Bees and Stingers – quotes from Rudolf Steiner

“One must not disclaim the world when one wishes to rise higher; an ascetic fleeing from the world does not serve clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the fruit of what the soul collects in the sense-world. Greek philosophy beautifully compared the human soul with a bee. The world of color and light offers the soul honey which it brings with it into the higher world. The soul must spiritualize sense experience and carry it up into higher worlds.”  The Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness, and Death, GA 55 – Berlin, 22nd November 1906

“Now it is actually the case that this ego-organisation is in a mysterious way present in the poison of the bee; it is a similar force to the force that circulates in your blood that is present in the bee-poison. It is of great interest that the bee should have need of this poison within her. The bee does not merely need it in order to be able to sting; that is merely incidental. The bee needs the poison throughout its whole organism, for it must have the same force of circulation that man has in his blood.

The colony of bees, as I told you, is like an entire man. Now consider, you get some of this bee-poison into your body, that is, into your blood, for any poison entering the body goes immediately into the blood. You are, let us say, a normal man, your blood will come more into motion, and inflammation may follow, but your heart can bear it. If however, a man has some disease of the heart, and his ego-organisation is made stronger by the poison, then this affects the weak heart, and the result may be that the man faints, or may even die.

The remarkable thing is this; that substances that can make a man ill or even kill him, can also cure him. This is one of the great responsibilities one has in the preparation of medicines, for there are no real remedies which, if wrongly applied, cannot cause the same illnesses which they can also cure.

What then actually happens when a fainting fit or even death results from the sting of a bee?

You see, when a man faints, then his astral body, and more especially his ego-organisation, has withdrawn from the body as happens in sleep, only in sleep this happens in a normal way, and in a swoon in abnormal way. In a swoon, or fainting fit, the astral body does not withdraw completely as in sleep, it gets stuck fast, and when a man has a weak ego-organisation, he cannot bring it back again. One has to shake him, wake him up, rouse him out of his faintness by making him breathe more strongly by certain movements. You know how in these cases, one has to take the man’s arms, cross them over on his breast, put them back, then again bring them forward and so on, and this artificial breathing really always means that one is trying to bring the ego-organisation back into the body in the right way.

And now let us suppose someone is suffering from rheumatism, or perhaps gout, or other deposits in the body; then one must try to strengthen the ego-organisation. Why do people have gout or rheumatism? Because the ego-organisation is too weak and cannot bring the blood into the right movement. The blood must be made to move more quickly. When the blood is not in the right state, when for instance, it flows too slowly, minute crystals are precipitated everywhere, and pass into the neighbourhood of the blood-vessels. These minute crystals consist of uric acid, and they go all over the body, and cause gout or rheumatism — the ego-organisation is too weak.

If I now give this man the right dose of bee or wasp poison, his ego-organisation is strengthened; only one must not give too much, or the ego-organisation might not be able to hold its own. But if one gives just enough to strengthen the ego one can then find a very good remedy prepared from the bee or wasp poison; only one must combine it with some other substance.” — Nine Lectures on Bees, lecture 7, Dornach, December 12, 1923.

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