Light and Weight – Reading 1


“The physical body is subject to gravity, just as the mineral is. Opposite to the force of gravity is the force of light. In the heart, both of these work against each other; gravity pulls downward, and the light draws upwards. In order to correctly experience gravity, hold a crystal in your hand and examine it. Do not look at the transparency, i.e., its light-nature, but rather let its weight work on you.

You must learn to experience your relationship to your physical body in the same way that you experience an outer body…

The force of lightness is connected with the Sun. It is the force that causes water to ascend and evaporate. This evaporated water condenses again into the clouds and returns to the Earth again as rain. It is however, not correct to think that the force of lightness lifts the water only to this sphere, where it condenses and returns to Earth. Actually, the substance of the water is led much further; it is fully dematerialized by the lightness. When the clouds ascend then disappear, the water ceases to be matter. The force of the Sun that brings this about can, however, work so intensely that too much Earth-water is taken up and etherized. Then, too much foreign ether collects in the surroundings of the Earth. Then the congested, damned-up ether suddenly breaks back into the material Earth-sphere again. We experience this as the phenomena of lightning. In lightning the etheric substance lights up, in order to condense into a watery form as rain, or even into a solid form as hail. In lightning the sky tears and the damned-up ether breaks and descends. What happens in this way suddenly and therefore perceptibly, also takes place quietly in the constant rhythm in the evaporating water and the forming of the clouds.

…The plant is fixed between the Earth and the Sun. Gravity works on it from below, and the light from above. This light streams from the universe down upon the Earth, and is taken in by the Earth and preserved within it. At the same time, along with the light, the warmth enters into the Earth. This streaming-in takes place during summer and autumn. During the winter, the light and warmth rest in the Earth. In the spring the light frees itself and pulsates elastically back into the cosmos. Thereby, it brings about the growth of the plants. People do not know much about the warmth that is preserved in the Earth during the winter. Only the farmer uses it, for instance, when he stores his potatoes in a silo. The light streams thus elastically – downward, upward, downward.

The plant lives in this pulsating. For this reason, it can move vertically; it can grow and shrivel. But it cannot move horizontally from its place. In contrast, the animals and human beings can move freely in the horizontal. This freedom from their place on the Earth is given by the breathing. The breath makes it possible for them to move about on the Earth. Also, the atmosphere spreads itself out horizontally, encompassing the whole Earth. Only those beings that can breathe freely can walk freely.”

R. Steiner, Esoteric Lesson – Youth Circle, 13 July 1923, CW266/3


“When we ascend from the level of minerals – and only on Earth are they mineral in the sense in which we know them here – to the level of life, we can no longer speak of natural laws that apply to the Earth. Instead, we must speak of laws that work into earthly existence from the universe, from cosmic space. This is already true of plants. The laws of Earth, such as gravity and other forces that work from the center toward the periphery, can be used only to explain minerals. When we move up to the level of plant existence, we are forced to realize that the sphere of the Earth is now the center and that the laws of life work in on it from all directions from the cosmos. These laws of life are also the laws we discover within ourselves as a result of condensed thinking and the laws that allow us to build up our own bodies between birth and death.

In addition to the laws that work outward from the center of the Earth, we learn to recognise those that work in from all directions toward the center. Laws of the latter type are at work in all living beings, beginning with the plant kingdom. We know that a plant springing up out of the earth contains mineral substances. Today’s chemistry has made great progress in understanding how these substances interact, and it will continue to learn more. The chemical information is all well and good, all totally justified, but if we want to explain the existence of a plant, we must explain how it grows, and growth cannot be explained only by forces that work upward out of the Earth. It can be explained only by forces that work into earthly existence from the periphery, from the cosmos. We are forced to acknowledge that we must advance from the earthly perspective to the cosmic perspective that includes true human self-knowledge.”

R. Steiner, The Healing Process, Lecture 7, 17 July 1924, CW319


“What would happen if the etheric body were to leave the physical body, even for a moment? The physical body would contract, shrivel and become wrinkled; it has the tendency to contract into the smallest space possible and ultimately dissolve into nothing. The tendency of the etheric body is to expand into the widths of space; it feels itself connected with all the forces out in space. It fills the physical body and spreads it out to the size it has.”

R. Steiner, Esoteric Lesson, 23 August 1911 Record A, Esoteric Lessons 1910 – 1912, CW266/2


“Then comes the Sun condition of the planet. Here we must never forget that there was as yet no separation of the part which later became the earth. What today has become sun and earth was then a common body, a single cosmic body. In contrast to the earlier Saturn, a denser, gaseous element developed in the Sun, so that in addition to the interweaving warmth we have a transfluent gaseous or airy element, setting hither and thither in accordance with its own laws. But at the same time we have a new formation in the ascending mode, a kind of rarefaction of warmth towards the luminous, a radiation of light into space. Our planetary evolution, as I have called it, advanced during the Sun period to the stage of the plant. Again we must not imagine that there were plants on the old Sun in their present form; it is only that the same laws were at work there in the elements of warmth and air as rule in the plant kingdom today, those laws which determine that the root shall grow downward and the blossom upward. Obviously there could be no solid plants; one must think of the forces which send blossoms up and roots down, weaving in an airy structure, so that the Sun flashes forth blossoms of light in an upward direction. Imagine a gaseous sphere, and within it weaving and sprouting light, living light, which causes the gaseous vapour to shoot and sparkle in radiant blossoms, while at the same time below there is an effort to check these luminous outbursts, an effort to make the Sun cohere round its centre. Then you have the inweaving of light, warmth and air in the ancient Sun evolution. The laws of the mineral kingdom are repeated and the laws of the plant world are added, and so much of man as is already there has itself only reached a plantlike condition.”

R. Steiner, Genesis, Lecture 3, 19 August 1910, CW122