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Observations placeholder

Steiner, Rudolf - How to Know Higher Worlds - The functions of plants



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Steiner could 'see' the functions of plants and in this brief extract he is attempting to explain the difference between the form based plant that we see with our 5 senses, and the underlying functional/spirit which is actually driving the growth.  In effect growth of plants is dependent on the functions not the form of the plant.

Function = force = system

Hallucination is meant only in the sense that the spiritual input he perceives for the plant is superimposed on the input from the 5 senses.

A description of the experience

Rudolf Steiner – How to Know Higher Worlds

All that will ultimately grow out of the seed is already secretly enfolded within it as the force of the whole plant.  In the artificial imitation of the seed no such force is present and yet to my eyes both appear alike.  The real seed therefore contains something invisible, which is not present in the imitation.  It is to this invisible something that thought and feeling are now to be directed.

Let the pupil picture the following to himself: This invisible something will presently transform itself into the visible plant which I shall have before me in shape and colour. Let him hold firmly to the thought: The invisible will become visible. If I could not think, then that which will become visible only later could not already announce its presence to me.

Particular emphasis must be laid on the following point: what is being thought here must also be intensely felt.

In inner quiet the thought indicated above must be experienced, with no disturbing intrusions from other thoughts.

And sufficient time must be allowed for the thought and feeling united with it to penetrate the soul. If this is brought about in the right way, then, after a time-possibly only after many attempts an inner force will make itself felt.

And this force will create a new power of perception. The grain of seed will appear as if enveloped in a small, luminous cloud.  In a sensory-spiritual way it will be felt as a kind of flame. The centre of this flame evokes the same impression as that made by the colour lilac; the edges give the impression of a bluish tint. Something formerly not seen is here revealed created by the power of the thoughts and feelings that have been inwardly stirred into activity. The plant itself which will become physically visible only later on, now manifests in a spiritually visible way.

The source of the experience

Steiner, Rudolf

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