Man’s Path Through Nature in the Process of Seeking Healing Impulses is a work comprised of 7 presentations, based on a theme as referenced in the title, for ANTHA (Anthroposophical Therapy and Hygiene Association)
CONTENTS – Clicking on a Part # will take you directly to that Part – continuous scrolling through the complete document works as on other pages!
Part I of Man’s Path Through Nature
In discussing the problems of a Path Through Nature, it might be well to consider some rather conventional aspects of life to see if, in fact, we all do not know something about what will turn out to be a fairly significant and deeper approach to the problem of therapeutics.
First, we might consider that an individual, seemingly innocently, comes upon an existent body of knowledge such as that of Anthroposophically oriented Spiritual Science. Such a person might become very interested and after a short period. This individual who might be fairly modest and not necessarily self-centered, begins to show indications of a hypertrophy of his own ego. There can be a tendency in such an individual to begin to share all the endless inner experiences – all the importance of what he is experiencing. There is a tendency to talk a great deal about himself. In other words, the first approach to spiritual scientific matters may cast the individual into himself in such a way that he becomes very much concerned with himself and asks continually “Who am I?” and “What is my path in life?” The sense of “I”ness becomes ever greater. One might say that this is one aberration on a spiritual path. The aberration is that of a hypertrophy of the ego and an increase of the sense of the self with an endless bringing forth of self-centered materials. Slowly the rather modest individual begins to develop “peacock feathers”, and it would appear that everything in life shrinks in comparison to how that person then feels about himself. One might say this is the path of extremely superficial self-knowledge, but it is a path that is taken by many even if they are not quite aware of this. Today those who are supposedly psychologically inclined are those who tend to fit into this category and those who tend to follow an “inner path” on the path of spiritual striving.
The path which stands polar with the one just described is that which does not go inward, but goes outward. Here, one can again face a totally different problem that is not so much of a hypertrophy of the individuality, the endless pouring forth of ones own inner impressions, but the tendency to become a bit helpless in the face of the world. This path into the world can often render a person much less able than before. The usual skills may not be managed as well. The acquired knowledge may begin to falter. The sense of self-esteem may be somewhat lost. There is very much a tendency for the individual to feel that he is annihilated in the face of an immensely grandiose world. The impressions that rush in on the individual from the outer world are rather annihilating. There is a sense that very little can be done in the face of this huge and overpowering world. One might consider the School of Nihilism that grew in the beginning of the last century. It was very much spoken of in Vienna and may have resulted from such a path. The tendency to try to investigate the immensity and extensiveness of nature, human illness, etc. can render one feeling rather helpless.
In contact with individuals interested in spiritual life, it is also quite common to sense how there is a tendency to become as a dwarf in the face of this mighty world that has endless bounds that one can find in spiritual scientific revelations.
Thus in just watching ordinary life and a human being who comes to take up spiritual life, one can quickly spot two general tendencies. One is the concentration into the self, a preoccupation with one’s own egoity. The other is to be concerned with the world and to be cast into the world where there is no footing in the self and with a tendency to feel annihilated. One can say that these are two basic and polar trends that may reveal themselves quite soon, or else one can also watch further to see that an individual can vacillate from one to the other. On the one hand, one can see individuals who become grandiose and on the other hand those who begin to loose total sense of self-confidence.
One of the important tasks would be to try to see where in our scientific trends today one finds the two poles of investigation. As a general statement, my inclination would be to point to the fact that there is very little tendency for the world and scientific world today to become concerned with the world around us, to develop observation, critical powers of discernment, and the ability to really deal with what lies about one. There is a great tendency to approach the world with one’s idea seeing the world through the ideas, and for the conventional scientist to see the world in terms of mathematics and numbers. The latter approach seems to dominate the world of science today. If one takes some of the lectures which Rudolf Steiner gave on the development of science, one will see that this whole tendency of the mystical and inward development of the human being in understanding the world is, in fact, the basis for our mathematical approach to the phenomena of the world today.
In terms of the mystery schools of the past, one would have to point to the Mystery Schools of the South in Egypt, which concerned themselves with the inner being of man, the tendency to go inward, and the tendency to develop mysticism. In contrast, one would have to point to the Mysteries of the North, of Hibernia, to the mysteries of outer nature, in order to be able to speak to the mysteries that take the individual into the world around one. If one had to develop line of thought from each of these two sides of mystery strivings, one would have to indicate that our current scientific, mathematically inclined disciplines are an outgrowth and a slight aberration of the Mysteries of Egypt. One should say that the investigations of the outer world, which really fail today, should have been the outgrowth of the Northern Mysteries. The fact is that this path out into the world has been developed to a relatively small degree. Today there is almost no indication of its possibility. One might point to Rudolf Steiner’s effort in “Goetheanism” with the unfolding of the Goethean scientific impulse to try to remedy this situation.
If one is to pick a direction and inclination to develop therapeutics on the path through nature, one would have to point to the path going outward as its true basis. This does not mean that the path inward does not have to be tread. It would merely mean that this path inward would have to be modified and not be simply one of sinking into oneself in a fairly sensitive and non-critical fashion.
Just to slightly develop the line of thought concerned with the journey inward, a revelation of an inner mystical path, one would have to speak to the concern not only for mysticism, but the approach to the problem of the synapse, the cell, and the cellular constituents that are the basis of life. An extremely important revelation given by Rudolf Steiner points to the fact that the atomistic experience and the atomistic approach to the world is based on an inward path, a mystical experience of the very processes that lie in the synaptic processes of our central nervous system. This would mean that we are not objectively perceiving the synaptic processes, but we are, in fact, having experiences of the events that occur there and seeing the world in light of these experiences. This means that one is not actually seeing the world, but one is stimulated by the world to bring forth inner experiences which come from the domain that an individual knows nothing about. To my knowledge it is Rudolf Steiner alone who points to this inwardness of the experiencing of the synaptic junction that lies at the basis of the atomistic conception.
In like fashion, one could trace the development of the mathematical processes through the history of scientific evolution in Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the development of the scientific mental processes. In these lectures he has described very nicely and very impressively how the mathematical processes are actually a derivative of the deepest experiences of our physical makeup. In a similar fashion pointing to the problem of the cell, Rudolf Steiner suggests that we have the same inner experiences, sinking into our individuality, out of our own sense of our monadic self, our singularness, which then lays the basis for the cell. Thus the atom, the mathematical process, and the cell all become a reflection of an inner mystical trend which found its origin in the Egyptian Mysteries. These three entities do not give a real revelation of the world which lies around us. This essentially is Rudolf Steiner’s message given in some of his various lecture cycles.
Very important then is to realize that those who have been trained in the scientific world actually have an inclination to deal with a mystical bent and this is not at all realized. It would be dealing with this prejudice that would then make a new demand on all of us who have been trained scientifically. In addition, it would also point to those who have not been trained scientifically who, in fact, have absorbed much of this knowledge unconsciously. This latter fact is a terrific problem, because the knowledge of science, particularly the knowledge of mathematical verification, atomistic interpretation, and cellular groundedness, lies very deep in many people today, and it is very difficult to get beyond this.
Another mystical view, I would say, into our current therapeutic efforts is to consider that of psychoanalysis. In this situation, as well described by Freud himself, there is a tendency to put oneself in such a way that the process of what is called “free association” can take place. In this situation, all types of material can bubble into and out of the human beings depths. I would like to indicate that this is another mystical tendency in therapeutics – again a carry over from the Egyptian times. I have always found it interesting looking at the pictures of Freud in the therapeutic chamber with Egyptian statuary in his surroundings and a patient lying on a sofa. To me this is very much a picture of an ancient time where the neophyte was subject to the activities of the hierophant.
From this vista then, we can see that even in the simple and early stages of spiritual life there is an inclination to go in one or another direction – that of growing inward with a developing sense of egotism or going outward with the experience of somewhat being overcome or annihilated. It seems to me it is the latter tendency that lays the basis for the Nihilistic School in the beginning of this century. I have not encountered other reasons to come to this view of life in order to find a grounding for this medical, as well as philosophical approach. An interesting consideration in respect to Nihilism would be to take a quote from Goethe where he makes the point that in the nothingness the all can be found. My suspicion would be that this further supports the tendency for Goethe to portray the experiences and type of human inclination that will come out of the path into the world.
There is another very major indication from Rudolf Steiner for the two-fold tendency of man. He gives it in terms of the dichotomy between mathematics and science. The tendency for the research scientist to be directed outward and into nature investigating the outer world, he points to as having its origin in the “shepherd” impulse of the Christian Mystery. It was the shepherd who listened inwardly in order to gain an outward knowledge. Now this impulse is active in the life of those who gaze outward in order to gain some type of impression of what lies in the world around them. The other tendency Rudolf Steiner describes as that of the mathematician who comes from the line of the “king”, where one is dealing outwardly with the world of the stars and what lies around in an outward way. This has been transformed into the inner path of the mathematician. Thus we see there are the inclinations of the Mysteries of the North with the path outward, and the Mysteries of the South with the path inward – a kind of non-Christian indication of the polarity of going out and going in. Then there is also the Christian indication out of the Mysteries of the Shepherds and the Kings where once more the two tendencies are portrayed in terms of the totally different working of the shepherd and the king, today transformed into the activities of the research scientist and the mathematician.
The portrayal of the two paths going inward and outward is fairly well developed in the lecture cycle entitled The Macrocosm and the Microcosm. Here Rudolf Steiner takes up the aspect of the path outward and inward pointing to the activities of sleeping and waking. He points to the Egyptian path of the mystic, and he points to the Northern Hibernian Mysteries as the path of the ecstatic. He points to ecstasy as the process which goes into sleep, while the process of waking goes into the inner soul. From this set of lectures we gather that it took a series of twelve individuals to support the soul on the path into the outer world on the so-called ecstatic path of the north, which today becomes more the path of Goetheanistic science. At the same time, Rudolf Steiner points to the role again of twelve helpers who dilute the egoity of the human being on the path inward in what is taking place in the Egyptian Mysteries. From this basic approach Rudolf Steiner then begins not so much to speak about the mysteries of north and south, but begins to speak more about the mysteries of sleeping and waking. In pursing this line of investigation, Rudolf Steiner tells how the planetary system as a force system works into the processes of waking and sleeping. The indication is that it is actually the forces of Mars which bring us into the state of sleep. Jupiter, he points out, is the force system of the cosmos which works into the soul bringing about the possibility of dreaming. He then indicates, that when the forces of Saturn work too intensely in the sleeping state, the person actually develops sleep walking. Thus the outer planetary force systems are those that work into the human soul in such a way that the human astral body and ego, as we know them, can be born into the cosmos, and there experiences can be attained that we all know in what one can say is the normal course of life. The opposite path is that of wakening where Rudolf Steiner indicates it is the forces of Mercury that make us wake and bring it about that we develop the tendencies to take hold of the world and create our own impressions. He then indicates that the next step, the next force system in the waking process is for the individual to be able to take inwardly what is immediate and given to the soul and be able to create an inner image quality of it. Man is able to make an intellectual abstraction of an impression. Here Rudolf Steiner points to the fact that the planet force system of Venus is active. And finally, in the force system of Moon we have the possibility that we are not only a waking, impressionable, and intellectualizing being, but we are actually a doing being. This latter is brought about by the forces of Moon. I should point out that the first force system is actually the force system of Mercury which permits the creating of impressions, that of Venus permits the taking inwardly, and the force system of Moon makes us into an acting and doing individual. Thus the inner planets of Mercury, Venus and Moon are active in bringing about the waking state and the soul activities of waking life. There is another way of speaking about the planetary forces that work not only to awaken us, but also permit us to go into sleep. It is possible to say that these force systems create soul constructs. One can say that it is the Mars force system, the etheric Mars force system that brings about the constitution of the sentient-soul. It is the Jupiter force system that creates the basis for the intellectual-soul, and it is the Saturn forces that create the basis for the consciousness-soul. The more materially bent soul constructs are those pointed to in the waking process. They are indicated to a small degree by Rudolf Steiner when he says that it is the Mercury forces which bring about the formation of the sentient-body, the Venus forces which bring about the inwardly taking-intellectualizing body, and the Moon forces that bring about the acting or doing body of the soul. The concepts of the “Intellectualizing-body” and “Doing-body” are mine. Dr. Steiner does point to the Sentient-body. Thus the outer planets bring about the higher “membering” of our soul makeup and the inner planets bring about the more bodily condition of our soul makeup.
In summarizing, we could say that it is particularly the inner planetary forces that are at work if we are to speak of a path where we are waking up. These inner planetary forces construct our soul in such a way that we can develop a sentient relationship with the world, that we can take it inwardly as intellectuals, and that we can do something about what we have sensed or taken inwardly in turning back into the world in the process of doing. This is the soul makeup of the individual who then wakes up. If we were to follow the path of waking, it would mean we are permitted to enter into the world where we are active, alert, and able to maintain consciousness. We can also more or less consciously come to grips with these forces which construct our waking soul body. In contrast, if we were to take a path of sleeping or dreaming into our inner being and not waking to the world around us, we would then have to take the path of the outer planetary forces. These are the forces that give the soul its higher nature, that of sentient, intellectual, and consciousness soul membering. However, we cannot maintain consciousness with them. These soul entities which relate themselves more to the spirit are active and creative. The soul entities where the soul is more of a bodily nature are more passive – they come about through the physical world. They are created – we participate less as conscious beings. These soul constructs serve our waking life.
In order to come to a definition which we seek here, that is of the path through nature, we would have to turn first to this aspect of man’s makeup which permits him to be active as a waking human being. The forces of Moon, Mercury and Venus are then the forces which one would have to deal with first on our path. Next we would have to deal with the physical constructs of the human organism which permit the waking soul nature to be active. Therefore, we have in the path through nature to deal with the human soul organization which is at the basis of waking life and the human organismic makeup which is also a necessity for waking consciousness. The basis for this waking soul constitution lies within the planetary spheres, the inner planetary spheres.In the next section an attempt will be made to speak about the organic basis in man, which serves as a basis for wakeful life. At the same time, consideration will have to be given to those spheres of existence that give rise to the organic structures and their activity.
Part II of Man’s Path Through Nature
The attempt has been made to point out that there are actually two paths, one is a path outward, which has been called at times the path of ecstasy, a path of occultism, the path into the world. The other path has been called the path inward, the path into the ego or the path of mysticism. In the lecture cycle The Macrocosm and the Microcosm Rudolf Steiner has pointed to the Northern Mysteries as an indication of the path into the world or the path of ecstasy, and the Egyptian Southern Mysteries as a path inward or a path into the ego. In order to introduce this subject in a timely fashion, he has spoken in this cycle of the activities of sleeping and waking. We took this up in our previous discussion in a circumscribed fashion. Our effort was to point to the fact that in life, in general, there can be an inclination to one pole or the other. At times it can be seen when a person unconsciously takes a path with spiritual science. One individual may wind up as a rather egotistical human being, a being filled with himself, evolving inward into a deep sense of inwardness . Another individual may become exceedingly uncertain of himself and feel belittled and helpless in the face of the world. So from the perspective of a very simple daily life to that of considering the mysteries one can cogitate the possibility of two different paths. In our discussions we are trying to develop the path through nature, the path of waking, that is the path outward. In order to do this, we might again delineate some aspects of the process of waking.
In describing waking, we have pointed out that the planets play a role. The planets in terms of force systems actually work to develop soul structures, configurations and activities which are determinative in the process of waking. Rudolf Steiner has tried to point out that the inner planets are active in the waking process of the human soul permitting the soul to wake, to become a sentient body, to take inwardly (to develop the intellect) and to be a being of activity (to do). These three activities were connected with the planets of Mercury, Venus and Moon. On the other side, Rudolf Steiner has given the indications that the outer planets are active in the soul bringing about sleeping, dreaming and sleep walking. The latter is actually an abnormal activity. The planets of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are involved with these processes.
With this brief recapitulation, it is important to make a further step once we have considered the fact that the human being has a soul which is constituted to waken. It is then possible to consider what the organic substrata is in the human being which permits this process. At a later time we can consider the soul activities which need to be undertaken in order to become conscious of the force systems which bring about waking. At this time, it is better to take up the organic structures that are active in the human being as a person awakens. We can speak about structures, the organ systems that are especially important in the waking state.
In order to follow up the waking process, I should like to point to the cycle of The Macrocosm and Microcosm, but then I would like to approach our considerations from a little different aspect. In this lecture cycle Rudolf Steiner points to the brain, the nerves and the senses as those structures that are important in the waking process. They are important in the activities which permits us to awaken and then direct our senses or our being to the world about us. Before considering the specific constructs of the brain, the nerve and the senses, I would like to point to an organ structure that is also spoken of in this cycle, but it is an organ structure that the human being has created for himself. The creative forces he takes out of the very highest spiritual world. The organ structure pointed to is the organ that permits the formation of concrete symbolizations which belong to the spiritual world and at the same time to the physical world. One has to surmise from the lectures given by Rudolf Steiner that this structure is a kind of a heart, but one that also belongs to the head. It is a physical structure, but also an etheric one. It is brought about by the individual practicing imaginations as can be found and practiced on the path given by spiritual science. In this activity, the human ego reaches into the world of archetypes, one can say the highest spiritual world, the world that extends beyond the perceptible starry world, the world of the Trinity. It is in this world that those forces can be met, attained, and worked with that permit an actual structuring of an organ so that a symbolization, imaginative faculty can come about whereby the spiritual archetypal world is at work and at the same time also the waking sense world. One can say that a great deal that Rudolf Steiner has given as imaginative content is given so that we can out of our own efforts create this structure. I suspect this is the organ referred to as the “preliminary center” in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. From various lectures I gather that this structure actually brings about a slow change in the human organization of the brain and its functioning. I often wonder if this new structure is connected with the whole organism of speech, with the speech centers in the human brain. Whatever the case, the human being has the possibility of working with high-ranking spiritual beings in what is called the Archetypal World to bring about a quasi organic structure that is crucial to being able to carry on a spiritual life in the face of waking consciousness.
The next organ that is very important in waking is the organ of the brain. This is structured, as Rudolf Steiner said, out of the “World of Reason”. One has to speak of this world in which there are concrete Spiritual Beings. Activities are carried on by these beings and they work cooperatively with the human being to structure the human brain in such a way that intellectual, abstract thought activity can occur, and higher spiritual faculties can also evolve. These faculties are, to a certain degree, dependent on the human brain. Thus one can say, so far, that in order to come into waking life in which there is a spiritual-perceptive life, we have to consider the force systems from the World of the Archetypes and force systems from the “World of Reason”. The two worlds permit, respectively, the evolving of imaginative thought activity or imaginative symbolization and the waking intellectual life that is brain dependent, but not brain determined.
The third organ system to be brought about out of the spiritual world is the nerves themselves. Rudolf Steiner here points out that the World of the Spirit is very much connected with the structuring of our nerves. The light streams of this world are transformed into nerves. It is distinct from the brain. It is a very specific system which is structured out of a very high spiritual world. As best as I can tell, the Spiritual Beings concerned belong to the hierarchical world which is connected with the whole zodiacal star world. These beings play into the planetary world, but I take it their prime activity still rests within the world of the stars which is connected with the Zodiac and the development of man and nature. Force systems stream from the Zodiac through the planetary world to work in such a way that they structure human nerves. These nerves are twelve-fold in the human head system and thirty-two-fold in the spinal system.
The fourth set of structures crucial to waking life are those of the human sense system, also twelve-fold. Rudolf Steiner points out that they are structured out of the elemental world that is connected with the earth and the nearer planets. This elemental world is the world that lives in the four states of materiality and brings about the conditions of matter that is not the specificity of substance or materiality, but the conditions in which materiality can live. These Elemental Beings, children of the Hierarchies, are active and important in structuring our sense system.
In review we can consider that there are four organic, living systems that have to be structured out of the spiritual world for waking life. They are connected with the distant star world, the Zodiacal-planetary world and the earth as a planetary entity. Spiritual Beings connected with this cosmic environment structure the physical organs and physical conditions that permit the human being on waking to be able to peer into the world via the senses. If the Guardian of the Threshold gives permission, then these Beings and structures can be used in a conscious perception of the spiritual world around us. It might be further said that the human soul, which has the inner planetary world working into its being so that it can be structured for waking life, then has to meet the actual organic structures that are particularly connected with the nerve-sense system, brain system of man so that a waking consciousness can
occur. This waking soul life metamorphosed, and the organic structures used in a new way, permits man to waken to the Spiritual World.
Just as these structures of the nerve-sense system are the basic structures for waking, one has to mention that there are other organs that are involved more with the sleep state. These organs connected with sleeping are the heart, lung, liver, spleen, and gall etc. which lie below the region of the neck. These inner organs also send their impulses up into the region of the brain, but in the case of the waking state, it is actually a metamorphosis of the working of these inner organs into the brain system that permits waking consciousness to occur. Plunging into these organs of sleep would mean annihilation of consciousness. A similar process would occur by passing through the senses into the outer world if specific training were not undertaken. Flowing thru the senses can result in an ecstatic sleep just as penetrating into the inner organs can lead to a mystical sleep. In both cases consciousness is obliterated.
In the case we are describing, in a path through nature, we have to consider that it is actually the human soul working with the Beings and their activity which bring about waking that permits a metamorphosis of soul-life. Then we come in touch with the structuring of our organic systems of day consciousness. These organ systems are the structure of imagination, the brain, the nerves, and the senses. With training and with the permission of the Lesser Guardian, we can participate with the spiritual beings that are active in these structures-organs. This, in turn, makes it possible to make a next step into nature through the door of the senses. In this way the spirituality that holds sway in our organs of waking consciousness becomes the basis for a step into nature through the senses. The very force system of our senses become a basis for consciousness. The force systems are not merely working to sustain the organs proper. Just as the creative forces become maintaining forces, so these maintaining forces become metamorphosed for the sake of perception, enabling the organs to be used as a basis for sense-perception. In establishing our relation with the spiritual Beings involved we bring about another metamorphosis that serves our conscious structuring.
As a contrast one would have to say if one were taking the path into sleep directly one would immediately encounter ones own ego. This is the path of the mystic. In taking this path one goes through the concentration of the forces of the ego in such a way that the force systems structuring the inner organs would not be perceived. Rather the processes of the organs would percolate into the soul in such a way that they would appear as if one were actually meeting spirituality directly. In fact, one would be meeting the organicity and the life processes of a physical organ. Again and again Rudolf Steiner points that the mystical path though it begins as a path of awakening, winds up being a path of sleeping. Falling asleep into the ego being, being annihilated in consciousness by the organ systems which are structured for sleep and permitting those structures to work into consciousness, gives us experiences that are actually organic events, and are not the activities of spiritual beings. This is not the path of nature, but is the path of the mystic. The path through nature is connected with the use of the forces working into the soul to wake
and meet spiritual Beingness which brings about the structuring of the organs of wakeful consciousness. A next step would be to consider some of the practices that permit the awakening of the soul to the force systems which bring about its own formation for waking consciousness.
Another brief note might be made of the mystical path which can be rectified by becoming a Path of Knowledge, via epistemology. This inward path is made very exact and very concrete by the use of thinking and of ideation. Here the. process of knowing is taken hold of directly. It is a path of freedom. The person who takes the path of knowledge or who is inclined to take the path of pure thought has to take hold of his own ego activity as a thinking being. He has to waken to his own activity in an objective way. This can help eliminate the intense egoity on the mystical path. The world of nature and human nature has to be encountered but in the process of thinking. It is the thinking being meeting the idea that becomes the cognitive base, not the individual who takes up true spiritual images which are given and taken up in the sense world. My understanding is that this communing with the idea is a very different path, a very different process from that of first gaining the imaginations that are necessary so that force systems and beings that are active in the soul and in the organism can be taken hold of consciously. The imaginations work so that soul oblivion and soul chaos are not created in the process of using the initial stages of a mystical path to waken and then penetrate into the doors of the world where one can say one takes the path of occultism. The path through nature, one might say, stresses far more the looking into the world, cognizing these, and slightly reflecting the cognitional process in the human being himself, but then always progressing with nature and its elements in ones consciousness and in one’s practices. The use of the idea, so the idea becomes an entity in itself, almost as an initiating entity in consciousness is a very different approach. Anyone who looks at the basic exercises in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds will see very quickly how much the world of nature plays a role. Contrast this with the almost organic, and careful structuring of idea to be met in Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and The Theory of Knowledge.
Part III of Man’s Path Through Nature
In the first section where we discussed this path through nature and we discussed the two different types of paths that we can see in man and that have been cultivated in the mysteries in the history of mankind, as well. We have tried to point to the path through nature as a path that has to do with waking consciousness. This is the path where man takes those forces of the inner planets and begins to mold them to his own service. In the second section, we discussed the organicity of man that is involved in the process of awakening. We pointed to the role of the organ of imagination – the brain, the nerves, and the senses as specific structures which are important in man’s life of waking consciousness, or we can say that these structures are the ones that are important and are taken hold of as man wakens. When he wakens consciously to these structures, when he wakens consciously to what is working in his own soul in the process of awaking, Rudolf Steiner revealed that man has to meet his own self-constructed being which is called the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold. In order to be able to approach this Guardian, a fairly disciplined, concentrated and directed life needs to be undertaken. This is pointed to by Rudolf Steiner in his many practices. Here I would like to point to some aspects of what the soul has to consider in order to take this path through nature. This path is not only the path of the physician or the therapist, but very much the path of the bulk of the individuals who today want to take a path of initiation as given by Rudolf Steiner using the imaginations which are present in Anthroposophical Spiritual Science.
This path through nature is very much connected with 1)the Rosicrucian Mysteries, 2)the Mysteries of Ephesus and Persephone or Demeter, and 3)the path that Rudolf Steiner pointed to when he spoke about the attempts that were made in the Northern Mysteries of Hibernia when he lectured in England. We have mentioned the path of man inward into his ego. This has also been a valid path. The basis of it was laid in the Southern Mysteries. Its direction is in the process of entering one’s own soul, moulding it and purifying it. Simple hypertrophy of the ego is a suggested manifestation of it on the spiritual path. In terms of Anthroposophical Spiritual Science, my understanding is that this path is undertaken and transformed with greatest care and the greatest exactness, but with the greatest difficulty in what Rudolf Steiner himself did and what he gave in his path of thinking described in his Theory of Knowledge and his Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. My understanding is that in any case the enlivening and transformation of the intellect, the spiritualization of the intellect, is important for either path. Rudolf Steiner’s path or the path through the Ego – the objectified Ego in pure thinking – is an extremely difficult, strict and exacting path. I have already indicated that Rudolf Steiner has pointed to this in his Occult Science and can be read by all.
Let us then take up some of the aspects of the human soul that might be considered in this process of taking the path through nature. We have already spoken to the fact that it takes the inner planetary spheres or the forces, the beings of these spheres to help man waken in the physical world. These inner planetary spheres can be grouped and could be called the Moon Sphere and could be said to be that which is actually active in awakening. To be more exact, one would have to speak of the Mercury, Venus, and the Moon spheres as we have already done . We pointed to the Mercury Sphere as awakening man to the developing of a “Sentient-body” which is active in sensing. Venus forces work for the developing of an “Intellectual-body” capacity so that man can go inward with a degree of inner light. Finally man can do and act out of himself. This builds a “Body of actions”. In this case it is strictly the Moon forces that are working to build this soul-construct. Noteworthy is that none of these bodies are a result of conscious self-discipline. Also, noteworthy is that all of these soul-body organs are a result of a spiritual path. They are given by life in a passive fashion.
Another aspect of these same forces of waking would be to indicate that they have a good deal to do with the formative forces connected with the head. Here again Moon forces, but not Moon alone, are active. Again the human soul is essentially passive. A final aspect of the inner planetary or Moon forces is to indicate how important they are to the pre-birth existence of man. Therefore we could speak of these inner planetary forces as being involved in waking, in the forming of the head, and in the pre-birth activities of man (in the assembling of the human ether body) . The conclusion is that as we awaken, as we take a conscious path and waken to these forces, beings, force systems, and cooperative spiritual activities in these spheres, we will then meet what brings about waking – the head formation and the formation of the human ether body. The manifold aspect of what is involved is shared to indicate the complexity and seriousness of such an undertaking.
Looking historically one might take up Rudolf Steiner’s indication that this path through nature was already in inception in the Chaldean times. However, at that time the basic consciousness was very different than it is at present. He pointed out that at that time the basic consciousness was given by the organ structures of speech, that is the larynx, and only gradually has the basic structure of consciousness been altered through the course of history so that it now exists in the region of the human heart. This speaks to the fact that the path through nature as practiced in those times was different and had to alter in order that the approach today is appropriate for man. In this regard it can be said that in older times substances were used in order to bring about the consciousness necessary to take the path. These days it is not the substance, but the working of the human soul that is appropriate for the path. In Chaldean times it was the metal mercury that was very much connected with the basic consciousness and the center of consciousness of that time was connected with the larynx. Today it is the human heart which is connected with the metal gold. Another way of saying it is to say that the basic force systems that support man in this earthly consciousness are actually planetary in nature, working through the earth in metal, and these force systems have changed from those of mercury to that of gold, from the region of the larynx to that of the heart. One might note here that in the Egyptian period, it was copper which was very active in the region of the solar plexus and gave a very basic consciousness that was a stepping stone for a path of initiation. Whatever the case today, our point of departure has to be taken in relationship to the sun and the spiritual beings connected therewith. In Anthroposophical Spiritual Science, one points predominately to Michael and his service to Christ.
In the Greek period this path through nature was spoken of as finding the relationship with Natura. The Greek initiate in sleep tried to find the relationship with Persephone-Natura who then was able to lead the individual to the domain of the plant world, where agents of healing could be found. Note should be made that the Chaldean also had to enter the domain of sleep in order to go the path of nature. Today, of course, in order to go the path of nature,
we have to speak to the fact that we must waken and use the forces of waking in order to develop the faculties of taking the path of nature and having initiation, clairvoyant experiences.
To retrace our steps then we must speak of the activities of awakening, going inward and acting as related to the planets of Mercury, Venus and Moon. Perhaps a brief word could be spoken in regards to each one of these planetary spheres with their beings and activities.
In regard to the planet Mercury, one can point to the Being, Mercury-Raphael, who has always been connected with the sphere of healing. It is also this same sphere out of which today the knowledge of the plant world can come. From this domain, healing knowledge can unfold. In terms of the development of self-knowledge, one would have to say that it is this sphere that works very actively in man so that he can have some relationship with his fluid system. That would mean that he would have a relationship with the streaming of lymph, arterial and venous blood systems, as well as the non-compartmentalized fluid systems. The other facet of human existence that belongs in this sphere of planetary-cosmic activity is that of the human temperament. Also ,very much concerned is our inner process of breath, breathing, and moving in breath. From a soul spiritual side, it is the forces of Mercury that are very essential in
being able to come to a certain independence in thinking. Important from this sphere is that mankind become active so that he can transform the impulse of healing to freedom in thought. This is an active impulse which contains the possibility of transforming that which is in the process of being healed to that which is then free in spirit.
Rudolf Steiner has indicated that if we do not come up with impulses from this sphere, if we can not make use of Mercury forces of a pure type in pursuing the process of healing, that mankind will come forth with ghastly forms of medicaments and medicines.
The second sphere to be considered is that of Venus. By consciously taking up the cosmic forces of Venus or the reflections of this sphere in himself and in copper, man comes to an experience of the elements of nature and the various states in which the substances of the world exist. Not only does the knowledge of the elemental world unfold through the forces inherent in this planetary sphere, but also the dead begin to articulate themselves in this domain. It is important to know that this sphere of activity not only works in the service of the human being, enabling a going inward or bringing an inner light to experiences, but it also plays into the solar plexus, where the dead are active. Here we have experiences where we have very little conscious control, if any. A path of the deepening of inner life is needed to conquer this sphere and approach the forces inherent in this domain of human life. What is actually required is the deepening of inner life to the point that one can speak of a religious life. This is not outer formal religious life, but an inner one. From Rudolf Steiner we have the indication that if this sphere is not taken up appropriately mankind will come up with tremendous aberrations, which is called mechanical occultism. One can say mankind will come up with very perverted uses of the physical world to serve the soul and its inmost desires.
Finally, from the sphere of the Moon, we come into contact with forces that are very much connected with the reproductive sphere on the lower and on the upper, the capacity to be able to reflect and have conscious actions in life. It is from this sphere that one can speak of reproduction. It is here possible to come into intense and immediate contact with one’s own previous experiences before birth. Here one can speak of the activity of self recreating, of a bringing forth of oneself again. The reflection of Moon activity in the lower organic pole of man is, of course, connected with the processes of reproduction, creating the physical basis for the incarnation of another soul. These two poles of reproducing lie close to one another and therefore without the very strictest care, one can fall into another. Rudolf Steiner has pointed out that if a truly careful soul life is not led, tremendous sexual aberrations will develop out of the impulses of this sphere. This will occur rather than being able to come to an appreciation of oneself as a spiritual being, existing before birth and active there. Also from this sphere come the workings of the greatest leaders of mankind – the great spiritual leaders who were the first human beings able to translate spiritual insight, spiritual being knowledge into the development of human culture so that physical world development could be transformed in the process of cultural evolution.
Another aspect in speaking of the human soul and its activities is to consider how the angel is active in the human astral body. From Rudolf Steiner’s lecture on this subject, one can gain the indication that one’s own angel being works not only with the planetary forces that bring about awakening, but also works to transform the whole human soul so that very specific types of activity can come forth in man. Three types of activity need to come about in the human soul. The first activity comes through the angel out of the sphere of the Moon. This angelic activity is needed so there can be common imaginations of man and there can be a brotherliness among mankind. Sexual aberrations will unfold without these common images. In the case of the Venus impulses, there is the possibility through the efforts of one’s angel in this sphere to come to a deepening of religious life and a sense that every man attains to this sphere with a sense of equality. This sense of religion and equality can work to offset the development of mechanical occultism. From the Mercury sphere comes the truly free soul spiritual life so a liberated thinking can be pointed to that can then work in a therapeutic fashion in society. This liberated thinking can work to avoid bringing forth ghastly medications that are actually detrimental to mankind. One can see that it is just from these three spheres, when they are brought over into waking life, that man will have to work, not only as an individual being, but as a social being bringing about the threefolding of social life. This then becomes crucial in order that not only the specific individual, but also other individuals and mankind can evolve. This brotherliness in imaging, equality in religious striving, and freedom in spiritual thinking is needed to advance the whole of social life. We can say we need healing for the sake of religious life, for the sake of a commonness, and a sense of brotherliness through common spiritual images by acquiring freedom in our thinking. I “unearthed” a seven-fold workings or practices that need to come about if one is to have this angelic working in one’s own astral body. These workings are to develop:
- a marked seriousness in life
- a true sincerity
- a true devotion to word
- a devout quest for the spirit
- a great care in expressing word
- a continuous effort at three-folding, the threefold social processes
- a deep appreciation of sleep itself
We need yet to consider the side of waking where thinking is going to have to be taken hold of. All the unfolding spoken to above needs to be trained out of the immediacy of life, as a practical matter. Here we can turn to the indications of “The Practical Training in Thought”. From this short article by Rudolf Steiner, I have culled five basic suggestions. These suggestions I would like to formulate in a five-fold way. The first is that the human being has to be able to stop thinking. Second, he has to be able to make repeated observations with exactness and detail. Third, he has to be able to strengthen what actually comes into the soul and control it. Fourth, he has to then so strengthen his faculties of observation that his memory becomes quite exact, his recall detailed and all of this undertaken with care. Finally, the fifth step is to take the greatest care not to let the beginning soul-spirit wander without control. Soul discipline is needed from the outset. These indications from the practical training and thinking give a very direct method for directing one’s senses to the world and out of that process develop the faculty of a rather exact thinking. This is a first healing of oneself and a first need on the path through nature. One needs to become a rather independent thinker and yet the thinking must be completely allied with the world around. This independence in thinking is required in order to build the organ of Imagination that is structured out of the world of the Archetype and is the first activity of the human being who begins his path through nature.
Part IV of Man’s Path Through Nature
So far we have considered two possible paths – the path of the ecstatic and the path of the mystic. It is a variant of the path of the ecstatic, the occultist, the waker, that we consider to be the path through nature. The path of the mystic is a path evolved in the Egyptian Mysteries which found a place in the thinking mystics of the Renaissance, and as far as I know was transformed into an appropriate objective mystical event through the activities of Rudolf Steiner. He developed thinking as an objective fact on the Mystical Path.
In our next step we considered the human organic or organismic basis of waking, that of the head structure of man. This is made up of the senses, the nerves, the brain, and the etheric, organic structure of the organ that subserves imaging. This latter is an individual acquisition. More will have to be said about these structures.
In our last section, we considered the evolving soul itself. We spoke of he who begins to use the forces of waking to pursue a spiritual path. We discussed the use of the forces of the inner planets in relationship to developing the ability to become a fraternal human being, a human being who has a sense of rightness and justice, and a human being who can be a thinker with freedom. We ended the last section by considering the fact that a man who is a thinker in freedom can take hold of spiritual imaginations given out of the world of the Archetypes in order to construct an organ which is needed today and that has a justified basis in current spiritual life. This organ of imaging is needed to grasp the spiritual in the physical world. The organ to subserve this grasping has to be constructed by the free thinking individual and seems to be a living organic structure that is a metamorphosis of our brain into a kind of a brain heart structure. We gave further consideration to the organic structure of the brain, the nerves, and the sense that rests at night while the human being is asleep. These entities have to be taken hold of by the waking individual. Thereby they can be taken up in a conscious fashion, should the soul life be transformed. I think it important to mention that from Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual research, it is the Christ Being who watches over the head structure while we sleep. It is the Christ Being who assures that these head structures of sense, nerve, and brain stand in some relationship to our Ego when we return from a night’s sleep. It should be noted that in sleep we do not
desert our organism below the shoulder blades, as it were. We remain in contact with out lower body in both sleeping and waking life but of course we are not conscious of it. The domain from the shoulders down gradually disappears from consciousness to semi-consciousness into a total lack of consciousness or one can say, fades into sleep.
On this path through nature we have considered two aspects. The first is the transformation of the human soul itself. We have to be able to live in connection with the forces of the inner planets and thereby gain faculties that ordinarily the waking human being does not have. With these faculties we then have to be able to live in a social process with our fellow human being. This is a moral path. The second aspect of this path is the ability to waken to the spirituality that is inherent in the organic constructs that subserve our waking consciousness. That is, we need to waken to the spiritual beings who are active in the senses, the nerves, and the brain. It is the Elemental World, the world that lives in the states of materiality that work very actively in the fashioning of our senses. The Beings that are connected with the actual Spiritual World, the hierarchical world, are those who fashion our nerves. Our brain is fashioned out of the Spiritual Beings who work and weave in the World of Reason. This World of Reason is a higher spiritual world. These spiritual beings indwell in the zodiacal and the star world beyond the zodiacal heavenly circle. In the building of the organ of imagination, we reach into the sphere of the Godhead itself. Thus on the path of nature we begin to become acquainted with moral activities in relationship to the world and our fellow man. Our soul then begins to unfold its relationship with Spiritual Beings who are the workers in those organic structures which are necessary for waking consciousness. This path then is one where we practice our relationship with the world. We make steps in our moral life. This can place us in a threefold relationship with the world and humanity. We have the further possibility to waken to the beingness that is at work in the very structures of the organs which serve the human cognitive process, the waking process.
A further note might be made of the contrast between the free thinking individual who takes a moral path, observing nature and living in a threefold context with his fellow man and the “pure” thinker. My contrast of the two paths – the path through nature and the path of the “pure” thinker would be to consider the Beings of the Spiritual World met on the path through nature as very different from the ideas intuited by the “pure” thinker. The path through nature is one of knowing spiritual beings. The path of knowledge via the faculty of human thinking cognition is not that of encountering spiritual beings, but being able to intuit ideas which one might say are an exact counterpart of the Spiritual Beingness of the world. To my way of thinking, the communion with the Idea is a higher form of experiencing and knowledge process than is the contact through the path of nature with Spiritual Beings. However, my impression is that the path of “pure spiritual activity” is a much more difficult path and in its purity is pursued by relatively few. I take it that most of us take up the path through nature seeking a moral life and then begin by immersing ourselves as an effort towards becoming a free thinker by taking up the imaginations of Spiritual Science. By this means, we are slowly introduced to the spirituality, the spiritual beings who form the organic basis for waking. The path then is to traverse the world of the senses in a conscious fashion, given that the Guardian of the Threshold permits this. Our next step is to pass into the world of nature itself. This is the world we enter when we fall asleep, but in this case we do so consciously. It is also our world before we are born. Thus our nature path permits us to return to cosmic domains where we have already been active.
The process by which we now enter into the beingness of the world around us, into the inwardness of the sense world, requires the help of a Guardian Being. At this time it is the Greater Guardian of the Threshold. As noted, the sphere of activity of the Beings that are present in the kingdoms of nature around us is also the very sphere in which we move when we fall asleep, before we are born and also after we die. The Spiritual Beings to be met on this path are well spoken of in the lecture cycle entitled The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature, given in 1912 in Helsinki. I should like to say a few words about this cycle in relationship to this path through nature. In this cycle Rudolf Steiner speaks of the moral path needed to perceive the spiritual beings in nature. He gives no details of this moral path, but goes directly to the spiritual beings. In the cycle of the Microcosm and the Macrocosm he tells of the coming to self-knowledge in the process of gaining spiritual perception of our own waking organism (the senses, nerves, brain, etc.). To have this self-knowledge is actually an objective revelation of the Hierarchical Beings at work there. It is just this Hierarchical world which becomes the door to enter into the inwardness of nature. Through these beings we enter into the world of sleep, or one can say we can enter into the world of nature through the door of the senses. My understanding is that this entering into the Spirit Being of Nature is the completion of the path through nature. I am inclined to think that we can not come to an understanding of the spiritual beings in the kingdoms of nature and the heavenly bodies unless we have first penetrated our own organic-spiritual organization. This spirit-beingness constructs the organs which serve waking consciousness. To go through the door of the senses would mean that one would first go via the path of waking with the help of the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold. Then we can go into the world of the senses, meeting the Greater Guardian of the Threshold so that the spiritual beings in the kingdom of nature and in the heavenly bodies can be perceived and be known. In this lecture cycle of 1912, Rudolf Steiner points out that these spiritual beings can be grasped by a direct taking hold of the physical world on a moral path. I take it this is the brief indication of what I have tried to develop from the aspect where one speaks to taking the path via the waking consciousness.
In this 1912 cycle, Rudolf Steiner points to a four-fold division of nature. First he points to the existence of physical objects in nature. These we perceive with ordinary consciousness. With awakened consciousness we next perceive the Elemental Beings. Rudolf Steiner indicates that in the ordinary process of scientific investigation these Elemental Beings or these Nature Spirits are spoken of as “nature forces”. The third step in the world of nature is to encounter the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time. The scientific world generally derives the “laws” of nature from this meeting with the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time. A fourth encounter with spiritual beings in nature and in the cosmos is with the “Planetary Spirit”. The unconscious encounter with this province by the modern scientist furnishes the basis for the “meaning” of things. This four-fold structure of nature in terms of its beingness, Rudolf Steiner says reflects the physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego in the kingdoms of nature and the heavenly bodies. The physical body Rudolf Steiner considers the sense world. With the etheric body, he points to the world of the Elemental Beings or the Nature Spirits. The astral body is the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time. The Ego in nature is the Planetary Spirit itself. In this lecture cycle it takes Rudolf Steiner a good number of lectures to develop this beingness in the Kingdoms of nature and the planetary bodies. Here I cannot develop this completely, but would like to take the occasion to summarize the plant and its beingness as it stands in nature as an example of what might be met on the path through nature.
We can begin by placing the plant on the earth in nature. The sun is in the heavens, the stars above and the whole confluence of the physical world is around. We would have to ask what might be the experience of a human being whose inner eye is awake to the spirituality that lives there with the plant as it stands within the mighty world circumstance. The earth is below, hiding the invisible root. The leaves are obvious. The blossoms appear with the warming sun and the fruits appear with the increased light of the day. The story of the plant is not complete without the night with the moon, planets and stars. These are all part of the sense perceptive world. In this sense perceptible world, we have the plant that has all four elements the solid, watery, airy, and warmth. One could say that the solid and watery are more connected with root, stem, and leaf, the airy more with the leaf and flower, and the warmth with the flower and fruiting process. With this physical analysis by the outer eye, we might consider the revelations of the inner eye . We might begin with the Gnome-beings who are at work relating the earth to the root. The Undines weave in the wateriness of the leaf. The Sylphs of the air weave the colored flower out of the light and darkness. With the element of warmth, the Salamanders work into the fruiting process and the formation of the seeds. These beings work in the four states of materiality and into the four-foldness of the plant. Rudolf Steiner indicated that the Gnomes are actually the child-beings born of the Archai. Likewise, the Undines are born of the Archangels and the Sylphs of the Angels. My inference is that the Salamanders are actually born of man. This speaks then to the general physical and living aspects of the plants.
The plant further lives in a world of endless rhythms. The seasons, the motion of the stars, the change in the configuration of the planets, the relationship of the sun and earth, the sun and moon all occur in time in rhythm. All of these relationships are very much subjected to time phenomena and are a part of a time process. All the events that occur in time are the not the responsibility of Elemental Beings, that were just spoken of, but of the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time. As the Gnomes, Undines, Sylphs, and Salamanders belong very much to the etheric nature of the plant, so one can say that the Spirits of Rotation of Time belong very much to the astral organization of the plant, as well as cosmic bodies. Now these Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time are the children and offspring of all the hierarchical ranks of spiritual beings, the Thrones, Seraphim, Cherubim, Kyriotetes, Dynamis, Exusiai, Archai, Archangels, and Angels. It is the offspring of these beings that determine the activities that have to penetrate every aspect of the earth, the planets and the starry world, bringing about the transformation of the plant in time and the alteration of the plant as the result of the change in the relationship to the heavenly bodies. This subjecting of the plant to time phenomena would go so far as also influencing the fructification of the plant that occurs between the stamen and the pistil. Going further as regards a specific plant, one would have to say that its astral being is not only the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time, but an actual child-offspring of the Spirits of Motion. The particulars of the flower, the singularness of the constructs of the leaves, the uniqueness of this particular plant entity that works its way, unfolding in time and towards a sentient like state, is under the influence of the
being who is an offspring of the Spirits of Motion. Regarding the ego of the plant, it is the domain of the Spirit of Wisdom which gives birth to the ego. The ego being of the plant is the species director of the plant, as the ego is the individual director of the human being.
In considering the plant then, we have to speak of the physical, etheric, astral, and ego nature of the plant that is connected with the offspring and the workings of these offspring of the Hierarchical Order. The Hierarchical Spiritual Beings themselves do not work into the plant, but rather their offspring. However, we have to note that the plant is part of the earth, not only with the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time connected with the Earth, but also with the Spirit-of-the-Earth itself.
To understand this Earth Spirit is a further complexity to be added to the spirituality of the plant. Rudolf Steiner points out that the earth has a planetary spirit whose physicalness is actually a being of the hierarchy of the Exusiai. The etheric makeup of the planetary being of the earth is from the rank of the Dynamis. The astral organization of the planetary spirit is brought about through the Kyriotetes. The Thrones constitute the sentient-soul of the planetary spirit of the earth. The Cherubim serve as the intellectual soul and the Seraphim as the consciousness soul of the Earth Spirit. The Planetary Spirit of the earth is actually a construct of the whole hierarchical world in its relationship to the earth. The Earth Spirit is related to all the kingdoms of nature, not only the plant kingdom. A further aspect of the Planetary Spirit of the Earth would be to speak of its spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man. In this regard, Rudolf Steiner says that it is the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father which constitute the higher membering of this planetary spirit of the earth.
Thus in gazing with an open eye upon a plant in its relation to the earth, the starry world, and the planets, we can see that the revelation of its spiritual beingness is immensely complex. We pointed to the many and manifold offspring of the hierarchies. We spoke of the working of man himself in the elemental world creating the Salamanders. We spoke of the offspring of the whole Hierarchical World and then of the Hierarchical World itself. We pointed to the that which is highest in the spiritual world, the Trinity, the Godhead. Our simple little plant stands within the workings of many beings and the auric activity of a Planetary Spirit. The dwelling place of the Planetary Spirit is the Sun. For the Earth there is an exception since the Earth Spirit dwells within the Earth itself. In this case we are speaking of the being of the Christ.
Gazing on the path of nature, we can say that it is by no means an easy path. What comes out of it all is to suggest that what is created in the kingdoms of nature is actually seen as the workings and signature of divine spiritual beings. This is the path not through the beingness of man or his own personal history in the evolution of the world, but rather this is the path to the beings and kingdoms of nature and the heavenly bodies, which in their apparent physicalness are actually the revelation of the Spirit. It is extremely important to realize that the path of nature is actually the path to the spirit. What is revealed is actually a spiritual world. In fact, we could say that the physical world itself is a signature and a symphonic creation of the entire spiritual world. To go into nature, to take the path of nature is to meet Divine Beings. The path through man is to encounter the re-incarnating ego, world evolution and substantiality. This then has to be our next consideration in order to complete the story of a path through nature.
Part V of Man’s Path Through Nature
We have been talking about the path through nature. With all the talk of the potential of this path, we have also spoken to the path through our own ego. Instead of taking a moral path via waking man and into nature, we can rather go into the ego, into man’s deepest sanctuary. I would like to suggest that the general process of the mystic as we have in the ancient time and what we have today is not a true mysticism . I would label it as a maverick transformation of the tendency to want to get into the ego. However, the ego is not reached or encountered. Today there are two ways to get to the ego. One is through the path through nature that can take the path through man; this can culminate in ego knowledge. The other path is a rectification of the mystical path. This is the path of pure thought. And I would like to – suggest that the path of thinking is very profound, rather unique and a very difficult path. It is a very very high mountain to climb.
Previously we have spoken of the path through nature. The first step is to consider the waking process. The Second step is to awaken to the spiritual beingness of our physical organs of waking. Therewith the Hierarchical world becomes manifest in waking to our own makeup. We also spoke of the forces of our waking. These forces belong to the cosmos. They work into our soul. It is not the physical body and it is not the etheric body that awakens us. We waken, through the forces working from Mercury, Venus, and Moon. It is these forces of waking which we then need to take hold of consciously.
Previously I intimated that Rudolf Steiner spoke to this waking when he revealed how the angel works in our astral body. He points out how we, together with our angel, can work in connection with the forces of Mercury. Through these forces our thinking can become free. (This is not the path of thinking.) Our freed thinking helps carry the angel. This freed thinking means that we can begin to think thoughts that others think. we can begin to think spiritual thoughts, such as are here being attempted. These Mercury-waking forces are a working with our angel. To free our thinking means it is possible for us to waken with a different degree of consciousness. It offers the possibility to be able to have a thinking wakefulness. In this thinking lies an impulse for therapeutic work.
Mercury is the sphere of the healer and healing. What needs to come from this sphere is very extensive, and I would like to suggest that the first healing has to be a social one. It is just these first forces that we have to deal with that can bring the therapies needed to consider the freeing of man as an essential responsibility. Not only freedom in thinking is needed, but creative healing of the social circumstance which can lead man to freedom.
Progressing in waking consciousness to Venus reveals how the forces of this planet can bring us to take inward sense experiences. We can bring the outer world into our inner being. This is a kind of symbolical intellectual process.
In our work with our angel this experience is filled with light. Rudolf Steiner has indicated this domain so that we can work with our angel to discover the immense depths of life. In this way we are lead to the experience that every man must have the equal right to come to this experience. That depth, not just in thinking, but in our feeling and our sense about the depth of life is what can be a religious experience. That all are of equal worth in this regard and have equal rights is an immense revelation. We might say it is the feeling spirit, it is the religious sense that needs to come out of the depths of the human being who can work with his angel imbued with the forces of Venus. We can bring something over from Venus – together with our angel. Here we are considering the fact that we take a path where we are working with our angel, not doing this only for ourselves, also we are doing this for the angel. That we can develop this sense of depth is a gift not only to our fellow man but to the angel world as well. We do the same when we develop the sense of healing because we can think in a free way. The healing that is connected with the free thinking is a healing not only in the outer world but in the world of the angels as well.
If we turn to the Moon forces in waking, we come to what we can again do with and for our angel. A true image of the human being can eventuate from the work done in connection with our angel. The sense of fellowship of man can arise.
The effort here is to overcome animality which would or could come to expression in simple beastiality and sexual aberrations. What has to be done here is to find the common image of man, that man is not an animal. That man is a being of body, soul, and spirit, is a very complicated being, and has to be taken up in the pursuit of this common image. This common image should lead to a sense of brotherliness.
Our first step to free our thinking, to deepen life to a depth so that we have religious sense, and to evolve a common image of the human being is a moral gesture. Spiritual development here rests on moral unfolding. This is the first step on the path of nature. I would like to suggest that anybody who makes a second step in a half hearted way to begin to try to concentrate, to begin to try to find what it means to free up one’s thoughts, to follow imaginations, will begin to note the change in soul life. One of the first experiences, spoken of by many, is to discover how determined we are by outer life. How difficult it is to deal with control of the soul. To begin to structure one’s soul from within is then a second step, intimately connected with moral life, and also a process on the path through nature.
Thus we have a first step; that we take hold of the very forces of awakening. This leads us to making the effort to live as a threefold human being, endeavoring to heal, bringing about a deepening in life, and creating a commonality among men. The first step on this path is that of the awakening of a threefoldness in life.
Next, we said that if we are going to awaken, we need also to awaken to our own organic, physical structures. What are they? We waken to our own organic structures. Here we have spoken to the fact that we have a four-membered structure that bears our waking consciousness, that we use in order to waken. Awakening to these structures does not mean that we can go to a textbook and open it and see what we waken to. My understanding is that the first step is to begin to live into, to think into, and to feel into true spiritual imaginations. We ourselves have to construct the organ of imagination, the organ to develop imaginative, pictorial thinking. This is not a process of pure thinking. This is a step in being able to begin to form the rudiments of an organ of imagination.
Rudolf Steiner has indicated that when we live with the world of imaginations we not only construct an organ of imagination, but we take a first step towards the freeing of our thinking. Through this activity we reach into the highest spiritual world, the World of the Archetypes. We reach into the domain of the Holy Spirit, the World of Archetypes to build an organic structure in our head. This organ permits us knowingly to experience the imaginative world in the act of sense perception. We need this structure, it is the organ of imagination. You will notice at this point that it is we ourselves that create this organ. We build it. Rudolf Steiner has called it a “head-heart”. I would like to suggest that it is called a “preliminary center” for higher consciousness and is pointed to in Knowledge of Higher Worlds. It is a specific organ created by the individual out of his work, where he begins to approach the organs connected with waking. When man awakens to this process what does he meet? Does he meet a brain, a heart? No! He encounters the Spiritual Being of the Archetypal world. We might say that the Beings of the Holy Spirit are perceived. The Pentecostal experience is a first step. This is a result in the waking to our own activity in higher organ formation. Our head is bathed in the “Fire of the Holy Spirit”. This is Beingness from the Higher Spiritual World. On the social-moral path we then must encounter the “Holy Spirit” in order to progress.
The next structure we awaken to is the brain. The brain is constituted out of the World of Reason. Here we encounter
the Spiritual Beings of the First Hierarchy. They live in relation to the starry world, particularly the animal circle. It is we who transform what is animalic and astral in us into reason but here we encounter the activity of the Beings who structure our brain. In reasoning we unknowingly live with these Beings. Our thinking-reasoning is a revelation in our soul of a relationship with these Beings. In structuring our brain these Spiritual Beings work out of the Godhead. My impression is that we are dealing with Spirits of Wisdom, Will, Harmony, and Love. It is these Beings we meet in encountering and truly awakening to the formation of our brain. Spiritual Beingness is again encountered. We meet the Spirits who structure our organ of waking. We don’t open the head to look at a brain. We take a path whereby we meet the Beings who have woven order into the precious organ inside our skull.
We pointed to a next step where we meet the Beings at work in our nerves. The nerves are structured out of the World of Spirit. My impression is that we are speaking of the Spiritual Beings from the Archangels through the Beings of the First Hierarchy. Angels are not included. As we waken to the spirituality of our organs of waking we encounter the entire Hierarchical World and begin a relationship with the Godhead itself.
Finally, we have to pass through the senses themselves. In our senses live the spiritual beings we have spoken of as elemental beings. We spoke of them as Salamanders, Sylphs, Undines, and Gnomes. Here the point is that when we awaken to take the path through nature, we don’t look out of our eyes. We don ‘t open the head to look at our nerves or brain, we go by the hand and by the grace of the Spiritual Beings with whom we have worked unconsciously to constitute the organs of waking consciousness.
All of this is not possible without permission from the “Lesser Guardian of the Threshold”. We have to be given permission by the spiritual world. We don’t crash the door. This path that starts out as a moral-social path is a path through spiritual beingness and only after we have passed through the door of the Lesser Guardian can we then enter into the domain of nature itself.
In order to enter the Being of Nature we must gain permission from another guardian. That is call the “Greater Guardian of the Threshold” . This guardian being permits us to actually enter after we have made the preliminary steps in waking. We need knowledge of the Hierarchical world in order to enter Nature itself. I spoke about this previously and gave the example of taking up the plant where the plant lives in the earth. Because the plant lives with the earth in relation to the cosmos, it has to relate itself to the Spirit of the Earth. Rudolf Steiner told that the Spirit of the Earth is constituted by all the members of the Hierarchies except the Angels, Archangels and Archai. The Spirit of the Earth is constituted by the Hierarchical world and the highest member of the Earth Spirit is the Trinity itself. In this way what appears in nature appears as the signature of “God”. This is an immense and lofty revelation. We have to first learn and be conversant with the whole hierarchical spiritual world before we can begin to approach God. It seems to me that it takes a degree of modesty on this path when we are going to stand in the light of the Godhead.
If we look at a plant in nature we can take note of the leaf, root, stem, blossom, and fruit. If with awakened soul we approach the plant we can perceive the children of the Hierarchical World and how they work in our presence. We perceive that the Salamanders, Sylphs, Undines, and Gnomes are the children of the Hierarchical Beings. We learn that what makes a flower come forth and be fructified is the result of the activity of the Spirits-of-the-Rotation-of-Time, who are children of the Higher Spiritual Hierarchies. On entering Nature on this path we encounter the Beingness of Nature – its spirituality. Our first step is on the moral path. We must observe the moral impulses connected with social circumstances. Our second step is to learn and know about the Spiritual Beings at work in man. From there we can pass into the Beingness of Nature. There we can encounter the Signature of God. In addition, we come into the province of the children of the Hierarchies. It is crucial to understand them.
We have developed a habit of being great snobs. We look down on many aspects of simple work activity. We look down on he who does the lowly job, he who does the simple job, he who does the odd job. In our time of snobbery and superciliousness we consider the man who uses his intellectual faculties to rank among the Brahmins. The others who are active by the sweat of the brow are our modern day Pariahs. However, it is just they who are at work for the redemption of these Beings, the Children of the Hierarchies. It is our Pariah’s who are digging the ditch, doing the smallest cleaning, the smallest task, who are redeeming these beings, freeing these beings. That is why the endless mechanization may be foolish. We need to know what a really clean room is, what a polished surface is. All of these things we have to be able to penetrate in the service of these Elemental Beings, in the redemption of these children. They will go with us. They will go to the Spiritual World to become the next world through us. So this domain of nature directs us to a service, to the smallest detail. The smallest thing. And in this case, there is no “dirty work”. It is the service of the smallest that is our responsibility. And it is the transformation of that “dirty work” that becomes our service to the spiritual world. This is very hard to do because of ideas that have existed in civilization since the Indian Epoch when class-structure was the basis of social relationships. The simple tasks are still considered belonging to the Pariah, the Untouchables. The intellectual is superior. The devoted soul who has his cross or crucifix in his cleaning closet and prays there is often the one who truly cares for the people. This I have often witnessed in the hospital. This person blesses the whole ward, and does something extremely worthwhile there. He probably takes home the smallest pay check. It has been my experience in the “snake pits” where I have worked (wards with severe chronic diseases) that there is often one or two such devoted souls. My impression has been that they have done the healing. Not alone, of course, but in terms of the elementary world they are extremely important. In our case this type of activity has to be done out of consciousness. Nobody can take this path asleep. Nobody can clean the floor again and again, and do a task again and again without a spiritual view. Nobody can do reverence to nature without the same devotion. Only the person that begins to sense his duty and takes it up and says “yes, this is my task, whatever it is”, can begin on this path where the elementary world lives and waits to be redeemed. Only then does devoted activity have meaning. Slavery to detail and the small thing in life is a burden not a liberator of our elementary associates.
Now I hope to make another step on this path and hope it shocks a bit. The path through nature requires one also to take the direction that goes through the nature of man. It is astonishing how much Rudolf Steiner has talked about this path through man. There is also no question that some individuals have spoken about this aspect. This is a path inward, but not directly into the Ego itself. On this path through man we can come to the individual ego; just as the path through outer nature culminates in the Ego. The two paths can imaginatively be grasped as the snake biting its tail. On the path through outer nature and through the inner nature of man, the Ego is encountered as an objective fact. This is not an expression of each grunt and groan of our soul. This path inward is not, in this case, a mystical path, rather it is a path to the inner organs of man. Here we come to the inner organs and their functions. On the usual mystical path it is actually these inner organs and their functions that are taken for the Ego. The true Ego is never encountered. On the path through Nature the two-fold nature of the Ego is revealed in clarity and as an objective fact. In this way we have to speak of two natures, that of the outer world and human nature.
In turning to the path through the nature of man Rudolf Steiner has spoken of four steps, four processes. When we turn inward with the preparation as outlined for the step into outer nature, we do not meet the human ego – we meet four substance-beings and their activities. We first meet the Being-Process of “Hydrogen”, then the Being-Process of
“Nitrogen”, then the Being-Process of “Oxygen” and finally the Being-Process of “Carbon”. This Carbon-Being was born on Old Saturn. It is connected with our physical body, but is really an expression of our Ego. This Being works formatively. The Oxygen-Being is born out of the sun Evolution, and is active in bringing about continual change in the formative activity of Carbon. The Nitrogen Being was born on Old Moon and mediates form and transformation. And finally, the Hydrogen Being works to bring about a shattering, a breaking asunder, of the activities of the other Beings.
The Hydrogen-Being is born of the Earth Evolution and relates itself to the physical body, always ready to fall asunder. Oxygen Being is connected with our Ether Body and Nitrogen with our Astral Body. Turning inward on a real spiritual path permits us to meet as a first step the nature of substance, the Being of Substance, not the inner being of our ego. Is this not shocking? Spirituality is not encountered, materiality is encountered. This is what I hoped might shock you!
I would like to read a quote from Spiritual Science, A Foundation for Social Forms (1920):
“In short, the particular and striking thing we discover is that when we move outward through our sense, we come into a higher world, an objective spiritual world. When we descend through mysticism, through the permeation of the feeling of God, through the inner tranquility of experiencing oneself as spirit through feeling oneself fee in soul, and through inner comfort, then we come to corporeality, to material substance.” (p . 52)
This points to the two aspects of the path through nature. One leads us to the spiritual world (culminating in the outer Ego), the other aspect through man leads us to the material world (culminating in the inner Ego). The path inward is a revelation of the four substance-beings we spoke of, not to our feelings. The superficial mystic mistakes the working of these substance-beings in the human for the soul itself. Only at a deeper level, with further progress through the nature of the human being do we come to the Ego. This story, or the progress to the inner Ego, I shall leave for the next time Part VI. I hope I have shaken a few to consider that we come to substance-beings not spiritual beings on the path inward. It is on the path out into nature we come to Spiritual Beings.
Part VI of Man’s Path Through Nature
It might be of value to recapitulate what has been said, but now to place it in a very different way and a different context. This can be done to begin with by picturing a triangle. At the base, at one angle, we can place “Nature”, at the other angle of the base we can place “Man’s Nature”, and at the top angle we can place “Pure Spirit” . In the middle of the triangle let us visualize the ego symbolized by a circle with a dot in the center. For a moment, let us not speak to each aspect that is involved in this triangle.
Let us begin with the center, with the ego. The symbol designates the ego. It also designates the sun. This designation is meant to indicate that this is an ego that has become active. One form of activity of the ego would be to say that it can be active out of itself. The ego can begin to carry out what we might call “pure spiritual activity”. This is a type of will-ego process. It is a path where the ego can realize its true being, where its true inner essence can be sought. I would say that this is the path of “pure thinking” . This ego activity permits it to commune with ideas in the world of the “Pure Spirit”. In this way, it is possible to attain to the true nature of the ego as it actively rests in the bosom of God as a “pure-thinking-spirit”. The experience of the active ego in this process is that of enacting the thinking process to such a point that the ego being can commune with the World of Pure Spirit in the process of idea activity. This is a very high form of soul-spiritual activity. It is a highly individualized one. It is an activity in which the individual spiritual being can approach their eternal relationship with the world. In a way, this is the path of the Sophia. The individual who loves wisdom, is an individual that can carry this love in and through the highest hierarchical world and on into the world of the Holy Spirit. The activity of such a pursuit is the highest form of Love.
The polar path to the one described above is that through nature. Two aspects of the path through nature stand at the corners of our triangle base. One is the path into the outer world of nature, and the second is the path to the inner world of the human organism itself. We have discussed this path into outer nature, describing it as a waking path to begin with. First the soul has to enact soul purification activities in order to become a moral being. We discussed the need to be able to come to free thinking activity, to be able to come to an insight for the rightfulness of every human being, and to the sense of the fellowship of mankind. This is a purifying path. It can be enacted in relationship to the waking world, to the forces that waken man. Another aspect is to say that this is a path that permits the individual to work with his angel. On this path we come to the possibility of threefolding the social process and developing a moral life that is necessary to live among ones’ fellow human beings. This moral path is the same whether we go into outer nature or into the inner organism of the human being.
In review we can recall that the next step, given permission by the Lesser Guardian, is to waken to the spirituality of the structures of the head. These structures are fourfold. They are the organ of imagination, the brain, the nerves, and the senses. We pointed out that in waking to these structures, we actually wake to the spiritual beings that have worked together with us to construct these entities. In this process we can say that this path takes us to the experience of death. Through the relationship with these spiritual beings, we can realize how we structure the human head organization for the sake of consciousness. Built into this organization is the fact of death, we can say, the Mystery of the Skull (Golgotha). The process here is not that the soul dies, but that the soul goes through the process of constructing the head organization in the fourfold manner and in doing so there is a death process built in so that the soul spirit being can then waken by coming into relationship with this head organization. It is the life of these structures which become the basis for the soul while the organs are devitalized – rendered less living.
It is in relationship with the head organization to the life in dying, that we can awaken to go either into the outer world into outer nature or into human nature itself.
As we step through the domain of death into outer nature, we require the permission of the Greater Guardian of the Threshold. We have pointed out how in this process we encounter all the spiritual beings active in nature. We meet the Hierarchical World as well as the Elemental World. The active ego is, of course, active in every step of this process. This activity directs the ego to its working before the incarnation at hand. The view is that of the spiritual activity of the Hierarchical and Element Beings with whom the ego was active before birth. We meet ourselves – active as a pre-birth being among the creative beings in nature.
The other corner of the triangle that we have been describing is the path through the inner being of man. Again it is required to have the moral development we spoke of. It is required to be able to develop the awakening process through the experience of death in relationship to the hierarchical world. This is encountered in the head in order to progress to the inner organization of the human being. In the last presentation, we discussed that this path through the inner organization of man is one in which the experience is the meeting of substance beingness. In this regard, we spoke to the substance beingness of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. On this inward path, we meet substance-being. Again the Greater Guardian has to give permission to enter this domain.
It is in this presentation where I will try to lay the basis for approaching the substance-beings of the human organism. In order to do so, I have to lay a foundation and that is what follows.
Many times have I pointed out that the Anthroposophy, An Introduction, 1924 (editor – current title, Anthroposophy and the Inner Life: An Esoteric Introduction), is actually a depiction of the path that I am describing here. To begin with, this nine lecture series points very much to the activities of the human soul-spirit in relationship to death. This is the starting point to taking a path through the human organization, through what occurs in the life processes of the human organization. The first and second lecture of this treatise, is a bridge to what I wish to share as we try to deal with the substance-beings carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The first lecture of this cycle points to the awakening to death and how in the process the human being can experience his being as an ego. Symptomatic of this experience is the question, Who am I? The “I” experience born out of death experience is the starting point. The second lecture points to the activity of meditation where the ego establishes itself and then on gazing into the human organization there comes the revelation of the great mystery of substance itself. In this lecture Rudolf Steiner indicates how when we take substance from the earth and we eat it, that substance goes through a reverse process of what the substance went through in the course of earth evolution. As an example, if we take a piece of salt from the earth, consume it, and digest it, the physical condition of this substance repeats or recapitulates what happened in the evolution of the earth since the time of Lemuria. Digestion repeats in reverse what has happened to the earth in cultural, as well as, cosmic evolution beginning with the time of Lemuria.
To add a little more detail of this reverse process of substance transformation, we would have to say that at present the sun rises in the sign of the Fishes, at the time of the Spring Equinox. As we go backwards to the Sun rising in Aries, we come to the Greco-Latin cultural epoch. To continue the backward journey, we come to Sun in the constellation of Taurus in the Egypto-Chaldean epoch. Back further the Sun rises in the constellation of Gemini during the Persian Cultural epoch. The Sun rose in Cancer at the time of the old Indian Cultural epoch. The further progress backwards, not through the cultural epochs, but through continental epochs, we come to the time when the Sun rose in the constellation of the Lion. This was at the time of the seventh Atlantean period. When the Sun rose in Virgo, the sixth Atlantean epoch was at hand. When the Sun rose in Libra, the fifth Atlantean epoch was present. When the Sun rose in Scorpio, the fourth Atlantean epoch was extant. When the Sun rose in Sagittarius, the third Atlantean epoch was present. When the Sun rose in Capricorn, the second Atlantean epoch was in existence, and finally the first Atlantean epoch was present when the Sun rose in Aquarius. The last time that the Sun rose in Pisces, Lemuria was in its late period. This cosmic circumstance occurred nearly twenty thousand years ago. It is just the cosmic activity which has been built into the physiological process. This process is active in the actual consumption and digestion of substance. From the mouth to the beginning of the duodenum, the human physiological processes are the metamorphosis of cosmic activity, as well as human cultural activity. Man ‘s physiology relates to cosmic and human cultural evolution. Digestive activity recapitulates, in reverse, this stellar and previous human activity. The way in which the cultural or the continental periods work into the digestive processes is fairly complicated. Presenting it in this fashion is fairly simplistic, but it provides a general idea. What should be seen is that as the states of substance are determined by the past, we have a mirror for world history. It is not world history, the physiological process mirrors history. All we need to do is to eat and digest and cosmic memory has a mirror, a living active mirror.
As we eat and digest, the substance we consume is transformed from a solid to a warmth state. The etheric formative forces of the states of matter have to be overcome. This is a stimulus to our life or ether body. The etheric elements inherent in the states of materiality are a tremendous stimulant to the etheric process of the human organization . This is an enlivening process in the human organization as the states are transformed and as the materiality is being transformed in the digestive act itself. It is finally in the duodenal area that substance can be taken up into the organism. The digestive process has rendered the substance lifeless. In passing from chyme to chyle, this substance is brought back to life. The human ego is essential to the killing and destruction of matter, but thereby awakens a counter creative process that is ego-centered (unconscious ego). What has been destroyed in the digestive process by the ego, becomes ego penetrated (connected with bile penetrating the digested substance, as well as pancreatic secretions). This ego penetrated warmth-substance passes from chyme to chyle where the human enlivened ether body takes up the new ego-warmth substance. What is present at this point in the human organization is a warmth-living condition of substance which is similar to warmth living condition of the substantiality of the earth when it was in the evolutionary period of Lemuria, pointing back to the beginning of earth evolution in Polaria.
It is very important to grasp this line of thought. It is also important to try to grasp the state of living substantiality. Here we are dealing with physical substance that has been totally destroyed and recreated through the ego, we can consider this renewed substance ego substance. Then the new substance is united with the life, living etheric processes of the human organization. In this way we come to a kind of living, life substance which Rudolf Steiner called archetypal protein, “Ur-Eiweis” . The archetypal protein belongs to the category of the archetypal plant and to the archetypal animal. It is essential to grasp this archetypal proteinaceous substance. It is the living substance out of which all the elements that we know as material substance-being is derived. We can point to carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, or silica and calcium. We can point to all the substance beingness that is derived from this archetypal protein substance. It is this substance that then lays the basis for discussing biochemical activity which is connected with the human life, with human soul life and human spiritual life. The differentiations of this archetypal proteinaceous material is what then lies in the manifold biochemical activities which go on in the human organism during a life time.
If we look at the enteric canal beyond the region of the duodenum, we have to begin to consider the excretory processes that are concerned with the human organization. Rudolf Steiner gave very new ways to understand this excretory process. He indicates that the excretory processes are a metamorphosis, a mirror, of cosmic activity which gave rise to the kingdoms of nature. The kingdoms of nature were pressed out, excreted from the make up of man by the activities of the spiritual world. In man, the excretory processes reflect rather lofty cosmic-spiritual activity.
To detail this excretional process, we would have to start with the activities that are alive in the intestinal processes, from the small intestine through the large intestine, producing fecal material. The activities there are akin to the excretional or cosmic excretional processes that gave rise to the plant kingdom in our surroundings. If we take up the excretional processes connected with the kidneys, where a watery but also a crystalline substantiality is created, we can look to the creation of the mineral kingdom. In the respiratory activity and the excretion of the substances of the breath in the air, we can come to a metamorphosis of the cosmic-creative activities which brought forth the animal kingdom. In studying the sweating process of the human being, we can come to a contemplation of what has brought about the actual incarnation of the human being into a physical form. Another way of speaking to this process is to articulate that a cosmic process occurred to create the mineral kingdom. This occurred at the time of Atlantis. This cosmic process has now become a human physiological process producing urine and crystalline forms therein. In the case of the plant kingdom, we can go backwards, pointing to a cosmic plant forming process occurring at the time of Hyperborea. This brought about the possibility of the existence of plant forms in the environment and currently works in such a way that we have a reflection of this in the function of our large bowel, in the process of fecal formation. In relation to the respiratory process we can look to the cosmic animal forming process that went on in Lemuria that now finds its reflection in the physiological process of excreting in respiration. Finally in the sweating process, we see a cosmic, human forming process that occurred at a very early time, the time of Polaria. Slowly out of the Polarian activity some indication of a human form, even though very evanescent and very different from today, could begin to come into existence.
This latter line of consideration leads one not only back to the time of Atlantis, but back to Lemuria, Hyperborea, and Polaria. It leads to the time when spiritual beings began to press the kingdoms of nature out of man. This all occurred so that man could become an ego bearer. This first incarnation of the human ego occurred during Lemuria. In going backwards, we can trace our ego heredity to Lemuria. Beyond that we rest within the beings of the Hierarchical World.
This view of the excretional process leads us through cultural, early earthly, and into planetary evolutionary processes that are connected with the development of the earth itself. The process is a completely physical one. A living ensouled cosmic substance is created for the Ego of man to be able to be born into this substance. This permits an individuation of the human ego. But in order for this to be possible, substance must be cast away for space and for substance activity which can support individual soul activity, In the casting away of substances and even non-ego soul activities, the kingdoms are born. Slowly man comes to copy the creative process of bringing the kingdoms into existence. This creative activity is the foundation for the basic activities of the human soul. As the human unfolds in body, soul, and spirit, the archetypal substance can give rise to the basic human substances. These substances, as substances supporting the human being, are alive and have their own nature. They therefore can be depicted as substance-being or substance process. Only in the later phase of earth evolution, after Lemuria, does one part of substance become less alive. This is the point at which the mineral earth appeared – about the early phase of Atlantis. Then earthly substance and the actual kingdoms appear in the physical world. First the mineral, then the plant, then animal, and finally the human kingdom appear in the physical world. At first, man, in the bosom of the spiritual world, brooded on the waters of the living substance. The first “cosmic man” included all the kingdoms. Gradually the plant kingdom was pressed out of this “man” to form cosmic plant entities during Hyperborea. The plant bore the living substance with it. This formed the still living silicious plant process. The silicious plant substance was formed out of the archetypal cosmic, proteinaceous substance. As the animal activity was pressed out of “man” during the Lemurian epoch, a cosmic, calcium, substance, a living calcium animal proteinaceous substance, was born. Finally the visible earthly mineral kingdom was excreted out of “cosmic man” with the archetypal proteinaceous substance which had the potential to differentiate into all the mineral substances we know today. Only after the mineral appeared, at first as somewhat living and then dead mineral substance, did the foregoing kingdoms begin to appear in the physical world.
After the mineral came into being as physical substance, then the plant could appear physically, followed by the animal and finally man. As this evolutionary process progressed, the original living cosmic proteinaceous substance was differentiated into the substance-beings we will discuss. These substance-beings, born in the cosmos or man were further cast into the non-living world to become the physical mineral substances we know of in the world about us. The archetypal cosmic proteinaceous substance we carry with us at this point is that which lies between digestion and
excretion. This is the region of the duodenum. Here warmth substance renewed by the ego and warmth ether unite within the being of man to again and again become a testament to the physical substance state present at the beginning of the Earth evolution. Out of the archetypal substance, all substances come into existence. Each individual and specific substance in the physical and mineral, plant and animal kingdom then points to activities which have produced this high degree of differentiation of this archetypal substance. This is a totally new approach to the problem of substance, physical substance.
This line of consideration hints to the reason why Rudolf Steiner chides us by saying that in actuality we do not know the nature of substance. The path inward through the nature of man leads to this new knowledge of substance. To be true we always have the human ego in the background and the activities of other spiritual beings, but what we meet on this path inward is the substance working of these spiritual beings, as well as that of man. This is new!
We can next go on to consider other substance-beings and sub stances.
Part VII of Man’s Path Through Nature
This is the seventh step on the “Path Through Nature”. In taking up this subject, it points to that which is necessary for a human being to undertake in order to become a healer, as well as a diagnostician. In the past, Gnosis was contrasted with healing. We can speak to the path of Knowledge, to Gnosis. Gnosis or diagnosis is not healing. The step from Gnosis or diagnosis to healing is a step across a chasm that is not always made on the path through nature, as I have been trying to pursue it here. We can say that healing and therapeutics stand within the field of the path through nature. The healer on the path through outer nature finds the healing substances. This same individual on the path through human (inner) nature can encounter the illnesses. One does not exist without the other on this path . The relation between the macrocosm and microcosm is the process of bringing the substances of nature to the ill human being. Knowledge need not be forsaken on this path. Knowledge courses through the world and through man. What is required is knowledge both of man and the world. We have taken some steps into the world. Now we are changing our direction to go through the nature of man .
To again recapitulate very rapidly, I would like to point to the epistemological path or the path of knowledge as a pure science which stands in contrast with the path through nature. Another way to say it is that the path through nature stands in a polarity with what has been called the path of pure thinking, the path of pure spiritual activity. This is a path of communion with the world of idea which is essential to the acquisition of knowledge. A further view of this spirit path is to say that it is a path to the world of the Holy Spirit. I would say that it is a conscious path to the domain which the Apostles of Christ experienced unconsciously in the Pentecostal Event. The tongues of fire, the speaking out of the Spirit, the encountering of the Spirit descending on man is reversed in the process of the path of pure thinking, pure spiritual activity. On this path, man raises himself into the domain in which in the past the spirit descended.
I have repeatedly suggested that the path through nature is a polar path to this. Knowledge is present, but not as a process in itself. The nature path is concerned with a kind of communion process, not with the idea. Idea-communion takes the path of pure thinking, of pure spiritual activity. The path through nature is concerned with a communion with the elements of nature and with substance and Substance-Beings. This latter path is more accessible to most. As far as I can see, it bespeaks a path which is given by Christian Rosencreutz. The path of pure thinking is that which Rudolf Steiner has given. Some of the pure thinking souls have taken Rudolf Steiner’s own acts of pure thinking and the knowledge process and have tried to make it their own. The Theory of Knowledge and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity are shared revelations of Rudolf Steiner’s own path of knowledge. This path served those who have followed up epistemology. It has also served to help the path through nature to work in a knowledgeable fashion. His path through nature is not just an empirical process. There is an intertwining of a knowledge path as well. All that Rudolf Steiner has given in his thinking path has been taken into the path through nature, and serves as a significant Rosicrucian impulse in Anthroposophy.
The inner soul exercises needed for the path through nature lead to purification. The same occurs through pure thinking, but this latter activity is exceedingly difficult. This inner purification of the soul is called the moral path and is depicted in many of the exercises given by Rudolf Steiner. We can also refer to Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, the exercises in Theosophy, or the exercises in Occult Science. One can speak of the six basic exercises, all of which point to the effort to develop morally, to purify morally, and to develop the soul into a soul organ process, so that awakening can occur that is on the path into nature. Rudolf Steiner also gave exercises for young medical students.
For purposes of this discussion, I described the path into outer nature as one pole of the path through nature. The path through human nature, man’s organic nature, constitutes the other pole. I tried to depict how in the path through outer nature, we encounter spiritual beings. The awakening process to this outer nature spirituality is connected with the forces of the human head. I discussed this awakening as a conscious process of dying. We have to experience the Mystery of Golgotha, or we can say the Mystery of the Skull. This Mystery is the process of awakening through the forces of death that are working in the human head wherein life can be liberated for soul-life. This Mystery process has to be encountered on the moral path of the seeker through nature. It is necessary for the forces of the head to be used or else there can not be a conscious awakening to the spirituality that weaves in outer nature. On this path to outer nature, we spoke of the fact that what lies there, the created elements in nature, bears the signature of God. Thus we have to see that this is a rather deep and profound process, meeting specific spirituality in nature.
On the other side of the path through nature, involving man’s inner organismic makeup, again a moral development is needed. Again the forces of wakening out of the gradual death process of the human head has to be made use of. Just as wakening to outer nature requires an encounter with the Greater Guardian, so the same is true in meeting with the inner nature of man. This path into the inner nature of man, is a path not to spirituality, but a path to the nature of substance itself. The riddle on the path through man, becomes the riddle of substance. This aspect of the path is often taken for granted by some, particularly in Europe. I do not know that it has been fully developed. There are many who try to deal with substance and this problem but turn their head saying that it is too difficult and then close the book before the first chapter has been read.
In taking this path through man, we spoke again and again here, that the four steps Rudolf Steiner has given through the nature of man, are very important. The first of the four steps includes the processes that transform and destroy substance in the act of chewing in the mouth, transporting in the esophagus, digesting in the stomach, and the dissolving destruction in the duodenum. This is the first step.
The second step has been identified as that which weaves and works in the processes where substance is recreated and lifted into the circulatory-rhythmic system. This is another stage in substance transformation. At this stage, forces of life enter what has been destroyed in digestion. In the third step through man, we pointed to the forces (activities) that weave between the kidney and the brain, force systems that are generally unrecognized. There is a plethora of indications from Rudolf Steiner about these forces and activities. If one pursues these indications from Rudolf Steiner, as well as what exists in current day science, some correlations can be found. Included in this third step would be the fact that there is a breathing process that weaves in connection with the brain and the kidneys. The fourth and final step of the substance path through man involves forces and activities of the senses, as well as the forces that are connected with the liver, spleen and gall. This fourth step is the most removed from anything we know in science, but again, Rudolf Steiner has given a good number of indications and science again gives some support here. It is not possible to go into all of these four steps at once. Rather, what I would like to do here is merely take the first step, the transformation of substance from the mouth to the point of being taken up in the blood, and then point to what lives at that phase where substance begins to enter the domain of the human organism and is taken up by the blood.
Previously we pointed out that the substances that are chewed and taken up by swallowing and by digestion, bring about a change in the form and states of matter of that substance. This acts as a certain stimulus to the life of the human organism, but at the same time there is actual transformation in the substances themselves, not only in the states of the substances. This transformation in the substances themselves has been referred to as being able to follow the nature of substance as it has developed from the beginning of the earth evolution until the present. In the case of digestion, the process is reversed so that the current state of matter is gradually transformed into a condition which is similar to that which existed at the time of early to middle Lemuria, even going back into the periods of Hyperborea and Polaria. The nature of the substance described in Spiritual Science indicates that this substance is kind of a warmth-airy-watery substance with no solid state. It is all living. It is a kind of warmth, living substance. It is a substance which has been referred to by Rudolf Steiner as “ureiweis” or archetypal proteinaceous substance and also, archetypal albumen. This is a very special substance. It is living. It is a substance entity which we can call totipotent substance. Science has referred to a totipotent substance in the bone marrow where there is a totipotential for developing all the cellular components. The substance we are considering (general extracellular fluid) is a totipotent substance that arises, penetrates the body as a whole to a certain extent, but lives very much at the point at which eaten food has been transformed into this primordial condition that we have been speaking about. It is at this point, too, that Rudolf Steiner indicates that the substance which has been taken in, looses all of its nature related to the world today and is gradually killed and destroyed and becomes truly mineral.
It is then created anew with life that is totally connected with the individuality in whom this process is occurring. Therefore we might say that it is really ego-physical substance. One can say it is ego archetypal proteinaceous substance. This archetypal proteinaceous substance has the potential of all other substances, be they minerals, be they living substances, organic substances, endocrine substances and so forth. This archetypal substance has a similar existence state as that of the archetypal animal or the archetypal plant. It bears importance in that it is the basis for the understanding of metabolic activity. We can also say this substance is the basis for differentiations that we see in the outer elements and substances which can be encountered in nature and in man. We would have to imagine this substance as a kind of basic inter-cellar, inter-organ, fluid-airy-warmth substance.
Once we come to this archetypal substance which lives and weaves in man at the stage at which substance is taken into the blood, we have quite a new basis for looking at the substance beingness in man . As pointed out by Rudolf Steiner, it is actually the metabolic system that makes man visible, and therefore, it is this point of view that I would like to take. For now, in the discussion to follow, we will be staying within the metabolic system . Later we will have to move onto other systems in order to unravel the metabolic system itself. Important to keep in mind; it is the metabolic system that makes man visible. Most of man is actually not visible and archetypal human protein- substance itself is not sense perceptible. It is an accumulation of force and being systems out of which the metabolic substances are drawn or pressed that makes man become a physically visible being.
With this background, let us for a moment look at this archetypal substance and see that it first of all is differentiated by evolution and in evolution. The first processes to work into the archetypal substance go back to Hyperborea when the plant archetypal beingness worked into the substance to create what is called the silicious process. The silicious process brought forth equisetum like giant plants of the past. This has resulted today in silica. In man this process lives purely as silicious process, as a pure silica activity and can not be spoken of as silica substance. This is a process. In this process, in this substance process, lies a great deal that is required to give man a form. Polar with the silica process is the calcium process. One can say that it is born on old Lemuria. It is born out of the archetypal animal impulse, which worked or works in man, into the archetypal protein substance process. As the silicious process is born out of the hierarchical beingness of the Spirits of Wisdom, so the calcium process is born out of the archetypal beingness of the Spirits of Movement. The calcium process develops into animal substance in contrast to plant substance with the silicious process. Calcium evolves out of the calcium process carrying an animal-astral process with it. Within man, it lives as a pure calcium process. Between the silicious and calcium process in man, lives and weaves the archetypal substance which can be further differentiated. Other activities and beings can enter into the archetypal substance to bring about processes and tendencies to singular substances. For the most part, substances live in man as process and are derivatives of the archetypal substance process. In outer nature we find single and combinations of substances as chemical elements. When chemical-substance elements exist in man as single entities, they no longer participate in the life of the organism in a complete way.
Pictorially we could represent the archetypal substance swinging between the silicious process and the calcium process. All that weaves within the archetypal substance could be spoken of as the path of carbon. This is the form in which Rudolf Steiner depicted the situation in the Agriculture Course. Here I would like to indicate that something weaves into the archetypal substance which swings, as it were, within the polarity of the silicious and calcium processes within man.
The calcium processes within man one would have to see as the living, generative, highly creative, highly living substance processes which is contrasted with the silicious process which is more formative . The polarity in dealing with the processes then is that between form and substance. Form processes and substance-life processes are a depiction of the polar processes of silica and calcium. Another way of expressing this polarity would be to speak of anabolism (substance) and a tendency to catabolism (form). Forming depends to a certain extent on catabolism, not totally, but to some degree. Filling an upbuilding process requires the calcium process as we have just indicated, though not completely so. There is something selfless in forming, something more self-full in the calcium process.
Going back to the archetypal substance that weaves between the polarities of silica and calcium, we can say that this becomes differentiated in a four-fold manner. What differentiates this archetypal substance? What weaves into the archetypal which exists between the working of silica processes (outer planetary workings) and calcium process (inner planetary workings) in the organization of man? It is the principle s of the physical, etheric, astral, and ego that can work into the archetypal substance. These members bringing forth differentiations in the archetypal substance permitting the four members of man to be represented materially. The four members of man bring about the substance processes of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. We can say that the carbon process is a reflection of the working of the physical body of man, metabolically speaking as an ego reflection. The oxygen process is the reflection of the etheric body in living processes, which is active in relation to the human ego in the metabolic system of man. The nitrogen process lives and weaves as substance beingness, as a process in man as a reflection of the astral organization in connection with the human ego, and again in the metabolic system. Finally hydrogen lives within this process as a creative activity out of the ego impulse, living out of the Spirits of Form, so that hydrogen substance and processes are brought about in the human organization. This takes place within the ego organization, within the metabolic processes of man.
The four members that bring about these substance processes, can or could be found in the planetary world during earth evolution. The processes are now within man. The processes are concentrated within the four major organs of the human being. Carbon process has been related very much to the lung, oxygen process to the liver, nitrogen process to the kidney, and hydrogen process to the heart. We can say that what were cosmic-spiritual being activities weaving in the cosmic archetypal substance, cosmic beings with activities in evolution, now are concentrated activities in the organs of man. In the cosmos, we find carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. In man we find the activities of the cosmos concentrated in the four major metabolic organs. The activities that are concentrated in the organs also work and weave within the four substance steps through man . The carbon process weaves through the digestive system. It approaches the circulatory. The oxygen process lives within the circulatory-rhythmic processes of the organism. The nitrogen process lives in the relationship of the circulatory as it approaches the kidney and brain system. The hydrogen process lives intensely in relation to the heart as it is connected with the liver, spleen, gall and sensory system. So we see that the four major organs which work into the four steps are concentrations of cosmic-spiritual activity. In the four metabolic organs, we have the concentration of the spirituality that was and remains distributed in the cosmos. We can say at the same time, the processes are concentrated in the four major organs which work into the four major systems in man. All this points to the metabolic system in which the ego has to have a basis, or we could not be the bearer of an ego. When we have such a point of departure or such a basis for existence, then we can speak to what is “protein”. Proteinaceous substance here means that one is speaking of a very archetypal like protein substance, also an ego substance which is the basis for ego activity. Of course, our other members weave in this and are connected with it.
We are moving entirely within the metabolic system even if we refer to the other organs, the four major organs, and the four steps through man. All this gives a basis for metabolic manifestation. It does not yet speak to the human being in his life processes, nor in his soul structure, his soul makeup. It does not speak to the spiritual, and spiritual striving individual. In order to take up life, soul, and spiritual activities in man, anchored in the metabolic system, we have to take up light metabolism, metal processes and mineral activities. This is too complicated for this present first effort, but will be gradually unfolded.(editor – check the index for articles where this work is taken up.)
A slight step in the direction of complexity, which I just referred to, is to consider the way in which the four major organs work. Their activity determines whether we have carbohydrates, fats, or proteinaceous substances. We can also indicate that in the cosmos, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are distributed points to how the substances are working there as spirituality, as spiritual beingness. These mysteries have been spoken of in the Agriculture Course and also point to the fact that one cannot speak here without looking into nature and into the cosmos. There in the cosmos, the substances themselves are embedded in spirituality. In man we have the spirituality which identifies the substance beingness that is alive and weaving in man. The living substance beingness has to be grasped as such in the living human being and can not be parted from him. This distinguishes the direction as given by Rudolf Steiner from the general path of science. Science studies the after effect of the substances which have been removed from the body. The substances inside and outside the human organism are two totally different things. In man the substances are living, ensouled and spirit penetrated. The human spirit permeates bodily substances.
There is another way of dealing with the carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen processes within the human being. This is by depicting the four major steps through man in relationship to these four substances. The substance processes can be presented in an artistic effort. Let us begin with carbon man. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
We would have to draw the digestive tract from the mouth to the duodenum, keeping in mind the destructive processes to which the substances are subject. The fact that activities of world evolution are being recapitulated as the substance is being destroyed is important. Form forces radiate into the organism out of the elimination of form of the substances. The form that is destroyed gives rise to formative activity, which rays into the organism as the food is destroyed. Carbon processes arise out of the ego to recreate carbon process within the body . This is de novo substance. Substance is not just transported into the body. It is created out of the activity of destruction. The new carbon carries within it the activity of form so that all bodily substance can carry form. The carbon is and is carried by the being and activity of form in the realm of metabolic substance transformation. Carbon is a “former” being and a process as well. Form is radiated into the entire human organism wherever metabolism is occurring. At the same time, human configurational activities, silicious processes, round off the metabolic carbonaceous formative activities. The carbon is a being with specific activities. Here we have a substance-being. From below weave the activities of calcium filling out the silicious structured form. This calcium process permits the carbonaceous-being to bring form into the continual transformation of metabolism and at the same time fill out a given organ tissue or specific substance with physicality. Cosmic forces radiate from above through silica, interweaving with the activities of carbon. Sub-earthly forces from below can also take hold of the carbonaceous activities to give more earthly metabolism .
The carbonaceous processes are a result of destructive digestive activities. Secretions in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, small intestine, liver, spleen, gall, and pancreas are all active. Sugar-carbohydrate substances from nature are destroyed in the mouth. Proteinaceous substances are destroyed in the stomach and the fatty substances in the small intestine. These substances are taken out of nature, and are met by human ego activity. This ego involvement brings about a carbon-formative activity that radiates into the whole human organization. This formative activity meets on the one side the nature forces of gravity, electricity, magnetism. The nature forces work from below upwards. The same form activity of carbon meets the cosmic forces in which lives warmth and light which surrounds the human organism. These cosmic forces work more from above down in man. They also weave in nature around us from the planetary world and from the sun. They weave in the ethers, that is warmth ether and light ether. The ether component streams into man with the cosmic forces. From above, down from the cosmos, comes the ether substance with cosmic forces. From below up, from the earth, strive the elements of electricity, magnetism, and gravity. These forces work into man with the life and tone ether substances. This carbonaceous being and activity we have related to the digestive process. The ego meets the substance consumed and brings about activities within the physical organization of man. The physical-ego-carbonaceous activities are localized in the lung of the human being. From there carbon moves and radiates into the whole organization working as a “plastician”.
The carbon-being process I would depict in grays and in blacks. The upper pole of man I would imbed in light yellow etheric colors. These colors surround the head, neck, shoulders. Below man stands within the darker terrestrial blue-brown elements that radiate from the earth up into his organism and even penetrate the breath. These latter forces work directly into the digestive system. It is in the digestive system that the battle of the human ego with the sub-earthly forces awakens the ego to meet the actual digestive stream of food. The cosmic ego activity is awakened. The cosmic ego activity can become creative to destroy the earthly nutritional stream and recreate ego substance.
The next step from the carbonaceous-being to the oxygen-being in man is to consider man’s etheric make up. For this we would have to look at the circulatory-rhythmic human being where there is a continual flow and pulsation of activities. In these activities we have to find something of the oxygen man that is continually in transformation and in movement. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
This oxygen being-activity transforms the carbonaceous element so that rigid forms do not unfold in metabolism. Metabolism is continual flow, change, and transformation. This oxygen man, the metabolic-oxygen man we would have to trace with tints of yellow or orange that assimilate the red of our vasculature. There is a continual evolution of green. The color of green bespeaks life that is in the potential and that can die off as an image of the living. This oxygen man would then have to be seen as something that is alive, that is shining with a golden warm light and is mingling into the greens of life that penetrate into every aspect of the human being. The form of man would have to be embedded in the cosmic etheric force systems that are full of light, full of the silicious processes. On the other hand, there would be the tendency to repulse the sub-earthly forces that work into the lower limb system and work up towards the chest. The sub-earthly forces are pressed away permitting the life-ether element of the earth to penetrate into the human organism . With this life-ether penetration, there is a continual upbuilding process going on. Carbon plastic activity is guided by the “mobilizer”, oxygen. The life-ether weaves into the carbonaceous forms of metabolism. Life abounds and can be lifted upward with the pulse and breath. The picture is one of a kind of a living plant, pulsating and moving on breath, life filled, green through out with tints and traces of ever moving red rising into a golden light sun element. The ethereal from above is taken in. The darkness from below is pressed back with life rising and streaming upward.
The organ which is so much involved with the oxygen-being process is that of the kidney. One would have to locate in the kidney the highest of spiritual activities. At one time in earthly history the oxygen-being activity existed in the cosmos as an archetype of life and mobility. What worked livingly in the cosmos has been taken into man to be localized in the kidney. However, this kidney extends throughout man wherever oxygen is busy in life and mobility.
If we now consider the nitrogen-being processes or nitrogen man, we are speaking to the astral of man. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
We just considered what rises out of the circulatory-rhythmic system where the kidney is very much involved creating oxygen. Now this has to be contrasted with the nitrogen processes. This process is connected with the play between the activities of the liver and brain, and the flow of the breath. The pure life elements of upbuilding and mobility, related to oxygen and calcium have to give way to processes of excretion. This is where nitrogen-being (astral man) casts off substances to free etheric forces. At the same time, nitrogen being process enters life and form so that the mobility of substance form is raised to a soul-like state.
Nitrogen-being-process is an “imitator”. What is physical and metabolic can imitate what is of the nature of the soul. A kind of soul-sentient substance can come into being through the working of nitrogen man . This is on the one side, while on the other side the activity of nitrogen man is to cast off substances such as urea and uric acid. Chloride formation and secretion would have to be looked at in the function of the stomach. This nitrogen-being has to do with the excretion of carbon dioxide. All of this is the result of the nitrogen process, not nitrogen, but the process of nitrogen within man . These activities of nitrogen give rise to a very delicate phantasmic like substance in metabolism. One would hardly be able to see anything physically. This lovely yellow-red-green life element within man would have to give way to darker shades of traces of blue with accentuations within the blue. Blue colors could be pictured around the thorax and abdomen, moving imitatively with the breath and streaming into the life and light that is freed with excretion. This light and life streams up towards the head, carrying something of the inner blue and imitative blue along. From above down, the cosmic yellow meets the upstreaming blue, full of life, while the green is pushed back to permit traces of red to follow. The inner blue of nitrogen man pushes the darkened sub-earthly colors away so that man can come into movement. The being and activity of nitrogen belongs to metabolic man. The organs where the activities of nitrogen are concentrated are the and the brain. In the path through man, where the astral plays a most significant role, we have to consider the third stage. In our considerations of metabolism, this third stage is playing down into the actual metabolic physical activity. Without this nitrogen-being activity penetrating all of man metabolically, we could not carry on any form of soul-life. Nitrogen activity permits a reflection, an imitation, a mirroring of soul life in the metabolic system. Movements of all types, sensing, breathing, and ambulating are all reflections and imitations of movements arising in the soul.
In regard to nitrogen man, one would have to consider the light that is taken in through the consciousness processes of man. Nitrogen man enters tone elements in hearing. Breathing is connected with the toning air, mingling and separating the inner blue of nitrogen and the imitative blue outside man. The pressing away of the sub-earthly permits the nitrogen man to lift the life from the earth headward in man. Earthly substance is raised to its highest form in the head of man. It is carried there because man can tread the earth, pressing away the sub-earthly force systems.
Finally, we have to speak of hydrogen man, which is related to our ego. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
This being we would again have to say works into the metabolic system. As far as the four steps through man, hydrogen man would be related to what penetrates the senses and is met by what streams from the liver, spleen and gall. In terms of our organ system, we have to say that the hydrogen-being processes are concentrated in the human heart. Cosmic hydrogen activity has become heart activity from a metabolic point of view. The human being depicted out of the activities of hydrogen would be, more or less, as a winged-like fiery being. A delicate slightly perceptible cross-like form can be detected with the cross near the clavicular-sternal junction. Wings extend from the shoulders and hips. The vertical component of the cross extends from the point between the eyebrows to the pubic bone. The horizontal of the cross stretches between the two shoulders. This is a cross of life created by the chaotic activities of hydrogen. Hydrogen as a being is a bringer of “chaos”. The forming carbon forms through the chaos brought by hydrogen are changed into a phantom form. The living oxygen processes are chaotically woven into the most delicate wing forms, powdered with green and blue-red. The chaotic hydrogen process metamorphoses the imitative hue of nitrogen into small rose petaled forms near the top of the cross, at the brows and at the base near the pubis. The hydrogen-fire-chaos bearing being renders all metabolism penetrated and suffused with color. Form is nearly lost, but the physical remains visible as phantom. Through the flame process of hydrogen man, connected with the ego and the heart, the metabolic system is transformed to resemble the body of a spiritual being. The phantom form approximates that of an angel and a gardener all in one. From the cosmos streams lightning and thunder. This hydrogen man is then a flame like being, with a cross and roses. This being has living green etheric wings wafting through space which is filled with lightning and thunder. This imagination bespeaks the flaming, the warmth-ego hydrogen processes of man which are reflected metabolically in the processes swinging between senses and liver, spleen, and gall. This flaming-warmth hydrogen man is concentrated within the heart as activity.
These are four imaginations. I have to call them phantasy images, which try to approach the living processes of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. They are at least somewhat commensurate with the indications of Rudolf Steiner. For all those interested, each can strive to find those images which approach the life of the human metabolic system. Fantasy images are not yet true imaginations.