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Valerian | BD 507 and relation to phosphorus processes

Posted: 28 Apr 2007, 03:51
by Kathryn
In trying to understand the BD prep 507 (valerian), I've only arrived at more questions specifically to its stimulating relationship to phosphorus processes.

Can anyone guide me in better understanding this relationship?

Why are the flowers only used in this prep? Western herbology and Ayurvedic medicine use the root specifically to treat human conditions (I'm unsure how the homeopathic remedy is made, as it was not disclosed in Kent's Materia Medica). I understand its use in these forementioned systems and thought there would be some parallels between these and prep 507.

In many of the biodynamic books, including Steiner's Agriculture Lectures, only statements of use of this prep is written of...I'm hoping some of you could shed light on my question...

Posted: 28 Apr 2007, 08:07
by Mark
The homoeopathic remedy valerian is made from the fresh root - see the section called 'About the remedy' on the valerian page.

In regards to your question about the phosphorus process I would like to throw this open to the BdNow discussion list where this might be discussed.

Posted: 08 May 2007, 09:08
by Mark
OK - there was no response on the BDNow list so I will bluster a little.... almost all the BD compost preparations are made from the flowers - yarrow, dandelion, chamomile and valerian. The flower is the part which shows the kiss of the astral - and an unfallen astral at that. I think it is for this reason that the flower is used.

When the phosphorus process is spoken of it refers to a different approach to chemical elements than is the cultural norm. At least in my schooling phophorus is stuff, molecules that have essentially been around since the big bang, and if any more is being made there isn't much. Steiner's approach is very different; he sees the elements as precipitations out of a flow of activity. It is as if a process grinds to a halt and leaves the matter as a deposit.

So the phosphorus process grinds to a halt and leaves phosphorus. If we do a chemical analysis of soil or compost we get a picture of what happened there but not, as is supposed now, a picture of what may happen there due to the possibilities of phosphorus. The idea is to encourage the appropriate process since it is this process to which the healthy plant responds.

The question then arises as to what the phosphorus process is .. and rather than talk to myself I'll bounce that one to the great and good on BdNow and see if we cannot get some input....

Re: Valerian | BD 507 and relation to phosphorus processes

Posted: 05 Nov 2014, 16:38
by Mark
Well that thread fell asleep but fortunately the work itself hasn't and the offline communication didn't. I wrote about this later after the experiments with Jo Bradley at Hungry Lane farm as we had some lovely results. (Independently measured phosphorus up by 30% in the field compared to the control and before spraying.)

This file shows the original thinking.

I shared the above with Malcolm Gardner who was good enough to reply:
"Hi Mark, thanks for sending your report.

OK, some quick comments. Looking afresh at the original German and the three translations, I would have to say in this case that the Creeger (not Creager!) & Gardner one is actually the most linguistically accurate. The German word Steiner is recorded as using here is not in fact something fuzzy like "Phosphorige," which could well be translated as "phosphorous substances," or "phosphorus-like substances." The word he uses is "Phosphorsubstanz," which is a term that any material chemist in his era would have been perfectly comfortable with. In other words, in my opinion, this construction unambigously refers to the physical substance. As evidence I offer Steiner's parallel usage in the first lecture of the term 'Kieselsubstanz' in the sentence: "Sie finden diese Kieselsubstanz, verbunden mit Sauerstoff, in unseren Quarzkristallen" (literally: "You find this Kieselsubstanz, bound with oxygen, in our quartz crystals"). Here, from the context, it is unambiguous to me that 'Kieselsubstanz' refers to the chemical element silicon, which when combined with oxygen, is familiar to us as quartz (silica). Yet just a few pages later, Steiner is recorded as saying that the forces of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn work on plants by way of "das Kieselige und Verwandtes" (literally: "the silicon-like and related"), which is a very broad and fuzzy expression. And there are many other examples I could give from other places to support the idea that with the word Phosphorsubstanz he means the physical substance phosphorus.

But to me it does not necessarily follow from this that here "we have a way [not "away"!] of increasing the chemical element using 507." Steiner says nothing about 507 "increasing" the element of phosphorus; on the contrary, he uses much more subtle and convoluted language: "it will call forth that which stimulates the manure to relate in the right way to phosphorus." This is where the big puzzle for me.

Similarly, I cannot conclude from Steiner's remarks about 'phosphorus' and alchemy in Lecture Three that "valerian isn't related to what modern chemistry knows as phosphorus." Why can't valerian be related to both chemical phosphorus and alchemical phosphorus? You quote the sentence about the five sisters: "They are quite different than the elements modern chemistry talks about," but you do not go on to quote the next two sentences: "Modern chemistry talks only about the corpses of the substances, not about the real substances. We have to get to know their living, sensitive aspect." In other words, a corpse is not the full "living, sensitive" reality, but it is certainly related to that reality, being the product of that reality.

You refer to Steiner's "medical lectures" in support of your thesis, but if you turn to the fifth lecture of his first medical course (March 25, 1920), Steiner describes phosphorus both in terms of its chemical properties (of internalizing heat and light) as well as in an explicitly alchemical way. (And this lecture contains both the chemical term 'Phosphorsubstanz' and the more fuzzy alchemical term "das Phosphorige.")

So I disagree with the opposition that you set up in the early part of your report, but I can only agree with you when you later show that the alchemical qualities are expressed in the corresponding chemical elements.

I may also agree with you when you say that 507 "is something to regulate the phosphoric process," but I think there is more to it than just "minimising losses [not 'loses'!] during manuring and other cyclic processes." As I suggested to you in conversation, I think 507 is meant to complete the process of raising the manure to the "egoic" level by doing something with the element phosphorus. More specifically, I suspect that phosphorus is related to the process whereby the "ego-potential" in animal manure is raised to the point where it is suitable for becoming the "brain" of the farm and receiving the ego-forces of agricultural individuality.

If you research Steiner's use of the term 'ego-potential' (Ich-Anlage), you find that it is often used to describe what human beings received from the Spirits of Form at the beginning of Earth evolution, and also to describe the first glimmer of self-consciousness during the Lemurian period when the human being's "eyes were opened" due to the influence of Lucifer (the Light- Carrier!). (See, for instance, the cycle, World, Earth and Man, esp. the 4th, 5th and 11th lectures.)

Furthermore, in medical contexts Steiner often speaks about the relation of phosphorus to the ego. Probably the best reference is in the book he co-authored with Ita Wegman in 1924/5, chapter 19, second case study, where it says: "Phosphorus supports the ego-organization so that this can overcome the resistance of the physical body."

In September 1922 Steiner also made a number of remarks about phosphorus and salt in the human head. To the workmen on Sept. 16th he said that non-salt foods are potentized and transformed into a "kind of" fine phosphorus in the head. To the members on Sept. 17th he said the blood going to the head becomes very fine and phosphoric. And to the priests on Sept. 19th he said that it is the "extra-fine" content of phosphorus in wine that is most significant, as is the salt content of bread. The sacramental sacrifice of wine and bread is what overcomes Ahriman and Lucifer respectively. So here we have yet another far-reaching perspective ...

As for Enzo's "potion," I am happy if he has discovered something that is so very effective in increasing soil phosphorus levels, but I am not convinced that this is actually the most important thing to do with regard to phosphorus and fertility.

Sincerely yours, Malcolm"
I also got some input from Dennis Klocek:
"It was good to see you at the conference. I enjoyed what you brought as clear and sympathetic science.

Regarding the essay you emailed to me. I think it is good to remember that sal and sulf are compounds as Ernst Lehrs remarks in Man or Matter (pgs 181 ff). The idea that sal and sulf are compounds of gravity and levity is a great help in parsing out the thickets surrounding the idea that phosphorus as an elemental substance and sulfur as an elemental substance are both “sulf”.

Further, I have found it useful to distinguish between sulfur as a process and sulfur as a substance. The substance / process polarity is the source of much confusion that I think you are clearly working to clear up. I think you are already onto this idea in a strong way but I just bring it as a talking point in your work.

In my understanding the alchemists regarded salt as a product of ash. Ash and salt were both in the sal pole with salt coming out of or
rising out of the ash as a phoenix. This idea that I am holding makes me not understand the concept that kali as an ash lies beyond the realm of salt.

These are questions that arose in me reading your article.

I am attaching the transcription and handout from a lecture I gave on the valerian prep FYI. (Attached) I hope that you find it of interest.

It was good seeing you at the conference."
In later correspondence with Dennis he suggested that the lemniscatory depiction of these dynamics could be improved if one were to have three little lemniscates in a vertical column within the one I drew in the first paper. The upper lobes of the bottom two lemniscates would overlap with the lower lobe of the of the top two such that the two over-lapping lobes were considered as one. (A similar three-fold three-folding is used in establishing the three bodies, three souls and three spiritual aspects of a human into its sevenfoldness - see Steiner's Theosophy where sentient body and sentient soul form a functional unity as the strap body and so forth.)

In this depiction, the calcium that appears in lecture five when describing the oak bark preparation (505) is less of a surprise. One might otherwise wonder what an earthbound element like calcium does in that upper realm, but since it is the lower lobe of the upper lemniscate it makes sense, especially if one thinks of the bark as a peripheral organ, and the skull as one in which the bone is surrounding the brain rather than like a long bone in a limb. Hence one sees a resonance of peripheral calcium gestures - i.e. the earthly matter in cosmic form! This has been a stimulating concept for me, and when I passed it on to Glen Atkinson for him also. [url=]He merged that image with his own work on the periodic table.[url] That feels like good communication with the people who are thinking along similar lines. Almost makes it all worthwhile.

Re: Valerian | BD 507 and relation to phosphorus processes

Posted: 21 Apr 2019, 20:43
by Mark
Someone else has offered an opinion about phosphorus / 507 ... -organism/

This is an interesting website and seems to be in the stream considering biodynamics and RS's thoughts on medicine. The writer - Peter Stewart - says:
The valerian preparation is only briefly mentioned, all Rudolf Steiner says is that it “stimulates it to behave in the right way in relation to what we call the ‘phosphoric’ substance”. With the phrase “phosphoric substance”, he is using an alchemic term to characterise substances which bear the imponderable etheric forces, like light and warmth, within themselves, in contrast to the polar salt-like substances, which are the bearers of ponderable earthly forces. Phosphorus is the bearer of etheric light. In Lecture 3 of the Curative Education course Steiner clarifies that the etheric “light” which Spiritual Science refers to is the light that lives in in all our sense perceptions{iii]. Continuing the picture, we can say that once the organism has received “senses”, an open sensitivity, through the working of silica in the dandelion preparation, it is to the phosphoric forces of light that those senses open. On the “phosphoric substances” as healing remedies in the human organism, he says in the medical lectures that they are “especially conducive to bringing the astral body and the ego into closer relationship with the physical organism”, to allow the more spiritual principles to find their expression in the more material.

The link gives the fuller essay.

Peter Stewart will be in the UK in May 2019

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