Astrality around the Flower – Reading 3
“The etheric body contains the principle of growth. It would continue leaf after leaf according to its plant-nature if it did not come to the end of that through the astral forces, coming from above and calling forth the blossom.”
R. Steiner, “Freemasonry” and Ritual Work, No date, p.426, CW 265
“We have often spoken of the fact that in contrast to the stone a plant has its whole material nature permeated by an etheric body. And this etheric body in the plant is the principle of life in a restricted sense, and also the principle of repetition. If the plant were only subject to the activity of the etheric body, then, beginning from the root of the plant, the leaf principle would repeat indefinitely. It is due to the etheric body that the parts of a living entity repeat again and again, for it is the etheric body that wants to keep on reproducing the same thing. That is why life has such a thing as so-called propagation, the bringing forth of its own kind, for this is due fundamentally to an activity of the etheric body. Everything depending on repetition in man or animal is attributable to the etheric principle.
The repetition of one vertebra after another in the spine comes from this activity of the etheric body. The termination of the plant’s growth at the top, and the gathering up of its whole growth in the blossom is due to the astrality of the earth descending from without into the growth of the plant. The fact that in man the vertebrae of the spine widen and become the hollow bones of the cranium arises through the activity of man’s astral body. So we can say that everything which brings things to a conclusion is subject to the astral principle and all repetition to the etheric principle.”
R. Steiner, The Being of Man and his Future Evolution, Lecture 1, 2 November 1908, CW107