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  The Liver - Organ of Death and Resurrection

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By: Anna Lups, M.D.
The Liver - Organ of Death and Resurrection
Anna Lups, M.D.

*From a lecture given on "The Search for a Human Psychosophy" at Camphill Soltane, Pennsylvania, February 17,1998

Ludwig Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, December 16, 1770. He was the second child. The first died in birth two years earlier. His father was a court musician, as was his grandfather. The family was exceedingly poor and dysfunctional because of the father's addiction to alcohol. The grandmother on the father's side had a similar affliction, but Beethoven himself was not addicted and had no history of excesses.

As a child there were early signs of musical genius. Both his grandfather aid father instructed him in piano forte. Being poor, he had little schooling except for rudimentary reading and writing. As a boy, he was shy and taciturn, leading a life apart, observing and pondering the world around him. He started giving concerts as early as the age of 8 and at the age of eleven became noted for rendering improvisations.

His mild-mannered mother was burdened with a husband who provided poorly for her and her family, and as the well-being of the family deteriorated she had to witness daily physical and psychological abuse that was inflicted on her beloved Ludwig.

At the age of 15, he took over the role of family provider completely. His father died, and Ludwig became a musician to the court. He made a favorable impression on Count Waldstein, an aristocratic beneficiary, who recognized Beethoven's potential. His first visit to Vienna at the age of seventeen was used for lessons with Mozart until the death of his mother called him home. He was devoted to her, and this loss around his first moon node must have made a lasting impression on his soul life.

He then took over the care of his two younger brothers and the house-hold as well as his musical assignment at the court. His musical acumen continued to grow, and he took lessons from those masters who could help him learn all aspects of harmony and composition.

At twenty-one, he had earned the respect of many intellectual and aristocratic audiences and had become stereotyped by them for "eccentricities in a fashionable genius." His choleric temperament came to the fore in outbursts of volatile, flaring temperament, rough manner, and often uncouth behavior; his withdrawal into himself and his stubborn nature, his strong will and determination drove many of his friends away.

Underneath all of this was an exceptional individuality whose life story reveals a nobility of character, an unswerving devotion to the highest moral ideals throughout every distress and temptation to which a passionate temperament could be exposed. If we could imagine meeting Ludwig Van Beethoven on the street, we would see a man of short stature, compact, short neck, square shoulders, large lion head, long wild hair; coarse facial features, except the eyes – full of fire, somewhat upturned showing the white cornea; walking, hands on his back, defying the world, daring all: "THERE IS ONLY ONE BEETHOVEN." This man was fully incarnated. He was on earth and would use his body to do his task, but his body did not serve him well.

At the age of twenty-four he moved to Vienna and studied under Haydn. Haydn, who was profoundly shocked by the early death of his beloved Mozart, could not appreciate the audacity of this gifted pupil, whom he labeled as 'too difficult a character to ever produce a great work.'

At twenty-seven the shadow of his deafness touched him, and despite multiple medical consultations his misfortune grew deeper and became his constant companion for the next thirty years. Beethoven recognized his own imminent death as shown in a communication to his brothers, called "The Heiglndstadt Document", written on October 6, 1802 when he was 32:

Oh, ye men, who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do ye wrong me, you do not know the secret causes of my seeming, from childhood my heart and mind were disposed to the gentle feeling of good will, I was even ever eager to accomplish great deeds, but reflect now that for six years I have been in a hopeless case, aggravated by senseless physicians, cheated year after year in the hope of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady, born with an ardent and lively temperament, even susceptible to diversions of society, I was compelled early to isolate myself, to live in loneliness, when I at times tried to forget all this, oh, how harshly was I repulsed by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing... for I am deaf, Ah how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense that should have been more perfect in me than in others, a sense which I once possessed in highest perfection, a perfection such as few surely in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed – oh I cannot do it, therefore forgive me when I draw back when I would gladly mingle with you, my misfortune is doubly painful because it must lead to my being misunderstood, for me there can be no recreation in society of my fellows, refined intercourse, mutual exchange of thought... I must live like an exile, if I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, a fear that I may be subjected to the danger of letting my condition be observed . . .

Oh, Divine Being, Thou who lookest down into my inmost soul, Thou understandest; Thou knowest that love for mankind and the desire to do good dwell therein. Oh, my fellow men, when one day you read this, remember that you were unjust to me, and let the unfortunate one console himself if he can find one like himself, who in spite of all obstacles which nature has thrown in his way, has still done everything in his power to be received into the ranks of worthy artists and men.

Beethoven stated that in spite of his sickness he would be recognized as a great artist. I would like to prove that because of his pathology he became one of the greatest composers. He requests of his brothers: "As soon as I am dead... describe my malady and annex this written account to that of my illness, so that at least the world as far as is possible may become reconciled to me after my death."

It is in Vienna that his intellectual acumen and his passionately affectionate nature towards women unfold. However, his becomes a life of deprivation. Although his attachments were mostly unattainable, all were honorable and respected by a revering society, showing the truthfulness and self-control of a great man. His steadily worsening hearing impairment led to an increasing sense of social isolation. His forty-second year was notable for a heart-rending love affair which was only discovered after his death in a letter to an "Immortal Beloved."

Good morning on July 7th. Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us. I can live only wholly with you or not at all – yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home, send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits. – Yes, unhappily it must be so – you will be the more resolved since you know my fidelity – to you, no one can ever again possess my heart – none – never – oh God, why is it necessary to part from one whom one so loves and yet my life in W (Vienna) is now a wretched life, your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - at at my age I need a steady, quiet life – can that be under our conditions?... Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell – oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved L.
Ever thine
Ever mine
Ever for each other

As with all previous ones, this love affair did not come to fruition. Beethoven was never married. Shortly after his return to Vienna he took over guardianship of his nephew, possibly in an attempt to fight off his own increasing loneliness. For the last twelve years of Beethoven's life, this boy and his surviving brother contributed to the misery of his life. The boy, a misfit, and his brother abused Beethoven and were instrumental in sending him away from home in an open carriage in the beginning of March, two weeks before his death. His health was poor with constant digestive problems, diarrhea, and intolerance to many foods. He developed jaundice during the last ten years of his life and finally succumbed to liver failure and pneumonia in 1827. On the 26th of March, while a fierce thunderstorm raged outside, this individuality departed from us, leaving humanity a treasure of musical compositions so profound that hundreds of years later they would continue to bring healing to mankind.

The life of Ludwig van Beethoven can be taken as a study in astrosophy in connection with the art of medicine. Following suggestions of W. O. Sucher, the gestational chart from conception to birth imprints cosmic physiological aspects on the developing embryo. A spiritual reality is pictorially represented. The movements of the planets between conception and birth become symbolic representations that express possible pathophysiological responses in the individuality. It has to be understood that many human beings born at the same time have similar charts, therefore a certain configuration of personality can be deduced. However, the ego uses these cosmic ingredients depending upon the individual's karma and makes choices out of freedom for the unfolding life task. The embryological chart can be used by the practitioner of anthroposophical medicine in the way an electrocardiogram is used by the clinician. The embryological chart could be called the "electrocardiogram of the soul."

The curves inside the circle of the Zodiac indicate the gestures (including retrograde movements) of the planets in the course of Ludwig van Beethoven's gestation. The embryo is considered. geocentric. Hence, where the sun stands at the time of conception is the head, whereas the birth-sun position is at the feet.

The physiological imprints of the planets as well as their position to each other is a study in itself and can be found in W. O. Sucher's work, "Man and the Stars, Isis Sophia Series."

Working with astrosophy and mindful of the karmically-derived spiritual ingredients that build the embryo, the following insights unveil themselves to us as they pertain to this individuality. The travels of the Jupiter and Mars during his fetal growth are telling. The metamorphosis of Jupiter forces on the earth produce the organ of the liver in the body. Likewise is Mars connected to the gallbladder. The tension of these planets at birth is a foreshadowing of a patho-physiological response, especially if we can observe the aggressive gesture of Mars during the later fetal month, traveling into the constellation of Taurus but also over the embryological placement of the otic development. We also find Jupiter under the foot, traveling from Scorpio into Sagittarius.

When these insights are applied diagnostically to Beethoven's pathology, the correlations become even more compelling. His cirrhosis was not due to a fatty liver caused by alcohol abuse or as a sequella of a viral hepatitis infection. In the autopsy report, it was described that his shriveled, hardened liver was caused by a chronic fibrosis rising up from the bile ducts, a so-called biliary cirrhosis.

How perfect is this chart fitted to Beethoven's life. Overwhelming Mars forces: destruction of the organ for hearing. Jupiter underfoot: deep incarnation of the individual in his body, attack of the gall bladder destroying his liver in a cirrhotic process. Not the harmony of life this rhythm between anabolic forces of liver and the catabolic forces of gall bladder.

Is this individuality predestined for his earthly task so that the gods send him in that window of time so that his physical misfortunes may be his blessings, or the blessing for humanity? What kind of man is he that he becomes the martyr of his own independence? He is the human creator, enemy of the gods, wise, unselfish, eternally progressing and suffering — a truly Promethean figure. The Promethean myth must be interpreted on the religious/historical and physical level. We must study our own emancipation in relation to god, earth and man.

Prometheus was a god, a Titan, son of Zeus, who opposed him. He dared to bring individualizing culture to mankind, he was the friend of humanity, bringing them aids for their individual emancipation from the gods. He is the god that brought the fire out of heaven. The punishment from his father was swift and severe. Bound to the rock for thirty years, chained in iron shackles with no possibility of escape, and day after day the red eagle descends from the sky, eating his liver. By night, the earth heals the wound. We can recognize this rhythm in the physiological interaction between the liver and the gall bladder.

Spiritual science encourages and enables us to examine the modern titans in light of these three dimensions: the heavenly, the earthly, and the human task. There is a spiritual, psychological and physiological aspect to Beethoven's incarnation that can be studied in order to open up the possibilities for a new psychosophy full of potential.

Beethoven suffered from cirrhosis. How can we interpret the phenomenon of this pathology? His autopsy report states that a biliary cirrhosis had affected his whole liver, displacing the normal liver cells, obstructing the flow of bile and subsequently causing a paralysis of the normal liver processes. This inner tendency of the liver to harden possibly arose out of his childhood "nourished as an infant with the wrong milk," as suggested by Rudolf Steiner, but also the fact that he united more intensely with his earthly corporeality. In a metaphorical way, the god Jupiter deserted him. Jupiter and Zeus are the same.

The liver is the organ of the will.
Will is experienced as an eternal creative source of energy for the limbs, but also for the brain.
Through exercising our will we pay attention. Will is man's power of deliberate and purposeful activity in relation to the rest of the universe.
The origin of the energy is a cascade of biochemical reactions from glycogen to glucose with the release of an energy phosphor bond as an imponderable element.
As a soul component, our will is asleep, but can certainly be awakened through soul exercises of attention and intention.
Through concentration exercises we can become conscious of warmth, light and tone experiences, thereby replacing random thought processes.

In Beethoven, we acknowledge a severe pathology of the liver, but we are taken aback by his response to the disease. First, we experience that in most liver patients the will forces are severely affected. This manifests physically as chronic fatigue, tiredness in the limbs, and lack of strength. On the psychological level, we find indecisiveness, depression, moodiness and lack of concentration.

Throughout his biography we find incidents where such behavior is illustrated: his housing, his relation with women, and his tempestuous outbursts toward his loyal and patient friends. On the other hand, we cannot forget that his deafness started at the age of 28, and his dark, morose, withdrawn nature must have had its origin in profound frustration due to this impediment.

It is clear this individuality had extraordinary will forces. His pathology resulted in making the will forces available. His pathology can be described as a death process. With a deep incarnation such as Beethoven's, the hardening cold processes tend to dominate in the sick organ; warmth and light processes are pushed back. The interpenetration of the ether processes of warmth and light and chemical or tone and form are out of balance. We can also say that between the inflammatory and the sclerotising tendencies, the sclerotic tendency becomes an expression of the pathology.

The bile flow is dammed up through the hardening pathology. Bile is recirculated in the blood and becomes a waste product in the blood. It contaminates the blood. I also understand the blood to be the organ of the ego. Bile formation originates out of the breakdown of the red blood cell — the liberation of the hemoglobin and the splitting of heme with the release of iron. The blood is therefore confronted again and again with its own mummy, the dead heme product.

Both the liver parenchyma and the circulating blood are affected. Through the death process in the liver tissue and in the blood, both forces of will and ego are liberated to form a new basis. This indeed becomes a mighty combination; this mythical Promethean spirit can now take hold of these forces and pour them with conscious intention and exquisite concentration to an inner listening process.

The third pathology had to do with his hearing. The conduction of sound proceeds first through the element of air up to a membrane in the inner ear, the fenestra ovalis. Behind this membrane a complex snail-shaped, liquid-filled tube, called the cochlea, winds two and three-quarter times around the cochlear nerve. The actual organ of hearing can be found in the middle chamber of this tube. This is the organ of Corti. The cochlear nerve transmits the stimulus to the cortex of the brain. Only on this level can ego-conscious listening take place. It is complex that the hearing apparatus can never be dissected out of the densest bone in the skull. The fluid wave, starting at the fenestra ovalis, excites the organ of Corti throughout the whole cochlea. Different portions of the organ vibrate with different frequencies. It can also be described that the cochlea is a biological transducer, converting mechanical stimuli to electrical impulses through the ionic polarization of cells. The dense bone around this soft, colloidal cell structure functions as an amplifier.

The bombardment of auditory stimuli is constant.
The process of perceiving through the ear is passive and indiscriminate.
Even throughout sleep we are still hearing.
The hearing becomes a soul experience, or a conscious experience when it is taken up out of the domain of the senses into the realm of the ego.
What one listens to belongs to the domain of the ego.
Through the ear we can delve deep into the substantiality of the outer world.
All substances in nature reverberate.
There is sound in all of nature.
What one listens to resonates throughout the entire body.
There is also sound in our own body.
Listening, as different from hearing, is an active process.
It requires motivated attention, a selective focusing on the sound.
Through sound the body's particular inner nature, its individual aspect, steps forward and communicates itself to our perceptions.

This is, in fact, a supersensible hearing that originates out of the function of the etheric ear. Through the organ of hearing the ego is challenged to listen. While we listen, inner images well up out of the unconscious into the conscious. This is an ego activity supported by the ether body.

Beethoven's hearing loss involved both ears and most likely was caused by nerve deafness. That means that no stimuli were transmitted to the cortex. However, the question arises, does the etheric ear still function? Lusseyran describes his loss of sight, with subsequent capacity to develop supersensible seeing. This new, supersensible sight pivots on the function of his etheric eye still seeing the etheric process of light Are we dealing here with a death process? From the detailed description of Jacques Lusseyran's experience as described in his book, "And There Was Light", I feel free to make this next step — a step wherein the deaf ear is used for supersensible hearing — for inner listening. And what was this individuality listening to? The essence of his healing - composing - is contained within himself through the listening. Is he listening to his own death process?

Ludwig van Beethoven is a modern Prometheus.
What can we learn out of his biography?
What can we know about the perception of will?
What can we experience in his creativity as a spirit fire?
How did those exquisite compositions well up out of his inner being?

The ego of Ludwig van Beethoven was able to create sublime music even after he was completely deaf and incapable of hearing any sound, not even his own music. The musical compositions gave expression to an all-embracing view of idealized humanity. From where did these themes arise - how did they come into his soul?

He was able to totally submerge himself without fear in his soul mood, experiencing death and resurrection in his music. Through this submersion his ego was able to conquer the effect of his diseased organ.

In depression we see the future as the past.
Through liver pathology the future gaze is destroyed.
Not so with Beethoven.

Overcoming his sickness focusing only on the death process, the flood gates opened to him. In his compositions we witness the music of the spheres clashing with the karmic destiny of this individuality. Not only can one experience the suffering of this human being in his last work, the String Quartet, Opus 132, but he intentionally dedicates this piece to the future.

Is it not remarkable that the Ode to Joy in the 9th Symphony, originally commissioned by London to the English-speaking population, was directed by Seiji Osawa involving several choirs throughout the world via Satellite technology during the Olympics in 1998?

Through his work, his life takes on mythical proportions. In light of his artistic creativity we liken him to a bearer of fire — a new enthusiasm. He gives mankind a new myth — a myth in which the human remonstrates with the gods. Not a myth where fire is brought down from the heavens, but a myth in which mankind is shown the way for individualized ego consciousness battling and overcoming the death process.

Such is the profundity of art.
Through death a resurrection.

Anna Lups, M.D.
P.O. Box 57
Hudson, NY 12534

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