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  The Members of Being in Man and Nature

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By: Wilhelm Pelikan

Surrounded by three kingdoms of nature, man himself represents a fourth kind of being on earth. Very close connections exist between him and the other three kingdoms of nature. The kingdom of unenlivened being, most perfectly expressed in the minerals, is as much part of man's being as is the world of formative forces of life — which finds its purest expression in the plant. The possession of soul man shares with the animal. He is man in the full sense of the word because he is able to comprehend himself as spirit. The world is in the mineral; it lives in the plant; it experiences in the animal; in man it comprehends itself, and in this sense man is the "core of nature".

The science of chemistry uses analysis to break down substances into their elements, showing that water, for example, seemingly a uniform substance, may be separated into two primary components, hydrogen and oxygen. In the same way, a sublime "universal alchemy" reveals to us that plant and animal, and also man, are composite beings; in a process of "universal analysis" it lays bare before us the various "ingredients" of plants, animals and man, aspects which in the previous chapters (1) have only been established by a process of thought: the different members of being.

One process of "universal alchemy" in which the members of being are revealed to us is the process of dying. Plant, animal and man are subject to it. First of all, this process leaves behind the corpses of these three beings. But the corpses produced by death immediately begin to change — all three of them — and this change has a definite final goal. They gradually become part of the fourth, unenlivened, mineral kingdom. The corpse may be perceived by the senses. The second result of the process of separation, life, escapes; that is, it withdraws from the sphere of sensory perception — where it could be seen, if not directly, at least in its effects — and returns to the supersensible sphere.

As the "result of analysis", death demonstrates that all bodily substance of plant, animal and man consists of dead mineral on the one hand, and of life on the other. As long as a being is alive, the dead mineral element cannot reveal its own inherent nature. It is in the service of higher forms of existence. But when death has reduced the skeletal system of an animal, say, or of a human being to a skeleton, then this structure, consisting of mineral substance (phosphate and carbonate of calcium), will for a time retain the animal or human form that has been impressed upon it, but only externally. It immediately becomes subject to the formative forces of its mineral constituents (the calcium salts just mentioned), and after some time it is possible to show that such a bone now only appears to have that form. The crystalline structure of calcite, of calcium phosphate, develops, penetrating the apparent form and becoming the true form of the fossilized bone. 

The second part of the living being, life, can no longer be followed up by the senses once the analysis of death has liberated it — but it may be perceived with the aid of life organs. These do not function of their own accord as the sense organs do. Certain functions of life must first be developed into life-perceiving organs. It is something that must be actively done by the human being, for unlike the other kingdoms of nature, he is no finished being, with his development fully predetermined, but develops according to inner, self-determined impulses. Every human being is given the possibility for this in so far as he does not need the whole of his life-organization for the development and maintenance of the processes of life. Certain organic systems submit to a partial death, damping down their vitality — for instance the sense organs, nervous organs and brain. This means that part of the life-formative forces organization, or the etheric body, as we shall call it in brief, is liberated to some extent and may now be made use of by a higher level of existence, for instance the spiritual form of life, the ego. In that form the etheric body becomes the foundation of thinking, for example. We think with the same forces which we also grow with — Rudolf Steiner has often described this.

The analysis of death therefore divides all things in nature into two groups: the mineral kingdom which has only the one member of being, i.e. physical existence, and the kingdoms of plant, animal and man which also possess etheric bodies.

These last three kingdoms are subject to another "universal alchemistic process of analysis" which separates them out further, the process of sleep and waking. The animal and man may be subjected to it, but not the plant, for this is always asleep and cannot undergo change through a process of going to sleep, just as the mineral cannot be changed by a process of death. The animal and man can go to sleep, changing to a plant-like form of existence in so far as they remain enlivened beings. They can waken from this state, rising above the level of plant-being. This reveals a further member of being in them, one that the plant does not possess. For reasons to be discussed later we shall this the "astral body". Rudolf Steiner, whose fundamental teachings we are following in this, also called it the soul-body. This is the awakener of a body which in sleep is given over merely to the vital processes; it is the bearer of consciousness. By nature it is "supersensible"; the sense organs can only perceive its manifestations in the physical bodily sphere — just as in the case of the etheric body. Its external manifestations are the two processes of going to sleep and waking. As we are able not only to experience, but also to observe these processes, it is obvious that in principle "soul-perceiving organs" are possible. We may direct the process of going to sleep and of waking to our own soul develop "sense organs of the soul" — the world of the soul may make the same impression on these as the physical world does on the physical sense organs. It then becomes obvious that the physical tools of the sense must also be penetrated by the astral body if they are to experience in full awareness the sense impressions arising in them, as experiences of the soul. A sleeping ear — the ear of an animal or human being who is asleep — is no ear. Having no astral body, plants also have no sense organs in the true sense. When, according to the strict laws of development operating here, soul-perceiving organs have been formed, then the astral body — which on going to sleep separates from the physical and etheric bodies (these remain one whole throughout life), disappearing into the supersensible sphere — becomes visible to itself; with this, a soul world becomes visible, and the astral body is connected with this just as the physical body is linked with a physical world.

There is a further process that will also separate the animal and human kingdoms for us, revealing yet another member of being which belongs to man alone. This is the process of forgetting and remembering. The latter requires not only a member of being which can experience consciousness, but one that bears consciousness of self, and hence also a self, an ego. The faculty of remembering leads to awareness of the progression of life, to biography. Through it, I have the experience that I am a human being and not only this, but one particular individual human being. If I am wholly subject to forgetting, I still remain a being with feeling and therefore consciousness, but I am no longer human in the full sense. To have to admit to oneself: I have forgotten myself (in this or that), always means: I have fallen back from the level of humanity to that of the animal. Only in remembering oneself does one experience the continuity of self-awareness and hence the self as such. This element, spiritually developing, spiritually enduring, spiritually observing itself, is not just a mere member of being, but at the same time also the very center of being. And only a being like this is capable of such human activities as thinking and willing.

Through the power of remembrance and of thinking — something only a being with memory is capable of — such a "center of being" may rise to a point that is god-like (plants cannot do this). Goethe has expressed this in the following words: "As soon as man perceives the objects around him, he regards them in relation to himself; and rightly so, for his whole fate depends on whether they please or displease him, attract or repel, serve or harm him. This quite natural way of looking at objects and evaluating them appears to be as easy as it is necessary, and yet man is subject to a thousand errors which often shame him and make life bitter for him. A far more onerous task is taken on by those whose active thirst for knowledge drives them to observe the objects in nature by themselves and in their relations to each other; for they soon forget the standard which helped them when as human beings they observed the objects in relation to themselves. They do not have the yardstick of like and dislike, of attraction and rejection, of usefulness and harmfulness. They are to do entirely without this; as indifferent and more or less god-like beings they are to search and examine what is, not what pleases. And so the true botanist is not to be moved by the beauty or usefulness of a plant, he is to examine its structure, its relations to the rest of the plant kingdom; and like the sun who calls them forth and shines upon them all, he is to regard them all with the same impassive eye, see them all together, and take the standard for this knowledge, the data for evaluation, not out of himself, but out of the world of the objects which he is observing."

The god-like sphere which comes to life in man when he uses his faculty of memory is that of the spirit. By perceiving himself as a being, by being able to experience things entirely outside himself which just are there, not merely pleasing or troubling him — in that respect man is a human being and not merely animal. Spiritual comprehension of self leads to experience of the ego, developing the sense of ego which is needed to comprehend the highest member of man's being. It is through the ego that man is man.

Just as a stone cannot be changed by any process of death, nor the plant by a process of going to sleep, so the animal cannot be changed by any process of forgetting; forgetting and remembering do not determine its existence, but they do in man.


The processes of dying, of going to sleep, and of forgetting perform an "analysis of existence" on the different forms of being on earth, demonstrating that there are different "members of being".

1. It is shown that the mineral has a physical body.
2. The plant consists of a physical and an etheric body (life-body).
3. The animal possesses a physical, etheric and astral body (soul-body).
4. Man has a physical, etheric and astral body, and beyond this is a spiritual world which may show itself to him when he develops spiritual organs, just as the development of physical sense organs allows him to take part in the physical sensory world.

"To find thyself in the infinite,
thou must differentiate, and then combine."
   (Goethe, Wolkengedicht)

Analysis should be immediately followed by synthesis, otherwise one may well hold the parts in one's hand, but the spiritual bond is lost. After all, mineral, plant, animal and man are all in one common world, existing together and for each other, intertwined and interwoven in a thousand ways. The purpose here is to show the healing relations between plant and man, and therefore it is necessary to show up the synthetic power, the archetypal unity, that which makes the kingdoms of nature into a whole, and archetypal entity from which the individual beings in nature are derived as variations. The key must be found which opens up the mysteries of the archetypal relationship of all kingdoms of nature.

This archetypal being and archetypal motif of earthly existence is man himself. Just a brief outline shall be given of how the spheres of being below man can be seen as variations of the archetypal motif of his fourfold nature.

In the ego, man comprehends himself as a spiritual being. The ego is the impulse center from which he can unfold free creativeness. With this, he can develop spiritual powers of perception, to discover and know the spiritual not only within himself, but also all around him. Man can become a spiritual scientist. In discovering the spiritual all around him, he first of all perceives the nature of his fellow men. (The starting point for such a faculty of knowledge is the power of love, and the capacity for selflessness.) If such a person directs the spiritual senses he has developed at the animal, it becomes apparent to him that the animal, too, is not without spirituality, without a form of ego. But this form of ego is not given to the individual animal, but is part of a "group-spirit", or "group-ego" belonging to all the animals of a species. The group-ego does not embody itself in the body of the individual animal, and so this cannot become a true individual. The group-ego remains in the spiritual realm. In it lie the impulses, the instincts, the way of life of the group of animals concerned. To perceive this is the crowning achievement of a "study of animal nature" truly deserving of that name. The group spirit of animals does not go through life and death; the birth and death of the individual animal therefore mean something quite different to it than all these aspects of life mean to man. In the animal body, therefore, physical, etheric and astral elements are present; but not the group-ego, for that remains in the spiritual world.

For someone able to perceive spiritual entities in the way just described, the plant, too, has both soul and spirit (astral element and a form of ego). But it is even less able than the animal to house these higher members of being in its body; they remain worlds away from it, unborn, in the spiritual realm. But contacts and impulses are constantly passing to and from between the physical-etheric body of the plant and its astrality as well as the plant ego. It is impossible to gain a fully comprehensive picture of the plant in its relations with the fourfold human being unless one takes into account the fact that the plant, too, is a fourfold being. In this "relatedness to man" must be sought the causes for the plant's actions on all four members of man's being.

It is not the intention here to develop a study of mineral nature, but just to round out the picture it may be mentioned that to a natural science which takes into account the spiritual aspect, the mineral, too, has connection with etheric processes, astral actions, and a spiritual element. But in the physical world we have only the physical body of the mineral. The three higher members of its being remain, eternally unborn, worlds away from it, in the spiritual realm. But in the fourfold nature of the mineral lies also the reason why it has such manifold relations to the fourfold being of man. Out of this, one can understand why it is possible to influence the total constitution of man with mineral remedies, and not only its mineral aspects, or those directly related to the mineral.

From what has been given, the following aphorism, daring but nevertheless justified, may be permitted: the whole earthly world is man. It is built up in a fourfold way, according to the basic pattern and archetypal motif of man. And it is thanks to this structure that the different earthly beings are able to exist together in one, common earthly world: at the same time with, on, in and through each other. The harmony of creation lies in this fourfoldness. From such a point of view, as ancient Greek wisdom has also expressed it: man is the measure of all things on earth.


The mineral, its body being dead physical substance, finds the best expression of its nature in the solid state. The crystalline form, definite and characteristic for every type of mineral, can only exist in its richly structured form because of the properties of the solid state. A change to the fluid or gaseous state will at once cancel this form. The solid state alone makes it possible for the mineral to have this form, fixed in three spatial dimensions, laid down once and for all.

The plant, however, needs a further state of being for its embodiment: the fluid. It has to embody not only a physical, but also an etheric entity. Its forms do not arise from the physical nature of the substances it consists of, but from the etheric nature of the plant. Because of this, it does not express its being in permanent form, but in a constant metamorphosis of form — as described in the first chapter. This flowing change of form with its laws of metamorphosis needs a state of being which is just as ready to take up form as to give it up at once and without resistance, if the life principle (the etheric body) should demand it. This requirement is met by water, fluid water, the main component of the plant body. Those parts of the plant which are solid only serve to give contour to the liquid, to hold up the formative flow for a time, to hold a shape for a short period, to emphasize it; but the solid element in the plant does not produce any form of its own, it merely becomes the vessel of the life-form and of the life-formative forces. Where the plant grows too hard it has previously used a process of devitalization, has withdrawn life and at the same time water from its bodily substance, or brought them to a standstill — for instance in the formation of wood and bark, but also in the development of seeds. Man and animal also need the fluid element, in so far as they, too, are living beings, in order to develop the activity of the etheric bodies. The more alive, the more fluid; the more dried out, solid, the more dead: this applies to all forms of life, in plant, animal, or man. This "fluidity in all that lives" is, of course, borne by the physical substance of living protein, but then this protein is a colloid containing extremely large amounts of water. Its marvellous properties, impressionable from all sides, the plastic material for that inexhaustible sculptor the etheric body, can only attain its burgeoning life in conjunction with the watery element. In every one of its physical properties, creation has intended water for life. On the other hand the plant is not yet able to form its own air and warmth organisms. It is aired through and warmed from its surroundings, with its breathing, its warmth determined and regulated by an external, cosmic process.

Making the gaseous, the airy element part of oneself in an inner breathing organization is something that is only possible — step by step, and more and more so, from the lower to the higher — to the animal, and fully so only to man. The process has many aspects. The most important one is that together with the airy element the soul-like, the astral body, enters into the body. This gives rise to a world of internal organs, an organic cosmos, which from the inside takes over actions which the external cosmos performs for the plant. Together with the air, an external cosmos is incorporated and interiorized. With the pneumatization of the body, right into its finest ramifications, pneuma, the soul principle, enters into the bodies. The airy now enters into the fluid, dissolving in it, combining with and separating from it; at the same time, however, the actions of etheric and astral body combine and separate rhythmically. Lower marine animals with their dulled soul-life breathe the air dissolved in water. Correspondingly the etheric then has greater influence than the astral. Insects must send their body fluid outwards to meet the air; here the astral is still to a high degree in contact with the outside world, not yet "tied off' in the individual animal as much as it is in the higher animals. Because of this, the insects are still living in a very close relationship with the etherically determined plant world. The development of true lung organs means an important step forward towards interiorization of the soul.

In the gaseous state of physical substance, the supersensible soul principle finds the form and properties which enable it to enter the physical body. The gas has given up any formative will of its own, it resists all limitation. The force of earth gravity has been overcome in it, levity has replaced it. Infinitely open to light, responding to every warmth impulse by expanding strongly, fully open to cosmic impulses, and placed as an outer mantle (in the atmosphere) between earthly and cosmic existence, the gaseous is a physical state to which the physical side of earthly life adheres only in remnants, having been largely overcome. Expansion and contraction, tension and relaxation, highs and lows, storm and calm, wafting and slackening, extending and compression: these express the nature of the airy element, but also of the soul. Only in the breath of an ensouled creature does the being of air achieve full expression. Its highest form and gestalt, the sound of speech, is air gestalt, but at the same time the most perfect physical expression of the innermost soul. In the air, speech may become expression of the universal word of creation, making known that which has created the whole world.

Even more impossible than having an air organization of its own is for the plant to gain possession of the warmth element, as a warmth organization, an autonomous warmth-being. The plant-being finds for itself this or that condition of warmth and climatic zone, it exposes itself to stronger or weaker warmth-impulses. But the center of the warmth-impulse always remains sun-like for the plant, worlds away. The lower animals, too, right up to the mammals, are determined by external conditions of warmth and bound to certain regions of the earth by their nature, dependent on conditions arising from the relation of the earth to the cosmos. Man alone rises completely above such conditions for warmth and this enables him to live anywhere on earth, whatever the climatic conditions. Man has gained ascendence over fire within himself; because of this, he is the only being on earth who also rules fire externally. With the power of heat it is possible to rule over every physical state of material substance, to form and transform it at will. In conjunction with the element of warmth, the human spirit, the ego, finds the possibility to live in a material body, rising above the captivity and fetters of the forces and laws of the earthly world; for in warmth lies the power to overcome them, rule and master them. In man, this warmth is borne by the blood process. The polarity between blood pigment and leaf pigment also indicates the opposite directions in which one must look for human ego and plant spirituality, particularly also with regard to the centers of their warmth-impulses. (The blood process holds within itself the blood temperature of about 37 o C., or 98.6 o F., and holds on to it hard; the process of assimilation in the green foliage of the plant has to rely on external conditions of warmth, but again it is most intensive at an external temperature of about 37 o C.) The highest form of warmth, however, is the warmth of enthusiasm, and this can inflame the human will.

In conclusion let us put once more in tabular form what has been said, however briefly, about the four members of being of the four spheres of earthly existence, and the states of being they use to embody themselves.


Physical members of being, present in the sphere of the senses

State of

Present in the spiritual,
supersensible sphere


Physical body


Etheric, astral, form of ego


Physical body, etheric body

Solid, fluid

Astral element, form of ego


Physical body, etheric body,
astral body

Solid, fluid



Physical body, etheric body,
astral body, ego

Solid, fluid,



The plant has been represented from certain points of view as an in-between being between the mineral kingdom below it, and the animal kingdom above it. This made the root organization the member which grappled with the mineral, earthly sphere and overcame it, and the flower organization on the other hand the member which grappled with animal nature, and was clearly defined against it. Being chiefly determined by etheric forces, the plant being stands between the dead mineral kingdom governed by physical forces, and the ensouled animal kingdom which is determined by astral forces.

However, if one allows one's eye to wander over the whole abundance of living plant forms one will find some very strange in-between and transitional forms where plant life shows a tendency towards the mineral, taking up the earthy element more strongly than usual; but also forms where the plant combines more of an animal nature with its formative forces — ­mineral-plant on the one hand, animal-plant on the other.

Many of the succulents (Cactus, Euphorbia, Mesembryanthemum, Crassula species), which live on particularly dead, mineral soil, have a form showing an almost crystalline rigidity. The living, moving spiral progression of normal leaf formation has here become a rigid rib-formation. Some of these plants even look like stones. Another way in which mineral laws reach across into the life processes of plants may be seen in many salt plants, particularly those on the sea shore, such as Salicornia, Halopeplis, Salsola; here the shoots look like swollen stems of blown-out roots growing above ground which have never developed leaves. In all these forms the life processes, and with them the fluid organization, have been congested into highly vital, but little-formed and differentiated structures which seem to want to swell into spherical shape; the flowering processes are greatly delayed, forced back, even atrophied. The plant formation cannot separate from the salt and root process, remains fixed to it. In the first example it resembles the dead, solid, crystalline element, in the second the dead, fluid, drop-shaped element.

Another instance of mineral, earthly laws entering into the plant element is the formation of trees with the tendency to lignification. According to an aphorism by Rudolf Steiner, a tree trunk may be regarded as turned up earth. The tendencies to tree formation increase considerably towards the tropics.


Just as every physical plant, and altogether the physical aspect of every living being, is based on an etheric organism, a body of formative forces, so the whole earth is surrounded by a huge sphere of formative forces. This enables the earth to be a place not only of death, but also of life. Rudolf Steiner has explored this world of formative forces in many respects, and his followers have described it in relation to the various kingdoms of nature.2,3,4,5 This world of formative forces makes the earth a member of the cosmos as a whole, for the formative forces are cosmic in nature. (Through the world of physical forces, every bit of earthly substance is a part of the earth.) We can only comprehend what goes on on earth if we see it all as based on an infinitely varied interplay between physical, earthly and etheric, cosmic forces.

The tropics: Here the interaction between earthly and cosmic forces is par­ticularly close. In the tropics, the earthly element proliferates towards the cosmic; the cosmic on the other hand is drawn down into the earthly, it is made earthly.

At the poles: Here the earthly withdraws into itself; the cosmic is pure and strong in its action, though not wanting very much to combine with the earthly. The earthly is just like a mirror here, taking nothing in, throwing everything back.

In the temperate zones: Here a balance has been achieved between earthly and cosmic laws.

It is obvious therefore: with regard to its organization of formative forces the whole earth is just as threefold in structure as the plant itself. And it is due to this threefoldness that the plants of the tropics, the polar regions and the temperate zones differ so characteristically from each other. In the tropics, the boundaries of earth and cosmos are dissolved into each other; the root element proliferates upwards, giant trees develop, with wood hard as iron. The earth does not stop with the soil, and its forces rise up into the air; roots hang from branches; they find their element in that air, an indication that the air there bears within it something that is "earthy". Many other plants wind upwards like lianae. On the other hand, the cosmic sphere and the flowering process connected with it penetrate deeply. Certain plants become nothing but flowers, their other organs being atrophied, and have to grow as parasites on other plants. In others the flowers break forth from the stem, even from the root. Scent and color, otherwise properties of the flower, appear in leaf, wood, bark. The colors of flowers become strident, the flower-forms animal-like, the scents heavy and overpowering. The number of poisonous plants increases greatly. (In the poisonous plants — and this will be discussed in more detail later — cosmic, astral spheres of being break overwhelmingly into the physic of the plant concerned, breaking through the etheric forces.) In the plants of the polar regions, on the other hand, the root element is strongly bound to the rocky soil, the plant may be said to be creeping back into the root, so that this is the largest organ of the plant. Leaves tend to be tiny, but the flower-forms are pure and large, with wonderfully clear and glowing colors. What in the temperate zones is a tree becomes a shrub here, often just a tiny, creeping growth; for instance the polar birch. But the aroma is incomparably strong and noble. (A similar contrast like that between polar and equatorial regions exists between high mountains and lowland country, and also between winter and summer.) The temperate zones again represent the balance; in them the pure plant element is least distorted. In the cycle of the year, spring and autumn correspond to them, and it is only in these regions that these two seasons develop fully.


The four natural kingdoms on earth represent four stages of being. According to anthroposophical spiritual science these came into being through four acts of creation. Not one, but four acts of creating the world were necessary to obtain these four stages. The symphony of the world's creation may be said to have four movements. It took its origin in the decisions and creative powers of high spiritual beings. Every physical fact that is finally open to perception is preceded by a purely spiritual cause. How the evolution of the world is described by anthroposophical spiritual science may be seen from the detailed descriptions given by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. It is not possible to reproduce them here, but only to give a brief outline. A first, but very comprehensive orientation may be found in Rudolf Steiner's Occult Science. 6 In it, the four stations of world creation are represented as the creation of the Old Saturn, of the Old Sun, the Old Moon, and of the Earth. The first three are preliminary to the creation of the Earth, and without them the Earth could not have evolved. As to the creatures of these four stations of creation, a different natural being was created on each: on the Old Saturn the human germ, but this only developed to the level of mineral organization. The Old Saturn was a world of warmth. The second station, the evolution of the Old Sun, which arose after the death of Old Saturn as a new impact of creation from the spiritual world, raised the human germ to the level of plant being; it now had not just a physis as on the Old Saturn, but this physis was given an etheric body; the building material at its disposal was a physical substance condensed into an airy, gaseous state, filled with light processes.

As a second kingdom of nature, there existed on the Old Sun a "remnant" of warmth-and-mineral being which had remained at the level of the Old Saturn. The next station of creation, the Old Moon world, raised the human germ to the level of animal being. The creative sacrifice of high spiritual beings gave of their own substance of being to provide man with a soul quality, the astral principle. With this, the Moon substance condensed as far as the fluid state. As "remnants" of the earlier creations two natural kingdoms below that of man continued to exist, a plant one and a mineral one. Then came the creation of the earth. By filling the human germ with spiritual substance from the sphere of spiritual being itself, it raised it to a spiritual being able to comprehend itself, a bearer of Ego. As remnants of the three preceding creations, the three kingdoms of nature below man have remained. Man therefore is the first-born of creation, its key-note — even though he is the last to make his appearance, as the apex of humanity. He never went through the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms existing today; these are only remnants which could not be transformed into human beings, cast-offs, one might say on the road to human development.

For continuing the studies that are the aim of this book it is necessary to study the evolution of the Old Moon which immediately preceded the evolu­tion of the earth. The Old Moon had three natural kingdoms. From these arose the four natural kingdoms of the earth. Those three natural kingdoms of the Old Moon world were of a peculiar nature, however. They were not mineral, plant and animal in the present-day sense, but in-between beings which were in-between the natural kingdoms of today. In them rested the germs of development of the earth world lying ahead of them. Otherwise they would not have been capable of true development. The highest kingdom was that of an animal-man — beings higher than the animal of today, but with no ego and therefore lower than man of today. The second kingdom represented an in-between sphere between the plant and animal beings of today. Here one must speak of animal-plants and plant-animals. The lowest kingdom on the Old Moon was a mineral-plant or plant-mineral kingdom somewhere between the plant and the mineral of today. There was no dead, solid, stony mineral ground on the Old Moon.

"We have to imagine the whole ground and body of the Moon consisting of this plant-mineral substance, just as the earth today consists of rocks and stones, arable soil, etc. As here and there rocks protrude from the earth today, so in the Lunar mass, harder portions also were embedded. These might be likened to forms made of hard wood or horn. Moreover, as plants today spring from the mineral soil, so was the ground of the Moon bedecked, and also penetrated, by a second kingdom, consisting of a kind of plant-animal. Their substance was softer than the basic mass, and more mobile in itself." 6

Once one has come to accept the idea of this Old Moon world with its "in-between beings", it is possible to understand how as relics of that ancient evolution the natural kingdoms of the earth have within them the tendency to develop in-between forms, though now only as abnormalities. As we are primarily concerned with the plant kingdom, this may help us to gain a better understanding of the half mineral, half plant phenomena in plant life, as well as those showing an interplay between plant and animal. In marshy regions and swamps one will see and comprehend forms reminiscent of the lowest kingdom on the Old Moon, their consistency somewhere between solid and fluid: on those soils actual animal-plants also tend to arise, like the carnivorous plants for instance. The many different parasitic and semi-parasitic plants also bear reminiscence of the Old Moon world. They are not able to grow on the earthy soil of today, but only on a living or half-living basis. On the other hand these plants often tend to animal-like processes, they hypertrophy in this direction, producing flower forms resembling animal forms. Orchids, Bromeliaceae, Rafflesiae are just a few of these. Another aspect which is illuminated through this point of view are the numerous instances of symbiosis between animals and plants. Many bonds still exist where once there was a complete life-unit. Plants today have "their" animals, animals "their" plants; at one time they were complete animal-plant beings. Only the general principle is outlined here, details will be discussed under the plant families concerned.

* Translation by R.E.K. Meuss, reprinted by kind permission from the October 1970, British Homeopathic Journal.


1. Pelikan, W. (July 1970). "Archetypal relations between plant and man", and "Disease process and medicinal plant". The British Homoeopathic Journal, 59 163 ff.

2. Wachsmuth, G. Erde und Mensch, ihre Bildekraefte, Rhythmen und Lebens­prozesse. Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag am Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland.

3. Poppelbaum, H. (1961). A New Zoology. Philosophic-Anthroposophic Press Dornach, Switzerland.

4. Grohmann, G., Die Pflanze. Verlag Freies Geistesleben Stuttgart, Germany.

5. Cloos, W. Die Erde - ein Lebewesen. Verlag Freies Geistesleben Stuttgart, Germany.

6. Steiner, Rudolf (1963). Occult Science - an Outline. Translated by George and Mary Adams. Rudolf Steiner Press, London.

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