The Life of the Earth in the Cycle of the Year – Reading 1


“Just as during the day we experience early freshness, readiness to work in the morning, then the onset of hunger, and weariness in the evening, and just as we can sense the inner life and activity of the forces and substances within our skin so, by taking to heart anthropsophical ideas – entirely different from the usual descriptions of sense-perceptible events – we can prepare our souls to become open to the activities that go on outside in the course of the year, and we enrich it so that we do not live so cut off within our skin, letting the outer world pass us by. But on the contrary, we enrich our experience so that we feel ourselves living in the blossoming of every flower, in the breaking open of the buds, in that wonderful secret of the morning, in the glistening of dewdrops in the rays of the sun. In these ways we can get beyond that dull, conventional way of reacting to the outer world merely by putting on our overcoat in winter and lighter clothes in summer and taking out an umbrella when it rains. When we overcome a prosaic attitude and learn to experience the interweaving activities, the ebb and flow, of nature – only then do we really understand the cycle of the year.”

R. Steiner, The Four Seasons and the Archangels, Lecture 1, 5 October 1923, CW229


“Today we only know that man relates to the seasons because he must put on winter clothes in winter and summer clothes in summer, that he feels hot in summer and cold in winter. This is only the material aspect. People do not know that when spring comes spiritual powers draw the plants from the soil and that it is also spiritual powers that destroy everything in autumn. When this is understood, people will find life everywhere in nature, they will find the whole of it full of life. Most people talk nonsense about the natural world today. They will tear a plant from the ground and botanize, knowing nothing about it. It would be a nonsense to tear out a hair and describe it, for a hair can only grow on an animal or a human being; it does not arise by itself. You can’t put something on a lifeless piece of rock and say a hair is to grow there. It needs a basis in life. Plants are the hairs of the earth, for the earth is a living organism. And just as human beings need air to live, so does the earth need the spiritual light from the stars. It inhales this in order to live. And just as a person walks around on the earth, so does the earth move across the cosmos. It lives in the whole of the universe. The earth is a living entity.”

R. Steiner, From Beetroot to Buddhism..Answers to Questions, Discussion of 12 April 1924, CW353