By Delmar McComb
Reprinted from Biodynamic Association of Northern California (BDANC) Summer 2018 E-Zine
When studying the natural world, one soon becomes conscious of the fact that metamorphic and evolutionary processes are occurring all the time at every level of creation. It is fascinating to consider these processes in an imaginative way so as to deepen our perceptions of nature and develop an enhanced understanding of our place in the cosmic symphony that is constantly being performed.
If we look at the four kingdoms of nature, each has many examples of metamorphosis and evolution. A gemstone forms when particular minerals under particular conditions of temperature and pressure “flower” into glorious crystals. A Madonna Lily continually morphs into more and more refined leaf structures until finally flower buds and subsequently, flowers, form and open with a fragrance that penetrates into the soul.
An egg, about 20 hours before it is laid by the hen begins to transmute from a silica-rich ‘sac’ into a calcium rich shell. Silica to Calcium; a radical morphing of substance in just a few hours. A human fetus as it forms, goes through a succession of all these forms through which its animal ancestors have evolved (in science, this is called “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”).
Here are thoughts by Rudolf Steiner on this miracle:
"I know of nothing in any 'holy' book that reveals to me anything as sublime as the ìdryî fact that, in the womb, every human fetus rapidly goes through a succession of all those forms through which its animal ancestors have evolved. Let us fill our mind with the magnificence of the facts our senses perceive, and we shall care little for the 'miracles' which do not lie within the course of nature." GA7, Page 234
The etymology of the word Metamorphosis can be translated as ‘behind form action”; the hidden activity that is constantly occurring at metaphysical levels. This picture conjures up ideas of laws and pictures of beings in the universe that fulfill their destinies through this work. Nothing is random. Everything is redolent with meaning. Forms, fragrances, colors, sounds and harmonies; all have deep significance.
An herb such as Yarrow flowers in a metamorphic process and then goes to seed allowing future Yarrows to blossom in their turn, all the while providing medicines for human, animal and plant; forever.
A human goes through many metamorphic processes too. But she doesn’t “go to seed”. Instead, over time, the birth of a new human “member” occurs. Rudolf Steiner says during these times, the transformation of the Soul/Astral body into what is called the “Spirit Self” or “Manas” is a major task of our evolution and metamorphosis. This “Spirit Self” is when our soul’s workings are able to be, in freedom and love, under the dominion of the highest “member”, the “I Am” (or Ego as it is sometimes referred to.)
Working with the beautiful images of metamorphosis and evolution strengthens our Soul body and “I Am” giving us fortitude to go forward with our assigned tasks in this world. An image that beautifully combines two metamorphic processes into one is that of a butterfly as an “unfettered flower”. We can carry this lovely picture with us everyday and perhaps it will aid us to strive towards becoming unfettered by the manacles of our minds and allow us to flower into the universal all.
Delmar McComb is co-owner, with his partner Carin Fortin, of Blossom's Farm in Corralitos, California. He is also Director of Horticulture for Suncrest Nurseries Inc. in Watsonville, California, where he has introduced biodynamic practices into this prominent California wholesale nursery. Delmar will be presenting a workshop on Biodynamic Nursery Management at the 2018 North American Biodynamic Conference, Nov. 14-18 in Portland, Oregon.