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Understanding Healing, GA#316
Meditative Reflections on Deepening Medicine Through Spiritual Science
13 Lectures, Dornach, Jan-April, 1924

Rudolf Steiner

ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by Rudolf Steiner Press/UK in 2013
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2014


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In this series of lectures Rudolf Steiner describes meditative exercises which physicians may use to develop the moral quality known as the will to heal. Doctors who have been traditionally trained in Medical Schools to observe only the physical half of the human being, the outside of things, namely, structures, organs, tissues, bones, muscles, etc., will find themselves in a quagmire of amorphous concepts and constructs as they take Steiner's hand and enter the other half of the human being they have sought to heal, the spiritual half, a reality for which they are completely unprepared. In other words, they have been well-prepared in only one-half of the knowledge they require for healing, up until now. Most doctors will be hard put to describe any medical school courses in which they studied the processes of healing and therapy. Here in this volume, Steiner leads us to the terra incognito of understanding healing, an understanding which requires the ability to comprehend, not just the human body, but the full human being in body, soul, and spirit, i. e. , the study of which, Steiner labeled anthroposophy.

Let us observe as Steiner walks us through these components of the full human being. Doctors need a grounding in the physical contours of the human body and its various organs, and the fluids which flow through them. But, in considering flows, one should not imagine one can fully understand the flows using only the laws of physics, i. e., the laws of dynamics and mechanics. Earthly forces govern the material flows of earthly matter, whereas planetary forces governs the fluid flows in the human being. The flows of the etheric body are governed not by earthly forces, but instead by planetary forces.

[page 4, 5] And so we have to say that a true understanding of the human being must, first, take the sharply outlined organs into account, but then also those things which are in flow in the organism. Of course reference is also made to those things which are in flow but it is done in a way which only seeks to understand the fluids, indeed the whole fluid configuration of the human organism, in greater detail on the basis of the laws of dynamics and mechanics. It is not the case that the latter apply; as soon as we consider the fluid human being, the so-called human etheric body is involved. . . . As soon as we are dealing with what circulates, be it the circulation of the nutritional fluids themselves or the nutritional fluids that have already been transformed into blood, we are dealing with controlling forces that are not earthly but planetary.

We ingest liquids which are processed into bodily fluids. If we drink 4 glasses of water and only one is required, the other three glasses pass out of the body without conversion. But we also ingest gases whenever we inhale and then exhale them later, after they have undergone some transformation; simply put, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, among other things. Steiner has previously shown us the physical body and the etheric body, and now he shows us the aeriform body, the gaseous aspect of the full human being which is connected to and dependent upon the astral body. The fourth aspect is variously called the "I", I-organization, or warmth human being, and is the source of the warmth which fills various parts of our body to different levels of warmth.

[page 5] And specifically with regard to the fourth human being, the warmth human being — I have referred to the physical human being linked with the physical body, the fluid human being linked with the etheric body, the gaseous human being, i.e. the activity of all that is gaseous or aeriform, linked with the astral body — there cannot be a moment's doubt that in the physical space occupied by the human being, and even beyond, there are different degrees of warmth. If you take someone's temperature behind the ear or in the armpit you will find a very differentiated warmth organism. The degrees of warmth are different everywhere. Just as you can say that the liver is in a specific location in the human being, so you can say that the intestines are in a specific location. Both have quite different temperatures. The liver temperature is quite different as the liver has a very specific warmth organization. This warmth organization is originally linked with the I-organization. Only now, really, is it possible for you to picture the human being to the extent that it carries the substances which are otherwise present on earth within itself as solid, fluid, gaseous and warmth-like substances.

The physical body can be filled with the "I" through the warmth organization, filled with the astral body through the aeriform organization, and filled with the etheric body through the fluid organization. Only by understanding how the four components of the full human being interweave each other can one come to understand how illness occurs when one or more of the organizations strays out of its normal bounds, and understand how healing occurs when the stray component is corralled once more into its normal functions or milieu. Dealing with the human body only, as it is taught in physiology and anatomy, one is unable to comprehend the key elements of healing, which so-trained new doctors quickly discover. Dealing with the full human being, one can easily make the transition from insight into the sick person to insight into modes for assisting the person to heal.

Just the simple fact that fear can turn you pale, causing your legs to tremble, is difficult to explain as it requires a communication from the mind to the body. Similarly, an embarrassing encounter can make you blush. It is hard to conceive how a mental thought can trigger these often dramatic physiological changes.

[page 7] But you can conceive that the soul organization, which is anchored in the warmth ether, is affected by fear and that such fear comes to expression in a change of your warmth state. In that way the warmth organization is transferred to the respiration, to the fluid and as far down as the solid human being. That is the only possibility of building a bridge between the physical and the soul element.

The above are simple examples, but the same principles can be applied to diseases of any of the organs of the body.

[page 7] Without gaining such insight into the human being you will never be able to make the transition from the healthy human being, to insight into the sick human being. Because, you see, if we take some component of the human organization, say the liver or kidney, which under so-called normal circumstances in some way receives its impulses from the I-organization in that these impulses from the I-organization first act on the warmth organism and then pass down into the sharply contoured liver or kidney and so on — if we look at that, then there is of course a possibility that this intervention by the I-organization through the warmth organization is intensified in the organ compared to the normal behavior. In other words, the I-organization has too strong an effect on the warmth organization with regard to the liver or the kidney in a way that it should not. And given the configuration of the human organism so that the I-organization can work properly within it, this also provides the possibility for the human organism to fall ill if these structures appear in a wrong or, if you like, dislocated way.

The "I" acts on the heart via the warmth body, and if those heart forces act instead on the liver, the possibility of illness can arise. It would be like if our central heating system started pouring heat into our refrigerator; we would soon notice a big problem was going on. Illnesses are like mis-directed good things arriving in the wrong place or at the wrong time. As Steiner says in many places, "An evil is a good out of its time."

[page 8] Only once you know that what is disease in the liver is healthy in the heart, and is required there if the human being is to be complete, can you learn to understand the possibility of falling ill.

Imagine you have a pile of dirt next to your house, which you shovel away in one day's time, and it appears the next day to be shoveled away again. Finally one day it doesn't appear as high, and as you keep shoveling away as each day it is less and less high, till finally you shovel it away and you have no need to return to shoveling. This is a metaphor for our I-organization which works on the nutrients to remove any external substances from them like you did when you removed the unwanted pile of dirt. These unwanted substances are built up and removed each day until the amount gets less and less and finally the I has nothing left to remove and leaves the human body, which then must decompose. While alive the physical body's function is nourishment, and the I's function is death, killing those unwanted substances.

[page 16] What does the I-organization actually do in the physical body? It destroys it constantly, it does the same thing death does, with the exception that this is always balanced by the physical body being able to assimilate external substances as food so that you have the polar opposition between I-organization and food.

What about the other two organizations, the etheric and the astral? What are their functions? Their two functions also oppose each other, one is the burgeoning of life processes (etheric) and the other is staying or paralyzing the burgeoning life processes (astral).

[page 17] We have the reciprocal connection between the etheric and astral organism in each individual human organ. If we look at the effect of the etheric organism on any organ, the effect can be seen in that the organ obtains burgeoning, budding life. Everything that is vitality in an individual organ or the organism comes from the etheric organism.
       If we look at the astral organism, it always has the tendency to paralyze burgeoning, budding life — not to kill it but to paralyze it.

This balancing act of the etheric and astral is absolutely necessary. If the burgeoning occurred without being modulated, we would never develop a soul life, never become conscious. We would be forever in a coma, on life-support, living like a vegetable. With the astral's paralysis of the burgeoning life, we fall ill a little bit, continuously, and from the delicate balance between burgeoning and ailing, we develop consciousness and a soul life. We humans are designed to die. Planned obsolescence is what we call human products that are designed for replacement after a few years. How can we sum up the functions of the four organisms of the physical, etheric, astral, and I? In that same order, Steiner sums it up:

[page 18] And you can say . . . that the human being consists of nutritional processes, of burgeoning and sprouting health-giving processes, as well as of continuous processes of illness, and of something which is a process of continuous killing, of arrest, until the killing processes are summed, form an integral, as it were, and death occurs.

We can now understand how all illness comes from the astral body. When there is a balance between the etheric and astral, normal feelings result. Too much astral body means more than is needed to stem the burgeoning growth in an organ, so that the organ becomes inflamed, malfunctions, becomes deformed in time, eventually allowing the illness to be perceived by a standard medical doctor or procedure. When this eventuality happens, often the healing will come too late for full recovery, and some amount of damage will be recorded in the physical body. Too little astral body and the burgeoning becomes overweening, resulting excessive growth, and also leading to illness over time.

[page 19] And illness is in reality connected in such a way with the feelings that we can say that human feelings are simply a reflection in the soul of illness. . . . If we are able to observe such things, we can see the approach of an illness a long time before it can be diagnosed physically when the feeling life no longer functions properly. Illness is nothing more than the abnormal feeling life of the human being. . . . So if a person can under normal circumstances maintain their feelings in their soul, they will remain healthy; if they cannot do that, the feelings infiltrate down into the organs and illness arises.

Steiner has now shown the physicians in his audience and us how important it is for the physician to be able discern a person's soul life. Without that skill, the physician will not be able to develop a feeling for diagnosis. It is interesting that the feelings of the physician are vital to perceiving the abnormal feelings of the patient. These are the feelings which will signal the presence of a developing illness and point way for healing of the patient.

Pain is the usual signal of an illness. Why? If the astral forces overwhelm the etheric forces in an organ, the organ is deformed and pain can result. This does not happen with the liver, the one organ that can be deformed without any noticeable pain. Why is this so? On pages 21 and 22, Steiner tells us to imagine the liver as an ovoid solid taken into the human body directly from the external world, like a football perhaps, so that any pressure to deform the football is not experienced as pain. Our liver is able, however, to perceive the outside material world via the fluids which pass through itself. Our ears are able to perceive the outside air. Our eyes are able to perceive the light, the light which is the outer reality of the light ether of the etheric body. The other major organ of perception is our heart. In the heart, the two forms of nutrition come together: respiration-nutrition and digestion-nutrition. Respiration-nutrition happens above the diaphragm, and digestion-nutrition happens below the diaphragm. Both these arrive in the heart which, during its hydraulic ram pulsations, creates a vortex to provide efficient blending of oxygen-rich blood coming from the lungs and protein-rich blood coming from the digestive tract together with the depleted venous blood coming from the body.

[page 23] The heart is another sensory organ. But while the liver is exposed with its perceptive capacity to the external substances entering the human being, the heart is a sense organ for perceiving the whole of the interior of the human being. It is an absurdity — as you might have seen from some of the presentations I have given — that the heart is a kind of pump which drives the blood through the arteries. The movement of the blood is caused by the I and the astral body. And in the heart we merely have a sense organ which perceives the circulation, namely perceives the circulation from the lower to the upper human being. So, you see, the liver must see in the digestive process the value of, say, some carbohydrate in the human being. The heart must see how the astral body and I work in the human being. Thus the heart is a wholly spiritual sense organ, the liver a wholly material sense organ. That is a distinction we have to make.

As Steiner began Lecture 4, he stated clearly, "We cannot have a system of medicine in which the findings of spiritual science are not present." One can imagine that no medical school-trained doctor today would understand such a statement. Much less would any university-taught theologian agree with this next statement, "Things are such today that we have a science — including in theology — which is only suitable for technical purposes and not in any way for gaining an understanding of the human being." (Page 41) In both medicine and theology, the academic schools are missing a crucial component of what is essential, up until now. This applied in Steiner's day a hundred years ago and applies even more today. They focus on what can be seen with the eye, missing what can be seen with the heart. Antoine St. Exupery said it in the Fox's Secret, "It is only with the heart one can see what is essential is invisible to the eye."

[page 41] For you see, real medical knowledge requires something special, which will become clear to you when I speak about how the human being is created. I already drew attention to it exoterically yesterday, so today and in the following lessons I will make the transition to the esoteric aspect: the external substances are in reality processes. Salt is only the expression of processes; the magnesium processes, iron processes are processes which take place outside in nature. Lead processes, mercury processes are processes which human beings must not have within them, which are outside in nature. But it is only apparently so that human beings do not have these processes within them.

What does Steiner mean? These lead, mercury processes enter the human being as part of the etheric body. We watch as he describes the creation of the full human being.

How is the human being created? To begin with, the physical base is created through fertilization and this physical base must combine with the etheric body of the human being. But the etheric body is not created through fertilization but is formed around what later becomes the I-organization and astral organization, around the spiritual and soul entity which comes down from the spiritual world and which was present from pre-earthly life.

If we are to accept that the human being is composed of body, soul, and spirit, we need to understand how the soul and spirit components arrive together to form this four-part being of physical body, etheric body, astral body, and I. The germinated seed comes from heredity at fertilization to form the earthly base of the physical body and the other three components arrive shortly thereafter, the result of previous incarnations.

[page 41, 42] So we are dealing with the actual core of the human being as the spiritual and soul entity which exists, firstly, from earlier incarnations and, secondly, from the time between death and a new birth long before fertilization has taken place. This spiritual and soul core of the human being attaches the etheric body to itself before it establishes a connection with what is created through the fertilization of the physical egg. And the thing which unites with the potential contained in the physical embryo, the I, the astral organization and the etheric organization, this threefold organization unites with what has been created through physical fertilization.

Now he explains how these lead, zinc, mercury processes enter the etheric body before it becomes attached to the physical body.

[page 42] You must look at the etheric body as something which is formed from out of the cosmos. Now this etheric body, which is formed out of the cosmos, at the moment when it first unites with the physical organization contains the forces which then do not apply to the physical organization — the lead and zinc forces. It is only apparently the case that human beings are not a microcosm in that they do not contain certain substances. The substances which the human being does not have in the physical body are the most important substances for the constitution of the etheric body so that lead processes, zinc processes, mercury processes and so on indeed take place in the etheric body before it is united with the physical body.

If we understand that the cosmos includes the planets of our Solar System, then we see how each planet has a process associated with it, lead process with Saturn, mercury process with Mercury, silver process with Moon, and so forth, and how these processes enter the physical body after fertilization via the etheric body. The process is a gradual one leading up to birth, but when the first gasp of air from outside the body occurs, an important transformation takes place which locks the etheric and astral bodies into a new relationship.

[page 42] Then the etheric body combines with the physical body — the other parts as well, of course. And the following occurs to a small extent during the embryonic period, but to the greatest extent when respiration starts, that is at birth, when real external respiration starts: then all the forces which the etheric body possesses from the substances which are not based in the physical body are transferred to the astral body and the etheric body takes on those forces which the physical body processes within itself. So the etheric body undergoes a very important metamorphosis, the metamorphosis that it takes on the content, the constitution of the physical body and passes on its own constitution, its affinity with the human environment, to the astral body. The astral body is now intimately connected with what human beings can know.

All this may sound theoretical unless this can be proven useful. If the astral receives information from the etheric body about the environment, then this should have medical implications. For one thing, it would mean that the medicine, which we need for an illness that is common in a particular environment, that very medicine would be present in the indigenous plants of the same environment. For example, an area which has a lot of mica will also have a lot of rhododendrons growing there, such as the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, one such place that I know of in the United States. One might find an illness common in the long-time residents of that area for which an extract from the rhododendron plant would help heal.

[page 43] Rhododendron substance is intimately connected with the etheric body before it enters the physical body in such regions. This affinity with rhododendrons is passed on by the etheric body to the astral body. So when illnesses occur in such regions which are caused by a preponderance of the action of mica on the inhabitants by way of the groundwater, the etheric body has passed on what it obtained from the rhododendrons to the astral body. That is present externally in the rhododendron plant. From that we can know that there is a sap in the rhododendron which has a healing effect on this illness. That is why in many things, but not in everything, the specific medicine for an illness can be found in the regions in which the particular illness occurs.

Those of you who went to medical school may remember dozing off during some boring classes, but did you know that when you go to sleep at night today, you can experience confirmation of what you learned in class?

[page 43] Now you have to consider that when you are asleep each night as a physician you immerse yourself in your astral body in the environment that was connected with the etheric body and is now connected with your astral body. When you then acquire medical knowledge, if you know what healing forces exist in the human environment, you experience these healing forces constantly in sleep. In sleep you constantly experience confirmation of what you can learn externally through dialectics. And that must be taken into account in any medical course because all external dialectical learning of medical subjects is of no use, is never of use. It becomes dissociated, disordered if the necessary confirmation within the astral body and the environment fails to occur during sleep. Because if the study of medicine is not obtained in such a way that the astral body can say yes to what the physician has learned in their dialogue with the environment, it is as if they listened to something which they cannot understand, which only confuses them. In this way medical knowledge is intimately connected with those things in the life of the human being which lead into sleep.

Steiner says in several places that the physician must develop the courage to heal. Where can this courage to heal come from? From this nightly interaction of the physician with their environment. Not only do they receive confirmation of healing processes, but these confirmations lead to an urge to heal, which when reinforced over time becomes the courage to heal.

[page 44] Because something else arises from this nightly intercourse with the healing ingredients which can really never be obtained through dialectical learning: the urge to give real assistance. Without this urge, this feeling of the physician, without the concern for the person who is to be healed, without this urge personally to give assistance there is basically no healing.

How did we arrive at the current situation with medical practice where only the material world data is deemed to be important? Imagine the situation today when a patient goes to a doctor for the first time with an illness and is subjected to a barrage of sensory-based tests, the results of which are summarized on a data sheet with which the doctor enters the consultation room and says, "I see from these tests, that you have this problem, and I'm prescribing this medication and treatment for you." Then the doctor leaves, having perhaps glanced up from the data sheet at the patient before leaving. How did we arrive at this situation with medical practice where only material world data is deemed to be important? It apparently began in Vienna.

[page 45] After all, the reputation of the Vienna medical school, with which I really grew up, became so great because essentially this Vienna school took as its basis that part of healing in which therapy is least important, namely pneumonia where one can do least with regard to the central disease, with regard to treatment. That is how therapeutic nihilism, of which you will have heard, arose. Specifically the most important of the Viennese physicians very deliberately defended therapeutic nihilism, i.e. they took the view: medicine does not heal!

Have you ever heard the phrase, "She vented her spleen"? It means usually she gave voice to her bad temper. The mouth is considered the spleen's external aperture. In certain areas there is a lot of iron in the ground which creates an active spleen leading local folk to being obstinate, self-righteous, naive, etc., providing them ample reasons for venting their spleen. If newcomers arrive they may suffer symptoms due to their newly active spleen, there is a plant which grows in that area that can help them. [Note: plants that are eaten by the people who cultivate the plants create proteins in response to toxins they absorb from their cultivators, which proteins help eliminate the toxins and heal the cultivator. See: Plant As Doctor and A Feeling for the Organism for more information.]

[page 46] If you are in an area with much Rotliegendes [RJM: rocks bearing iron] you will find that the people who have lived there for a long time have become used to the Rotliegendes and display particular characteristics with regard to their temperament. We find that these people have a very active spleen. And if you arrive in that area as a stranger you will find little liking for you; the people are terribly obstinate, self-righteous, naive. They think you are stupid if you question anything they do. That is how it is, the people become used to it in the Rotliegendes. But if a stranger comes who wants to set up a business, he will not tolerate the Rotliegendes, namely the water. He will suffer certain pathological symptoms. . . . Now you always find that laburnum grows wonderfully in these regions. You will easily find a sap in laburnum, in the flowers, the leaves, also sometimes in the roots, which can produce a very good medicine, depending on how the human being is constituted.

We have handed down to us the image of a physician looking through a microscope, but where else but through Rudolf Steiner can we find the image of a physician looking through a macroscope?

[page 46] I became acquainted with a physician — I was still a boy at the time — whom you often encountered in the fields and meadows where he communed with the plants, flowers, insects and so on. Three or four luminaries lived in the area where this person worked as a modest physician. We can say that the work of this modest physician, who so loved the flowers of the field, was incomparably more productive for his patients than the work of the state physicians and the other luminaries. Because they obtained their wisdom from school and the things associated with school. But he truly took his wisdom about medicines from his direct contact with nature. But even this only leads to medical knowledge if you can love nature in every detail. You no longer love it when you study it under the microscope. You have to love it, you have to be able to macroscope it.

There are three things about a plant which is important: its scent, its leaves, and its roots. What is the basis for scent in the plant exists most concentrated in the mineral world as sulphur. What is the basis for the shape of leaves is found in the mineral world as mercury, its drop-forming aspect which can be stretched into various shapes such as leaves have. What is the basis for the roots of a plant is found concentrated in the mineral world as salt, salts of all kinds.

In the diagram at right, one can see the upside-down relationship between the plant and the human being and how the various of the three elements of flowers (scent), leaves, and roots are important to the various parts of the human body. One should not assume that the names, sulfur, mercury, and salt refer to actual minerals but to the processes of these elements as they occur in the human being. For example, the sulfur process in the plant is its scent and "The scent of the plant is the thing that exercises the attraction for certain elemental spirits who want to descend into the plants." (Page 48) In addition, the leaf's ability to stretch into unlimited forms comes from the mercury process, i.e., "ancient medicine called everything with a drop-like form mercury" (Page 49). Finally, "it called salt what is in the plant and the downward pointing root enters into a connection with the substances of the soil." (Page 50)

From this understanding of the plant Steiner gives his physician audience and us this prayer-like meditation:

[page 51]

I want to unite the knowledge of my soul
       With the fire of
       The flower's scent;

I want to bestir the life of my soul
       Through its glistening drop
       Of the leafy morning

I want to strengthen my soul existence
       Through the hardening salt
       With which the earth
       Carefully maintains the root.

Steiner wishes us to develop, to stimulate in our soul the forces which can work medically. Why?

[page 52] Because the normal forces which are used in school today cannot awaken medical knowledge. The latter must be retrieved out of the soul. That is why I always preface the esoteric observations we wish to foster with this: we have to consider how the soul forces first have to be brought to life in order to awaken in the soul those things that lead to medical knowledge.

The primary thing to be awakened in the soul today is an experience of the cosmos. Consider this: we humans were formed, each of us, during the shaping of our cosmos as detailed in Steiner's opus, An Outline of Occult Science. The cosmos exists inside each of us, rightly understood, so only by understanding the cosmos can we understand what is inside of us, the primal forces at work inside of the cosmos are inside of us, and only then can we understand the forces at work in other people which can be applied to healing. If we do not experience the cosmos, we cannot experience the spiritual world he says plainly on page 54.

[page 54] People do not experience the cosmos today to a greater or lesser extent. People do not experience the cosmos today and because they do not experience the cosmos they do not experience the spiritual. Because spirituality can only be achieved by way of the cosmos.

The modern path of medical knowledge does not require that physicians experience the cosmos, does not require the kind of real transformation that Steiner states is necessary to be a true physician.

[page 55] And in seeking your medical path you also have to participate, right from the beginning, in such a real transformation so that the esoteric path is not just some kind of addition but represents nothing less than your life's path being completely filled with esoteric impulses.

What I have learned from Steiner is that there are no plant diseases, only defects in the soil which lead to weakened plants upon which various fungi and bugs can prey. A healthy root makes for a healthy plant and a healthy root comes from cosmic forces, especially the Saturn warmth in the soil.

[page 56] You see, my dear friends, when we look at the root and the way it dips into the soil, this is where the plant terminates, we might say, in relation to the earth, the solid earth. But the root could not get anything from the soil if the soil were not subject first to the influence of the cosmic environment. The cosmic environment — and by that I am not just referring to the warmth and light of the sun but also to what comes from the rest of the planetary system associated with our earth — influences the earth and penetrates it a little way from the surface. And the forces which are stimulated in this way in the substance of the earth, these forces enable the root to be within the earth.

As we can see in the diagram above, the Saturn warmth in the soil matches the Saturn warmth in the human head, makes the head a small Saturn, Steiner says on page 58. Saturn was the earliest of the stages of cosmic evolution, followed by the stages of Sun, Moon, and Earth. If you progress upward from the root of the plant you will encounter the plant's evolution through the Sun and Moon stages.

[page 59,60] Because just as you can gain an understanding of Saturn existence through observing the connection between the human head and the growth of the roots in the plant, the sun's existence can become clear through the connection between the human heart and the development of the stem and leaves in the plant. And conversely the development of the stem and leaves in the plant is a living memory of existence on the old Sun.
       And when we rise to the flower, in which the seed is created in the plant, then we get to what is connected with the human metabolic system, the limb system. And if in this connection we look at what happens in the flower together with the human metabolic and limb system, something comes to appearance which is like a memory of the old Moon period. And if you take this inner feeling experience, my dear friends, if you really feel these connections inwardly through profound meditation, you will experience even more.

Our Earth spins around on its daily orbit and around the Sun on a yearly orbit, the Moon spins around Earth (which it separated from) on its monthly orbit. All the while the Sun is moving in space and dragging us as part of the solar system (planetary system) with it. This is a complex movement in space, not a circular movement, but spirals within spirals, movements we can experience inwardly if we meditate on the plant. The movement of our planetary system is experienced in the roots of the plant, the movement of the Earth in the stems and leaves of the plant, and the movement of the Moon in the seed production of the plant. At right is the diagram from Page 61; notice how Steiner traces the axial rotation of the leaves up the stem of the plant and labels it Earth movement.

[page 60, 61] What the Copernican system says about the movement of the earth around the sun is, after all, a construct. You will perceive the real movement of the earth when you study the way in which the stem and leaves are connected with one another. With the stem and leaves you are moving with the earth in concordance with the sun so that the earth looks the way in which it is described in the Copernican system. But in reality it is a much more complex movement. When you look up towards what happens in the flower — where we have the stamen and pistils — and experience that, then you will experience the movement of the moon around the earth through what happens in the flower: an experience of the movement [in what] is already separated from the earth. The whole of the planetary system including the earth is experienced in the root or the plant; the movement of the earth is experienced in the stem and leaves: the movement of the moon, i.e., those things which are already separated, is experienced in the seed production of the plant.

Said flatly, fire is will, courage is air, and water is sentience. This is the message which Steiner wants us to allow to penetrate our inner being so that we will be connected deeply with our environment. When we light a votive candle in church to remember a loved one, there is active will at work which reaches the loved one in the spiritual world. When we are on a promontory like Heathcliff and feel the bracing air, do we not feel courage coursing through us? When a couple falls in love in a movie, do they not get sprayed, sprinkled, dipped in water at some point to acknowledge something at work inside them, the feeling, the sentience of love within them? When you encounter an abstract logical construct, it leaves you cold. These examples are aphoristic, but they illustrate the points Steiner makes on page 63.

[page 63] Wherever you find fire, in the smallest match, there is active will. . . . You must learn; I am in this fire because it is active will, it is part of me like my finger is.

You will only experience air in your being if you experience it as courage. Everywhere where wind occurs, wind blowing in nature, you will feel it in your own soul as courage. So what you see in external nature as air is courage. Courage is air. You should experience that in your soul.

Water is the external appearance of sentience. Where sentience occurs, something is at work inwardly which appears outwardly as water. Water is sentience.

And where there is earth, the solid earth, such firmness is the same thing as the thought. After all, life freezes in the thought.

Meditate on these four thoughts, and, if in fire you can learn to experience active will, if in the blowing wind of the clouds you can sense courage, if in water you can see sentience coming to appearance, if in earth you can see something everywhere that is equal to your thoughts, then you will come to understand the essence of thought. With respiration, if you can learn to experience how the aeriform being in you circulates, you learn to assert yourself with courage in the external world. With your fluid organism, you will learn to experience the centripetal and centrifugal movements which provide you with balance.Then you can also learn to experience your bodily skeleton as crystallized thought and your muscles, which move the skeleton parts, as coagulated blood. (Paraphrase of pages 63, 64)

[page 71] And no one will understand the muscular system who fails to see it in a sense as an image which has not arisen in the same way as the skeletal system but which has formed in a sense through the coagulation of the blood. This is of course as much an inept expression as when I say crystallized into the skeletal system, but it is comparatively correct. [RJM: Note: on page 70 Steiner said, "You see, as the skeleton is built up out of the totality of the human organism, as human beings crystallize into the skeleton — that is not a good way of putting it but you will understand what I mean — cosmic thoughts are at work on them.]

When dealing with the aeriform body, we learn to understand that all our internal organs, excluding skeleton and muscles, are formed from the air surrounding our Earth which is filled with formative forces. Our lungs are formed directly from these forces, and the other organs indirectly. We hear sound vibrations with our entire body but our ears were formed to bring the sound into our consciousness. Deaf people are reduced to experiencing only the vibrations arriving all over their body, and they are mostly unconscious of the vibrations' meaning.

[page 73] There is so much in physiology today that is fundamentally wrong that one is sometimes embarrassed to say the right thing when it is so grotesquely different from what people say. When human beings hear, all their organs vibrate along with the vibration of the air, not just the inner hearing organs. The whole human being vibrates along, if only quietly, and therefore the ear is not an organ of hearing because it vibrates but because it brings what is present in the rest of the organism to consciousness through the way it is inwardly organized. It is a big but subtle difference if we say human beings hear through their ears or human beings use their ears to bring to consciousness what they hear.

When Steiner dealt with skeleton he was using Thought; with muscles, Imagination; with the lungs and organs, Inspiration; and now in dealing with warmth, Intuition. We know we are dealing with Intuition when we say something comes out of the blue, we feel it in our bones, or we are operating by the seat of our pants. What is the one thing we can feel in every part of our body, whether it's the skeletal, the fluid-filled organs, the air-filled lungs, our muscles, our head down to our toes? It's warmth! We can't explain it, warmth just is, and we know it. If our feet get cold, the rest of our body gets cold.

[page 75] And if we rise to true Intuition we reach the warmth human being, the organization which is a space filled with inwardly differentiated warmth. Now I said that we truly experience ourselves in warmth, that we do not experience it like carbon or nitrogen, but warmth just is; it is inside us and we are in it when we experience it. It is precisely the thing which we experience most intensively. That is why people today cannot deny that they experience warmth whereas they have no idea that they experience air, water and earth. They have no idea because they have grown out of that. But the experience of warmth is the direct application of Intuition to the human organism. We simply have to experience warmth not in a wholesale way, as we do in ordinary life, but in the way it is finely differentiated in the forms of the organs themselves. If we are able to observe the warmth organism throughout the organism by means of Intuition, this cognitive method will lead us to an understanding not of the internal organs but of the activity of the internal organs. All the activity of the internal organs must be grasped through an understanding of the way that the warmth ether is organized. Anything else is not really suitable for achieving an understanding of the activity of the organs.

There are four spiritual worlds to be entered to understand the full human being: Thought, Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. Those worlds are not elsewhere; they are here, where we are at every moment of our lives. Steiner summarizes how these worlds interweave us as human beings.

[page 75] A perception, an intuitive perception of the activity of the warmth ether, that is, of the warmth human being — that is what must be understood through Intuition. In other words, it is not sufficient simply to think that here we have the physical world and then we acquire Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition to enter other worlds. The other worlds are here. The etheric world is here in that human beings have a muscular system, the astral world is here in that human beings have a system of organs, and the world of Devachan, the spiritual world is here in that we have the warmth human being. The spiritual is constantly among us. It is here. After all, the human being is a spirit, but this spirit is filled with physical substance.

Steiner explains that "healing always comes from the etheric body; the physical body has the causes of illness and cannot heal itself." If healing is done by the laying on of hands, the astral body of the healer can enter the etheric body to undo what is off-balance; if the healing is done by chemicals, the medication affects the physical body and healing enters the etheric body that way.

One of the arguments for the heart not being a pump is that in the early stages of the fetus, there is no perceptible heart, but still a circulation and pulse. Steiner explains that absent its own heart the uterus of the mother acts as the heart of the fetus. Just as our heart is the organ of perception of the two circulatory flows from above the diaphragm (oxygen-rich blood from the lungs), and from below the diaphragm (nutrient-rich blood from digestive tract), the organ of perception for the fetus is the blood-filled uterus of the mother.

[page 85] The female uterus is designed to be the organ of perception of the circulation which arises after fertilization. That is what it is there for; just like the moon reflects the sunlight, so the female uterus reflects the perception of the heart in the blood circulation. It reflects it back. They always belong together like the sun ad moon in that their perceptions behave like direct and reflected effects. When human beings are here, they need heart forces; when they are being created they need reflected heart forces — these come from the female uterus.

In this next passage we find that the fearless doctor is immune to the diseases of their patients, that being fearless is more powerful than immunization. Why? Because love is the opposite pole of fear. The courage to heal, based on love coming from the physician, creates a powerful immunological effect in the physician.

[page 92, 93] Real smallpox provokes a very strong Inspiration, even including Intuition, and what you truly know by this means, my dear friends, if you are real therapists in this field, has a much stronger effect on you if it is true knowledge than vaccination. It has a much stronger effect in a different sense; and in studying the treatment of smallpox as a physician you will cause a kind of preventive healing in yourself and in that way will prepare yourself, if you understand the connection, to be among smallpox sufferers without fear in complete love. But all these things in turn have their reverse side. Because, you see, what you acquire as knowledge of a medicine is, if it is truly imaginative or inspired knowledge, a real medicine; it has healing forces within it. It does not even need to be your own imagination but only one which someone else has, and that is something everyone can do, as I keep repeating. Having the idea of a medicine is effective but it is only effective for as long as you are fearless — because fear is the opposite pole from love. If you go into a sickroom with fear all your therapy will be of no help. If you enter with love you can disregard yourself, indeed, you can focus with all of your soul on those whom you have to heal, can live in love in your imaginative, inspired knowledge. Then, you see, you will not be involved in the healing process out of a personal quality, as this fearful person with knowledge, but as a loving person with knowledge. Thus medicine is driven towards morality not just from outside but also from inside.

We learned in the page 63 passage above that courage comes to us in the air; we feel it arrive in us when we experience a bracing wind blowing upon us. Steiner tells us on page 93 "The thing you need above all else to study medicine is courage, the courage to heal. It is truly the case that if you have the courage to heal an illness, that in itself is the right outlook which in 90 per cent of cases will lead to the correct result, because it is so that these moral qualities are most intimately connected with the process of healing." Combining these thoughts inspired me to write the poem below entitled "Courage":


Courage is in the air,
       Everywhere —
       Air is everywhere
       Courage is everywhere.

Take Courage —

Breathe it in !

Cowards breathe
       Shallowly . . .

Have Courage!
       Take a deep breath . . .

Breathe deeply
       if you wish to have the
               Courage to Heal.

Steiner says on page 93 that there must be a final course for the physician, one which deals with the development of moral abilities of a physician. There is a paradox that needs to be handled. A physician comes to love the disease which afflicts their patient because the disease, when healed, adds meaning to the physician's life while adding more life to their patient.

[page 93, 94] It becomes something which the physician loves, not in the sense of nurturing it so that the patient remains ill for as long as possible but which he loves because the disease only acquires its meaning when it is healed. What does that mean?
       You see, my dear friends, being healthy means bearing the spiritual qualities, the so-called normal soul and spiritual qualities within one. But being ill, having some kind of illness, means actually being influenced by a spiritual quality. I know, of course, that if one of the clever people of our time hears what I am saying now he will say: Aha, here comes the old teaching of possession. Well, it is arguable whether the old teaching of possession is worse than the new one, whether one is possessed by spirits or germs. Modern physicians always declare themselves in favor of possession in their medical teaching, only it is more appropriate for their understanding to teach about materialistic possession. But it is the case that when we have an illness we have spiritual quality in us which is not present in the normal course of a person's life. But it is a spiritual quality.

Steiner goes into more detail, explaining how "Illness is the physical imagination of the spiritual life." (Page 95)

[page 95, 96] We say that when heaven — or hell, of course — take too strong a hold of a person he becomes ill. If they only take hold of his soul and spirit he becomes wise or clever or insightful.
       These are things which you, my dear friends, will have to digest in your soul. Then you will understand the task of anthroposophy as it relates to being a physician because anthroposophy reveals the correct divine archetypes of what is demonically reflected in the diseases. But that can lead you deeper and deeper into the knowledge that the reform of medical studies which is necessary today must be sought on the ground of anthroposophy.

What should a physician do about healing if it be in opposition to the patient's karma? A question like this had been asked in an earlier session and Steiner answers it here, emphasizing that "there can be no healing in opposition to karma." To understand healing vis-à-vis karma, one must look at karma from two sides, from the lives before this one which lead into the current life, and from the lives following this one.

[page 97, 98] Karma has two sides. On the one hand you have to look at karma in such a way that in the sequence of lives on earth you relate your destiny to your previous one. In such a case karma is the expression of the product of your previous lives one earth. But you also have to think of karma directly in the fifth or sixth following life on earth, in the life on earth that follows this one five or six lives away. What is happening now will have consequences then; that is when you will see the final result. If you think this thought properly to the end, it will be clear to you that karma is also something in development, that what is happening now adds something to karma.

We now approach anabolic and catabolic forces as they are revealed in the shape of the skull, the calvarium, and the leg bones such as the femur. The anabolic or growth forces of the Moon pull the long bone of the leg towards it and at some point the catabolic or destructive forces of Saturn bring its growth to a stop, causing a cap to form similar in shape to the orbit of Saturn. Once we understand these basics, we will be in a position to prescribe medicine or eurythmy with catabolic forces to heal an illness caused by overweening anabolic forces and vice-versa. So, first look at the bones in your imagination along with Steiner. [NOTE: If you imagine a boxer with his hand tightly molded into a fist, you will see the anabolic forces capped by the catabolic forces of Saturn aiming to unleash destructive forces on his opponent in a fight.]

[page 99, 100] You can imagine it like this. Here you have the earth and forces flare up from the earth towards the moon. And everything is harnessed into these forces which has the alignment of, let us say, the femur when the human being stands or walks. In contrast, all those things which are positioned like the calvarium [RJM: cap bone of the skull] are arranged to coincide with the movement of Saturn. The rotational forces of Saturn are at work in them, so that we can say: human beings are formed from below upwards through the connection between earth and moon; they are closed off through what lies in the rotational force of Saturn. But both types of force are in opposition. If you look at the [earth-moon forces] they contain everything which gives human beings their sculptured form, which builds them up three-dimensionally. We might say that these forces contain a secret sculptor who builds up the human being three-dimensionally whereas there is constant catabolism in the other forces [which disperses the matter being built up.] So when you cut your nails you are in the Saturn forces with your scissors. When you eat, then the direction of this component — it is characterized by the direction away from the earth — is towards the moon. All forces aligned with the direction of the moon are anabolic. All forces aligned with the direction of Saturn disperse the human being; and the human soul, the human spirit lies in this interchange between being dispersed and being sculpturally built up. That is how they reveal themselves.

If your patient has excessive anabolic forces creating an illness, you recommend a catabolic therapy by using Saturn forces, Plumbum (Pb) medications, or perhaps vowel eurythmy exercises. The signs of excess growth are generally apparent upon examination and some form of catabolic therapeutic aid can be prescribed.

If your patient has catabolic forces overwhelming anabolic forces, dissolving their normal building up forces and dispersing them, you recommend an anabolic therapy by using Moon forces, Silver (Ag) medications, or perhaps consonant eurythmy exercises.

The key to discerning how the human being is formed in the spiritual half of its body is to be able to see into the spiritual world. But to see into the spiritual world without adequate preparation is dangerous for human beings. One need only recall the horrendous LSD trips in the 1960s which ended in young people jumping to their deaths, for example, to understand what can happen if one crosses the threshold into the spiritual world using chemical means which bypasses the spirit guarding the threshold, the Guardian of the Threshold.

[page 101] It is a matter of getting into such a way of observation. Now you see, my dear friends, the true world, the world of the spirit, lies somewhere of which it has rightly always been said that it is beyond a threshold; human beings are on this side of the threshold. It is indeed necessary that human beings should cross this threshold to come to a true understanding, a true insight into the constitution of the cosmos. It is, however, generally dangerous for human beings to cross this threshold without any preparation. Because if human beings suffuse normal sensory perception with the kind of thoughts they have in ordinary life and take these with them into the spiritual world across the threshold, they produce real phantasmagoria by judging things beyond the threshold in the same way as they do here. And that is why there is the spiritual being at the threshold from whom we can learn that we require completely different concepts when we cross the threshold, that phantasmagoria will make us incapable of action if we enter the spiritual world with our ordinary concepts taken from the sensory world. This Guardian of the Threshold is truly there to warn us that we must first obtain the ideas that we need in the spiritual world.

Steiner gives us some examples of the ideas we need, e.g., the part is greater than the whole, the longest distance between two points is a straight line. If you attempt to go in a straight line, there will be many obstacles, thus any other direction is shorter. If we enter the spiritual world without full consciousness, we return with a demonic reflection of the Guardian and an illness in our body.

The ancients considered the human body as a temple of the divine. Steiner emphasizes the truth of this ancient expression, saying in effect that we do best to say, "My body is the Temple of God, and in it I reside for now."

[105] And as much as it is true that the I rules in the soul when the soul is conscious, it is equally true that the Deity rules in the body. You must not address your body as your own because the body does not belong to the human being, the body belongs to God. That is how it is. The human body grows out of divine forces, only the soul within it belongs to the human being so that you have truly to see your body as the temple of God.

Our I arises in our soul and strives outwards luminously into the cosmos while the strength of God's spirit is contained the might of gravity (our body). The luminous power must not take hold of the might of gravity or a physical illness will arise; the might of gravity must not penetrate the luminous power or a psychiatric illness will arise. Understanding the relationship of luminous power and the might of gravity leads us to understanding how eurythmy works.

[page 108] You see, if you penetrate something like that properly with the feelings in your soul, then you will also gain insight into what it is that heals in eurythmy therapy. Because the healing aspect in eurythmy therapy is fundamentally that element which takes particular account of cosmic forces in its healing action. When you do eurythmy therapy exercises with consonants, you are in the moon forces. When you develop eurythmy therapy forces using vowels, you are in the Saturn forces. So when doing eurythmy therapy human beings directly feel their way into the cosmos with these two types of forces. It is like this, for example. Let us assume we could determine — because the key thing in medicine is of course the therapy, but there is no therapy if we do not have a usable diagnosis — let us assume we could determine that the structural element is too strong in a person, that he has salt and carbohydrate structures within him which he cannot overcome: there is too much structure. If you take a real look at the more subtle effects on the organism — the symptoms can occur unobtrusively — eurythmy using vowels which counter such structures can have an exceptionally beneficial effect. Or let us assume that a small child begins to show a tendency to stammer. Well, I certainly do not want to draw any unprofessional conclusions about some cause or other of the stammer; there can, of course, be a whole range of disorders. But in all situations the disorders associated with a stammer work in such a way that there is a predominating structural force and that is why vowel exercises are used in eurythmy therapy for a stammer. And they can be used in the sequence, the form in which the vowels naturally come to expression in the human being. So we can indeed achieve an exceptional amount in children who show signs of a stammer with eurythmy therapy simply with the normal vowel sequence a, e, i, o, u if we have the necessary perseverance and love.

Vowel eurythmy is catabolic (destroying, dissolving, breaking up structure) and Consonant eurythmy is anabolic (building up structure, burgeoning). In the two examples Steiner gives above, stammering and salt and carbohydrate structures, both cases needed catabolic or Saturn forces.

Moon forces are anabolic, the human body is built up by forces between Earth and Moon, (Ag, silver forces) consonant eurythmy. So any illness which needs a medicine based on Silver (Ag) would be a candidate for consonant eurythmy.

Saturn forces are catabolic (Pb, lead forces) and Moon forces are anabolic (Ag, silver forces). The Moon forces are anabolic and can be seen in long bones like the femur which are pulled from the Earth by the Moon into an elongated structure. The Saturn forces can be seen in the caps of such bones of the femur or the skull because these bony ending structures are arranged to coincide with the movement of Saturn, whose catabolic forces stop the anabolic buildup of the bone, resulting in a cap-like ends or top.

Many people criticize Steiner's work without having examined it. But if they actually did examine it, even those who are paid to speak on various subjects, such as professors, might find themselves rendered speechless. Steiner relates a case in when this happened to him one day when he gave a lecture on therapy to a full class of students and their professor.

[page 110] On one occasion when I had to give a lecture to a group of students about a particular chapter of therapy all the students from the whole faculty were there as well as a full professor, a real professor. Now you see, my dear friends, I could see that he came to the lecture because he wanted to find confirmation for his belief that I would talk a lot of rubbish, as medical amateurs do. It was a study in metamorphosis to see how on the one hand he became increasingly annoyed inwardly but on the other hand experienced astonishment. Because he had to concede that it was not rubbish, but he could not, of course, acknowledge that because that would completely contradict what he had for decades considered to be true and accurate. Indeed, the most one could expect from that gentleman was — I spoke to him afterwards when it became clear — that he would refuse to come anywhere near the subject. He would not have needed to steer well clear of it if he had seen that it was rubbish. Then he could easily have made the usual disparaging remarks.

You are smarter than you think you are. This may seem like nonsense, but Steiner explains that it is so when you meditate because you switch off what you think you know and simply absorb what the meditation gives you. If you do that then the I from your previous incarnation will be at work and you will find yourself saying, "I just experienced something which I could not experience previously."

[page 119] Take a simple meditation content which I have frequently given: 'Wisdom lives in the light'. Well, if you start reflecting on it you can find out a great deal of clever stuff and just as much nonsense about it. It exists to be inwardly heard: 'Wisdom lives in the light'. When you listen to it inwardly in this way, something which is not from the present incarnation but which you have brought with you from the previous one is attentive in you. And it thinks and feels, and after a time something is illuminated in you which you did not know before and which you could not have thought about with your own intellect. You are inwardly much further ahead than your intellect. It only contains a small section of what there is.

There was a time in my mid-thirties when my previous incarnation was apparently upset with the path my current life had taken and proceeded to apply a quick kick to my rear in order to turn me into its planned direction for my life. I didn't realize it at the time because I was ill with red measles, normally a childhood disease. My family doctor couldn't diagnose it and send me to an internist. As I sat in the consultation room waiting for my doctor to return, I noticed him with his partner poring into a large medical dictionary. I was alarmed, but the doctor quickly returned to explain, "It's rare for us to see an adult case of red measles." That's how rare my case of red measles is. What happened as a result of my staying home for a week from work was that I moved home to New Orleans and met new people who pointed my life in a completely new direction. I was smarter than I thought I was. Within a year or so, I was reading my first book by Rudolf Steiner. After almost forty years, I am finally understanding the why and wherefore of the case of adult red measles.

What leads to the formation of red measles?

[page 122] What we are as human beings on earth is useless with regard to the cosmos. That is why we want to form a completely different organization when we arrive on earth as soul and spiritual beings. We want to create an environment, we want to produce all kinds of configurations within this environment, but we do not want this human being which is of no use to us in the cosmos. The latter is only given us as a model and we furnish the second human being in accordance with this model.
       That is why in this first period of life we are involved in a constant struggle between what comes from our previous life and what comes from the hereditary development. Those two things are in conflict. And that conflict comes to expression in the childhood diseases.

At thirty-five, I was in the first period of my life, and something from my previous incarnation wanted to come to expression in me.

[page 123] If the inner human being is so delicate that it constantly gives way, that it wants to form the substances which are assimilated more in its own image, and if it fights against the model, then this struggle is expressed as measles. And so this mutual struggle comes to expression in the childhood diseases. And we will also only understand what happens later in the right way if we can take these things correspondingly into account.

What I had been unable to understand with my reason, up until now is revealed to me by the clear insight coming from my study of Steiner's approach to healing. Imagine the problems medical doctors have today who must understand everything using only their reason.

[page 124] The fact that people want to understand everything today with their reason is a most dreadful thing. You cannot understand anything in medicine with reason. The most you might be able to understand with reason is the diseases of the minerals and we do not cure those. Everything medical in nature has to be grasped with direct perception, which first has to be trained.

A question came from a participant about how much meditation one should do. She seemed overwhelmed to the point of despondency by the number of meditations Steiner had described.

[page 131, 132] It is a matter of using the circumstances of one's life, that is, the specific situation of our life, to do such meditations. . . . You see, it detracts from every meditation if we start from the obligation that we have to do it. . . . If the meditation becomes something without which we cannot exist, of which we feel with regard to the soul that it belongs to the whole life of the soul, then the meditation is experienced in the right way. . . . The urge must therefore always be there from the free inner volition of the human being to undertake such a meditation. And it is actually unimaginable that this would make one despondent. Because why should the thing for which one is inwardly thirsting make one despondent?

Steiner's answer to this question inspired me to pen this poem.


When we thirst for water,
       we seek it,
       we drink it freely
               with no sense of obligation.

When we thirst for knowledge,
       we seek it,
       we imbibe it freely
               with no sense of obligation.

When we thirst for freedom,
       we seek it,
       we act morally and freely
               with no sense of obligation.

For people who can grasp healing with direct perception, they become natural healers. If asked how it is they heal, they will be unable to tell you because they don't know. If you explain to them how difficult it is to heal, as a modern doctor might, you may make it impossible for them to heal people.

[page 138, 139] Let me tell what an old colleague said to me. He was not speaking about a physician but a rural healer in the Bavarian mountains. He did all kinds of orthopaedic things with consummate ease so that he became famous. An orthopaedist in Munich heard about his skill, went to see him and told him he should come to his hospital. The man saw all the equipment in the hospital and the professor said to him that he should show him how he did it. The rural healer looked at everything and from that day onwards he could no longer heal.

Shown the way of medical academies, the man could no longer heal. He had previously been operating under the rubric of "Thus a Healer, So Also a Learner" and learned as he healed, none of which required the equipment that filled the hospital.

[page 139] You see, medical studies today are rather like asking a sculptor, let us say, first to get to know mainly the scientific characteristics of marble and wood. That is not something he really needs to concern himself with. Much of what is written in textbooks today or what happens in hospitals has nothing to do with medicine.

When I began doing wood sculpture I let the wood show me what it would let me do to it. One cannot see the inside of a block of wood so if one finds some defect in it while carving, one simply incorporates the defect into the final sculpture, turning the defect into a thing of beauty. To have doctors saddled with the burden of knowing all the details of anatomy, physiology, and such can create a such burden that the doctor cannot get through the eye of the needle of healing with it.

"It is the physician who heals and not medical science," Steiner says on page 172, right after talking about a terrible thing happening in medicine in 1924, 90 years ago, something that has literally become a monster in our time, consuming people's incomes and providing drugs and treatment as a poor substitute for real healing. Notice his words could be easily said today.

[page 172] Everywhere in the world the opposite of what should be happening in substance is welling up, and particularly with regard to medicine something terrible has developed in recent times. That is — please forgive me for descending to something mundane, but it shows how the opposite acts — that is the medical health insurance system. It has cut out the physician primarily.

We enter the world today like someone who has been beaten half-senseless stumbling out into daylight. We find ourselves in a world of which we can only see the surfaces of things and the living spiritual realities are quickly lost to us once we reach the age of five. I knew that fairies and elves existed before I was about three and was disappointed to find later that everyone claimed they didn't exist. Apparently everyone had the same surface-only affliction that I had acquired. When I finally discovered Steiner's writings, it came as a huge relief to discover that I had popped into a civilization in which the evolution of consciousness had progressed as deeply into the physical world as it could, and the turning back to perceiving the spiritual half of the world was in progress, this time retaining our ability to see the surface half of the world as well.

[page 184] Science must develop in such a way that something really does occur in the sense that with every stage we achieve in science we also change as human beings in our mind, in our feelings, that we become acquainted with something we have forgotten. After all, we did become acquainted with nature, for example, before we came down into the physical world. But it looked different then. Today what young people went through in their previous existence is killed off when we refer them to crude, robust external perception. [RJM: as happened to my knowledge of fairies and elves.] Once it occurs to people to treat external sensory perception as if an old acquaintance turned up in sensory perception whom we know from pre-earthly life, then feeling will enter knowledge, feeling will enter cognition in all instances. And this must truly be like a bloodstream, like a spiritual bloodstream which flows through all of scientific life, through human education and teaching as such. This intimate relationship with what is real — that is what we have to obtain in science.

Half a loaf of our senses is not enough! The spiritual world flows as feelings into us, such as those which well up at seeing an old acquaintance after many decades — we feel something long before we understand and can explain why this person has had that effect upon us. The spiritual world likewise, and just as strongly, flows into us in feeling when we meet a new acquaintance, one we haven't seen since a previous lifetime. We can't explain this one with our academically trained knowledge, but the feeling is real and cannot be discounted as meaningless because it cannot be rationally explained. The Bavarian orthopaedist had feelings for his patients and could heal them, until the day when it was shown to him how little he really knew about medicine. The time has come for the science of medicine to be shown how little it really knows about healing, and maybe we can begin thriving on the full loaf of knowledge and healing from now on.

Summary of Medical Courses and Review Links

        Latest editions as of 2014 (From Editor's Preface of GA314)
        Publisher: RS = Rudolf Steiner Press, SB = SteinerBooks
        Bobby Matherne Review Link
Click to Read Link, if underlined as shown in brackets at right: [active].

             GA/CW    Course Name      (Publisher Year)    [Link]
               27 Extending Practical Medicine, GA# 27 (RS 1996) [epmrvw]
             107 Disease, Karma and Healing (RS 2013) [diskarhe]
             230 Essentials for the Healing of Civilization (RS 2001) [harmonyo]
             312 Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine (SB 2010) [amedic12]
             313 Illness and Therapy (RS 2013) [illnessa]
             314 Physiology and Healing (RS 2013) [physheal]
             315 Eurythmy Therapy (RS 2009)
             316 Understanding Healing (RS Press 2013) [underhea]
             317 Education for Special Needs (RS 1998)
             318 Broken Vessels (SB 2003) [brokenve]
             319 The Healing Process (SB 2000) [healing]

List of Steiner Reviews: Click Here!

Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne

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All the tools you need for a simple Speed Trace IN ONE PLACE.

Do you feel like you're swimming against a strong current in your life? Are you fearful? Are you seeing red? Very angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraine headaches? Have seasickness on cruises? Have butterflies when you get up to speak? Learn to use this simple 21st Century memory technique. Remove these unwanted physical body states, and even more, without surgery, drugs, or psychotherapy, and best of all: without charge to you.


Counselor? Visit the Counselor's Corner for Suggestions on Incorporating Doyletics in Your Work.

All material on this webpage Copyright 2019 by Bobby Matherne