Your being of constant Mother love,
I bear within the being of my will.
But now my own force of will,
Tempers my impulsive spirit
So that I can fructify the feeling of my true self
to bear, as embryo, my eternal essence
within the womb of my lower self
Today is the Michaelmas verse and Rudolf Steiner is addressing nature as a being of constant mother love. He gives a picture elsewhere of mother love as being a very high level of the will, but not the highest. Freedom is the highest level of will. When acting out of mother love there are still some contingencies. To act out of freedom, there aren’t. And those mothers in here who have let children go understand the contingencies in mother love, and in freedom there are no contingencies at all. But nonetheless mother love is a very high level of the will. So when Rudolf Steiner is talking about mother love, he’s talking about very specific esoteric language. Nature has in it mother love, which is the giving of one’s bodily substance to another, but what’s not given in mother love, what is held back, is the self. And so he’s saying that through the being of constant mother love in nature, I bear within me a being of will; but now my own will within nature must temper my impulsive spirit, because my impulsive spirit just wants to go to the periphery and be one with the Godhead. And so I need to temper that impulsiveness in my spirit so that I can fructify a feeling of my true self. As close as we can get in this life is really just a kind of feeling of the true self. We can’t really become one with the spirit completely, because then we become one with all. But we can get a definite feeling of the True Self. So my own sense of my own will in nature, is subtly counter to the mother love impulse in nature. I sort of stand against it in a way. There’s an old alchemical saying that the alchemist is the ‘opus contra naturam’, the work against nature; and it’s not really translated very nicely in some places, because it seems very against the whole idea of why we’re here on earth. We can think of the arrogance of modern science here. But what it’s saying is exactly what Steiner is saying in the Michaelmas verse, that by existing as a human being, a part of your will gets separated from the mother love of nature. And that part that gets separated is the part that needs to temper your spirit so that in a motherly way you can, within your own will, find the embryo of your True Self growing. This was what was known in the ancient mystery schools as manas, or they use to call it the manes, the growing embryo of the True Self. And each time we come back into a given life, we are further developing the evolution of that embryo to eventually have an enlightenment into what in Eastern traditions they call CC, cosmic consciousness, and in the Western tradition what is called Christ Consciousness. Same thing. Within this consciousness there’s the sense of the universal within all things. So in the Michaelmas verse Rudolf Steiner is really saying a lot. At Michaelmas where the soul is turning away from nature and turning toward itself there is a turning point, because nature’s going away. And if our soul follows nature going away, that’s when we really get depressed, because we feel like our will to life is being thwarted by the cosmos. This can make for a very rough fall and winter. Rudolf Steiner is addressing this in the Michaelmas verse, so I just wanted to give you a few pictures. The words seem a little complicated, but he’s really talking about a mood of soul right now in the autumn, where the soul is turning. The light is going away. The soul is turning into the darkness where we sense within the presence of the Creator our True Self. Elsewhere Rudolf Steiner speaks about the human being experiencing the Godhead in darkness of the cosmos. It’s a darkness because we have no hope of knowing it, but it’s warm darkness because it is creative and is us. These were just a few comments about our verse for this week.
(The class then does an exercise observing the Rembrandt print called ‘the Hundred Guilder print)
In every picture there is a secret language, and it’s the language of the motif. An artist, because of the way their hands are on their arms and the way their heart works and the way their consciousness works, has a particular way of making a curve, or a line. And that relationship between the movement of the curve and the movement of the line is particular in that soul. It’s like a finger or voice print. And that relationship between the line and the curve is repeated again and again and again like a mantra by the artist as they draw or as they paint. It gets incorporated into their forms. There are certain forms that artists have certain ways of arranging which create a pictorial space that speaks directly of who they are as a person. These arrangements of form are called motifs. It’s the motif of the artist that you become familiar with in the life and work of an artist. We become familiar with that particular kind of motif energy or what we could call the signature of the motif. When we look into that work, the motif is going on as a kind of inner movement. When we contemplate the work of the artist the motif is moving in our soul. The movement motif is the true medium in which the artist communicates. Rembrandt has one way of working a movement motif. Durer has another, Raphael another. Michelangelo another. There’s a certain signature in the way in which the forms flow with one another. And that signature is, then, something that was living and moving in the soul of that artist. And it’s through the signature of the relationship between the curve and the straight line that the tensions in the artwork are developed. Whether one artist has always a big curve followed by two small ones as a motif, or a series of small diagonal slashes, or a line that is ‘fuzzy’ due to all of the jerks of the drawing hand, or however that is. It’s like a handwriting within the structure of the picture. And it’s in that script of movement that your soul participates in the soul movements of the artist, not in what is pictured. Take, for instance the subject of madonnas in painting. There’s a madonna, there’s a madonna, they are the same subject but they’re very different madonnas. They’re the same in that they’re madonnas, but they’re different in that they have different energetic motifs. The motifs reveal the movements of the soul of the artist — like a seismograph of the sensitivity of the artist to the materials and the image and what was being expressed. So today we’re going to explore that a little bit in our observation exercises.
What I’d like you to do is when you come into yourself, that is when you become aware of your body sitting in the chair, be in yourself and say now I’m here in this chair and there’s the picture out there. But when you go into the picture, imagine that you leave your body by flowing through your eyes out to touch the picture with your vision, what I would like you to do is to look for a line or a curve that you can see is repeated again and again. Usually it’s a curve, but some artists use a straight line — Feiniger, and Kandinsky in his later period, and whoever. Braque, Mondrian. Straight line people. But even in that, they have their own signature with that straight line — have certain ratios and proportions. So Josef Albers was really into the square, and Mondrian was into the golden section rectangle, etc., etc., etc. There are all kinds of ways to cut the cake. There are all kinds of energetic motifs in artworks. So what I’d like you to do is when you go into the picture today, look for a curve or a series of curves in opposite directions (a compound curve) and see if there’s a repetition of a curve or a compound curve in the picture. If there is, try to imagine your hand making that curve, feel it inside and outside, and then come back to yourself and say there’s that curve out there. Then go into yourself and live into the curve as if you are actually making it inwardly, and then come back into yourself sitting in the chair, and then go into the picture and live into the curve in the picture again. Okay, it’s a little variation on what we have been doing, but it’s very far reaching what we’re doing here. We’re turning a corner. Anyone not understand what we’re going to do? Okay, please work with the picture. . . Please record any thoughts, feelings or images.
Okay, so what I would like to present to you today is the alchemical concept known as dew. The name dew in Latin is ros, a drop of blood or a drop of dew. Ros is the root of the word rose as in the name Rosalinda, beautiful dew. Dew to an alchemist was what they called a gift of the night. It was understood in alchemical terms that a physical manifestation came into being in a process similar to the process of the formation of the dew. To an alchemist dew was a mysterious substance which came from nothing. Dew appeared on the grass in the morning out of nothing suddenly manifesting into something, and then it went back out again into nothing.
It was understood that in the alchemical world view the thing that we call body and the things that we call our organs were really just a kind of dew that showed up for a while and then went away. Everything that came into being that had a manifestation came through some form of condensing process or precipitating process. So today in the language of meteorology, rain and dew are called precipitation. Precipitation means that there is something that is in a levity state that falls into a gravity state. Levity is associated with laughter, but it really refers to a force that lifts. In warmth there is much levity. If we were to light a fire and watch the ash, the ash would fly up. Ash going up goes against the law of gravity. So levity to an alchemist was considered to be one of the most fundamental forces available. It was the polar force to gravity. Levity and gravity were the most fundamental forces in the universe to an alchemist. Levity states always had to do with warmth, and gravity states always had to do with cold. Levity goes up. Warm goes up. Cold and gravity go down. These two forces were the basic polarities of life. Things come into incarnation from levity states, fall under the influence of gravity and then they go back out into a levity state when they excarnate. The breathing of the soul in solve and coagula is where solve is going into a levity state and coagula is going into a gravity state. Now we have a few different words for our solve and coagula. Solve is solution. And if I take some salt and put it in water, the crystal, the earth of the salt, goes into the water and dis-solves, dis – solves, ‘solve’, dissolves into a levity state. The salt floats around in the water under the influence of levity. But if I boil all the water away, the salt comes back out of the solution as a precipitate. It comes back under the influence of gravity. The alchemist considered that to be a great, great mystery, the alternation of levity and gravity.
Now in the formation of dew, there is nothing in the air, no clouds or weather. Then suddenly in an hour or so there is water all over the plants. In the formation of dew, air has gone from the condition of levity into a condition of gravity. That’s the formation of dew. And it was understood that the soul element was carried in the air. All ancient traditions talk about that because that’s what pranayama is. In pranayama you’re trying to get the soul out of the air by doing breathing exercises. So in yoga the soul element is in the air, and the alchemists said the same. Soul is pneuma, pneumatic — air. The air principle is in a levity state and then turns into water, which is a gravity form of air. We say H2O, meaning hydrogen, which is the lightest gas there is, and oxygen. Two gases go together to make water. Total mystery. Total. And the oxygen supplies the gravity and the hydrogen supplies the levity, and they marry each other in the universal solvent. Sol-vent and sol-ve have in them sol, the sun, levity. A sol-ution means you take matter to the sun. When you search for a solution in your thinking, your thinking goes into a levity state and then you understand something. You solve it. You take your thinking to the sun. Out of the sun state in the thinking the thoughts fall out like salt crystals out of a solution. These are just pictures in our language. They are alchemical pictures in our language. They are very accurate pictures of this process of dew. To an alchemist every organ had its dew. There was brain dew. Brain [laughing] dew. Anyone take a venture at what brain dew was?
[Dennis:] Thought. Yes, very good. Thought was the dew of the brain. You must be an alchemist to think like that! So when we think, there is a process of dew formation, our thinking is sol, but then out of sol comes thought, which is more gravity laden, so therefore it is the dew of the brain. Modern chemistry or modern physiology would also have brain dew. What would brain dew be in modern physiology?
[Student:] Electrical impulses?
[Dennis:] Electrical impulses would be one form of brain dew. Brain dew could also be things like melatonin. Things like that. Neurotransmitters. Secretions. Brain secretions. Dopamine, etc. Neurotransmitters — things that enable transmission of chemical-electrical impulses. Brain dew. And it’s in those endocrine secretions and neurotransmitters that much research is being done today to try to find the seed of consciousness. But they’re looking at the dew and not the process of the forming of the dew, just like we do today: we take the thing and not the process. So every levity condition to an alchemist, especially to a healer, had its particular dew that it produced, it’s secretion, so to speak. It had it’s own rhythm of secretion, its own process of secretion, and it had also, because it was involved in a dew forming process — it had a gravity state and a levity state in the forming of the dew. So this morning if you took a walk out in your garden, there was plenty of dew. But if in the next few days the weather changes a little bit and the clouds come in the morning and you take a walk in the garden, there won’t be dew on the plants, because the dew will be up in the sky, because it won’t come down to the earth because the pressure will change.
So there’s a constant breathing of the dew in the morning and in the evening having to do with warmth and cold of the earth and the pressure of the atmosphere and things like that. The exact same process is happening in us daily with the secretions around our organs, what an alchemist would call the dew of the organ, or what Paracelsus called sweat. His descriptions were a little more earthy than most. He would say the organs sweat. When an organ sweats, it sweats a condensate of its process of what he called the evestrum or the archeus, its sol field, or its star field. It was considered by an alchemist that the source of the forms of the physical organs of the body was the starry realm. And so the dew that was created on the organ, especially on the surface of an organ, like the drops on your cold glass of ice tea or on the plants in the morning, the dew will form on the organ. So in our organs there are certain patterns that the organs have of moving in and out of gravity and levity that have to do with the dew of the organ, the secretion of the organ. And the reason I’m speaking in this language is because we can get a lot further in looking at physiology if we understand this process in this way. Because if we just look at physiology as physiology, we’ll have endocrine secretions and we’ll get a headache trying to remember dopamine and ATP and whatever. We’ll get crazy trying to give names to all of the corpses that result when an organ sweats. There are just hundreds of these secretions. We must remember the picture of the process, that this organ is becoming out of nothing into something. If we remember that the dew is kind of a signature of the motif of the becoming of the process (to use that as a language now), then we can see that everything is breathing. And the organ has times when it’s more in a levity state and times when it’s more in a gravity state according to its dew forming process. The dew forming process is what Rudolf Steiner would call an Imagination. It is the cosmic activity of the hierarchies. It is a motion motif of the creative activity of the cosmic artists whose imaginations created the life organ in the body. When an organ is in a levity state, it is participating in the becoming of its process. It’s participating in the creative imaginations of the hierarchies which surround the organ.
What is present as the imagination surrounding that organ becomes the content of the consciousness of the person that has that organ. In the life of humans the imaginations which form the organ become free of the organ forming process. Once the imaginations are free of the organ physiology calls them endocrine secretions. The endocrine secretions circulate around the organ and breathe rhythmically in time with the organ so that the secretions can interact with other secretions, and then you don’t have any stuck places in your body. The endocrine secretions keep the soul circulating through the body. But the organ also has its gravity side, a particular emotion where the secretion gets stuck, and can’t circulate. The secretion gets stuck at the surface of the organ like a crust when we are feeling the particular emotion. They can’t just be released. They are held and locked in the organ. That emotion in the soul would be called fear. It’s opposite, the quality of the freely moving secretions, would be called creativity.
So we’re making a shift now between regular physiology and soul states, because the alchemical language can do that. It can help you see the relationship between physiological dysfunction and soul dilemmas. They very much are connected to one another. It’s what today they would call the body-mind connection. But in the body-mind literature today there’s not a really good poetic language of pictures, because everybody’s trying to compete with the guys who are doing research on neurotransmitters and seratonin and whatever, and dopamine — to try to say oh yeh, it’s the seratonin we’re after when we do mind / body stuff. But to an esotericist the seratonin is a being that has an activity that eventually becomes dew that eventually becomes a crust through fear, which is actually another type of being. From this perspective the human soul is a battleground between the creative beings of the hierarchies and the entrapped beings of the adversaries. Both live in the human soul. Which one dominates is determined by the consciousness of the human who has the soul forces moving through their body. The adversaries create our wounds the hierarchies give us our gifts and the alchemist learns that from one perspective these things are the same thing. Our gifts are our wounds and vice versa.
So the same thing that could be creative, if it’s not allowed to be creative, becomes the problem. So the way they would say it in alchemy is your wound is your medicine. Your wound is your medicine. Your dysfunction is your teacher. It’s where you’re learning. So if you’re struggling with something being stuck in your soul, then the dew has deposited as a crust of fear or doubt in a life organ, and we have to be able to breathe it back into a levity state to get rid of the fear, so that what is trapped in the fear can once again circulate in the soul. This all comes under the idea of dew, organ dew.
To an alchemist the most sacred thing was a picture that the great sacrifice of the Avatar was dew. Ros. Another word for ros is blood. Dew, or blood. So your blood is the dew of heaven. And your organs are made out of that blood, that heavenly dew. And so there is in each organ, because it’s fallen so far into manifestation, there’s the tendency for a part of the organ and its function to always be carrying a little fear in it. It is the anxiety produced by the fear of alienation from the creative cosmos because the organ has lost it’s potential and become manifest. And that becomes, then, a kind of stone that gets stuck, and it has to be transformed again and brought back again into levity state so that the imagination can once again flow. But the danger is that if it’s really stuck, when the imagination starts to flow, the imagination just leaves the organ and evaporates, and then we get fantasy. Fantasy occurs when a life organ just exudes its imaginations and they escape the organ, rise up into the consciousness and evaporate. As an alchemist we want to learn how to collect the dew of the released imaginations. We want to learn how to collect imagination and keep it in little bottles so that we can use it again to heal.
So Dr. Bach, who made the Bach flower remedies, was following Paracelsus. Paracelsus would tell a sick person to sip the dew off of a flower that was a picture of their discomfort. Later when we get to the botany block in here, that’s just what we’re going to be looking at. The flower is the picture of a particular dysfunction. And the dew on it is particular to that flower, because the image that’s in the flower in a particular species of the flower mingles with the dew of the organ, and that becomes a soul medicine for a particular fear. That’s the idea around Bach flowers. That’s the idea around homeopathy. You’re just making a dew. You’re taking a substance back into the realm of its levity state. You attenuate it out and it becomes dew. Through succussion, through dilution, it becomes like the dew.
For instance, today we’re finding the big problems in parts per million and parts per billion, like this pthylates thing in the news now. Researchers are finding that certain chemicals added to plastics that make them flexible are wreaking havoc with people’s reproductive organs. There are two-year old girls with breasts now in some third world country which uses these plastics a lot. Six-month old girls start developing breasts because of these pthylates that are mimicking estrogen. These compounds are found in Tupperware. So the flex in Tupperware is because of a certain addition, and those compounds that are in there mimic estrogen and testosterone. They are active in parts per billion. Parts per billion! Dew. Dew!
So we’re right in the middle of this crazy thing and the old alchemists were saying this, and people are going, those alchemists were crazy. They didn’t know what they were talking about. Dew. What do you mean dew? What’s so special about that, it’s just water. It’s just H2O. That’s right, the most precious thing in the whole universe. When I’m speaking to you about organs and imaginations, it’s really something like this. The imagination behind visible forms is really an analog of the process in nature by which the dew is formed. To an alchemist this process is the process of becoming. From this perspective a physical organ is a condensate of its process of becoming, and its secretions are analogs or pictures of that activity, that will force, of that motif, of that movement. An endocrine secretion is a movement pattern that has become a substance. You know flight or fight, or migrate or protect your territory. So our secretions are present in the soul as motifs of movements that we access as images of motives in the will.
[Student:] Say that again.
[Dennis:] There are motifs of movements that we have in our will that we call motive. It’s why you do something. It’s an imagination. And in the will at the level of the ego, motive is a kind of movement in the will, and it’s a motif of a becoming. And it has its fear side and its creative side — its coagula side and its solve side, its gravity side and its levity side. You could even say its moon side and its sun side, if we want to get even further into alchemy, which we will. This is all the same language. And so when we say organ we need to be clearer on whether we’re talking about this piece of meat here or this process. To an alchemist the great question is how the process becomes the meat. An even deeper question is how did it become meat in you at a particular time in your biography? That question determines whether or not the meat it has become is a medicine for you or not. Some parts of your organs are just blissfully unaware and they’re just doing their thing because nobody’s messed with them. But it may be that at a particular time in your development, you were being messed with in your head. And your soul formed a way of working with that motif of stress that is now an imagination in that organ which is perceived as a given condition in that organ. And it may be that the impulse of the forming of the organ was more on the gravity side of the balance.
So when you need that organ as part of your life process, the images that come with it come with the mood of that motif, which has a little too much gravity or fear in it. A kind of soul cramping results from the fear in the organ. So whenever you need the forces of that organ, like when you want to breathe or something, or more often when there’s a change needed in your breathing — that’s where the real crisis happens. The conditions change and the organ associated with a particular type of fear must deal with the results of the psychic cramping of the organ.
Where there’s a change that happens around you in the sympathetic or antipathetic mood of the psychic atmosphere in which you are living, then the heart gets that one. When there is a shift in the anxiety level in your life, the kidneys get that one. A shift in diet or stress around the digestive processes, the liver gets that one. And the self-image level, the lung gets that. What the lung is afraid of is very specific things like heights or small spaces. The lung obsesses on things like, not being able to explain something, or not being able to come back with a quick answer. That is what the lung is afraid of, because the lung has connected to it a very deep sense of earth. This analog is created by the process of the lung getting rid of carbon (earth) into the atmosphere. To do this the lung needs constantly discriminate between the carbon in the blood and the atmosphere. That’s the levity state of the lung. And when it’s getting rid of carbon and putting it into the atmosphere, it feels very fine, thank you. But when the lung is on the fear side, then the lung gets afraid in a gravity or contraction state of very specific things, because that’s it’s function to say this is not that. This carbon in the blood does not belong here and I must come to a decision about this.
I can look at these two colors and say that this green here is not that red. Right, Jessica? Right. We agree on that. Our lungs just helped us make that discrimination. My soul was seeing both green and red. But then in order to communicate to Jessica, I needed to discriminate between green and red. Okay, red is not green says my soul and my lung helps in the process of discrimination because it is a specialist at discrimination. We could say the soul uses the forces of the imagination of discrimination which the hierarchies have built into the structure and function of the lung. But if I were color blind, I would experience that the red and the green were very similar. They would be shades of gray or something like that. I can see that one’s lighter than the other. But I don’t really know for sure. I can’t really discriminate. That’s then a little bit of a gravity state in that perception process of the lung. The lung could not discriminate and it does not have an answer. Over time this pattern may get fixed in the lung as the feeling of not being able to control what cannot be discriminated. The lack of control gets extended to the experience in the soul whenever the person comes into proximity of what is not controllable.
When this happens, the lung has as a picture of the gravity side of its dew process. This is what is known to psychologist as phobia. It’s a fear of not being able to control specific things: water, dark rooms, heights, cats, air, you know, whatever. Specific things. The lung knows exactly what it’s afraid of because it’s so good at discriminating. It obsesses on what it’s afraid of, because that’s what the lung is very good at doing, discriminating and controlling, in a word, obsessing. It says in – out, in – out, in – out, in – out, in —- no, not out, in. In, not out, in. Thank you. In – out. And if it doesn’t get its way, you’re going to know about it, because it will obsess you into oblivion. It will drive you nuts. If you’re living with a lung that is in a gravity state, you definitely can identify with what I’m talking about, because it’s just right there at the surface of things all of the time. And that’s where phobia and control issues come from. The lung says I have to control everything, because if something’s not in place, somebody’s going to think I’m stupid. So that comma you have in the wrong place, I’m going to keep nagging you about it until you change that, because that’s not right. And it’s true. It’s probably not right because a lung person caught in a gravity wave really checks out the facts. A lung person will really check, and they’ll make sure that when they’re telling you that something’s not right, they’re really sure that that’s not right. When a lung person gets going with this you’re gonna eventually have to cave to their discrimination. For you it’s a comma in the wrong place, for them it’s life itself hanging in the balance. The absolute worst thing that can happen to them is that they find out that there’s a typo in their own manuscript. They’ll obsess on that. For three weeks they’ll have fear coming out of their lung that somebody’s going to know that they had a typo in their manuscript that was printed and put out in front of everyone.
That’s the gravity state of the lung. That’s when the dew can’t be creative, and the physical manifestation of that is things like asthma and a tendency towards pneumonia. Just too much on the lung, and the lung says I can’t handle this so I’m going to just totally clog with stuff and you’re going to have to lay down. And then you have to work to heal and bring the lung back into movement again, into more of a levity condition. So what I’m trying to do is show you that the fear of the organ is a picture of its process and that the obsessiveness is a kind of gravity condition in what could be a creative and very useful activity for the editor. We need the editors because they usually have spent the time so that they won’t look stupid. If they’re telling you it’s wrong, they’re pretty sure it’s wrong. That’s what they spend all their time doing, so we need them. But it can eventually work on them in a wrong way. Too much gravity, and then they have to come back around and take a chance and maybe do some poetry or something to try to get the flow going back again. So that’s the lung. That’s what we could call earth. When the dew falls all the way down that’s ice, then. We just had an ice storm in the lung instead of dew. There was too much cold. Alchemically cold is the element of earth. When the lung is out of balance the temperamental disposition is towards melancholia. The soul feels the weight of the earth too much. It is unable to relate to the air.
Since every life organ is built by the imaginations of the hierarchies every life organ, such as the liver also has its dew. The lung lives with one side against the carbon in the blood and the other side against the air. In this it has it’s imagination. The liver, by contrast is caught in a sea of lymph and fluids all the time, and it, if it’s forces dominate the soul life the whole personality would be phlegmatic — not melancholic. The liver lives in the watery element because it’s continually immersed in the flow of gallons of liquid everyday, filtering, analyzing, synthesizing, gathering, concentrating this, letting go of that, ordering, structuring. If you’ve every dealt with fluids, you know that liquid is always is seeking it’s own level. The elementals of the fluid world say you either play my way or don’t even bother getting in the game. This is the way it’s going to be. So when you squeeze water on one end, water says ‘cool’, and the water elementals just pass that squeeze on to whatever is in the system. And if you squeeze it enough, the elementals will just say ‘that’s enough, sorry, you’re not going to squeeze me anymore. Air you can just keep squeezing. It’ll just keep compressing until it is a solid. But water, it gets to a certain spot and that’s it. And that’s the imagination behind the dew of the liver. The liver says ‘this is my spot and that’s it. You can’t push me beyond this. If you push me beyond this, I’m just going to open up all the channels and dump whatever is going through, because it says in my job description that I work this way from this time to this time, and I work in this other way from this time to this time. And if you don’t have the sense to follow that imagination then, I’m not responsible for whatever happens to the system.’ So the liver doesn’t get angry. It just gets even. And it just says, ‘you’re going to push me? Cool. You’re pushing water, guy. You’ll get me back into a corner? Cool. I’m in the corner. Thank you for sharing. Here is the result of what you have done.’ The liver doesn’t worry about control issues it just knows that whatever goes around comes around.
So what the liver has as its imagination we better listen to because there is nothing else that can be done about the way in which the digestion can operate. It’s not like you can mess with it. You can’t hold your liver like you can hold your breath. So you can’t stop the fluids from moving and doing their thing all of the time. You can try to not listen to the liver, but you’re not going to get very far. That’s phlegma. And so when the liver goes bad, so to speak, when it gets filled too much with gravity, the very thing it becomes afraid of is the very thing that it’s there to support, and that’s life. Once again the gift of the organ is also its challenge. Its medicine is it’s wound: it’s wound is it’s medicine.
We said earlier that the lung gets afraid of specific things: dogs and cats and thunderstorms. But the liver gets afraid of the relentless flow of life. Rather than dealing with life the liver would rather sit by the fire with a box of chocolates and read a good book and maybe have some egg custard just to keep things moving in the digestion, just to keep the flow going without having to do much in the way of work. The egg custard is already partially digested. The egg is oil from the mother bird and the sugar is already digested and the milk is also digested by the cooking process. The liver gets to have the life without the work. The liver wants to just keep things flowing easily, and then when it goes bad it says I’m not going to flow. I’m tired of flowing and I am going to sulk and be sodden and pout.
Once the liver is in rebellion and pouting you come down in the morning and see the grease left in the frying pan from dinner last night and the liver goes, ‘Oh my God. Oh no, I can’t do that. I can’t digest the grease and protein. It’s too much for me to deal with.’ And then the thought comes up, ‘God I wish it was bed time.’ It’s eight o’clock in the morning, and we just woke up, and the liver says, ‘God I can’t wait to come home and have a nap.’ That means your liver is being pushed into states of rebellion. And what it gets tired of is living, because living is going to require that it make changes. The liver says, you want changes? I’ll give you changes. It’s day and night. Those are your options. You want changes? Those are the changes. Four o’clock AM I’m here. Four o’clock PM I’m there. Those are the changes. Take it or leave it those are the times when I work. Anything else and I’m just passing on whatever comes in.
It’s like certain kinds of waitresses in restaurants; ‘Mom’s’ restaurant. This is what you’re going to eat on the menu here. This is really good for you. I’ve been telling you about this for a while now. So this is what you are going to eat. Right there on the menu — honey! I can tell by your complexion you eat what’s not good for you. So this is what you are going to be able to eat from now on. The dialogue with your liver is like that. It is like dealing with the waitress ‘mom’. Eat this. It’s good for you. And so when you don’t listen to it, it gets sullen, and it starts to brood, and it starts to say I’m not going to participate in this. I’m taking the day off. So then you don’t have any energy. You don’t have any life. You don’t have any enthusiasm and no creativity, because the liver is saying I’m just not going to do any digesting today. The most stubborn of temperaments can be the phlegmatic. The melancholic can be outrageously stubborn, but they’re arrogant in their stubbornness. But the phlegmatic can be outrageously stubborn and they’re still cuddly and lovely and soft and great, but it’s just like, sorry. Out of my control. Sorry. And there’s nothing you can do because you can’t push the river. So that’s what happens when you start to do things that your liver doesn’t like. It just slowly builds to a spot where it says I’m not going to participate. And then when you wake up in the morning, it’s just one fear of what could happen in life after another.
So if that’s a little litany starting for you around three o’clock or four o’clock in the morning, when you wake up like oh my god, I gotta — oh, gee I can’t — oh, I don’t think I can. If your mornings are filled with that kind of mental process again and again. That’s the ‘mom’ voice of the liver. That message means that if momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. If that liver is not happy, you will not want to be in life. You’ll be afraid of life. And the dew that that will secrete in you will be an imagination that life is just too much to bear. There’s just too many choices, too many things. Whereas the lung is going ‘this and not that’ again and again. The liver is going ‘ahhhh! I don’t want to make all these choices.’
But that’s just what the liver has to do all of the time down there in the digestive system. It’s a short order cook. And so what happens is in the morning when you’re having difficulty with the liver, this mood of ‘I don’t want to do anything’, if it gets deeper over a period of time, it turns into a kind of rage at life. We begin to have little flare ups of rage at absolutely nothing. The cat could walk in and leave a footprint on the kitchen floor and that’s all it takes. And then suddenly the liver gets congested. Then you get a back ache or a neck ache or a muscle ache or your back goes or whatever, and then you have to go see a massage person to work the kinks out, because the muscles are the end result of the creative imaginations of the liver. The substance of the imaginations which operate in the liver have to do with the production of glycogen. Glycogen is animal starch. It is a condensation of the carbohydrates of all of the food consumed the day before. The liver produces glycogen at night and stores it up so that during the day the glycogen is broken down and energy is released to live life. This is the diurnal rhythm of the liver. It must not be messed with. So when the liver’s functioning well, the glycogen is easily being broken down in the day and circulating through the blood. At night the foods which were broken down during the day are synthesized into glycogen and stored in the liver for use during the next day.
When these rhythms are balanced every cell has energy during the day and every cell is cleaned and rested at night. During the day, all the muscles are receiving the attention from the liver that they need, and the imaginations that we have allow us, through the muscles, to move into life. From the liver we get motive force and will. And we play out the imaginations that were contained in the dew of the glycogen. Then we have energy. We are enthusiastic. So the most problematic thing to do with the liver is to change something fundamental with it, because the liver is phlegmatic. It expects things just to go on and on and it expects things to be nice and flowing. When this rhythm of day and night is upset then the phlegma of the liver turns bad and its gravity state is to try to push its agenda of how things should be. When that is not possible then the mood from the liver is that everything is not okay in life and life is not worth living. And so the depression that can come form the liver is a little deeper than the depression that can come from a lung, because you can reason with the lung. You can’t reason with the liver. The liver knows what it has to do. It is very aware of what the contract says. This happens at this time and that happens at that time, no exceptions.
When the lung says no to life that’s exogenous depression. It comes from fearing what can come to the soul from the outside. When the liver says no to life, that’s known as endogenous depression. It means it becomes afraid of what can come from the inside. Because you could be living a life that was really pretty cool, and everybody would be going wow, man, things are really going great for you. But if you’re in that liver state, the more great things that happen to you, the worse it is, because you know deep inside you that everything has to change and someday I’m not going to have $350 million dollars. Someday I’m only going to have half of that. Poor baby!
So that’s what happens when the liver gets whacked. The crazy thing about it is if that stuff starts to happen in your life, you start eating things which help the liver to get whacked. The very things that we go to, like chocolate, is death for the liver. It’s caffeine, oil and protein — bleh — and sugar. It’s just like a molotov cocktail for the liver. The liver says,’ I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m out of here.’ And the reason why it feels so good is because when you take it, the liver dumps toxins in order to deal with this thing that’s coming in. The liver freaks out and says, ‘There’s this big load of stuff coming in! The mouth just told me this thing is coming down here, and man, we gotta deal with this, so I’m just going to have to dump whatever is in here now and throw that in the blood because we gotta deal with this thing coming down. It’s protein, sugar, caffeine and oil all mixed together, and there’s tons of it coming down. So we gotta deal with this! So what happens is, whatever is stored in the liver that’s been in a holding pattern is dumped over board. The liver throws it out, and goes into the blood. It becomes a toxin in the blood and we become intoxicated. In-tox-i-cated. It simply means the liver has dumped and we’re getting the imaginations that it was holding of the substances which are causing the problem, in order to protect us. So what do we do when they flood into the blood? We eat another Hershey’s Kiss, of course, because we get the imagination that those substances are not being held on to and we want to replenish them again. The sugar and the caffeine are flowing out of the liver and we want them back so in goes another hit of the hair of the dog that bit us — and we’re back up again. But then the liver is challenged once again to digest them and the cycle is renewed. Once it gets to oscillating, then you’re just trying to rob Peter to pay Paul, and the liver gets confused and then says I don’t know what to do with this. I think I’ll just throw it in the lymph, which is the great bunghole. And then we start to swell, and that’s edema and perhaps in the long run cancer or some other severe teacher.
So these are pictures of pictures of pictures. And they all have to do with the alchemical image of dew, and every organ has a dew, and every dew has its gravity side and levity side, and every illness is a medicine. We just need to be able to get the biological and physiological side going a little better, and then we will see into the motive from the soul side of why we had to have that affliction, and that, then, is the road to self-transformation.
Dennis Klocek, MFA, is Co-founder of the Coros Institute and founder of Consciousness Studies at Rudolf Steiner College. He is the author of many books including the newly released, Esoteric Physiology and also Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics. Dennis is known as an international lecturer.