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By: T. A. Wouters, M.D.
 (From Beitraege zur Enveiterung der Heilkunst 1974,4:4-6. English by A. R. Meuss, HL, MTA)

Anagallis is the first of the few plants Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman consider in their book.(1) Little is known from tradition, e.g. in homeopathy, why this inconspicuous, practically non-poisonous plant should have such extraordinary medicinal powers. It is not much used in phytotherapy either.

In Fundamentals, we read that the medicinal action is directed to the intestinal organism and that this was connected with potassium and sodium in substantial form as well as with sulfur.

If a medicine is to influence a pathological condition developing in the inner organization even if this is due to external causes though it then develops in the inner organism, it is important to see in how far the astral organization is acting to cause that protein decomposition somewhere in the organism as it is normally initiated by the nerve organization.

Let us assume we are dealing with stasis in the lower abdomen. Excessive activity of the astral body may be seen in the pain that develops. Thus, we are dealing with the characterized situation in the intestinal organism. The next important question is: how can the increased astral activity be balanced? This may be done by introducing substances into the blood that may be taken hold of by the part of the Ego-organization which is active in the intestinal organization. These are potassium and sodium. If these are introduced into the organism in the form of a preparation or in a plant organization such as Anagallis aruensis, we relieve the astral body of its excessive nerve activity and cause the excess astral body activity to transfer to the activity of the above-mentioned substances, an activity which has been taken hold of by the I and is out of the blood.

If we use the mineral substance, care will have to be taken to add other substances or, even better, combine the potassium or sodium with sulfur in the preparation so that these metals are introduced into the blood stream in the right way, stopping protein metamorphosis before decomposition sets in.(1)

Having studied these lines in some depth, we may feel the need to gain an image of the medicinal powers of Anagallis. A book by Frits Julius can help us with this.(2) He lets the qualities of physical substances arise from the character of the realm of nature from which they come.
Every element is part of a mighty movement that also signifies reshaping; progress of the movement in time being characteristic of the element.(2)

This Goethean approach reveals that sodium and potassium use every opportunity to change from the solid to the liquid state. They show remarkable affinity to the sphere of water but do not rest until they have reached the salt state.

Julius teaches us to look for the state of maximum relaxation in every element. Sodium, he says, is completely "at home" in sea water. It looks for a state of endless fluid movement where it can join in with the flowing wave motion. In the case of potassium, he says, it is the great movement of fluids in the whole plant world. There, the action of these elements is enormously phlegmatic.

Sulfur occurs where an ordered state changes to chaos, as in volcanoes. When matter grows chaotic, which we see in living protein, for instance, especially when it is involved in processes of growth and reproduction, sulfur plays a special role. "It may be said to be on the threshold of creative activity." Sulfur protests against any tendency to grow rigid and set limits.

If we consider Anagallis as such, we may add that it belongs to a family of alpine plants (Primulaceae) that likes to be exposed to the full-light stimulus. It sometimes grows in the shelter of cereal haulms in early Summer. Pimpernel loses that protection when the grain is harvested at the height of Summer and then comes into flower.(3) It must have developed a warmth organization of its own to cope with such an abrupt and challenging change. One might think I-nature to be closer to Anagallis than to other plants. Will such a characterization give us some insight into the medicinal powers of the plant?
An image of alkali activity would show that in the human water organism these substances seek to make a person more phlegmatic, bringing him into closer harmony with the great fluid rhythms in the earth sphere and thus stopping excessive astral activity. Characterization of sulfur might help us understand that Anagallis assists in making the re-creation of food materials run more smoothly once they have been thrown into physiologic chaos in the intestinal wall. The plant's ability to cope with heat might reflect a power through which substance is taken up into the Ego-organization. In this way we can get an idea of the Anagallis action described by Rudolf Steiner.

On going through the passage quoted from Fundamentals, the next question is whether enhanced astral activity in the intestinal region may also be triggered by excessive astral activity in the upper pole of the human being, i.e. in the part of the soul sphere connected with thinking. It is the custom in pathology based on the science of the spirit to look for correlated changes in the upper human being if there is disorder in the lower human being.
The Dutch and German names of the plant refer to mental aberration, with people caught up in their own ideas.(4) [According to Mrs M. Grieve's Modem Herbal, an old writer says, "the herb Pimpernel is good to prevent witchcraft, as Mother Bumby doth affirm".(5) Translator.] Can we find a common denominator for these two views of the medicinal action, starting with the syndromes given by Rudolf Steiner?

In his lectures on special education,(6) he referred to a child who was unable to let go of impressions because the organization of metabolism and limbs was too weak. The deeper cause was that "protein substance does not contain the right amount of sulfur". The child was to be given a sulfurous principle from the plant world (fruit) or sulfur. Otherwise, it might develop a "paranoid condition with compulsive ideas" in later life.

In light of the above, especially Julius's words that "sulfur protests against any tendency to grow rigid and set limits", we would suggest using Anagallis in situations where excessive astralization in the intestinal region may be connected with being unable to let go of an impression or idea - other medicines we know for this are Belladonna, Chamomilla, Oxalis, Colocynth, Cuprum, also Nicotiana, to mention just a few. The question of whether we should think of Anagallis for neurotic compulsive ideas must remain open for the moment.
Let us approach it from a completely unexpected angle, not looking for a definite answer and consider the hero of a novel. This came to mind when studying another work by F. Julius where he attempts to illustrate the form principles of the zodiac with figures from world literature.(7) Thus, he considered the polarity between Scorpio and Taurus in terms of the struggle between lago and Othello, that between Aquarius and Leo in the figures of Thomas a Beckett and Henry 11 (as portrayed by C. F. Meyer). He also took examples from more recent literature (Felix Dahn).

Taking up this idea, let us try and picture the medicinal powers of Anagallis in a fictional hero - The Scarlet Pimpernel, written by Baroness Orczy(8) - whose efforts to save human lives reflect the powers of the plant In her short novel, which became world famous, she described an English aristocrat who went to rescue people during the French Revolution. He was a strange character. At home, he seemed incredibly phlegmatic, with society people thinking that he valued peace and comfort above all. Secretly, he showed tremendous activity and courage in organizing his rescue operations, inventing the strangest methods to wrest the victims from the revolutionaries' grasp, escaping with remarkable skill, always leaving behind a scarlet pimpernel as his emblem.

It seems incredible that this early 20th Century novel became a bestseller. We read, for example, that having fallen into the hands of his pursuers, the tall nobleman suddenly assumed the guise of a ragged, stocky Jew. Millions of readers, from Europe to South America and Indonesia, accepted such an improbable situation. Why did the book prove so successful? Was there the image of a great individual behind the Scarlet Pimpernel, a figure that lives in the dream consciousness, or even at a deeper level, of generations in the early 20th Century? The publisher P. J. de Haan has referred to this.

I hoped the author's memoirs, published in about 1946,(9) would provide an answer. Reading them, one is initially disappointed. The photograph on the title page shows a lady who does not look like a sophisticated author but rather a well-to-do hotel manageress. She writes that she went for a walk in Paris some months before writing The Scarlet Pimpernel. Her husband was working there at the time. She brought the events of the Revolution to mind. On her return to London the image of Sir Parcival Blakeney came to her, almost as clear as a photograph, when she was in Temple Underground Station. She completed the novel in a few weeks.

She says nothing about the choice of emblem. The first impression gained from her memoirs is that fashionable life in London and elsewhere was her main interest in life.
There are indications that the inspiration was connected with things that lay deep within in her. One is the tendency to understate - one sometimes feels that she could have said more. The memoirs also show a photo of her at the age of 12: a serious face with a deep, somewhat melancholic look in the eyes, a person who has brought much wisdom from the past. The Baroness wrote of the loss of her only sister, her dearest playmate. Loss of a brother or sister in childhood is not uncommon in the biographies of people who are highly intuitive.

She was Hungarian. Brought up on an estate a little to the East of Budapest, going abroad because of her father's work as an orchestral conductor. On her mother's side, she came from a noble family in Czege, very close to Cluj (Klausenburg). She lived to a good age and always felt connected with the destiny of Transylvania and its freedom fighters. At the end of her memoirs we read, almost as an aside, that when she lived in Monte Carlo she would sometimes give talks on unusual historical figures for her friends. One who interested her especially was the Count of St. Germain "who moved among traveling folk in both 1740 and 1840 and looked very young". Could this be why we have a feeling that the Scarlet Pimpernel is based on an archetype?

What do we know about St. Germain? One of the most recent books about him is by Irene Tetzlaff.(10) It says he was a Prince Rakoczi, son of leading Transylvanian freedom fighter, Ferenc II. At the age of 4, Leopold Georg Rakoczi, born in Cluj in 1696, was declared dead for political reasons and secretly taken to Florence; he grew up in Siena in the care of Johann Gaston Medici, an influential relative.

Leopold was a gifted scholar. He took the name San Germane at his confirmation, which is the old name of the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Gassino. Known for his artistic talents and later his scientific insights, he became a tutor of princes and later was received at every court in Europe, being able to advise on economic and social/political issues. His suggestions for reform would sometimes be received with interest and sometimes meet with hostility. Therefore, he would frequently change his name.

He felt his basic purpose was to renew the mission of the Templars. He endeavored to establish links between the individual brotherhoods and lodges in Europe and give their ideals a new foundation based on liberty, equality and fraternity. Rakoczi thus became the representative of a new kind of freedom fight for individual rights in modem society. He went to London in 1760 to inquire into the situation of the Templars. The center of his activities there must have been the place where the Templars consecrated their sacred building in 1185. In the 18th Century, it had long since become the property of London University, but a scholar such as St. Germain would have been able to see and leam a great deal. The Baroness' inspired meeting with Sir Parsival (!) Blakeney in 1902 was exactly underneath that temple. Temple Station is, thus, anything but an ordinary place.
Tetzlaff also refers to St. Germain evading his enemies disguised as an old Jew, and it seems reasonable to assume that the vision Baroness Orczy had was a high point in her (only half-conscious?) connection with the Count of St. Germain. Similar, well-documented historical visions in particular places have been reported by others."

The novelist perceived only part of Blakeney's true nature for his destiny was essentially tragic, like that of Cassandra. He warned of the consequences if rulers failed to see the signs of the spirit of the age but was ignored. Blakeney succeeded in undertakings that at first seemed to fail.

St. Germain sought to establish a new concept of freedom that would sustain humanity in the future, Blakeney was concerned with the traditional idea of getting people out of danger, even if this was in an epoch-making situation. The inner calm essential for genuine courage and the Pimpernel's charmingly disarming superiority were qualities also shown by St. Germain when he faced courts where envy and intrigue reigned.

If we accept this simplified characterization, we can admire the skill shown by the author who presented her hero in succinct, apt phrases. Even the above-mentioned improbability can be let pass if we think of Messing, the clairvoyant, who deceived three Kremlin guards in succession in 1940. Alhough he wore no disguise when he said he was Beria; he managed to see Stalin.(12) Similar powers of suggestion may be given to a Scarlet Pimpernel.
Why did the author choose Anagallis? Was it an inspiration coming from St. Germain, or the individual who had incarnated in St. Germain, as Rudolf Steiner said on one occasion.(13) This would make the flower an emblem of tremendous import.

Let us recapitulate the qualities that seem to have emerged from our study of the plant and the references in Fundamentals:

• a powerful I-like warmth organization;
• creative mobility active in chaos;
• latent fire that only shows itself under special circumstances;
• phlegmatic in normal environment.

We see that these qualities were also given to the Scarlet Pimpernel and may be related to his method of helping others. He goes abroad to seek out the chaos where something new wants to come into existence; he show tremendous intensity and great courage in what he does but is able to control these flaming qualities to the point of presenting a phlegmatic image to those around him.

His opponents were really sick people. They were obsessed with the rigid, overweening idea: "Death to the aristocrats." These revolutionaries had a delusional image of this highly dangerous nobleman. They sought him here, they sought him there but never in the place where he actually was, which was right among them, a harmless creature, a jocular lieabout. He saved his friends and at the same time made his enemies aware that they had the wrong idea.

His phlegm made them unsure, and this relaxed the spasm in which their ideas were held. Seen like this, the Scarlet Pimpernel was therapeutic in the sphere of the soul, and such an Anagallis is indeed able to cure mental aberrations.

Anyone prepared to give significance to a vision received beneath a site sacred to the Templars may feel it is worthwhile considering Anagallis in the treatment of compulsive neurotic syndromes.

1 Steiner R, Wegman I. Fundamentals of Therapy (GA 27). Tr. E. Frommer, J. Josephson. London:
Rudolf Steiner Press 1983.
2 Julius FH. Grundlagen einer psenomenologischen Chemie 1965.
3 Pelikan W. Heilpflanzenkunde 2.1962.
4 de Vries J. Nederlands Etymotogisch Woordenboek 1971.
5 Grieve M. A Modem Herbal vol. 2. New York: Hafner 1967.
7 Julius FH. De Beeldentaal van de Dierenriem.
8 Orczy E. The Scarlet Pimpernel 1903.
9 Orczy E. Links in the Chain of Life 1946.
10 Tetzlaff E. Unter den Fluegein des Phoenix.
11 Morison E, Lament F. The Adventure 1911.
12 Ostrander S, Schroeder L. Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain 1970.
13 Steiner R. Rosicrucian Christianity. Neuchatel 27 Sept. 1911 (in GA 130). Tr. D. Osmond. Anthroposophical Quarterly 1960.

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