Agriculture Lecture 5 – Dandelion

Dandelion – Preparation 506

Let’s now go onto the preparation 506, that of dandelion which is placed in the mesentery. Again I would like to interdigitate various comments with some observations from exchanges I had with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer nearly forty years ago.

One of the striking aspects of the conversations I had with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was about Rudolf Steiner as an outstanding teacher. I have noted elsewhere how Rudolf Steiner taught Ehrenfried Pfeiffer by sending him to classes. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer then had to give a report about the content of the classes as well as the activity and make up of the teacher. This was one aspect of Rudolf Steiner’s method with teaching. However, there was another one, which was emphasized by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Rudolf Steiner had the capacity to demonstrate, to show in a structured way. Rudolf Steiner could speak, but he could also demonstrate what he wanted done. He demonstrated with painting, carving, and sculpturing. He could demonstrate in architectural design. He could demonstrate in geometric construction. He would demonstrate in the laboratory. In the case of the laboratory, what is significant is that he actually performed experiments that did not work. Very important is the revelation that the experiments did not work, not because there was not a method to the research, but that the spiritual world did not want the research to be undertaken at that time. In terms of laboratory and even spiritual scientific research, this has to be kept in mind. This Rudolf Steiner shared with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. The spiritual world has to be willing to assist when we do research. This should be kept in mind as we consider this course, consider how we undertake agriculture, how we think about economics, how we consider nutrition. It may not just be us who demonstrate – experiment. We have to consider the spiritual world.

Another noteworthy aspect that Ehrenfried Pfeiffer liked to share was that if an individual cannot go through the trials and tribulations of materialistic science, cannot withstand the intellectual demand of the academic world, such an individual is not really worthy of Anthroposophy. This Rudolf Steiner repeated to Ehrenfried Pfeiffer again and again. Rudolf Steiner, however, also supplemented this statement with material that he gave to those who had not gone through academic trainings. This is exemplified in the workman lectures where he did give intellectually significant and at times intellectually demanding content.

From this it should not be thought that Rudolf Steiner merely wanted intellectual activity. This was not the case. If we turn to the workman lectures, we will see there a tremendous intellectual activity, but also a tremendous amount of pictorial, descriptive content as well. Very typical of Rudolf Steiner’s presentations to the non-intellectually trained individual was the presentation of intellectual-pictorial content. Rudolf Steiner called this “intellectual-pictorial” and delineated it as a valid construct in his epistemological works. 

Rudolf Steiner also shared with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, for whom he was a bit of a fatherly soul, that he was tremendously concerned about the intellectual trend in the Anthroposophical Society. He asked Ehrenfried Pfeiffer to struggle and fight against this intellectuality. It was one of the first requests that Ehrenfried Pfeiffer asked of me in my contact with him and the work of his laboratory. This again does not mean that one does not use the intellect. In fact one needs the intellect to have a conscious soul activity in our day. It is necessary to be able to go through the logistics of the thinking that is inherent in the intellect. A first step in intelligence is to experience the logical. From an intellectual abstract activity it should be possible to then move from logical abstract activity to logical pictorial activity. This is a will activity. It is also a thinking activity transformed from thinking to picture thinking. This means that one makes a step from the idea process, from ideation with its logical connections to pictorial activity that is more of an artistic will-creative activity. The activity of constructing with intellect (actually an organismic process) can be taken hold of to discover the hidden will in logic. This logic can be worked with to create configurations in the soul. Thus one can, in a way, scribe or mentally construct forms out of ones own inner activity. There is always an inclination to let this happen out of one’s memory. There is a tendency to scribe or picture when one recalls from sense perception or even when one recalls from abstract recollection connected with ideation. The latter is related to intellectual picturing. When one is active in the process of intellectual-memory recall, one comes to fantasy. This type of fantasy process should not be minimized. For many this intellectualization fantasy – occurs spontaneously and leads to psychological instability. However, this activity can be undertaken by an individual who is logical (will activity), who seeks to transform the intellect to come to ever more intense activity within the soul. This process of dipping into sense perceptual memory where idea process has been involved (e.g. the idea-picture of a tree) can come to a reconstruction of the memory content in a disciplined fashion. Automatic memory is held in check. When this happens a new recollection content begins to appear – a more exact fantasy. This derives from pre-birth activity. One has been busy before birth, the human organism, particularly our senses/nerves and bone system and possibly some of the muscle system (connective tissue) – are a result of pre-birth activity. Through disciplined fantasy, one can take hold of this as an activity that is another form of recollection. Then one comes up with a more exact form of fantasy. The most exact form of this fantasy is mathematical thinking. This demands a high degree of soul spiritual training, as was the case with Pythagoras. However, given where most of us stand, it is possible to deal with our recollections, structure them not only in terms of idea, but also picture. There can be a continual striving to make this activity ever more exact. For us to become active out of the limb-muscle system is possible and forms the basis for a new mentation described in Fundamentals of Therapy.

For anybody who reads the content given here, the methodical effort is that of creating a picture image from recollection. What is being recollected has been taken from Anthroposophical literature, from agricultural literature, from geological literature, from botanical literature, etc. All of this has to be recollected in order to reconstruct what is being shared here. There are times when glimmers of quite new relationships appear in this recollection process and this is being shared as well. This is a fantasy image. It should not be accepted dogmatically. It should not be taken as definitive. The process of creating this kind of fantasy picture-image, which is at times being shared here, is well described in Rudolf Steiner’s treatise entitled Stages of Higher Knowledge. He describes as an absolute requirement what I am struggling with here in this sharing. Thus for anybody who has read thus far and questions what is shared, it is fully justified. However, I thought it important to clarify a method of striving that lies behind what I have been sharing. Here then is an effort to deal with the intellectualism of our time. What is shared can be seen on the one hand as intellectual. It has to be seen as pictorial. It cannot be seen as conventional, purely abstract ideational intellectual content. The effort made here comes out of the conversations that I had with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer forty years ago.  

I would also like to comment on what Ehrenfried Pfeiffer has written as an introduction to this lecture course. He shares how Rudolf Steiner again and again pointed to the fact that spiritual life is so dependent on nutrition. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer repeated this to me likewise, again and again. A proper nutrition is and proper nutritional substances are, necessary for an active spiritual life. A second aspect needed for the unfolding of spiritual life in mankind is a proper education. Needed is an education that can help man to develop his faculties on the basis of a healthy organism – stimulated by a healthy nutrition. I am repeating this here because the evolution of human faculties will have to be our concern as we continue. We are beginning to step into the evolution of man’s higher faculties. We are not dealing only with the usual soul faculties. For higher soul faculties, for the evolution of higher faculties, new life processes will be necessary.

I have tried to touch on higher soul faculties with the nettle preparation. There we spoke of female and male. On the one side male-femaleness is needed for the conceptive-reproductive processes on the level of the organism. Male and femaleness is active on a higher level. They are part and parcel of the union between the soul (female) and the spirit (male) in spiritual unfolding. The spiritual unfolding has to become a self-sustaining cosmic activity independent of the organism but reflected in the life processes of the organism – for the maintenance of consciousness. With the preparation of the skull and the oak bark, I tried to point to the need to have an earth care and a nourishing plant that can help to support the unfolding faculties of the human being, that is the possibility of developing cosmic memory. The cosmic memory arises as one cognizes given natural creations such as the oak tree with its acorn, gallnut and structured leaf. The cognition is directed outward and reflected inward. The coming preparation I would like to pursue in somewhat the same fashion, being concerned with the care of the earth, the growing of the plant, and the nourishing of the human being for quite new faculties.

The new faculties of man I would like to address by speaking to two historical individuals. I would like to use their beingness in a kind of an imaginative fashion.

I would first like to begin with John the Baptist. We hear of John the Baptist as a being who lived strongly in the folk soul element of the Jewish people. He spoke of the path to and the way for the future. He spoke of his own decrease and the increase of another Spiritual Being. We have the history that John was an individual who was beheaded. We can look at this historically. We can also use the beheading as symbol – as a symbol of leaving the past, stepping into the future. The forces that have built the head, that have structured the head, that give memory, even earthly-cosmic memory, they have to fall away. New faculties and abilities have to develop. The Knights Templar, St. John’s Christian, as they have been called, used this symbol of the beheaded John again and again. They placed this image in the midst of their striving. This symbol-image can be used to point to the future – future culture – future earth. This image can be used for initiating new impulses in the enculturing of the human being. We have spoken of this cultural evolution as the evolving of humor – distinct from humus. When we looked at the unfolding of the perceptions and conceptions of nature that can lead to cosmic memory, we discussed the oak bark and skull preparation. With the preparation, we nourish the earth, treat the earth, and remedy the earth, for the sake of the plant, which in turn can help develop new human faculties for culture. Man needs to be sustained in relationship to the cosmos, has to be able to come to memories of the cosmos as a basis for the future. We can look at what is needed in nourishment as having to meet this requirement of the future – an active will. That is, man has to be able to recollect cosmically, recollect his own being cosmically. Man has to gain an insight into his own reincarnations, as a basis for action in the future.

Now having used John as an image for the evolving of culture, human culture, hum-or, let us turn towards the evolving of agriculture, of humus. Here we can look to the initiation of Manes. We have, because of the indications of Rudolf Steiner a play by Albert Steffen, “The Death of Manes”. This is a play about the initiate Manes. This initiate, in a way, anticipated the future by many, many centuries. He lived and died in the third century. It is his death that I would like to focus on. This death is most strange and can be rather shocking when contemplated. He was not beheaded. Manes was skinned. His skin was taken and into this skin all forms of plant substance were placed. To contemplate beheading is highly unsettling. To contemplate crucifixion – being stretched and hanged on a cross is painful. To contemplate a human being skinned in death is perhaps more ghastly. We know of the scalping’s performed by some Native American tribes. They scalped their enemies and the new settlers in this country. The pain and agony of the scalped human being perhaps points a direction to what we hear happened to Manes when we hear that he was skinned. If we take quite exactly that this skin was then reconstituted as a human form to be filled with plant and herbaceous substance, we suddenly can come to a staggering imagination. This is a kind of archetype for the sheath and the contents of the preparations. We can use the death of Manes as a glimpse into the depth of the ensheathing of plant material. Here with Manes the sheath was the skin of one of the greatest of Initiates – an initiate of the future. Manes is the initiate that anticipates our future. His life and death as told us in this Steffen play, it seems to me, anticipates something that has to come, that is the ensheathing of plant substance.

There is something very significant in a skin or membrane derived from man or animal. The skin or sheath carries a particular set of force systems. The skin sheath is a carrier of rather specific dynamics, specific life. The plant substance differentiates the life. The preparations in turn via earth, plant or air, affect the plant. The plant, in turn, is consumed by man.

I hope that this image is not too much of a shock for those who contemplate the sheath of the preparation. The beheading permits the past to fall away. The use of the skin – the sheath lays a basis for the future. Historical events can be used as a basis for practices needed in agriculture, not only human culture.

By contemplating in this fashion, we are lead to consider the makeup of the human skin. We can see if the human skin can be used as an archetype for understanding the sheaths of the preparations, as well as the plant substances.

First let us look at the skin. It is composed of layers and organs. If we start with the layers of the skin, we can move from the superficial outer layer to the deeper layers. We can threefold the major layers of the skin. We then refer to the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermic. However, we can also find seven-layers in the skin. If we seven-fold the skin, we find the epidermis composed of five layers, corneum, lucidum, granulosum, spinosum and germinativum(basale). Here we have five layers of epidermis. We can consider these five layers as belonging to the nerve-sense system. The next major layer is the dermis very much composed of vasculature. The third layer – the hypodermis is very much fat. Thus we have nerve-sense system in the epidermis, rhythmic system in the dermis and metabolic system in the hypodermis.

Significant in this layering of the skin is that each layer forms a sphere around the human being, even if very irregular. If we stretched these layers into the cosmos we would have seven spheres. We could think of seven ether spheres. By this means we could come to the etheric cosmic spheres. It is in these etheric cosmic spheres that the planets are active. If we think thus, we can consider that in a way the seven spheres are reflected in the seven layers of our outer integument, our outer surface. The human senses are placed from outside into the skin – from the Zodiac into the planetary spheres. The formative activity of the senses (Saturn activity) works into the skin and then into the human ether body to give rise to the various organ forms of the body. The (sun-activity) respiratory circulatory processes – the rhythmic processes of the skin, have to enter the etheric spheres and the (moon-activity) metabolic processes as well. Here we have a view of the ego working directly, formatively into the astral-etheric, but directly into the physical.

We can still make another step in regard to the skin. It is not only layered, it also has seven major organs. The organs we can distinguish from the layers. These organs we can say are like the organ activity that we create in the preparation by stuffing the sheathes with plant material. The difference between the skin organ and the plant of the preparation is that in the case of the organs, we are dealing very much with the astral, while the organ material of the preparation is plant, is etheric. The skin has seven organs – astral reflections – the preparations also have seven organs which are etheric-plant processes – differentiated life processes.

If we now turn to the skin and its organs, we can again start with the surface. We can consider hair as an organ that is constituted out of the cosmos. In a way, the hair is projected into the skin – like a plant that has a bulbous root. The hair enters the skin and forms a follicle. Nail material is also an organ on the surface of the body. Fingernails and toenails are organs on the surface of the body. Nails are not radial formations, but more planar structures. They form a flattish surface on the fingers and toes. Both hair and nails are surface organs working into the body ether radially or in a planar fashion.

The radial hair process can work into the skin to form nerves. The inward stream forming the nerve is met by inner organ processes that culminate in the region of the brain. The human surface meets the inner organ via the nerve. The nerve is a mediator. The nerve streams inward to meet the organ activity which streams outward. The nail and the hair lie on the surface – the inner organs including the brain arise from within. The nerve mediates the within and the without.

Pacinian corpuscles, tactile corpuscles, are also organs – sense organs within the skin. Here an organ forming process is projected outward from within – like the brain carried outward. As the hair is radiated in, the corpuscles are pushed out towards the surface. The hair follicle can remind us of the optic cup in the embryological unfolding of the eye. The Pacinian corpuscle can give a faint hint of a lens like form within the skin. The hair with follicle and the Pacinian corpuscle can be put together like the eye in reverse. Here the cosmos looks into man and can see the inspirations that live in our inner organs. The sense organs (e.g. eye formation) can give rise to imagination – imaginative, consciousness. The hair and Pacinian corpuscle as sense can give rise to inspiration. Here we are traversing the ether cosmos from Saturn to Sun laying the basis for higher states of consciousness as the organs of the skin are constituted.

Our progression is from the surface of the human skin to progressively deeper layers. A progression in consciousness is needed to penetrate deeper and deeper with the organs of the skin. The organs of the skin lead inward, laying a basis for progressive states of consciousness.

Having considered hair, nail, nerve, and Pacinian corpuscle, we can progress to the sebaceous gland. Here is a secretional-excretional organ that gives off metabolic substances, eliminates metabolic substances. This is a surface secretional-excretional activity that corresponds to the eliminative activity of the bowel. This is an astral activity. Here substance is eliminated and forces freed for consciousness and perception. The secretional-excretional activity lays the basis for cognitional activity at an even deeper layer of consciousness – a consciousness related to intuition – organ intuition related to metabolism.

Hand in hand with this metabolically based consciousness goes the organ of circulation – the blood vessels where there is a rhythm to balance the metabolism of the sebaceous gland.

The sweat glands are also organs of the skin, where there is an excretion related to our will. When we will we sweat. In sweat we eliminate so that consciousness can be gained in relation to conscious will or volition. The sebaceous glands excrete in relation to metabolism – while sweat glands excrete in relation to activity directed by consciousness – volition. Again, another step in consciousness can be made where intuitions can be directed to the outer world – can be gained in the process of sense perception.

With the organs, we have descended from the periphery of ether of the cosmos and from the periphery of the human organism into the inner organs and out again in the limb. However, in consciousness, we ascend from sense bound consciousness to imagination, inspiration and intuition.

The final organ in our skin is muscle. Muscle is present in the hair follicle, the capillaries and the skin itself. We have no conscious control over our hair standing up. We also have no control over the capillary muscles. We do have control over the skin musculature of our face, but not over the rest of the body. As we know the horse can pick up his ears and also ripple his skin. Man cannot do this. His muscle control is confined to his face, his eyes, nose, cheeks, and occasionally the ears. The play of physiognomical expression is connected with face muscles – skin muscles. What is the intention here? I would like to consider that here man can meet himself as object and at the same time as a spiritual being. The hair, nails and nerves are more connected with the unfolding imaginative consciousness. But as structures leading inward the basis for inspiratory consciousness related to inner organs is laid. In musculature and the secretory glands, a movement towards intuition is brought about. In skin musculature differing aspects of intuitive consciousness are possible.

Thus the skin organs are very much related to consciousness – higher states of consciousness that are dependent on our astral body. In the skin, our astral body can become freed. The skin with organs lives in the world. Much in the skin dies away or is secreted-excreted. Freed life forces and soul-astral activities come about through the death, excretion and secretion of our skin. At the same time, the skin in its layering is related to the ether spheres of the cosmos and the life processes connected with these spheres.

If we look at the preparations we can see skin layers as sheath and skin organ as plant substance within the sheath. Thus we can think of ether spheres and life processes from plants that can lay the basis for higher-altered processes in the earth – passed onto the plant and permitting man to acquire higher states of consciousness. This I see as a metamorphosis of the archetype, created by the death process of Manes. This suggests an anthropomorphic extension into the realm of the preparations, into the world of the plant and into the cosmos contemplating every higher states of consciousness for man.

I would like to continue with a slight detour,, but still moving towards our preparation with dandelion, preparation 506. I would like first to look at what Dr. Lievegoed has to say about the preparations in relation to the planets. I would then like to compare his planetary relations with one that I have considered.

Dr. Lievegoed gives the following preparation-planetary relationships:

Manure and silica placed in horns, as preparation 500 and 501, related to the Sun
Yarrow placed in the bladder as preparation 502, related to Venus
Chamomile placed into the intestine, as preparation 503, related to Mercury
Nettle ensheathed by the earth, as preparation 504, related to Mars
Oak bark placed in the skull in water as preparation 505 related to the Moon
Valerian dispersed in the cosmos, as preparation 507, related to Saturn
Dandelion ensheathed in mesentery, as preparation 506, related to Jupiter

I would like to suggest a little different relationship. I would begin with preparation 500, manure in the horn and relate this to the moon-earth. I would relate this preparation to the earth that has the moon brought to the earth (via rain) to make the earth fruitious. Preparation 501, silica in the horn, I would relate to the star cosmic world that is brought to the plant. Preparation 502, yarrow, placed in the bladder, I would relate to potassium and very much to the bringing of the earth to the various kingdoms. This I see as a beautifying, Venus process. Preparation 503, with chamomile in the intestine, is very much connected to calcium. This I would relate to the Sun. I see the sun radiating the intestine and the chamomile in the height of summer and then brought into the earth in winter. I see this as a sun preparation. Preparation 504 is the nettle preparation where iron activity is important. I would relate this to Mars. The various activities of iron bring man into relation with the earth and the cosmos. Preparation 505, the preparation of oak in the skull is connected with calcium, I see this very much connected with the transformation of substances in the watery, mercurial domain, Therefore I relate this to the plant Mercury process. Preparation 506 is the dandelion in the mesentery. This preparation I would connect with Jupiter. Preparation 507, valerian in the air, I would relate to Saturn, to the far distances of the cosmos.

The reason for listing the preparations in this way, is to distinguish between the plant-planet relation and the preparation = planet relation. In previous years, I have tried to speak to the planetary activities as they work into the plant, unfolding the plant as plant. There I discussed the processes of carbonization, distillation and dissolution. I shared thoughts about the processes of potentization. The last three planet-plant processes, I considered to be ashing, digestion and crystallization. These are seven planetary workings in the plant that permits plant potentization to take place. In the case of the preparations, we are working into plant substance via animal, astral, earthly astral or cosmic astral processes. We are working the earth and plant so that higher astral activities can be supported by man’s physical functioning.

I think now we are ready to go onto our preparation. Let us start with the mesentery. We have to deal with the mesentery of the cow. We are therefore speaking of an ungulate, a being that is in a way raised off of the earth, walks on its toes. We are speaking of a horned animal, an animal whose inner radiations are reflected back inwardly. The astral kidney radiations are thrown back into the intestine. The cow is a ruminant, so that we can speak of the four-fold heart process in the rhythm of the intestine. The ruminant-rhythmic process means that the substance of the bowel, from the mouth to the anus, is thoroughly penetrated by the etheric. As a mammal, the cow produces milk. It not only produces milk to nourish offspring, but it is also used to nourish man. Goats, some sheep, donkeys and horses are also used to give milk for man. However, it is the cow that is the real friend of man when it comes to nourishment. The cow nourishes its offspring, but also nourishes a great chunk of mankind today. It is very important that the earth can sustain the plant, the plant that sustains the cow; the cow sustains man with milk. Also as a mammal with a vertebral column the cow can bring forth living offspring. This animal is full of life, and full of that which helps in the processes of reproduction and nourishment. The cow also gives essential man to maintain earth fertility.

We have considered the intestinal tract and previously mentioned how the peritoneum lines the coelom. The coelom is a closed space, all unto itself. In a way we have four enclosed spaces in man, enclosed spaces that have relatively little relationship to the outer world. The first space is that in the skull, the space is created by the meninges, the lining of the brain and the skull bones. A second inner space is that of the visceral and thoracic cage lining. A thin film lines the lung and chest cavity A third space, a space unto itself, surrounds the heart. This is a potential cavity. Finally we have the coelom, the heaven of the abdomen. There is an outer layer that lines the inside of the abdominal wall and a layer that covers the abdominal organs and intestines.

All four of these spaces are filled with fluid. The most obvious spaces with fluid are those that surround the brain and fill the brain ventricles. There is a small amount of fluid in the pericardial space. There is even less fluid in the pleural space. There is less than a hint of fluid in the mesentery-omentum space surrounding the organs and intestines. If we look at this potential space, we will find that there are blood vessels though there is no fluid. Interestingly and particularly in the case of the cow and the older human being, fat is produced in this sphere, in this potential space. Thus within the mesentery there are organs and intestines (metabolic-sense organs) – then the mesenteric sheath – followed by blood vessels and fat. The latter two structures exist within the potential space formed by two layers of very thin tissue that constitutes the coelomic cavity.

Thus if we start with the organ, we can speak of an inner organ of sense. The fine layer of tissue peritoneum is a sensitive structure (like nerve tissue) then comes circulation and then fat. We have sense organs, sensitive tissue, vascular tissue and finally fat metabolic tissue. We can say that we start out with a sense-nerve structure, then rhythm related structure and finally fatty metabolic structure – all within the coelomic cavity – the cavity of heaven. This is the abdominal configuration of all mammals including man. This heavenly space, which ordinarily we associate with the far reaches of existence, we have within the cow (and Man). When a cow lies down the heavenly space is subjected to the forces of the earth.
In the case of the preparation, the dandelion is wrapped in the tissues just described, the tissues of the heavenly space with man and animal. The heavenly space within the cow is filled with forces and activities that refine metabolism to a very great extent – permitting the cow process of nourishment and reproduction to be subjected to earthly forces when the cow lies on the earth to assimilate. The loftiest is penetrated by the earthly.

Now let’s go over to the dandelion. This plant we all know. We know it as a perennial. It grows very close to man. It adorns his most precious creation, which is his lawn. It is a remarkable plant that disappears about midsummer. It appears in spring as a small rosette. It grows and has a very lush green dark leaf. It then sends up a stem on top of which sits a rather beautiful blossom. For man, the lawn keeper, it is a bane. For those of us who use the dandelion in the preparation it is a great blessing.
The leaf of the plant is dentate, tooth-like. It is interesting if we compare it with the white oak, the oak does not have such a dentate leaf appearance. The other plants do not have such a dentate leaf. This plant is singular. In German it is called the tooth of a lion. This leads us to consider it as a plant that is related to an animalic process that is connected with the lion tooth or the canine activity of an animal. It belongs to the sense system where the animal is involved in metabolism. In the lion’s mouth metabolism is penetrated by sense activity. The plant points to the timely process of the rosette and leaves, which almost jump, like sensation, into the blossom – the sun gold blossom. Looking at the rosette, the dentate leaves and the stalk that literally jump into inflorescence, can remind us of the step from life to the life of sensation.

The evolution of this plant is of course extremely striking. The little rosette of spring greens out to become a lush leaf and then sends up a watery stem. On top of this sits a greenish cup. Within the green may be a slight glimmer of white and then comes a sun-radiant-gold flower. While this is occurring there has already occurred the descent of a single tap earth into the depths of the earth. The root may be 2-3 feet deep. While there is an ascent into the cosmos, and a descent into the earth, there is an animal activity forming the leaf with tooth structures. At the same time there is a hollowing out of the stem so that the stem becomes quite hollow. As the animal astral process continues, the flower is gradually transformed into a whole cosmos of seeds with wings. The winged seed is almost like an insect that can be carried by the air. The winged seed is inclined to rise in the air. It is as if the astral that evidences itself in the leaf, in the tooth nature of the leaf that hollows out the stem transforms the flower into an insect-like winged seed. Here we can see a white- silver image rise out of the flower instead of a butterfly descending into a flower. Here is the transformation of a flower into a higher form of existence – that is an imago – which has its expression in man as a higher form of cognition – imagination. The winged seed, as the faculty of imaginative cognition, reflects the outer reaches of our ether cosmos – the spheres of Jupiter and Saturn.

On the other hand, the root also reaches to the great distances within the earth itself. The root is truly cosmic. The root takes hold of the potash-potassium activity in the earth. Through the other pole of the plant, the inflorescence, the potassium is brought in relation to a working of light to create a phosphorus working. It is interesting that Rudolf Steiner tells that there is this transformation of substance within the plant. We can read this. He talks of how hydrogen, limestone and potash are transformed into nitrogenous materials, how nitrogenous materials are actually the sentient processes of the earth. This plant gives the earth its sentientness. It is not like the legume, which inbreathes while the non-legume out breaths. This is a plant that gives the earth itself a tremendous sensitiveness for the cosmos, not breathing, but a clear sensing.

The earth sensitivity that develops through the workings of the plant, as the result of alchemic transformation I think is significant. Here Rudolf Steiner gives direct indications of alchemic transformation. This is not a metabolic transformation. It is a direct substance transformation via the plant. I think this is a significant indication concerning alchemical-earthly substance metamorphosis. It will require a lot of rethinking to take up such a transformation with our current ideas about chemistry. The indication tells that a substance (non-living) can be transformed into another. Here the atomic view of substance has to give way to the potential for the transformations of substance. This plant carries on metabolic activity but also brings about substance changes. The phosphorus, I gather, is a refined cosmic process in the seed. A siliceous cosmic activity brings the far distance cosmos (phosphorus) into relationship with the earth.

The golden blossoms of this plant are placed in the cow mesentery. The blossom, which is etherically related earth and heaven, is placed in a sheath where the astral-animal forces are at work between heaven and earth (devachan-outer planetary-zodiacal and earth.) The plant processes are pure. The astral activities are very pure. The pure ether and astral activity reach up to the domain of the star world where human ego has its true home.

What are we then working for here? We are working with forces and substance actively that transcend the usual life of an organism. This can be said about all the preparations. We are looking for an extension of the usual memory to cosmic memory. We are trying to support cosmic conceptive activity. We are trying to develop sensitivity, a sensation process, which can look to the future. The future reveals itself in the star world while relating itself to the earth. We can speak of the father ground of existence becoming revealed. Here we can speak of the nourishment at the hand of the divine. A kind of communion, sacramental nutritional process is envisaged here. What this means in terms of the earth, plant and man is a potential for man to be able to envision, to anticipate what is to come. One then not only deals with cosmic memory, conceptive processes out of the past, but envisioning, anticipating what is to come in the future. If man does not have the proper nutrition, the proper nutrients, then his organism will not permit him to envision and anticipate what is to come from the future. Man needs to find his own being in the star world to grasp the future.

For this reason, I see this as a preparation supporting the future. This anticipates work with the earth for the future. This anticipates the future in which the being of Manes is to appear. We are now not speaking of a hierarchical spiritual being. We are not looking to the older mysteries, as for example, the Druid Mystery. We are looking at the future born out of the Mystery of Golgotha. Here we have to seek a human being who will help us into this future. The human being who works for the future is Manes. Rudolf Steiner is trying to help-us find our way to him through the deeds connected with agriculture, economics, and commerce. This preparation gives rise to such contemplations for me.