Massage and the Path of the Heart – discussed in 6 parts.
CONTENTS – Clicking on a Part # will take you directly to that Part – continuous scrolling through the complete document works as on other pages!
With massage, one approaches illness with one’s hands in order to help, to heal the ill person. What is the makeup of the human being who seeks to use the hands to heal? What are the hands? When we work with our hands, what do we do? And how does this hand activity affect the ill human being? These are questions which can live with the individual doing massage, the ill person, and, in this case particularly, the physician. Because of these questions, questions carried for many years, I will make an attempt to work with these questions. Let me start with the makeup of the human being, carry this over to the use of the hands, and consider possible effects on the human being.
Part I The Makeup of the Human Being – Energy and Force Perspective
Part A – The Energy Perspective–Anthropological Man
If we start with energies and the energies in the human being, man, we then begin with what is quite mainstream and modern. There are a number of perspectives that fit into this category, so that we can speak of a number of models, a number of energy models. Each model speaks to the physical material makeup of the human being. Energies belong to the materialistically-oriented individual.
Let us call the first model the “Energy Model.” Here energies are the basis for understanding the human being and all that takes place physically, psychologically, with illness, and with therapeutics and healing. Actually the concepts of therapeutics and healing are not needed as it is nothing but energies that need manipulation in health and illness, with curing as it were.
Energy is a concept that has to do very much with the physical world. It is an energy process when a stone falls. It is energy, magnetic and electrical energies, that can be produced as a result of the falling water. It is energy when the sun shines and produces the chemism of a plant, which results in the substances the human being consumes to be nourished, to acquire energy. It is energy in the form of heat, which can melt a solid and make it liquid. More energy can transform the liquid to gas, and when the gas is heated further it becomes a plasma, or becomes a substance close to pure warmth. Energy does all this and, in addition, affects the substance, which with a more energy-oriented physics is nothing but compact atoms of energy.
This is one way to contemplate energy. The important point with this perspective is that energy becomes the concept that changes, grows, and moves the physical. The human body is a body of substance and energies, and, as noted, substance itself may be nothing but compact energy. It is held that energies are never created–they are a constant in the universe, and they are never destroyed. Energies are only transformed, and the substance as well is always conserved and only transformed. The human being, as a physical being, is nothing but substances in change and motion, directed and controlled by the nervous system. This latter system is nothing but an elaborate electrical system. The electrical system runs the body, governs the body as it were. If one acts to bring about changes through movement, it is the electrical energy of the nervous system that initiates the electrical impulse in the nerves. The nerves in turn fire impulses to release energies stored in the muscles as potential energy. Light, electrical, and chemical changes can affect the senses and initiate a complex circuitry which then sets free the engine of muscle energy so that motion results. It is the electrical-chemical processes of the nervous system that are actually the soul of the human being– so says the energist of a materialistic bent.
With this model, the electrical fields and magnetic fields present in the body can be recorded and measured. Electroencephalograms can record the electrical fields around the brain. The electrocardiogram can record the fields around the heart. Electromyograms can record electrical potentials of the limb musculature, or any musculature for that matter. Stimulation of peripheral nerves can produce electrical field changes, and by this means neural-excitation potentials can be recorded. This type of neural activity then is seen to be the basis for initiating muscular movements. Movements of the body, thought to be brought about by the beating heart, the energy of the heart, can be recorded with ballistocardiograms. Here the heart energy can move the entire body and this movement can be recorded. It can be postulated that these electrical, chemical, and mechanical processes are actually the soul, that they in themselves constitute soul experiences. In a way one can say that this is an electrician’s and mechanical engineer’s model.
A second model can be called the “Metabolic Model.” This model is created by the biologist and the chemist, the clinical chemist in the case of the human being. All is seen in terms of chemistry, with the chemical changes in nature and the human being assumed to be the same. It is the chemistry and the energy changes seen in terms of electrical potentials and caloric energies that drive nature and the human chemical machine. There is nothing that is not chemistry from this perspective, and the physical, the physiological, is underpinned by the chemistry of substances. Chemical transformations, the wondrous and endless transformation of 110 potential substances, keep the world and man alive, in motion, and at the same time, where there is a nervous system, there one can find the soul. With such a view there is actually no soul, but a refined chemistry of the brain and nervous system. Today, with neurochemistry, a marvelous and complex process, the soul can be seen as that which lives in the plethora of substance transformations, secretions, and chemical interactions. As systemic chemism is addressed by the nutritionists, the neurochemist becomes the avant-garde psychologist.
A third model may be labeled the “Cellular Model.” This model packages the energies and the metabolic processes into differently shaped physical cells. It is the cell that is fundamental, making up the tissues, the organs, and the special senses of the human being. In fact, all that is alive and soul-like is in fact cellular activity. The cell is the package of energies and metabolic changes that constitutes life and that, when made into complex cellular systems, produces biological changes that are the soul of a cellular system. The nonliving in nature and in the human being is a turnover of the minerals that are taken along in the body. These minerals are tossed about as the substances that are cohesively packaged in cells. What free moving substances cannot accomplish the cell can manage. It is the juxtaposition of cells which is the basis of life and soul. Neural cells and tissues form the basis for the complex electrical system that runs the body. The metabolism of cells fuels the energy system of the body. Cellular “packaged” energy, minerals, and complex molecules of substance are the basis for all the exists in this universe. There is not need to speak of life, of soul, and spirit is but the figment of a fraudulent-acting nervous system-mind.
The substances are brought together within cells to form a wonderful information system. This physical information system governs the life of cells, their function, and their position. This wonderful information system is the genetic configuration of atoms and molecules. This system is the rage of the day. The hope is that by decoding the whole of the human genetic makeup, one will be able to master life and then ultimately control the reproduction of the human being, his life and his soul. An ideal is the modern homunculus, which was the dream of the medieval alchemist. It is the genetic makeup which then becomes the ultimate governing system in the life of the human being, directing the nervous system that is actually the soul of the body.
This cellular model is bulldozing its way through mankind at the moment, and for some thoughtful individuals it remains so unrelated to the human soul and spirit that it seems almost ridiculous. The idea that molecular configurations within all cells, a double-coiled helix, as the genetic makeup is now seen, physically seen, appears to be a rather preposterous idea for some in our day. However, the genetic idea, along with the cellular model, seeps into the soul of the most ardent soul-spiritually directed individual. Currently this model is so compelling that millions of dollars, billions of dollars are being spent by nearly every western nation. Few human beings stop to question this model, as this is considered to be the only model which makes one a modern thinking individual. To challenge this model is to stand in the middle of a mighty raging stream, hoping that one will not be drowned by the waters.
A final and fourth model I would like to point to can be called the “Soul Energy Model.” Here there are those who take the gravitational, the magnetic, the electrical, and the informational energies and systems to be the soul. Specific physical energies are held to be the soul. Added to this can be the chemical and the caloric energies, which make the model more living, more living soul-like.
There are then those with a little more mystical makeup who venture that there are soul energies, but do not define these energies as differing from the physical and chemical energies. These individuals may consider that the refined working of the already-noted energies, the subtle working of these energies, actually brings about what we call human consciousness. Consciousness is noted as soul in nature, but the basis for this consciousness is held to be subtle energies, such as subtle gravitational fields, subtle electrical fields, as with plants, animals, and in particular human beings.
All four of these models are constructed with the view that it is the cellular, the material, and energies that are crucial for bodily working, which in fact is the only working. Soul and spiritual life are a figment of the imagination; so it can be held by the energists. It should be noted that all the time the concept of energy is at hand, and it is just the energy concept that is crucial for the modern physicist and for the modern materialist. Energy perspectives are nothing but refined views, important, and essential to the makeup of the human being. I would venture that all four models are important and are a necessity for comprehending the human being as a being who lives on earth with a body along with all other existences that have a body. These four models, I would further consider, make the human being into an existence where just the energies testify that the human being has a Double. Here I do not want to develop the idea of the double, but will surface a perspective on the double as this essay progresses. For the individual who works with his hands, touching, pressing, and suctioning with the hands, knowledge of the double and a possible makeup of the double of the physical body is essential. From my perspective, the double is the configured energies and is the reality on which the energist builds his castle .
Part B – The Force Perspective–Anthroposophical Man
For the purpose of this essay, and perhaps to surface a polarity with the energy perspective, let me try to present the thought that man is not only an energy-systemed being. Man is also a force-systemed being. How can one think this as a polarity? If I can succeed with this force system perspective, the energy perspective should be able to find a place and existence, but not be the only view that is held in regard to the man’ s (man’s and woman’s) makeup.
A way to think of the force system is to place the force system in the periphery of our cosmos. On the other hand, the energy system can be located within the earth. Earth-centric and cosmo-peripheral can give a spatial defining perspective to the two differing systems. Rudolf Steiner has spoken of telluric forces and cosmic forces to distinguish between what is at work in and with the earth and what is at work from the distant periphery. The earthbound energies pull to the earth. These earthly bound energy systems stand in polarity with the peripheral forces. The earthly energies tend to pull, and give the possibility of objects and processes giving resistance to pressure. Without energies, all that exists on earth would offer no resistance all, would be penetrable and transparent. The cosmic forces in contrast suck, bring about the phenomena of suction and lightening. When a body grows lighter, then we can think of cosmo-peripheral forces at work taking up the energies that make an object heavy. Pull and suction, weight and lightness, these can be thought of as phenomenal manifestations of earthly energies and cosmic forces. Of course it is possible to speak of earthly forces, but here with this essay a polarity is postulated, to try to bring a degree of clarity but as well to open the door to a distinction between two systems in a phenomenological way.
With the potential to speak of forces as distinct from energies, a step towards another view of the human being is made possible. This potential to see the human being in the light of forces and not only energies, physical energies, this was a fundamental effort by Rudolf Steiner. One can find this polarity in the opening pages of Rudolf Steiner’s first medical course, Spiritual Science and Medicine. In the book that Rudolf Steiner penned with Ita Wegman, Fundamentals of Therapy, a very pure form of thinking is brought to bear on this subject of the terrestrial and the non-terrestrial force systems of existence. The distinction between energy and force is not made by Rudolf Steiner in such a marked way as I am attempting, and this is also understandable from Rudolf Steiner’s perspective. It is for the sake of this essay that I make this distinction and hope it will be helpful– without trying to create a dogma or a rigid nonliving system. My sense is that for rhythmic massage, this distinction between energy and force may be quite important. Thus this effort.
Part IIThe Makeup of the Human Being–The Twelve Senses
As already noted, Rudolf Steiner indicated in many, many ways that the human being is a physical being, but this physical that serves the soul and the spirit is very different than is generally thought to be the case. If care and time is taken, it can be discovered that Rudolf Steiner took great pains to try to lead those interested in his research–physical research as well as spiritual scientific research, to try to help the searching student to find and discover what is physical and what is ego. Rudolf Steiner never tired of saying that we human beings have to discover the real nature of the physical, and the second great search is to find the essence of the ego and our own ego.
Given the duality of physical and ego, he then approached the human being and noted that the physical for the ego, for the spirit, is actually the twelve senses. From this point of view, the usual physical as given by the science of our day does not hold. The senses as given by Rudolf Steiner are much greater in number than science has to tell today and are much more complex than appreciated in our day. The twelve senses given by Rudolf Steiner serve not only the body, but the soul and the spirit as well. In his introduction to an anthroposophical view of the human being in 1909 (in the book Wisdom of Man) he made note that it would be necessary to speak of these twelve senses in order to deal with a sopheic perspective. The anthropological he did not deny. He, however, added the anthroposophical. With this new view, he brought forth the possibility of twelve senses, and by this means made the step from the anthropological with its energies, to the anthroposophical with its forces.
The usual five to six senses espoused by the science of our day has much to do with the energies as noted above, and leaves little room for the domain of forces to surface. Rudolf Steiner does not deny or overlook the usual senses. He rather points to six or seven others and, in the process, adds much to what modern science has to say about the usual physical senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, and at times proprioception).
That the human being has twelve senses, this is revolutionary and is an outcome of many years of research by Rudolf Steiner. Those who have tried to follow up with further research in this area of the human makeup, and there have been many, have found that Rudolf Steiner at first spoke of ten senses, and then a few years later spoke about twelve, with three higher senses beyond the twelve. It is a multiyear project to live with such a new approach, and it takes much deliberation to come to appreciate what such an expanded perspective can bring. What is now to be shared, then, has to be seen as a first few steps on a long path–even after a quarter of a century of contemplation and considerable effort at some original research on the subject.
To begin with, it is important from my perspective to again distinguish the body as seen from the side of energies from the body as noted to be the possession of the human individuality. This body penetrated by the individual is peripherally perfused, that is, peripheral forces penetrate the body that belongs to the individual soul-spirit. The one body, the body of energies, belongs to the earth. The other body, the force-permeated body, belongs more to the cosmos, the periphery of our cosmos. The energy body belongs to the earth and to the material world, while the body of twelve senses belongs to the material earthly world but as well to the cosmos. The peripheral forces are all- important for the senses, for the body that is composed of the senses.
The physical body as seen by science today, and penetrated through and through by the substances of the material world as thought of by modern science, is not the body of the twelve senses. The energy-penetrated and material-dependent body is a Double, is a dense body, an impenetrable body, a body that gives resistance to touch and pressure. The body of the twelve senses is penetrable by the human soul and spirit. As the sense body is penetrable, it can therefore qualify as the “sense body.” The senses are the doors and windows for a relation with the outer world, and even the world of the body itself. The soul and spirit uses the senses, the doors and windows, as it were. If a body, if the physical body, is not transparent for the soul and spirit, by definition it cannot qualify as a “sense body” as I am using the concept of body here.
It can be said that what identifies a sense is that it has a relation with light and sound, has a potential for something of light and sound of the world around to be apprehended. If this perspective is taken, then the eye and ear can serve as an archetype for all senses.
The body of energies serves as a Double for the sense body, throwing a polar perspective on the sense body. The double can be thought of as dense, impenetrable, dark, and silent. This double is not to be used by the soul and spirit except to make matter, and the material double body is the basis for the experience of darkness and silence. The body as a double for the soul and spirit is something that is carried as a weight or as something dark and unknown. If it were penetrable, light and sound passing permitted, then the body would suddenly become a sense organ. If light and sound are used to identify a sense, then the light and sound in the outer world can serve as an indication of a sense, a sense organ, a bodily sense organ. On the other hand, there is also inner light and inner sound. (The considerations in relation to sound will surface later.) With our deliberation here, I will only follow up the inner light for now.
When outer light is met via the sense organ of sight, then an inner light phenomenon takes place, the forming of an inner light image in relation to the outer light. This is a quite different light, but is a light which comes about by dint of the light of the outer world finding an entrance via the eye to an inner world, as it were. Outer light experience, experienced because of reflection from objects, can be differentiated from the light of an inner image. This inner image light comes from another world, which is not to be identified immediately and not without a spiritual quest.
There is yet a third light which can be identified as a light related to the light of a sense and the light of image. A third light surfaces slowly and can be identified as the light of consciousness. This light comes about only with effort, the effort to become conscious in the face of the other two lights. An activity, usually thinking activity, is needed in order that the light of consciousness can dawn for the soul, the spirit.
Thus one might identify light in a threefold way, all related to the sense of sight. Outer reflected light, image light, and the light of consciousness can step to the fore with an effort to follow up sense experience related to the eye, the sense of sight. I would be inclined to speak of the outer light as related to the body, image light to the soul, and consciousness light to the spirit. At each step a sense is needed, and can be thought to exist in relation to the physical sense of the eye. A soul and spirit eye can be posited, eyes which are related to the physical body but quite different. The soul and spirit eyes can be thought to be related to senses more subtle than the physical senses, and they in turn suggest the possibility of senses that have not been taken into consideration by science so far. This points in the direction in which Rudolf Steiner strove.
When one speaks of the eye where light can be experienced as an archetypal experience for a sense, then it is possible to consider a whole array of senses. All senses, no matter what the sense experience may be, need to yield a light experience, be it body, soul, or spirit. If this is the line of reasoning, then the density, darkness, silence, and weightiness can be used to identify the body that is a double for the soul and spirit. For the sake of this essay, I would say that it is the sense body that is of the greatest import for the one doing massage therapy. The therapist needs to learn to walk in light, as it were, walk with the arms and hands. Light is so fundamental to our soul and spiritual makeup, that every sense organ has to find a relation with these lights, such as the sense of light touch with the fingers.
The world of sound is also part of the world of the senses and is not only belonging to the sense organ of the ear. Light has a more outward quality, while sound is more inward, reveals something that is more inward. The soul domain in a way belongs very much to the inwardness of sound. Sound in consciousness permits us to turn inward, while light directs us outward, be it in the bodily, soul, or spiritual domains. Thus it is that eyeness and earness is so fundamental to our entire makeup in senseology. And so it would be possible to speak to all the senses as having eye and ear qualities, and it is for we humans today these qualities that make organs into sense organs. It need not be assumed that the present constituted senses have always had these two aspects as major qualities. An example of a kind of eyelessness and soundlessness may be attributed to the proprioceptive sense or the sense of movement. It may well be that in the past this sense of movement, or proproception, was more sound-filled and more light-filled and therefore was used for religious purposes as with “temple dance.” The reason that psychologists today do not call the sense of movement a sense may well be just because this sense no longer has the light and sound qualities that were present in the past.
Before taking up the eye, as an example and an archetype, let me list the twelve senses and give a bit of a potential historical perspective. The twelve senses as researched and presented to the public by Rudolf Steiner are:
- The sense of ego
- The sense of idea
- The sense of word
- The sense of hearing
- The sense of sight
- The sense of warmth
- The sense of smell
- The sense of taste
- The sense of space or equilibrium
- The sense of movement
- The sense of life
- The sense of touch
The three higher senses, arrived at by spiritual unfolding, by dint of spiritual exercises, are:
Each sense relates us to a segment of the world, to the earth, the atmosphere, and the cosmos, as well as to the kingdoms, including the human kingdom, the kingdom of the elementary domain, and the world of spiritual hierarchical beings.
Note should be made that the senses have sense organs, but the sense organs for many of the senses are not readily seen and are even more difficult to find. I have searched for years to find the sense organs which belong to the senses as noted by Rudolf Steiner. A following list can be considered tentatively to be the sense organs of the senses. The following then is a tentative list of the senses and the organs which I have arrived at after a good number of years. This list should not become a matter of dogmatic assertion, but a stimulus for further investigation.
- Ego sense—-blood and heart organs
- Idea sense—– brain with lightening (lifting) fluid
- Word sense—–larynx and breathing system
- Hearing sense—-ear and brain-neural radiations in fluid
- Sight sense—-eye and brain-neural radiations in fluid
- Warmth sense—-whole body
- Smell sense—-nose and brain-neural radiations in fluid.
- Taste sense—-tongue, whole bowel and brain-neural radiations
- Space sense—-semi-circular canal and brain-neural radiations
- Movement sense—-muscles and cerebellum
- Life sense—-liver and all inner organs
- Touch sense—-skin and all neural radiations
The senseology of anthroposophy is that which makes the body, the physical body, penetrable and transparent for the soul and spirit. This permits the world to be apprehended by sense experience and, at the same time, lays a basis for comprehension by use of the soul and spirit. As noted, this outer world is the world of our earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, the cosmos and celestial sphere, and the kingdoms, including the human, the elementary kingdoms, and the hierarchies. The individual has to stand in the midst of this world, this extensive existence, and still find that he or she can be in this world as an individual. So the twelve senses presuppose a potential relation with such a vast world and, at the same time, an individual who can have a relation to this world via the senses. In the case of a sense relation with the elemental and the hierarchical domains, the higher senses noted earlier are needed in addition to the twelve.
A view that I have come to is that it took a Rudolf Steiner to develop the senses of word, idea, and ego before they could be identified as such. The lower four senses, that of touch, life, movement, and space are, as it were, given by being an existence here on earth. These lower four senses are the physical senses. They have to do with the outer light of the physical world. With the next four senses, that of taste, smell, warmth, and sight, it is now a soul dimension that can be addressed. Sense experience with these senses is identifiable and resembles more the light of inner image.
The lower senses are identified by the physicist, who comes to speak of mass (touch), extension (space), and inertia (movement). If one takes such a view, then one can say that the physicist gains his knowledge of the physical through the three lower senses, but identifies what takes place in the physical world by what he meets it with: the eyes, limbs, and upper senses in general. The physicist does not see mass, extension, and movement; they are grasped, as it were, mystically, from the light within, from the light of the senses of space, movement, and touch. However, the physicist gazes outward to find an expression of what he meets inwardly. The physicist uses his upper senses to identify in the world what he has gained via senses he is totally unaware of. The physicist looks out into the world to identify objects with mass, inertia, and extension. It is only when the sense of life is identified by the scientist, that the physical scientist, the physicist, becomes a “Life Scientist.”
The individual who has so much to do with the second four senses is usually an artist. Light, color, sound, taste,and smell are important for the artist. The individual who seeks the depths of existence I would say lives much more in the upper four senses, with sound, word, idea, and ego. Such a person is usually seen as one who is more religiously oriented. So the physicist is more related to the lower senses, the artist to the middle senses, and the religiously striving individual to the upper senses.
The physicist is sufficiently outward that the light of image is difficult for him to identify. The artist usually can identify the light of image. The usual light of the outwardly directed eye helps the physicist identify the mass of an object, the extension, and what it takes to overcome the inertia of a body. When these three aspects of the physical world are identified by dint of the sense makeup of the human organism, then they can be noted to arise from the lower senses as just states. The eye that lives with outer light initiates the possibility that an entity can be identified as an outer object, but it takes the sense of space to identify extension, the sense of touch to identify mass, and the sense of movement to identify inertia. The artist of course lives with the senses but very much as noted, with the image light that arises out of the senses. Now to the upper senses.
To identify Word and its perception as a domain of sense experience is no easy affair. It is more easy to speak of sound. The step from sound to word, this is a huge step that is not readily appreciated. It was someone like the initiate John the Apocalypticist who could begin his considerations by saying, “In the beginning was the Word.” Notable is that the Word as identified by John is the Word, the Creative Word, which has brought about creation and the evolution that followed. The evolution as given by St. John is that the Word was in the beginning, the Word became Life, the Life become Light, and the Light shone in the Darkness. I might venture that the darkness is the body in which the double is predominant so that the individual ego can experience the darkness of the double. Therefore St. John said and says, “And the Darkness comprehendeth it not.” My view would be that the ego can identify the darkness as the physical that has become penetrated, permeated by those forces that make the physical impenetrable, weighty, immobile, and massive. Dead and inanimate matter is dark, dumb and still, silent. The human person, the individual who lives in extension, mass, and inertia is he who lives in darkness and as well becomes silent and dumb.
Rudolf Steiner spoke much and wrote much to help a new word sense develop among those who would listen and not only hear what he said, but gradually come to the more inward aspect of the word. He worked intensely with Marie Steiner to bring about a new direction in speaking so that the ordinary word could gain new life and become a “living” word. For the therapist this means that a sense for the speech of the ill person needs to be developed. A sense for the Word, that is not only the outer sounding word, but as well a kind of inner sounding, has to be apprehended. To appreciate this kind of word, it was necessary for Rudolf Steiner to help train someone who could so speak that an outer word was spoken and at the same time an inwardness could be heard. These are subtle matters to be certain. With the ill person, the word often has a peculiar-sounding quality, and this can be exceedingly important.
The sense of the word and the sense of life are closely related even if the above listing gives the sense of word and the sense of life as quite far apart in print. When listening to a patient, a kind of inner word sounding can be important in order to gain a sense for the “life” that is present in the ill person. Does an inner sounding and inner word experience dawn in listening to the “patient”? (I do not use the word client purposely, as this is done to identify the ill person as an economic factor in social life.) My impression is that this sense for the Word helps gain an impression for the life-processes. These life-processes we will take up shortly.
Let us move from the word-sense to the idea-sense. This sense can be cultivated well by reading and studying what Rudolf Steiner and other thinkers have to say. As the word-sense has to evolve, be born and grow, so does the idea- or thought-sense. Most of the senses are given, but my impression is that the upper four senses demand effort on our part to be awakened and then unfold. To meet a thinker or anyone, for that matter, as a thinking individual with ideas, asks that the sensitive individual can identify the idea which is articulated, or the idea which arises out of reading print. To meet idea as a sense experience requires a sense organ, and this sense organ is the idea-sense. All of anthroposophy is cast in words that can open the door to ideas, but the early works of Rudolf Steiner, his epistemological texts, are fundamental for an apprehending of ideas via the idea-sense. These works are The Theory of Knowledge, the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Truth and Science, and the Riddles of Philosophy. These books are training grounds to unfold the sense of idea as a part of coming to meet ideas and experience freedom in the process. The books noted are structured for the consciousness of the thoughtful, questioning individual.
For the therapist it is also important to meet the patient on the level of idea if at all possible. The ill person can experience this in the therapist as an openness if the patient lives in any way in ideas. Many therapists have no idea that a patient might have a foot in the idea world. This is most likely why so many “conventional therapists” fail to meet the more searching and the more spiritually-inclined individual.
The sense for the idea is very important as a step to the individuality, the ego, to the being who comes with an illness and needs help. It is the individuality that needs to be perceived, sensed, so that the creativity of the individual can be brought forth with healing. To apprehend an ego asks for an ego-sense. For those doing massage this is crucial, first because of the morality of the situation, and secondly as this guides those using their hands to sense much more deeply than can ordinarily be gained by the use of the hand. The entire makeup of an organism is an expression of an individuality, and this needs perception by the therapist in order for the ill person to be able through massage to find his or her way to another identity than that of the body.
These three senses I would say have been meticulously cultivated by Rudolf Steiner. Until the arrival of Rudolf Steiner on the horizon of world culture, these three senses existed only as potential for a select few. Rudolf Steiner wanted that the depth of human makeup come to be sensed by the three senses, that of word, idea, and ego. Now, because of Rudolf Steiner’s work, these senses have come to expression in a very real way, which helps that the other senses, particularly the lower senses, come to have a context. The fine distinctions that are made in senseology are striking if one takes the time to work at the indications of the senses given by this giant in cultural evolution–that is, Rudolf Steiner.
When it comes to massage directly, to the use of the hands, the therapist of course comes to live with the sense of touch, life, movement, and space. Touch and pressure are important for the person doing massage, as I have the impression that the pressure tends to reach to the sense of life, movement, and space. For the patient, the sense experiences and the senses involved with massage are different from those of the one doing massage. Usually the patient sits or lies, while the therapist stands–but can sit at times as well. When the patient sits, the points of pressure for the patient are the back, the buttocks, and the feet to some degree (less than when standing). With sitting, the patient, through sitting, comes into a totally different relation with existence just because of the differences in pressure compared with standing. With standing, the pressure is on the feet, pressure given by the earth or the solid, which can be an extension of this earth. When the patient lies down, then the back of the head, the shoulders, the back, the buttocks, and the back of the heels become the pressure points. This again is a very different relation to the world through pressure than when sitting or standing.
For the standing therapist the pressure points are in the feet and can be in the hands if pressure is brought to bear in rhythmic massage. With pressure being localized in the feet of the standing therapist, the use of the hands to bring pressure, even if light pressure, is far more identifiable than when seated or lying. Pressure for the masseuse or masseur can become very significant. Pressure may become very important just because the goal of rhythmic massage is not to bring pressure, but to evolve another sense in relation to the body. Pressure brings the soul in relation to density, darkness, silence, and weightiness. The point is to make the body transparent for the soul for the ill person. Pressure does not necessarily help with this transparency. To this end, pressure then has to be employed very carefully.
Touch of course is important, but here again, touch has to be light so that a kind of lightness is experienced by the patient, and the fingers of the moving hand should be and appear as light filled. With pressure, space can appear as filled with darkness. This darkness needs transformation because illness itself is so often filled with darkness. The ill person suffers this darkness. Thus, transformed pressure, light touch, and gradually suction come to have an import for the therapist and for the patient. A sense for life is needed by the therapist in order that the life-processes can speak to the ill person. Touch on the way to suction may well aid this bringing of light and sense for life. Light leads to life for the patient.
Warmth and softness of hands, as well as gentleness, are demands placed on the therapist who has to transform the darkness of illness and pressure to sense experience in which light and life can become evident, even if not identified by the patient.
The movement-sense has to be awakened so that the soul of the ill can begin to sense a degree of freedom. The ill person often feels locked into the double makeup of the body, and with the sense of movement a degree of freedom can come to the imprisoned patient. Space-sense, equilibrium-sense is alive as the therapist works standing or sitting in space, able to move the arms for the sake of massage movements. The ill person, through massage, can begin to have another sense for the space in which he lives, by coming into contact with the movement of the hands. In a way the sense of space, which can be arrived at through movement, a sensing of movement, can help with a vague impression of freedom, freedom from illness, the darkness of illness, and the lack of life with illness. In this freedom trend a reflex sense of individuality might come about.
The lifting of the self centered-point-body-consciousness, into space, helps another identity to step forth for the ill person. A new identity of a being balanced in space, light-filled, life-supported, this might arrive for a passing moment which might mean an eternity for the ill person. Herein lies the basis for a new identity. Many an ill person is dizzy with their own symptoms. Sensing an equilibrium of soul in space inaugurated by movement, this might be extremely meaningful for the self-directed symptoms of illness, fatigue, fear, and the like. With such a perspective, the depth of soul which can appear with the use of a moving hand can seem inspiring.
The other senses can be addressed by the therapeutician–for example, with the coloring of the therapeutic spaces, with art and the like. Quietude, warmth, lighting, are all important. The smell of the therapeutician and the use of oils with smells can all be important for the sick person. In the end a few moments of sleep can bring a sense of renewal and life that is quite unusual for the weary or fatigued soul burdened by illness.
What addresses the lower senses as massage progresses? My present perspective is that it is the pressure, the pressing against the skin of the patient that as noted above speaks to the lower senses. Pressure as already indicated needs to become progressively delicate to arrive at suction. The use of the thenar eminence of the hands can come to be minimized with time, and in the process, the delicate pain of pressure can become a delicate sense of life for the patient. The sense of touch can become much more a sense for sight, for gaining light for the patient. It is the finger tips that are vital here. And with the palm of the hand, the capacity to bring about suction helps address the senses where breathing is so important, as with sight, warmth, smell, and taste.
However, as a generalization I would suggest that the focus for involvement with the senses be the transformation of pressure. Lightness needs to be cultivated as pressure is transformed in the course of massage, so that a delicate sense for breathing, the sense of breathing and the life-process of breathing can take place. The still body, the silent body, the dumb body, and the massive body might come to be experienced in a new way–with inner movement, music, aliveness, and lightness. These might all be new sense experiences for the patient, with pressure transformed to suction, suction with breathing in rhythm.
The four lower senses–touch, life, movement, and space–can be said to exist in sleep consciousness for the patient. The question is to waken them slightly. The middle four senses–taste, smell, warmth, and sight–exist in dream consciousness. With these senses it would appear that a harmonization is important with an awakening. And the last four higher senses–sound, word, idea, and ego–they, although potentially existent in wake consciousness, need awakening for the sake of the human individual who has the destiny to carry illness. In the case of these latter four senses, it is also up to the therapist to cultivate these senses or else the patient has little chance of awakening. A real awakening means that one can go into sleep just a little more conscious than is usual in daily life. This same process is possible for he who becomes a meditator on a spiritual path. The massage being considered here–that is, a rhythmical massage, is a part of such a path.
Contemplation of the twelve senses, then, can introduce the therapist to a “force” dimension of the human makeup. Again, the senses are doors to the outer and inner world of the human being, and become doors just because the senses belong to the world of peripheral, cosmo-suctional forces as well as the body, which has a relation with earthly forces as well. The earth-centered forces, the subearthly and the subnature forces, also are active in the body as energies. It is the work of the subnature, the subearthly forces, energies, to make a “double” nature of the human being and by this route lead the human being into the “darkness,” as it were.
Part III The Makeup of the Human Being–The Double Nature of Man
As already noted, the human being has a double makeup. This subject is very difficult and fraught with many misunderstandings. For the most part, the “Double” is seen as a soul makeup. From my perspective there are a number of doubles which make up The Double. Further, if the double is being considered, I would venture that the Guardian should be a part of the discussion, as the double exists vis à vis the Guardian, or the two Guardians, as it were. As the Guardian theme is also very extensive and complex, it will not be taken up in this essay, but pointed to for the individual who takes a spiritual path in relation to the massage that has been developed with an anthroposophical background.
Now let me approach the subject of the Double from a historical point of view, and see if I can help make the occult and hazy a little more accessible without doing injustice to such a profound affair. From my perspective it is extremely important to deal with this subject, otherwise the massage has to be seen as rubbing a body which is but a chunk of substance in nature.
From Rudolf Steiner’s investigations, the world did not start out with a “big bang,” nor a “cosmic nebula of chemical substances.” Rather the world began as physical potential, within the bosom and makeup of spiritual beings. Mighty, mighty spiritual beings, called Spirits of Will or Thrones by anthroposophical spiritual science, made a sacrifice of their own substance (astral substance). It is these Beings, the Thrones, whose lowest body or vehicle was and is an ether body. This ether or life body can be thought of as a maternal womb for the birth of this world, our world. The ether might be called maternal womb-ether. These Beings sacrificed some of their astral makeup, their soul-physical makeup. This sacrificial substance gradually has become our physical matter. At this first stage of our world evolution, we can speak of this astral-physical substance as mother substance (materia primus) of the world. Spirituality was, is, the beginning, not the substance or substances which are given over for the sake of evolution. Spiritual beings are the beginning, and their activity constitutes a creative act, such as takes place when the human being speaks out of his heart, his soul, and his spirit. Such a spoken word is creative, and the Word spoken by these spiritual beings was, is creative, world creative.
The substance, the matter sacrificed in the beginning, goes through four definite cosmic steps to become the physical matter of our earth. It takes four evolutionary steps, that of Saturn, Sun, Moon, and Earth, for substance to arrive at a condition where it can begin the differentiation that we know today with the many elements. The four steps that evolved our present day matter went through an evolution with the four reincarnations of our Earth. The four steps in the evolution of matter are for inanimate material to become living material. The living material then next became sensitive material, material capable of being penetrated by soulness. The final step in the evolution of matter is spirit-penetrated matter. The states of matter that accompanied this evolution are the state or condition of warmth, of air, of wateriness, and finally of solidity. These four states are called “states of matter.”
The manifold differentiations that took place so that today we can have over a hundred chemical substances took place quite late in evolution of the world. The manifold distinctions, chemical differentiations of substance, took place between Hyperborea and Atlantis if spiritual scientific terminology is used. Matter is differentiated out of primary matter, which was noted above. Primary matter, materia primus, is totipotential. In our current education, the distinction between state of matter and matter itself is not so clearly made. This distinction with the states of matter is important, as the states open the door to the working of forces which bring about the states. These forces are the forces of the periphery, as it were. Thus material-chemical nature of substance is distinct from the state of matter.
With the gradual evolution of matter, substance changes during evolution, other significant changes took place as well. The revolutionary changes important for us in this essay are four in number. The changes have to do with what can be called four “Falls.” The four falls are 1) the fall of the angels, 2) the fall of life, 3) the fall of matter, and 4) the fall of the human being. It is as a result of these four falls that the human Double came about as presented by Rudolf Steiner out of his spiritual scientific investigations.
To grasp the Falls more completely, let me again review world creation and evolution. With the second step in world evolution, with Sun Evolution, another element or principle was added to evolution. Life was added to matter during this evolutionary stage. This life or etheric was given over by the Spirits of Wisdom, the Kyriotetes. Their basic makeup is that of the ether substance-light-ether substance. The Thrones did not give their etheric to evolution, a warmth-ether; they gave of their astrality. With the Sun Evolution, the Kyriotetes gave of their ether- or life-body, which was, is, a body of light. They gave light-ether to evolution.
Interestingly the next two steps in the evolution of the etheric, the light-ether given by the Kyriotetes, takes place between evolutionary periods of the earth. It is during the sleep periods of evolution called Pralaya by eastern occultism that the etheric was evolved from light-ether to tone- or number-ether, and then from tone-ether to life- or word-ether. In the time of cosmic sleep, from Sun to Moon Evolution, light-ether was evolved by spiritual beings to tone-ether. It was then during the time of world sleep between Moon and Earth Evolutions that tone was transformed to life-ether. It took and takes very lofty spiritual beings who in themselves had to evolve the etheric. The evolution of the etheric is of the highest order for the spiritual beings who serve or have served this task.
Now the first Fall took place during Moon evolution, when spiritual beings began to go their own way led by a spiritual being or spiritual beings known as Lucifer. These Luciferic beings rushed ahead. These same beings during Earth evolution gave rise to what has been called the “War in Heaven.” As a result of this “War,” angels of all ranks could fall, fall from the normal course of unfolding. This was the first Fall, the Fall of the Angels.
The second Fall took place during Earth Evolution itself, not during a period of cosmic sleep. During Earth Evolution, light-ether was densified to warmth-ether. This densification took place at the hand of a mighty spiritual being and his followers. The mighty spiritual being was an Elohim who advanced by this deed and became known later as Jehova-Elohim. This Densification of Light-Ether to Warmth-Ether appears to be highly significant, but has not caught the eye of many students of this spiritual science. This densification of light-ether became the basis for the Fall of Life as best as I can find. Jehova had the capacity to densify light-ether to warmth-ether. (The lecture cycle, Genesis, by Rudolf Steiner, is very much concerned with this Elohim process.) It was then, during the time of Lemuria, the carbonaceous period with the huge plants and animals, that warmth-ether along with other ethers were given over by Lucifer to Lucifer’s brother, Ahriman. Ahriman took hold of these ether forces to bring about a Fall of the etheric. The result was that the life-ether became gravity, the tone-ether became magnetism, the light-ether became electricity and the warmth-ether became physical (chemical and genetic) information matter as time went on. As noted, this fall can be called the Fall of Life.
During the time of Lemuria the fallen ethers were then impregnated into substance. The impregnation of substance with the fallen ethers brought about the third fall, Fall of Matter. Before this time, and this can be found in much of Rudolf Steiner’s research, substance was far more living. Later I will take up matter that is far more living when speaking of “nature-related metabolism” in the human organism. It is the more living matter that may be the most sensitive to rhythmic massage.
At the end of Lemuria, and into the time of Atlantis, the time of the Ice age, a human being incarnated for the first time on earth. For the most part, until that time the human being lived within the bosom of the angel world, more in the cosmos–but did touch into earthly relationship to a certain degree. With the fall of substance, this touching into earthly substance ceased. The cosmic existence of the human being gave rise to the term “Cosmic Adam” or “Adam Cadman.”
With the first birth of a human being on earth–that is, Adam, there came about the Fall of Man. This is because the first human being clothed himself in fallen matter, told in imaginative form in the Old Testament as the eating of the apple from the tree of knowledge. With the eating of the apple, taking in of earthly substance, Adam along with Eve was driven out of Paradise, out of a cosmic existence. They ate of fallen substance, the apple. That is why the apple is called malus or matter.
These Falls are essential to comprehend the Double. With the first fall, something of the soul fell. With the second fall, life fell. And with the third fall, matter fell, and finally the human being himself. Thus body, life, soul, and spirit all have doubles. This double makeup of the human being was also given over to the earth, so that the bodily double exists most strongly in the West, the life double more in Western Europe, the soul double more in Eastern Europe, and the spirit double more in the East. In this way there is a double makeup to our earth and to the human being as well.
The double nature of earth and the human being appears to have unfolded slowly, so that a complete double did not take place until the years between 6000 and 3000 BC, if I have been able to piece the whole together correctly. (It has not been such an easy task to gather this together, and this view should by all means be taken as a working thesis.) Rudolf Steiner reveals from his investigations that the human geographic double of the West was completed by a lofty spiritual being of the rank of Jehova. This creation took place in the Mexican Mysteries, at the time of human sacrifice in the name of mystery-center-based religion.
Rudolf Steiner does not give the exact date, but if these mysteries are followed up, they appear to have begun about 6000 BC, became intense in 3000 BC, and then culminated with the activity of the Black Magician at the time the Mystery of Golgotha took place. I gather that the flow of blood from the Christ on the Cross, the flow that entered the earth, was a deed that was of the greatest import with what I have just been developing. This means that the Blood of Christ, the life, the ether, was a necessity for the earth, whose direction was being progressively determined by the work of the Falls. The entry of Christ life, ether, into the earth, imaginatively depicted as drops of blood flowing into the earth, was, is, essential for the future of the earth and the Geographic Double, particularly the one here in the West.
The human double is taken on at birth and departs about three days before death. Those who care for the dying have often noted the change that takes place just before death, or several days before. A kind of recovery seems to take place, and then what follows is the departure of the soul and spirit for the soul and spirit worlds. The double departs and is taken up by the earth. It is long life that helps to redeem the fallen double. This has been researched by Rudolf Steiner. It may well be for this reason that human beings are living longer, and not so much for the reasons given, that is, hygiene, medicines, and the technology of modern times.
As noted earlier, it is this double that exists and is for the most part what is investigated by the materialistic scientist today. Those involved with consciousness research are often gaining manifestations of the double and attributing this to the soul itself. The insinuation of elemental beings into the double may well be responsible for the multiple personality syndromes being described today. Rudolf Steiner has tried to indicate how the double can surface in psychoanalytic free association. From my research I gather that the double plays most strongly into the lower and the middle senses and backs away as the upper senses are approached, though the Luciferic double becomes important here.
The reason for using the concept of energies versus forces, is to try to conceptually make a distinction that is very difficult to make. The distinction is between a body where the subnature rules, the double rules, and a body that is transparent and can act for the sake of the soul and spirit. The energy body is, as noted, inert, immobile, weighty, and nontransparent. I take it that it is the energy body that is invested with the double. On the other hand, the non-double body is not easy to discover. The non-energy double I think may well be related to the Phantom, to the rising Phantom in the human being. Thus I am suggesting that the human being has a body that is invested with energies, and a body more determined by forces. The latter one we can more call the “phantom body.” The senses can be considered to be a part of this phantom body.
Now it may well be helpful to take a look at the human eye and sight in order to consider a specific organ where both the double (energy-determined) and the sense organ (force-determined) can be contemplated. The eye can be taken as an example or an archetype for all organs, as already noted, but here will be taken up in more detail and with a view to the two bodies, the fallen body and the phantom body.
During embryonic times the eye evolves. Much in the way it unfolds indicates that the eye has a close affinity with light. No light no eye, or if there is an eye, no sight. So we must posit some form of light during embryonic times. I would posit a light which is present as an ethereal light associated with the pericardial sinus in very early embryonic development. This sinus exists in the region of the head where the brain unfolds from the notochord on the surface of what is called the embryonic plate (a very early phase of development). The eye is but an extension outward of the brain towards the pericardial sinus, and a movement inward of the skin towards the brain extension. Both the skin moving inward and a part of the brain moving outward bring about the eye. (The skin gives rise to the cornea and the brain extension to the retina.)
I have come to think that the pericardial sinus is the stimulus to both the cornea and the retina developing early in embryogenesis. Later this pericardial sinus migrates down into the chest region and helps bring about the heart. (I will discuss this more fully later.) The light of the pericardial sinus, an ethereal light, can be thought of as the birth agent of eye and heart.
Now the embryonic eye evolves early on. During gestation and as birth approaches, the eye becomes less and less living. This can be seen with the hyloid artery in the middle of the inner chamber of the eye. This hyloid artery lies between the lens and the retina early on. It becomes the hyloid body. The artery dies away within the vitreous humour to become a thin thread of tissue within the posterior chamber of the eye called the hyloid body. Also, as the eye matures, the skin of the cornea becomes progressively lifeless, it keratinizes, while the retinal neural makeup also dies a little like the nerve cells in the brain. Life is, as it were, removed from the cornea, retina, and hyloid artery, and somewhat from the whole eye.
Rudolf Steiner indicates that life is saved, as it were, as the eye becomes more dead. The life, the etheric, which is freed because the eye involutes and dies slightly as it matures, comes to serve the soul. What is soul, what is astral sentient-soul comes to live in the freed ether. The physical instrument, the eyeball, as it dies away becomes invested to a certain extent with the forces of the double. It is because of this double that darkness comes to exist as a real factor in relation to the light that meets the freed etheric that can serve as a vehicle for the soul to rush into the light and to the distance which is perceived in vision. It is because of the death process of the eye and its investment with the forces of the double, that the eye can behave as a mechanical instrument. The eye can thus be likened to a camera. This physical device can be studied, has been and is being studied, to comprehend sight more and more from a physical perspective. What these studies can never show, however, is how the soul experiences color. The processes that take place with the cornea, the lens, the pupil, and the retina can never reveal what takes place in the soul in the process of sight. The physical eye, invested by the double, does not give what takes place in the soul when a flower is perceived or a cloud moves by. No matter how detailed the physical, anatomical, physiological, or neurophysiological research may be, the soul experiences of sight remain hidden to outer research. It has been Goethe with his studies on color, and more recently through Rudolf Steiner’ s work, that new dimensions to sight and the perceiving soul can be spoken of.
The reason for dealing with the eye is that it is obviously such a physical and transparent sense organ in contrast to the sense organ for warmth or the sense organ for the ego. I would venture that what makes the eye transparent is not the eye that is invested by the double. The transparent eye is the eye that is related to the light, the eye in which light plays into the soul. The actual darkness of the eye belongs to the double and is what is studied today by science. The eye has two aspects, and this dual makeup can serve as an archetype for all organs in the body. The transparent eye can be considered to be the “force eye,” and the non-transparent eye the “energy eye.” The retina, with its neurochemistry, is part of the darkness, part of the energy eye.
Part IV. The Makeup of the Human Being–The Life-Processes
With a brief consideration of the senses as a part of the force makeup of the human being, we can move on to another aspect of the human makeup, the Life-Processes. These processes were first spoken of by Rudolf Steiner around 1910. He noted them in a treatise that has been called Anthroposophy (A Fragment). I like to think of the treatise as an outline for what he then took up for the rest of his life. In the treatise he notes the senses and also introduces the concept of life-process. That there are life-processes that weave into and with the senses, this is very new territory for all of us in our day. That there are life-processes that invest all organs, this is new, quite new. That there should be life-processes seems logical; however, the question is how real are they, how can they be perceived and potentially worked with. As with so many things noted by Rudolf Steiner, what he has said about the life-processes is but a hint, as it were. A few indications exist, and these have to be worked with and elaborated for the sake of clarity.
In Rudolf Steiner’s day, the call was for simplicity. This is still the case, but fortunately there are a few who can see that the human condition is extremely complex and complicated. With this said, let me move on to the life-processes, which make an already complicated organism even more complicated. The life-processes, I think, may be very important to the massage therapist when Light Touch is used in therapy. Let me suggest that the life-processes can be worked with using light touch, particularly with the fingers of the hand when doing massage. Light touch works through the senses, through all the senses in a way, to approach the life-processes. The latter are differentiated depending on the region of the body massaged or the organ over which massage takes place.
Before going too much further, I would like to point out that the life-processes have been taken up in a most serious way by therapists working within the Camphill Communities and Schools. The life-processes have not become common parlance with most therapists, and I do not know if massage therapists in training have dealt with the subject at much length.
Now another byway, another detour, is needed in order to place the life-processes in context. This means for me that one needs to consider organ metabolism, which is not the metabolism determined by the double, as a step towards the life-processes. A new metabolism has to be considered in order to think about life-processes. Life-processes for the most part do not affect the metabolism of the double. This metabolism, the metabolism of the double, is the metabolism spoken of today. It is dense, dark, silent, and totally matter-determined. Soulness and spirituality find no room in this metabolism. That an organ can serve as a sense organ, this to me indicates immediately that forces from the periphery work into such an organ, and for this to take place a non-double metabolism has to be present. That an organ can serve the soul and the spirit means that the organ function needs to have soul- and spirit-sensitive metabolic processes. These metabolic processes have to be sensitive to life-processes as well. Unfortunately, the life-processes have not been seen and therefore not been considered by scientists in our time.
What is then needed by an organ, by an organ to serve life-process, is a metabolism that has not been described by materialistic science. This metabolism has been described by Rudolf Steiner, but has been described by asking that the researcher, the physician, the therapist, look out into nature, at six plants. (He has done the same with the life-processes to make the investigation an empirical process. He has pointed to six plants with the life-processes as well.)
In the first medical course, Spiritual Science and Medicine, given in 1920, there is a lecture, Lecture X, where Rudolf Steiner points to metabolic activities that are quite new. He gives the metabolic activity in terms of six plants, as just noted. He points to a threefold activity of each plant, which can serve as a teacher for the therapeutician. The chemical makeup, and the human body chemistry as well as metabolic activity, is pointed to in this first medical course. With these six plants Rudolf Steiner does not speak about the morphology, or the form, of the plants, as he so often does in discussing plant biology. Four of the six plants in particular can be said to be able to serve as teachers for a chemistry of the human body. Two of the plants can serve even though the chemical makeup was not well known at that time. At that time, clinical chemistry, human biological chemistry, was not yet present. This chemistry, this biochemistry, did not come on the scene until the late twenties. Until then the chemistry was largely physical chemistry. Even today we do not have a truly living chemistry, a biochemistry that in its core can reveal a chemical working that is supportive of soul and spirit. We have a chemistry of what I call the Double. This chemistry we can find in any textbook of clinical biochemistry.
With the indications given in this course, a very new chapter in chemistry is placed before humanity and the practitioner who serves the ill. This chemistry is still new, as it has not for the most part been worked through by those involved in anthroposophical therapeutics. This is a task that is just beginning. Now let us turn to the six plants. .
The six plants are :
These six plants have been worked with quite extensively in the Anthroposophical Therapy and Hygiene Association (ANTHA) in the Fellowship Community here within the Threefold Community. An approach to these plants has been written up, but the approach is far from easy and asks for a great interest in chemistry. Also, an interest in other types of thinking about chemistry is needed. An organismic phenomenology and individual symptomatology is given for each plant along with the chemism. The indications given by Rudolf Steiner are quite brief and require much work to fill out his sketchy outline. The indications can be summarized to give an impression of the type of physiology and psychology that is involved with the chemical makeup of each plant. Here is an attempt at a brief summary.
Anise brings about a stimulus to secretion (milk) and excretion (urine). It is a mediator between pressing substances out (milk secretion) and eliminating inward (urine excretion). It is the iron of the seed that is important in therapy. The iron brings the blood, the blood in circulation, near and towards the digestive process. This means that the iron of this seed, of a plant which is indigenous in Egypt from very old times, brings about a balancing activity in the metabolic activities of the organism, supporting a casting off in two directions while the uptake of substances into the organism is governed carefully. (Anise seed is often used in drink and as a food condiment to aid digestion, and has been for centuries. Its oil is a significant commercial product.) The activity of the plant seed as reflected within the human being is therefore threefold. The balance is between the surface outside and a surface inside. The chemism of the plant belongs to the blood, the middle of the human organismic activity. The balance of the blood is very much maintained by iron, a fact well known to all interested in human chemical biology. On the other hand, not well known is that the particular iron working of this plant maintains a balance of secretional-excretional activities and digestive-ingestive activities within the human body. Metabolism is carefully regulated, penetrated by iron, and balanced by ingestion and secretory-excretory activities.
It is possible to consider that the nature of the chyle is influenced out of the blood working into the digestive tract. For the human being, the point of departure with this plant, particularly with the iron in the seed, is in the blood. The activity of the blood, by dint of the iron of the seed, is strengthened in the face of secretion and excretion, influencing digestive processes where substances are taken into the organism in the form of chyle.
Chicory works to strengthen the digestion, and in the process supports the chyme-to-chyle transformation that is a part of the activity of anise. The digestion is strengthened so that the substance path from the digestive tract to the blood is thoroughly penetrated before being taken up into the blood. The further path from blood to lung and larynx is also regulated by the working of chicory. The metabolic activities of the body have to be considered in such a way that the plant substance makeup can be seen as helping to bring about physiological-chemical changes in substances taken up as chyle and transformed in the circulation on the way to the lung and heart. For example, the proteinaceous substances in chyle are taken up by the lymph nodes along the lymphatic paths. In the germinal islands of the lymph nodes, the protein derivatives brought about by digestion are transformed, and quite new nitrogenous substances appear in the lymph fluid taken to the heart and lung from the lymph nodes. Fatty substances as well are taken hold of in digestion by the working of this plant in human biological chemistry.
In this way the chicory plant in nature points to a working within the human organism, and gives a quite new view of digestion to circulation and then respiration. The metabolism, the transformation of substances, needs to be followed throughout. This gives quite a different form of chemistry from what exists today, while at the same time not negating it, but using it symptomatologically. The chemistry of today gives a symptom of what Rudolf Steiner points to. An example would be the functions of gastric and pancreatic enzymes, as well as alkaline salts from the pancreas, in relation to fat and protein digestion and absorption. This is a function of the double, but refined metabolic processes take place concurrently.
With chicory, a threefolding of the chemistry is noted, with digestion, circulation, and respiration and speaking. The anise balances the secretion outward and the excretion inward with a center in the blood. With chicory there is again a balance, but now more in the digestive process, which is brought in relation to circulation, and in the circulation, which is brought in balance with the breathing and speaking. It is the bitter, the bitter latex substance, along with the plant potassium and silicic acid, that is active in bringing about this organismic working when this plant substance is used to instruct us in the activities of human metabolism. All of this is a complex of chemism in the physiology of the body, a physiology which does not yet exist in modern times. This is an occult physiology in our day, as it remains hidden to outer perception and investigation, but stands before the cognitive capacity of the spiritual scientific researcher. For the striving therapist such knowledge is important, as it makes for a sensitivity which is ordinarily lacking in the therapist.
Equisetum works via its rich silica content to balance the digestive and the peripheral sense organ surface activities. The activities of the center of the body–that is, the central digestive tract activities–have to be balanced with what takes place on the surface, meaning what takes place on the skin. Here the threefold is between center and periphery. With the anise and iron, the outset of this path at the hand of nature, the first balancing, is brought about by secreting and excreting, leading to a balancing of the metabolism within the blood itself. With chicory, the balance is between digestion and breath, with the circulation as mediator. The bitter anchors the digestion, the alkali metal potassium mediates in the blood, and the silicic acid rounds off the surface of the organism with proper metabolic activities. With equisetum, the silicic acid brings center and periphery into physiological harmony for the health of the organism.
This way of thinking about the plant, chemistry, and the life of the human organism is quite new. If we go back to 1920, we find no biochemistry at that time, and it is a kind of clinical biochemistry that is being introduced here by Rudolf Steiner. This type of thinking in chemical terms was taken another step when Rudolf Steiner wrote the book Fundamentals of Therapy with Ita Wegman.
Fragaria is the wild strawberry. The working of this plant within the human being is to bring about a healthy unfolding of blood formation. Now the step is to the constitution of a vital organ out of which the entire organism is derived–that is, the blood. Now it is not the blood in relation to digestion, but in relation to itself, and as well the periphery of the organism, that is so important. A healthy blood is needed so that the nutrition of the periphery is maintained, balancing the sense activity on the periphery and the metabolic activity of the skin. In this way our plant teachers direct our consideration first to the relation between the blood and digestion, and then with fragaria to blood and sense activity. This is quite a new way to think on the biology of the human organism.
Lavender is very briefly described and now without any reference to chemism, to its chemical makeup. The indication from Rudolf Steiner is that the soul overpowers the functioning, the metabolism of the organism, producing altered states of consciousness, cramps, and even epileptiform reactions. The soul masters the body, and by doing this brings about an alteration of metabolism. Needed is a strengthening of the metabolism. Rudolf Steiner does not give the chemical makeup of the Lavender nor the working of the plant. The chemical makeup of lavender is not given, but its chemical working is pointed to in general. The chemism of the plant is such that it can support the mighty cosmic astrality of the oil-forming process in the plant. In the case of the human organism, what is needed is, in like manner, a metabolism that is sufficiently strong to stand up against a soul process that can overwhelm the human organismic working. Cramps, fits, weakness, and seizures come about when the metabolism of the organism cannot carry an overly intense soul-spirit activity.
The lavender with its amazing oil formation, the formation of nearly 120 ethereal oils, is a plant that can stand the immense activity of a cosmic soul that produces the oils and then disperses them into the atmosphere. The plant is strong and healthy, as the human organism should be when a very lively soul activity is present. This soul activity has a counterpart in the plant in the formation of oils, but the life of the plant is sufficiently strong to withstand such active soul life, cosmic soul life, not individual soul life. Again the substance makeup of the plant is pointed to, but not the individual chemical substance in this plant teacher.
The plant makeup, the physical-life makeup, can stand intense cosmic soul-spiritual activity that produces ethereal oils. Needed is that the human organism, in its physical and life-etheric makeup, is strengthened in the face of very intense cosmic soul-spiritual working, working from the cosmos into the organism. Such intense cosmic soul-spiritual working takes place when the lofty world of “Archetypal Imaginations,” the domain of Nirvana, comes to work into the organism, into the inner organs and the brain. The life activity in the organism has to be strengthened so that human soul has a place to be normally active and conscious, even when profound depths of the spiritual world insinuate themselves into the life of the organism.
Melissa is the last plant that is described with one sentence, but a world is opened up with this one sentence. Here much effort is needed to grasp the nature of melissa in order to find the counterpart in the human being. Melissa also produces oils like the lavender, but the oils are retained in the plant. This retaining of oils may be likened to the retaining of the cellularity of the uterus, so that there is amenorrhea and at the same time the cellularity may be minimal. The strong soul life that hampers the proliferation and then the expulsion of endometrium by the human organism, is present in a cosmic working into the plant. In the plant, oils are produced and carried at the same time. A good amount of oil is retained and only a small amount is expelled into the atmosphere. The plant is a healthy archetype for a healthy upbuilding, retention, and expulsion process. A strong metabolism is needed for the human organism, and this metabolism is present as example for the organism.
It is possible to consider that the human being puts his metabolism together out of the plant world, taking up etheric and etheric-physical metabolic processes in the process of incarnating into the body with embryogenesis and then birth. We can think that the six plants serve the healthy human being by serving as archetypes for metabolic processes. It is for this reason that these six plant teachers point to the domain of metabolism within the physiology of the body. What is needed is that we recall what took place during the time of incarnating. This may seem fantastic, or it can be seen as a stimulus for another form of learning. The path of this type of learning is called the “Path Through Nature.”
What is being said, then, is that these six plants serve as archetypes for human metabolism, and together form a plant-cosmic archetype for health and well-being. The six plants point to a cosmic working, a cosmic-metabolic activity that the human being needs to copy for health, well-being, and healing. With an anthroposophical background it is possible to note that this cosmic-metabolic man existed in the time of Hyperborea, and can be thought of as associated with Adam Cadman, Adam before the fall. In a way, this Adam can bring us healing, but those who are therapists need to know about this.
I have at times thought of the six plants as Metabolic Agents, or Plant Metabolic Archetypes, to distinguish them from plants which can be used for nutrition. The metabolism just noted in a cursory fashion here is quite different from the metabolism that can be found in modern biochemistry or clinical biochemical texts. My perspective is that the modern biochemical texts give the metabolic activities which belong more to the activity of the double. The metabolism just described at the hand of the plants is a metabolism that cannot be found by the usual means. With this form of metabolic activity, spiritual scientific research is necessary. Thus, for those who read this essay and encounter the possibility of a new metabolism, it has to be said that there is a science that can approach such types of non-usual metabolism. This form of metabolism might be called Nature Correspondence Metabolism or, simply, Correspondence Metabolism. The usual metabolism studied by science can be called the Metabolism of the Double. More and more I have come to differentiate the two types of metabolism by two different types of chemical activity. The nature correspondence metabolism has anabolism and catabolism as prime movers. The metabolism of the double has aerobic and anaerobic activities as prime movers. The oxidative and the antioxidative processes are as well dual processes concerned with the metabolism of the double.
The significance of this type of metabolism is that it is approached with a different type of thinking, and is a metabolism that can be influenced by Life-Processes, which we want to take up next.
With this background let me offer a summary before progressing further.
Earthly mineral-determined metabolism—double metabolism in man.
Cosmo-plant-determined metabolism—correspondence metabolism in man.
Cosmo-plant-determined life-processes—life-process in man.
We will now take up the cosmo-plant-determined life-processes as found in man.
If we follow the same line of contemplation we can, as we have seen with metabolism, seek plants that help us find in nature what is needed to come to a specific knowledge about the life-processes. There is a good possibility that just as there are metabolic plants substances that point to a correspondence metabolism, metabolic agents, as it were, so there may be plants which point more to the Life-Processes of the body. This is the thesis that a group gathered around Ross Rentea has come up with. As I have pointed to a group of plants that are archetypal for the metabolism and physiology of the body, so there may well be a group of plants that point not so much to metabolism but to the Life-Processes.
These six plants are the plants that have been worked through as just indicated, worked through by Ross Rentea, et al. Their impression is that there are plants that have been pointed to by Rudolf Steiner and are indicative of a correspondence within the human being, a correspondence with the life-processes. The correspondence within the human organism will be considered to be the seven life-processes. It is for this reason that I have come to think of these plants as cosmo-plant-determined life-processes. The six plants are as follows:
Gentian root activity (Gentiana lutea).
Herb Bennett root activity (Geum urbanum)
Iris root activity (Iris germanica)
Marjorum leaf activity (Origanum majorana)
Elder flower activity (Sambucus niger)
Caraway seed activity (Carum carvi)
It can be readily seen that there are three root activities noted or pointed to, a single leaf activity, a single flower, and a single seed activity with these plants. A kind of living, archetypal plant is pointed to if one takes up the six plants in an imaginative way. Such a living plant activity within man can quite easily be contemplated as the life-processes within the organism. This archetypal plant activity, the archetype of life-processes, can then be compared with the archetypal plant that serves for nature or correspondence metabolism.
To address the life-processes the following can be noted: The gentian root prepared as a decoction (boiled preparation) furthers the “breathing within the stomach.” Breathing is a first life-process.
With the bennet root in the form of a decoction, an antipyretic activity, a warmth controlling process, is supportive to the digestion of substances that are on the way to intestinal activity, where nourishing takes place as substances are taken up. If there is too much heat in the digestive process then diarrhea, a running off, takes place, with the result that nourishing processes come to a standstill. Thus, with bennet root, the second and third life-processes are involved–that is, the life processes of Warming and Nutrition.
The Iris root in the form of a decoction can be viewed in relation to its diuretic effect in the organism. This is an excretional process. Excretion is a fourth life process that is closely associated with Secretion, also a fourth life-process. Excretion is more an astral process, while secretion is a more etheric process. However, with both processes the two organizations, the etheric and astral, are involved.
Moving from root to leaf, to the leaf of the Marjorum prepared as an infusion (which means that the plant substance is held in a warm water for a definite period of time), the plant brings about a Warming and a Breathing activity to the inner organs. In addition a Secreting is induced in the human organism, in the lung, as well as sweating (an excretion), and a strengthening of the excretion and a strengthening and maintaining of the uterus. By the strengthening of the uterus the life-process of Reproduction is supported. Let us number this life-process number seven. Through sweating and internal organ breathing, a Maintaining and a Growing of the organism takes place. Maintaining is considered to be a fifth life-process, and growing a sixth. Thus the Marjorum can be said to carry a potential for all the life-processes needed for the reproduction of the organism itself.
With the Elder flower, the step is from the leaf of the marjorum to the flower of the bush. The bush is a plant that is moving towards treeness. Again an infusion, a warming process in preparing, is used. (With an infusion a kind of tea is made, while with decoction plant substances are boiled. Digestion is a third method of dealing with plant substance by keeping a solution at body temperature for at least an hour.) All the previous plants mentioned are herbaceous, while the elder is a bush, a plant on the way to a tree. What is a tree according to Rudolf Steiner’s investigations? He has found that the tree is a plant that accumulates and intensifies astrality, a kind of cosmic soulness in the case of the plant world. With the elder flower, there is an astral intensification by virtue of the flower formation, which is unfolding on a plant that is moving towards the astrality of the tree. The step from leaf to blossom is a step from vegetating plant life to flowering, inflorescence, and reproductive plant processes. This step from the vegetative to inflorescence is a step with all flowering plants. With the elder, the astrality becomes much more intense, since the elder is a bush-to-tree formation. In this way the astrality of the elder approaches the astrality of the human being. This intense astrality removes the reproductive process from being solely active with physical reproduction. Higher forms of reproduction, as with image formation, is brought about by intense astral activity. This latter form of reproductiveness comes about as digestion and reproduction are raised from the lower organism to circulation, breathing, and then to the head.
Sambucus, elder blossoms, in infused form stimulates the excretion in breathing and stimulates physical breathing itself so that soul life can be supported. Now it is physical Breathing and soul-spiritual Reproducing or Creativity that is present in this plant. The movement from the digestive to the soul-spiritual reproductive is a move from the “tree of life” to the “tree of knowledge,” that is, the nervous system, the brain, and the spinal cord.
The Caraway seed is made into a decoction, to further the archetypal plant process within the human being when the decoction is made into a remedy. The movement, from root to leaf, from leaf to flower, now becomes the movement from flower to seed. At every stage of preparing the remedy, warmth, a warmth process, is involved. The human being is in a way all warmth. (It can be noted that all medicinal preparations of these plants are warmth dependent, pointing to the essential warmth makeup of the human being.) This particular seed plant brings about a process within the plant and because of this potentially within the human being, when the plant serves as an archetype. With this plant the digestive process has the potential to be raised into the head, to serve in the head to Recreate, to Reproduce the world in the form of knowledge. This is a move from the breathing in digesting to a breathing of inner organs, to a Nourishing of an organ, the brain, to serve the soul and the spirit. It is the soul and the spirit that bring about a new creation, that of a ”body of knowledge.”
With these contemplations it is possible to look upon the life-processes that are crucial, so that the soul and spirit can be active in relation to the “cosmo-plant metabolism” and then this form of metabolism can serve the seeking soul and spirit. It is knowledge that the human soul and spirit seeks in order to become human. In truth the human creates out of freedom. Such can be a view of the life-processes as well. The life-processes make the metabolism available for higher human workings and purposes.
Rudolf Steiner has found that the life-processes are originally cosmic in origin. They originate in the planetary ether sphere and are taken by the soul into the organism with incarnation. At the same time, those life-processes are very active in nature bringing about the plant processes. The life-processes of the archetypal plant are cosmo-peripheral and are force related. This provides the cosmic etheric life support that is needed by all living organisms, and in the case of man supports higher soul and spiritual activity in the form of knowing.
We can outline the relation between the life-process and the planetary spheres as follows:
Moon sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Reproducing
Mercury sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Growing
Venus sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Maintaining
Sun sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Secreting and Excreting
Mars sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Nutritioning
Jupiter sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Warming
Saturn sphere—is mirrored in man in the Life-Process of Breathing
Now what does all of this have to do with the person who does massage? My suggestion would be that when Light Touch is used the senses are stimulated in a delicate way, and there follows a reflex activity in the life-processes as well. Thus it is that the person who receives massage can have a sense of well-being and a sense for life that are stimulated with massage. Anyone who looks into the research of Rudolf Steiner will find that when the senses are used, they come to life, as it were; they enliven the life-processes of the human organism. This is the reason for being so aware of the senses in education, and such an education is also healing in so far as the life-processes are brought into activity. With light massage, using flowing and streaming movements with light massage, an enlivening of the body can be brought about. There are some individuals who by merely passing their hands in the “aura” around the body, can influence the life-processes.
An outline for massage, to look ahead, might be:
With Light Pressure—with the ball of the hand the lower senses may be awakened.
With Light Touch—with the fingers of the hand, the upper senses with the life processes may be stimulated.
With Palmar Suction—with the ball and palm of the hand, inner movements might be brought about.
Such an outline might be taken as a working hypothesis, as a working idea, so that a more conscious recovery can come about for the therapeutician who seeks to know what is needed and what is done in massage. A working thesis can be a guide, but should not be determinative in such a way that other perspectives might not arise.
Part VThe Makeup of the Human Being–The Inner Movements
Part A – The Inner Movements and Inner Organs
The above outline listing the life-processes helps to lead from life-process to inner movement. It is with the inner movement that we will busy ourselves. What seems important to me is that an effort at careful distinctions should be made. The distinctions are subtle and are not ordinary considerations for the physiologist and the psychologist. This is quite a new domain for many, and even for some who may be quite seasoned students of Rudolf Steiner.
The life-processes are very much concerned with how the life of the organism comes to serve basic biological processes and raises them to soul and spirit. With the inner movements we make a step from the life of the body to the soul, from body to soul. The inner movements help a step from soul to spirit come about, while the body is part of the activity of the soul. The body with nature-based metabolism, the twelve senses, the life-processes, and now the inner movements are four steps to the spirit, as it were. With the nature-based metabolism or nature correspondent metabolism, what is physical is raised a slight step, towards the living. With the senses the body is made transparent, as it were, within this raised metabolism. The life-processes also bring life to the sense experience, such as when an image comes about in relation to an object. With inner movements the soul has something non-physical to stand for the sake of soul experiences, such as impressions, sensations, and perception-type judgments. (These three soul experiences are basis for a Psychosophy and not a Psychology. An anthroposophy with nature-based metabolism and life-processes gives a basis for a psychosopheic approach to the human being. The Psychosopheic approach to the soul is found in the second set of lectures in the book The Wisdom of Man.) With sense-based experiences the human being begins with objects, moves to images, then to conceptions, and finally to the ego. (This beginning with the sense experience and then stepping over to the soul as just noted can be found in the little book Stages of Knowledge.)
Again let me repeat and approach the soul from the same two angles. If one starts more introspectively looking at one’s experiences in relation to the world and oneself, one can via the senses begin with the Object or with the Impression. With the experience of impression, one is more in the soul, in a kind of soul activity, a soul movement. With the experience of object, the outer seems to be present to bring about a kind of living process that is the image. The image seems to grow out of the sense experience, as if the object brought about a living entity that is the image. The object appears to be “reproduced,” as it were. The life-process of reproducing on the level of the soul seems to be operative. From such observations of the soul, one might conclude with what has already been said, which is that when the world appears as objective fact, then the sense used becomes related to the life-process. On the other hand, when the soul in relation to the world gains experiences, something more “subjective,” then we can think that a sense is more related to inner movement of breathing in order to bring about sensation. The impression in the soul is breathed in, so that another inner movement can become active to bring about concept. The inner movement might be that of thinking. This line of thought, introspectively based, is subtle but real for the person who becomes active in this search, this research. The distinctions are delicate and evanescent, but waking for the soul and spirit. It can take a number of years to disentangle “object” from “impression” in order to enter into two totally different makeups of the human being. Object and impression are, as it were, worlds apart, but the two worlds are not so easy to find. My impression is that Rudolf Steiner used his close karmic connection with the psychologist and psychosophist Franz Brentano to struggle out this very significant distinction. The distinction has to be discovered on an introspective but objective path of research.
Thus, as noted, the life-processes are a step from the senses to the inner movements. The steps just noted are essential in order to disentangle the body that belongs to the soul and spirit from the Double, which belongs much more to the earth with spiritual beings who seek to make man into a purely earth being or a purely soul being, where the spirit is totally lost. With the step from the life processes to the inner movements, the hope I carry is that the difference between energies, which are telluric-based, and forces, which are cosmo-peripheral-based, can be experienced in a new way. With inner movements one lives much more in levity, as it were, and can for this reason use the body and the life-processes as an instrument of the soul. As Object helps define the basis in sense experience that can move a life-process, and Impression can direct the consideration towards the inner movement, so Levity might become the experience to measure (a soul measure) inner movement. From my research, I have to conclude that the inner movement does not take place without the forces of levity, without the presence of ether forces that make the bodily-soul movements a reality. For this reason I base my approach to the inner movements on a consideration of Embryologically-Freed Forces, Embryologically-Freed Ether Forces.
With the inner movements the soul takes hold very firmly of the physical; however, there is overlap with the life-processes. The inner movements are in a way more physical than the life processes, but at the same time more endowed with the potential for conscious activity. Uprightness, speaking, and thinking are three of the basic inner movements that are learned. The purely physical dimension of inner movement steps to the fore and dominates the consideration of inner movement only if the subtle psychospiritual components are overlooked.
In order not to go on too long with this discussion when the reader may not be familiar with the inner movements, let me list them, and list them in association with the planets. Rudolf Steiner’s research revealed the relation between planet and inner movement. He spoke of the inner movements in a cycle of reported spiritual research in 1912, entitled Man in the Light of Occultism, Philosophy and Theosophy. Here is the list:
1. Inner movement of Uprightness—–Saturn
2. Inner movement of Thinking—–Jupiter
3. Inner movement of Speech—–Mars
4. Inner movement of Circulating—–SUN
5. Inner movement of Breathing—–Mercury
6. Inner movement of Endocrine Secreting—–Venus
7. Inner movement of Reproducing—–Moon
Through my research I have come to relate the inner movements to the seven inner organs. The inner organs are:
Uterus——– related to Moon
Kidney——– related to Venus
Lung———- related to Mercury
Heart——— related to Sun
Gallbladder— related to Mars
Liver——— related to Jupiter
Spleen——– related to Saturn
Now let us try to step from the inner organ, which is a reflection of a cosmic ether sphere of a planet, to an inner movement. This step from organ to movement I have made in a particular way, and for that reason want to try to share this just in case anyone wishes to take a similar route. A number of indications from Rudolf Steiner’s research have led me to a view of the inner organs as a basis for the inner movements. By saying this, I am also then suggesting a very direct approach that leads from organ to soul. Here the problem of body and soul is directly taken up, so that the step from body to soul can be made in a logical fashion. The body-soul or the body-mind relation gets a basis by the contemplations I would like to share and, at the same time, may lay the basis for comprehending the effect of “suctional massage.”
I would ask that this line of contemplation be taken as a stimulus for others, as is the case with the differing hand activities, or grips, in the case of massage.
In the volume noted above, the volume called The Wisdom of Man, Rudolf Steiner indicates how the constitution of the human being works to bring about the form of the human being and the forms of the inner organs. The working of the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, the sentient-body, the sentient-soul, the intellectual-soul, and the consciousness-soul are all detailed. By this means the forms and the locations of organs are a result of the working of sensible and supersensible forces of the human makeup. By this means the members (eg, the physical, etheric, etc.) become concrete through their working and formative activity. All becomes quite concrete and real if the method is followed as indicated in this book.
Let me begin by way of example with the member, the organ former, the sentient-body. Rudolf Steiner’s investigations indicate that the sentient-body brings about the invagination process, as with the forming of the orbits of the skull. This invagination process then can be generalized and seen as active in making nearly all the inner organs into vessels. One can think that all the organs, the inner organs, originate from the ether spheres of the cosmos, and would be spherical if only cosmic zodiacal, astral forces were operative. The spherical, however, is altered by invagination process. If one turns some of the inner organs upside down, as is the orientation during embryonic formation, then they can be seen as vessels, as invaginated spheres. For example, if the lung, the liver, and the kidneys are turned upside down, then the invaginated forms of the organs become apparent. From what Rudolf Steiner has said about the orbits in the skull, one can with care use the same forces to consider how the inner organs are formed as vessels. By this path of reasoning, one can then say that the sentient-body invaginates the spherical of the organ, the purely cosmic etheric organ. It is the invaginated form of the organ that becomes filled with substance.
From other indications to be found from Rudolf Steiner’s research, it can be considered that the downward-directed, more elongate inner organs are a result of the formative activity of the astral body. As the liver, lung, and kidneys are more invaginated, the heart, the gallbladder, the uterus, and the bladder are more elongated. As elongate forms they can as well be considered to be derivatives of a sphere. Nevertheless, these more elongate organs can be thought to have a form activity by the sentient-body. The sentient-body can bring a force system that hollows out the organs, as with the heart, gallbladder, uterus, and urinary bladder. These elongate organs have invaginations that result in a hollow within the organ itself.
Here are outlines of the inner organs that are vessels, or invaginated in form:
Here are outlines of organs which are semi-elongate with hollowed-out invaginations:
By again paying heed to the spiritual scientific research of Rudolf Steiner, let us consider again that these organs are actually etheric, astral, and cosmic in origin. This etheric and astral out of the cosmos is brought over into the organism by the incarnating soul, with the cosmic dimensions remaining related to the organs by dint of etheric and astral organizations. The purely spherical creating activity of cosmic-dimensioned etheric and astral organizations are altered as the organs’ physical organs are formed in the body during embryonic development. What is brought over from the cosmos, by the individuality, the ego who is incarnating, unites with the organs’ forms that are brought over by heredity. As the embryonic unfolding takes place, the original spherical organs’ forms are changed by invagination or elongation. Some organs are invaginated and some are elongated during the development of the embryo.
In the lecture cycle Ancient Myths, pages 82 to 88, Rudolf Steiner gives further indications, and a method of thinking that can be supportive of the approach I am employing here. I have used the method used by Rudolf Steiner in this cycle, in addition to the method found, as already indicated, in the lecture cycle Wisdom of Man. With the cycle on ancient myths, Rudolf Steiner begins with the spherical makeup of the head, and derives the remainder of the outer form of the body from this sphere. This same type of reasoning, that a physical form, an organ form, is a derivative of a sphere, this type of reasoning can be applied to the archetypal sphericalness of all the inner organs. As the head is a sphere, the other organs can be seen as a derivative of this sphere. All other body forms are variants of the archetypal sphere.
What is also indicated in the cycle on ancient myths is that what is not spherical permits the remaining organ form to be seen in relation to ether forces that have been freed by the pushing back of the organ form from the spherical condition. Thus a line of thinking, reasoning, can be that the non-spherical organ has associated with it ether forces that are not used by the organ. Ether forces are freed as the spherical form is altered. As noted, all inner organs are non-spherical and therefore have ether forces liberated as they come into existence. Embryogenesis alters the archetypal sphere so that ether forces are freed in the process. I have come to term these ether forces as “Embryologically Freed Ether Forces.”
Here follow outlines of the organs in question. They are placed in a sphere, and the part of the sphere not occupied by the physical organ can be called a free space, a space for freed ether forces (the area of slanted lines). Such a presentation has its marked limitation, as one has to keep in mind that ether forces are in no way spatial. However, such an approach gives a sense for what then can be spoken about in an imaginative way. Also to be kept in mind with the thesis of freed ether forces, is that one can think that these freed forces support inner movements.
By such a method of contemplating the forming of the organ out of a vast cosmic sphere, with a release of ether forces, it is possible to gain another relation with the inner organs. Such a method of contemplation is in itself a sensitizing process. A different relation with one’s own organism appears to unfold. A more mobile relation with the organism seems to be a potential. A kind of inner space, a breathing space, eventuates within the organism, which for the most part can be experienced to be quite dark and far removed from consciousness, unless one is ill. With illness, one often can have a consciousness of one or another inner organ, or even a large segment of the body. In order to deal with nature metabolism, life-processes, and inner movements, which are essentially unknown in the world, a new sense about one’s own organism needs to arise.
Again, with the discussion at hand, it is the freed etheric forces that can be considered to be the basis for the unfolding of the inner movements. The inner movements can be considered to be astral in origin, but altered depending on the movement and what body part is penetrated in order that the inner movement can become outer movement. Once the forces are freed, they of course do not remain in relation to an organ on a one-to-one basis. Freed ether forces do not remain directly related to the organ from which they are freed, as they are slowly taken up by the ego (eg, with memory) and the ego-, astral-, and ether-organizations that are of cosmic dimension. The result is that the freed forces are less and less related to the organ from which they are freed. However, a distant and subtle relation may remain in so far as cosmic formative forces enter the freed forces, concentrate them. ·
Each inner movement involves numerous organs, organ systems, tissues, and cells. However, as a beginning it is helpful to speak of the movements in relation to the organs. This helps with an orientation. In order for the astral, the differentiated and organized astral, to be active, a vehicle to the physical via the etheric is needed, and this vehicle can be thought of as the freed forces to begin with. A part of the freed ether forces that are penetrated out of the ego are the organs and tissues, which in turn bring about the senses, the nerves, the brain, and bone. The ego-, astral-, and etheric organizations that are more of cosmic dimension take hold of the freed ether forces so that the inner organs, tissues, and cellular makeup come into existence.
With the formation of the inner organs, life is taken away, is lifted out of the organs. Life, or ether forces, are liberated. As these organs come to serve conscious intent, actions with soul-spiritual direction, they have to have a very specific life-process, and as well, very definite relation to inner movements. To this end the inner organs have to be tools of the soul and the spirit of each human being.
Again, the etheric that is freed embryologically can be considered to be that ether which serves the soul, the astral, as the inner movements are taken out of the cosmos and come to serve the soul and spirit as an earth dweller.
The step from life-process to inner movement remains an etheric step from organ and more bodily metabolic activities to more soul- and spiritually-determined activities. This step from life-process to inner movement can then be considered to be the step from body to soul, as has already been said. From what has been said, it can be thought that it is the activity of the sentient-body to sentient-soul that becomes the rung from body to soul, and that the step is within the etheric, but the etheric that functions very closely with the physical. One can think that the forms of the inner organs help point to the step from body to soul, but the step is made in the etheric, which evades us as the etheric is so subtle and asks for new faculties to apprehend it. As the sentient-body to sentient-soul is a step from body to soul, so the step from the life-process to the inner movement can be considered as a step from body to soul. The real bridge is the etheric.
B) Inner Movements and a New Christianity
It seems strange to me that these inner movements are not more a part of our anthroposophical contemplations in therapeutics. But then one can find that three of the inner movements are well known to the educators and these three are often spoken to. The three are 1) Walking as part of the upright inner movement, 2) Talking, and 3) Thinking. These three have been linked with the three pre-earthly deeds of Christ (I would suggest one consider that Christ with Raphael worked together to perform these three deeds while Christ also performed pre-earthly deeds with Michael. The pre-earthly Michael-associated deeds were the redemption of the Senses, the renewal of the Life-processes, and the saving of the Soul.) So we can actually note that three of the seven inner movements are often spoken about by teachers. The three can be thought of as penetrated by the Christ through Raphael.
A further contemplation can be that the four remaining inner movements remain for the human being to redeem, to Christianize with the help of Christ, by working with the Christ into the future. This view I have developed in an essay I have written, entitled “The Etheric Heart Organ.” With such a view, Christianity is not a religious confession, but a working with a Spiritual Being to accomplish with the inner movements what is needed to become a “Full Human Being on this Earth.” All men can partake in this form of Christianity, and no single human being is excluded. A further thought can be that if massage can affect the inner movements, and they are intimately related to the Christ, then Christic deeds can be done in trying to help others.
Now we can return to the original question as to why it is important to take up the inner movements by the one who does massage. As noted before, a possibility is that the inner movements can be affected by suctional massage, by a grip that produces suction.
What is suction? It is creating an empty physical space in which the etheric can flow, or in which the ether is activated. From this line of consideration, it can be that the suction of the hands on the skin tends to unite with the free ether of the inner organs in which the inner movements are active. This is not a spatial-limited process. The involvement of ether forces is an involvement of forces that stream from the periphery into the proximity of the inner organs or the organ being massaged. This means that the freed ether may be stimulated through the activity of suction over an organ or over a part, with the result that an astral component of an inner movement unfolds. The suction activates, through suction, the etheric, which reflexly is met by the astral organization of the individual. The astral inner movement comes to work on the organ to which it is directed.
The activation of the etheric related to inner movement comes about because the suction-produced ether space permits the freed ether to imitate what lives in this space. The etheric tends to imitate, and this imitation in the etheric domain is a carryover of the imitating quality of the astral, which is cosmic in dimension. One can say that spiritual beings in the ether world come to relatedness through imitation. Yawning is a remnant. This imitation of the etheric brought about by suction works to bring the astral of movement into activity. The astral of movement meets the activities within the more or less freed ether.
Part C – Inner Movements in Relation to Massage
Now let me turn to what Rudolf Steiner had to say about massage, as I think his statement pertains very much to suctional massage, though not only suctional massage (a grip). This quote is taken from Spiritual Science and Medicine, Lecture XVI, page 207, and is of course well known to those at work in the field of rhythmical massage.
Such delicate processes as massage of the spleen, whether external (which I interpret as light touch and pressure) or internal (which I interpret as suction), draw attention to the relationship between those organs of mankind which transmit conscious experience. They illuminate the whole significance of massage. Massage has a certain definite significance and under some circumstances a powerful remedial effect, but above all it includes and regulates the rhythm in man. The regulation of rhythmic (etheric my interpretation) processes is the main office of massage. And to massage successfully, one must know the human organism well. You will find the way if you consider the following–think for a moment of the immense difference between arms and legs in the human frame as distinct from the animal. The arms of man, which are liberated from the oppression of weight and can move freely, have their astral body far less closely bound to the physical than in the case of the feet. To the feet the astral body is closely bound. In fact, we may say that in the case of the arms, the astral body acts from without, and central (centripetally). In the legs and feet the will works through the astral centrifugally. In the legs and feet the will works through the astral body very strongly in a centrifugal direction, radiating powerfully outwards, from within. Therefore, if massage is applied to the legs and feet in man, the process is essentially different from that of massage applied to the hands and arms. If the arms are treated by massage, the astral element is drawn from outside inwards, and the arms become very much more instruments of the will than they would otherwise be. Through this there is a regulative effect in the internal metabolism, especially on that part where the metabolic process is taking place between ingestion and the blood vessels. In short, massage of the upper limbs acts to a great extent on the formation of the blood. If, on the other hand, the feet and legs are massaged the physical element is transmuted rather into something of a conceptual nature, and regulative action follows on the metabolism that is concerned with the processes of evacuation and excretion. The extreme complexity of the human organism is most clearly revealed in these indirect and secondary effects of massage, whether starting from the arms and mainly affecting the upbuilding internal processes of the metabolism or starting from the legs and feet and affecting the disintegrating processes of metabolism. If you investigate rationally (this is the effort here that I am attempting), you will indeed find that every bodily region and part has a certain connection with other regions and parts; and that the efficacy of massage depends on an adequate insight into these relationships. Massage of the lower body will always be of benefit even to the function of breathing; a circumstance of special interest. And in fact the central benefit progressively. For example the massage directly below the cardiac regions influences respiration, if we go farther down, the farther we descend from the center, in massage of the trunk, the greater the effect on the upper organs. And, strangely enough, massage treatment of the arms is much helped by massage of the upmost region of the trunk. These facts illustrate the individual regions and limbs of the human body. This interaction of upper and lower organs, which may be quite distant but are nevertheless akin to one another is especially evident in such ailments as, eg, Migraine.”
Then Rudolf Steiner goes on to speak of migraine as a kind of metabolic disorder.
It is upon this quote that much of the massage has been developed. My impression is that, as indicated, the quote may be considered to point to touch, suction, and pressure as parts of the grip used with rhythmic massage. However, this aspect of the grip used in massage will not be developed just yet as I would like to spend a little more time on the inner movements.
Part D – Inner Movements and the Metals
For the last several years I have been researching the role of the metals in relation to the inner movements. As we know, the metals have been related to the planets, to the working of the planets. With this research I have posed the possibility that the mirror preparations of the metals are pharmacologically brought about as a result of insight into the inner movements in the cosmos, and in man. The mirror remedies are made by heating the metals so that they go into an airy warmth state, and then the vapor is precipitated out on to cool glass. This results in a metal mirror. The precipitated metal, the metal forming the mirror, can be removed from the glass and can be made into a more or less allopathically dosed remedy, a low-potency remedy or a higher-potency remedy. It is the higher potency that I would think forms an archetype for the inner movements, bringing the planetary movements into relation with the inner movements of the human being. The basis for this perspective comes about out of the investigations of Rudolf Steiner, who has found that the heat condition of the metals brings about the upright stance of the human being, speaking, and thinking. He revealed this in the last lecture of the cycle Supersensible Man.
It could be said here, by the way, that these same metals can be prepared through potentization by plants. The plant- potentized metals may well be a form of plant and metal that brings the life-processes into relation to the inner movements with their therapeutic use.
Now the metals can be used by the massage therapist, used over the inner organs in the form of ointment preparations. By this means, the massage therapist not only comes to affect the inner movements by the massage over the organ, but in addition helps bring the cosmic healing forces into relation to the individual with his illness.
Now I should like to interject a few more words about the inner movements and the metals. Ita Wegman was to have written a book with Rudolf Steiner, a book to have followed the book Fundamentals of Therapy. This did not take place, because of Rudolf Steiner’s more or less early death. Others, however, have tried to take up this impulse. The physician Hilma Walter was one such person. Many, many therapists have used the metals in order to heal. One can ask why the metals are so important. I would venture to say that the metal therapy, dispensed as medication or by massage, can be a part of the task of “Building of the Temple.” This can mean, in non-esoteric terms, that the metals are to serve, heal, and rectify inner movements so that human beings become able to meet and work together out of their common destiny, their karma. It is karmic resolution that permits a building of proper social circumstances. If one thinks of our social struggles, strife, and unrest, this use of the metals might be a very specific step to try to be of help.
If one focuses on the seven inner movements, one can see that they permit the human being to live in a body on earth, but as well to be able to approach the world and one’s fellow human being. Just the inner movements of uprightness, speech, and thinking are needed for the human being to meet a fellow human being in a healthy way. That this is not happening is more than evident if one looks at the social and world situation. Just as the first three inner movements are essential, so it is possible to think that the other four movements lead to ever deepening relationships. This deepening is too extensive to take up at this time, but this deepening should be pointed to. The other four inner movements ultimately lead to the recreation of the human being by interaction and speaking in such a way that man will be able to speak man. Recreating the human being through speaking, through speech, points to the Creative Word, which created our world. Man recreating man though speech points to a future when mankind will become the possessor of the Creative Word. The seven inner movements, alive in the seven special metal preparations, are there to serve this social future.
On this path of creative possibility, a future far away, but a future that needs to be addressed in order to find our way, we need to look at the arts as creative practice for this future. One of the seven of the arts is the social art. In the Rosicrucian stream the social process is called the social art and is considered to be the “Kingly Art.” [The other arts are- 1 ) Architecture, 2) Sculpting, 3) Painting, 4) Music, 5) Poetics, 6) Eurythmy, and 7 ) Drama along with the Kingly Art.]
A few further comments on the inner movements and the metals may be in order here. The effort to bring about the healing of the human being in support of the social process can be found in a legend from the time of King Solomon. It is called the “Temple Legend.” Here in this legend it is told how a physical building came about. The building, however, at a deeper level, points to the temple of the social process. A work to augment, help, and heal the social process is called the “Raising of the Temple.” Let me take up this legend somewhat briefly, as it may be in this legend that a deeper aspect of the metals and inner movements may be concealed.
Most will recall that King Solomon, a king and a priest and an extension of the line of Abel, asks Hiram, of the Cain hereditary line, to help build the Temple. The Temple of Solomon is being spoken of. Solomon as priest did not have the knowledge or skill to build such an edifice. Solomon was of the hereditary line where the creations of God were worshiped, and human beings lived at the hand of God, as it were. On the other hand, Hiram was of the blood line originated by Cain. Cain’s gift to mankind was to initiate human creative capacities as a part of existence, so that humanity would become a part of the creative scene on this earth. As is well known, Cain slew Abel out of jealousy when it became apparent that God would not receive and acknowledge the creativity of Cain. The creative capacity of Cain did not include the creativity that included human relationships and the ability to overcome jealousy. This came only with the “Raising of the Temple.”
As history went, the Abel line through Seth extended into the life and work of King (and priest) Solomon, and the blood line, the hereditary line of Cain, flowed into the capacities of Hiram. From the time of Cain and Abel to that of Solomon and Hiram, the Cain line was able to mature, as it were. Hiram had obviously gained much. With the building of the Temple now a reverse situation with jealousy unfolded. As the Temple was completed and it was to be dedicated, Hiram was to enact a very solemn occult sacrament, the pouring of the “Molten Sea of Metals. I would say that through this sacramental deed the seven metals had to become molten and become transformed into a sea of pure metal, a totally pure metal. A sea of pure metal (an etheric cosmos as it were) was to be poured in dedication of the Temple. When this was attempted, then three jealous workers from the Solomonic hereditary stream, to whom Hiram would not give the Secret Word, the Creative Word, interfered with the pouring. They poured water into the molten sea. Of course the result was to have been an explosion. However, just as the water was poured, the spiritual world spoke to Hiram, Cain spoke to Hiram, and told him to throw himself into the molten sea. This he did and as a result the pure sea could come about, and at the same time the Temple was dedicated while Hiram took on the activity of the seven pure metal activities. (Other versions are of course possible.)
One way I have come to look at this legend is to think that seven metals were brought into a molten condition, into a harmonious condition, so that the human being in uniting with them could become a pure, good, and social earthly human being (A True Human Being). The inner movements, which were created on a cosmic level, could open the door for others to go this path, as it were. The inner movements could be brought into harmony, into a cosmic harmony, to heal the former murderous impulses which could arise out of the soul, the cosmic astral, which could become creative and as well socially creative, without injuring one’s fellow brother.
If one looks at the metals and the inner movements in this way, then one can consider that the work with the inner movements is to help heal every human being, so that a human social process can become possible for the sake of the future. Healing is, then, not only for the individual, but as well for the social good. Hiram with his workers was able to build the temple. At the last moment, when the temple was to be dedicated, by casting himself into the molten metal, into cosmic inner movements, Hiram could become a prototypical healer of these movements for the sake of the social well-being of mankind. It is quite possible to think that Hiram was a healer for all of mankind. He lays a foundation for the healing of the inner movements for the sake of the “social good.”
My sense is then that rhythmic massage therapy, and as well the work with the metals, has to do with inner movements. These inner movements are an essential aspect of the human makeup. The movements live within the human being and they as well need healing out of a cosmic archetype, the archetype just noted with the “pure sea of metals,” the cosmic archetype for inner movements, needed for human creativity. My sense is that suctional massage enters this domain of inner movements. What we can consider as well is that suctional massage may enter this domain of human existence and bring a help to heal what might be called distorted karmic relationships. That massage, particularly suctional grip massage rhythmically applied, can serve this end, seems to me to be of the greatest significance. With such an outlook, doing this massage is then not just being involved in making a living, but as well serving social needs at a very deep level.
Now let us return to the suctional activity of the grip cultivated in rhythmic massage. It might help to again think through a possible perspective so as to add to what has been said already–another, slightly different perspective. When the grip is used, all three aspects of the hand are used in various degrees influenced by the intuitive involvement by the therapist. Touch and pressure are a part of the suctional activity also. Thus, to speak of each separately is not quite correct, but such a threefold division may help to awaken consciousness, and for this reason I have presented it in a threefold manner.
With suction, an etheric space is created on the surface of the body. Depending on how extensive this suction is, it will be carried into differing depths of the skin, beyond the epidermis through to the subcutaneous layers and into the subcutaneous fat. The latter carries much in the way of water, liquids. A slight step into an etheric space can be considered as the suction penetrates to varying depths. Within this space the etheric, the freed etheric, can be drawn, enlivened by light, the light of touch of suction, and very light pressure related to suction. (One can pose the possibility that touch meets the epidermis, suction the subcutaneous tissues, and more intense suction the subcutaneous fat–something along this line of thought is possible.) To this light comes the cosmic light-ether, which is present because the embryonic membranes have given over their ether forces at the time of birth. In this cosmic light-ether lies the basis for the forces that heal. The ether freed through embryological development is drawn towards the cosmos, to the light-ether of the cosmos where the soul goes in sleep. This activity of the etheric brings about a kind of reaction of the astral organization, which in turn reacts upon the organs, the organ systems of the body to which one is directing the massage. (What the individual carries as an inner sense about his massage of the patient I suspect is very important. The inner thoughts help direct the astral, which reacts to the etheric activated with massage).
My contemplation is the ill human being: the astral of the one massaged is brought into contact with Adam Cadman, the archetype of the healthy human being, the etheric archetype of the human being. This in turn brings about healing movement, movement of the astral organization, particularly the movement of breathing.
Next, the life-processes can be thought to be activated with light touch. A warmth-process is activated out of the light of the touch. This warmth works into the life-processes of nourishing and maintaining. “Nature metabolism” may even be affected–not the metabolic double. Thus one can think through in quite a reasoning fashion to find possible effects of rhythmic massage.
If we now turn to light pressure, then we can perhaps consider the effort of this grip on the lower senses. This means that the sense of life, movement, and space may be affected. These lower senses are very important for the individual to feel himself as a person. The lower senses address the self, the person as it were.
When metal ointments are used, then it can be thought that the more cosmic of the inner movements, more specific inner movements associated with the astral organization, can be affected
Part E – Inner Movements in Relation to Human Twofoldness
Noting the “astral organization,” it may be well to speak about a duality in the makeup of the human. We have noted the twelvefold makeup of the senses, the sevenfold makeup of the life-processes, and the inner movements. Now it may be well to address the twofold or the dual makeup of the human being. This twofoldness is also very important for the massage therapist. This view of the human being is particularly well presented by Rudolf Steiner, out of his research, in the lecture cycle entitled The Mission of the Archangel Michael. There, and not there alone, but there in this cycle of lectures he gives a more physical orientation to a twofolding, the twofolding he had almost from the beginning of his spiritual work developed in relation to the soul, to the cognitive process, to the process of coming to know. At the beginning of Rudolf Steiner’s work, a philosophic work, he pointed to the dual of the soul, to the dual of “perception” and “conception.” In the investigation of the human being coming to know, a dual was discovered, a dual related to the soul. This can be considered to be a philosophic dual, a dual that has to do with the love of wisdom. Rudolf Steiner has written about this research of the soul-oriented dual in Goethe’s Theory of Knowledge, Truth and Science, and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.
The dual and the twofolding noted in the lecture cycle The Mission of the Archangel Michael is a very concrete dual which is bodily oriented, not so soul oriented, to begin with. He begins the report of his research with the dual of the head and the remaining trunk of the body including the limbs. The dual is Head and Trunk-Limb. He quite specifically notes the difference between the head and the remaining makeup of the human being.
The head is round and the remaining makeup is concave in the chest, somewhat convex in the abdomen anteriorly, and concave in the back, with a continuing convexity in the limbs. (I am giving a little more detail to his description than he has given.) All can note that this dual is in keeping with the sphere and the concave inner organ that I have used to develop the thesis presented here. (It can be also noted that, again and again, Rudolf Steiner uses geometric thinking and forms to unfold ideas and conceptions, so that forms and ideas meet, as it were.) The marked contrast between what lies above the neck and what lies below is emphasized in the orientation of this lecture cycle. The neck mediates the sphere and the concave form of the remaining organism. The neck, with the larynx and thyroid, plus all the connecting structures (cervical bones, nerves, muscles, esophagus, and artery-veins) becomes important with metabolic and speech activities (thyroid, parathyroid, and larynx).
For the sake of clarity I have termed the fourfold makeup in the spherical head as the physical, etheric, astral, and ego. These four “members” belong to the spherical head. The purpose of the head is to serve as a mirror, serve consciousness. Of course, the activity of the head penetrates throughout the organism but is focused in the head. This head with its four members reaches down into the remainder of the organism, the nerves and the senses. On the other hand, there are four organizations of the lower organism. I have designated them, in keeping with Rudolf Steiner’s research, as the physical-organization, the etheric organization, the astral organization, and the ego organization.
The head with its members belongs very much to the earth, makes man into an earthly being who can reach to the heavens, as it were. This reaching to the heavens has much to do with the senses and the fact that the brain in the head rides in a sphere of liquid. The organizations live in the soul more in dream and sleep consciousness. It is via the Organizations that the human being is nourished, is healed, and is able to take a spiritual path. The organizations are closely tied to those forces that are liberated at the time of birth with the casting off of the embryonic sheaths. These forces are those that are freed when the placenta is cast away at the time of birth. The inner movements based on the freed ether forces from the embryological unfolding of the inner organs, can come into relation with the ether forces freed from the placenta, from the embryonic sheaths, at birth. As noted, it is within the cosmic ether forces, also called Adam Cadmanic Forces, that the secret of nourishing, healing, and initiation lies. It is in sleep that the cosmic forces of the inner movements and the Adam Cadmanic forces can be operative. The healer seeks to bring the human being into relation with these force systems. It is for this reason that the organizations are so important for the therapeutician.
With this perspective, a perspective on where to massage the body is also implicit. The head is the citadel, the castle, the throne for the individual. It is to be reckoned with by not touching it as it were, except in special circumstances. The individual who is ill is to work with his head, no one else, except perhaps the hairdresser and the barber. Such is the approach if a sopheic orientation is taken. Why is this? I would suggest that with the cranial manipulative and usual body work there is much more of an effect on the double nature of the organism, and this has its validity. Those who do manipulative therapy may or may not have a sense for the delicacy of what is being worked with in the case of rhythmic massage. With the sopheic approach, the more soul and spiritual aspect of the organism is dealt with, and an appeal to the individuality is made. For this reason, the head with the more conscious membering is left to the individual, while the therapist bids the domain of the nourishing, healing, and spiritual striving to be active.
Now, this duality is approached in a slightly different way in the Curative Education Course. In this highly instructive course, the polar relation of the head and the remaining organism is addressed. Again Rudolf Steiner gives two separate circles that are reversed, so that if they are combined they form a lemniscate. With the two reverse circles combined into a lemniscate, it is possible to see that what is outside in the head, is inside in the lower organism and vice versa. By way of description, Rudolf Steiner indicates from his investigations that the head is a place where synthesis takes place, while in the lower body analysis takes place. All is brought together in the head, and all is analyzed and broken apart in the lower body. With this vista, one comes to another duality, that of synthesis and analysis. It is not anabolism and catabolism that are the duality as with metabolism. Synthesis and analysis belong to learning. Here it may be the placement of body parts that is so important, and not alone metabolic activities. The dual of head and trunk is as well significant for learning. With teaching and learning, it is the dual of the soul and spirit that is the focus.
With learning it is also the senses which are of utmost import, and they very much activate the life-processes, which we are here suggesting are activated by light touch of the massage grip. A sense for the head and the remaining organizations thus is important not only for he who does massage, but for he who teaches. On the other hand, it is possible to see how massage might be of significant support for the teacher.
The view of the human being is just a little different when seen by the teacher and quite different when approached by he or she who does massage. In every situation, however, with massage, learning, or healing in general, it is the sanctity of the individual that is always maintained. Such respect for the individual spirit is seldom met as it is met with Rudolf Steiner. For Rudolf Steiner, the individual Ego Is Sacred. As best as I can see, this lies behind not massaging the head with rhythmic massage. Again there are exceptions, as, for example, with a child where the ego is still very much in the domain of the cosmos. With the increasing emergence of the individual it is important to reckon with this individual in all forms of therapy. Working to free the individual for the sake of the future, this is particularly important for all efforts which come out of anthroposophy. Helping to resolve past karmic circumstances for the sake of the future can always be a guide for teacher or therapist. However, in the process the sacred individuality is to be reckoned with.
Part F – Inner Movements and Organ Massage
Organ massage is a logical next step. This step is such that it may be well to address the massage of each organ separately. Again, what is shared is meant to be a stimulus and nothing final.
1. Massage over the Spleen
It is the spleen that is used as the example for massage therapy when the subject is addressed in the lectures in Spiritual Science and Medicine. If we begin with the spleen and look to the cosmo-etheric counterpart, we come to the outermost planet of the ether cosmos, which approaches the Zodiac if we use the image of spherical ether spheres. The step from the Zodiac to planet is a step from sense organ to inner organ with life-process. The senses are built out of the Zodiac as seen by a spiritual science.
That the Zodiac is important in the life of the human organism has been a part of culture since its dawn. What is unique with Rudolf Steiner’s investigations is that the Zodiac not only forms the senses, but at the same time offers formative astrality to the human when the senses are used. The senses are constructed, then used, and the use of the senses has inherent in it the formative activities which are a part of astral activity. The etheric is considered to bring life to the cosmos and the same to the human organism, while the astral brings formative activity. This formative activity is brought to the organism from the world of the stars, the Zodiac.
The senses, then, are a reflection of cosmic astral activity and because of this bring formative activities out of the astral of the Zodiac to the human organism. This formative activity on the one hand individualizes the organism, forms the organism, and on the other hand helps organs form that can permit the human soul to have a sense relation with the world. The form of the human organism is thus gained from the zodiacal circle, altered by the activity of the etheric, the planetary ether, and the senses as well.
That the senses work to form the organism, this is new in regard to knowledge about the human configuration. The senses not only serve sense perception. They serve the soul and the spirit and act as a bridge to the body and to the world. They also serve to form. This is very new and demands quite some rethinking about our human senses.
If we look at the Zodiac, we can find that it is part of a great heavenly sphere. The human head can be thought to mirror this. If we move inward from the zodiacal circle, then we can imagine one sphere after another, each growing smaller and smaller. The planets, from a spiritual perspective, circumscribe the outer boundary of the sphere. The progressively smaller spheres are called “ether spheres” by spiritual science. It is out of these ether spheres that the inner organs are formed, or it is in these spheres that the organs find their origin and meaning from a spiritual perspective. As already noted, the inner organs are not spheres but are altered by forces which are not solely of the cosmos. The cosmo-ether forces are, however, taken into the organism and join what is given by heredity as the human embryo unfolds. A part of these ether forces are the foundation for the life-processes, and not only serve to bring life to the inner organs.
At the same time that the etheric of the ether sphere is taken over into the human organization, so the astral of the ether sphere is also. This astral of the ether sphere is not the astral of the zodiacal sphere. It belongs to the sun domain of the planetary world. This means, in a way, that the sun is a kind of center for the inner movements, and not only for the ether world of the planets.
If this line of contemplation is not too dense and complicated, it is then possible to consider that touch, light touch, or enlightened touch, particularly at the spleen, addresses the life-processes of the human organism. The life process of breathing is the first to be reckoned with.
Now another step can be taken in relation to splenic massage. This step is to consider the spleen not in relation to the life-process and the senses but in relation to inner movement, the inner movement that I have related to the upright position and then walking. Let us once again consider the origin of inner movements. We have considered that the inner movements are supported by the etheric freed from the inner organs as they are invaginated during embryogenesis. It is the sentient-body that does the invagination. The human individuality incarnating into the astral brings that which is to become physical in relation to the astral, and this forms the sentient-body. The invagination brought about by this body then tends to help the astral, within the organism, approach the physical of the organism. Thus massage of the spleen not only can awaken the senses to stimulate the life-processes, through light touch, but can in addition help the inner movement become active through suction. This inner movement plays strongly into the inner organs, and the process is a kind of breathing in digestion and in metabolism. (The spleen is essential in mediating not only sense activity, but also, in the lower organism, it regulates the deeper aspects of digestion and the uptake of food for nutrition. See the lectures in Occult Physiology.)
As the human individuality incarnates, takes up the cosmic astral, as if taking up cosmic evolution, the individuality also moves through cosmic ether gradually in approaching incarnation. The cosmic zodiacal astral is taken up in the senses, the planetary astral as potential inner movements and the planetary ether as potential life-processes. The actual etheric of the cosmos, the ether sphere, is taken into the organism to form the inner organ as well.
Thus by use of the spleen to bring about sense activities that enliven the life-processes, it is also possible to bring about activity in the inner movements that have to do with rhythm– the inner movements of breathing and circulation. In order to bring about activity in these movements, it is now necessary to bring suction to bear over the spleen. As touch activates the life-process, so now it can be considered that suction activates breathing and circulation in relation to the spleen.
Suctional Massage Furthers Rhythm As Touch Stimulates Life-Processes. Suctional Massage Has The Potential For Rhythm, Can Be Done Rhythmically. This is a possible thesis which is being unfolded here.
Now a third massage component can be added to the massage over the spleen. The third component is Pressure. The pressure that is being addressed is not that of pushing, but of a slight indentation of the surface which can follow light touch in order to bring about suction. A degree of pressure is needed in order to bring about a kind of suction with the massage grip. With Touch the Fingers are used, for the most part, with Suction the Palm Of The Hand (the metacarpal-phalangeal area and sunken palm), and with Pressure more the Ball (the area of the thenar imminence).
Now with pressure, light pressure, pressure carried out in a smooth and rhythmic fashion (not a hard push as it were), the lower senses are awakened, and these senses are united very much with metabolism and even with the metabolism of the double. Pressure can be considered to affect the senses that are intimately intertwined with life, movement, and space, into which metabolism plays strongly. With touch the life-processes were affected, with pressure the inner movements and even metabolism.
Let us return to the cosmic dimension once more, as this is quite important. We noted that Saturn stands in close proximity to the Zodiac if the cosmos is imaged in concentric spheres. Thus Saturn stands in close proximity to the senses, taken from the zodiacal astral towards physical workings. At the same time Saturn rests within one of the ether spheres, which are significant for the life-processes, but as well the inner movements. As one moves from the outer Saturn sphere towards the Sun sphere, the senses fade in relation to the life-processes, and more and more the rhythmic system comes into focus with the heart and lung. The heart and lung as rhythmic processes form out of this sun-ether domain. Now if one continues to move through the ether spheres towards the moon and earth, then it is the metabolic system that comes into existence. Thus the sense system originates in the region of Saturn and the Zodiac. The rhythmic system forms out of the middle ether spheres and the metabolic out of the moon towards earth spheres. These three domains, and the functions of the three, are taken out of the cosmos into the human organism during embryogenesis and particularly with birth. This line of thinking can be found in Rudolf Steiner’s reported research entitled Supersensible Man (1923) .
The former contemplations then can be summarized with the following outline:
Massage over the spleen
Sense stimulation by pressure- metabolism activated
Rhythmic stimulation by suction- inner movement of heart and lung activated
Life stimulation by light touch- life process of breathing activated
Thus with the splenic massage specifically we can consider that the uprightness of the human being is supported via the life processes, the rhythm through sensing and consuming, and the metabolism with breathing.
2. Massage over the Liver
This is held to be a Jupiter-related organ. Now the senses are not so important, and the individualization process is not so pronounced as with the spleen. The life-process, however, becomes very important. With light touch massage over the liver, we can think that the heart of the life-processes are encountered. The life of the organism, breathing to warming life-processes are important with the liver. The sense of life and the life-processes are essential for our sense of well-being. Here the liver is very important. It is important to think that the liver is not only active in the abdomen, but liver processes take place in the retina, the brain, slightly in the lung, and in modified form in the muscle. This liver life-process is needed for a healthy functioning of the body, where the soul and spirit are active.
With suction massage over liver it may well be the inner movement of thinking that is supported. The massage with suction can be thought to bring about a reflex activity in the region of the head, activating the inner movement of thinking. In this way the person massaged is supported with the movement needed in order to think. Added to this movement of thinking can be the inner movement of uprightness from massage of the spleen. The upright-movement helps to be able to create a boundary in the thinking movement. It takes a bit of work, but at one point thinking itself can be considered to need support in a movement that has a boundary; otherwise one flails about in the act of thinking, like a limb out of control. The inner movement of uprightness, related to Saturn, helps to bring this boundary into the movement of thinking that originates with the liver but is reflexly raised to the head. Such can be the complexity of massage that is done in relation to the inner organs.
We can now look to pressure over the liver, pressure with massage, to help stimulate the lower senses from the sphere of the liver. With pressure the lower senses are stimulated. Such has come to be my impression. When the lower senses are stimulated, the senses of life, space, and movement in relation to the liver, then the uptake of substance from the intestinal tract is supported particularly by the sense of life. Note can be made that the senses are the doors of entry, not only for light, but also for substance. With the sense of life in relation to the liver and the intestinal tract, satiation can be experienced with eating. The sense of life approaches the life-process of breathing as substances make their way to the lung. Pressure massage over the liver may be considered in this light. Important is that the massage is rhythmic and approaches the quality of suction.
Three movements can now be added to the three modes of massage, to the three grips, which can be combined into one. Let us therefore consider, with the following description, that the three grips are one. The three movements of the hands are that of Spiraling-In, Spiraling-Out, and Lemniscate-Flowing. All are done in a rhythmic fashion. It can be that each of these movements can be used with a single grip. With the seasoned masseuse or masseur, the grips and the movements will vary depending on what the massage therapist gradually comes to intuit, what the need is of the ill person, the individual.
Let us begin with the spiral-in over the liver. This movement over the liver brings about a reflex excretional-movement with the liver. The liver with excretion supports the digestive process. This means that digested substances are better prepared for uptake from the intestinal tract. As the uptake of substances from the bowel is a kind of respiratory activity, the excretional activity of the liver supports the inner movement of breathing in relation to digestion. This movement, as well, helps bodily activities to take place. With spiral-out movements over the liver, it appears to me that the secretional-movement of the liver is supported. The secretional activities of the liver are a bit like endocrine secreting activities, as substances are secreted into the circulation. Such secretion into the circulation is needed for basic self-consciousness.
Finally, with lemniscate-flowing, there is a balance of breathing and secreting, so that a kind of basic body-organismic feeling (mercurial process) is present.
What is being pointed to is subtle as far as I can see. It is action, self-consciousness, and bodily feeling that may be involved with such massage of the liver using these three movements.
3. Massage over the Gallbladder
This is known as the Mars-related organ. The spleen we have related to Saturn, the liver to Jupiter, and now the gallbladder to Mars. As it were, each organ is taken out of an etheric sphere, taking life-processes along and liberating ether forces that support the inner movements. As with the liver and spleen, we can now with the gallbladder look at touch, suction, and pressure in relation to life-process, inner movements, and sense activity, respectively.
Let us begin with touch. With light, very light touch, through the sense of touch, the life-process of breathing as takes place with absorption from the bowel may well be stimulated. As the liver aids digestion and the spleen supports uptake of substances, the gallbladder can support the breathing of the absorptive process through its excretions. With suction the inner movement of speech can be thought of as receiving a foundation as a reflex from the gallbladder towards the larynx. In this way the gallbladder can become an organ that supports speaking, speech. What sounds in depth in speech, I would say can come from the inner movement related to the gallbladder, to Mars. With individuals who easily grow hoarse, it may well be the gallbladder which needs aid. If we turn to pressure, then it is the life-process of reproducing along with the sense of bodily self that is supported. One can say that a deeper layer of self-confidence can be supported in this way. The deeper strata of the self, the ego, is very much involved in digestion, absorption, and an upward streaming for the sake of self-expression in speech.
If now we turn to the movements–that is, spiral-in, spiral-out, and lemniscate flowing, then other gallbladder activities may be aided, stimulated. With spiral-in, a reflex inner life process is stimulated to bring about the excretion of bile with consequent regulation of bowel eliminative activity. The spiral-out aids the secretion of iron into the blood, so that faint and significant speaking difficulties can be strengthened. With lemniscate-flowing, a balance of secretion and excretion can be considered, so that there is a support for the circulation, the inner movement of circulation as circulation approaches the digestive tract.
4. Massage over the Heart
With the heart we approach the organ that can be viewed as taken out of the middle of the ether world, the planetary world, the ether sphere of the sun. What is formed as heart out of this ether world, however, has a door that opens to the astral world on the one side, to the zodiacal astral, and as well to the lower astral plane, that is, the elemental world. The heart is therefore an organ that is readily seen in a threefoldness. The neural system, the Purkinje system, can be viewed as a reflection of the zodiacal astral. The musculature of the heart may be viewed as an expression of the densified etheric domain of the sun itself, with spiraling forms which express astral movements. And the blood carries the elemental world as it is etherized. (Etherized blood is blood that passes through the heart wall, through the Thebesian system, where blood cells are fractured and partially destroyed or opened, or etherized.) The elementary astral plane reflected in the circulatory fluids is brought about by activities that relate themselves to the earth and what takes place on the earth. Souls of the departed enter this plane after death, and elemental offsprings of the hierarchical world dwell there as well. What is animal soul activity is to be found on the astral plane. All of this plays into the fluids of the circulatory system.
Now, with the astral world the human being can make a direct connection. Via the sun in its relation to the Zodiac, there is a direct connection with the spiritual beings of the hierarchical world. Thus the sun opens a door to the beings of existence when the beings belong to the hierarchical domain. This domain is mirrored in the neural system of the heart.
The sun sphere is also where the world comes to have a rhythmic process integrated into the element of time. Recurrence in time with a recurrent interval, this is rhythm. It is here that the offspring of the Spirits of Wisdom, the Spirits of Rotation of Time, have a primary opening to work into the rhythms of the cosmos and thereby bring rhythm to all of earthly activity, cosmo-earthly activity, as with the seasons. The sun in its rhythm is the fundamental beat of all that is sun-related. The Spirits of Rotation of Time are the carriers of this activity.
The sun in its relation to the Zodiac gives rise to a process where what is of the Zodiac can stream through the door of the sun to earth and into an ethereal space. What comes from the domain of the Zodiac can be taken up, as it passes via the sun to earth, as mighty spiritual impulses for the sake of mankind in the form of culture. As the world evolved cosmo-geologically and geographically, so in more modern times–that is, the last 35,000 to 40,000 years, the evolution is that of culture. The physical evolution with kingdoms slowly passes into geological history. Now, because of the sun in its course in relation to the Zodiac, we now have cultural evolution, and this cultural evolution has outstripped geological evolution at this time. Cultural evolution is an evolution that is much more dependent upon the human being.
Thus rhythm and culture come via the sun to the earth and to human beings. This is an astral impulse. The life element of the sun, the etheric element, is what is so well to be seen in the plant kingdom. The elemental aspect of the sun is to be seen more in the slow changes in the earth itself, in the changes in seasons, water bodies, and land contours.
Now how is it in regard to the sun, the heart within the human being? This heart is a marvelous structure and serves functionally what is a great mystery, as it were. The heart, according to Rudolf Steiner’s research, is not an organ that drives the blood, but one that brings a rhythm to the flow of the blood as it flows within the organism. The heart feels the blood, the life of the blood. It is with the fluids of the circulation, with the movements of the fluids, that circulation as a whole comes about. The heart, as it were, rides on the flow, bringing a pulsing quality to the circulation with opening and closing of the valves, while the contraction and expansion of the heart helps the human being sense the life of the organism as this life is expressed in the flow of the blood.
Another totally different view is to think that the blood is sucked into the outermost boundary of the body from middle to periphery, from middle to head and limb (peripheric forces). At the same time, blood is also pulled into the center of the organism by forces that lie inherent within the lung and work through the core of the heart to pull the blood into the heart (earthly forces within earth energies). On the one hand, the blood draws living material (carbon dioxide and other metabolic products) into the venous system. This material is excreted via the lung, kidney, and skin. The arterial system takes in oxygen to enliven the blood and gives it over to the organism, the outer organs, the inner organs, and the tissues. Oxygen is taken into the blood by a breathihg process, one of the five different breathing processes.
With the excretion of products from the venous system and an enlivening of the blood with the intake of oxygen, there is a kind of dying and becoming as a part of the life-processes of the blood. The life-processes of breathing, warming, nutritioning, and excreting-secreting can all be considered with these heart and circulatory processes.
A time element is also very much a part of the activity of the heart and circulation. The heart is a center for reflecting activities that gave a basis for time as it takes place in bodily activity. The substantiality of the past is carried by the venous system. What is taken into the body nutritionally is metabolized and then given over to the venous system, is a residue that is dead to the body, but too living to be taken up again. This residue of metabolism has to be excreted. This is a substantiality that results from organic activities that have taken place.
The arterial blood, in the process of taking up oxygen (and nitrogen to balance the inner and outer nitrogen), serves what is to take place in the present, serves ongoing metabolic processes. The arterial system carries what is needed, what is needed as materialized life in the form of oxygen, so that happenings can take place in the here and now.
The future is, however, milked out of organs and tissues to flow in the lymphatic system and then returned to the heart. The flow of milk-like lymph fluid belongs to the future. It is returned to the heart to mix with venous, then arterial blood, but forms a delicate materiality for the future. Some of the lymph fluid has to flow through a lymph heart (cysterna chyli) on the way to the regular heart. The lymph heart can be thought to anticipate the heart of the future. Thus venous blood carries something of the past, arterial blood of the present, and lymph fluid hearkens to the future. The rhythm of the heart swings in time between past and future to give a pulse to the entire organism. As the sun moves, rings and sings in ethereal space, the heart beats in the flow of time.
Thus, physical dying out of the past (excretion of the carbon dioxide), out of what has happened in the organism, the new life that comes about (with the intake of oxygen) for the present, and the inward secretion of milk (lymph production from digestion, organ, and tissue activity) is sensed by the heart as circulation takes place. The life-process of reproducing flows in the lymph channels for the future. The inner movement of circulation penetrates the blood via the lymph heart (the cysterna chyli), while the inner movement of endocrine secretion works into the venous system. The sense of ego (arterial-based) and the sense of life (venous-based) is centered in the heart.
In this way it may be well to consider that the arterial system is the vehicle of the ego (mostly the ego organization), the lymph system is a vehicle for the astral body (mostly the astral organization), and the venous system is the vehicle for the etheric body (mostly the etheric organization).
With this description, a support for the massage of the heart is given in a way. With touch in massage over the heart the life-process of reproducing is enlivened. The inner movement of circulation and endocrine secretion is aided, stimulated with suction massage. With pressure, the sense of ego and the sense of life are brought into the field of consciousness as a kind of dream.
If we now turn to the spiral-in massage movement, we can think that diastole is aided. In turn, with spiral-out massage systole may be helped. With lemniscate-flowing, the sense for soul warmth may be augmented, along with a sense for time that flows with life in the heart. It is because of the latter sense that the heart can be considered to be an essential organ in relation to karma past and future.
With the massage over the heart, I have the impression that another movement can be spoken to. This is a streaming movement that can rise or fall flowing out from the lemniscate massage. Spiraling movements can accompany the streaming up or down. The result may be a concentration of consciousness in the head with a flowing downward, while a kind of wellness and quieting in the abdomen can follow from the streaming upward coming out of the lemniscated flowing.
The heart along with the lung is crucial for the activity of massage itself, and I will try to tackle this at the end. The lung and the heart are the major organs that underpin the rhythmic activity of massage, make massage rhythmic.
5. Massage over the Womb
Let us begin by looking at light touch, stroking movements over the womb. Touch can be the focus, and the fingers of the hands the vehicle. As per our previous considerations, perhaps we can think that touch in the region of the womb activates the life-process of reproduction, but in such a way that the reproductory process is not physical. With light touch, it is more the light of consciousness that leads to reproduction, a more soul-spiritual process of imaging the world with sense perception. With pressure, light pressure in massage movement, one can think that the sense of life itself is stimulated. A life-sense is supported so that the ill person can come to a feeling of well-being. If suction is used, then the inner movement of reproduction is activated. Now, with suction it is not cognition or a sense of well-being that is central, but the preparation of the uterus for actual reproductive activity. At the same time, we can consider that some reflex activity from this movement takes place in the head. More reflex activity in the region of the head supports a more conscious making of images. The image process is not a life-process but an inner movement, which in the case of the head may help conscious images to be brought about.
If we now return to focus on the uterus and make massage movements that spiral inward, then the excretory activity of the uterus may well be supported. If outward-spiral movements are made, then an upbuilding process within the uterus may well be an outcome. When there is a spiral-in and a spiral-out, then we can think that the two processes of upbuilding and excreting are brought into a balance. With lemniscate-flowing movements over the womb, a kind of rhythmic balance involving the inner movement of endocrine secretion might be supported. It is possible to consider that differing endocrine secretions of estrogens and progesterones can be brought into proper balance; however, the inner movement of secretion is not physical, though it may help direct the physical. The actual physical expression of hormonal secretion has to involve the Double.
It is important for the sake of clarity that the movement of reproduction be removed from the domain of sexuality. Sexuality is more a soul activity and is brought into focus with the activity of the Double of the organism. The sense of life, the sense of reproduction, the inner movement of endocrine secretion, and the inner movement of reproduction are not sexual in the sense in which sexuality is spoken of today. The senses and the inner movements are much more pure etheric and astral activities. With sexuality, the soul and the double of the organism is far more involved. The potential animality of the reproductory process I would consider to be a manifestation of the DOUBLE. When the soul is directed by love, there animality recedes and the more pure sense activities and inner movement processes step to the fore. I have penned an essay entitled “Sexuality and the Human Makeup,” where I have tried to unfold this thesis much more completely. This essay is mentioned just in case there is an interest.
6. Massage over the Lung
With the lung we come to breathing and to respiration. There is a difference. For the most part, the exchange between the body and the world is a breathing activity as defined by the physiology of our day. With respiration it is the gaseous exchange between blood and organ and the metabolic respiratory activities that are addressed with this term. As best as I can see, what Rudolf Steiner refers to as breathing encompasses both.
From spiritual scientific research there are at least five different types of breathing. The usual exchange that takes place with the intake of gases and the expulsion of gases by the lung is called breathing by this science of the spirit. In addition, there is a breathing that takes place in sense perception, and this breathing is very much concerned with the breathing of light. Both with lung breathing and sense breathing there is the intake of fine dilutions of substance. More light is taken in with sense breathing, and more substance is consumed with lung breathing. Another form of breathing has to do with the intestinal tract, where substances are breathed into the blood for circulation. A fourth form of breathing takes place with the movement of the limbs. This latter form of breathing has always been quite hidden to outer perception, but is the basis of movements of the limbs in holy and religious rites. Yogi movements have their origin in this breathing associated with the movement of the limbs and associated metabolic processes. And the fifth form of breathing is the breathing of inner organs in relation to the blood. The latter form of breathing has perhaps the most to do with the life-process of breathing, and the other forms of breathing more to do with the inner-movement of breathing.
Now breathing that is associated with the lung does not have its origin in the lung. The lung is passive, following the expansion and contraction of the chest wall along with arm movements and diaphragmatic movements. If we then look spiritual-scientifically at the movements of the body parts in relation to breathing, they are found to follow the activity of the soul. With inbreath, inspiration, the sentient-body moves inward and downward on the light (ether) taken in by the eyes. The outward breath is found to follow more the sentient-soul, which moves in the upward streaming light (astral) from the kidneys. This light that rises with the life from the kidneys is called kidney radiations, and they rise to congeal in the region of the pineal gland. The upstreaming astral body, astral organization, brings about expiration. These tw0 light streams with astral involvement bring about the inspiration and expiration of breathing.
The idea that a pneumotaxic center in the brain stem brings about the respiratory movements of chest wall and diaphragm by stimulating chest musculature, may be a materialistic dream that has relatively little basis in fact. The neurological reflex arch involving the Hering-Breuer reflex of the vagus nerve, the pneumotaxic center, and an outflow tract in the nerves that go to the intercostal musculature from the spinal tract, this may be the dream of wishful mechanical thinkers. The last I could find is that there is actually little evidence for such a pneumotaxic center in human neurological anatomy. What has been found in the case of monkeys has been carried over to the human neurological anatomy. I share this detail so that it is not thought that I am not aware of the theories involving respiration that arise from ordinary physiological investigations .]
Also important in massage with the lung is to take seriously that the limbs in their movement are a form of breathing. Thus when the limbs are massaged, reflex movements take place which work into the breathing of the inner organs. This can be noted from the quote taken from Spiritual Science and Medicine. With this said let me drop the massage of the limbs and return to the massage of the lung itself.
Massage of the lungs is usually done over the back, but can involve the lateral chest wall. The anterior chest is usually reserved for heart massage, understandably, as the heart is next to the anterior chest wall. Let us again consider the three main processes, grips, with rhythmic massage. Let us again begin with touch. It would seem obvious that the life-process of breathing is brought into activity with this grip. If one turns to suction and then to the inner movement of breathing, we can consider the breathing of the inner organs in relation to the circulation. In the case of pressure, the reflex sense activities can be pointed to. In the case of a reflex towards the upper pole of the human being, the sense of idea may be supported, and in the case of the reflex downward, it may well be the sense of space and equilibrium that is underpinned.
With the movement of the spiral-in expiration is supported, and with the spiral-out it is inspiration that is aided. With the lemniscate-flowing, rhythmic flowing movements where a kind of soul consciousness is brought about. Breathing is so fundamental to the life of the soul that a rhythmic lemnicate over the back and lateral chest helps a slight consciousness of the self as soul to be brought about. A kind of freeing of soul is aided, so that a rising into the domain of idea with thinking-feeling comes about.
As has been already indicated, the limbs are breathing instruments in moving, in being moved. The astral movement in limb activity brings about the movement of the limb. The astral body directs the physical limb, while the etheric body makes just the opposite gesture. As with the suction grip, the astral rushes into the space in reflex opposition to the etheric movement. If the ether is sucked out, the astral rushes in, as it were. With limb movement down, the ether moves upward, and with limb movement upward, the ether moves downward. At the end of his life, Rudolf Steiner brought the attention to such a process for all those interested in the spiritual science he was placing before the world. In the lecture cycle entitled Anthroposophy: An Introduction, these movements were pointed to. Obviously he did think that most of us interested in this science could come to such a basic sense about the activities of our astral and ether bodies.
With massage this basic activity of the astral and ether bodies can be utilized. Massage movements upward in the lower limb, flowing to streaming-vortexing movements upward, stimulate reflex catabolic breathing-metabolic processes or support such processes. My impression is that with downward streaming-vortexing movements of the lower limbs, the excretory processes of the bowel are aided and in this way free ether forces which can in turn rise into the head, where the formative activity of the brain is augmented. As noted by Rudolf Steiner in the massage indications found in Spiritual Science and Medicine as well as in Physiology and Therapeutics, catabolism is supported with this lower limb massage.
If massage movements are brought to the upper limb, and the movements are flowing to streaming-spiraling outward, then anabolic respiratory metabolic processes are supported. If inward streaming-spiraling movements are made with the upper limb, then I have the impression that secretory and excretory processes in the head come to support the activity of thinking. All of these processes that take place in the astral or etheric body of the limbs, when active reflexly, are active in the etheric or astral organizations of the inner organs.
From what has been said, it can be seen that the massage of the lung and the extremities, which are but an extension of the lung in breathing, is quite a complex process. If all of this is viewed as sensible-supersensible, then of course it is understandable that working ideas in regard to massage are not so simple and so easy to arrive at. Massage, if not approached with the perspective of another consciousness, without other modes of thinking being activated, can be seen as a waste of time because all the usual consciousness sees is that one is rubbing the skin. The usual thinker in our day can say that the nervous system is being stimulated via the nerve endings in the skin and the result of the nerve stimulation rises to cortical areas or hypothalamic areas or have some kinesthetic value. This is just what opponents to “body work” say about such a therapeutic approach as massage.
Note can be made that very little has been said about the nervous system. This is not to deny its role or its import. The nervous system is important, but from a spiritual perspective its role is quite different from what is usually thought to be. To bring in the nervous system in a general way, it can be said that it acts as a mirror to bring to consciousness what is taking place with massage. In the case of reflex activities in the head and senses region, it is more the brain and cranial nerves that are used as a mirror. The nervous system is a mirror for the spiritual-scientific investigator and not a carrier of soul life as is thought to be the case by most today. In the case of the inner organs above the diaphragm, it is more the spinal column with reflex arch that serve to mirror dreamlike impressions from massage. And in the case of the inner organ massage, it is more the sympathetic system that can serve as a mirror, and acts to mirror what is taking place in sleep consciousness. With rhythmic massage, as already noted early on, one is working in a physical-ethereal domain, or an ethereal-astral domain, supra-physical or supersensible. Activities within the purely spiritual domain (pure astral) are left to the individual and not touched by the therapeutician except with his or her morality. The human being has to create organs for cognition and reflection when purely spiritual activity takes place.
As the heart is at the center of healing, the lungs the center of the healer as soul, and the hands the vehicle of the soul, a few words about the profession involved with massagemight be addressed briefly. For this reason let me interject some thoughts about the specialties that are concerned with serving the ill.
Let us begin with the term Therapeutician. The therapeutician receives this designation from the Mysteries of antiquity and from a significant spiritual movement from the early days of Christianity. It is from the Essene Sect, the Therapeutae, that this term comes down to us. Interest in this sect is being revived. It is a religious sect that valued and values a very pure life, a life of clean living (with a careful diet), and a soul that is moral through and through. The purification of the soul is central to such a path. The goal of the therapeutician is to be able to heal, to master the forces of healing. As already noted, the forces of healing are etheric forces, forces that come about out of the cast-away membranes at birth. This means that with the practice of healing, the use of etheric forces, a very pure soul life is needed. A cleansing of the soul is needed.
From Rudolf Steiner’s research we can learn that the Evangelist St. Matthew, the writer of the Matthew Gospel, was enlightened and initiated in the Essene Sect. The teacher of this sect, The Teacher, is known to the world as Jesus. This Jesus lived one hundred years before the Jesus in which the Christ incarnated. The Jesus was a Bodhisattvic Being, and was called Jeshu ben Pandira. Rudolf Steiner makes the point that this Jesus has been mixed up with the Jesus who came to bear the Christ. Thus a great deal lies behind the term “therapeutician.” One can also then consider that he who goes a path of massage also needs to consider going a spiritual path as well. This path has been given in numerous forms by Rudolf Steiner, for the sake of supporting the modern human being who wishes to serve the world through a profession.
Having introduced the therapeutician, let us go a little further and consider the other specialties allied to the therapeutician. Let us take a look at the various professions that are a part of the healing, therapeutic stream. In this way we can context the therapeutician and the healer, both of whom are actually very little reckoned with in our time. A list of professions and a brief description may be helpful. Why do I take this up just with the massage of the lungs? It is because this organ is so intimately related to the soul, and the soul is so directly touched with the massage of the lungs. Because of this, the moral disposition of the therapeutician and the healer is so important, and this moral element seems worthwhile to look at by considering the professions. Here is a list and a brief description:
1. The Physician–one who sees illness and healing as dealing with the physical body. The one who does “body work,” the physical therapist, and the one doing massage stand in this light along with the usually designated “physician.” In general the physician today is not so much oriented to the physic of the body, more the materiality of the body. From a spiritual scientific perspective, the actual nature of matter, of substance, is little understood. Matter and substance from a spiritual perspective have a spiritual origin; this of course would not be and is not considered by the materialist. It is the destiny of the “physician” to wrestle with this problem of the nature of matter from a spiritual perspective.
2. The Healer–one who makes use of etheric forces to bring about changes needed with illness. Here a very subtle sense for other forces than physical energies is needed. For the most part, the very existence of such forces is in question in our day. Here we have polarized, for the sake of clarity, forces and energies. A spiritual path is needed to come to a perception of these healing forces.
3. The Therapeutician–one who takes his own soul and strives to make it so pure that it can become a vehicle for a higher spirituality to work in or through the soul. That a Christ Being could incarnate into a Jesus means that the soul of Jesus was so pure, and the body so living, that the Incarnation of an extremely lofty spiritual being could take place. It is pointed out by Rudolf Steiner that the Christ, aside from the human individuality, is the only other spiritual being in existence who incarnated in a physical body. The Incarnation took place to help man, to heal men. The Therapeutae prepared the spiritual striver for such a pure life so the striving soul could have access to a spirituality needed to help others. This needs to be said once more today, where the morality of those in therapeutic practice is in question at every turn. It is the pure of soul who can use and master life forces in the service to one’s fellow man.
4. The Associationalist (commerce man, economist)–today more than ever before, come to be recognized as that individual who works together to help others. Working in association means cooperative activity in relation to all who are busy trying to help others, while entering into the field of economics. For the most part those in the therapeutic field have left the economic domain to economists and administrators. The result has been catastrophic, since the economics of therapeutics has not been worked at and worked out by those in the field. Working at economics out of one’s field I have come to call “beetroot economics.” Too many have not busied themselves with economics, nor administrative practice. The “associationalist” has yet to emerge as a real and significant element in the therapeutic field. Unfortunately today, the economic, the greed of economics, has become the sole orientation called “Managed Care.” Into this scene of managed care, new ideas need to come about the handling of economics for the sake of the poor, the ill, and the unknowing. (Studies have indicated that more than a third of all who are ill do not understand what is happening, have no idea of choices in therapeutics, and for the most part have no interest.) With the approach being espoused here, quite new forms of cooperative activity, for the sake of service, with economic consequences needs to be considered.
One thing that is essential on the path of the associationalist, the healer with an economic sense of responsibility, I have come to think is to begin to seek the Being of Mercury, a significant spiritual being. A real effort to find and serve the Spiritual Being with the Staff of Mercury needs to arise. To serve oneself in therapeutics will ultimately only result in what is taking place today with the economics of therapeutics. Today we need this Spirit to help bring healing to commerce and the moral decadence of the caregiver. The Being Mercury, or Raphael, serves to guide the healer, the man of commerce, as is being addressed here, and as well those who are in need of moral healing. Mercury-Raphael is also the spiritual being who leads to the healing of the thief.
5. The Teacher–today this is one who not only needs to serve the ill, but needs to be mindful of others who wish to work in a similar way. It is with teaching that the soul element becomes the real teacher. This was given as a law for teachers by Rudolf Steiner. He spoke of this law for the educator. This law is that the one who educates actually educates by a soul-member that is one step above the one being taught. For the most part it is the soul-member called the intellectual- to consciousness-soul that is striving to learn. It is the task of the teacher to purify the soul so that the pure soul, or the “spirit-self,” can be the teacher. The spirit-self is one step above the striving and learning soul moved by the consciousness-soul. Here the one who teaches has to have made steps to transform the astral to spirit-self, or Manas. The therapeutician is such a person, and has had to work with the moral in order to be able to teach. Today it is not the point to teach morals, but to have the courage to strive for something that has moral content. Action is one criteria of morality, but knowledge, truth, is another. It is truth that is the mare of the therapeutician who seeks to teach. Now, at this stage of human striving, the physician, the healer, the therapeutician, the associationalist can become a teacher.
6. The Instructor– is the one who teaches and has content to impart from out of life, out of living. The instructor is one who practices, and can share and reveal what comes from practice. It is for this reason the instructor has to know but has also had to find a way to impart out of what he does to another, who cannot do and does not know. Here the moral used and practiced, along with the skill, needs to be passed on.
7. The Professor-Doctor–The difference between the teacher, the instructor, and the professor-doctor is that what the teacher can teach the instructor practices, and what the instructor practices can be professed by the doctor. The professor-doctor does not bring knowledge, but should have the capacity to share wisdom. While truth is the province of the teacher, wisdom is the province of the professor-doctor. This is not so much the case today. The wisdom that comes from knowing and practice can be considered to be the contribution to humanity, but it is very hard to gain. It is so difficult that it is totally denied by many today. What we are speaking about can be called “practical-wisdom.” From Rudolf Steiner’s perspective, this is the major ethic of our day. In olden times the one who was wise in relation to the spiritual world was called a “priest,” and this is what Plato called it as well. Today, the “priest” has to be able to practice what he preaches and, in addition, find the spirit that dwells in matter and the matter that can be raised to spirit. To this end, the priest today has to become a teacher and a physic-ian as well. Priestly-professor, practicing teacher, and physic-ian healer-therapeutician, this might be a new profession in our time, not limited to any one of the professions that are extant currently.
If one who is busy trying to help others with illness takes up all seven categories noted here, then it is possible to think that these seven categories constitute a path. The path is from “physician” to “teacher” to “priest.” This was the form of spiritual responsibility and leadership in the past. Today a uniting of priest, teacher, and physician into a single whole out of freedom and striving, without negating the need for separate specialties, might give quite new impulses for the caring of human beings. Such a “three in one” has been presented by Rudolf Steiner with his lectures on Man as a Symphony of the Creative Word. With this we might contemplate a new Breath.
7. Massage over the Kidneys
Our path has been to come from the organ formed out of the ether sphere of Saturn to the ether sphere now of Venus. The planet ether spheres and the inner organs so far have been:
With the kidney we are dealing with an obvious excretory organ. What we can learn from Rudolf Steiner is that the excretory process is highly important for the reason that the ether forces freed are then used to construct an organ or give support for organ formation. Four major excretory processes can be identified, of which the kidney excretion, urine excretion, is one. With the kidney-bladder, mineral elements are excreted in the urine with the freeing of ether forces which come to form the associational paths in the brain–the physical counterparts of reasoned relationships formed in the soul by the spirit. When the bowel contents, fecal material, are excreted then something of plant life is eliminated, with ether forces freed to form the surface of the brain. That ether forces want to bring about structure can be seen by looking at the bowel in the abdomen, which resembles the configuration of the cortex of the cerebrum. If we look to the excretional activity of the lung with the breath, then the more animal element can be seen to be eliminated. This is evidenced by the many (over 400) protein-like substances that are eliminated with out-breathing. The forces freed by the excretion via the lung help the senses be used and the forces for image formation be available. (Of course carbon dioxide is also excreted.) And, finally, there is the excretion of sweat by the skin, with the elimination of mineral, some proteinaceous substances, and fatty substances, many of which remain to be identified. With excretion from the surface of the body, forces are freed for the support of the formation of higher organs of cognition. Rudolf Steiner has addressed the excretory processes of the skin with the lotus organ formation in a cycle called True and False Paths of Spiritual Investigation.
With this perspective, the import of the eliminative process of the kidneys, and also of the bowel, lung, and skin, becomes more obvious. With massage of the kidney we can expect to find a complex of activities being influenced just as with the lung. Let us try to take a look.
In the case of touch massage over the kidneys, we can consider the life-process of breathing as important. Substances are excreted and forces can be breathed upward into the head as noted above. With suction, the inner movement of thinking can be supported. Pressure may well awaken the sense of touch itself. Anyone who works with the kidneys will note the sensitivity of the back to touch. This is evidenced when a person is stared at from behind and this is experienced by the person looked upon as being touched.
If we turn to the movements of massage, the first is spiral-in. Here we can think that excretional activities are supported astrally. With spiral-out, the more endocrine secretory activity of the kidneys and the supra-renal or adrenal glands may be stimulated etherically. With lemniscate-flowing to streaming movements, the integrity of the kidneys in their anabolic-metabolic maintaining life process may be supported. The kidney is very important in metabolism, in protein metabolism, not only in mineral metabolism as is so well-known today.
Now downward flowing-vortex movements over the kidney may support the rising ether forces that are carried to the brain to support the forming of the brain and as well as to congeal around the pineal gland. Upward flowing-vortex movements over the kidneys may help the inner movement of breathing be carried by reflex movement up to the cerebellum.
My impression is that the role of the kidneys is basic for the excretional activities in general, and therefore they need to be looked after very carefully. Outer limb movements are supported by the excretional activities of bowel, kidney, lung, and skin. Without excretion, the whole human being would be a ball, which could roll around but could never walk or use its hands. Silence would prevail and self-consciousness would never come into question.
Part VIThe Makeup of the Human Being–Threefold Makeup
For the observant individual it will have been seen that I have often used a threefolding to take up the massage grip and the massage movements. Emphasis has been given to the twelvefold makeup of the senses. The sevenfold makeup of the life-processes and the inner movements has been extensively addressed. The twofold makeup has been emphasized, and the four members of the human being, the physical, etheric, astral, and ego have been a fourness running throughout this essay. The eightfold makeup has been noted as a doubling of the four when the four members become member organizations, as with the ego organization, etheric organization, astral- organization, etheric organization, and physical-organization.
The threefold makeup of the human being was, is, a fundamental discovery by Rudolf Steiner around 1884 to 1886. It was in 1886 that he, for the first time, notes this threefolding. This was a time in the life of Rudolf Steiner when he was extremely busy trying to lay a scientific basis in order to come to soul-spirit knowledges. He was looking for a new biological science, a new soul science, and a new spiritual science. He saw all too clearly that the materialistic science of the day could not out of itself comprehend the human body as a living entity. The body was becoming more and more a mechanical gadget, a caloric oven, or a motor with an elaborate electrical switchboard. He searched for a science of biology in order to understand the living world, and particularly to come to a better understanding of the human organism. In his search for the “living” in biology, as well as zoology, he came upon the pioneering biological work of Goethe. He immersed himself in Goethe’s science, which he saw as truly revolutionary and in line with his own searches. He came, through his Goethe research work, to be the editor of Goethe’s scientific works at the young age of twenty-six. The scientific works of Goethe were, are, far-reaching and encompassing when added to his poetical-literary works.
Rudolf Steiner was forced to return to the study of the human organism from a conventional perspective in order to bring his own and Goethe’s perspective to bear upon the human being as a physical-biological entity. In his struggle with these materialistic ideas, he himself says that he was given a revelation of the human organism which was, is, entirely new. This gift from the spiritual world he at once began to research and, for the next thirty years, searched and researched. He shared his research under the title of “Anthroposophy,” the wisdom of the human being as a threefold being. In 1917 he wrote a little treatise called The Riddles of the Soul, and in this treatise shared the threefold makeup in a concise but still germinal way. There he came to note the nerve-sense system as one pole of the human makeup, the human makeup in the light of the soul. Then he noted the limb-metabolic system at the other extreme in the makeup and functioning of the human body. In between nerve-sense and metabolic-limb systems, he noted the rhythmic system with the heart and the lung. Rudolf Steiner thus could speak to a body as a manifest soul expression. This body is not a body only created in the image of God, but a body created in the image of the human soul. Quite a new dimension of the bodily makeup is placed before the world by Rudolf Steiner, out of his research. It is important, as I have done throughout, to note the aspect of research, as Rudolf Steiner was a spiritual scientist. The perspective, according to Rudolf Steiner, is what the spiritual world wanted, and it helped him find this threefold makeup out of his searches. In his quest for the living human body, he came upon the soul, the soul manifest in the body. This approach to the body is totally new, although progressively pointed to with cultural evolution.
Rudolf Steiner noted to all that this makeup of the human being, this bodily makeup, was a sensible-supersensible entity. This body so indicated by Rudolf Steiner could and can be seen with the eye, but the spiritual eye has to be open at the same time. The spiritual eye can be called the “eye of imagination.” He noted that Goethe, with his description of the “archetypal plant,” had placed before mankind the evidence that such a perceptive-conceptive activity could take place and that what was revealed can be called sensible-supersensible. This threefold revelation is totally new for all of us, though within the mysteries of antiquity was known (eg, Isis, Osiris, and Horus–more soul, however).
In the past, the human being had been held to be threefold, that is, body, soul, and spirit. The threefold became twofold, that is, body and soul, by dint of decisions made by the Church Fathers during the first centuries of Christendom. As modern times approached, the human being become a body, only a body. With Rudolf Steiner, his research let him find that the body could be seen as a revelation of the human soul, of the thinking, feeling, and willing of the soul, using just what modern times was discovering by way of materialistic research. His discovery was, is, pertinent for our time. Rudolf Steiner discovered that by starting with the soul, something that all men are inclined to do today in our materialistic times, a real quest beginning with the soul could come to show that the body is a mirror for the soul. That the body has processes that could mirror the soul, this was already an old alchemic revelation with the three processes of sal, mercury, and sulphur, chemical processes. New was, is, to see the human physical makeup in terms of the soul, the soul in which spirit is directive with thinking, feeling, and willing.
Rudolf Steiner did not stop there with his threefolding. He went on to show the threefold makeup of the spiritual-hierarchical domain, the threefold makeup of the earth, and finally in 1917 the potential threefold makeup of human social life if it is worked for. Thus the threefold discovery was truly far-reaching.
I have repeatedly noted here with this essay, with the threefold makeup, that an activity in one domain of the body can work reflexly in another as indicated by Rudolf Steiner. In this reflex process the role of the rhythmic system was not taken into consideration. The rhythmic system is not a reflex system but works as a mediating system between two poles. This means that there is an activity in the middle and not just a mechanical type of process. The activity of the rhythmic system is, as noted, rhythm. An example of a reflex is that which takes place with kidney excretion, with the consequent liberation of ether forces, which in turn reflexly become available for the forming of the cortex of the brain. With the rhythmic system, the whole of the nerve-sense processes and the limb-metabolic processes have to be brought into relation with time and made into rhythmic-related activities. It is then the rhythmic system that helps to harmonize the extremes of rhythmic activities. In this way, the whole human organism is in a way penetrated by rhythm. What is it that carries rhythm? It is the etheric. The etheric has as a part of its makeup a basic rhythmicity, an elastic rhythmicity. The etheric as light, as we know, is decribed by the spiritual scientist and the materialistic scientist as wave in nature. This oscillating quality of light (not the photon-materialized quality of light) serves as a basic quality that points to rhythm. This is not a reflex process; it is a process that recurs in time, the same again and again. It is this very basic etheric-related element that the massage therapist seeks and works with no matter what the grip or the movement.
This subject of the human threefoldness is actually vast and would take much time to detail. Perhaps it is better just to say that at the root of what has been shared, the threefold revelation given to Rudolf Steiner by the spiritual world stands as fundamental.
2. Using One’s Hands to Help Those in Need
Just by what has been said, it can be seen that the hand has been threefolded. The fingers are a reflection of the nerve-sense system by our approach here to massage. They are important for touch. The palm of the hand (with the metacarpal joint at one end and the thenar imminence at the other) is needed to create suction and mirrors the rhythmic system. The third component to the hand is the ball (the thenar imminence), which is needed to reveal the limb-metabolic system with pressure, light pressure as a delicate part of suction, flowing, streaming, and vortexing.
But the hands are an extension of the arms. The arms with hands are again a threefold. The upper arm, the lower arm and the hands can again be seen in a threefold perspective. The upper arm is needed for real will activity, the middle arm for feeling activity and the hand for thinking activity. The whole upper extremity is very much used for an expression of speech, for language and for an expression of feeling (eg, hugging). The upper extremity is important in the use of all musical instruments. Rudolf Steiner has actually noted that the upper limbs have been formed out of cosmic music, cosmic intervals.
The lower extremity is what is used in life to begin with. The baby begins with a kind of kick, then cries. The lower limb movement becomes refined in the upper extremity with walking and then speaking. The freeing of the upper extremities from gravity is an essential for the step from animal makeup to human evolution. With ever more refined activity with the hands, and then quieting the hands, the capacities just noted can evolve from walking, to speaking, and then to thinking. If thinking evolves from one’s finger tips, then thinking has a discipline that can be first trained by finger movement and then taken inward to support inner discipline for thinking. The progression is from below up, and from outwardness to inwardness.
Now with massage a quite new step is taken. Now the arms and hands can be seen as an extension of the chest with the lung and heart. It is for this reason that this essay has been entitled as it has, “Massage and the Path of the Heart.” How is this? Now the progression is from within out, from the heart to the hand, not from the foot to the head. This is quite a different evolution of the human being from what takes place just by dint of the fact that the human being is born and follows the world and cultural evolutionary steps.
The evolution from heart to hand stands close to the evolution from the collar bone and the larynx to the movements of eurythmy. This latter unfolding I will not follow up here, and hope that at one point I can take this up as well. As a physician working with those of different special therapeutic orientations, I take this to be a challenge in collegial working for the sake of the social good.
An approach to the heart, the limbs, and the hands is via embryology. Let me make a general statement about embryogenesis and then take up particulars. Let me suggest that the limbs are articulated into the embryo just as the brain and the heart. The brain evolution I will only refer to, the heart development I will now focus on, and the unfolding of sensible-supersensible arms and hands, this I will attempt to share.
The human embryo actually unfolds out of the heart and the circulation. How is this, when in fact the womb is the basis of embryonic development? A perspective is to see that when conception and implantation takes place, the uterus becomes increasingly blood-borne, blood-laden. The conceptus implants in the surface of the uterus and bores its way into the lining to meet with the maternal uterine vasculature. What then takes place is that the embryo stimulates the maternal vasculature to form a kind of sphere of blood around the developing conceptus. As a maternal sphere is brought about, an embryonic sphere of blood is also formed. It is called the chorion. The chorion is the first of four embryonic membranes with come about to form the embryo. The outer membrane is, as noted, the chorion. The next membrane, or next layer that fashions the embryo, is the amnion, the water bag in common parlance. This is a membrane that permits a fluid sphere to unfold and, within this fluid, the embryo as such. The embryo thus unfolds in association with the maternal heart and vasculature and within a body of water. Part of the chorion thickens and congeals to become the placenta. Through spiritual scientific investigation these two membranes are seen to reflect the working of the ego and astral. Over time I have come to consider that these membranes mirror the ego organization, and the astral organization. There are two other membrane systems, spoken to on a number of occasions by Rudolf Steiner. The other two are the allantois, a mirror of the etheric organization, and the yolk sac, a mirror of the physical-organization.
It is quite possible to follow the unfolding embryo with the view that the embryo grows out of these membranes, which involute with development (the allantois and yolk sac) and are cast 0ff at birth (the chorion-placenta and the amnion). At birth the placenta and the amnion are cast away. What is significant here is that the membranes that are cast away free ether forces, which would have to be operative on a physical level if this casting away did not occur.
These freed etheric forces, forces freed from chorion, amnion, allantois, and yolk sac, along with the cosmic organizations work after birth to bring about nourishment, healing, and a potential for a spiritual path. The forces of the membranes, the etheric forces along with the cosmic etheric, astral, and ego organizations work into the life of the human being on earth, in a physical body. One can say that in sleep one returns to enter the cosmic ether domain where the freed ether forces from the embryonic membranes are operative, working in sleep into the soul, and in waking into what is asleep in nourishing and healing and can awaken with spiritual striving. The sheaths are spoken of in two important lectures by Rudolf Steiner, and are an outcome of very careful spiritual scientific research. The two lectures are from quite early times in the twentieth century: “Adam Cadman” and ” Invisible Man.”
I have written an essay on the import of these freed ether forces for the spiritual striver in forming what is called the “etheric heart organ.” The thesis of this treatise on the etheric heart organ is that the freed forces may well be the basis for support to the unfolding of the lotus organs. Lotus organs are sense organs needed for the individual to come to supersensible-spiritual perception. Such organs are also needed for the investigation of the spiritual world and are needed to commune with the spiritual beings in the spiritual world.
For any healer, the one who is an artist, who practices the art of healing, this domain of Adam Cadman, of the Invisible Man, of Cosmic Man and Cosmic Physiology, is extremely important. One can think that any artist has contact with the ether forces of the cosmos given over from the time of birth. Thus birth is a death of these forces in direct relation to the body, to be able later to bring about healing, further nourishment, and support spiritual striving. These forces, these freed ether forces, as it were, work continually in the time of human sleep and in the sleep of nourishment. They work in art as in a dream, and they work to support conscious unfolding with initiation striving. Here are the membranes and the forces as a possible view:
Chorion—is related to the ego organization, which exists cosmically and extends beyond the circle of the fixed stars. Here in the domain of cosmic existence, a part of all of our individual egos remains as a stimulus to higher striving.
Amnion—is related to our astral organization, which exists cosmically and extends to the circle of the fixed stars. This organization exists to give over astral substance for the formation of the astral-lotus organs. This organization also serves that we may be nourished body, soul, and spirit.
Allantois—is related to our etheric organization, which extends throughout the planetary world. This cosmic organization serves to support the evolution of the higher organs of cognition, while at the same time serves to heal. It is these forces which are needed for the healer and the real artist.
Yolk sac—serves to support the unfolding of the actual physical body in its organizational makeup and its relation with the earth. It serves that part of the organism which is not a part of the Double makeup of the body. The forces of this sheath help the physical to be sensible and supersensible at the same time. The Double of the body is sensible throughout.
The chorion is an extension of the human heart and circulation for the sake of the human being who is to be born out of the heart that has descended into the womb. One can say that it is only an illusion that the human being is born out of the uterus at the time of delivery. The uterus is actually a heart at the time of birth. As a uterine heart, it functions to excrete the membranes and the fetus. Only the physical body and the physical- and etheric organizations are delivered into the physical world. With this orientation, let me try to develop a view of the human heart that I see can be further evolved to serve the ill and those in need. Here with this extension of the heart, built on the image of embryonic unfolding, the striving human being can come to aid evolution towards another step for the sake of mankind. I would look at the arms and hands of the individual who seeks to heal through massage with the hands for further evolution of the human condition.
Let us look at the developing heart of the human being, developing during embryonic times. If we start with the amnion, we find it to be a bag of fluid. It is fluid but penetrated through and through by cosmic astrality, with the ego as organization at work in the chorion. In early embryonic unfolding, the amnion gives rise to another vesicular structure located at the head end of the embryo. This structure is called the pericardial sac or vesicle. One can imagine that this vesicular structure, this vessel, draws the brain out of the notocord of the embryonic disc. This takes place quite early on, within the first three weeks of embryonic unfolding. Next, I would say, that out of the impulse of the ego organization working through the chorion, the pericardial sac migrates away from the head, downward to the middle of the thoracic region, and into the unfolding chest of the embryo, all within the first month of embryogenesis. As this migration of the pericardial sac is taking place, the fluids within the embryo are already flowing, flowing from days 18 to 21. The fluids flow through the pericardial sac making very complicated movements, and in the process the heart itself precipitates, as it were, out of the fluids. Slowly the heart begins to beat on this flow bringing a rhythm into the flow, as the fluids in their inherent rhythm bring about valvular formation. The spiraling-vortexing-moving liquid, an expression of the astral organization, and the undulating, pulsing stream brought about by the etheric organization sculpt the outer form of the heart. Again the heart as a physical structure can be thought of as precipitated out of the liquid. The heart is precipitated into a vessel, the pericardial sac, which is also a vessel with a small amount of liquid at the time of birth. The embryo within a world of fluid (blood and amnionic fluid) develops a vessel containing a small amount of fluid, the pericardial sac, and within this fluid of the sac there unfolds the physical heart. The heart in a way develops in an ether world three times over–that of the blood of the chorion, that of the fluid of the amnion, and that of the pericardial sac. Though the heart becomes physical, it is through and through an etherically-penetrated organ.
As the heart precipitates into the pericardial vessel, which is the basis of the pericardium of the mature heart, the vessel retains its etheric organizational relation with the cosmos. This etheric organizational relation with the cosmos brings about a relation with the ether of the cosmos. (In this cosmic ether there exist the ether forces of the cast off membranes.) It is for this reason that one can speak of an etheric heart, which I would say rings with the sense of life, the life-sense. The individual who uses his hands, as it were, extends his ether heart into the hands, and by this means can help to bring ether forces of healing to the one in need.
As the physical heart comes to sit within the chest towards the front of the thoracic cavity, so one can think that a purely ether heart is rayed into the fluids of the pericardium from the greatest of distances of the ether cosmos, to be rayed into the entire human organism. If we next turn to the arms, extensions of the cosmic astral rayed into the human organism, extension of the distant world into the physical organization, then we can think of the arms (legs are similar, but more under the influence of the earth) radiating into the chest. It is because of this radiating into the organism, in the case of both the arms and the legs, that we can lift the extremities as we do, lift them out of the field of gravity, magnetism, electricity, and material intelligence. When we lift and move our extremities, we lift them into the domain of the movements of the cosmos, the astral cosmic force systems.
If we focus on the arms, we can then work towards a kind of imagination in relation to the arms. This can be done by touching the wrists and slightly bending the arms at the elbows. When we do this we create an air space, a hollow that can breathe as we move our arms. This breathing takes place during massage, and for this reason something of a soul nature is carried by the one doing massage. If one massages with straight arms, the experience by the one massaged is that of mechanical movements. The arms breathe when the massage breathes, while the etheric heart swirls within the pericardium and the physical heart beats against the chest wall. I would therefore say that we carry our astral heart in our moving arms. As the astral is the carrier of morality, of goodness, then the one doing massage has the challenge, the particular challenge, to go a path “To Do The Good.”
“To do the good” means that a spiritual path has in it the potential for such goodness, for morality. This also means that the seeker needs to be able to find and experience evil as the handmaiden of the good. In our day, where morality is so much misunderstood, this may be a significant challenge for the individual doing massage.
Now we can move to the hands, the hands with wrists, ball, palm, and fingers. If the hands are put together at the wrists, cupped in the palms with the fingers touching we then have a hollow. I wouid say we have a hollow full of warmth. As the air in the arm region is moved with the arms, so the warmth is contained by the hands. This warmth is essential for the one doing the massage. It is the ego, the ego heart, that is in the hands. It is the ego of the ill individual who is cared for. Or one can say that what is needed is to love one’s fellow man sufficiently that a desire to help can step to the fore. This then means that the one doing massage out of a moral striving, striving to help and do the good, can make a loving gesture towards his fellow man with heart-warmed hands.
A summary for the one doing massage can be:
Chorion as ego organization—moves the pericardial sinus into the chest
Amnion as astral organization—moves the liquid of the body to form streams, which in turn form the heart
Allantois as etheric organization—moves liquid into the amnion, the pericardial sinus, and the body as a whole
Yolk sac as physical-organization—stays movement to precipitate the physical heart out of the moving, pulsating, streaming fluids within the body
The striving masseuse—seeks to know the physical heart (heart-wisdom, physic oriented)
The striving healer—strives to work with the forces of healing, to form an etheric heart for healing
The striving therapeutician—evolves morally to work for an unfolding, moving astral heart to help redeem the destiny, the karma of the ill person
The striving social servant—serves with the love carried by the ego heart of the hands.
Such a line of thought might be brought to the one who seeks to go a path where the hand is an extension of the heart, where the four hearts of the human being can serve those in need, those who are ill and seeking help. For the interested person, it is possible to find a lecture where Rudolf Steiner has actually spoken about these four hearts. This is a single lecture printed by Mercury Press and is called “The Heart.” Rudolf Steiner has found that the physical heart is born during the first seven years of life. The etheric heart comes into being in the second seven years of life. The astral heart is brought into existence in the third seven years of life, with the ego heart to be unfolded subsequently. Thus life itself furnishes the potential for the hearts noted here and striven for by the one who lovingly, morally, and artistically serves healing .