminising process, a process which is the antithesis to the antimonising process. Through its absorption we promote and stimulate all that leads in man to typhoid manifestations. The consumption of oysters is an extraordinarily interesting operation. It activates the formative force, that is the albuminising force, within the human abdomen. This relieves the head, drawing certain forces downwards, so that after eating oysters man feels much less burdened by the forces which tend to work in his head. Oysters empty the head, in a sense. And we have need of developing the albuminising forces continually, for we cannot let our head continually be charged with formative forces. But the habitual epicure in oysters exaggerates this, and strives at all costs for an empty head. By so doing, he increases the possibility of a downward eruption of certain forces towards the abdomen, as I have already described, that is to say he promotes the tendency in the lower organic sphere to diarrhœa and typhoid. And as you will readily perceive, such a condition demands antimonial treatment. There would be good results in stimulating the forces to which appeal must be made, if the typhlitic tendency is to be combated in its innermost stronghold, by administration of antimony externally and internally at the same time; especially rubbing with antimonial ointment and simultaneously taking by the mouth antimony in high potency. These would be mutually regulated and thus react beneficially on the typhlitic tendency.
Such are treatments that attempt to realise man within his whole universal surroundings. The significance of such a method is shown if you investigate man's relationships and reactions to such manifestations in nature as arise from a certain defensive resistance to the direct telluric forces. Plants are able to defend themselves against these direct telluric forces; they store up much of their formative power for their seasons of blossom and seed. Our most frequent type of plant structure, of which most edible plants are examples, is based on the employment of a definite amount of telluric power for the formation of the plant itself. If, however, the plant has a defensive attitude to these telluric forces, it becomes exposed to the extra-telluric forces, when the final processes of fructification and seed-formation ensue; and thus the plant becomes something with an urge to contemplate the world from the same point of vantage as the higher beings of the realms above the vegetable. The plant shows an urge to perceive. But the plant has no specialised structures for that purpose: it remains a plant, and yet it has the urge to develop something analogous to the formation of the human eye. But no eye can develop, in what is, after all, neither a human nor an animal body but the body of a plant. And so the plant becomes a deadly nightshade, Atropa Belladonna. I have tried to show by means of pictures what takes place in the emergence of the fruit of belladonna. That plant has already in its roots the force culminating in the growth of its black berries, and with this it becomes akin to all that urges in the human organism towards moulding the form and beyond. It urges towards things only possible in the sensory sphere, lifting man out of the world of his organisation into the sphere of the senses. A process of extraordinary interest occurs, if small potentised quantities of belladonna are administered. This is because it bears a striking resemblance to the process of awakening from sleep which is still interwoven with dreams. In such an awakening, interspersed with dreams, the process is within the limits of normality. In awakening, when perception has not yet begun but when sense perception is still inwardly potentised to the permeation of the consciousness with dreams, there is actually always a kind of deadly nightshade activity in man. And belladonna poisoning consists in the provocation of this same process that occurs when in awaking dreams still hold their sway; but the process called forth in man by belladonna poison is made lasting, not taken up into consciousness, but the transition phenomena remain. This is the interesting point, that the processes which are caused in man by toxic action, are of such a nature that at the right tempo they are part of the whole human organisation.
As I have already described, the birth of the belladonna means a frantic and excessive urge towards becoming man. And further it might be said that the awakening from sleep in man has something of the nature of an urge towards atropa belladonna: but an urge held in leash and tuned down: confined to the moment of waking. Now suppose you wish to relieve the body of the internal albuminising processes, influencing the organism so that the too powerful albuminising is retarded and the bodily event, so to speak, deflected towards the soul, so that the bodily processes become hallucinations — then give potentised doses of belladonna. Thus you will lift something into the soul, something of which you wish to relieve the body. This is the essence of what we meet in the usual macroscopic operation of belladonna — although here again full of perplexities and illusions, as I have already pointed out. Of course, if you give the human being a shock that prevents the normal passage over from the state of awakening to that of full waking consciousness, and makes permanent the transitional state — well, you kill him. For man is always in danger of death during that brief transition of awakening — but we awake so rapidly that we escape that peril. Such are the interesting inter-actions between what is accepted as normal, and is sound in measure and tempo, and what becomes anti-normal as soon as it exceeds that measure and tempo.
It seems to me that these were the processes that the physicians of old time sought ever and again to pursue. If they spoke of the creation of the Homunculus, they did so because their surviving clairvoyant faculties revealed something resembling the phantom of antimony. For there appeared to them, in the forming process which they carried out in their laboratory when antimony unfolded its forces, something projected into it by their own nature, which fights against the power of antimony as albuminising force. That appeared to them as a definite force. That which normally remains concealed within the human organism, they projected externally, and thus they beheld the Homunculus, who appeared during the various metamorphoses of antimony. What appeared in the interplay of these processes and metamorphoses they saw as the Homunculus.
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture X|
|Perhaps I may make this more comprehensible if I add the following: I have already described how man is included in the whole cosmos through the operation of the formative forces of lead, tin and iron within the regions here colored green. In the regions marked red, the formative forces of copper, quicksilver and silver are active. The equipoise is held by gold, those forces mainly localised in the heart. To refer to man in this way means to look on him somewhat as a finger which is an organ of the whole cosmos.|
|GA 312. Spiritual Science and Medicine — Lecture X|
It is natural and obvious that in these lectures we should seek the method by which the study of medicine can be fertilised and quickened, and that we do not lose ourselves here in atomised details which can have a merely relative importance. The methodical study of relationships between external nature and man may well tend to equip every human individual with the means to observe nature independently. So we will cite some concrete examples which may indicate a pathway in a certain sense, to a particular realm.
Of course the spiritual-scientific investigation proper in yielding regulative principles, can find out many things which can be verified in the sense pointed out yesterday in Dr. S.'s address. On the other hand, if one applies these principles methodically they prove to be elucidating for many experiences. I should like to put a few illustrative instances before you which can be of great significance. Let us keep to the vegetable world for the moment; and consider the general effect of aniseed (Anisum Vulgare) on the human organism. We shall find its characteristic effects to be the increase and excitation of the secretory functions, primarily in the secretion and excretion of urine, of milk and also of sweat. How is this effect produced? We shall find with this particular plant, that this effect is linked with the minutely distributed portions of iron or iron salts, which aniseed contains. So we can observe, for ourselves, that the curative efficacy of aniseed depends on the fact that it takes away from the blood the forces working normally by means of the iron, and pushes them for a while to the region below the sphere of the blood.
The study of certain plants which act preferably upon the middle (rhythmic) system (i.e., between outside and inside, or between the surface of the body and the heart) shows us especially clearly how their effects extend to different regions; and this provides us with guiding threads to find out in a rational way the curative remedies. Study, for instance, a plant which is in this respect an instructor in the realm of nature; Cichorium intybus, the chicory. From this plant we may learn a variety of facts about our human bodies, if we only take the trouble to do so. We find that Cichorium intybus is not only an antidote to digestive weakness but also to weakness in the organs immediately exposed to the external world. Its second beneficial peculiarity is a direct influence on the blood itself, it prevents the blood from being slack in essential processes and prevents it from admitting disturbances in the composition of the blood fluid itself. Finally, and very valuably, the curative effects of Cichorium intybus reach to our periphery and under certain conditions may affect the organs of the head but especially of the throat and chest, and the lungs. This wide range of strong action on every part of the human being makes Cichorium intybus such an interesting subject for inquiry. One finds its effects extending fan-like in so many directions. We may ask, for instance: what is the origin of the counteraction to weak digestion? We shall find that this effect is due to the bitter substance extracted from the plant, which so strongly affects our sense of taste. This bitter extract, which still preserves its nature as a plant substance, has affinity to those substances in man which are not yet properly worked up and are still resembling their original external appearance.
We must remember that the substances we take in, are at first comparatively slightly modified in their passage as far down as the stomach. They are then further altered by the intestines, pass into the blood and have their farthest stage of transformation in the human periphery, the skin, as well as in the bone, nerve and muscular systems. All extractive substances are strongly akin to the external raw materials, before they have been transformed.
Cichorium intybus contains also alkaline salts, e.g., Potassium. It is here that we must see the source of its effects on the blood. Thus we can watch in this plant how the working forces diverge. The forces situated in the extractive substances are drawn into the organs of digestion by natural affinity. The forces inherent in the alkaline salts, are drawn by natural affinity into the organs related to the blood or the blood itself. Cichorium intybus also contains silicic acid (silicon) to a considerable degree. This substance operates through the bloodstream and beyond it, into the peripheral organs until it reaches the bony structure via the nervous system and the muscle system. So Cichorium intybus really says to us “here am I and I let myself be divided into three, so that I have effect on all three divisions of the human organism.” Such are the experiments of Nature itself, and they are always much more valuable and significant than those made by man; for Nature is far richer in its purposes than we can be, as we put our questions to it in experimental form.
Another plant full of interest in this direction is Equisetum arvense (the Horsetail). Here, too, we find strong effects as antidote against weak digestion and also strong effects on the periphery of the human frame. If we ask to what are these peripheral effects due, we again find they are due to the silicon content of the plant. And these two examples can be multiplied many times over, by any thorough study of medicine and of botany. Such comparative study will prove always and everywhere, that all substances which keep close to the plant nature, as extracts, are related to the digestive tract; and that the substances which tend to the mineral kingdom, i.e., silicic acid, work automatically and irresistibly outwards, from the centre of the human being to its periphery, and have their curative effect on that periphery.
Another superbly efficacious plant, simple and humble but infinitely instructive, is Fragaria vesca, the little wild strawberry of the woods. Its medicinal properties have only been obscured because it is eaten; and in this case the organisation of the eater masks as it were the plant's effects. But it would be well to test the plant on persons who are still sensitive, susceptible, and do not often eat strawberries. In such persons, the amazing value of the wild strawberry would reveal itself at once. It is on the one hand especially potent in normalising the formation of the blood. It may even be prescribed with benefit in cases of diarrhœa for this reason; the forces in the lower organic sphere which are deflected from their normal course can be, as it were, restored to their proper path, viz., into the blood system itself. Here, then, is, on the one hand, a force which is essentially active in blood formation. On the other hand, the wild strawberry also contains silicic acid, which promotes stimulation of all the periphery. The wood-strawberry is indeed a splendid multum in parvo. It tends, through its siliceous content, to stimulate the action of the periphery in our organism. Then, as this peripheral stimulation means a certain risk, if too much silicic acid is conducted to the periphery that there is not a simultaneous current of nutritive substances in the same direction, and that the bloodstream is not simultaneously sufficiently enriched to nourish these areas stimulated by the silicates — the wild strawberry itself prepares the blood which has to be transmitted. It expresses and manifests in a remarkable form, just what should be done, in order to balance and help the processes activated by siliceous compounds in the periphery of our human organism. Thus nature gives us, in single examples such as this — which could be considerably multiplied — remarkable glimpses of possibilities which may become practice, if we have the intuition to seek Nature aright.
From the same point of view, I will call your attention to another example. Study the rather extensive field of action of such plants as — for instance, Lavandula (Lavender). On the one hand, the constituents of lavender are powerful remedies for what I may term “negative conditions of the soul,” appearing as fainting fits, neurasthenia, paralysation etc. Thus, lavender operates towards the human surface and extremities, expelling the astral body which has overpowered the physical.
In considering the application of herbal remedies — and in fact all substances — which have proved of benefit in cases of what we may term negative soul states, we should do well to inquire whether opposite negative conditions exist, such, for example, as amenorrhoea in women. It will invariably be found that the same substance is effective in both directions. A plant of this description is Melissa the balm-mint, which is a remedy against vertigo and fainting fits, and at the same time a powerful ecbolic.
These examples have been cited in order to show the possibility of following the process occurring in the plant through its resemblance to the internal process in man. We must, however, keep in mind this reservation: the plant is really akin to a part only of the nature of man. I should like to ask all those who restrict themselves (with a certain degree of fanaticism) to plant remedies alone, to bear this in mind. Man is so constituted as to comprise and contain all the kingdoms of nature in himself; in addition to the human kingdom, there has been a kinship during the periods of man's formation, in his evolutionary stages, with all the other kingdoms of nature. Indeed in the course of evolution, we have, so to speak, put these nature kingdoms outside, and are able to reabsorb what is needful for us once more. Yes — it is really a process of reabsorption — of return. And this fact of reabsorption and return is very significant.
The elements most recently detached in the course of evolution, must be the soonest reabsorbed in any curative process. We will, for the moment, leave the animal world for later consideration. It is clear that in the course of evolution we have detached the mineral kingdom proper at a later date than the vegetable and therefore it is obvious that seeking the relationships to the plants alone is simply one-sided. Nevertheless the vegetable kingdom retains for us its instructive significance, and not least because if plants heal us, they do so, not only through their essential nature as plants, but also through those ingredients in their composition which appertain to the mineral kingdom. At the same time, we must bear in mind that the plant modifies and transforms a portion of its mineral elements and that the portion thus modified is not curative in such a high degree as the unmodified mineral residue. Thus the Silicic acid (silicon) which has been “overcome” and absorbed into the plant's processes, is not so powerful a remedy as silicon in its mineral form, for in this case the human organism is much more stimulated and requires greater effort in assimilating and taking it into the human unity, than in the assimilation of silicon in its modified vegetable form.
It must always be emphasised that man must evolve greater forces to cope with the greater forces he encounters. And the forces inherent in mineral substances, which are to be assimilated and overcome, are incontestably greater than those in vegetable matter. (May I interpolate here the emphatic statement that I am not making propaganda for anything whatsoever, I am only stating facts.) The difference between animal and vegetable diets is based on the principle just stated. If we live on exclusively vegetable food, our own human being has to take over all that portion of the process which the animal performs for us, after it has eaten and assimilated plants, and brought the substance a stage further. We may put it thus: the process brought to a certain stage by the plant itself, is then carried further by the animal. The formative process of the animal organism stops at this point, (see Diagram 18, red) whereas in the plant it stops here (Diagram 18, white).
The meat-eater dispenses with the particular digestive process performed within the animal; he leaves it to the animal to do it for him. Therefore the meat-eater does not develop those particular energies that must be and are developed by vegetable substance, which he must lead himself to the necessary point. So the organism has to mobilise quite other forces in order to deal with plant food than is the case with meat food. These forces, these potential forces for overcoming, whether used or not, are there: they exist within us and if not used they recoil, as it were, into the organism, and are active — with the general effect of causing great exhaustion and irritation to the individual. Thus it becomes necessary to emphasise strongly that there is considerable relief from fatigue, if a vegetarian diet is adopted. Man becomes more able to work because he gets used to drawing on inherent sources of energy which he fails to do but makes sources of disturbance by a meat diet. As already made plain, I am not “agitating” for anything. I know that even homeopathic physicians have repeatedly assured me that persons induced to abandon meat food are thereby exposed to consumption. Yes, that may be possible. Nevertheless the stark facts just stated, remain unaffected it is so, beyond all dispute. I will, however, quite freely admit that there are human organisms among us today that cannot tolerate purely vegetable food, that require meat in their diet. This depends on the individual case.
When we admit the need for creating a relation to the mineral realm and the mineral forces in the curative process, we are led to consider a further therapeutic requirement. We are led to consider a subject which has been much discussed, but which in my opinion can only be solved — or even really understood — if approached from the viewpoint of spiritual science.
In order to grasp the nature of the curative process it is most important, as it seems to me, to deal with the question of the comparative value of prepared, i.e., cooked food and food in its raw state. Again I must ask you — and on this theme most especially — not to take me for an agitator, either for or against either method! But we must examine, in a perfectly unbiased manner, the actual facts of the case. If people eat cooked and prepared food, and assimilate the forces left within it, they are externally performing an office which must be performed by the organism itself in the case of raw food. Man throws upon the process of cooking, in all its forms, something which his organism should do. Moreover man is so constructed, that in our periphery we are interrelated with the whole of outer nature, but in our “centre” — to which our digestion essentially belongs — we separate ourselves from nature and cut ourselves off as individuals. Let us try to represent this difference, in the form of a rough sketch. (See Diagram 19). Through our periphery (green in Diagram), we are closely interwoven with the cosmos, and we individualise ourselves in the digestive process up to the formation of the blood (red in Diagram); so that this digestive tract is the scene of several processes independent of the external processes of nature, in which man maintains his individual entity as distinct from the external processes — at least more so than in the polaric region where man is wholly inserted into the external processes. Perhaps I may make this more comprehensible if I add the following: I have already described how man is included in the whole cosmos through the operation of the formative forces of lead, tin and iron within the regions here colored green. In the regions marked red, the formative forces of copper, quicksilver and silver are active. The equipoise is held by gold, those forces mainly localised in the heart. To refer to man in this way means to look on him somewhat as a finger which is an organ of the whole cosmos. It implies an interaction and integration with the whole cosmos. But in the tract marked here (see Diagram 19) lies the contradiction contained in the fact that man, in digestion and in the allied functions, separates himself from the general world process — and the same is true for the complementary process of thinking and vision, where he once more individualises himself. This is why man tends to display, as it were, obstinate individual requirements in all things appertaining to digestion; and this instinctive self-assertion shows itself in the habit of cooking [i.e., changing] the raw materials of our food. This instinct demands that what is estranged from nature shall be used for human consumption. For were it consumed in the raw state, the average human being would be too feeble to work it up. To use an apparent paradox to eat would be a perpetual process of remedial treatment, if we did not cook our foodstuffs. And so to eat raw foodstuffs is far more of a remedial process than to eat cooked foodstuffs — the latter being much more merely nutritive. In my opinion there is extraordinary significance in the fact that the consumption of raw food is much more a remedial process than the consumption of food that has been cooked. Raw food diet is much more in the nature of specific curative treatment, than cooked food. I may add moreover that all cooked food is somewhat held up in its efficacy and remains within the region marked red in the diagram (see Diagram 19); whereas the substance introduced into the body, in its natural uncooked state, such as fruit, acts beyond the alimentary tract, and comes to manifest itself on the periphery, e.g., causing the blood to bear its nutritive power into the peripheral region.
You may confirm these statements in the following manner, and indeed such tests ought to be made. Suppose you are attempting curative treatment with siliceous substances; then put your patient for a while on a diet of raw food and you will see how materially the effect of the silicon is increased, because you are contributing further forces to its peripheral operation; you support its formative activity, its tendency to harmonise deformations. Of course I do not allude to gross malformations showing in anatomical deformities, but I mean deformations which remain in the physiological realm. To clear up these is the trend of the silicon, and here you support the trend by the administration of suitable nourishment, while the cure is proceeding. These combinations are what I wish to emphasise in our study of methods, for their operation is so extremely significant and because — as I believe — till now, so little studied and understood. They are studied to some extent it is true, but empirically, without any search for a “ratio”; and therefore we can find so little occasion for satisfaction in considering the work already available in this field.
In all these respects, individuality has to be taken into account. That is why I have already taken the opportunity to point out that it is hardly possible to make any assertion, in this field, which is not on the other hand incorrect in some way. But we must take the things referred to as our guiding lines, although in a particular instance we must be able to say; in this case I cannot prescribe raw diet, for it would produce this or that, in that particular individual constitution. Here it is advisable — there again it would do harm. The main lines of cause and effect, however, are as we have here described them. Only through such interactions, is it possible to see deeply into the human constitution as a whole. We must particularly distinguish between the periphery, where man is more embedded into the whole cosmos and can only be affected by the introduction of minerals — which are so remote from man — and, on the other hand, the regions I have designated red. These red regions may be influenced and cured by vegetable remedies, as well as by administering substances which are efficacious because of their inherent saline quality: that is, all the carbonates; whilst all alkaline compounds are as it were the median point and balance between the two. (See Diagram 19, yellow). Thus we have in a sequence: carbonates, alkalis, and silicates, or siliceous acid itself.
These, then, are the factors indicating mankind's relationship to nature around us. We visualise man, split into two parts, as it were, and we find a middle region in him, which causes the swing of the pendulum between these extremes. And we must acknowledge that this discrimination between the peripheral man and the more central individualised man, leads us into the depths of nature. Man is akin to all extra-terrestrial things through his periphery, as is shown by the efficacy of the mineral substances, which are in turn under the dominion of the planets and stellar constellations. Centrally, as an individual he is related to all earthly things. Through this earthly affinity, most fully expressed in the digestive system, man is also this concrete human individual that has the power to think and is able to evolve as a man.
We may consider the dualism in man as a dualism of the extra-terrestrial, the cosmic elements in him, and those which pertain to earth. There is a distinct cleavage in the human organism between the cosmic and telluric and I have already drawn your attention to how the peripheral, the extra-terrestrial region is mirrored, as it were, in man, in his possessing a spiritual organisation, and at the same time, the polar opposite, a digestive organisation. All that has to do with the elimination of the digestive products and all that has to do with elimination in the brain, and provides the foundation for mental activity — all these things alike refer to the peripheral, the celestial man. However strange and contradictory it may seem — this is the case. On the other hand, all the processes in man, whether fluid or more gaseous in their nature, which are connected with the formation of either urine or sweat — are indications of the terrestrial man as a being which individualises itself. These two polarities of human nature, which strive asunder, must strike us as very significant.
So far as I know this particular human duality has not been alluded to or treated, in modern times, in any therapeutically valuable manner. For, as you perceive, all the subjects of our inquiry are intended to bring therapeutics and pathology together; therapeutics and pathology ought not to be two separated domains. For that reason the themes of these discussions have a therapeutic orientation; what is pathologically apprehended makes us think in therapeutical terms. That is the reason for the method of my putting forward things here, and of course objections may easily be made, by those who disregard this therapeutic orientation.
For example, anyone who studies the external origin of syphilis must certainly get clear how far there must be infection (approximately at least) in order to develop syphilis proper. Merely to state this abstractly leads us to an emancipation of pathology. Please forgive a somewhat crude comparison — the actual infection or contagion in syphilis is of no more significance than the fact that in order to raise a bump on the head, it is necessary to receive a blow from a stone or some other hard object. Of course, there will be no bump, if there is no blow, nor injury from a falling tile etc.; but this particular statement remains unfruitful regarding treatment. For — to continue our comparison — the circumstances of an injury from stone throwing or so forth, may be of great social importance, but these circumstances mean nothing at all in the examination of the organism with a view to its cure. We must examine the human organism in such a way as to find within it the factors that play a part in therapeutics. In the treatment of syphilis, the factors above mentioned play prominent roles, and throw light on the curative process. What is put before you here and now, is so put before you, not so much for the sake of pathology as for the foundation of the bridge between disease and cure.
I assert this, in order to characterise and define our work here, its spirit and attitude; this latter will become more evident with every day that passes. In our age there is a tendency to treat pathology more and more as an isolated subject, and without reference to therapeutics. Therefore thought is deflected from things fruitful and — if followed up in the right way — of great significance in the search for all curative procedures. Think, e.g., of our question: what is the true meaning of this duality in the human organism, between the cosmic-peripheral — so to speak — and the terrestrial or telluric-central man? Both these aspects of man are complexes of forces, manifesting in different ways. All peripheral working manifests as formative powers. And I would even say that the last formative “deed” of this peripheral principle manifests as the ultimate periphery of the human frame and completes our human semblance. Examine, for instance, the relation of human hair to silicic acid; notice how in the peripheral region of man the human formative forces co-operate with the formative forces of silicon. You may actually measure the impact of alien influences which man permits or resists, from the dominance or the reverse — which is allotted to silicic acid in the head formation! Of course we must take the rest of the individual's stature into consideration as well; but if we merely go along the street nowadays, and can “see together” the bald heads, one finds out how far a man is tending to admit or to reject the impact of the siliceous formative process upon himself. This is a result of immediate observation which can be attained, without actual clairvoyance, but by careful investigation of nature's own ways. The forces in question — they are not at work inside the cells but control the total shaping of man — find their last expression in man's structure which of course includes the configuration of the skin together with its greater or small amount of hair growth and so forth. On the other hand, the more centralised region, which is more associated with carbon and carbon dioxide — bears in itself the dispersive forces, those which dissolve and even destroy the shape. We exist as men by virtue of our tendency perpetually to de-form the shape, which in turn is deprived perpetually of its deformations through forces proceeding from the cosmos. This is a duality inherent in man: moulding and deforming. This duality is a continuous organic process. Now, visualise on the one hand, the cosmic peripheral formative forces (See Diagram 20, arrow pointing downwards) which operate on man from outside. In the human heart these forces encounter the telluric forces; and we have already dealt with the equilibrium brought about through the heart. And assume that the peripheral forces acting upon man which reach their tidal mark, so to speak, in the heart, are held back before being dammed up in the heart. (See Diagram 20, arrow pointing to the left).
They diverge and form a diverticulum before reaching the great dam of the heart itself. And in so doing they form something within our organism, that testifies, though imperfectly, to the operation of the cosmic formative through the digestive organs and their allies towards the heart, also form a diverticulum before they reach the heart (See Diagram 20, right hand side). Then taking these two diverticulums, we should have here a concentration of all that is both spiritually and physically formative in man, and at the same time associated with all the secretory activities in the head and the intestines; a reservoir of forces that do not come to meet the action of the heart, but creates beforehand a kind of accessory heart that functions alongside the heart. Here, on the other hand, we have a kind of accessory digestive action, formed by a divergence of the forces originating in the earth and its substances and acting in man, deforming and dissolving his shape. Then duality in man would be organically established and expressed; this is how here the female sexual organs, the female sexual principle arises, and there the male principle. (See Diagram 20). Indeed, this gives a possibility to study the female sexual organisation in the light of its dependence on the cosmic peripheral formative forces. And there is the possibility to study the male sexual organisation, even its specific forms, if we regard it as dependent on the telluric forces of shape-dissolution.
This is the approach for really scientific comprehension of our human constitution down to these regions. Here is also the way of discovery of vegetable remedies, e.g., rich in formative power, which may be found efficacious in restoring paralysed and defective formative forces in the uterus. If you study the formative forces in this way you will find also the formative forces in plants and minerals This will be considered more particularly, but for the present I must outline the relationship on a large scale. If in the future these things will be clearly seen, then we shall really begin to have a science of Embryology. Today we have no such science, for there is no realisation of the strong impact of the cosmic realm at the beginning of embryological development. The cosmic forces are as fertilising in their operations as the male seed itself. The first stages of human embryological evolution must be studied wholly as part of the relation of man to the cosmos. What was, so to speak, injected with the male seed emerges as time goes on, for the formative forces which the cosmos tends to project into the female organism are so deformed by the operation of the male element, that the cosmic tendency towards a total shape is differentiated in the direction towards separate organs. The role of the female organisation goes to the totality of man's structure; the role of the male organisation, through the operation of the male seed, is specialisation, differentiation, i.e., the moulding of the several organs, and thus the deformation of the original uniform whole. We might say: through the feminine forces, the human organisation tends to the spherical or globular form; through the masculine, the human organism tends to specialise this globe, and divide it into heart, kidneys, stomach and so forth. In the male and female element we have before us the polarities of the earth and of the cosmos. And this is again a subject which leads its students to deep reverence for the primary wisdom, and to listen with very different feelings to the legends of Gaea fertilised by Uranus, of Rhea fertilised by Kronos, and so forth. There is something here quite different from vaguely mystical feelings, in the veneration with which we receive these ancient intuitions, in all their significance. At first one is amazed at such a comment as the following, which comes from scientists upon whom these truths dawn: “The old mythologies have more physiology in them than modern science has.” I can understand the shock and surprise; but the remark has its deep core of truth.
The further we advance, the more insistently we realise the inadequacy of contemporary methods — that ignore all the interrelations we mentioned — as guides to the understanding of the human organisation.
I will take this opportunity of repeating what has already been stated: namely that the contents of these lectures have not been derived from any study of ancient lore. What is here stated, is gained from the facts themselves: occasionally I have alluded to the coincidence with the primary wisdom; but my statements are never gained from it. If you study the processes in question with care, you will be led to those conceptions which remind us of some elements of ancient wisdom. I should never myself consider it admissible to investigate any subject by studying the works of Paracelsus. But I am often strongly inclined to “look up” in his books how a discovery which I have made may sound in his language. This is the sense in which I should like you to receive what I attempt to give. But it is a fact that as soon as we look deeper into human nature from the standpoint of spiritual science, we come to a great reverence for primary wisdom. But that is a question which naturally must be considered in other fields of knowledge than the medical.