Human breath

From Anthroposophy

With the process of cosmic breathing is meant 'all Man takes in' and this is not just inhaling and exhaling air into our lungs, but also the higher ethers, and everything we take in through our senses, see Process of perception.

Man continuously takes in astral and etheric streams, and the higher ethers are carried by the warmth that Man breathes in. Man breathes in his 'I', see the Human 'I' (1906-10-02-GA266/1 and 1922-04-01-GA211)

Through the breathing the astral-etheric streams get into the heart's two blood circuits through the lungs. See also Ganganda Greida.


  • Process of cosmic breathing: Breathing is not only a physical oxygen process but also an astral-etheric process through which the human being is connected to cosmic streams. In other words, it is a process of warmth ether exchange .. on which are carried the light, sound and life ethers. These are again connected to the sum of what flows through all the human senses.
  • Inbreathing relates to past incarnation and karmic stream, outbreathing to future
  • Equivalence of 18 breaths/min in microcosmic man with 18y lunar nutation period in macrocosmos
  • Breath is basis for speaking and feeling – rhythmic systems
  • Ratio between heart pulse and breathing rhythm
  • As part of the initiation process
    1. Evolution of how it was for indian yogis
    2. Conscious breathing (hermetics)
    3. Rhythmic process in rosecrucian path
  • Other
    1. see study of 'sensitive flames' in the section on etheric formative forces


FMC00.015 depicts the breathing, not just or air through the longs, but of the cosmic breathing process in terms of astral-etheric flows. The essential arrow is where the upper (purple) 'fine breathing' (through which we take the higher ethers into our body via sense perception and the sense-nerve system) exhales through the nerve system into the lungs .. to this way make its way into the blood stream.


Lecture coverage and references


The term 'spiritual breathing' is used in 1912-01-01-GA134 to point out that Man's functioning is not just breathing air, but breathing and as exchange with the environment, as microcosmos in the macrocosmos, and how the times require and will necessitate the spiritual element (and not just the physical material, as is predominant in society and culture):

How can this come about? When we come to make a deep study of the spiritual meaning of earth evolution we discover that in the time when post-Atlantean man had still something left of ancient clairvoyance, Imaginations, Inspirations and Intuitions were communicated in great abundance to the spiritual atmosphere of the earth. That was a time when spiritual substance was given forth in large measure.

Since the fourth Postatlantean epoch, and especially from the present day onwards, we gradually send out less and less; what falls rather to us is to receive the old substance, for it is something with which we are intimately connected; we have the task to take up again into ourselves what has been sent out.

That means it is required of man to replace an earlier spiritual outbreathing by a spiritual inbreathing. Man must grow ever more sensitive and receptive to the spiritual that is in the world. In ancient times that was not so necessary, for men of those olden times were able to put forth from them spiritual substance, they had, so to speak, a reserve store. But this reserve of spiritual substance has been so deeply drawn upon since the fourth Postatlantean epoch that in future man will, in a sense, only be able to send out what he has first absorbed, what he has first inbreathed.

In order that man may be able to take his place with full understanding in this new task in earth existence — to this end is Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science there in the world. When a man feels drawn to Anthroposophy it is not just that it takes his fancy as one among many other things in the world that take his fancy. He is drawn to Anthroposophy because it is intimately and deeply bound up with the whole of earth evolution, intimately bound up with the task that lies immediately before man to-day in evolution, namely to develop understanding for the spiritual all around him. For from the present time onwards it will be the case that those who do not develop understanding for the spirit behind the senses, for the world of the spirit behind the world of the senses, will be like men whose breathing system is so injured that they cannot take in air and they suffer from difficulty in breathing.

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