The natural connection between the physical heart and the etheric heart

According to Rudolf Steiner, since the year 1721 the natural connection between the physical and the etheric heart has loosened. By about 2100 the etheric part will have completely separated from the physical heart.

“On the whole, man is a physical body embedded in an etheric body; we need not consider the other today. But the intimacy of the connection – I do not mean the spatial covering, but the dynamic in the connection – changes in the course of the earth’s development, and the intimate relations between the etheric head and the human physical head, which existed, for example, in the centuries of which one speaks mainly when one speaks of Greek culture, these relations have no longer existed since the 3rd century before Christ. Since the 3rd century before Christ the old connection of intimacy between the etheric head of man and the physical head has already been lost. But a quite intimate connection between the human physical heart and the human etheric heart has always been maintained.

chakra stones illustration

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But since the year 1721, strangely enough, the connection between the human physical heart and the etheric heart is loosening more and more. If I may say so: If the physical heart is there and the etheric heart is there (see drawing) so it used to be more of a whole, now the etheric heart can be shaken etherically, it is no longer connected internally as dynamically as it used to be. Later still other organs of the human being will detach themselves from the etheric. But the fact that the heart will gradually detach itself from its etheric part, and by the 3rd millennium, by 2100 approximately, will have completely detached itself, that also constitutes something very significant in relation to human development.

What it constitutes can be characterized in the following way. It must be said that what constitutes this is the fact that people have to seek by another way, by the way of spiritual life, something that used to come naturally to them through the natural connection between the physical heart and the etheric heart. This etheric heart, detached from the physical heart, will gain its right relationship to the spiritual world only when man seeks spiritual knowledge, when man seeks anthroposophically oriented spiritual thoughts. This must be sought more and more.” (Lit.: GA 190, p. 121ff)

Heart-lung system and etheric body
Through the heart-lung system and oxygen, the ingested food substances, which are first decomposed and killed by digestion, are revived and absorbed into the etheric organization (Lit.:GA 314, p. 107).

flowers growing from the heart

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The heart and the holy grail

“In the temple of the human body there is a holiest of the holy. Many people live in the temple without knowing anything about it. But those who suspect it receive the power to purify themselves in such a way that they may enter into this holiest of holies. There is the sacred vessel, which has been prepared through the ages, so that when the time comes, it will be able to contain the blood of Christ, the life of Christ. When man has entered, he has also found the way to the Holy of Holies in the great earth temple.

Many live on earth without knowing it, but when man has found himself in his innermost sanctuary, he will also be allowed to enter there and find the Holy Grail, as if cut from wonderfully glittering crystals, which form symbols and letters, the vessel will show itself to him at first, until he gradually feels the sacred content so that it shines for him in golden splendor. Into the mystery place of his own heart a man enters then a divine being emerges from this place and unites with the God outside, with the Christ being. It lives in the spiritual light which shines into the vessel and thereby sanctifies it.” (Lit.:GA 265, p. 418)

heart and brain illustration

The heart as a future organ of cognition

“In the future man will stand in a much more intimate connection with the world-legality than at present. And the secret student anticipates this intimacy in development. The head with the brain is only a transitional organ of cognition. The organ, which will do the actual deep and at the same time powerful views into the world, has its plant in the present heart. But it should be noted that the organ of cognition has its foundation in the present heart. In order to become an organ of cognition, the heart must be transformed in many different ways. But this heart is the source and fountainhead of the human stage of the future. When the heart will be its organ, knowledge will be warm and intimate, as today only the feelings of love and pity are. But these feelings will penetrate from the dullness and darkness in which today they only grope, to the brightness and clarity which today only the finest, logical concepts of the head have.” (Lit.: GA 267, p. 90)

heart and brain illustration

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Heart and inversion

“This is the one I wanted to tell you today, my dear friends, about the very different experience we have when we are in the spiritual world than here in the physical. And yet, again, things are connected. But they are connected in such a way that we are completely upside down. If we could turn man upside down here in such a way that we would turn his inside out, so that, for example, the inside, the heart would then be the surface of man – he would not remain alive as a physical man, you can believe that – but if one could turn him upside down, touch him inwardly in the heart and turn him upside down like a glove, then he would not remain such a man as he is here, then he would enlarge himself into a universe.

For if one concentrates into one point, into the heart, and then has the ability to turn oneself inside out in the spirit, then one becomes this world, which one otherwise experiences between death and a new birth. This is the secret of the human interior, which only in the physical world cannot be turned inside out. But the human heart is also a world turned inside out, and so again the physical earth world is connected with the spiritual world. We must get used to this turning inside out. If we do not get used to it, we will never get a correct idea of how the physical world here actually relates to the spiritual world”. (Lit.:GA 214, p. 157)