If we briefly cast our glance back to Lecture 6, we can notice that we have begun to take up the animal kingdom. We have begun to speak about the insects, the predators, and the parasites related to the growing of nourishing plants. We began the entire course by considering the earth, the earth as a cosmic body. We then addressed the care of the earth to support the plant. We have discussed the plant in relationship to the earth and preparations. Here we take up the animals. The animal kingdom only comes to focus in this lecture.
We noted in Lecture 6 that there are various realms of existence. Earthly existence, as we know it through our senses, is only one form of existence. We pointed to other domains of existence – the domain of the phantom, the domain of the specter, the domain of the demon. We then through these entities began to move into other realms where spiritual beings live. We noted that spiritual beings can appear in phantom form. In ancient times more lofty beings appeared in this fashion. As time has gone on more lowly beings have incarnated to create degenerate phantom forms. The same can be said of ghost or specter forms as well as demon forms. The role of the Mystery of Golgotha has been to again give healthy forms, archetypal forms, healing forms. This was made possible through the Mystery of Golgotha. We then considered that through this deed by a Spiritual Being, the Christ, what had become decadent through evolution was once more transformed to permit an ascending existence within these different realms.
With our peppers we are introduced directly to consider these realms. As noted, the peppering has never been spoken to extensively. I surmise this is due to the difficulty in working with these provinces, these domains, that require so much for us to try to grasp. The preparations, in a way, create considerations that lead to our having to take up the peppers. My thesis here is that the peppers ask that we consider the astral world. It is in this world that we find the various distorted configurations, configurations of the plant, animal and human that work so that unhealth is brought into areas where this working is not appropriate. That is to say, in the astral world we find distorted forms from plants, animal and man. These distorted forms work and are active in the astral world. This working when transplanted into the physical world or into a loftier spiritual world, is a displacement. Displacement into the physical world can lead to weeds, infestations, and in man – illnesses. By this line of consideration, we have access to beingness, to the realm of beingness where the disturbances of equilibrium, the disturbance in balance can be found. This has to be worked with. It is just this balance in the astral world that I believe is being taken up when we enter into the discussion of this seventh lecture. Lecture seven leads us to see the astral animal realm in the light of man.
In this lecture, we begin to take up the animal as the animal relates to the tree. The animal kingdom can relate itself to the tree of life or the kingdom of the plant. My general view of this lecture is how it points out how we can regulate plant and animal life on the farm so that what exists in the astral world is tended properly. This in turn permits the physical, the higher astral, and the Devachanic world to exist in appropriate relationships. This relationship, this balance in the cosmos is brought about by working the balance of plant and animal nature on our farm. This permits the incarnation of the individuality when the farm plant and animal balance is reflected in the cosmos. Then lofty spiritual being birth can occur as the individuality of a farm. This is possibly an elohim being.
This is a tremendous task and undertaking for the farmer. The farmer tries to enculturate the earth for the sake of mankind and the spiritual world.
What we are taking up here is the unfolding of a totally new taxonomy. The classification process that Rudolf Steiner brings forth in this lecture in regard to plants, it seems to me, is quite new. This is the same for the animal. My sense is that the classifications we have from science reflect something that is old and has unfolded with science. This is true of plant classification, as well as animal classification. Here Rudolf Steiner is bringing a new form of classification so that man begins to work with the plant and animal world in a very new way. This new relatedness, this new classification is important in order that a next step in agriculture can be taken.
With this said, I think it would be helpful to let the plant be placed before our souls. We have discussed the plant in its outer form, its configuration in form – slender or filled out. We have considered it in its root structure, earthly and cosmic. We have discussed it in its color and its fruition. The plant is related to the planetary world. The tree is related to the human being as has been spoken to. The threefold nature of the tree with its xylem, phloem and cambium we have taken up with correspondence in man. The tree approximates and approaches a form where we can consider a birth of something that is highly individual. Through the tree we can approach the plant and the plant world to find an individual being with individualized life processes. This is important for our consideration here.
In this lecture Rudolf Steiner tries to introduce us to the plant world in relationship to the animal by considering the plant and its relationship to the astral, to astrality. As we know, the astral is embodied in the world of the animal, the etheric in the world of the plant. The ether plant is influenced by the earth. This is what we have thus far been considering. Now we make the transition to consider how the etheric, the ether plant, stands in relationship to the astral world, to the animal world. We then can look at the plant tree as the balancing element that swings between the physical and the astral. The etheric of the tree helps balance that which is of the nature of our physical and that which is of the nature of the astral, astrum or the star.
In order to develop this balancing process inherent in the ether-tree, I believe that it might be well to consider the etheric in more detail to facilitate the coming discussion.
The ether element was born on the sun. Characteristic of the ether is its expansile and contractile potential. As sympathy and antipathy are the dynamic of the astral, expansion and contraction are the dynamic quality inherent in the etheric. This expansion-contraction element is best exemplified by light. Rudolf Steiner tells us that light expands, but it also returns to contract. We have expansile ethers which we know as warmth ether and light ether. We have contractile ethers, chemical and life ethers. The light ether and the chemical ether processes bring about the expansile and contractile processes in the physical world. The existence of the ethers in a four-fold way is brought about by evolution – cosmic evolution. The etheric was given by spiritual beings on the old Sun – as light ether (close to warmth). It was evolved in the Pralaya period into chemical-ether. In the next Pralaya period, between Moon and Earth, it was evolved even further into life-ether. Thus we have light, chemical, and life-ethers. These are the result of Pralaya workings. This is often not recognized although it is quite clearly discussed by Rudolf Steiner.
If we look at this genesis and evolution in ether, we have to look at one more step, the coming forth of warmth-ether. The ether of old Sun is, in a way, light-ether, with the possibility of warmth- ether, but warmth-ether only comes about in the latter part of Lemuria when light-ether is condensed to warmth-ether. This I have tried to detail again and again so we do not just see an evolution in a linear fashion. There is an evolution of the ethers in Pralaya and there is a devolution of the ether during earth evolution. This condensation, concentration process in the etheric permits the incarnation of the human ego. Without this condensation process there could be no ego that would live on earth. It is in the warmth ether that the human ego truly has its footing. It permits the human ego to exist in the physical while having its true home in the star world beyond the zodiac. Only slowly can the human ego master the other reaches of existence, the physical. This mastery is possible by the continued deepening of the human ego in relationship to the physical world.
This, of course, is the great secret about existence on the earth, and we can look at the evolution of the human ego in this way. We then have to see that man actually is not truly at home on earth. He is truly at home in the star world, extending over the far reaches of the cosmos to embed himself in the warmth-ether element. Man comes to endure repeated incarnations to master that which is of the earth. He thereby becomes a participant in cosmic evolution bringing to the spiritual world what the spiritual world needs from earth evolution. The spiritual world is heavily dependent on man to take up his true responsibility which is needed in the spiritual world.
With this much said, let us again turn to the etheric, considering the four-fold nature makeup of the ether. We have to consider that three other ether states are yet possible and have to be unfolded. This is what we have to consider at this moment.
We have often shared, we have often spoken of a warmth state of matter. Warmth ether melts into the warmth state of matter. One often refers to warmth, but warmth is actually a dual entity. It was the Rosicrucians that tried to work with this duality in a knowing way. The airy we note is penetrated by light ether. Light ether sustains the airy condition of materiality. The watery is sustained and conditioned by chemical-ether and the solid by life-ether.
What is now very important is to consider that the ether that brings about states of matter can, in a way, be considered to be bound ether. This is the etheric which works in such a way that the ether is not perceived as such, but the states of matter are evident. There are also three other states of the ether at work, but they work more independent of materiality. Here the ether comes more into its own. Here is where the human soul is sustained or can be driven by the etheric. We can speak of ether that supports the soul in thinking, an ether that supports the soul in feeling and an ether that supports the soul in willing.
I have found it most helpful to consider the seven-folded ether makeup by repeatedly looking to what Rudolf Steiner has developed in Theosophy, particularly in relationship to the astral world and Kamaloca. Here he tells that the soul after death moves through an astral ether world, a world where at first the physical has been predominant. He speaks of an astral world where the solid, the watery, the airy and the warmth elements have their origin. Here we have a world, an astral world where the physical, at first, predominates over the ether, but the soul lives into this condition of ether working. Rudolf Steiner tells that the soul experiences burning desires, mobile sensitivity, wish, like and dislike in the four lower regions of kamaloca – the astral world. He then enumerates three other soul workings after death. These workings are soul-light, soul-force and soul-life. Here we can consider the astral world supported by the etheric where the soul journeys and becomes independent of the physical. The soul moves towards the pure ether world of the sun where the soul as astral being can come more into its own. In these higher realms of kamaloca, we have a working of the ethers that are refined and free of the physical. The ether as light-ether works more independently for the soul. The ether as force works more independently for the soul, and the same can be said for the life that works independently for the soul after death. Slowly the soul journeys on to the sphere of the sun.
By this means, one can contemplate seven ether conditions. Essentially I am suggesting that cosmic evolutions have given the four ethers. The human soul works through earth life to evolve and refine the ethers in relationship to the soul in the upper regions of Kamaloca or the astral world. By man, three more ethers come about.
As this is not yet complicated enough, I would like to suggest that further evolutions in relation to the ether world are needed. These are loftier ether worlds brought about by the separation of the sun from the earth. These higher ether worlds (Cadman ether) create a basis for the kingdoms. Here we can delineate a continental domain, an oceanic, atmospheric and a human creative domain. Here we speak of lower Devachan. Devachan is supported by ether. Here the astral predominates, but is configured by ego to become kingdom. In the highest Devachanic world we have a further refinement of ethers. Here the astral dominates the etheric. To some this might seem strange as at times it is considered that the etheric is totally dropped away in lower and upper Devachan. I gather, however, that this is not the case. Ether elements have to be evolved and taken into Devachan, that is Rupa, as well as Arupa Devachan. Here the evolutions serve that which is the nature and the principle of mothering. Here we find the eternal feminine, as well as the ether that is connected with the son born of the mother in Arupa Devachan. Man as a higher being is born of the mother (lower Devachan) to become a son in upper Devachan (a Sophia being). From beyond Devachan, man is born of the father.
Here I have tried to intimate that the etheric is worked at in an ever refined way. There is an ether that has been worked at in relationship to earthly evolution. This we have grasped as the four ethers to be evolved to seven. But there is also an etheric process that lies at the basis of “heaven” – Devachan – Cadmanic ether. We can say this is an ether world that belongs to Adam Cadman and the province of the Sophias. I tried to begin to address this Sophia world when I spoke to the four Marys in the first lecture.
I believe that it is extremely important to take up these matters here since consideration with the animals asks that we move into the world where the astral predominates over the etheric, to lay a basis for the birth of ego, or true individuality. The course of our consideration here has been to pick up the earthly-physical, the living, the animal, and finally egoity. The theme of egoity and individuality runs throughout this course.
With this background, I think it is well now to progress to the world of the plant and more directly to what is given here in this course.
It will be noted that Rudolf Steiner speaks about the tree to begin with. He speaks about the intense astral around the crown of the tree and the poverty of the ether at the root of the tree. At the crown of the tree is the bird. At the root of the tree is the worm. The bird swims and works within the realm of the astral that surrounds the bowel. The heavenly bowel is a fairly lofty realm of ether-astral existence. This is an intense astral existence. The astral supports, we can say, the kingdom of the bird. The root on the other hand brings about a very mineralized condition of the earth. It is required that the worm which is a “bowel” animal, mediates the ether between earth and plant in the region of the root. The worm is a being who lives as astral in the ether closer to the physical. The bird we see is a polarity which weaves in the astral, that rises more towards the zodiacal-star. Thus we can look at the tree as a being which on the one hand is connected in its root with the worm, and on the other with the bird in its bough. The tree between the root, mineral, earth and worm and the bough, heaven and bird, exists within a polarity. This is a beginning of a classification of the animals in the light of the tree – the tree of life.
The tree of life is embedded in the earth where there is an ether element. The tree of life is embedded in the heavens where there is a predominance of the astral. In terms of the ether cosmos, we have to consider the worm in its relationship with lower Kamaloca and the bird-butterfly with their relationship to the lofty domain of Arupa Devachan. With this tree and its animal life, we can traverse the entire etheric cosmos.
Now if we progress through the lecture, I believe we can develop our tree of life and the animals connected with the tree of Life. This is not so difficult to pick out from the lecture, as Rudolf Steiner connects the root of the tree with the worm and the bough of the tree with the bird. He then tells that the mammals are related to the bush. Next the insect is related to the herb and the parasitic life is very much connected with the mushroom. With the mushroom and parasitic life, we make the transition from the lowest form of plant life that gradually approaches the mineral. The worm is related to the root. The transition from plant to mineral might be considered to be the mushroom, to bacteria, to virus (plant crystal) and then to the mineral. We are descending to a condition of living mineralness. In descent, we have the living condition of the plant world.
Let us now move to animal life. I think it is worthwhile to turn to a taxonomy that relates the zodiacal circle to the class of the animals as they are known to science today. I will take the relationships of Zodiac to class of animal as given by Dr. Koenig in his lectures to farmers, taken from the book, Earth and Man. One can find other variants and relationships. However, for our considerations here, let us use Dr. Koenig as a reference as he in these lectures makes a gesture as a physician to the farmer.
Let us begin with Aries. It is said that this constellation is connected with the Tunicata, a kind of tubed-digestive tubed animal. The Ecodermata, the star fish, as example, are related to Taurus. The Coelenterates, the animals with a coelom, are related to the twins, Gemini. The Protozoa are related to Cancer. Moving over to the mammals, we have been considering, the cow and the deer, these are related to Leo. The bird family, the class of the birds, Aves, are connected with Virgo. The reptiles, the snake, the frog, etc. are related to Libra. The water-earth animals, the Amphibia, are related to Scorpio. The fish class is connected with Saggitarius. The Arthropoda, or the animals with segmented limbs, are connected with Capricorn. Here we find the butterfly. Moving on in the circle of the Zodiac, we come to Waterman, which is connected with the worms, or the Annilida. The Mollusks are connected with Pisces, the region of the fish in the cosmos.
If we enumerate these relationships, we can consider how the star world around us so works to fashion and bring about animal life. It is the animal life which is given by the star world. These animals have come out of evolution. We have to say however, it is our task now as a farmer to bring about different relationships in this animal world, and we can do so by our farming. We can do so by bringing the animal-zodiacal world in relationship to the planetary world and in relationship to the earth. We then can enumerate our animals not in a circle, but in a vertical linear form in relationship to the earth. If we try to do this, we can come up with quite a different picture of the animal kingdom as we work with it in relationship to the plant, to the earth and to the cosmos.
Let us then precede to our tree of life and enumerate animals in relationship to this tree. In the process, we have to incorporate the mushroom, the herb and the bush into the tree and thereby include the animals into this tree of life. It is this tree of life that we can cultivate as a farmer.
Let us start with the root of our tree. We have noted that the worm exists and lives regulating the ether realm in relationship to the root of the tree. It is in relationship to the root that the mushroom exists, as well, so that we can speak of the protozoa as a parasite, the fungus, bacteria, and viruses that live in relationship to the root. As we know from Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the plant in relationship to the animals in his cycle on Man as a Symphony of the Creative Word, we are told how the frog, the toad, the lizard, the reptile, the amphibia live in relationship to the root nature of the plant. These animals are related to the solid where the gnome is at work. Therefore in the domain of the root of the tree, where we have to include our mushroom and the herb as well, we can place the fungi, the bacteria, the protozoa, the viruses. We can consider the reptiles and some of the lower amphibia.
As we continue our contemplations and move from the solid to the watery, in relationship to the stem and the leaf of the plant (tree), we are told that the fish belong here. It is here that the undines have their life. In the case of the reptiles and lower forms of animal life, the gnomes have their existence. This is well spoken of by Rudolf Steiner in his lectures in Man as a Symphony of the Creative Word.
As we ascend from the solid and to the watery, to the airy, we come to the amphibia. Here we are in the domain where the sylphs are at work. Some amphibia belong to the lower regions, to the watery realm of substance – as for example the tadpole conditions of animality. We then have the amphibia connected with the undines (tadpole). As the mushroom world is connected to the watery, to the dark, we can rise with the herbaceous into the airy. We can rise from the watery more into the airy-warmth world. Here we find the herb with greater astrality. There next follows the bush. The mammals are related to the bush. The bush which is often cultivated by man as the related animals are husbanded as well.
From the bush, we can again rise into the bough of the tree where the bird holds sway. Rudolf Steiner tells us that the bird is a being of warmth. The bird is a being that exists in the heights of the ether world where astrality is predominant.
We still have another step to make with our tree of life. We have to consider this is connected with the flowering tree (or plant) and I suspect also the fragrant herb. Now we come to the domain of the butterfly, the arthropodic butterfly. This is a being of light. This is a being who goes through four metamorphoses. These four metamorphoses reflect the evolution of the earth. The imago points to Saturn evolution, the chrysalis to Sun evolution, the caterpillar to Moon evolution and the egg to Earth evolution, the sun-earth. The butterfly lives in the cosmic memory of our earth, in the ethers that serve cosmic memory. They are a reflection of this domain. They waft about the trees with blossoms and very likely the herbaceous plant.
Thus we have a tree of life. The roots are connected with the mushroom. Then we can rise to the herb that rises out of the root to become a plant. The bush is a further progression in the evolution of a tree, a tree of life that can support the whole man. In the bush we find the mammal, in the tree bough, the bird and in the blossom – the flowering bough, we find the butterfly. This encompasses the tree of life in which man as an ego being can find a reflection.
Now let us turn to the ether world, and I will try to make a correlation with the various ether worlds which I have been trying to develop. These are actually ether worlds in which cosmic memory is developed. It is in the ether worlds where the true egoity of man will be found, not his personalized ego, but his cosmic ego. This is a highly complex story of the ether-Akashic world. Some may be a bit taken back by this effort to sketch the complexity of the Akashic World.
Let us start with the herb. The herb is very much a reflection of the states of matter. It grows in relationship to the solid, the watery, the airy and the warmth. The earth states, in a way, point to the domains of the lower astral world. There we find the soul after death going through an evolution, slowly laying off the experiences of earth life. The herb is closely related to the earth. The herb has working in it the ether which is connected to the solid, the watery, the airy, the warmth. The human soul at death weaves into the working of the herb where slowly the cosmic memory process is worked into the realm of the solid, the watery, the airy and the warmth. We have been told how human culture began by weaving its memory into the life-ether (solid), at the time of the Persian Epoch. In the time of the Egyptian Epoch, human culture worked its way into the water ether of the astral world. In the Greek Period, the human cultural striving wove into the ether working of the airy. Finally with the time of the consciousness-soul, this cultural epoch, man weaves his deeds of culture into the Akasha of the warmth ether. I like to consider that it is the herb which is a reflection for the cosmic memory of man’s cultural evolution.
The next step can be taken by considering the tree. The tree is a being that bears cosmic memory. I tried to point out how, in fact, the oak tree with its acorn, gall and leaf, point back to the realms of earth-cosmic memory. As the herb relates itself to human cultural cosmic memories, so the oak tree with its constructs in the bough belong to the realm of earth evolutionary memory. There we carry the earth back to its beginning. We can go backward in cosmic memory from Atlantis to Lemuria to Hyperborea and to Polaria. It is in this region that the insect and the bird have their existence. The bird and the insect are busy in the bough of the tree.
With the herb and the tree we have the workings of cosmic memory processes, of human cultural evolution and then earth-cosmic evolution. We have further states of evolution to take. We have yet to go into the cosmic evolution of our planetary existences, that is earth, back to Moon, back to Sun evolution and back to Saturn. Now we can look at the insect. We are told how the egg of the butterfly is laid on the leaf in the sun. It points to the beginning of earth. The insect-butterfly egg on the plant leaf can draw us back into the past. It is the realm of our current sun. It is the realm in which the memory of earth beginning is kept. The etheric sphere is that of Mars. Earth memory is raised to the sphere of the sun. There in the leaf with the egg of the butterfly, with our present sun, we have the cosmic memory of the beginning of our earth, the etheric physical condition of very early Polaria. We can then progress into cosmic memory reflected in the insect as we move to the caterpillar. There we find the memory of the old Moon evolution. The caterpillar of the second stage of butterfly unfolding is a reflection of the memory working of the Akasha from old Moon. We can still progress back to the old Sun evolution. This is sun in the chrysalis forming activity. The shell of the chrysalis, Rudolf Steiner tells us, is the woven light of old Sun. The cosmic memory from old Sun weaves and works to bring about the light woven ensheathment of the chrysalis.
As a final step we come to the imago, the butterfly itself – a light weaving astral being which points back in cosmic memory to the old Saturn stage. Here we have an astral being, the butterfly which reflects the most ancient of memory. It is a living astral being. It contains the etheric, the life of the heights of cosmic memory. At the same time this animal transforms physical substance into its finest state. The dust of the wings is a condition of physical substance – of the finest nature. This is a light warmth physical dust substance which is wafted into the far reaches of existence. We can say that there we find the physical that is also transformed into almost its primal condition. It is not the primal condition of substance which is carried within man but this dust points to the fact that this light weaving of the butterfly, which is so astral, active, also transforms physical substance which helps support the cosmic memory which lies in the nature around us.
What we have just delineated here may be complex for some. I hope not too much. We have tried to speak about the tree of life. In the latter section I have tried to pick out how this tree of life relates itself to the cosmos and can become the basis for cosmic memory process for the Akasha. We have the Akasha of cultural evolution. We have the Akasha of earth evolution. We have the Akasha of cosmic-earth evolution that goes back to Saturn. We have in our physical presence mineral, plant, and animal workings that permits us a view into this memory. This is a memory that has to be cognized when we come to seek true ego perception, to perceive the ego as a cosmic star being. We have to come to this memory in order to ask how we can go forward. It is by working with the animal nature that we can do this and in order to speak of the future, we have to speak of the animals that are closest to man and which take us into even loftier realms of ether existence where we speak now not of cosmic memory, but of cosmic intention, cosmic purpose, cosmic seed potential.
We have looked to the plant around us, to the tree. We have looked to the animal kingdom. Now we have particularly to look to the mammals that are close to us. It is they we have to cultivate, that we have to bring into the sphere of our own existence. The insect lies quite distant from us. Most of the animals do, but not the mammals, particularly the cow, the horse, and the pig – not so much the birds. Birds take us forward. If we look at the animals that are closest to us, we then come to a conclusion that these are beings who are capable of bearing something of the impulse, something of the influence of an ego. They are close to us because they carry something of that in their own nature that tends towards ego. We have to consider that they can be taken with us into the realms of the loftiest ether domains, but more so into the predominantly astral world of Arupa Devahan. It is there where the future can be molded. We are not dealing there with memory process. We are dealing with action, will, love process. We are there concerned with these beings whom we often can speak of with love, heartfelt, deep felt, warmth love. We can speak of how they lead us to realms of existence where new initiative can take place. Where we work with these animals and the tree of life, we then come to the realm where the future dawns. I take it we can be fired by the spirit – Salamandric fire.
As we consider our tree of life and the animals, we come to the domesticated animals. They belong to us. It is they who point the way to a realm of existence that is to come and not so much to the realm of existence that has been. The animals that stand around us take us into these regions. This domain has already been well discussed by our apocalyptic writer, John the Evangelist. The animals that we work with in order to come to very lofty regions of existence, which also point to the future, are the realm of the eagle, the lion and the bull. As we work with these three, we then come to the realm of man, the realm of individual and ego potential – true ego – cosmic ego.
As just noted, we can relate our tree of life to much of the animal kingdom. As we deal with the mammals that become more domesticated, we have to consider how these animals are in a way humanized. They also come from a sphere of activity of existence that is connected with man. This, as I understand it, is addressed by speaking directly to those three beasts which were in a way there in the beginning, formed themselves in the beginning out of man. In a way they become the cornerstones of all evolution and existence.
Man, with the lion, the bull and the eagle, we can say was outspread in the astral-ether cosmos of the beginning. They remain there as potential for man. As man takes hold of this potential, he lays the basis for the future. By relating these animals to our tree of life, we can relate those who are on the way to egohood, to our future. We then can work the earth and the plant in such a fashion that they will become more and more related to the ego principle. This permits the incarnation of the ego principle into our farm. It also permits the ego principle of man to find an exact correspondence in the world around him. What will be noted is that all that is present in our tree of life is also present in man. When we have the earth with the tree of life and the animals, as well as domesticated animals just spoken to, we then have a macrocosmic reflection of the individual microcosm within man. This is all necessary for the bringing forth of the individuality of the farm.
Now if this isn’t complex enough, let us try another step in complexity and turn to this microcosm of man. Let me try to suggest how we can try to find the kingdoms and these animal beings in relationship to the human being, the human physical makeup. What I share here, I believe you can find very much in Rudolf Steiner’s cycle on Man as a Symphony of the Creative Word, though what I share draws heavily on a good many year’s search.
In order to make this next step, this step into man, let us begin with man’s gastro-intestinal tract. Let us start by laying man down and think of a tube that runs from one end to another. This tube can be envisioned as the gastrointestinal tract. This tract is related to the root of our tree of life, where we can speak of the protozoa, the reptiles and the lower forms of the amphibia. The snake family Rudolf Steiner again and again relates to the ureters as they rise off of the gastro-intestinal tract. Thus, the gastro-intestinal tract becomes the region within man where the tree of life is anchored. The lower form of animals spoken to in the Agriculture Course, related to the tree root – all of this is connected with these lower kingdoms, of the lower forms of animality in the animal world.
Now just as the mushroom, the herb, the bush and the tree grow out of the earth, we can think of our organs that grow out of the gastro-intestinal tract. In fact, this is actually the case. The liver with pancreas grows out of the gastro-intestinal tract embryologically. The lung and a good segment of the trachea and larynx grow out of the gastro-intestinal tract, as well as the thymus gland. Inherent and embedded in this growth is also the basis for the unfolding of our endocrine glands. Thus our inner tree of life is embedded in our intestinal tract. It ascends and rises into our organs, structured a bit like bowels (flowers) or crowns (trees). Our organs become the region of astral concentration as in the flower or tree.
Now we have to make a bit of a jump and ask where the water born animals exist within man. Here we have to think of the mollusks, the tunicata, the echinoderms. These animal beings have a correspondence within the skull of man. These animals, like our brain, swim within a watery world, encased within our skull. That which occurs within the shells of the mollusks is reminiscent of the brain within the skull.
If we turn to the fishes, we might consider all of our organs. They are all ensheathed within watery spheres, such as the intestinal tract. All our organs are encased within linings, which have potential watery spaces. This is all the realm of the life of the fish.
Therefore, we can see our tree of life anchored in the gastro-intestinal tract, rising into the bough of our organs. If we contemplate the endocrine glands, they remain closer to the bowel – to the earthly nature of the bowel. The endocrine organs are more like the herb, if we contemplate the tree of life. The organs which grow out of the bowel are raised into the waters of the skull. There we find the animal life of the mollusks , tunicada and echinodermatoa. All organs swim like fish in a sea, in a sea of life, in a watery domain. This is particularly evident with the brain, but it is somewhat the case with all organs.
From here, we can pass on to the human senses. The human senses are in a way the projection of the world into man. There we can consider the evolution and the development of the Arthropods, particularly the butterfly. In a way, we can say that the human eye can be used as a prototype, as an archetype of all senses. The germ egg of the eye (perception) (stimulus) is laid in the sun (any object). There is a growth (sensation) within the living world. A light chrysalis process (impression) occurs in the visual field of the eye. The imago rises as an image in the human soul. On the other hand, the eye grows as herb out of the brain. The eye is only the root-physical structure of the herb. The main portion of the eye is etheric. ( note – see page 121 – Man as a Symphony of the Creative Word for this description.) The human cognitive faculty grows out of the sun like the unfolding of the butterfly. This faculty comes to rest on the retina and the vasculature of the eye which has grown into the light like an herb. Butterfly and plant meet in the visual-image activity of the eye.
Our last step has to consider the evolution of our inner organs. They belong very much to us. They are close to us. These inner organs can be seen as the apocalyptic animals. Rudolf Steiner has discussed this very extensively in his lecture cycle on the occult unfolding of the human being. The Effect of Occult Development on the Human‘ Sheaths is a lecture cycle where this is discussed. In this cycle, he tells how the lung transforms itself in clairvoyant perception into the imagination of the eagle. The heart transforms the form of a lion and the liver transforms itself into the image of a bull. These are organs that have a potential for evolution to egohood. They are organs which are carried over from the beginning, but also live so that they can furnish a basis for the future. They are the basis for what man uses to speak, to give birth to the word which is an expression of man’s activity into the future.
By this trend in thought, we can look into the realms of nature to discover the world about us. We can also look into the human being, into his purely organic structuring to see there a microcosmic correspondence. Man can work with this microcosm, looking to the future. Man can also work with the macrocosm, his immediate environment to bring about a condition for the future.
It is futuristic activity, as I understand it, that Rudolf Steiner is trying to encourage. This is the basis for this Agriculture Course and for a new animal taxonomy. Paul W. Scharff, M.D.