Correspondence – Fifth Chamber of The Heart
(Note – Names were changed to capitals as names are not relevant to the content – Editor)
Dear M – so here is something of what I shared with C when she called me about the article and what J had to say about the fifth chamber. I will however begin with a bit of a history for you. Very early on Ehrenfried Pfeiffer spoke to me about what surrounds the heart, the fifth chamber as it were- a process of the heart on the way to an etheric-physical heart, and astral structure as well. He noted to me that this domain is a highly esoteric one, and not an easy one to enter and work in. He further spoke to this in his lectures here in the community which are published in his Heart lectures (the 1940’s I think) and some of his correspondence with others- some of which I think you can find in Thomas’s book, but I don’t remember exactly with the book.
EP (Ehrenfried Pfeiffer) wanted that a kind of schooling and cult of the heart could be spoken of and evolved, and as best I can tell, he meant this to be the activity of our work in the School and the Class – of course at that time one did not speak very openly about such matters. In this regard he spoke to me of St John, and of the fact that he was in continual contact with John. I did not ask if this soul was incarnate at the time (1950’s), because I felt that it was not my right to do so – this was and is an esoteric matter, and certain content can and will be shared only if the one who knows wishes to speak. As you know EP as a young man went to Rudolf Steiner with all kinds of questions, which Rudolf Steiner was aware of, and as a good fatherly friend spoke very directly to EP that certain questions should not be asked – l gather that at times Rudolf Steiner became even a bit angry. I have always felt that way, and tend to live with what is told to me, not that I don’t have a million of questions. There is an esoteric tact, not an exoteric tact, and if that is not observed then it is that the spiritual world will withdraw as it were. When I was at times with EP he would just begin talking and if I would ask then I could see that doors would close for him – he could see if I was listening and then he could speak otherwise he would stop speaking. As I was not yet awake at the depths that he spoke I had to just listen and work that what he said could mature. Now I can place the questions to him, as is the case when one lives with the living- dead. I take it to be the heart that listens with conscience and asks when deeper questions are involved, and a lecturer like Rudolf Steiner had this heart capacity and could address hearts as we know.
What does St John have to do with this? I have come to the view that it was St John who was the first to develop such an organ that lies beyond the usual make up of the heart. I call it the “Apocalyptic Heart”, and what I sent you on the Apocalypse was an effort to consider such a needed organ in order to deal with the future with a conscience that wakens more and more to know what is good and what is evil. I take it that this is also why Rudolf Steiner pointed to John in the last lecture, and I don’t quite understand why so many should be so puzzled that it is just John that is addressed in the end, or for the sake of an ever renewed beginning. So it is that Rudolf Steiner so often gave the meditation on the first words of the St John Gospel, but then I would say pointed to St John the initiate in the end for a true beginning for us. Thus our Johannian path. In this way I too have tried to think that I can walk at the side of John the Apocalypticist, by taking the path he gave and then was taken up by Christian Rosenkreutz and further modified by Rudolf Steiner for us of this day.
Now EP and I did come into conversation about the heart directly, not as a basis for a new cult and new inner ritual, but as a very important organ which carries secrets which some want to have kept secret. If I recall correctly, it is in the Bridge Lectures that Rudolf Steiner tells that Julian the Apostate had his life taken for pointing in the direction where great secrets of the heart lay (something like a betrayal of the mysteries may lay in the secret make up of the heart when revealed to many.) It is during this, or these conversations that EP noted to me, that he had met a black magician who had been meditating so that the life of Rudolf Steiner would have his life taken away. (This may sound funny, but EP was as matter of fact about this black magician as he was about the chair on which he was sitting.) I was, and now am, not surprised to hear of one or more praying for the extinction of Rudolf Steiner’s life, whether at the time Rudolf Steiner was on earth or later. Of course Rudolf Steiner was already in the spiritual world when EP could have spoken with this black magician – so how can this make sense? For me it makes much sense, as Rudolf Steiner is not gone, but ones connection with him can be blocked, and those in the know also are aware of how to do this. And this is what I am suspicious of right now with all the oppositions and opponents that are now arising. Some of our opponents might be just those that need to have contact with him in our present time, but cannot and then become opponents. This I entertain, but of course am not dogmatic about it – but we also have to not be naive about matters of occult and esoteric nature. A good number of our friends say that we are not doing the right thing, as if we were doing what is right, we would not have such opposition. I would say, that it is just because we are doing so much, not hiding in the world, that oppositions will arise from domains not so familiar to many, unless there is decided interest and striving in esoteric matters. Think of what Rudolf Steiner has tried to share with us in regard to secret brotherhoods, and what he had to say about the First World War in his lectures on untruth.
From what I have said so far you can then gather that I am suggesting that the heart may have to do with the relation between the living and the living dead. This the black magician may know. If one now takes up this line of consideration, one can think about the whole of western culture and go back to the time of Erech, to Eabani and Gilgamesh. It take it, that this was the beginning of the possibility of overcoming death, when the one on this side of the threshold, Gilgamesh, could be connected with a sister soul on the other side, Eabani. Here then is the secret of living with ones beloved departed and remaining true to this soul, following and caring for ones soul-mate on the other side of the threshold as with Adam and Adam Cadman. If now we ponder the heart, it is not only the future as with the Apocalypse, but the here and now that is of such consequence It is the heart that is so crucial for this to happen in the right way. The heart with its evolution is important to bridging the gap between the living and the dead. This evolution began with Eabani and Gilgamish. Now we still have to take up the past in relation to the heart, but in our living with the dead, I would suggest that we are dealing with mindfulness, the here and now. So it is that we can consider our Brother on the other side to be Rudolf Steiner and we need our heart to evolve for this to happen. From what I have said, it is then not so difficult to consider why Ita Wegman felt so close to Rudolf Steiner after he died.
If one wants to take up the heart as an instrument of conscience, then it appears to be necessary to look to the Hibernian mysteries where conscience was born before it was taken up by the Greeks. Again it is the heart, molded out of the distant past, and helping us to bring past to present and future, that is a part of this great mystery, which some souls want to have hidden. The heart of the past for the future, the heart of the present, and the heart of the future, I take is all part of the great secret of the heart in evolution and addresses the fifth chamber. If I look back on what EP tried to share and take what since I have tried to work with, it is little wonder that there are those who are opposed to such knowledge being shared in mankind.
As I noted already, I did not share the foregoing with C, but I did share with her the immense import of secrets related to the heart and that it should be all too obvious that one cannot spread such depths into the world without one developing a sense for the far reaching significance of the heart for the past, present and the future. I tried to indicate that our heart helps us to have a connection with the living-dead (Michael teaches us this and helps us), and for a connection with Christ (John helps us as he listened to the heart of Christ himself). By this means our heart can evolve for the sake of the present and the future as well, with conscience taking up the past for the future (begun in the Hibernian mysteries 3000 BC as best as I can find.) So I think worlds are involved with our hearts, and our hearts are evolving. So I indicated to C, as I did with WB and BR – I shared that I felt one must be careful of speaking naively about the future heart evolution, the physical-etheric, the etheric and the astral hearts – this will draw opposition which we need to take into our awareness so that we speak and act in a responsible fashion. I then sent the two questions which Ita Wegman asked of Rudolf Steiner at the end of his life, about the heart. M. v. Deventer gave me these two questions and answers in the late sixties, and said to C that I thought that this might be of help so that she could publish and carry a sense for the magnitude of the functions of our hearts. In order to do this I then shared with her another view of the heart and from this she wrote her little description of the fifth chamber. So now here is some of what I shared, and I fear that I am running over two pages, but I take it that you are interested.
I suggested that she imagine the heart in the flow of the blood. The feet of the heart walk on the flow of the blood. What are these feet? I take them to be the leaflets, particularly between the left atrium and ventricle. The leaflets there have sympathetic nerve fibers in them, and few know this because it is not spoken to, though this information was uncovered and published in a thoracic surgical journal a good number of years ago. The reference I cannot recall at the moment. This bit of information might give cardiac surgeons some second thoughts about valve replacements and heart transplants.
The feet are attached to the tendons, the chordae tendineae, as well as to the mitral and tricuspid rings. The tendons in turn are attached to the papillary muscles and they in turn to the myocardium. There you have the feet of he who is bathed in the flow of liquid. How can one know this? I would say, that he who has a sense for the “Washing of the Feet”, has an experience that points in that direction, and this I pointed out to M. v. Deventer in 1964 and from that time on we became good friends and could recognize one another. To C I only pointed to the feet of the heart, and not anything else, but since you asked I share this so you might think on it as you please.
Next I suggested that she consider the endocrine aspect of the heart which has been found recently with the S-A node secreting hormone substance (the A-V node may also) into the flow of the incoming blood (venous blood) Here one might think that the man of the heart gains substance needed for a kind of fluid consciousness, which becomes intense with heart cramps or heart sensations when intense inwardness in karmic relations surface. Many souls suffer heart pain when human relations become intense, love or hate. Love needs to flow into deeds and hate into recognition I would venture, but this may not happen and then a significant inner consciousness can develop. This aspect of the heart is only beginning to be researched and surfaces in an interesting way with the New England Journal of Medicine that came yesterday for the week of 3/23/00. The article is entitled “Abnormal Myocardial Phosphrous-31 Nuclear Resonance Spectroscopy in Woman with Chest Pain but Normal Coronary Angiograms”. This, of course, is quite crude, but it points in the direction that there are activities of the heart other than coronary circulation which may be pain determining. This study does in no way point to the secretory processes of the neuro-secretory organs of the heart as best as I can see, but does suggest soul experiences that are not dependent on the flow of coronary blood.
A further step can be taken when one contemplates that mineral substances are taken into the blood, of which oxygen is but an example, when the ambient air containing all kinds of substances are taken in in air form. Here one comes to the relation of the earth with breathing and the circulation which has other laws of the fluidic already predominating. The fact that the airy becomes a lifting from the watery to a next step in the states of materiality and this takes place rhythmically. This air then can be thought of as bringing about the metabolic processes in the body which then are important to the metabolic activity which goes on in the heart itself. In this way we come to the threefold little man of the heart. Our little man who lives in the rhythm of the heart begins by walking, then secreting, then breathing and then, however, has to become warm. With the breath the mineral of the outer world becomes alive in the metabolism, the crystal becomes flower like, and has to be able to able to give off a scent and has to become a part of a metabolism that has fat as its outcome as with an ethereal oil. With this I then spoke to C about the questions which Ita Wegman posed to Rudolf Steiner- the heart, the lung and circulation.
Then I pointed her to the fact that the coronary blood is cleared of 80% of the fat substances in the blood of the coronary circulation. The brain needs carbohydrate substances, and the liver proteinaceous substances. Thus we can think that these three organs are metabolically involved with a threefold metabolism, but as well a kind of chemical threefoldness which takes place in the spatial distribution of the organs. The above study points to this metabolic activity, and as well the soul aspect of pain. In considering the metabolism involved with fats, one can think on the element of warmth, and its relation to the heart, not that it is the warmth of the soul, but a definite consideration of warmth is possible. Thus one can move from the watery that is walked on. Next one can think of the watery into which substances are secreted as if what is water gains a new taste – perhaps like the taking of water that tastes like wine, as we have at the Marriage of Cana. Then the watery takes a step towards the domain of air, and with this the fire of metabolism brings about a transformation of fats, and our heart man begins to resemble a Gardener (as one can find in the Gospel of St. John). Can we not think that the garden of the heart has to be tended, so that the arterial system can be rooted in the heart, as diagramed by Leonardo Di Vinci.
And then finally another step can be made with the heart, and now the little heart man (as you know from the First Medical Course) becomes carried from warmth into the light. I have often spoken about this “light” that comes about in the heart to many. It has to do with a falling to pieces of red blood cells, and an ascending of the life, the light, that is freed as the cells fall to earth as it were, are consumed by the muscles of the heart. Part of our “heart man” gives over something to earth and part rises. How is that? When I studied physiology of the heart, I had as a teacher the old professor, Carl Wiggers, as it were the dean of cardiac physiologists in this country for years. I had him as a professor at the time of his last year of teaching. And what did he like to speak about? He liked to speak about the Thebesian circulation, the Thebesian channels. I have not checked the literature to see what is said today, but according to his investigations with anatomists, these channels connect the endocardium with the epicardium. (Think of crossing the HELESPONT AT THEBES IN OUR HISTORY AS IT FLOWED FROM EAST TOWARDS THE WEST) It appeared to him, and some anatomical studies seemed to bear this out, that the red blood cells traversing the heart musculature from epicardium to endocardium in the Thebesian channels are sensitized and then fractured releasing the content of the cells. The cells are destroyed it would appear. I had this as a question, for years, what does this destruction of cells mean. Wherever there are capillaries there is such a process taking place (particularly in the spleen – see the initiation of Parsifal), but in the heart it is singularly important. After EP’s death, I found a quote from Rudolf Steiner in a book of his on the human eye, placed there by EP. The quote noted, that because of red blood cells destroyed at the edge of the iris, at the site of the pupil, ether forces were released (I take it to be light-ether forces), and because of this sight is at all possible. Now unfortunately I have lost the quote and cannot find it. To me, if I combine the two considerations of the destruction of the red blood cells in the eye and in the heart, I can come to the conclusion that light is liberated in both cases, a light-ether, a light in which the little man of the heart can ascend – to help that the light-ether of the cosmos, which becomes warmth-ether in the breathing of the eyes (any sense), can again become light-ether within the human being (thinking- as noted in the seventh lecture of the Pastoral Course.) I am inclined to consider that this upward stream of light-ether from the heart has to do with what Rudolf Steiner has noted to be the etherization of the blood, in part. The transformation of the cosmic light-ether to warmth-ether can be considered to be the activity of Jehova-Elohim (see the cycle on Genesis) with the breathing of the senses, and the etherization of the blood in the heart I take to be the work of the Christic-Elohim (again see the cycle on Genesis) making Christ incarnation possible. With the falling away of the cellular material into the myocardium, one might think on the events of the Crucifixion itself with the Mystery of Golgotha, the falling of blood to the earth.
It is from this flow of ideas, that C wrote what she did about the finer processes of the heart which point to a future condition of the heart. She took what I spoke over with her and wrote the sentence which you can see in the box. I wrote to her, next to this box, that I thought it would take another three thousand years to really work these things out, as more could work at this evolution and a conscious effort would most likely be needed.
What I have spoken over with C and shared with you I would think refers to the etheric-physical of the heart, and further considerations are needed. The further considerations I took up in 1998 with our ANTHA meetings, where I took the lecture on the heart from the psychosophy lectures as a basis. If you are interested in this I can send it to you. In that consideration it is the INNER MOVEMENT OF CIRCULATION which I think may help to take up the astral heart. Both the etheric, and the astral-heart, I think, have to do with the fifth chamber, and with the fact that the heart is becoming just a little less alive, so that we can evolve the “HEART EYE” AND THE “HEART WORD”.
So again I have managed another long epistle- I don’t know if St. Paul would approve.
A brother in striving – Paul