From Organ To Soul
We have been pursuing this subject using the tenth lecture in Spiritual Science and Medicine by Rudolf Steiner. In this lecture there is an approach using plants and their substances, the metals and mineral substances as a means to come to a knowledge of the human organism. At the same time, the knowledge is meant to lead to the therapeutic significance of the substances.
We have already taken up the six plants spoken to in the lecture. Much effort was made to deal with the substances of the plants. Our perspective has been that this approach to man via the plants can lead to what is generally called the Father principle. The Father principle is the materiality of existence, while the path of taking up the Father principle leads to Mother Substance (Mater), that is the Matter out of which all substances are born.
As matter is followed through the plant kingdom, we can come to a refined domain of the mineral kingdom, that is the domain of the metal. The metals we can think of as leading us into the domain of the Son. So, it is the metals that now are our concern, but to take up the metals requires a new approach to the human organs. We have taken up the organs in our introduction to the metals, to the contemplations which will take us to the human soul. With this introduction, we took up the cell, the tissue, the meteorological organs and the major organs as a basis for soul life.
With our overview, our introduction, we came to use a methodological approach. We used a comparative method, as well as a theosophical perspective, in order to gain another view of the organs that are generally only seen from a limited perspective. We will use the comparative method and the theosophical perspective in order to work our way through the seven soul organs, the non-meteorological organs. After we have completed this journey with the seven organs, we will then turn to the seven metals. In process, we will make an effort to consider the human soul in its incredible complexity. From there we can then take up the planetary workings of the organs, as a soul-spiritual dimension of the organs. All of this seems necessary in order to do justice to the human soul.
THE COMPARATIVE METHOD AND THE THEOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE
With spiritual science, it is the method which has to replace the proof. With the soul and the spiritual, because of the continuous change that takes place, change in contradistinction to permanency, it is the method that helps lead us to the situation of the moment, and this situation has to be revisited again and again, as the situation is always changing. Just as thoughts which point to the spirit and feelings which point to the soul, are always changing, so provision for this change has to be made. There can be a recounting of a particular situation, but since the situation is always changing, we have to direct others, and one’s own soul spirit faculties to this situation. The directing the human soul-spirit faculties to the situation to be considered, to be investigated, requires that a method to arrive at a given situation be used. This means that the constant is the method and not the situation, as the situation is always changing. The thread of the situation has to be taken into account with an ever changing circumstance. It is the life of the soul and the spirit that is changing–the life of feeling and thought.
In the case of the seven organs to be taken up, a two-fold method will be employed which is addressed here as method and perspective. The first “method” is the comparative method. The basis for the comparative method can be found in Goethe’s approach to the plant, to a science of the living. Goethe compared plants in different settings (mountain and valley) and at different times of the seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) as a basis for coming to knowledge of the living. He also compared the forms to be found in the different parts of the plant (leaf, bud, flower and fruit). Out of the comparison of the forms at different parts, he laid the basis for a comparative morphology. He gave birth to the concept of metamorphosis. He came to speak of forms that could be found as meta-formations in different domains, different parts of the plant. He also spoke of transformations with expansions and contractions.
Goethe brought his observations of the changing forms, the transformations, and the meta-formations into intimate relation with his capacity to think into and through his observations. Goethe had the capacity to unite observation and thinking in a rather unique way for his and our time. In this way, there came quite new revelations concerning what he observed and thought at the same time. His capacity to live in the movement of the soul in a method of comparing has resulted in the method noted here, which is the “comparative method”. This is a particular activity in scientific activity, that is observing with thinking and living in the movement of comparison, which Rudolf Steiner has come to call the method of Goethean Science. Not only comparison of plant parts was undertaken by Goethe, but comparison of different plants as well. Thus transformations and meta-formations were to be perceived through thinking observation.
In addition, and with careful observation, Goethe was able to follow a transition where the movement of one form into another could be judged as moving into a higher or a metaform. Out of his efforts has come the concept of metamorphosis which is a part of scientific thinking of our day. (Admittedly the extent to which this concept has entered scientific thinking is still in its germinal stages.) The outcome of such a method of observation and judgment according to form, can then lead to a consideration of a hierarchy of forms.
With the first “method” of our two-fold approach, we will be taking up what Goethe introduced into the field of the life sciences, and particularly botany. He sought to understand, to grasp life. We will try in a way of a comparative method to take up the life of all of the organs and begin here with the liver.
With our approach we will take the sphere as an archetype. To make the sphere approach life, we have to imagine the archetype as continually in movement. The size of the sphere has to be continually changing. It has to be coming into existence out of the circumference and vanishing in the center, or arising in the center and expanding into the periphery. However, the sphere is always sphere, and this is not the case with the organs that we are to consider. Thus the sphere and the organ configuration can be brought into comparison. We can try to compare the sphere and the organ as static forms, but we can with considerable let the sphere as well as the organ live in continual movement. If the static form of sphere and organ is held fast, then a space that is not organ filled can be imaged. It is this aspect of the comparative method that we will take into consideration here.
To help train ourselves, we will then use a static sphere but will hold to the spherical. We will begin with a comparison of the sphere with the form and configuration of the liver. We will also hold a static image of the liver to make our comparison easier. After some practice, it is quite possible to image the liver and the sphere as changing and the comparative forms can then stand in an ever changing field of imaging. As we know, if we wish to grasp the liver in its unfolding, as in embryology, then a continuing changing form of the liver has to be imaged, thinkingly imaged.
If we live with a static sphere and a static liver configuration, we then have two forms that can be compared. If the liver image is placed within the sphere, then it can be seen that the sphere is not completely filled out. A kind of spatial subtraction can be undertaken so that the space not filled out by the liver can be contemplated. If we turn from the construction to the thinker who is doing the construction, then we come to two different activities and two different experiences. In addition, the subtraction process is also different than the construction of the two forms. These, of course, are delicate activities and delicate experiences for the thinking soul. A kind of psychic exercise is involved with this method.
We can go further with the two constructs and the comparison of the two by then placing the liver form into the sphere. What unfolds is a spatial difference with the sphere and the liver. There is an empty space as it were. So that the thinking soul can come to contemplate the existence of an empty space, a space which is not occupied by the liver. The comparison, which involves a mental-psychic movement activity, then comes to a subtraction process and finally to think of a domain of emptiness. Soul movement activity can lead over to a space that is empty, to a nothingness. Here it can be possible to hold the element of a consciousness which is empty in the center of one’s thinking. Movement of the thinking-imaging soul comes to a halt only to have to maintain consciousness in the face of emptiness.
This space which is empty, which is a void, let us call etheric space. To be true the etheric is not spatial, but the space meant here is a space in which there is no object, and it requires a consciousness to be able to hold itself in the face of nothingness. The liver can then be considered to be a mass, can be considered to be an object which occupies a positive space. The sphere can be considered to be a domain where mass can exist and, at the same time, can make provision for a negative space–one that is ethereal-etheric. By such an exercise, it is possible to conceptualize and then image that which we can call physical and at the same time, come to consider an ethereal domain in relation to the positive space.
This is all a visualization process, a thoughtful, mental process, which has a definite physical component since space is considered. Space belongs to the physical world, and in order to render this space not physical, it is necessary to become so active that emptiness can become content of consciousness. To think pure emptiness means that all content of that space has to be eliminated–consciousness alone has to be maintained out of pure psychic activity, pure activity. This activity we can speak of as pure spiritual activity or willing in thinking with no content in the soul.
By this route we are trying to come to unfold psychic activities which are not in the least mystical, but at the same time are objective and clearly imaged.
If the etheric is considered to exist within the province of negative space, then the physical occupies the positive space of our archetypal sphere. Our method thus permits a thoughtful consideration of the etheric and the physical. The two can be compared, just as the two constructs of positive and negative space can be compared. One of our usual practices in dealing with negative values is in the case of economics where debts are considered to exist in the negative domain. Here we are trying to exercise a psychic activity to deal with the physical and the etheric dimensions of organs.
Note can be made that in lectures given by Rudolf Steiner on the Apocalypse of St John, heads and horns are discussed. The concept of the head is more or less similar to the archetypal sphere which we are dealing with here. The “head”, according to Rudolf Steiner, is more the etheric head of man in the times of Lemuria and Atlantis. The etheric head, the spherical head of these very old times, has come to correspond to the physical head of today. Where the sphere of the etheric head comes to correspond to the sphere of the physical head, just here it is that earthy consciousness, object consciousness, and self consciousness can come into existence. It is because of the more or less exact correspondence of the two heads, that ego consciousness could come into existence. The “horn”, on the other hand, refers to an organ whose form does not correspond to the ether sphere. The horn is for the most part smaller than the head, the ether sphere. In these considerations, we are using the sphere as an archetype and using this as a kind of etheric sphere, while the organ can be considered to be a horn–as in the language of the Apocalypse.
Thus our method of using an archetypal sphere with which to compare an organ is consistent with a trend in the St. John Apocalypse.
The second aspect of our methodical approach to these seven organs is what I have termed the “theosophical aspect”. This second aspect can be found in the lecture cycle given by Rudolf Steiner in 1910 in Berlin. The title of the lecture cycle is “Psychosophy”. Here it is the soul that steps to the fore, just as we wish it to be the case with these contemplations. With this cycle, Rudolf Steiner indicates the formative tendency that is exercised by the different members of man. He points to the activities of the physical, etheric and astral bodies and then the ego. He points to their working to bring about their location, their form and their function. Each member exercises a different function or brings different dynamic formative forces to bear in the location or the shaping of an organ. The formative forces can be thought to be etheric in nature, but their direction can be thought of as being brought about by the different members of the human being.
Rudolf Steiner also progresses to the formative activities of the human soul members in man’s make up. That is, not only does the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body and the ego direct formative activity, but the soul members of the human being do too. This means that the sentient-soul, the intellectual-soul and the consciousness-soul direct formative forces. And finally there is an activity of the spiritual members of man’s make up in the forming and the activity of the human organism. The higher members are spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man. They work into the human organism bringing about formation and particularly activities.
We will be taking up the formative activity of the “theosophical members” and their influence with each organ that we come to consider. The “theosophical” make up of man can be found well articulated in the book entitled Theosophy. The nine members noted there are–physical body, etheric body, astral body, ego, sentient-soul, intellectual-soul, consciousness-soul, spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man. For our purposes a tenth member has to be added, and this member is the sentient-body as distinct from the sentient-soul. These two entities in man’s make up will become the focus of concern with all the organs to be considered. We will consider the physical aspect of each organ to be more concerned with sentient-body and the sentient-soul with that portion of the archetypal sphere which we are calling etheric here.
THE LOCATION OF THE LIVER AND METAMORPHOSES
Many know that the liver lies in the right upper quadrant, just under the diaphragm. It lies within the coelomic (heavenly) cavity of the abdomen. Further it lies between the spleen in the left upper quadrant and the gallbladder which is to the right of the liver and just on the lower edge on the right. This liver consumes most of the right upper quadrant space.
Notable is that the liver itself does not move – expand or contract – as the lung does. It, however, does move passively with the movement of the diaphragm, that is with breathing. Thus it is an immobile organ, but it is an organ that moves passively with the breath. Imaginatively we might say that the liver is somewhat under the influence of the movement of the air. The much greater influence of the air on the liver is when we take up the metabolism of this organ. In the catabolic processes of this organ, air is very essential but the liver does not ride on the current of the air as does the lung. So the liver is air-breathing related, but it is not movement dependent on air, as it is not a moving organ. At the same time, all physical movement is dependent on the liver.
From Rudolf Steiner’s investigations and his indications, the liver, as a physical organ, is located in the abdomen, but metamorphic forms of the liver exist in other areas of the body. For example, he indicates that the brain is a metamorphosis of the liver, as is the case with the retina of the eye. Thus when the liver is considered, its metamorphic forms and functions can be kept in mind. Bone marrow might also be considered a metamorphic form of the liver. At birth, the cellular generating activity of the blood is located in the liver. Gradually this living activity comes to be located in the bones of the body in fairly early childhood. These metamorphic forms will not be taken up extensively, but they form a background to our considerations. These metamorphic liver activities have to be taken into consideration when the more ethereal aspects of the liver are being contemplated.
FUNCTIONS OF THE LIVER
As we have indicated, there are metamorphic liver locations and activities. When we think about the activities of the metamorphic organs in relation to the primary organ of the liver, then we think in more functional terms. We then step from form to function. This then is a way to step into the functional activities of the liver. However, we will be continually stepping from form to function.
The liver is a vesseled structure. It appears as a vessel when it is turned upside down. It is a kind of metabolic vessel and cauldron, as it were. The old alchemistic cauldron can live for us in our imagination. It is a pot, an invaginated sphere as it were, turned up side down, like a pot, a cauldron, or an invaginated sphere. By this route it is very easy to consider the liver to be a vessel where substance transformation takes place. As with any vessel, the physical make up supports the activity which can take place in the vessel.
We might use this direction of imagining to consider, to support our contemplations here. The liver as a vessel, carries on activities as a physical vessel, but within the empty portions of the vessel, activities are present as well. The vessel itself is a center for the transformation of substance, that is metabolism, while the empty space of the vessel is an ethereal space in which substance transformations can take place, as well as certain aspects of soul life. Thus when we speak about the functions of this organ, we can think of activities within the empty space, the ethereal space of this organ. At the same time, within this empty space we can think of the ether, the etheric which is not given to metabolism, but to the soul. This step from metabolism in the ether domain of the organ, to the pure ether domain, can be considered to be the step from sentient body to sentient-soul. Thus soul life has to be included in the functions of the liver, but we will begin with the metabolic functions.
The liver is a kind of center of metabolism for the whole body. All organs are metabolically active, but the liver vessel is primarily such. It is possible to think that almost every metabolic activity in the body is slightly mirrored in the liver, although every corner of our organism is metabolically active except that portion which is in the process of being excreted–hair, epidermis and nails.
A prime metabolic activity has to do with carbohydrates and in particular, a metabolism of a higher form of carbohydrate. This metabolism is that of glycogen. Glycogen is metabolized and stored in the liver. Glycogen is a higher form of sugar and is one that is found in the metabolism of fruits. This is a living form of sugar, and at the same time, a higher form. A lower form of sugar, of carbohydrate metabolism, is to be found in the brain. In the brain the simple form of carbohydrate, glucose is overwhelmingly important. So the step is from glycogen to glucose in the downward metamorphosis of carbohydrate from liver to brain. Glycogen metabolism takes place in the liver and glucose metabolism in the brain. The step is from a higher form to a lower form if we follow a hierarchical ranking process in our contemplations. We can think that the glucose is a less living form, a less refined form of carbohydrate.
In the case of the eye, with the metabolism of the retina, the metabolism is directed to the formation of pigment. The major pigment is retinene, visual purple. Retinene metabolism can be thought of as a further downward metabolic activity, but it can also be seen as an ascending one as well. The counter part of such a metabolic activity in the eye can be thought of as the formation of the bile pigments in the liver. So as we descend from glycogen to glucose, we can as well think of a parallel metabolism in the liver, which is pigment formation and, as well, a lower form of pigment metabolism in the eye as visual blue pigment formation.
A final descent of carbohydrate metabolism is that of the glucose metabolism in the muscle. Here the glucose appears in much more form, in what is called branched chain form. There is a complex metabolism of carbohydrate in the muscle. There is a building up of a form of carbohydrate such that it resembles the branching of a bush, a quite earthly form of the living, of plant life. The carbohydrate in the muscle resembles glycogen only in so far as it is in a complex form, but this form is much more physical in the muscle, than in the liver. The glucose of the brain metabolic function is much more simple and resembles a form that is in continual process while the carbohydrate of muscle is a much more static form which is not so much in process. A way to contemplate this difference is to think that in the muscle a form is being moved with activity, while in the brain, substance in being transformed. This contemplation may help to approach the indication by Rudolf Steiner, that limb action is more spiritual and thinking is more physical in nature. Thus forms are moved in the limb and substance in the head, in the brain.
In the case of pigments, we have already pointed to the pigment process of the eye as a metamorphosis of the pigment process of the liver. The eye forms a proteinaceous pigment, known as rhodopsin, and significant chemical substances, retinene and vitamin A1, as a part of its metabolism. The rhodopsin is also known as visual purple. The liver also has a pigment metabolic process which is dependent on the metabolism of hemoglobin. The liver forms bile pigments, that is– bilirubin (red), biliverdin (green) and hepatic bile (golden yellow). The pigment process of the liver can be considered to be built on the metabolism of the red pigment of the blood cell, that is hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the pigment that gives the blood cell its red color.
For the most part the red blood cell unfolds in the bone marrow. There it is that we find the pigment metabolism which gives the cell its red color. It is with the inclusion of iron into a substance called porphyrin, carried by a proteinaceous substance know as globin, that we arrive at the pigment hemoglobin. The hem of the hemoglobin is what is metabolized by the liver to transform the red of the blood to the green of the liver (biliverdin) and then to the red of the liver, that is bilirubin. From the red it becomes yellow as bile is formed. So the transformation is from the red of the blood to the green and the red of the liver to the yellow of the bile.
If we turn to the eye, we find the other end of the spectrum coming into existence with the blue, the visual purple of the retina. If we now consider the colors just being spoken to we find that we have a rainbow of colors, a whole spectrum of colors being addressed.
|Liver pigment metabolism||– Yellow|
|Eye pigment metabolism||– Blue|
With this rainbow in mind, we can return to the metabolism of carbohydrates and bring forth a kind of metabolic spectrum. The metabolic spectrum is more a darkness process in metabolism, while the color spectrum is more light related.
|Liver darkness metabolism||– Glycogen (plant-animal related)|
|Brain darkness metabolism||– Glucose (mineral related)|
|Muscle darkness metabolism||– Glucose branched (mineral-plant related)|
Thus the liver is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates. We can think that the liver gives the carbohydrate to the brain and a mineral form of substance comes into existence. A kind of plant form is given over to the muscle, and an animal-plant form can be evolved in the liver with the formation of glycogen. There is a fall with the glucose metabolism of the brain, a rise with muscle metabolism and a culmination of metabolism in the liver with glycogen.
From the considerations of liver metabolism in Fundamentals of Therapy, I would wonder if there are not even more ethereal aspects of metabolism. When carbohydrate metabolism is taken into a breathing process, into a light breathing process, then we can think of the formation of oxalic acid. This in turn can be transformed into formic acid. Both of these processes can be thought of as light processes, but of a nature higher than glycogen. As already indicated, glycogen is more of a plant animal process. With oxalic acid a more pure plant process in present as with the oxalis plant. And then with the formation of formic acid, it is an even higher process when formic acid comes into question. With the latter it is an animal process, like that which takes place in the ant. However, this is a highly organized animal process, one that has a social organization, an organization such as the astral organization of the liver. It is the carrying of liver metabolism into the lung that gives the organizational animal impulse to the liver metabolism.
We can now contemplate a transition of carbohydrate metabolism from glucose, muscle glycogen, to liver glycogen, to the metabolism which unfolds the more soul-like substances. These more soul-like substances may be thought of as oxalic acid and formic acid. The carbohydrate metabolic processes of glucose, muscle glycogen and liver glycogen might be thought of as activities of the physical, ether and astral bodies. With oxalic acid, perhaps we can think of sentient body activity and with formic acid, sentient soul activity in metabolism. When calcium metabolism is considered, then it is that we might come to contemplate the activity of the intellectual soul if we look to the pineal of the brain, or the consciousness-soul if we look to the crystals formed in the kidney excretions. Both the metabolic activities in the brain and the kidney are crystallizing processes and bring the calcium process in relation to the oxalic acid process so that calcium oxalate crystals can form in the pineal or in the urine. It is with these latter two metabolic excretory activities that I would like to bring the intellectual-soul (pineal excretions) and the consciousness-soul (renal excretions).
Metamorphic metabolic liver activities:
Glucose — brain metabolism — physical body
Glycogen — muscle metabolism — ether body
Glycogen — liver metabolism — astral body
Oxalic acid– higher liver metabolism– sentient-body
Formic acid– higher lung metabolism— sentient-soul
Calcium oxalate — higher brain excretion — intellectual-soul
Calcium oxalate — higher kidney excretion — consciousness-soul
My impression is that a still higher form of metabolic activity can be thought of in relation to the liver, and that is if we return to the pigment metabolism. With this metabolism, substances are brought forth where there is a definite relation with light. The glucose, the glycogen, the oxalic and formic acid, as well as the oxalates, all of these are more darkness related. The pigments, just by virtue of being pigment substances, are light related. Thus we can make the following outline:
Red – heme of blood in liver – ego
Purple – purple of liver in retina – spirit-man
Green – biliverdin of liver——- life-spirit
Red—- bilirubin of liver——– spirit-self
Yellow – bile of liver-gall——– astral sentient-body
The metabolism of lipids (fats) and proteins is also an important activity of the liver. However, it is well to place the metabolism of carbohydrates as primary and central. The carbohydrate process might be considered a central activity of a metabolic pool process, where the glycogen-glucose activities are primary, but protein and fat-lipid metabolism are also involved. Thus the “metabolic pool” can be thought of as a current biochemical concept which approaches a kind of archetype in metabolic activities.
Biochemists today speak about the liver carrying on a process which is known as gluconeogenesis. Here glucose comes about through the metabolism of other substances such as fats and proteins. This means that there is a kind of fluid transformative metabolic activity which permits the emergence of new glucose from older other forms of metabolic substances, such as fats and proteins. This concept of metabolic neogenesis takes one in the direction of, but does not yet take up the indication from Rudolf Steiner that matter, substance is actually created de novo in the human organism and only in the human organism. The concept of neogenesis as is used in biochemistry does lay a basis for finding a way to this new view, that is the actual creation of new matter in the organism.
Though the liver is the center of carbohydrate metabolism, certain metabolic activities related to fats can be mentioned. In the case of fats, the liver is the site of conjugation activities where fat is involved. Conjugation means that the liver carries on an activity of bringing together substances so that new combined substance can come about. The cyclopentanophenanthrine symbolized substance combines with fatty acids, that is glycocholic and taurocholic acids to form bile acids. These bile acids are essential in the digestion of fats, in the uptake of fats by the organism in the case of fats. Without these bile acids, fats could not be taken up into the organism. Perhaps we could think of the bile acids as giving evidence of a kind of astral-ego working so that fats can find an entry into the ego-organization active in metabolism.
In addition, the liver conjugates the fatty substances which are related to cholesterol and are a part of the reproductory hormonal system. The reproductory hormones are conjugated by the liver and thereby are regulated in the blood system. The conjugated hormones are then excreted in the bile.
The conjugative process of the liver is held to remove poisonous substances from the organism, and then after conjugation, pass the conjugated material on to the biliary system to be excreted in the bile. The study of this process is part of the study of almost every new drug that comes on the market today. The regulation of the blood levels of administered drugs is considered to be largely due to the conjugative processes of the liver. The conjugation activity of the liver is therefore part and parcel of every study which seeks to help a new drug on to the market.
As just noted, the bile pigments are excreted and meet the stream of nutrition which is taken in with eating. This stream of nutrition is one that has to take the substances created in the past and make them available for man, who not only reproduces for the future, but acts for the sake of the future. This meeting of the highest expression of man (the pigments) with the nutritional stream, begins the process of transformation of the past into the future. As noted, in the pigments, aspects of man’s highest is at work as an organization, the ego-organization.
Another function of the liver is to maintain blood lipids–that is cholesterol and the triglycerides of which we hear so much today. The formation of fats themselves we can think of as taking place in the fatty tissues of the body. It is the liver that then brings about the basis for reproductory hormonal substances (localized in the gonads) the bile acids, and the blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides). Some individuals may not be aware that the heart is very important in the metabolism of fat. When coronary blood passes though the heart is it almost completely cleared of fatty substances, particularly the triglycerides. So we can think of the liver as important in metabolism of fats, working with the heart and the gonads, while the fats themselves are formed in the fatty tissues and stored there. There is quite some research into the different types of fats in fatty tissues, and their storage, but this takes us too far afield.
In terms of protein metabolism, the liver is active in the transformation of proteins, but the protein usually originates elsewhere. Very important in protein synthesis are the primary nodules of the lymph system. Proteins are taken in with digestion and pass through the liver mostly as amino acids and simple peptides.
There are students of physiology and chemistry who point to the lung as central in the process of destroying lymphocytes. With the destruction of lymphocytes, blood protein is released from the cells. Cannulation of the common duct which enters the left subclavian vein results in the removal of lymphocytes and a fall in the protein make up of the blood. At the same time, it is quite well known that the number of lymphocytes entering the lung in circulation are not recovered in the blood that leaves the lung. One would have to consider the lung as an organ that functions destructively in relation to the lymphocyte, as the spleen does for the erythrocyte, that is the red blood cell.
Not only the lung, but the kidney as well, is very important in the metabolic processes of the protein. Urea and uric acid are two well known substances that are involved with the metabolic activities of the kidney. As the blood protein may be quite dependent on the lymphocyte and its destruction by the lung, so the entire organism is dependent on the kidney in relation to the handling of uric acid. Here the nuclear proteins are metabolized as cells die and have to be eliminated from the organism. It appears that the kidney is essential in the bringing about of urea. With these metabolic activities of the kidney, it is important to consider that the liver is intimately involved. In fact, it might be thought that the metabolic activities of any of the internal organs is a metamorphosis of the liver’s functioning. In each case, the concept of the metabolic pool, in which all the organs dip with their metabolic activities, is a helpful concept to hold.
The liver is very much involved in the processes of detoxification. Nearly every substance that is foreign to the human organism is taken up by the liver. This is the case with poisons. One of the significant studies of remedies today in conventional medicine, is to study the detoxification of a remedy by the liver. In fact, with the usual forms of therapeutics, much of the study of the remedies is the process of detoxification by the liver. The kidney is also an organ that is involved with detoxification but the liver remains central in this process. The substances which are detoxified by the liver are usually eliminated though the biliary tract, with the excretion of bile. Thus the liver is a major protector and guardian of the organism. The conjugation process is but one of the methods of detoxification and has already been mentioned.
Thus the liver is central in the metabolism of carbohydrates, less so with fats and proteins. It is a major protector of the substance composition of the body. In addition the liver has to be considered from the point of view of the metabolic functions related to handling of 1)enzymes, 2)minerals and trace minerals, 3)vitamins and 4)liquids. The latter function is extremely important. As an organ which is so watery, over 75% in liquid weight, it also plays an essential role in the handling of water. In conventional physiology, the brain and the adrenal gland, along with the kidneys, are seen as prominent in the handling of water, but for our considerations, it is the liver that is primary.
The liver in a way tastes water, and in the process gathers life. From all the investigations that come from spiritual science, it is the water consumed that is crucial for the life and the furthering of the life of the liver.
The liver takes on the metabolism of the liquids in a very selfless way. The osmorecptor activities of the brain, the adrenal processes that form mineralocorticoids essential to fluid metabolism, such as aldosterone, as well as the renal excretional activities of fluid, might be considered to be metamorphic activities of the liver. The liver in turn is essential in the metabolism of the hormones that are related to fluid metabolism. In the skin and the lung, there are liver like processes in the handling of water that might be considered to be metamorphic activities of the liver. Skin and lung secretions and excretions are to be considered here. Surfactant secretion by the lung and sebum secretion by the skin are examples of such metamorphic activities of the liver located in these other organs.
As the liver is very active in the secretion-excretion of fluids, so the lung and the skin can be seen as organs which carry on metamorphic excretory activities. The osmorecpetors of the hypothalamus can be seen as neural metamorphic activities of the liver. The pituitary antidiuretic hormone secretion and the aldosterone secretion from the adrenal gland, all of these activities might be considered as metamorphic liver processes involved with water metabolism. The metamorphosis of the liver into these latter activities of other organs can be likened to the metamorphosis from the leaf to the flower-inflorescence in the plant world.
With the kidney, lung and skin, the excretional activities of the liver are carried to the surface and the depth of the organism. With the metabolism of the substances related to the handling of the fluid milieu of the organism (the hormones), there the centralized metabolic activities of the liver come to the fore. The hormonal substances are largely protein in nature.
FIVE LIVER TRIBUTARIES
The liver is singular in its many tributaries. I like to think that the five rivers of Eden referred to in the Bible actually refer to the liver with its five fluid channels. Let us take up one tributary at a time.
The hepatic artery can be considered to be the first tributary that enters the liver. This artery comes off the main arterial system of the abdomen, the aorta. Fresh blood, oxygen rich blood is brought to the liver by this vessel, this channel, this river.
The splenohepatic vein is a second vessel. This vessel brings blood from the spleen to the liver. The blood that flows from the spleen to the liver via this channel carries cells that are easily destroyed and metabolized by the liver. The main component that is metabolized by the liver is the hemoglobin. What arises is the bile that is concentrated in the gall bladder and then excreted. It is this flow translated into metabolism which gives rise to the pigments that enter the bile. The result of this process is the green, red and the yellow that we have spoken of earlier.
The next, the third channel is the portal vein. This vessel carries blood from the bowel to the liver. In this channel are substances which come from the ingested transformed foods in the small intestine. The portal vein carries blood, rich in digested substances, to the liver. Much of the substance in the portal blood is of carbohydrate make up, but some fatty substances and some protein derived substances are also present. A good deal of fat derived and protein derived substances are carried in the lymph system which by pass the liver to go directly to the subclavian vein via a main lymph channel. The subclavian vein takes the lymph carrying substances to the heart. So derivatives from carbohydrates, proteins and fats are all present in portal channel blood, but fats and protein derivatives are also carried in the lymph channels.
Tributary or channel number four is the hepatic vein. This vessel is a confluence of many vessels which flow together within the liver. As the major vein that exits in the liver, it then rises up to the heart to the right atrium. Within the blood that flows in this vessel is much that is carbohydrate in nature, though proteinaceous substances and some fats have to be included. (Note should again be made that there is evidence which indicates that a very major portion of the protein of the blood arises from the destruction of lymphocytes in the lung. So the lung has to be considered a major metabolic organ when it comes to protein of the blood. Thus, not only the liver is a source of protein in the blood).
The final and fifth vessel, the bile duct, is formed by the confluence of many biliary vessels which flow together in the direction of the gallbladder. The bile vessels are extremely small and come together to form the hepatic biliary vessels. Outside the liver these vessels flow together to form the bile ducts that go to the gallbladder. The bile ducts unite to form the cystic duct. The flow of bile in the microscopically small vessels within the liver appears to be just the opposite to that which takes place in the hepatic channels–the channels which come together to form the hepatic vein. As might seem evident, the cystic duct carries the bile pigments which are formed from the hemoglobin. The bile acids which are formed in the liver are also carried to the gallbladder.
Thus there are five channels, five vessels that flow either into or out of the liver. Since some of the substances carried to this organ are in a form that was found at an earlier time in world history, the channels can be called the five rivers of Eden. This is consistent with Rudolf Steiner’s indication that substances in the digestive process recapitulate earth’s history. Digestion also has to recapitulate cultural history, as well, to a certain extent so that man can in fact be modern in terms of diet and digestion.
THE LIVER AS A WATER ORGAN
A moments thought can easily lead to the self evident fact, that the liver, with all these tributaries, carrying liquids, is a highly liquid organ. It is, in fact, very watery and for the most part is quite soft, particularly in the young person. With age, the liver becomes more firm, the same as is true of other organs. When it becomes diseased with cirrhosis, then it can become quite firm.
As has already been indicated, the liver is very responsible for those activities which govern water metabolism in the body. It does not act alone, as outlined above, but it is a central organ of the organs taken up here in the handling of water.
Notable with the liver is that it is continually crying. Its tears are not salty like human tears, but are rather rich in proteinaceous substances. With some diseases, the liver weeps such large amounts of fluid that the fluid accumulates in the abdomen. This fluid is called ascites.
THE LARGEST ORGAN IN THE BODY
The liver becomes smaller in proportion to the remainder of the body as the human being grows up. At birth the liver is about one eighth the total weight of the organism. At maturity the liver is about one thirty-second the weight of the body. Thus the liver grows with the body, but proportionately not as much as the remainder of the total organism.
One of the significant features of the liver is that it looses its blood forming capacity after birth. Even at birth, the production of blood cells is still present in the liver and continues from embryonic times. However, with the end of the first year, very little blood forming activity remains in the liver. The blood forming activity is transferred into the marrow of the bones, the core of the bones–from the flat bones of the head to the vertebra and finally to the long bones. It is quite possible to think of the “fall” of the blood forming process, if a degree of imagination is applied to this change.
There is only one other organ which is larger than the liver. This “organ” however is not truly an organ. It is possible with imagination to bring together all the glands of the adult human skin. If this is done, then the united glands form a very large organ. Notable is the bulk of the skin glands formed in adolescence, so that this largest of organs forms after birth and after the change of teeth has taken place. In a way we can think that the second teeth grow inward, and the skin glands later develop outwardly. This imagined organ of skin glands would be two to three times the size of the liver.
THE LIVER IN COMPARISON TO THE SPHERE
If we look at the liver as it lies in the abdomen within the coelom, it can be seen to be a kind of large flattened out horn in viewing it from the front. The largest side of the organ is on the right side. As the organ is followed to the left it grows smaller and smaller. The left extremity of the liver is just past the midline of the abdomen. The upper surface is convex and the under surface is concave. It is tilted towards the back so that the front of the liver is small and presents an edge at the anterior surface of the organ. The back of the liver is rounded. So with imagination, as noted above, the liver can be imaged as a large horn laying on its side. From this perspective, the liver fits into our discussion of an organ as a horn formation.
If we wish to contrast “horn” and “head”, as we find in the Apocalypse, we can look to the eye as the archetype of a “head”. The eye is more spherical than the human head itself and this is why the eye is taken here as representative of the “head”. As already noted, the “head” as spoken of in the language of the occultist, is a spherical etheric form, a sphere. As the head or ether sphere is changed, transformed, metamorphosed, we can have a sense of man’s members working to maintain the archetypal sphere or create variations of it. The human eye is almost spherical, perhaps the most spherical of all the organs of the body. As an expression of the etheric, it is surprising to find that it can be comprehended well if it is seen from a purely physical perspective.
As we know, the eye can and does function as a kind of camera. This physical perspective of the eye is not the one that is to be contemplated when seen as an excellent expression of a sphere, of an etheric organ. As an organ, with physical laws governing some of its functioning, it is still an etheric entity by dint of our definition of a sphere pointing to an etheric existence. This is why we can use it as a contrasting form with the liver. The human head is not as good a form to compare with the liver, but it is still possible to do so.
The liver, when seen as a horn, and then further looked at from below up, is a well invaginated structure. The liver is a gastrulated structure if we use the terminology of embryology to describe this invagination. If we turn the liver upside down we can liken the invaginated form to that of a flower. The liver is a flower that rests in the upper abdomen, upside down. We can contemplate the activity of a definite member working which has brought about the invagination. This member is the astral body, working from below upwards, from the limb pole upwards. We can think that the astral body has pressed the physical form of the liver into the concave form, and thereby freed a good deal of the sphere of physical material. The astral body has pressed the liver upwards and at the same time eliminated a good deal of material in the process. The result is the gastrular form. The space of the sphere not occupied by the physical liver can be thought of as “etheric”, according to our previous considerations. The etheric of this organ then is considerable, and if thought of in terms of the total sphere is perhaps four-fifths of the total.
Thus this organ, as most organs in the abdomen, has a large etheric component. It is this ether component that is important for man in relation to his soul. Even the physical organ itself is very much made up of water, and as such, is also an expression of the etheric. With the etheric of the physical, and the etheric freed by the astral body, we have a very “life-filled” organ. Thus it is that we can truly call this organ a “Liver”.
The tremendous etheric nature of the liver can be contemplated from another aspect as well as the above. It is well known that about three to four-fifths of the physical liver can be destroyed by illness or be removed, and still the individual with so little liver can live on. Of course, there will be limitations, but what is important is that one can see how much life is related to this organ, and how much the life can become evident by the elimination of much of the physical substance. Thus the physical liver is very much an etheric organ and in addition, there is a very large etheric dimension which is not involved with the observable of this organ.
THE THEOSOPHICAL VIEW OF THE LIVER
As already noted above, the “theosophical view” is gained from the 1911 Berlin lecture cycle. By taking up the form of the liver, the horn aspect of the liver, and turning to the various members of man, we can progress to a formative view of this organ. This means we can try to consider the form and the location as an expression of the working of the various members.
If we begin with the cycle noted, we have from Rudolf Steiner the indications for the formation of the heart and the brain in relation to man’s various members. It is with this background that the effort will be to use this approach here. The effort now will be to consider the activity of the physical, the etheric and the astral bodies in forming the liver. The formative activity of the sentient-body, the sentient-soul, the intellectual-soul and the consciousness-soul will be added, and then the activities of the higher members.
Let us begin with the activity of the physical body. We can consider its activity to be rather weak, from a formative point of view. If the physical body were more active, we might expect the liver to lay more to the left side of the abdomen. The organ lies, or is moved towards the right side of the body, where the etheric body is most active. If we turn to the activity of the ego, working with the intellectual-soul, we can find that these two members lift the human heart into the head to metamorphose the heart into the brain. With the liver, the situation is quite different. The liver has fallen below the diaphragm suggesting that the astral body works to draw it downward towards the feet of man. So we can think that the ego and particularly the intellectual-soul are not so active, and it is the astral body that has more to do with this organ than the ego in conjunction with the intellectual-soul. As already noted, the astral body is very active in the invagination process which hollows out the liver and here it might be possible to consider that it is the astral body which draws the organ from the center of man, where the heart is located to a position below the diaphragm. If we accept that the intellectual- soul works to lift organs upward, then this activity is more or less absent in the case of the liver.
It might be considered that the intellectual-soul might be active in bringing forth visualizations out of the “etheric” space of the liver. If we consider visualizations, we have to distinguish between images that arise in relation to sense impressions and visualizations which are a part of the process whereby the sense impressions are imbued with a degree of intellectual thought content. Visualizations contain a degree of the conceptive process, and the conceptive process that relates to sense impressions arises out of an ego activity which belongs to the intellectual-soul. Here the ego lifts the freed ether forces by dint of the intellectual-soul activity to bring about visualizations in the soul. This line of consideration arises out of the indications given by Rudolf Steiner to priests and physicians in the Pastoral Medical course. It is the activity of the liver (the freed ether) which comes to meet the light ether entering the senses. It may be this interplay between the ether of the senses and the freed ether of the liver that permits the coming into existence of visualizations. Herein may lie the activity of the intellectual-soul and the ego.
If we look to the activity of consciousness-soul or the ego working in relation to the form of the liver, we can think that this membering may help to bring about the rounded dome of the upper surface of this organ. The round surface we can think of as being a surface which reflects the activity of the ego in its activities of will. The liver is not only an organ for much in the way of metabolic activities, but these metabolic activities have to serve the will filled soul. The liver is an organ of will, of visualization activity (which belongs to concept formation), as well as an organ that gives much in the way of life to the human body. The wonderful rounded and dome form of the upper surface of the liver is like a perfect mirror which can reflect in consciousness what the ego, as active agent, as a willing agent does. It is fashioned after the dome of heaven as no other organ in the body. Because of this heavenly created round form, it can reflect heavenly activity, the true activity of the ego. (We might think of the heart and the limb as the inner and outer vehicle of the will, while the liver is more the reflector, and therefore the element of consciousness-soul working formatively on this organ.)
If we turn to the sentient-soul, we find that the liver tends to open itself up to the world in the front of man. The liver is tilted so that the world in front of the abdomen can be taken in. The liver opens forward, just like the eye and other senses, so that the soul can stream out into the world. The sentient-soul can be thought of as pushing the brain out of the skull, into the orbit of the eye, and into the sphere of the eyeball, to form the retina. With the eye, the sentient soul can continue beyond the retina to stream out into the world. What the eye meets in the world is the world that one, we, have already created. In the case of the liver, what is to be met in front of the liver, is our own future brought to us by our will. Our sentient-soul streams out into the future in the region of the abdomen. In the case of the eye, the optic tracts extend from the brain to the eye as an expression of the working of the sentient-soul. The liver has no optic tracts, rather, it excretes bile, freeing the organ of substance and opening the soul to a very pure light of the ether world. We perhaps can think of the light of Jupiter streaming in so that will can be taken for the future.
The liver sits below the diaphragm, with the dome above, the concave surface below, and a tendency to open up to the world in front of the abdomen. The liver is directed ahead just as the human eye, but with the liver the human soul, the intellectual soul, can turn to the future. With the eye, the past streams to the soul, with the liver the future comes to meet the soul. The soul can recollect the future, can envision the future, as a deed of the consciousness soul.
The sentient-body can be thought of when we turn to the portal vein. This vein penetrates into the depth of the liver, opening the liver to the fluid that flows from the small intestine. We can think of the sentient body boring into the flesh of the liver, making space for the portal vein to enter this organ. The portal vein takes the substances from the small intestine, the substances which are within the domain of the coelom, heaven, and brings them to the liver. From Rudolf Steiner we have the indication that the sentient body bores the holes into our head, our skull creating the orbits of our eyes, the openings of our nose, the opening of our mouth and ears. The sentient body creates holes, openings. Because of this activity, we can have the world will of our senses steam into the soul, we can have sense impressions. The pupil of the eye is an expression of the working of the sentient body. In the case of the eye, retinal metabolism might be considered to be the further working of the sentient body, and not only the working of the sentient body as a formative agent. In the case of the sentient body and the liver, we can likewise look for an extension of the working of the sentient-body in the chemistry involving oxalic acid.
Thus with the contemplation of the formative activity by the sentient body, the opening, the boring process, the making of holes can be seen as a primary formative process. With the eye, the orbit of the skull and the pupil of the eye can be considered to be formed by the sentient body. In the case of the liver the opening into the liver where the portal vein can enter might be considered to be a work of the sentient body.
I would however like to suggest a further working of the sentient body with both the eye and the liver. The metabolism of the retina (a metamorphic liver domain) may be a further activity of the sentient body. The metabolic activity of vitamin A which lays a basis for pigment metabolism, may be a sentient-body directed process. If we turn to the liver, we might consider that the sentient-body is involved beyond formative activities and may be involved in the directing of oxalic acid formation. As the pupil of the eye permits light to enter the eye, so the portal tract penetrating the liver out of the activity of the sentient-body, permits substances to enter the liver. The substances which enter the liver are of a very special nature since they have been carried into the domain of the coelom, where cosmic forces are extremely active. Here the Biodynamic farmer can think of the preparations where silica and manure are placed in a horn and put in the earth for a season, for the summer season or the whole year. Some such process might be considered in relation to the substances taken up by the liver from the small intestine. So there are not only substances involved, but cosmic forces as well. These forces might be considered to be ego-organizational forces.
If we now follow up the activity of the sentient-soul in relation to the liver, it could be possible to consider that the metabolism is again changed. Now it is the process of formic acid metabolism which comes into consideration. Now something of a breathing lung process enters the metabolism and brings about the transformation of metabolism from oxalic acid to formic acid.
So an outline could be:
Liver physical ———————- metabolic pool
Liver etheric-physical ————- metabolism of carbohydrate
Liver astral-physical ————— metabolism of protein
Liver ego-physical —————– metabolism of fat
Liver sentient body —————- metabolism of oxalic acid
Liver sentient-soul —————– metabolism of formic acid
Liver brain intellectual-soul ——- salting out of oxalates
Liver kidney consciousness-soul — salting out of oxalates
With this outline, we can progress further or possibly do so. The step is from the transformation of basic metabolic substances, carbohydrate, protein and fat, to oxalic and formic acid with the formation of salts and finally to pigment metabolism. With pigment metabolism we come to speak of the metabolism of the hemoglobin of the red blood cell. We have spoken to this previously. Now we will try to make the final step with this metabolic process.
Step #1— liver transformation of metabolic substances
Step #2— liver transformation of oxalic and formic acids
Step #3— liver transformation of hemoglobin
With the third step we come to the liberation of the hemoglobin from the red blood cell. This is a splenic-liver process. We can think of the ego-organization active here. With the transformation of hemoglobin to bilirubin, as noted before, we might think of the life-spirit becoming manifest in the formation of biliverdin. With the next step in the formation of bile, we might think of the formation of bilirubin. Something of the red of the rose might come to mind, the red pigment process in the rose or perhaps the strawberry. We have taken up this pigment process in the plant, and the pigments are of very different nature. Passing from bilirubin to yellow bile, we come to the astral-soul body or astral sentient body. With our previous considerations, we considered that the purple of the retina might be a signature of the working of the spirit-man.
A final summary then can be:
Liver physical————————– metabolic pool
Liver etheric-physical—————– metabolism of carbohydrate
Liver astral-physical—————— metabolism of protein
Liver ego-physical——————— metabolism of fats
Liver gall astral soul body———— formation of bile
Liver sentient-body——————- metabolism of oxalic acid
Liver-lung sentient-soul————– metabolism of formic acid
Liver-brain intellectual-soul——— salting out of oxalates
Liver-kidney consciousness-soul—- salting out of oxalates
Liver-blood spirit-self—————- metabolism of bilirubin
Liver-blood life-spirit—————- metabolism of biliverdin
Liver-eye spirit-man—————— metabolism of retaining.
With this outline we might think that the liver, in conjunction with liver metamorphic activities in other organs, can manifest the direction forces of the members of man.
THE LIVER AND THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE SENSE OF TASTE.
Man’s sense of taste is located on the tongue. This is an organ which is very much muscle. On the surface of this muscle are the taste buds. These buds become alive when substances become dissolved in liquid, become liquid. With the sense of taste, the inner nature of a substance can be experienced in tasting process. This can be considered to be an etheric revelation of the substance.
For those who are familiar with the lecture cycle on which this is undertaking is based, that is Spiritual Science and Medicine, it can again be noted that it is the sense of taste and the sense of smell that gives grounding for the therapeutics being taken up here. The therapeutician has to take up the sense of taste so that the etheric can be apprehended and the sense of smell so that the astral can be apprehended. In the case of the educator, my impression is that we have an orientation more to the ego, but the astral and etheric is taken up as well. In the case of education, it would appear that the phenomena of form, of large and small head, is what has to be focused on to grasp the working of the ego by a teacher. If the head is very large, the astral overwhelms the ego in form. If the head is small, the physical overwhelms the ego. In the case of the astral and etheric, Rudolf Steiner has given other indications for an apprehension of these two members. In the case of an astral predominance, a child develops a wild fantasy, while in the case of an etheric predominance, it is a hypertrophy of memory. So the teacher has to deal with large headedness, small headedness, strong or weak fantasy and an underdeveloped or hypertrophied memory. The therapeutician, who uses substances, has to come to use the sense of smell and taste as a ground for coming to judgments about these substances. The teacher needs to be able to use the sense for phantasy and memory in order to be able to make judgments concerning the educational needs of a child.
With the sense of taste, we begin a process of transforming that which is solid into a liquid. There is no sense of taste without the substance being taken into the watery domain. In the case of smell, it is substance which is taken into the airy that is important. With taste, it is a dissolving activity that is needed, and with smell, a rarification as vaporizing activity. It is necessary to contemplate dissolving and rarification as a process in order to come to an appreciation that substances have qualities which reveal themselves, depending on the senses which are used and the processes which govern the state of a substance. Something of an etheric make up or an astral make up needs to be searched for in the case of taste and smell.
If we follow the senses further and seek the higher aspect of the senses, that is the sense activity that is a brought about, not so much by ego activity in the sense world, but by ego activity in higher life, then we can look to senses which are related to a higher form of the physical, the ether and the astral. If we take up the higher metamorphosis of these members, through the ego, we come to spirit self (manas), life spirit (buddhi) and spirit man (atma).
Next we can ask if there are senses which speak to the higher membering of man. In what has just been said, we can think that it is the sense of sight that gives form (ego gesture), the sense of smell that gives radiance (astral gesture) or the sense of taste that gives the quality of mobility (ether gesture) of a substance. If we look for the working of the higher metamorphosis of these members and the senses, we come to the sense of life, the sense of movement and the sense of space or balance. What Rudolf Steiner’s investigations have led to is that the sense of life comes about by spirit-man working into the etheric body to bring about contraction. With the sense of movement, it is the spirit-life that is active with the astral bringing about contraction and then the etheric which permits an expansion of the astral. With the sense of space, of balance, it is spirit-self that brings about an expansion of the astral. The etheric of the sense of balance expands as a reflex to the contraction of the etheric of the sense of life. The result, out of the spirit-self, is a kind of balance, and here spatial experience can be had.
Here is a quote from the lecture cycles so heavily used in these writings. The cycles are entitled Wisdom of Man, of the Soul, and of the Spirit (Lectures from 1909, 1910 and 1911 held in Berlin published by the Anthroposophic Press Available here – new title). Here is the quote from Lecture 1 of 1909, Page 20 “This superhuman atma, or spirit man, expresses itself by contracting the etheric body-cramping it, as it were. Using an analogy from the sense world, we can compare the effect to that of frost, which cramps and contracts the physical body. Man is as yet not ripe for what one day will be his most precious possession, and therefore, in a sense, it destroys him. The result of the contraction described is that the astral element is pressed out, squeezed out. In proportion as the etheric body is pressed together, the physical body as well undergoes a tension, whereby the astral body makes room for itself. You can visualize it approximately by imaging a sponge being squeezed out. Now, the activities in the astral body are all emotional experiences, pleasure, distaste, joy, sorrow – and this process of being squeezed out communicates itself to sentience as the sense of life. This is the process that takes place in the astral body, and it expresses itself as a feeling of freedom, of strength, of lassitude, etc.”
In returning to our contemplations on the liver, if we think of the sense of taste being taken into the liver, we can come to a simple comparative image to help this line of contemplation. This permits us to look at the tongue in side view and the liver in front view. What we can come up with is a similar form, that is a tongue form. In the case of the tongue, we have taste. In the case of the liver, we have the sense of life. Just as the quote indicates, the physical is pushed back by dint of spirit man, and in the process space is created, an etheric space in which the spirit-man of the human being can be active. What comes about are the experiences of soul which are to be identified as the sense of life, while with the more physical activities of the liver, I have tried to indicate possible reflections in chemical physiological processes. These physiological processes are those indicated as metabolic pool activities, metabolic activities of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which lead over to metabolic activities related to oxalic acid and formica, and finally to the metabolic activities of pigment formation and excretion.
What this all translates into is that in the so-called “freed ether space” of the liver, the highest of man’s members are at work. Needed, of course, is to carry the activities as metamorphic processes into other organs. When this is done, then the organ, the liver that exists in the coelomic cavity of the abdomen, is truly an organ of life, an organ which carries taste to the highest working, where spirit-man is operative. We might consider that the ego of man lives in the sense of taste, while the ego-organization lives in the sense of life.
THE LOCATION, FORM AND FUNCTIONS OF THE LIVER FOR THE HUMAN BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT
We can now complete the location, form, and function of the liver as an expression of the working of man’s members–man’s theosophical make up.
1. Liver located below the diaphragm—————-physical active
2. Liver with metabolic pool activities—————physical active
3. Liver located to the right side——————— etheric active
4. Liver with metabolic carbohydrate activities—- etheric active
5. Liver in a gastrular form—————————-astral active
6. Liver with metabolic protein activities————astral active
7. Liver with forming of bile————————— astral soul body active
8. Liver with hemoglobin metabolism—————-ego organization active
9. Liver with dome shape form above and behind—ego and consciousness soul active
10.Liver kidney salting our of oxalates—————-consciousness-soul
11.Liver with portal vein entering———————-sentient body active
12.Liver with oxalic acid processes———————sentient body active
13.Liver has essentially no intellectual soulness
14.Liver brain salting out of oxalates-pineal———–intellectual soul active
15.Liver with rounded back and open in front———sentient soul active
16.Liver-lung formic acid metabolism——————sentient soul active
17.Liver-blood bilirubin metabolism——————- spirit self active
18.Liver-blood biliverdin metabolism—————— life spirit active
19.Liver-eye retinine metabolism———————– spirit man active
With the just completed outline, we come to a temporary conclusion for now. Our task will be to take up tin as a next step on our path to find the metal relation with what we have placed here.
As a more brief view, we can think that the activities of the six plants underlie the activities of the metabolic pool of the liver. With the next step in metabolism, we move from the metabolic pool, where the archetypal albumin process takes place, towards the activities of the liver as a more metabolic soul organ, and then to its more true soul and spirit functioning.
With the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat, we are still in the bodily activity of the organ. When we begin with bile formation and excretion and carry oxalis metabolism over to formic acid metabolism, at this point we can begin to think of the activity of the soul. With oxalis metabolism, we can contemplate the living activity of clover, of a plant in nature. With formic acid metabolism, we can think of the activity of the ant and what the ant does in nature. The counterpart of ant activity in man is soulness. What happens in nature, takes place in man as an activity of the soul. With the metabolism of blood and with the salting out process, we come to an activity of the human spirit organization. With the excretion of oxalates to the metabolism of hemoglobin, that is porphyrin metabolism, and finally in retinine metabolism, we come to the working of the human spiritual members.
The step from sentient body to sentient soul, the processes of the metabolism which reflects body to soul, this we will take up next in our reflections on tin. When we come to the spirit at work in man, and seek in nature for a counterpart, a correspondence, then we need to take up the minerals. As we have shared before, considerations of the mineral will be our last step taken in relation to this chapter in Spiritual Science and Medicine.
Paul W. Scharff, MD