Silica – Substance and Process
This article was presented as a lecture at the annual Biodynamic Conference at Sacramento in 1989.
“The clay that we have today is a memory of that. It’s a memory of the time when it could become a plant or could then turn into a mineral. When we take this plastic material and make a face out of it and put it in the kiln and bake it, then it’s there for a long while. And yet, a day before it was plastic. And you could take it internally and it would heal you. So there are still memories of that time in the clay. Now the clay is a very interesting component of this process because clay is a silicate, it has silica in it. It has a silicate, or silica, in a relationship to alumina. Alumina is an unusual substance. Scientists call it an amphoteric. This means that whatever is unbalanced in one way will be balanced by the other side. An amphoteric can be both basic and acidic. It can mediate between two minerals that melt at widely differing temperatures, and it will bring them together so that they melt at the same temperature. It has incredible properties, this alumina, and it is abundant in nature. When nature puts the alumina together with silica, combining the plant quality from the mica together with that flexibility of the alumina, the result is a material that can relate to all poles in nature. It can relate to the silica pole, it can relate to the lime pole, it can do miracles of combination, because it has this incredible balance. Clay is a cosmopolitan silicate.”
“Clay is connected to the plant world, through the weathering of the mica, but it also has deep connections to the animal-like feldspar because the feldspars are what potters use to make glazes on pots. Just dig them out of the ground and put them on the raw clay and that is your glaze. So there is in this a hidden kind of alchemy in granite. The granite begins dividing and dividing, but it’s basically always silica. And so silica as a manifest substance always terminates a silica process. Silica processes, as they form the colloids and granites from the periphery, start to move into substance, and become, as Goethe called it, protean. Proteus was a Greek god whose strategy, when he was fighting someone, was to be a shape-shifter. Proteus was a shape-shifter. If he was fighting a beast, he’d turn into a bird; they would turn into a hawk, he would become a fish. Every time there was a problem for him, when his enemies shifted shape, he would change into something else. Every time an enemy tried to grab Proteus, he would change into something else. If you changed into something else to fight him, then he would change into something else that would get you. Very clever, that Proteus. Goethe called granite the proteus of the mineral world, and we find that the middle member of the granite, the clay, has shape-shifting capacities in abundance.”
“The clay is the real connection that interests us as gardeners and farmers, because the clay builds what is known as the clay-humus complex. They clay-humus complex is a unique alchemy that is produced because the clay’s already moving in that direction, it’s already colloidal, it already has affinities to water, it already has connections to a lot of different areas in nature’s household. Clay begins combining with acids from dead things and from organic matter, and starts to form not just clay, it starts to form other colloids. And these other colloids are the type of material in which a plant can find nutrition. In other words, a plant can find what it needs. A plant has a difficult time dealing with just the rock. It doesn’t have a lot of capabilities. Some pine trees do pretty well, you know. They’ll find a crack and go ahead and grow. But most plants need some type of mediator between the rock, the mineral, and their own plant nature. That’s where the clay/humus serves the plant world.”
“Clay is a rock that already has leanings towards becoming a colloid. That’s its history, its pedigree, so to speak, to carry this silica process, which starts to become plant-like, as the clay-humus complex. And then the plant finds in the humus and clay, structures and substances that it can relate to. Now that sets up a unique situation. Because, as we start to move into this level of silica and silicates and silica process, there are some very amazing mysteries. The clay has the tendency to form what chemists call the kaolin ring. If you look at it chemically, and look at the behavior that all silicates have in common, this kaolin ring is their field mark. Their field mark is that their molecular structure is in a ring, a kaolin ring. The kaolin in the clay supports this growth structure. If you look in nature’s household for other materials and substances that have that molecular ring, you find that kaolin/clay is like touchstone. “Touchstone” in, As You Like It, by Shakespeare, is a fool. He has everybody connecting with everybody else. Kaolin is a mineral touchstone. And its written formulation depicts those forces. It has a lot of valences, and it can build molecules in all different directions.”
GA ***** a key comment of this piece is how alumina is ‘amphoteric’
Phosphorus is also considerd to be of the same quality.
This might not seem to have much significance, until we look at the periodic table I provide in the Glenological Rosetta Stone the other day. This picture provides a context by which we can approach these elements in a wholistic manner, ie from their prostion in the whole PT, not just as a seperate element as is common practice.
By looking at the Pt in this way, and with the referecne provided from the top picture, we can see how the threefold plant is positioned over this table. Root to the bottom and fruit towards the top. We find Al, Si and P as the cosmic physical body ( yellow ring) sitting in the nerve sense pole and in the below ground root area. In the middle of the Al and P is the arm of the internal physical body, with the elements C and Si. These are indeed the great plasticians ( as RS calls them ) . C of course moulds itself into a vast array of substances and forms, while Si also can morph itself the provide structure for many different shapes. The opposite arm to these elements is the internal spirit arm of the noble gases – which are characterised as ‘being full’ and in no hurry to bind with other elements. They are however adding atomic weight to any circumstance and thus they also provide a ‘chaotic’ element into the soup, and they will move as the context sees fit to push them’……
In short, we have a very mutable vertical axis, which is influenced by the two groups of three elements to the left and right of this axis.
So coming back to the nerve sense pole, we find both elements P and Al have this amphoteric quality. Both are also found in clays. Al as a dominant element bound with Si, while the P readily hides inbetween the AlSi layers. Rather than drawing a conclusion of clay or phosphorus are ‘middle elements, as Hugh Lovel has done, I prefer to observe these qualities as a natural feature of this nerve sense region, where things are merging together to form a unified base. There are images in the relationship of N and B that provide very similar images – although I would need to go find them to quote them exactly. One quality being the both NB and AlP form the same type of crystal strucutre and both form very tight bonds……
When looking at this picture though we can not avoid looking to the layer above it. Which has N,C,B. Link that with the H of the centre ( and the O next to N) and we have the basis of humus formation. Built upon the base of the ‘clay’. Here is the clay humus complex needed as the foundation of biological activity, sitting as the basis of the Periodic Table.
We can also consider the role of the Boron and its opposite Florine in the amorphising of Silica, and to what degree Al, plays in this movement of the Silica process we see in clay. B and Al are elements carrying the World Physical arm, which is a force coming from the centre of the Earth upwards. It is this upward thrust of the World Physical, carried by Al into the Physical Body ring, that I am seeing as the active piece of the upward moving silica process, clay provides to plants.
So rather than just looking for the answer to clay in simply Al or Si, we have the opportunity to look at them ‘in context’ of ‘ the whole being of chemistry ‘.