Hydrogen the carrier of the Ego

As any reader of Rudolf Steiners work will appreciate there are many statements throughout his literature which appear to be contradictory to one another. The `struggle' or process of being his student has for me been to harmonise as many of these contradictions as needed to form a cohesive workable model which can be applied to everyday Agricultural and Human experiences.

In expressing my approach to his indications I wish to identify myself in the context of Bernard Lievegoeds last book "The Battle of the Soul" as standing firmly in the Rosicrucian stream of practical alchemy, as opposed to the stream of the Anthroposophists, who approach Steiners work from a more intellectual and some would say pedantic, literal interpretation. The Anthroposophists approach has been of little value to me, due to the degree of contradictions one is confronted with and the apparent lack of any possible consensus between their commentators. After seventy years there is still many unanswered questions and unsolved problems within their circles as can be seen by the level of `Biodynamic creativity' exhibited in their commercial and educational practice.

I have needed to work directly from my own experience and intellectual striving to find practical functioning solutions which can enabled me to work towards an agricultural practice, based on the preparations as mediators and harmonises of the spiritual bodies activity in creation. This is what I believe Rudolf Steiner was indicating for agriculture as he did for medicine. My approach has been to strive for big unifying pictures in an attempt to simplify the endless details.

Instead of contradictions, rather I see we are only given small parts of the whole picture at one time. It is through cross reference of many statements that a cohesive picture can be developed. The contradictions become further learning experiences. My study has lead me through Steiners medical lectures, his basic texts and the Biodynamic literature. My interest in Astrology and Astronomy has also been a major help.

So my `belief' that Hydrogen is the carrier of the Ego into physical manifestation comes after twenty years of research and imagining rather than any single book quote. I do not wish to bore you with endless book quotations, so I include some relevant quotes as well as references for your further investigations.

The Contradictions

The reason this question needs to be asked and dealt with in such as a minute manner is that in lecture three of Agriculture on Page 44 ( blue edition ) we find the following statements.

"It is on the paths of this carbon- moistened with sulphur- that that spiritual Being which we call the Ego of man moves through the blood so in a manner of speaking the Ego of the Universe lives as the spirit of the Universe- lives via the sulphur in the carbon as it forms itself and ever again dissolves the form"

" So you can have the following idea. Underlying all living things is a carbon -like scaffolding or framework. And along these paths of this framework the spiritual moves through the world"

"on the one hand the carbon framework, wherein are manifested the workings of the highest spiritual essence which is accessible to us on Earth: the Human Ego, or the cosmic spiritual Being which is working in plants" Pg 46

Later on page 50 Hydrogen is described as the element which carries all that is "formed and alive and astral" out again to the universe.

I do not dispute these statements. I do however feel we do not have all the picture if we take from them only that Carbon is the carrier of the Ego, as is suggested in BD circles.

In the medical literature we are confronted with two very definite and different statements.

In Fundamentals of Anthroposophical Medicine, Lecture 2 Pg 39

"You will see that the Ego organisation is connected with the Hydrogen in the same way that the physical organisation is connected with Carbon, the etheric organisation with oxygen and the Astral organisation with Nitrogen"

A week earlier on page 30 of "Spiritual Relationships in the Human Organism." We find "Thus our ego organism also takes part through the liver - which in essence has hydrogen as its physical representative - in the whole construction of the human organism"

In Agriculture 3rd lect. There is another very interesting line early on page 44 which says " Carbon, in effect, is the bearer of all the creatively formative processes in nature" From later in the lecture it is possible RS includes Etheric and Astral formative processes as well.

So we definitely have contradictions. I like to believe that all of these statements are right. So how can this be so?

As above , So below

On page 70 of the 1938 edition of Agriculture there is a suggestion that " when we want to understand the plant, we must bring into question not only the plant, animal and human life, but the whole universe He who can keep his mind open to the manifest workings of these forces will understand her." Here is RS suggestion we keep referring to the big picture to solve the details of life.

There are a couple of big pictures which have been useful in establishing models or patterns for forming my thinking. Astronomy offers many clues. The first comes from the theory of galactic, solar and planetary formation. A basic form arises in all these systems. Essentially there are two vortexes working on the vertical planes sucking in cosmic dusts and hydrogen into a central `black hole'. This `matter' is then squirted out along a horizontal plane. (8) Initially it is possible to see the vertical plane by it central gas streams , however as the system ages, it is the horizontal plane which physically dominates. Hence the galactic plane and solar systems' `matter' both appear along horizontal planes. All the planets other than Pluto line out across a 5 degree arc of the sky. RS presents this same picture when discussing the formative processes in the human body. ( 2,4 ) This is a significant picture we in Biodynamics can ( must ) also use. He outlines how the Ego working from the Head or nerve sense pole moves inwards from the top, while the physical forces move from the metabolic system upwards. These meet in the rhythmic system and create a `horizontal plane' supported by the Etheric and Astral body polarity. In doing so the lung and circulatory systems are created.

In many other BD studies we come across this picture as the vertical Silica plane and the horizontal Calcium plane, most observable in the plant through the vertical Siliceous stem and the horizontal `netted' - calcium - leaf formations. This picture is very similar to many creation myths. Consider the Maori Rangi and Papa or the Greek Oranus and Rhea. Both have the sky god joining with the Earth mother before their children force them apart so life can exist. We will come back to this form later.

We are attempting here to find the manifest paths of the spiritual bodies into physical forms. From the ancient `law' as above, so below, we can conclude the macrocosmic relationships of Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen and Hydrogen can provide indications for how they will function micro-cosmically in life.

To gain the big picture of the spiritual bodies macrocosmic homes, I refer readers to B Lievegeods " The working of the Planets and the Life Processes in Man and Earth". Here on page 1 he points out the formative processes within the physical form of an organism functions in the 3 foldness, the etheric through a four foldness, the Astral in the sevenfoldness of the planets, while the spiritual works through the twelvefoldness of the zodiac. Here he states clearly the connection between the stars and the spirit\Ego, and how the Cosmic Astral body resides in the planetary realm.

It is easy to see physical forms manifest on the earth, so naturally the Earths surface is the home of the physical. We can also note science has revealed the basis of physical matter and organic chemistry is Carbon. It is predominantly carbon which is lifted from the Earth into life forms and then returned again to the Earth, upon death.

There is no real debate that oxygen is the physical carrier of the etheric body. Steiner states this in many places. Similarly nitrogen carrying the Astral body can also be taken for granted for the same reason. (Agriculture , lect 3 )

So for the etheric bodies macrocosmic home we can look at the home of oxygen. Free oxygen is most plentiful within our atmosphere. In fact, it is only through the freeing of oxygen from water and Co2 by life processes - initially blue green algae - that our atmosphere has formed to the state where it can support further life. The evolution of life is in direct relationship to the amount of free oxygen in our atmosphere. Reported to be between 11 and 22 %, before the industrial revolution. ( refer 4) This has lead me to conclude the macrocosmic home of the etheric is the Earth's atmosphere.

Regarding hydrogen, Astronomy tells us space is made up of 99% Hydrogen and that the Stars and Suns - the sustaining sources of life - are generators fuelled by the burning of this Hydrogen. Lievegeod has already told us the Ego/spirit is housed Macro cosmically in this same galactic or star region. It is the spirit when incarnated into physical form which is responsible for the development of the Ego activity in life.

So we can easily come to see the value of the `Fundamentals of Anthroposophical Medicine', Lecture 2 Pg 39, quote.

"You will see that the Ego organisation is connected with the Hydrogen in the same way that the physical organisation is connected with Carbon, the etheric organisation with oxygen and the Astral organisation with Nitrogen"

So how is RS statement that `carbon is the carrier of the ego into the physical' right.

One suggestion

Let us now remember the picture RS paints how life is sustained through a series of two polarities as suggested in diagram 1. Simply put the Ego and Physical bodies work together on the vertical plane to create the horizontal plane, which allows for and is maintained by the interaction of the polarity of the Astral and Etheric bodies.

Through the medical lectures RS often presents the concept that health is a result of these two sets of polarities working in harmony. Disharmony comes when either part of one polarity is imbalanced. Hence we have to deal with either the Etheric \ Astral polarity or the Physical \ Ego polarity. Where one part of a polarity moves the other follows, to fill the gap as it where. In plant growth as in human health it is often an imbalance in the Etheric Astral relationship which creates problems. As a general rule, too much Etheric and we have fungal diseases, too much Astral and pest attack occurs. The `science' of these relationships provides a fascinating and rewarding study.

The reality of these relationships were first shown to me in another way. I have outlined in some detail in "Biodynamics Decoded" how the Astrological formula can be combined with Biodynamics in the form of a Vortex to provide valuable insights into RS work. This picture was presented to the 1991 AGM field Days and in earlier Harvest issues. As the thesis presented there has gone unchallenged since its presentation in 1989, it seems appropriate for it to be used more freely in this forum.

Diagram 2 - The Astrological model and Biodynamics

The above picture is an unfolding spiral. At 2 fold we have a primary polarity established between `Sun' & `Moon'. This polarity activity is carried forward to 3 fold with the development of a middle ground. This we can see imaged in Steiner picture in Agriculture and Medicine with the working of the three physical systems, which work from either pole to create the middle space -Rhythmic system as outlined earlier.

The 4 fold level is developed when this middle ground breaks into two. So we have the outside elements Fire and Earth maintaining the primary polarity initiated at the 2 fold level (working on the vertical plane) with the inside elements Air and Water forming another polarity ( and working on the horizontal plane) actually sustaining life. These polaric relationships have been widely accepted in Astrological circles for some three thousand years. They are not presented in the terms RS uses however the theory fits perfectly. It was therefore possible to conclude the Ego and the Physical body must have a significant relationship. RS has since broadened this assumption.

In plants, the Etheric and Astral sphere work relatively directly. The Etheric internally with the Astral body from the outside and carried into or closer to the plant during flowering and the development of proteins and poisons. Light plays an important part in the Astrals working too.

For plants, due to this `evolutionary make up' - only incarnating the etheric body into the physical with the Astral `hovering over it' from the outside. I imagine that the Ego stands `further away' from the plant than the Astrality and rather than working directly, as it can in the Human, it has to be `carried' into the plant through its polarity partner the physical or Carbon element.

Organic chemistry shows us that carbohydrates and sugars make up the earliest elements of life processes. These are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms. Nitrogen is added later when proteins and amino acids begin to form. So early in life the Hydrogen combines with Carbon. As RS says in (1) - moistened by Sulphur, followed by Oxygen. We can translate this to say the formative impulse (H) combines with carbon before binding with the etheric forces to create life. RS continues and indicates Nitrogen acts as a mediator between the Carbon (CH) and Oxygen. In fact dragging the oxygen along the carbon framework. In carbohydrates this astral activity must still play in externally.

Steiner provides us with a similar picture when discussing cow manure. Here he outlines how the ego forces, present in most food, are not used by the cows and are passed out in the manure. They are then incorporated into the soil and passed to the plants so they can work upwards again through the plant towards seed formation. In doing so these `free' ego forces also become available to Humans, through our food, who will use them. I also draw your attention to the passages (1, lect 2) where we are told the `Cosmic Silica' is drawn into the Earth and crystallised around the winter equinox, so it can radiate upwards in the following season. The Astrological model suggests the Cosmic Silica is related to the Ego forces carried to the Earth through the cow manure. Both paths are active as plants will seed without cow manure. How did they get into the grass in the first place otherwise?

While the Ego (H) can work through the warmth, it appears from Steiners statements this most cosmic of elements needs to carried into plant growth along the pathways of Carbon, its creative polarity - moistened by Sulphur. For Humans the Ego can work directly drawn in through the liver and Hydrogen.

Hydrogen becomes `the remover of the form' in the same manner that the Ego is a death force, which when functioning too strongly will kill anything it touches. Just as we meet incarnating and excarnating processes of the planets (7), so with hydrogen we will find it has an incarnating and excarnating activity too. From the Astrological model as described in (6) it is apparent the Hydrogen \ Ego \ Fire \ Cosmic Silica pole has a close `affinity' to the Saturn processes. In its incarnating mode therefore Hydrogen will `support' the Cosmic Silica \ Saturnian form crystallising function as a carrier of the spiritual archetype. This process is creative and maintained while in active balance with the other bodies and other elements. Once the Ego processes begin to dominate maturity occurs followed by seed formation ( secondary Terrestrial Silica process) and death. Here hydrogen's secondary function as remover of form becomes evident.

So I suggest when reading lecture 3 of Agriculture we bear in mind that the spirit ( working as through primary Hydrogen process ) has been bound to the Carbon with the help of Sulphur, remembering his statement that " Carbon, in effect, is the bearer of all the creatively formative processes in nature". It is the basis of organic chemistry.

Please accept the above as my imaginings upon Steiners stimulus and therefore appreciate they are not an end statement, just offered as part of `our' discussion.

1 Agriculture R Steiner

2 Fundamentals of Anthroposophical Medicine

3 Spiritual relationship in the Human organism

4 Spiritual Science and Medicine

5 Astrology, BD and Greenhouse gases G Atkinson

6 Biodynamics Decoded

7 The working of the Planets and Life Processes in Man and Earth B Lievegeod

8 Amber Lotus, Black Hole calendar of 1996. ( www. Amber lotus)

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