Astrality around the Flower – Reading 2


“Through developing certain forces man can gain the power to perceive what is around him during the state of dreamless sleep. This is a higher state of consciousness than picture consciousness; it is the consciousness plants have, but in a sleeping form. If one rises to this consciousness but permeates it with one’s ego in clear day-consciousness one has attained to the degree of inspiration or, in occult development, to inspired consciousness. This consciousness does not act merely by means of pictures. When something flows from the object and passes into the observer it is a tone-consciousness, and cannot be compared with picture-consciousness. The man who experiences it enters into a spiritual world of tone; this is the consciousness described by Pythagoras as “the Harmony of the Spheres.” The whole world then utters forth its nature, and when man is asleep at night and the astral body and ego are withdrawn from his physical and etheric bodies, the harmonies and melodies of cosmic music pervade his astral body. The astral body is then immersed in true spiritual existence, and from the music of the spheres it draws power by which to restore its exhausted forces. Man is plunged at night within the music of the spheres, and through the tones ringing within him he feels strengthened and refreshed anew when morning comes. When conscious of this he is Inspired, and is capable of perceiving all that is contained within the solar system.

Through his ordinary senses and the intellect associated with them man perceives only the things of the earth; through Imagination he comes in touch with the various planets; when he has attained to Inspiration he comes in contact with the solar system. This fact has always been known in certain circles. Goethe, who was an Initiate, knew it; hence in the prologue to Faust, the scene of which is set in the spiritual world in heaven — he represents the Angel as saying: “The sun intones his ancient song, ‘Mid rival chant of brother spheres.”

From this we see that he knew that the secrets of the solar system are expressed in tones, and that one who can raise himself to Inspiration can learn these secrets. Goethe did not write this by chance, as we can see, for he maintains the character. In the second part of Faust, when he takes us up into the spiritual world he says again very much the same thing:

“Sounding loud to spirit ears,
Lo! the new-born day appears.”

Spirit ears are the ears of the clairvoyant, who is able to perceive the harmonies of the solar system. If you could perceive the Sun-Forces streaming down on to the bodies of plants as they grow (these bodies whose roots and leaves terminate in flowers bathed round by the astral body, into which stream the forces of the sun); if you could perceive these forces secretly entering the earth through the flower, you would perceive them as spiritual music — the music of the spheres. This can, however, only be heard by spiritual ears.

Spiritual sound enters into flowers, that is the secret of the development of plants, each separate flower is the expression of the tones which give it form, and give to the fruit its character. The sun tones are caught up by the plant, and these rule within it as spirit.

You perhaps know how form can be imparted by sound in the material world; you may remember the experiment of the Chladnic sound forms. How dust scattered upon a disc assumes certain figures as the result of sound; in these figures we have the expression of the sound that produces them. Just as physical sound is caught up, as it were, in this dust, so the spiritual sound of the sun is caught up and absorbed by flower and fruit. It is hidden mysteriously in the seed, and when a new plant grows from the seed it is the sun-tone it has absorbed that conjures forth its form.

Clairvoyant consciousness looks around upon the vegetable kingdom, and in the flowers which form the variegated carpet of the earth’s surface it sees everywhere the reflection of sun-tones. What Goethe says is true, “The sun intones his ancient song,” but it is also true that these sun tones stream to earth, are absorbed by plants, and reappear when new plants spring from the seed. For in the forms of plants is heard the sun-tones which re-echo into space the music of the spheres.”

R. Steiner, Universe, Earth and Man, Lecture 8, 12 August 1908, CW105