While listening to a podcast about the electromagnetic brain (Earth Ancients – Shelli Joye: The Electromagnetic Brain) I heard again the name of Rudolf Steiner, and I decided to check what bibliography was available online of his. I ended up downloading a few titles, one of which was this piece I’m reviewing here, Occult Significance of Blood.
Taking as a starting point Faust from Goethe, Steiner tries to unravel the meaning of the scene where Mephistopheles asks Faust to sign the contract with his blood. “Blood is a very special fluid”, the demon says. And on we go.
Steiner considers that the axiom “as above, so below” expresses the idea that the physical world is a manifestation of a higher world with similar rules, and he tries to explain how the body of man is generated by the spiritual bodies. The physical body is generated by the “etheric body, which he possesses in common with the vegetable kingdom”. The etheric body is either created or developed (it’s not clear to me from the text) by the third body, the astral body. It takes care of “lifting up the life-substance to the plane of feeling”. So it is the astral body that gives you an inner experience of being alive.
It is said then that the lower animals and plants have a different form of consciousness, one that is more let’s say open to the universe but closed to the internal experiences. As such, animals can perceive the macro cosmos playing in their own bones, and they can -probably- perceive things that humans can’t. But humans have a richer internal life, and from this, we have developed our ego.
“Blood is, therefore, an expression of the individualized etheric body (…) The blood vessels, together with the heart, are the expression of the transformed etheric body”Rudolf Steiner
Then, how is blood important? “Blood absorbs those pictures of the outside world which the brain has formed within”. Through oxygen, he claims, blood is able of extracting these images and building up the human body. Blood is open to the outer world through the intake of oxygen. “In the blood lies the principle for the development of the ego”. It is unclear how this process takes place, how does the blood acquire these images, and how are they transformed into a physical body.
There is one paragraph about sleep, in which Steiner says that “man sinks into unconsciousness”. As he awakens, “his blood adds to its constructive forces the pictures produced by the brain and the senses”. Why would this process stop during sleep? Nothing apparently unusual happens to the blood during our sleep. Maybe blood pressure drops and the sympathetic nervous system relaxes. Is that how the images stop being absorbed by the blood? Again, the text is very unclear in its scientific explanations. Very much seems to be just speculation based on esoteric knowledge.
Then Steiner goes into elaborating how mankind lost this base consciousness when the blood of humans was mixed with the blood of foreigners. That is, as long as you only fuck people who are somewhat related to you, you can keep having this far-reaching consciousness. But when you “mix your blood” with foreigners, then you lose this primitive consciousness and develop a more internalized, egotistical experience of your own life. We would be bordering racism here if he didn’t consider this evolutionary step a positive thing (which I assume he does, as he calls it “the birth of the external understanding, the birth of the intellect”.
- The Ego is born from blood
- Blood absorbs images from the brain and transforms them into the physical body
- Mixing of blood caused humanity to lose one form of universal consciousness and develop a more localized, personal experience of the self
I understand the argument, but I don’t quite understand how does blood come to be the seat of the ego consciousness. I didn’t find this text illuminating, rather it confused me at times with all the talk about higher bodies and lower bodies. I think the occult sciences need not be confusing unnecessarily, and perhaps this is my stupidity talking, but I found the whole article more confusing than anything else.