Valerian – preparation 507
In taking up valerian, I would like to discuss the preparation in the light of the excretional processes, in the light of metabolic activities. Let us first look at man with his excretional processes. They are four-fold. We have the excretion of feces, urine, breath, and sweat. The excretional processes are very important to the human being. From spiritual science we can discover, as man excretes, that he then brings about the potential for soul-spiritual processes. The excretion of feces, frees up ether forces that in turn, are important for structuring the human brain. The excretion of urine frees forces that in turn, structure the brain to reflect intellectual-associational activities. With the excretion of breath and sweat, forces are freed also. As best as I can surmise these freed forces play more into the activities of cognition. The forces freed in sweating may be connected with perception and the forces freed in expiration probably are more supportive to sensation.
Rudolf Steiner is specific in regard to the forces from bowel and bladder excretion. The cognitive processes, sensation and perception, are not specifically related to sweat and breath, but there are suggestions in this direction. The relation of sweating skin to cognition is carefully developed by Rudolf Steiner in the cycle entitled, Initiate Consciousness.
Thus, we need not look a little more deeply as there are cosmic events related to excretion and the freeing of ether forces as a result of excretion. From spiritual science we can learn that the excretion of urine is connected with and is a reflection of the time when the mineral kingdom was born on earth. Cosmic activity, mineral formation-memory, is embedded in the process of urine excretion. The excretion of fecal material, of manure, is connected with the cosmic process of plant kingdom birth. The time, in which plants were placed on the earth, could incarnate onto the earth, occurred in the latter part of Hyperborea. Plant incarnation is connected with the fecal-eliminative process.
In turning to the breathing excretional activity, we find that this is connected with the animal kingdom birth, with cosmic-evolutionary excretive processes. Animals were excreted out of the cosmos and then incarnated on the earth. This happened in the latter part of Lemuria.
The cosmic excretory process connected with the human being, with the birth of the human being on earth, is found in the production of sweat – and possibly other skin excretions. The birth of the human kingdom on earth took place in the latter part of Lemuria and the early part of Atlantis.
Thus, we have four eliminative processes. These processes are a reflection of cosmic evolutionary activities. We carry cosmic memory as processes. As I have tried to read the structures in the crown of the oak as a script which points to cosmic-evolutionary activity, we can look at the eliminative activities in a similar fashion. With the birthing of each kingdom, we are dealing with a very lofty region of spiritual activity. The highest is active in the lowest. The mineral kingdom, we have to relate to activities of the Thrones and their offspring. The plant kingdom unfolds out of the activities of the Kyriotetes, and the animals we find born out of the activities of the Dynameis. As we have already indicated, the human kingdom is born out of the sphere of the Elohim. It is these beings that we have to keep in mind when we see the eliminative processes occurring in man, when we contemplate the evolution of the earth and the gradual unfolding of the kingdoms on earth. As noted, it is in this set of circumstances where we find the highest appearing in the lowest. In order to contemplate the lowest more appropriately, I think that we have to add the double nature of man. Man has a double that plays a significant role in these functions of elimination. It is not only the highest, but also the lowest, that is active in elimination.
If we talk about the highest and lowest, we have to then think of the animal. We see the animal never rises above animal nature but we also have to consider that the animal does not sink as far into the subnature elements as man. Man is truly subjected to a double process, to subearthly-double processes as well as cosmic processes. The animal as just indicated, in the ungulates, has levitated and raised itself out of this subnature process. The reptiles and amphibian have not raised themselves out of the earthly, but never the less, remain within the horizontal that surrounds the earth. Man quite fully gives his feet to the earth.
To clarify the excretional process, it may be well to reflect on the secretory process for a moment. With the secretory process, contrasted with the excretory, in so far as that which is secreted is either carried in the fluidic circulatory system or transiently is carried in the extra-organ or extra-cellular fluids in the body. All living cells, all living organs, produce secretions. The secretions that are produced by voluntary organs, such as the muscles, flow into the lymphatic system. The secretions produced by the inner organs can also enter the lymphatic system. The secretory process of the glandular endocrine system, however, flows directly into the venous system of the human organism. It is these secretions that are very important. These latter secretions very much determine the general vegetative consciousness of the human being. Of course, the secretions in the lymph system probably determine a state of consciousness lower than the vegetative consciousness, where secretions enter the venous system. If we remove any of our major endocrine organs, that is the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenals, gonads and the like, life can not be sustained. There is immediate change in consciousness. There also is a loss of life. The lowest state of consciousness connected with life is that of a kind of trance consciousness.
There are secretions that are produced by volitional activity as with limb activity, with eating and organ activity or by breathing and inner organ stimulation. Sense perception also stimulates a secretive process but this is more related to our endocrine organ secretion. With sense activity we have to focus on endocrine secretory activity. This secretive process establishes a basic state of consciousness that permits more conscious ego activity. Endocrine secretion is the basis for waking consciousness. It is on this secretive process that further states of consciousness can unfold; activities of thinking, feeling and willing.
Now let us return once more to the excretory processes. These processes are taken up in relationship to these preparations for a very definite reason. The reason is that the excretory processes are those that reflect cosmic processes. The cosmic excretory process (kingdom-formation) has produced what we have as atmosphere today. If we go back to the early stages of earth evolution, we find our atmosphere to be a very living substance that we have called albumen. This living substance has to be worked with, transformed and is taken hold of by kingdoms. The result is that the living substance gradually becomes more and more attenuated, becomes freed of the substances taken out of the atmosphere in order to create the substance for incarnation. The mineral kingdom has to take hold of the living atmospheric substance. The same occurred with the plant, animal and human kingdoms. The result is that we have an atmosphere where the air has been emptied of a great deal of life. The air, the atmosphere has become quite mineral, containing beings of substance we have previously described. A great deal of substance beingness was cast out, excreted with the incarnation of the kingdoms of nature and man. The result is that the atmosphere of today, one which permits our present waking consciousness-object-consciousness, consciousness soul.
We have identified the atmosphere as the domain in which our soul lives, also the higher makeup of man; manas, buddhi and atma. The higher makeup of man lives in light, tone and life. This light, tone and life carries the higher makeup of our being when we use the atmosphere as a sheath. When the atmospheric is used as a sheath then we use the physical of the atmosphere but also the etheric that serves as a basis for our higher makeup. This higher makeup of the human being indwells the kingdoms of nature and exists on a level where the true soul of the kingdoms dwell – the ether world which supports devachan and upper devachan.
By this line of thought we make our way to the atmosphere, the sheath of valerian. When man breathes out into this sphere, he unites with the atmosphere and with his own higher nature. In this process he is the part of the kingdom process with the other kingdoms. His higher nature unites with the kingdoms of nature, which surround him. Man then lives in the far reaches of heaven or devachan. This is a process that goes out into the world, the cosmos. This is quite in contrast to the domain of the sheath of the peritoneum, of the coelom. In the sheath of the peritoneum the inner heaven is worked with. The outer path to heaven is via the astral and ego into the cosmic ether. The inner path is also with the ego and astral but into the etheric makeup of the organism. The inner heaven is a reflection of the outer. The atmosphere as sheath permits man to flow outwardly into the etheric-planetary reaches. The valerian extract is a substance sensitive to this etheric structuring.
Now, let us look at some other membranes because we can also consider the membranes in terms of excrements. If we first look at the skin and sweat of man, we might correspond this with the horn and antler. The entire skin is cast away in the case of the deer and the skin is concentrated and compacted in the case of the horn. The horn and antler then speaks to the surface of the human body and the excretional processes there. In the case of the horn and antler this process is made into much more of a physical structure than the human skin. The excrement of the air, we have just been considering. This corresponds to our own breathing, aeriform excretional processes. We use the air itself as a sheath. The intestinal sheath of the cow – points very much to the fecal excretional processes in man. Finally the earth itself is used as a sheath in the case of the nettle preparation. Here, we can liken the urinary excretion of man to the earthly element that is involved in the mineral excretional activity of urine formation. In this way, we can say that the four-fold excretional processes of the human being are considered in the use of the sheathes of the preparations.
Sweat – Human skin – Horn and Antler as sheath
Breath – Human pulmonary system – Atmosphere itself as sheath.
Bowel – Human intestinal system – Cow intestine and peritoneum as sheath.
Bladder – Human renal bladder – Earth itself – as sheath.
We can add to this that all the sheathes which come from animals make use of the intense metabolic-activity; emphasize the digestive-metabolism. This is not the case with the earth as a sheath and the air-atmosphere as a sheath. In the case of the earth and the air, we have to do with the non-metabolic, with support for soul-spirit functioning. It is for this reason that we then have to speak about the excretional processes and the secretional processes.
With our current considerations about the atmosphere as the sheath for valerian we have the basis for waking, but also for sleep. Man wakes into the world, to again fall asleep in the world. This preparation works via the soil and plant to support the waking into sleep. Man is thereby united with the cosmos and the domain of the cosmos connected with the other kingdoms of nature. This permits a lofty communion process, in waking-sleep. The preparation lays a basis to sustain the plant which when consumed by man can support a proper waking into sleep. In this way the plant can support man to awaken in the world of sleep. Out of this world (Devachan) the human organism is maintained. The life process of maintenance holds sway and human waking sleep can be supported.
Let us now look at valerian. Valerian is a perennial. It dies off towards the end of the year and grows anew. It grows from a smaller semi-rosette green configuration in the spring. It shoots up its stalk and leaves accompany the process. The leaves are lancinate. They have a fairly significant fibrous structure. The stem is hollowed out. The whole gives an impression of stateliness and purity. This is a plant that grows in the wild. The upper part of the plant contrasts with the root. If one looks at the root, it looks much more like a product of something that is wild. We can say that the upper reaches of the plant tame the wild root. The vegetative in the earth and the inflorescent above the earth are polarities.
The umbrel of the inflorescence reminds one of the dome of the heavens. The flower gives an impression of a quiet existence that has been carried aloft by the stately stem. There is a kind of resting in peace of the blossom. The blossom has relatively little odor, although a faint semi-sweet odor can be detected. The plant makes volatile substances that are dispersed into the environment, but nothing like the chamomile. The blossom is whitish in color, occasionally rose. It thereby can somewhat resemble the tint of the human skin.
As noted the stem is hollow. Here, there is a lively calcium space creating process. The linear form of the stem is created by a siliceous process. The emptying activity of the calcium process in the stem is metamorphosed in the all-creative activity by a dispersing siliceous activity at work in the flower.
If we look underground we find a significant taproot. This is quite like the dandelion. Thus, the plant streams between earth and cosmos. The whole is one of dignity, of quietness. The plant exudes a certain quality of quiet reverence. This is so much so that the valerian has been called the virgin valerian. Although it grows in the wild, it seems to bless its circumstances, as a pure and heavenly virgin.
The oils produce by valerian can be likened to the oil of the chamomile, the yarrow and the nettle. The oil formation has to be made distinct from the latex formed in the dandelion and the tannic acid in the oak. The oils of the valerian are short, unit structures. They are not complex oils. The oils are a significant activity of the metabolism of this plant, which in addition, produces many acids. The acids bespeak a lively astral working. It appears that oils form in the upper reaches of the plant and the remainder of the plant tends to produce acids. This plant and the oak are the most acid producing plants that we have considered. From the oil and acid processes we can surmise (read), that the plant carries on an intense spiritual activity, a very intense cosmic spiritual activity. This cosmic activity permeates the metabolism.
To me, it is interesting that Rudolf Steiner has indicated that this preparation regulates the phosphorous of the soil. Phosphorus is needed for plant life. Valerian, sprayed-layered, over our manure pile or compost pile is all that is required. It is this preparation that brings about an intense work of phosphorous in the pile and then in the earth. Notable is that no phosphorous is found in the plant. This plant, as preparation, is given by Rudolf Steiner as the worker who bestows the heights of the cosmic ego, of kingdom-ness on the earth. The kingdoms of heaven, of devachan, of nature and of man are brought to earth. This is a phosphor working. Valerian works in a heavenly realm that makes the incarnation of the kingdoms possible. This is a preparation that makes the kingdoms available for incarnation.
Rudolf Steiner, as previously shared, tells how yarrow regulates the potassium in relationship to the plant. The valerian regulates the phosphorus. All other preparations are there to work with the nitrogen of the soil. Thus, yarrow preparation, the valerian preparation and the other preparations work for the concern of the agronomists; for nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. To me, it is most significant that Rudolf Steiner does not disregard the concerns of the soil scientists, but takes the problem into a totally different direction. The pure mineral, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, is not handled. Rather, the work here is with biological substances that can bring about a biological working in the earth, a dynamic working in the – earth. This in turn, brings about a living earth that can regulate and determine the workings of the minerals for the sake of the plant.
Thus, with this valerian preparation, preparation 507, we complete the fifth lecture. This is a lecture in the production of preparations as a new alchemic approach to the handling of substances. The earth is therapeutized (treated therapeutically – editor) for the sake of the plant. The plant is worked with for the sake of the animal and man. In turn, we can say, that man works for the sake of the earth and the plant, as well as for the future of his very being.
If we consider the high-tech agriculture of our day and contrast it with this very quiet modest working with the biological substances of the earth, plant and animal, we can be overwhelmed by the great sense of frugality in relationship to the earth and nature. The incredible un-frugal practices of our day stand in stark relief. The billions and billions of dollars generated by the chemical industry, the fertilizing industry, the pesticide, the fuel industry, all is brought into question by the ways indicated here. The substitution for the wastefulness of our day is that of devotion. Inherent in what one has to do here is the acquisition of incredible devotion to what has been give in existence, to what lies about us as a gift of the gods. This gift has to be taken up in a conscious fashion by man. His whole task is one of devotion and incredible frugality in consideration of physical existence. Physical existence is finite. The infinite of the finite is given by such practices which generate new possibilities and in fact, may generate new substances for the future of the earth and man, transforming the finite into the infinite.