What Spiritual Science says about the Plant World
Spirit is active in the animal and human existence and weaves behind the plant or mineral existence.
The plant world cannot be considered in isolation but only in relationship to the entire planet Earth, just as the finger or piece of bone or the brain form a whole with our organism. It is a member of our common Earth.
Earth planet is not a dead rock formation but rather a living organism, bringing forth the nature of plants out of itself. Every plant shows its relationship to the earth by the direction of its stems, which is always such that it passes through the center of the Earth. All stems of plants would cross at the Earth’s center if we extend them to that point. This means that the Earth is able to draw out of its center all those force radiations that allow the plants to arise. Everything of a mineral nature is first something plant-like that hardens and then turns to stone. Earth’s rock formations are the great skeleton of the Earth organism.
Truly plant world possesses something which bewitches man in the most varied ways when he begins to contemplate the plant covering of the earth with the eye of the spirit. We go out into a meadow or a wood. We dig up, let us say, a plant with its root. If we regard what we have dug up with the eye of the spirit we find a wonderfully magical complex. The root shows itself as something of which we can say that it came into existence entirely in the sphere of the earthly. It has absorbed the salts of the earth into itself, and feels a deep sense of gratification at having soaked up the earth. In the whole sphere of the earthly there exists no more absolute expression of satisfaction than a turnip-root; it is the representative of root-nature. On the other hand let us look at the blossom. When we observe the blossom with the eye of the spirit we only experience it as our own soul, when it cherishes the tenderest desires. Only look at a spring flower; it is a sigh of longing, the embodiment of a wish. And something wonderful streams forth over the flower world which surrounds us, if only our soul-perception is delicate enough to be open to it. In spring we see the violet, maybe the daffodil, the lily-of-the-valley, or many little plants with yellow flowers, and we are seized by the feeling that these blossoming plants of spring would say to us: O Man, how pure and innocent can be the desires which you direct towards the spiritual! Spiritual desire-nature bathed in piety, breathes from every blossom of spring. And when the later flowers appear — let us at once take the other extreme, let us take the autumn crocus — can one behold the autumn crocus with soul-perception without having a slight feeling of shame? Does it not warn us that our desires can tend downwards, that our desires can be imbued with every kind of impurity? It is as though the autumn crocuses spoke to us from all sides, as if they would continually whisper to its: Consider the world of thy desires, O Man; how easily you can become a sinner! Looked at thus, the plant-world is the mirror of human conscience in external nature. Nothing more poetical can be imagined than the thought of this voice of conscience coming forth from some point within us and being distributed over the myriad forms of the blossoming plants which speak to the soul, during the season of the year, in the most manifold ways. The plant-world reveals itself as the wide-spread mirror of conscience if we know how to look at it aright. If we bear this in mind it becomes of special significance for us to look at the flowering plants and picture how the blossom is really a longing for the light-being of the universe, and how the form of the blossom grows upwards in order to enable the desires of the earth to stream towards this light-being of the universe, and how on the other hand the substantial root fetters the plant to the earth, how it is the root which continually wrests the plant away from its celestial desires, wishing to re-establish it in the substantiality of the earth. And we learn to understand why this is so when, in the evolutionary history of the earth, we meet the fact that what is present in the root of a plant has invariably been laid down in the time when the moon was still together with the earth. In the time when the moon was still together with the earth the forces anchored in the moon within the body of the earth worked so strongly that they hardly allowed the plant to become anything but root. When the moon was still with the earth and the earth still had quite another substance, the root element spread itself out and worked downwards with great power. After the moon left the earth, however, there unfolded in what had previously existed only as tiny little shoots peeping out into the world a longing for the wide light-filled spaces of the cosmos; and now the blossom-nature arose. So that the departure of the moon was a kind of liberation, a real liberation for the plants. You see in a meadow how the flowers, the blossoms of the plants, strive towards the light. Man consumes the plant, but within him he has a world entirely different from the one outside. Within him he can bring to fulfillment the longing which, outside, the plant expresses in its blossoms. Spread abroad in nature we see the desire-world of the plants. We eat the plants. Within ourselves we drive this longing towards the spiritual world. We must therefore raise the plants into the sphere of the air so that in this lighter realm they may be enabled to strive towards the spiritual.
There is pain even in the plant world. When you tear a plant out of the earth with its roots it hurts the whole Earth and causes the plant soul to feel pain. On the other hand when a flower is picked the Earth has a sense of well-being. For the Earth gladly yields what it bears on its surface. For example, when the corn is reaped in the autumn or when animals graze on the plant growth the Earth has a sensation of well-being such as that felt by the cow when its calf sucks milk.
Winter and summer in the Earth organism correspond to waking and sleeping in the organisms around us. Waking and sleeping move around spatially: the Earth sleeps in the part where there is summer, and it is awake in the part of its being where there is winter. In the summer earth surrenders itself to an activity that proceeds spiritually from the Sun. In the winter condition the Earth organism closes itself off from this Sun activity, drawing itself together into itself. When spring approaches, the Earth organism begins to think and to feel, because the Sun with its being lures out the thoughts and feelings. The plants are a kind of sense organ for the Earth organism, so that the Earth with its thinking and feeling can be in the realm of the Sun activity. The Earth is surrounded by aura of thoughts and feelings. For the spiritual research the Earth is a spiritual being whose thoughts and feelings awaken every spring, and throughout the summer they pass through the soul of our entire Earth. Everything the plants mediate during summertime is directed towards the Earth’s center, which is the Earth ego. That is why we may not consider plants by themselves but rather must consider them in interaction with the self-conscious ego of the Earth. What unfolds itself as thoughts and sensations of the Earth is similar to the thoughts and sensations that live in us. This is the astral body of the Earth, which recedes when winter approaches so that the Earth rests in its own ego, closed off within itself, retaining only what it needs in order, through memory, to carry over the preceding into the following, retaining in the plant’s seed forces what it has conquered for itself. Just as the human being does not lose his thoughts and sensations during sleep but finds them again the next morning, so the earth, awakening again from sleep in the spring, finds the seed forces of the plants in order to permit what was conquered in an earlier time to emerge again from the living memory of the seed forces.
What our senses are for us, the plants are for the Earth organism. Spiritual beings who stream from the Sun down to the Earth, unfolding their spiritual activity, encounter from spring through summertime the beings that belong to the Earth itself. The spiritual entities that belong to the Earth activity and the Sun activity perceive through the plant organs, and these entities direct towards the center of the Earth all organs they need in order to unite them with the center of the Earth. Thus we have to see behind the plant covering are the spiritual entities that weave around the Earth and have their organs in plants. Physical light is only the external body of the astral light which radiates from the Sun, and the astrality gleaming around the upper part of the plant is connected intimately with the astrality coming from the Sun. As we posses an astral body, we have wishes and will impulses; in the plant it is desire, will and feeling that play around the blossom. What is this desire? It is desire to absorb the soul of the sunbeam, and with it the most pure [constituent]- the ego; and it is a continuation of the sunbeam that passes through the plant to the centre of the Earth. The activity of the plant’s ego comes to expression in this action of the sunbeam’s spiritual content as it passes through the plant to the centre of the Earth. The spirit, plant and Sun work together.
There are organs for light on the surface of the leaves of plants. These light organs, which actually can be compared with a kind of eye, are spread out over the plants, but the plant does not see by means of them; rather the Sun being looks through them to the Earth being. These light organs bring it about that the leaves of the plant always have the tendency to place themselves perpendicularly to the sunlight. This is the plant’s second orientation through which the plants express the Earth’s surrender to the activity of the Sun beings. The first orientation is that of the stem, through which the plants reveal themselves as belonging to the Earth self-consciousness.
Expression of the spiritual life lays at the foundation of everything. We regard the plants as a physiognomic expression of the features of our Earth. Thus what we call our aesthetic feelings in relation to the plant world deepens especially through spiritual science. Standing before the gigantic tree or quiet violet we can say, there the spirit that lives throughout space expresses itself to us -Sun spirit! Earth spirit! We feel ourselves as living and weaving with spirit. With our soul and spirit we feel ourselves belonging to the Earth and to the Sun. We gaze into the soul of the Earth if we understand how it manifests in blossoms and leaves of the plant world.
There are beings that can actually smell the universe: namely, the plants. Plants posses an indescribably delicate noses, the entire plant is a nose. It takes in the scent of the universe and if its structure is such that it gives back this cosmic aroma in the way that an echo gives back a sound, it becomes a fragrant plant. The scents of flowers, of plants in general, and also other scents on the Earth, do indeed relate to the planetary system. The plants smell the universe and adapt themselves accordingly. The violet is beautifully aware of what streams from Mercury and forms its scent-body accordingly, while the asafetida has a delicate perception of what streams from Saturn and forms its gas-body accordingly, having thereby an offensive odor. As a matter of fact, to sensitive noses all plants do have a certain scent – at the least, they have what can be called a refreshing aroma – and this has a very strong effect upon them. This refreshing smell comes from the Sun. So, we smell Mercury through violet, in foul odor of asafetida we smell Saturn, the flowers of horse chestnut and linden blossoms are sensitive noses for everything that streams into the universe from Venus. And so in very truth the fragrances of heaven come to us out of the plants. Thus if we know if with their fragrance the plants are breathing out what they inhale from the universe, then we can say that plants are the delicate organs of smell that belong to the Earth. And the human nose – that’s really a coarse plant. It grows out of man like a kind of blossom, but it has become coarse, it no longer has such delicate perception as the plant. The leaves of plants can be compared to the human tongue: they can taste the world. The roots of plants can be compared with eyes.
We can feel the gestures, physiognomy, and the colors of the plant world to be something like human physiognomy.
Annual plants are related to the planets with short period of revolution. In contrast, those plants that emancipate themselves from this transitory state, that cover themselves with bark and make themselves perennial, they are related to the planetary forces that work via the forces of warms and cold, to the forces of the planets with long period of revolution, like Saturn’s thirty years or Jupiter’s twelve. Thus, for planting an oak tree it is important to have a good understanding of the Mars periods, while for the planting of coniferous forest Saturn forces play a great role.
If we look at the tree with understanding, the only part that we can consider plant-like are the thin green stems, which bear leaves, flowers and fruits. These shoots grow out of the tree in the same way as herbaceous plants grow out of the soil. As far as what is growing on its branches is concerned, the tree is the soil. It is mounded-up soil, soil that is simply in a more living condition than the soil in which our herbaceous plants and grains grow. There are the actual plants – the leaves and flowers that grow out of it. These plants are rooted in the twigs and branches of the tree just as other plants are rooted in the earth. There are no actual roots to be found in the tree, in fact, the roots are there- they are just not visible to coarse outer perception. You must comprehend them. The roots all grow together and form a unified layer. The plants that grow on the tree have lost their roots, they have more or less separated themselves from their roots and only remain connected with them etherically. The only way to look at the roots of these plants is to imagine that they have been replaced by cambium. Thus, in the tree, we can see how the solid, earthly element has in fact raised itself up, how it has grown up into the air, and why it therefore requires more internalized vitality than ordinary soil, which only has ordinary roots in it. We begin to understand the tree as a remarkable entity that exists in order to create a separation in the “plants” that grow on it. It separates their stems and flowers and fruits from their roots, and retains only a spiritual connection, an etheric connection. The plants growing on the ground are surrounded by a hovering cloud of astrality, but in the treetops the astrality is much more dense. Our trees are concentrations of astral substance; they are pronounced gathers of astral substance. You can distinguish between the smell of poor in astrality herbaceous plants growing on the ground and rich in astrality lovely scent wafting down from the treetops.
The desire to become tree-like is actually present in every plant.
Astrality hovers around plants, and enters into a particular connection with plants in fruit formation when something nourishing is produced, that can support the astrality that is in the animal and human organism.
A plant has the same kind of direct connection to earth and water that an animal has to air and warmth.
Plants give off air and warms and live by giving. Plants give, and animal take.
Long time ago, in primeval times, it was still easy to change one plant into another. In those days, this sort of things was extremely important. Through various circumstances different species of plants were established.
The Atlanteans could control the life force, they knew how to put the germinal energy of organism into the service of their technology. Think of the kernel of seed -grain, energy lies dormant in it. This energy causes the stalk to sprout from the kernel. Nature can awaken this energy which reposes in the seed. Modern man cannot do it at will. He must bury the seed in the ground and leave the awakening to the forces of nature. The Atlantean could do something else. He knew how one can change the energy of the pile of grain into technical power, just as modern man can change the heat energy of a pile of coal into such power. Plants were cultivated in the Atlantian period not merely for use as foodstuffs but also in order to make the energies dormant in them available to commerce and industry. The Atlantians had mechanisms in which they-so to speak-burned plant seeds, and in which the life force was transformed into technically utilizable power. They could draw upon the pulsing life forces of growing plants and appropriate them for the revitalization and renewal of their bodies. They could also transfer these energies from one plant to another, thus augmenting the strength of the weak or afflicted by that of the strong and healthy. The throbbing currents of life emitted specific tones as they surged upwards. The Atlantians could hear these sounds and transcribe them into music so perfectly attuned to the
rhythms of the plants that it. possessed dynamic healing efficacy.
All that takes place in nature is permeated with a mysterious music which is the earthly projection of the Music of the Spheres. In every plant and in every animal there is really incorporated a tone of the Music of the Spheres. Some time ago there was perfected in Germany a delicate instrument by which it was possible to hear the sound of growing grass. To those whose hearing has been raised to the etheric octave, this sound may be heard without the aid of a physical mechanism. To the clairaudient person nature in all her manifold forms is literally heard performing a symphony of divine sublimity. Flowers, trees, and grasses- every growing thing- come into being and maintain their existence in harmony with symphonic patterns of sound that are indescribably beautiful. The winds are tuned to certain rhythms, as is also the beat of the waves. The tides also have their rhythms, coming in on majors and going out in minors. The combined sounds of everything on earth compose a harmonic chord which is the keynote of our planet. It is in the key of F whose tone becomes visible as green, and is, therefore, Earth’s basic color note.
The plant, as an archetypal being, consists of nothing else but leaf, and the metamorphosis of leaves. The organs of the vegetating and flowering plant, though seemingly dissimilar, all originate from a single organ, namely, the leaf. It expands on the stem as a leaf and assumes a highly diverse form, contracts in the calyx, expands in the petal, contracts in the reproductive organs, and expands for the last time as fruit.
The leaf is given up to the light, and therefore the light enters as if there were nothing to hinder it. But the flower, as it were, hinders the light, and reflects it. Only because the light does not penetrate but is reflected, refused (because flower does not want the light) does the flower appear in its colored beauty.
To be beautiful always involves developing a certain element of rejection. This is what flower does.
Nature forms the flowers and fits them for the service of love, she seems as it were to relax in it, and irresolutely leaves her creation in an indefinite and soft state, often pleasing to the eye, but intrinsically powerless and inactive.
While the form of the plant is shaped by the planets out of the cosmic fragrance, its color is due to the Sun and also to some extent to the Moon.
Fleeting inclination towards the animal kingdom is reversed in blossoming. Parts that were concealed are spread out and exposed to the light. The corolla is an open secret -still an organ, but open to the traffic of bees and butterflies, and to the wind. The plant when in flower is raised a step on Nature’s ladder, but, though touching the animal world, it has nevertheless opposite tendencies. It exposes itself to the outer realm of light whereas the animal turns itself inward. Flowers often generate heat, in some cases (Aurum lilies) can be 10 degrees C above the external temperature.
What is visible in the coloration of the flower, works especially strongly as a force in the root; for the living forces of the distant planets are active also within the soil. Root is wholly within gravity, but in plant gravity is overcome. Gestures of the roots are always ‘earth searching’. They are focused on the center of the earth and at the same time want to embrace a part of the earth. With roots that are undivided (unitary) we have cosmic roots. When a root divides and branches, this is a sign that the earthly factor is working downwards, just as the cosmic factor works upward into the color of the flowers .The influence of the Sun stands between the two, working primarily in the plant’s green leaves and in the interplay taking place between the flowers and the roots. The Sun thus corresponds to what we call the soil diaphragm. Through rooting in the soil plant unites itself with all other plants. In the plant root the ‘youthfulness’ remains in the tips and it renews itself as it grows.
We need to know how to adjust the composition of the soil, so that the cosmic factor tends to become more dense to be held back in the roots and leaves. Or conversely, how to make it thinner so that it can be more readily sucked up into the flowers, giving them color, or into the fruits, permeating them with fine flavor. Just like the color of flowers, the fine taste of apricots or plums is a cosmic quality that has made its way up into the fruit. In every apple you are actually eating Jupiter; in every plum, Saturn.
Plant-life, as it sprouts and springs forth from the earth, immediately arouses our delight, but it also provides access to something which we must feel as full of mystery. Plants appear on the face of the earth in such magnificent variety of form, which develop in such a mysterious way out of the seed with the help of the earth and the encircling air —we feel that some other factor must be present in order that this plant-world may arise in the form it does. When spiritual vision is directed to the plant-world, we are immediately led to a whole host of beings, which were known and recognized in the old times of instinctive clairvoyance, but which were afterwards forgotten and today remain only as names used by the poet, names to which modern man ascribes no reality. To the same degree, however, in which we deny reality to the beings which whirl and weave around the plants, to that degree do we lose the understanding of the plant-world. This understanding of the plant-world, which, for instance, would be so necessary for the art of healing, has been entirely lost to present-day humanity.
Plants send down their roots into the ground. Anyone who can observe what they really send down and can perceive the roots with spiritual vision (for this he must have) sees how the root-nature is everywhere surrounded, woven around, by elemental nature spirits. And these elemental spirits, with an old clairvoyant perception designated as gnomes and which we may call the root-spirits, can actually be studied by an imaginative and inspirational world-conception, just as human life and animal life can be studied in the sphere of the physical. We can look into the soul-nature of these elemental spirits of the roots. They are a quite special earth-folk, invisible at first to outer view, but in their effects so much the more visible; for no root could develop if it were not for what is mediated between the root and the earth-realm by these remarkable root-spirits, which bring the mineral element of the earth into flux in order to conduct it to the roots of the plants. These root-spirits, which are everywhere present in the earth, get a quite particular sense of well-being from rocks and from ores (which may be more or less transparent). But they enjoy their greatest sense of well-being, because here they are really at home, when they are conveying what is mineral to the roots of the plants. And they are completely enfilled with an inner element of spirituality. For these root-spirits are in their spirit-nature entirely sense, and it is a sense which is at the same time understanding, which does not only see and hear, but immediately understands what is seen and heard, which in receiving impressions, receives also ideas. We can even indicate the way in which these root-spirits receive their ideas. We see a plant sprouting out of the earth. The plant comes into connection with the extraterrestrial universe; and, particularly at certain seasons of the year, spirit-currents flow from above, from the blossom and the fruit of the plant down into the roots below, streaming into the earth. And just as we turn our eyes towards the light and see, so do the root-spirits turn their faculty of perception towards what seeps downwards from above, through the plant into the earth. What seeps down towards the root-spirits, that is something which the light has sent into the blossoms, which the Sun's warmth has sent into the plants, which the air has produced in the leaves, which the distant stars have brought about in the plant's structures. The plant gathers the secrets of the universe, sinks them into the ground, and the gnomes take these secrets into themselves from what seeps down spiritually to them through the plants. And because the gnomes, particularly from autumn on and through the winter, in their wanderings through ore and rock bear with them what has filtered down to them through the plants, they become those beings within the earth which, as they wander, carry the ideas of the whole universe streaming throughout the earth. We look forth into the wide world. The world is built from universal spirit; it is an embodiment of universal ideas, of universal spirit. The gnomes receive through the plants, which to them are the same as rays of light are to us, the ideas of the universe, and within the earth carry them in full consciousness from metal to metal, from rock to rock. We gaze down into the depths of the earth not to seek there below for abstract ideas about some kind of mechanical laws of nature, but to behold the roving, wandering gnomes, which are the light-filled preservers of world-understanding within the earth.
Once the plant has grown upwards, once it has left the domain of the gnomes and has passed out of the sphere of the moist-earthly element into the sphere of the moist-airy, the plant develops what comes to outer physical formation in the leaves. But in all that is now active in the leaves other beings are at work, water-spirits, elemental spirits of the watery element, to which an earlier instinctive clairvoyance gave among others the name of undines. They yield themselves up to the weaving and working of the whole cosmos in the airy-moist element, and therefore they are not beings of such clarity as the gnomes. They dream incessantly, and their dream is at the same time their own form. They live in the etheric element of water, swimming and swaying through it. They dream their own existence. And in dreaming their own existence they bind and release, they bind and disperse the substances of the air, which in a mysterious way they introduce into the leaves, as these are pushed upwards by the gnomes. For at this point the plants would wither if it were not for the undines, who approach from all sides, and show themselves, as they weave around the plants in their dream-like existence, to be what we can only call the world-chemists. The undines dream the uniting and dispersing of substances. And this dream, in which the plant has its existence, into which it grows when, developing upwards, it forsakes the ground, this undine-dream is the world-chemist which brings about in the plant-world the mysterious combining and separation of the substances which emanate from the leaf. We can therefore say that the undines are the chemists of plant-life. They dream of chemistry. They possess an exceptionally delicate spirituality which is really in its element just where water and air come into contact with each other. The undines live entirely in the element of moisture, but they develop their actual inner function when they come to the surface of something watery, be it only to the surface of a water-drop or something else of a watery nature. They wish to remain in a condition of metamorphosis, in a condition of eternal, endlessly changing transformation. But in this state of transformation in which they dream of the stars and of the sun, of light and of warmth, they become the chemists who now, starting from the leaf, carry the plant further in its formation, after it has been pushed upwards by the power of the gnomes. So the plant develops its leaf-growth, and this mystery is now revealed as the dream of the undines into which the plants grow.
To the same degree, however, in which the plant grows into the dream of the undines, does it now come into another domain, into the domain of those spirits which live in the airy-warmth element. Thus it is in the element which is of the nature of air and warmth that those beings live which an earlier clairvoyant art designated as the sylphs. Because air is everywhere imbued with light, these sylphs, which live in the airy-warmth element, press towards the light, relate themselves to it. They are particularly susceptible to the finer but larger movements within the atmosphere. When in spring or autumn you see a flock of swallows, which produce as they fly vibrations in a body of air, setting an air-current in motion, then this moving air-current — and this holds good for every bird — is for the sylphs something audible. Cosmic music sounds from it to the sylphs. If, let us say, you are traveling somewhere by ship and the seagulls are flying around it, then in what is set in motion by the seagulls' flight there is a spiritual sounding, a spiritual music which accompanies the ship. It is the sylphs which unfold and develop their being within this sounding music, finding their dwelling-place in the moving current of air. It is in this spiritually sounding, moving element of air that they find themselves at home; and at the same time they absorb what the power of light sends into these vibrations of the air. Because of this the sylphs, which experience their existence more or less in a state of sleep, feel most in their element, most at home, where birds are winging through the air. If a sylph is obliged to move and weave through air devoid of birds, it feels as though it had lost itself. But at the sight of a bird in the air something quite special comes over the sylph. When it sees a bird an ego-feeling comes over it. It is in what the bird sets in motion as it flies through the air that the sylph feels its ego. And because this is so, because its ego is kindled in it from outside, the sylph becomes the bearer of cosmic love through the atmosphere. It is because the sylph embodies something like a human wish, but does not have its ego within itself but in the bird-kingdom, that it is at the same time the bearer of wishes of love through the universe. The sylph imbues the plant with light; it bears light into the plant.
In order to gain insight into the process of fructification, that is to say the process of reproduction, in the plant-world, we must be conscious that in the first place it is from what the great chemists, the undines, bring about in the plants, and from what the sylphs bring about, that the plant-form arises, the ideal plant-form which sinks into the ground and is preserved by the gnomes. It is there below, this plant-form. And there within the earth it is now guarded by the gnomes after they have seen it, after they have looked upon it. The earth becomes the mother-womb for what thus seeps downwards. This is something quite different from what is described by materialistic science. After it has passed through the sphere of the sylphs, the plant comes into the sphere of the elemental fire-spirits. These fire-spirits are the inhabitants of the warmth-light element. When the warmth of the earth is at its height, or is otherwise suitable, they gather the warmth together. Just as the sylphs gather up the light, so do the fire-spirits gather up the warmth and carry it into the blossoms of the plants. Undines carry the action of the chemical ether into the plants, sylphs the action of the light-ether into the plant's blossoms. And the pollen now provides what may be called little air-ships, to enable the fire-spirits to carry the warmth into the seed. Everywhere warmth is collected with the help of the stamens, and is carried by means of the pollen from the anthers to the seeds and the seed vessels. And what is formed here in the seed-bud is entirely the male element which comes from the cosmos. It is not a case of the seed-vessel being female and the anthers of the stamens being male. In no way does fructification occur in the blossom, but only the pre-forming of the male seed. The fructifying force is what the fire-spirits in the blossom take from the warmth of the world-all as the cosmic male seed, which is united with the female element. This element, drawn from the forming of the plant has already earlier seeped down into the ground as ideal form, and is resting there below. For plants the earth is the mother, the heavens the father. And all that takes place outside the domain of the earth is not the mother-womb for the plant. It is a colossal error to believe that the mother-principle of the plant is in the seed-bud. The fact is that this is the male-principle, which is drawn forth from the universe with the aid of the fire-spirits. The mother comes from the cambium, which spreads from the bark to the wood, and is carried down from above as ideal form. And what now results from the combined working of gnome-activity and fire-spirit activity — this is fructification. The gnomes are, in fact, the spiritual midwives of plant-reproduction. Fructification takes place below in the earth during the winter, when the seed comes into the earth and meets with the forms which the gnomes have received from the activities of the sylphs and undines and now carry to where these forms can meet with the fructifying seeds. Plant-fructification takes place through the fact that the gnomes take from the fire-spirits what the fire-spirits have carried into the seed bud as concentrated cosmic warmth on the little airships of the anther-pollen. Thus the fire-spirits are the bearers of warmth.
And now you will easily gain insight into the whole process of plant-growth. First, with the help of what comes from the fire-spirits, the gnomes down below instill life into the plant and push it upwards. They are the fosterers of life. They carry the life-ether to the root — the same life-ether in which they themselves live. The undines foster the chemical ether, the sylphs the light-ether, the fire-spirits the warmth ether. And then the fruit of the warmth-ether again unites with what is present below as life. Thus the plants can only be understood when they are considered in connection with all that is circling, weaving and living around them. And one only reaches the right interpretation of the most important process in the plant when one penetrates into these things in a spiritual way. When up above the fire-spirits are circling around the plant and transmitting the anther-pollen, then they have only one feeling, which they have in an enhanced degree, compared to the feeling of the sylphs. The sylphs experience their self, their ego, when they see the birds flying about. The fire-spirits have this experience, but to an intensified degree, in regard to the butterfly-world, and indeed the insect-world as a whole. And it is these fire-spirits which take the utmost delight in following in the tracks of the insects' flight so that they may bring about the distribution of warmth for the seed buds. In order to carry the concentrated warmth, which must descend into the earth so that it may be united with the ideal form, in order to do this the fire-spirits feel themselves inwardly related to the butterfly-world, and to the insect-creation in general. Everywhere they follow in the tracks of the insects as they buzz from blossom to blossom. And so one really has the feeling, when following the flight of insects, that each of these insects as it buzzes from blossom to blossom, has a quite special aura which cannot be entirely explained from the insect itself. Particularly the luminous, wonderfully radiant, shimmering, aura of bees, as they buzz from blossom to blossom, because the bee is everywhere accompanied by a fire-spirit which feels so closely related to it that, the bee is surrounded by an aura which is actually a fire-spirit. When a bee flies through the air from plant to plant, from tree to tree, it flies with an aura which is actually given to it by a fire-spirit. The fire-spirit does not only gain a feeling of its ego in the presence of the insect, but it wishes to be completely united with the insect. Insects obtain the power completely to spiritualize the physical matter which unites itself with them, and to allow the spiritualized physical substance to ray out into cosmic space. It is the fire spirits which inspire the insects to this activity, the fire-spirits which are circling and weaving around them. But if the fire-spirits are active in promoting the out-streaming of spiritualized matter into the cosmos, they are no less actively engaged in seeing to it that the concentrated fiery element, the concentrated warmth, goes into the interior of the earth, so that, with the help of the gnomes, the spirit-form, which sylphs and undines cause to seep down into the earth, may be awakened.
This is the spiritual process of plant-growth. And it is because the subconscious in man divines something of a special nature in the blossoming, sprouting plant that he experiences the being of the plant as full of mystery. It is the instinctive delight in the plant raised to a higher level when not only the physical plant is seen, but also that wonderful working of the gnome-world below, with its immediate understanding and formative intelligence, the gnome-world which first pushes the plant upwards. Thus, just as human understanding is not subjected to gravity, just as the head is carried without our feeling its weight, so the gnomes with their light-imbued intellectuality overcome what is of the earth and push the plant upwards. Down below they prepare the life. But the life would die away were it not formed by chemical activity. This is brought to it by the undines. And this again must be imbued with light. And so we picture, from below upwards, in bluish, blackish shades the force of gravity, to which the impulse upwards is given by the gnomes; and weaving around the plant — indicated by the leaves — the undine-force blending and dispersing substances as the plant grows upwards. From above downwards, from the sylphs, light falls into the plants and shapes an idealized plastic form which descends, and is taken up by the mother-womb of the earth; moreover this form is circled around by the fire-spirits which concentrate the cosmic warmth into the tiny seed-points. This warmth is also sent downwards to the gnomes, so that from out of fire and life, they can cause the plants to arise. Plant-life is an outer expression of the inter-working of world-love and world-sacrifice with world-gravity and world-magnetism. Here real insight can only be gained when our vision embraces the spiritual, the supersensible, as well as what is accessible to the physical senses. This enables us to correct the capital error of materialistic botany, that fructification occurs above the earth. What occurs there is not the process of fructification, but the preparation of the male heavenly seed for what is being made ready as the future Plant in the mother-womb of the earth. In overcoming gravity the plant opens up to the light, which comes in the opposite direction to gravity. As plant is exposed to sun and its light, fertilization occurs there. The ovary develops and the seed, and a new plant develops under the influence of the light. The cosmic breathing is brought to the plant year by year through the light. In reality it is the light which comes from the universe and fertilizes the flower, and this creates the seed for the new plant.
Biodynamics is a science of life-forces, working with the energies which create and maintain life, a recognition of the basic principles at work in nature, and an approach to agriculture which takes these principles into account to bring about balance and healing. Biodynamics is an ongoing path of knowledge rather than an assemblage of methods and techniques. To understand plant life we must expand our view to include all that affects plant growth. Plants are utterly open to and formed by influences from the depth of the earth to the heights of heavens. Everything in nature reveals something of its essential character in its form and gesture. So, eventually one learns to ‘read’ the language of nature and be creative, bringing new emphasis and balance through specific actions. The light of the sun, moon, planets and stars reaches the plants in regular rhythms. Each contributes to the life, growth and form of the plant. By understanding the gesture and effect of each rhythm one can time ground preparations, sowing, cultivating and harvesting to the advantage of the raised crops. The soil itself has to be alive to support and affect with its vitality the quality and health of the plants that grow in it. Therefore, one of Biodynamics’ fundamental efforts is to build up stable humus in the soil through composting. Biodynamics’ aims for the quality of food and grows plants with a strong connection to a healthy, living soil. Plants themselves could never be diseased in a primary sense, since there are the products of the healthy etheric world. They suffer rather from diseased conditions in their environment, especially in the soil. With the new science of cosmic influences naturally occurring plant and animal materials are combined in specific recipes in certain seasons of the year and then placed in compost piles. Biodynamic preparations bear concentrated forces within them and are used to ‘organize’ the chaotic elements within the compost piles. When the process is complete, the resulting compost is ‘medicine’ for the Earth which draw new life forces from the cosmos. Important thing about the preparing compost is to bring about a more intensive involvement of the elemental beings in the formation of this fertilizing substance. Meditation, Prayer and Singing can be used. The ‘sacrificial offering’ of the preparations provides the medium through which these beings are enabled to co-operate in our striving. Those making the offering must achieve the appropriate soul attitude, working in conscious co-operation with and out of recognition, respect and gratitude towards the un-acknowledged creators of life and health.
The teacher can confer upon the pupil no powers which are not already latent within him, and his sole function is to assist in the awakening of slumbering faculties. The golden rule of true spiritual science is as follows: For every one step that you take in the pursuit of higher knowledge, take three steps in the perfection of your own character. A start has to be made with the thoughts and feelings with which we continually live, and that these feelings and thoughts must merely be given a new direction. Everyone must say to himself: “In my own world of thought and feeling the deepest mysteries lie hidden, only hitherto I have been unable to perceive them.” Hence it is highly important to give the proper direction to thoughts and feelings, for then only can the perception be developed of all that is invisible in ordinary life From the most ancient times in occult schools there was an exercise tested and practiced for the development and control of thoughts and feelings. Fully conscious self-control must never be lost during this exercise, and it must be accompanied by the same sane, sound thinking which is applied to the details of every-day life. The intellectual clarity, not to say the sobriety of thought, must never for a moment be dulled.
We place before us the small seed of a plant, and while contemplating this insignificant object, form with intensity the right kind of thoughts, and through these thoughts develop certain feelings. First let us clearly grasp what we really see with our eyes. We describe to ourselves the shape, color and all other qualities of the seed. Then let the mind dwell upon the following train of thought: “Out of the seed, if planted in the soil, a plant of complex structure will grow.” We build up this plant in imagination, and reflect as follows: “What I am now picturing to myself in my imagination will later on be enticed from the seed by the forces of earth and light. If I had before me an artificial object which imitated the seed to such a deceptive degree that my eyes could not distinguish it from a real seed, no forces of earth or light could avail to produce from it a plant.” If we thoroughly grasp this thought so that it becomes an inward experience, we will also be able to form the following thought and couple it with the right feeling: “All that will ultimately grow out of the seed is now secretly enfolded within it as the force of the whole plant. In the artificial imitation of the seed there is no such force present. And yet both appear alike to my eyes. The real seed, therefore, contains something invisible which is not present in the imitation.” It is on this invisible something that thought and feeling are to be concentrated. (Anyone objecting that a microscopical examination would reveal the difference between the real seed and the imitation would only show that he had failed to grasp the point. The intention is not to investigate the physical nature of the object, but to use it for the development of psycho-spiritual forces.)
We fully realize that this invisible something will transmute itself later on into a visible plant, which we will have before us in its shape and color. We ponder on the thought: “The invisible will become visible. If I could not think, then that which will only become visible later on could not already make its presence felt to me.” Particular stress must be laid on the following point: what we think we must also feel with intensity. In inner tranquility, the thought mentioned above must become a conscious inner experience, to the exclusion of all other thoughts and disturbances. And sufficient time must be taken to allow the thought and the feeling which is coupled with it to bore themselves into the soul, as it were. If this be accomplished in the right way, then after a time — possibly not until after numerous attempts — an inner force will make itself felt. This force will create new powers of perception. The grain of seed will appear as if enveloped in a small luminous cloud. In a sensible-supersensible way, it will be felt as a kind of flame. The center of this flame evokes the same feeling that one has when under the impression of the color lilac, and the edges as when under the impression of a bluish tone. What was formerly invisible now becomes visible, for it is created by the power of the thoughts and feelings we have stirred to life within ourselves. The plant itself will not become visible until later, so that the physically invisible now reveals itself in a spiritually visible way.
As a further exercise to succeed the one just described, the following may be taken: we place before us a plant which has attained the stage of full development. Now let us fill our mind with the thought that the time will come when this plant will wither and die. “Nothing will be left of what I now see before me. But this plant will have developed seeds which, in their turn, will develop to new plants. I again become aware that in what I see, something lies hidden which I cannot see. I fill my mind entirely with the thought: this plant with its form and colors, will in time be no more. But the reflection that it produces seeds teaches me that it will not disappear into nothing. I cannot at present see with my eyes that which guards it from disappearance, any more than I previously could discern the plant in the grain of seed. Thus there is something in the plant which my eyes cannot see. If I let this thought live within me, and if the corresponding feeling be coupled with it, then, in due time, there will again develop in my soul a force which will ripen into a new perception.” Out of the plant there again grows a kind of spiritual flame-form, which is, of course, correspondingly larger than the one previously described. The flame can be felt as being greenish-blue in the center, and yellowish-red at the outer edge.
It must be explicitly emphasized that the colors here described are not seen as the physical eyes see colors, but that through spiritual perception the same feeling is experienced as in the case of a physical color-impression. To apprehend blue spiritually means to have a sensation similar to the one experienced when the physical eye rests on the color blue. This fact must be noted by all who intend to rise to spiritual perception. Otherwise they will expect a mere repetition of the physical in the spiritual. This could only lead to the bitterest deception.
Mountain-plants are more valuable as remedies than those that grow in valleys, particularly than those we plant in our ordinary gardens or in a field. If plants grow wild in the mountains, they draw into their sap the tiny particles of quartz, feldspar and other substances which can be used for healing, and that makes them into remedial plants. The plants themselves are the most precious homeopaths of all, for they absorb tiny, minute particles from all these stones, which otherwise would have to be refined and pulverized when a medicine is being prepared. Nature does this far better than we could, we can take the plants themselves and use them directly for healing purposes. And it is a fact that the plants and herbs growing on mountains have far greater healing properties than those in valleys.
Plants develop according to a bi-polar pattern. Their growth is due to the assimilation that takes place in their middle zone. Like the rainbow, which spans the poles of light and darkness, starch is formed in the plant’s green foliage between the polarities of earth and cosmos, light, air and water. Rainbows in the sky or around fountains and waterfalls are equally effects of inter-acting light, air and water. Starch too is formed of these very elements: air (carbon dioxide), light and water. The fact that heavy air (carbon dioxide) is involved in starch formation has the effect, in conjunction with the plant’s life processes, of making assimilation more than just a show of color: it progresses to the stage of material condensation into starch. The plant physiologists’ formula for this, which reads
6CO2 + 5H2O -* C6H10O5(starch) + 6O2
is very interesting to chemists, but gives no clue whatever to the real story. A person who realizes that virgin starch is a condensed rainbow comes to a new sense of kinship with plant creation.
After the sun has finished forming starch in the plant’s green foliage, this substance undergoes many further changes. Warmth and other environmental forces bring the plant past the leafy stage and into blossom, while starches are refined to sugars. Starch and sugar are close relatives, both being classed as carbohydrates, but sugar is a much more refined, etherealized carbohydrate than is starch. Chemists call starch a polymerized sugar. But this is only a way of saying that the two substances belong in one chemical category, with starches representing denser and sugars finer stages of the same.
After blossoming, great changes come over the substance of the plant. Blossom tissues become increasingly ethereal. Sugars become glycocides and make up the plant’s color. Scents develop, and the plant gradually disappears into the universe in an outpouring of radiance and fragrance. And the cosmos answers with a second materializing wave-crest that causes fruit to form and seeds to appear.
Many material transformations take place as plants progress through the fruit and seed-forming phases of development and manufacture oils and protein. It is cosmic warmth and its etherealizing effect on starches that makes all this wealth of material transformation possible. We may therefore call the upper part of the plant its metabolic pole.
In contrast to this upward etherealizing, we find plant tissues more contracted the closer we come to the root. Here the earth’s shaping forces harden the virgin substance, starch, to cellulose. Chemically it is still a carbohydrate, but a far denser form of it than is starch. This makes cellulose an excellent structural material, and we find it throughout the plant as framework. In the root it hardens almost to a wooden state, as can happen also in the stalk. The root area of plants may therefore be called their form pole.
The plant is thus a threefold organism developing from a creative central point of growth toward two opposite extremes: the form- giving, framework-building root pole, and the fruit-and-blossom metabolic pole.
Tracing these same elements in human beings, we come upon a similar threefold structure. In man, the form-pole is the head. No other part of the body can equal it in physical hardness and individuality of form. It is the source of all the formative tendencies that shape the organism, with the brain and the nerve-strands radiating from it playing a very important role.
Man’s metabolic pole, unlike the plant’s, is the lower one, and it is literally what the word means: transformer of substances. Where the plant transforms substances in its blossom area as a result of macrocosmic influences, the microcosmic human metabolism takes up and works upon the nutritive stream, transforming it into blood. In both cases, warmth is the agent of this transformation. In plants, the warmth is of cosmic origin, while in man, it is the microcosmic warmth of his own blood. So we find in man the same polarity of form and substance that the plant has, but reversed. This was to be expected considering the fact that man grows down, not up, as the plant does. In the foetal period man is largely a head, with his other parts mere attachments, as it were. Even a new-born baby’s head is proportionately much larger than a grown-up’s, and it does not grow significantly later, but remains more or less as it was in the beginning. The trunk and limbs grow tremendously by comparison. These facts confirm our view that man grows downward.
The middle zone in man, where breathing and blood circulation are situated, corresponds to the leafy area in plants, the difference being that the human rhythmic functions have a far more comprehensive job to do than foliage. Their main responsibility is that of harmonizing the two poles of form (head) and substance (the metabolism). Thus they play the decisive role in health and illness.
When the head and metabolic poles are in balance, a man is healthy. He falls ill when imbalance sets in and the rhythmic middle zone is unable to correct it. Illness invariably comes from a disturbance of the normal balance, and healing always means restoring it.
Healing can be effected in two ways: either by strengthening the rhythmic man, the natural healer, or by giving such medicines or diet as will bring the down side of the scale up again.
Sometimes the form-pole gains the upper hand and breaks through the middle zone in a way disturbing to the metabolic functions. This is one cause of illness, and we find under this heading all the hardening conditions like gout, rheumatism, stone formations, and sclerosis. People with these afflictions are usually thin, intellectual, nervous types.
To restore balance, the metabolic pole must be given the strengthening it needs to push the overweening nerve-sense pole back where it belongs. Medicines can be given, but there are also dietary means of helping. In cases of this sort, foods derived from the upper portions of the plant, i.e., fruits and blossoms, best activate the metabolism, for they are those operative in the latter. People also fall ill from the opposite condition of imbalance, where the metabolism overwhelms the nerve-sense s stem. All the numerous inflammatory illnesses belong in this category. Migraine, for example, is simply an intrusion of digestive processes into the head, which means that warmth, which rightly belongs to the metabolic realm, invades a region where coolness should obtain. This causes inflammations that can range all the way from boils to such serious illnesses as meningitis.
Treatment of this type of illness involves a strengthening of the nerve-sense pole. Root vegetables like beets and carrots, salsify, radishes, celeriac same formative forces operative at this pole, are the proper diet, and the rhythmic system mediating between the nerve-sense system and the metabolism can also be strengthened by a dietary emphasis on leafy vegetables. Fresh salads, spinach, sorrel and the like should be well represented in the meals served to patients with a lung problem or any other weakness of the rhythmic organism.
But the good effects of green leafy vegetables are by no means limited to patients in these categories. The rhythmic system is the seat of healing forces in the organism, for its function is that of a balancer and harmonizer. Green vegetables stimulate and strengthen these forces, and therefore make especially wholesome foods.
The relationship between the threefold plant and threefold man comes into sharper focus when we consider the different ways people handle the different parts of plants. Take a person picking up a petal, for example: he will never hold it between his fingers, but lay it flat on his palm, probably lifting it a little in an instinctive reaction to its lightness, and smiling while he does this. Blossoms reveal their true nature in their fleeting perfumes; we sense something of their being as the scent rises up and disappears. Such a realization also tells us something of the therapeutic forces inherent in the blossom element. Blossoms are the parts of plants where sugar is found and where cosmic warmth etherealizes physical matter. They are thus able to affect that part of man where his own metabolic warmth processes etherealize what he has eaten and prepare it for use by his ego. Blossoms overcome gravitational drag on the metabolism and adjust food substances to the individual life-forces of an organism. The blossom element represents in nature the point at which purely vegetative processes are halted and breakdown sets in. For this reason blossoms act as stimulants to man’s excretory functions. They drive warmth processes outward to the periphery and dissolve and sweep away congested heat as we can observe with fevers. Their chief effect is on the kidneys, which are themselves in a sense blossoms become organs. Blossoms are also more interesting to us than a leaf is. They attract our attention with their brightness, and we feel a warm reaction to their beauty.
How different is our attitude toward leaves! Picking up a green leaf, one observes that it is all one unmoving surface, each leaf with an individual twist to the one basic circular or drop-form pattern. If the liquid principle prevails, the shape is rounder, like a quiet pool, whereas a prevalence of light forces, with their pricking activity makes for a saw-toothed or feathered edging.
The first reaction a person has on coming into the presence of a green sea of foliage after sole contact with the rocky earth element is to take a deep breath. The breathing organism is stimulated when we enter a green forest and sense the breathing going on there in the foliage. A leafy diet has the same result. Trees are the earth’s lungs, and rustling leaves their breathing.
Turning our attention to the realm of roots, we find permanent forms built by mineral processes, in greatest contrast to the ever-changing forms of foliage. Roots are wrought by processes that have come to a relative degree of stillness. If we catch a person studying a root, we will see how he wrinkles his forehead and contracts his brows, turning the object this way and that like Hamlet contemplating Yorick’s skull. One feels particularly challenged to find out what the secret of this form is, for matter is more than usually mysterious here. Then too, plant roots, especially the more thick-set kind, always suggest faces and make us want to carve on them. They may be compared to the head of man. Roots therefore work on the nerve-sense organism, on forming the brain. Leaf and blossom are fairly limited to dynamic action, but in the case of roots there are also material effects. This makes it more important to consider the substances of which they are composed.
To understand the nature of a fruit, we must keep the following in mind: Fruits are not produced in direct continuation of the blossom process, but are the result of an answering cosmic radiation. Cosmic warmth and light form fruits and bring them to ripening. Here we are dealing with a quite different kind of substance than that found in other parts of plants. There is a parallel in man to this marvelous about-face from dematerialization in the blossom to the creation of fruit substances. The foods we consume do not just change directly into human substance but are diffused into the bloodstream, while on the other hand non-material elements (referred to by spiritual science as ‘etheric forces’) which enter us through our sense impressions are condensed into bodily substances. The creation of human tissue that goes on in the blood is a complicated interplay of earthly and universal forces, of which we have a picture in the fruit, itself a revelation of this double gesture on the plant level. We may therefore expect to find fruit having a more far-reaching effect than just on the intestinal functions: it also works on the circulation of man’s body fluids. A sufficiency of fruits in the diet therefore stimulates blood and tissue building in a way that keeps the body ‘fluid’ in the widest sense, as well as permeable by cosmic forces.
One can go even a step further and say that fruit tissue is related to the seed in the same way that circulation is related to the heart. Ripe fruits are permeated by radiating cosmic light and warmth, but they are also made over into earth-related objects by their enclosing skins on husks and the contractive forces inherent in them, which are the actual cause of seed formation.
All the four cosmic forces or energies are concentrated in the seed: light and warmth in oil and starches, formative forces and chemism in salts and proteins. The two latter energies are the more dominant, and this accounts for the shape of the seed, which often looks like a tiny pebble. The process at work here has much in common with the circulatory process out of which the heart is formed - for the heart begins as a drop that is gradually imbued with matter. The contractive forces which in man cause cosmic spheres to become internal organs are the same as those which, in external nature, form the seed. Generally speaking, therefore, seeds have a warming, nourishing and ‘heartening’ effect. Juicy fruits have just the opposite cooling effect. They enliven and irradiate circulation.
We may sum up thus:
Roots Nerve-sense system Brain
Foliage Rhythmic system Lungs
Blossom Metabolism and excretion Kidneys
Fruit Circulatory system Blood
Seed Organ formation Heart
This approach helps to give a more intimate understanding of food qualities. But it is only a general outline. One has to acquire a perceptive eye for nature to read her secrets and arrive at true insight in each individual instance.
Then too, every plant does something just a little different with root, leaf and blossom processes. This means that though the above table gives an accurate summary, one can expect to find the same process worked out in a great variety of ways in all three sections of each single plant.
The relationship of the formative forces in plants to those in man.
Rhythm carries life. Plants are exposed to three basic polarities in nature: warmth and cold, light and dark, stillness and movement. Dr. Hauschka discovered a water extraction method to capture and preserve the healing essences of plants that produce pure, stable, therapeutic substances without the use of alcohol or synthetic preservatives. WALA’ 7-day processing method begins with hand-harvesting plants at sunrise when their vitality is most concentrated. Plants are processed further by hand using nature’s own powerful rhythmic forces. Rhythmic treatment is done with the liquid extract, then dry substance is made into ash and a small amount of the ash is mixed back into the liquid extract. For one year the “mother-substance” is stored in a stable environment. Each plant extract is subjected to some or all aspects of this method. This allows the direct application of the healing aspect of nature. The watery extract from rose petals captures the vital forces of rose without the use of alcohol and this extract remains stable for more than 30 years.
The ability of warmth to transform substances is used in manufacture of remedies, activating processes latent in the substances themselves, which can become healing forces. Through the medium of warmth substances of nature can be directed to the human organism. One or the other warmth processes are used in preparation of the anthroposophical medicine.
Digestio- mild warmth, warming plant juices to blood temperature, leads to ‘humanization’ of plant matter. It attunes plant’s activity to our biosystem. Crataegus, Strophantum, Digitalis, ferns and willows.
Infusion. Brief heating in simmering water extracts warmth- related substances, suited to plants which condense sun’s warmth into aromatic oils. Marjoram, sage, chamomile.
Boiling or Decoction. Starts cold and heated to simmering for a period of time, steam cooled and condensed again and again. Chamomile and gentian roots.
Distillation. Separation of the volatile substances and their residues. Warmth and air- related substances are removed from the plant matter. Weleda metal preparations are also subjected to high vacuum distillation. Primal cosmic nature of metals is reinforced, thus giving them maximum therapeutic effect.
Tostatio has its counterpart in cooking. Like preparation of green coffee beans whose aroma and taste are only brought out by roasting.
Carbonization of plants. Combustion in a confined space without oxygen. Such plant coal has the remarkable ability to absorb light and gas, making it valuable remedy in potentized form.
Ash. Organic substance is burnt with addition of an air stream, and all warmth and light, stored during the growth and ripening of the plant, is released. Plant ash (cinis) resembles the encapsulated life force of the seed condition. It has the capacity of ‘remembering’ the forces of light and warmth.
Anthroposophical remedies ensure vitality using alchemical processes inspired by spiritual science, including especially the forces of morning and evening. Aqueous plant extracts are imbued with the mobile, breathing powers of sunrise and sunset, preserved without alcohol. Certain medicines are made using rhythms of the planets and zodiac. These procedures make remedies as dynamic as possible, so they can speak the language of healing to the person working and growing inwardly through illness. The biggest need in medicine is to change the conventional way of thinking- to think of illness and remedies in living pictures rather than freeze-dried intellectual concepts.
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF PLANTS. J.W.v.Goethe
THOU art confused, my beloved, at, seeing the thousandfold union
in this flowery troop, over the garden dispers'd;
any a name dost thou hear assign'd; one after another
on thy list'ning ear, with a barbarian sound.
None resembleth another, yet all their forms have a likeness;
a mystical law is by the chorus proclaim'd;
Yes, a sacred enigma! Oh, dearest friend, could I only
teach thee the word, which may the mystery solve!
Closely observe how the plant, by little and little progressing,
by step guided on, changeth to blossom and fruit!
First from the seed it unravels itself, as soon as the silent
womb of the earth kindly allows Its escape,
And to the charms of the light, the holy, the ever-in-motion,
the delicate leaves, feebly beginning to shoot.
Simply slumber'd the force in the seed; a germ of the future,
lock'd in itself, 'neath the integument lay,
Leaf and root, and bud, still void of colour, and shapeless;
doth the kernel, while dry, cover that motionless life.
Upward then strives it to swell, in gentle moisture confiding,
from the night where it dwelt, straightway ascendeth to light.
Yet still simple remaineth its figure, when first it appeareth;
'tis a token like this, points out the child 'mid the plants.
Soon a shoot, succeeding it, riseth on high, and reneweth,
node upon node, ever the primitive form;
Yet not ever alike: for the following leaf, as thou seest,
produceth itself, fashioned in manifold ways.
Longer, more indented, in points and in parts more divided,
all-deform'd until now, slept in the organ below,
So at length it attaineth the noble and destined perfection,
in full many a tribe, fills thee with wondering awe.
Many ribb'd and tooth'd, on a surface juicy and swelling,
and unending the shoot seemeth in fullness to be;
Yet here Nature restraineth, with powerful hands, the formation,
to a perfecter end, guideth with softness its growth,
Less abundantly yielding the sap, contracting the vessels,
that the figure ere long gentler effects doth disclose.
Soon and in silence is check'd the growth of the vigorous branches,
the rib of the stalk fuller becometh in form.
Leafless, however, and quick the tenderer stem then up-springeth,
a miraculous sight doth the observer enchant.
Ranged in a circle, in numbers that now are small, and now countless,
the smaller-sized leaves, close by the side of their like.
Round the axis compress'd the sheltering calyx unfoldeth,
as the perfectest type, brilliant-hued coronals forms.
Thus doth Nature bloom, in glory still nobler and fuller,
in order arranged, member on member uprear'd.
Wonderment fresh dost thou feel, as soon as the stem rears the flower
the scaffolding frail of the alternating leaves.
But this glory is only the new creation's foreteller,
the leaf with its hues feeleth the hand all divine,
And on a sudden contracteth itself; the tenderest figures
as yet, hasten on, destined to blend into one.
Lovingly now the beauteous pairs are standing together,
in countless array, there where the altar is raised.
Hymen hovereth o'er them, and scents delicious and mighty
forth their fragrance so sweet, all things enliv'ning
Presently, parcell'd out, unnumber'd germs are seen swelling,
conceald in the womb, where is made perfect the fruit.
Here doth Nature close the ring of her forces eternal;
doth a new one, at once, cling to the one gone before,
So that the chain be prolonged for ever through all generations,
that the whole may have life, e'en as enjoy'd by each part.
Now, my beloved one, turn thy gaze on the many-hued thousands
confusing no more, gladden the mind as they wave.
Every plant unto thee proclaimeth the laws everlasting,
flowered speaks louder and louder to thee;
But if thou here canst decipher the mystic words of the goddess,
will they be seen, e'en though the features are changed.
Creeping insects may linger, the eager butterfly hasten,--
and forming, may man change e'en the figure decreed!
Oh, then, bethink thee, as well, how out of the germ of acquaintance,
intercourse sprang, slowly unfolding its leaves;
Soon how friendship with might unveil'd itself in our bosoms,
how Amor, at length, brought forth blossom and fruit
Think of the manifold ways wherein Nature hath lent to our feelings,
giving them birth, either the first or the last!
Yes, and rejoice in the present day! For love that is holy
the noblest of fruits,--that where the thoughts are the same,
Where the opinions agree,--that the pair may, in rapt contemplation,
Lovingly blend into one,--find the more excellent world.
Recommended reading list.
Rudolf Steiner. Agriculture. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Inc, 1993.
Universe, Earth and Man. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987.
The Spirit in the Realm of Plants. Mercury Press, 1997.
The Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars. Anthroposophic Press, 1987.
Nutrition and Stimulants. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1991.
How to know Higher Worlds. Anthroposophic Press, 2002.
Man as Symphony of the Creative Word/ Harmony of the Creative Word. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970.
Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies & the Kingdoms of Nature. Anthroposophic Press, 1992.
Wolf Storl. Culture and Horticulture. Bio-Dynamic Literature, 1979.
Wilhelm Pelikan. Healing Plants. Mercury Press, 1997.
Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe. The Metamorphosis of Plants. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association,1993.
Rudolf Hauschka. Nutrition. Sophia Books, 2002
- The Nature of Substance. Sophia Press, 2002.
Karl Konig. Earth and Man. Bio-Dynamic Literature, 1982.
George Adams& Olive Whicher. The Plant Between Sun and Earth. Shambhala, 1982.
Ernst Michael Kranich. Planetary Influences upon Plants. Bio-Dynamic Literature, 1984.
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Sub-Nature and Super-Nature in the Physiology of Plant and Man. Mercury Press, 1981.
- Weeds and What They Tell. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1970.
Corinne Heline. Healing and Regeneration Through Music. DeVorss Publications, 1995.
- Music: The Keynote of Human Evolution. New Age Bible & Philosophy Center, 1986.
- Color & Music in the New Age. DeVorss Publications, 1987.
Gerbert Grohmann. The Plant, vol. I&II. . Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1989.
Hugo Erbe. New Bio-dynamic Preparations. Mark Moodie, 2003.
Heinz Grotzke. Herb Growing the Biodynamic Way. Biodynamics, 2000.
Maria Thun. Gardening for life- The Biodynamic Way. Hawthorn Press, 1999.
- Work on the land and the Constellations. The Lanthorn Press, 1990.
R. Van Romunde. Perceiving Plants: Experiencing Elemental Beings. James Lee, 1999.
Jahannes Zwieauer. Warmth in Pharmaceutical Process. LILIPOH 19,2000.
LILIPOH-Life, Liberty& Pursuit of Happiness Through Health. Quarterly newspaper.
This work contains very condensed thoughts of the selected anthroposophical scientists about plant life.
It is quite impossible to explain each single statement that might seem shocking at first glance. Seeking souls can find some answers in the books that are recommended for the further reading, as well as numerous other books and web searches. Only some facts from spiritual world could have been provided from the existing published sources. It is the personal effort only through hard internal work that can bear the fruit of knowledge. The author’s sincere and humble intention was to share her favorite parts of books and lectures on different subject that have some relation to the plant world. It may change the way you smell roses, work in the garden or walk in the forest and I hope that it will. Thank you all.