Etherization of blood

From Anthroposophy

In Man, an etherization of the mineral physical substance of blood emanates all the time from the heart-and-blood circulation, and as a result the finest elements of the blood are passing continuously into the same substance as that of which the Human etheric body consists. These etheric elements stream upwards from the heart in distinct currents and permeate the brain. In the brain the various streams meet in the area between the pituitary and pineal gland, where their interaction with the brain and etheric and astral bodies is the interface between body



It is because this newly-formed element of the etheric body streams through the brain that Man is able to develop knowledge which goes beyond the completely egotistic knowledge of what takes place within his own organisation. Unless these etheric streams were to rise up from the heart to the brain, only ideas, concepts, feelings connected with our own bodily organisation could find expression through the instrument of the brain.

Man gets sense impressions which are astral, and these are impressed on the physical and etheric bodies, whereby the etheric body is like a time organism or register. The process through which the astral impresses on the etheric is described below.

Hence, the etherization of blood is an essential principle to understand contemporary Waking consciousness. See also Damming up between heart and brain.

Spiritualization of Man

Man has condensed to the current physical body and form with a mineral component from a spiritual past. This is also the case for the blood circuit and the organs, the heart, etc. In the future (evolutionary epochs and CoL and CoF), Man will become a spiritual being again, first by becoming an etheric being not living in a physical mineral body as is the case today. Initiation today already causes the loosening of the etheric body from the physical. In a way the opposite situation compared to when the consciousness soul first arose when the larger etheric contracted and entered the physical body in the Atlantean epoch.

Currently Man is already in the process of re-etherizing. This is explained in the topic 'etherization of blood'. Taking a step back we can see Man evolving from an etheric being to the current mineral-physical, and back again to become an etheric being.

Resonance with the Christ Impulse

An important link is made here with the underlying 'mechanics', or rather working principles in a spiritual scientific sense, of the Christ impulse. For this, the process of what flows through the physical blood and etheric streams needs to be studied and contemplated. Man can 'align' his own etheric stream between heart and brain with that of the Christ Impulse, the astral-etheric stream of the spirit of the earth called the Christ. This is how the Christ Impulse underlies the spiritualization of mankind through this principle. A related aspect is how this process can only take place in Man during sleep given conditions cultivated during daytime and waking consciousness.

The above is a broad and deep subject of study, touching on many areas, that can be approached from its different angles though the coverage in Christ - base study modules 4, 5, 6 and Christ - study modules 15, 16, as well as the Kundalini page.

Physiological perspective

The pineal and pituitary gland, and especially the empty 'counterspace' between them in the brain cavity, is an entrance gate from the sense world to the supersensible or spiritual world, or a gateway between both. (Schema FMC00.044 below, see also Matter is destroyed in the brain.

Man's brain physiology contains a new supersensible organ that was developed for Man to use as a connection with the spiritual world, see more on Man's new organ.

Future perspective

The link between heart and pineal/pituitary glands in perspective: in the future sixth and seventh epochs, the heart will develop as a buddhi-organ, the two-petalled lotus-flower between the eyes will develop two wings and be the motive organ of will, and the pineal gland and pituitary glands and sympathetic nervous system will give rise to a second spinal column, descending from the front head; this second spinal column will later unite itself with the first. See also: Man past and future, a.o. Schema FMC00.178 on that page (and compare with Schema FMC00.123 on Future Jupiter).

More aspects


Schema FMC00.044 illustrates the etheric flows between heart and brain (right), and how they meet in the brain between pineal and pituitary gland. This includes drawings from original typoscripts and manuscripts never published before, especially those from the earlier lecture enrich the simple pictures on the right that are mostly shared about this topic.

FMC00.044 .jpg

Schema FMC00.354 is a meta study schema, using other schemas as infographics to show a broader scope and the relationship between related aspects. Not all schema or lecture references are given, these can be found on the various pages such as Kundalini, Ganganda Greida, and related pages. Central theme is the symbolism of the Holy Grail, with on the one hand the grail cup and the bloody lance, and on the other hand the pituitary and pineal gland. The diagram relates the physiological and spiritual processes taking place in Man, with the central role of the blood as the carrier of the Human 'I', and the human heart.


Schema FMC00.353 positions the physiological process underlying the study of spiritual science and initiation exercises, through the use of the newly developed organ in the brain called the pituitary gland and the process working on the etheric and astral bodies.

Schema FMC00.033A explains the principle of current contemporary Waking consciousness that takes place in the brain that acts as a reflector. It shows the etheric streams that rise up between the heart and brain, and the Damming up of the streams at the height of the heart and the brain.


Schema FMC00.178 from Man past and future positions the pituitary gland as the future active heart warmth organ. The heart itself is described as a future buddhi organ. See also additional info and RSL reference on the page of Process of perception.


Schema FMC00.180 (from Olive Whicher) shows an etheric perspective on the heart (left), connecting it with the image of 'Man as an inverted plant' (right - see also Schema FMC00.110 on Man as a threefold being ). The middle drawing represents the area between two focal points with the heart above and the brain below.

Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

For The etherization of the blood', most sources reference a single famous lecture by Rudolf Steiner, 1911-10-01-GA130. Few sources (none?) seem to study also the earlier lectures of 1911-03-23-GA128 and 1911-08-25-GA129. As there is limited information available on this very important topic, all three lectures need to be studied in context. Especially the GA128 cycle offers this context (esoteric physiology).

Note however that the GA does contain more clues. For example, five years before the above lectures, already in 1906-12-18-GA266/1, the principle of etherization of blood is mentioned in the context of the pineal gland becoming an active organ (see also Schema FMC00.178 on Process of perception).

What human beings have received through the light, the pictures of the external world which they have taken into themselves through their eyes, they will later be able to set back into the world as pictures, as forms, through the pineal gland, indeed through the etherized blood that will then have been brought under the control of their will.

Another example is 1913-03-25-GA145 in the section on Ganganda Greida on the Parsifal page.

Furthermore, in 1919-12-14-GA194 is explained how the small void in the human head is where matter gets destroyed and the spirit enters.

Source reference extracts


.. (SWCC). For the beginning of the section below, see Schema FMC00.248 on Three levels of sleep.

So here again there is a threefold life of soul.

  • [SLS1] The intellectual element in which we are really awake brings us shadow-images of the Astral Plane when by day we give ourselves up to a thought — wherein the most fruitful ideas for daily life and great inventions originate.
  • [SLS2] Then during sleep, when we dream, these dreams play into our life of sleep and shadow-images from Lower Spirit World are reflected into us.
  • [SLS3] And when we work actively during sleep, impressing morality into our will — we cannot be aware of this actual process but certainly we can of its effects — when we are able to imbue our life of thoughts during the night with the influence of Divine Spiritual Powers, then the impulses we receive are reflections from Higher Spirit World. These reflections are the moral impulses and feelings which are active within us and lead to the recognition that human life is vindicated only when we place our thoughts at the service of the good and the beautiful, when we allow the very heart's blood of Divine Spiritual life to stream through our intellectual activities, permeating them with moral impulses.

The processes that have been described in their more external aspect can also be perceived in man through clairvoyance. When a man stands in front of us today in his waking state and we observe him with the eye of clairvoyance, certain rays of light are seen streaming continually from the heart towards the head. Within the head these rays play around the organ known in anatomy as the pineal gland. These streamings arise because human blood, which is a physical substance, is perpetually resolving itself into etheric substance.

In the region of the heart there is a continual transformation of the blood into this delicate etheric substance which streams upwards towards the head and glimmers around the pineal gland.

This process — the etherisation of the blood — can be perceived in the human being all the time during his waking life.

Clairvoyantly one can see a continual streaming from outside into the brain, and also in the reverse direction, from the brain to the heart.

These streams, which in sleeping man come from outside, from the Macrocosm, and flow into the inner constitution of the physical body and etheric bodies lying in the bed, reveal something remarkable when they are investigated. These rays vary greatly in different individuals as they are asleep, human beings differ very drastically from one another. Moral qualities are revealed distinctly in the particular colouring of the streams which flow into human beings during sleep; in an individual of lower moral principles, the streams are quite different from what is observable in an individual of noble principles. In the case of a man who has only a slight inclination towards moral principles the rays streaming into him are a brownish red in colour, various shades tending toward brownish red. In a man of high moral ideals the rays are lilac-violet in colour.

At the moment of waking or of going off to sleep a kind of struggle takes place in the region of the pineal gland between what streams down from above and what streams upward from below.

When a man is awake

  • the intellectual element streams upwards from below in the form of currents of light, and
  • what is of moral-aesthetic nature streams downwards from above.

At the moment of waking or of going off to sleep, these two currents meet, and

  • in the man of low morality a violent struggle between the two streams takes place in the region of the pineal gland.
  • In the man of high morality there is around the pineal gland as it were a little sea of light. Moral nobility is revealed when a calm glow surrounds the pineal gland at these moments. In this way a man's moral disposition is reflected in him, and this calm glow of light often extends as far as the heart.

Two streams can therefore be perceived in man — the one Macrocosmic, the other, Microcosmic.

and after this, the key paragraph (FMCR00.001 for CI-EB, Christ Impulse and Etherization of Blood)

This blood must not be regarded simply as chemical substance, but by reason of all that has been said concerning the nature of Jesus of Nazareth it must be recognised as something altogether unique. When it flowed from His wounds, a substance was imparted to our Earth, which in uniting with it, constituted an Event of the greatest possible significance for all future ages of the Earth's evolution — and it could take place only once.

What came of this blood in the ages that followed? Nothing different from what otherwise takes place in the heart of man. In the course of Earth evolution this blood passes through a process of 'etherisation'. And just as our human blood streams upwards from the heart as ether, so since the Mystery of Golgotha the etherised blood of Christ Jesus has been present in the ether of the earth. The etheric body of the Earth is permeated by the blood — now transformed — which flowed on Golgotha. This is supremely important. If what has thus come to pass through Christ Jesus had not taken place, man's condition on the Earth could only have been as previously described. But since the Mystery of Golgotha it has been possibe for the etheric blood of Christ to flow together with the streamings from below upward, from heart to head.

Because the etherised blood of Jesus of Nazareth is present in the etheric body of the Earth, it accompanies the etherised human blood streaming upwards from the heart to the brain, so that not only those streams of which I spoke earlier meet in man, but the human blood-stream unites with the blood-stream of Christ Jesus.

A union of these two streams can, however, come about only if a person is able to unfold true understanding of what is contained in the Christ Impulse. Otherwise there can be no union; the two streams then mutually repel each other, thrust each other away. In every epoch of Earth evolution understanding must be acquired in the form suitable for that epoch. At the time when Christ Jesus lived on Earth, preceding events were rightly understood by those who came to His forerunner, John, and were baptised by him according to the rite described in the Gospels. They received baptism in order that their sin, that is to say, the karma of their previous lives — karma which had come to an end — might be changed; and in order that they might realise that the most powerful Impulse in Earth evolution was about to descend into a physical body. But the evolution of humanity progresses and in our present age what matters is that people should recognise the need for the knowledge contained in Spiritual Science and be able so to fire the streams flowing from heart to brain that this knowledge can be understood.

Again see Schema FMC00.248 on Three levels of sleep, specifically the quote in red of 1922-08-30-GA224 which literally says the same as above. Once again now rephrased (based on study of base text meaning and other lectures - see Christ Module 15 - Study of Spiritual Science and the Mystery of Golgotha

A union of these two streams can, however, come about only if a person is able to unfold true understanding of what is contained in the Christ Impulse. Otherwise there can be no union; the two streams then mutually repel each other, thrust each other away. In every age of Earth evolution understanding must be acquired in the form suitable for that age .. in our present age what matters is that people should study Spiritual Science in a heartfelt manner .. and be able so to fire the streams flowing from heart to brain


The extract below from 1911-03-23-GA128 was edited to make it more concise without changing content (SWCC= 'shortened without content change'):

If we have something which impresses upon the ether-body our memory-pictures taken, as it were, from the soul, and if from the other side we recognise the ether-body as the super-sensible expression of our organism nearest to the physical, the question then arises: How does this impressing come about?

In other words, when the human being works over external impressions, makes them into memory-pictures, and in doing so thrusts them into his ether-body, how does it happen that he does actually bring down into the ether-body what the astral body has first worked over and what now presses against the ether-body? How does he transfer it?

This transfer takes place in a remarkable way. Let's imagine ourselves within the human ether-body, and we observe the blood as it courses through the heart. We think of the blood as physical expression of the human I, and now want to see how this I works and receives impressions corresponding with the outer world, and condenses these to memory-pictures.

Not only our blood is active in this process. In its course, especially in the upward direction, somewhat less in the downward, the blood stirs up the ether-body, and causes currents to develop everywhere in the ether-body, taking a very definite course, as if they would join the blood flowing upward from the heart and go up to the head.

In the head these currents come together, and at this point the ether-forces are compressed as if under a very powerful tension, those ether-currents which are called forth through the impressions that now desire to become definite concepts, memory-pictures, and to stamp themselves upon the ether-body.

In opposition to these, other currents flow from the portion of the ether-body belonging to the rest of the bodily organisation. Mainly they come from the lower part of the breast, but also from the lymph vessels and other organs. These come together in such a way that they oppose these other currents.

Thus whenever a memory-picture wishes to form itself, we have two ether-currents in the brain, one coming from below and one from above, which oppose each other under the greatest possible tension, just as two electric currents oppose each other. If a balance is brought about between these two currents, then a concept has become a memory-picture and has incorporated itself in the ether-body.

Such super-sensible currents in the human organism always express themselves by creating for themselves also a physical sense-organ, which we must look upon as a sense-manifestation.

Thus we have an organ within the center of the brain, which is the physical sense-expression for that which wishes to take the form of a memory-picture; and opposite to this is situated still another organ in the brain. These two organs in the human brain are the physical-sensible expression of the two currents in the human ether-body; they indicate that there are such currents in the ether-body.

These currents condense themselves with such force that they seize the human bodily substance and consolidate it into these organs. This way we get an impression of bright etheric light-currents streaming across from the one to the other of these organs, and pouring themselves out over the human ether-body.

One of them is the pineal gland; the other, the so-called pituitary body: the “epiphysis” and the “hypophysis” respectively. At this point in the human physical organism we find a physical expression of the cooperation of soul and body.

1950-12-24-EP lecture by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer

In the human heart we have a similar process. In the moment in which the used up substance enters the heart, the force of etherization begins to work. It is a force of light, the same force as that in the sun, which works to annihilate and regenerate matter. Even atomic science begins to discover that in the sun there is pure energy. The same process takes place in the human heart.

The used-up, tired substance enters the heart, and this amounts to a kind of winter solstice. One heart beat represents the same interplay of forces as there is to be found in a solar year. With the expansion of the heart, we also experience the expansion of the summer solstice. In the etheric these two are the same (the expansion of the heart and the summer solstice). One human life in its entirety is the same as the sun going through the twelve signs of the zodiac.

If you follow the heart process clairvoyantly, you can see how with the expansion the etheric force from the heart spreads over the entire body, and with the contraction there is a darkening. And one can see the organs, such as the kidneys and the lungs, participate in the light of the expansion. If a person has an ailment you might be able to see that a particular organ does not share in the light experience. We can marvel how in our crystallizations so much of these forces becomes visible, though only as a shadow of the original process.

If we see that it is the same force in the contraction and expansion of the heart and in the winter solstice and summer solstice, then we see that it is the same force without as within. We see that the etherization of the heart creates etheric force instead of matter. This is only a tiny fraction in each case, but the more spiritual activity there is, the more matter is annihilated. You may have thought, why are some Bodhisattvas painted with a golden aura? This is nothing but a representation of the fact that the etherization of blood through initiation makes their aura transform into a golden, protective form that shines all around. Man alone would not be able to accomplish this process unless shown how to do it.

It is possible because the Star of Bethlehem showed to the Wise Men where the Godhead had been born, the One Who was the Sun God Himself. They were prepared because in all the old mysteries it had been foretold that the Sun God Himself would one day enter the earth. So Christ descended, and the nova, appearing three years before that, guided the Wise Men from India, from the center of Africa, and from the Near East to find His birth place.

I was always curious, and asked what had happened to that Star. lt did disappear from the sky, but since the Sun God incarnated and united with the earth, that Star also united with the earth and united with every single human heart. It is 'buried', but it is there.

In the earth there has begun a process by which the earth will be transformed and, combined with moon and sun, will become a fixed star. lt will take over a different role than it has had as a planet. Then the Earth will be seen with physical eyes from other realms. I remind you that Urey, the great atomic scientist, recently said that there is no reason not to assume that there are other beings in other realms.

These other beings, spiritual beings, can see the development of the earth. Once it was dark, then the Light that came with the Star of Bethlehem entered the earth when Christ united with the earth. This light can be increasingly seen from outside the earth, if we human beings also do our share, because every activity of the human heart adds to this light of the earth. The light of this new sun will, in future, depend increasingly an the light that comes from the human heart. This light will develop through man's spiritual activity and nothing else. On earth we train ourselves so that it will no longer be an abstraction for us, but we will live the words: "Not I, but Christ in me". Then this etheric sun will rise in our organism, and we will perceive in another way.

Bernard Lievegoed

.. writes in 'Mystery streams .. ' (1982):

In the lectures on the etherization of blood, Steiner described how by divine grace, the etheric stream goes through the human being from the heart to the pineal, there irradiating the brain as spiritual etheric light. Only thus can we have spiritual thoughts; otherwise, we would be able only to have thoughts that connect with sense impressions. This is the microscopic grail in us. The golden light of the etheric blood that irradiates the head was observed clairvoyantly as a lustre of gold around the head, when it united with the stream of the Christ etheric forces. In later times, it appeared as a halo in the paintings of the medieval painters and became the traditional 'token' of holiness. That halo was the last memory of the working of the Grail. With this, we gradually lost connection with the world Grail, which was only used around 1200 AD but which became for all time a medieval image of cosmic christianity.



1/ In the context of the future evolution of pineal and pituitary glands, as per Man past and future, see also Development of the chakras. The pineal gland is said to correspond to the crown chakra or 'spiritual gate', whereas the pituitary gland corresponds to the third eye or ajna chakra.


2/ Rudolf Steiner describes how the golden glow of the pituitary gland radiates the pineal gland with shining glows, this golden glow flows into the gland system and further into the blood. For more detail, see Discussion topic [1] on Man's transformation and spiritualization

This statement provides the missing link for the purification of the blood due to initiation.

For more background see a.o.: Blood is a special fluid (FMC00.285), Etherization of blood, and Christ Module 4 - Mystery of the Blood (3.4 Purification of the blood)

Related pages

References and further reading