The Astrality consists of the 'Macro' Astral seated in the Solar System sphere and the 'Micro' astral body internalised in and around each individual Human. It functions through the archetypal law of the number seven. Wherever you find the number seven expressed you are functioning at an Astral level of manifestation.
As the spirit interacts with life through evolution the spirit experiences physical sensations as well as emotional psychological and psychic impressions. The Astral body is created out of this activity. Both the impact of the environment impacts on the personal Astral body and the personal experiences of life are accumulated firstly in the personal astral body. Emanations from this can radiated back outwards and accumulated in the Cosmic Astral body. There is an intimate interplay between both. Primarily though we must accept responsibility for the creation of our own Astral body. It is the qualities of our Astral body which then imprint into and sculpt our Physical and Etheric bodies. It is the working of the Ego\Spirit which hardens this form. The formation of the Astral body can be seen as similar to the formation of the planets around a Sun. Once the Sun reaches a certain intensification in its centre it excretes matter along the horizontal axis. This matter then organises itself according to the Solar electro magnetic fields. Due to the spinning motion of the solar system this matter is then accumulated into balls which become planets. Similarly our spirit accumulates astral clutter.
The Astral body of the human equates to our personality, instincts, desires, fears, and is certainly a place our emotions are played out. Emotions in particular arise as an interplay between the Etheric body and the Astral.
Upon death we drop our physical and etheric bodies however our astral body and spirit then have some talking to do as to what happens next.
Just as we found in the level four activity the planets also divide themselves into a Macro division which describes external laws
and a Micro division which describes internalised laws.
In 'Agriculture' we are told of the Macro relationships. RS talks of the Outer planets and the Inner planets activity, however once we start looking into organic organism we are presented with the polarisation of the planets as described by the 'micro' relationships.
On this diagram No 1 is the micro polarities
No 2 is the planets lined out according to the speeds of their rotation within the Solar system
No 3 is the Macro polarites of the inner and outer planets.
All three structures are relevant and used by Steiner. He aslo used another order where the Venus and Mercury positions of 2 where exchanged. This is an order related to the Earths experience of the solar system. It is a more subjective view of existence than No 2 presented here.
The seven planets of the Solar system act as mirrors or adjusters to the formative forces coming from the Fixed Stars. These streams of forces come into existence in various forms. The organ systems of living entities are a result of these forces coming into manifestation. The organs formation and continuing action in a sense brings these planetary forces to an end in the physical body. Not all animals manifest these organs internally to the degree the Human does. In fact the degree by which organs are manifested indicates the degree the Astral works into the physical \ Etheric organism. (22)
The general correspondences are as follows. In each series the planetary polarities of Saturn \ Moon, Jupiter \ Mercury, Mars \ Venus all work.
The physical ' organs' are associated thus
Saturn - Spleen, Jupiter - Liver Mars -- Gall Bladder Sun - Heart Moon - Reproduction Mercury- Intestines Venus -Kidneys
Saturn - Lead Jupiter - Tin Mars - Iron Sun - Gold Moon - Silver Mercury - Mercury Venus - Copper
Within the Etheric bodies action and its relationship to the elements the planets work in the following way:
Saturn - Warmth Jupiter - Light Mars - Dry Moon - Cold Mercury - Dark Venus - Wet
The chakra system of energy is one of the main Human manifestations of the Astral body. The chakras act as the organs of the Astral body. These are energy centres acknowledged by most spiritual traditions and are easily experienced. The functioning of these chakras can be associated to the 'health' of the organs.
Saturn - Crown Jupiter - Third Eye Mars - Throat Sun - Heart Moon - Base Mercury - Sacral Venus - Solar Plexus.
Psychologically the social development work has identified seven personality types
Saturn - Investigator Jupiter - Thinker Mars - Entrepreneur Sun - Balanced being Moon - Conserver Mercury - Innovator Venus - Carer
A further investigation of the planets can be found in 'Astrological Science' and 'Spiral Astrology'
The compost preparations.
The compost preparations are where we find the planets activity most important. Dr Steiner outlined in some detail a series of six preparations. These he suggested, should be placed in the compost heap. Their overall activity is to help balance the spiritual bodies' activities in the earth, plant, animal and human. While they aid and regulate the composting process, their spiritually balancing activity is carried to the soil through the medium of the compost. In more recent times they have been inserted into small manure pits and applied directly to the soil. The information he supplied regarding these preparations was quite comprehensive and came in two parts. The first part was in lecture 3 where he covered the elements of protein, the basic molecule of life. Here Rudolf Steiner suggests that the four 'bodies ', are carried into manifestation by the everyday elements of Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Carbon, aided by Sulphur, although in this lecture it is not as clearly stated as in the medical lectures (see Hydrogen the carrier of the Ego)
As we have already seen he suggests The Ego is carried by Hydrogen; the Astral by Nitrogen ;The Etheric body by Oxygen; and the Physical by Carbon. He then adds that the Elements of Sulphur and Phosphorus are carrier substances that help these four to blend and intermingle.
The significance of this information is possibly not recognised until the fifth lecture when Dr Steiner outlined the Bio-Dynamic 'compost' preparations. In this talk he described the making procedure of each preparation and outlined a sketch of their activity. At first glance these preparations appear unusual as they are comprised of herbs, put (generally) into animal organs and then placed in the ground during specific periods of the year.
The general combinations are:
Prep Herb Receptacle Period 507 Valerian Water Immediately 506 Dandelion Mesentery In Earth over winter 504 Nettle Earth In Earth all year 502 Yarrow Stags Bladder In Air/Summer, Earth/Winter 503 Chamomile Intestines In Earth for Winter 505 Oak Bark Skull Water for Autumn and Winter
The numbers were given in the order that Steiner outlined them. ( They were originally classified and thus numbered as homeopathic medicine. ) On inspection these preparations follow the standard line of thought of basic sympathetic magic, this being that if one combines substances of similar activity from different levels of life, one creates a result greater than the sum of the parts.
The easiest examples , are the preparations made from yarrow and Chamomile. Both of these herbs are widely recognised to aid the healing of the organs they are placed in.
Further associations with these herbs to their sheaths and their planetary correspondences has been dealt with in a fine book by Dr B. Lievegoed. Titled "The Working of the Planets and the Life processes in Man and Earth" This is a thorough study of the preparations their activity and their relationship to the activity of the planets. ( see also (7))
From the Astrological Model, this information corresponds to the level of the planets and utilises the number seven. The Sun is the harmonising central influence of the solar system and so it is in this level as well. It can be seen as the centralising and manifesting form of life itself harmonising the polaric interplay's of the other planets. The Sun preparations (500 & 501) act as the overall 'parents' of the other six compost preparations.
B. Lievegeods overall associations are as follows. Also included are the chemical elements Dr Steiner outlined to each preparation.
Prep Herb Planet Element 507 Valerian Saturn Phosphorus 506 Dandelion Jupiter Hydrogen 504 Nettle Mars Nitrogen 502 Yarrow Venus Sulphur 503 Chamomile Mercury Oxygen 505 Oak Bark Moon Carbon
It should be noted here that the planetary order that arises from this model of Lievegeods is the same as that in the Astrological Model. Further to this Lievegoed outlines that the preparations are in polaric balance to each other in the same way that has been outlined in my earlier discussions regarding Level 5.
As just mentioned, the Sun acts as the central balance for the planets. These preparations can be therefore separated into the inner planet group and the outer planet group, giving us the following association.
The Outer planet preparations can be seen as more subtle variations of the Silica preparations activity, hence working with nutrition and seed formation while the inner planet preparations as three subtle variations of the activity of the Manure preparations enhancing the processes associated with reproduction and growth.
Since this book was first published I have become aware of understandings most prevalent in the USA that provides a different association of the preparations to the planets. This association outlined by Hugh Lovel includes the preparation RS outlined made from Equiseteum. Upon investigating this I am inclined to offer a variation upon the system Hugh puts forward. (See 'Valerian as the Sun prep')
Lievegeod Atkinson Planet Lovel 507 Equiseteum Saturn Equiseteum 506 Dandelion Jupiter Dandelion 504 Nettle Mars Valerian 500&501 Valerian Sun Nettle 502 Yarrow Venus Yarrow 503 Chamomile Mercury Chamomile 505 Oak Bark Moon Oak Bark
For an extension of how the preparations work as spiritual body activators see "The Preparations" later in this book
Planets and Plant Form
RS outlined plant form as being primarily influenced by the working of Calcium and Silica substances and forces. Along with this he outlined how the outer planetary influences of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars where carried into activity along the Silica pathways , while the inner planetary influences of Moon, Mercury and Venus are carried into activity along the Calcium pathways. Lievegeods book mentioned earlier looks more deeply into the workings of these planetary streams and their effect on plant growth. In keeping with what was outlined earlier about the primary and secondary Calcium and Silica streams, Lievegeod also suggests that the planets also have primary and secondary activities. This is a complex picture which will be looked into further in the "How a Plant Grows" section of this web site. We can start to make an approach to understanding this picture once we have looked into the 12fold organisation of creation. For now this diagram will have to suffice.
Planet Archetypes in Plant Growth
The terms inner planets and outer planets holds the key. There is a broad division between trees , that harden wood and hence live longer than one year, and plants that remain annuals or as soft herbacous plants. Within these broader definitions the individual planets can be related to specific plant areas.
The outer planets all have cycles longer than one year. Mars-2 years, Jupiter -12 years, and Saturn -30 years.
The inner planets cycles are
all shorter than one year. Venus-256 days, Mercury 100 days and
the Moon-28 days.
Saturn rules the evergreen trees and especially the conifer varieties. Their rhythms are usually of long duration and their lifespans are in multiples of 30 years. The restrictive quality of Saturn is noted in their pyramidal shape. Their sap is slow and often resin like.
Jupiter trees are deciduous and form spherical canopies, with their sap being more fluid and their lifespan usually of moderate duration. Fruit trees and the Oak family are good examples of Jupiter. The abundance of Jupiter is evident in the fruit we gain from her charges.
Mars' cycle is much shorter and governs both biennial plants and the shrubs, especially the shrubs that have an element of die back in their growth. After flowering and fruiting the new shoots come from the growth below.
The Inner Planets
Venus rules plants in which flowering predominates and has been associated to the Alpine and desert plants. These plants lie dormant for long periods and when the conditions are right flowering occurs. Their flowering can be extremely short, but is highlight of their life.
Mercury runs and weaves following the path it is pushed. The plants it governs are the vines and the runners. Mercury's mark is seen in any climber that does not support itself.
The Moon has the shortest cycle and is associated with quick growing plants, and those that retain a large content of water. On the one hand this governs Cacti and succulents and on the other it governs most of our vegetable plants.
The Sun is the mediator of all the planetary forces and its plants show a balance of all the parts. The clovers and grasses are Sun ruled. The roots leaves and flowers all have equal predominance in the life cycle.
These divisions gives some hint as to why planting by the Moon is so popular among vegetable growers, as the Moon, has the closest affinity with vegetables. Experience has also shown that emphasising the influence of other planets at the sowing, planting and harvesting of their associated plants helps in their growth and vigour.
These associations are archetypal in nature and while the varieties mentioned carry the mark of the planet most prominently, there are many trees that carry a mixture of influences.
Another sevenfold division of the plant kingdom has been made according to the archetypal evolutionary stages outlined in "Evolution on a Pinhead".