Summer 2017, special edition: The Aurora Fund and the Heart
Welcome to this special newsletter at the end of the year.
We thought that giving this newsletter as theme “the Heart” is very appropriate in connection with the official announcement of the Aurora Fund. Something we see as belonging to the Heart of what Aurora stands for in this world.
You will find an article written by Sue Pegler on the Heart. Sue teaches eurythmy to some classes at Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School, as well as working with individual children for eurythmy therapy. Thank you Sue for sharing this wonderful piece of writing and research with us all!
This time you will find the “What’s on” column at the bottom of the newsletter. Look out for the usual contact details for this newsletter and the ASK library.
And we wish you all a very nourishing, relaxing and warming summer holidays.
We hope that your Christmas time may be full of light and love, that you may look back on a rich 2017, and that you can look forward to a new year filled with new opportunities and meetings.
Announcing Aurora Collective Incorporated and The Aurora Fund
From the beginning, around 14 years ago, there was at Aurora’s heart the wish – the impulse- to make the therapies truly accessible. To this end, we had set up a small Fund to support people in need, so that they could receive the therapies on offer through Aurora.
This year, this little initiative has made a big step forward: we have worked towards becoming a legal entity, and are now very pleased to announce that we have become an Incorporated Society: Aurora Collective Incorporated. We have also been granted Charitable Status.
This means that we are now able to formally grow our Fund through tax-deductible donations and fundraisers, allowing us to reach more people in the Wellington region.
Like the heart, receiving blood flow from the whole body, and sending it out again, enlivened, to bring to all parts of the body what it needs, so will the Fund be at the heart of Aurora:
Receiving gifts and donations, so that this can flow out into all corners of our community, with added warmth, enlivened, with nourishment of the therapies and therapeutic relationships, to all the places and people where support and health-giving is needed.
The details of the charity are:Aurora Collective Incorporated registered 20/06/2017 registration number: CC54753
Address:37 Pretoria Street Lower Hutt 5010 email: firstname.lastname@example.org ph: 021 028 9981 For the rules of the incorporation go to: http://auroracollective.nz/rules-and-policies/ If you would like to support the work and donate to the Fund: Bank account details: Kiwi bank, Aurora Collective Incorporated 38 – 9019 – 0120476 – 00
Please send us your name and contact details so we can send you a donation receipt for your tax refund. We can then also let you know what happened to your donation, how many people we reached with your support and help.
From all the Aurora Collective members
Madonna and Child
by Sue Pegler
You asked me about the heart…why does the heart hurt when wrong is done – to you or by you? What is it that makes the heart feel blocked when you cannot forgive, when your head can rationalise the problem and see what needs to be done, but the heart will not let go.
Give me a little of your time, and together let us see if I will be able to tell you about the heart.
Some of this you will of course know, but bear with me and listen.
“Rudolf Steiner said that only when people know that it is the invisible in man which moves the
heart, will it be possible …….. to solve the social problems.” (6)
The heart lies in our chest. It lies between the upper body and the lower body. In the upper body is housed primarily the Nerve Sense System that is conscious and active during the day, open to the outer world and drinking in impressions. In the lower body lives the Metabolism. We are largely
unconscious of its workings unless we are sick. Then we become acutely conscious of any malfunction. And between both these systems, the awake and lively Nerve Sense System with its relationship to light, and the Metabolic System with its relationship to darkness, lives the heart with its close relationship to the pulse of the blood and the rhythm of the breath.
What does it look like? The heart lies enclosed within a membrane – the pericardium. This is attached to the diaphragm below and the aorta and pulmonary veins above. It is about the size of your own fist and it continues working day and night without pause, almost from the moment of conception till the moment when we leave our earthly body. If we look at the heart from above, the axes of the heart lie slightly behind on the right to slightly forwards on the left, holding the balance between back and forefront and right and left, i.e. it lies on and crosses the coronal or frontal and sagittal or vertical planes (10,3). It is easy to see that it also crosses the transverse or horizontal plane. If we peel back the pericardium we can see more clearly this twist of the axes of the heart and the structural power and majesty of the large vessels that lead in and out of the internal chambers.
If we look a little closer, we can see that the heart is a muscle, its external surface netted and crossed with threads and cords of veins and arteries: the Coronary Arteries and Cardiac Veins which feed this tireless muscle from the outside.
Now if we look inside the heart we can see that it has four chambers: the right atrium and ventricle and the left atrium and ventricle and each of the four chambers are connected in pairs. The right atrium is connected to the right ventricle via the tricuspid valve, the left atrium to the left ventricle via the mitral valve. The left and right sides of the heart are divided by a wall of muscle: the septum.
The heart lies nestled between the lungs, as if enfolded between two wings. Indeed the heart and lungs work closely together. Blood is gathered from the periphery of the body and collected to finally enter the right atrium of the heart via the superior and inferior vena cava. As the atrium fills the tricuspid valve is pushed open and the right ventricle fills. As the right ventricle fills to capacity the tricuspid valve is pushed shut and the pulmonary valve opens to allow the blood to move on through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Here the blood is relieved of its burden of Carbon dioxide and collects Oxygen. The blood then returns to the left atrium via the pulmonary veins. As the left atrium is filled, pressure builds and opens the mitral valve to allow the blood to fill the left
ventricle. The left ventricle fills and the mitral valve is pushed shut and blood then leaves the left ventricle via the aorta to travel to the brain, the spleen, liver and gall and the whole of the body.
Copied from plate 223, Frank Netter
Copied from fig. 108, J. W. Rohen
As we look more closely at the working of the heart we notice that there are several discrepancies, polarities or reversals (7). Contraction of the heart goes hand in hand with expansion of the blood, while expansion of the heart means contraction of the blood as it streams into the heart (9). In the liver alone, approximately 2.5 liters moves through every minute (3); while in the lungs the blood disperses to communicate with an area the size of Lake Constance (3). What an expansion from a heart chamber less than half the size of your fist!
Looking more closely we can see that not only does the heart encompass the three planes of space, the pathway the blood takes also encompasses the three dimensions of space. Behind the heart lie the major blood vessels that lead to the heart: the superior and inferior vena cava lying vertically and the pulmonary veins lying horizontally. They form a cross and it is this cross which anchors the heart in place. As Rohen goes on to observe the apex of the heart is not secured. Whilst bound to the cross which the incoming blood vessels provide as anchor, the heart “moves away from the crossed veins and snaps back into place elastically…(moving) back and forth rhythmically in front of it” (7). Thus the heart enters the remaining plane in space. Holdrege adds that as the ventricles contract in systole, the heart oscillates slightly and twists round its own axis (2). The heart with its strong relationship to time through its steady beat and pulse establishes also an internal relationship to space.
The heart deepens this relationship to space if we observe the blood vessels as they exit the ventricles. No longer do we see right left, above below symmetry. The arch of the aorta is present only on the left, whilst the pulmonary artery is only present on the right: as they leave the front of the heart they twine round each other not once but twice before venturing forth on their individual journeys.
These forms could be described as some of the choreography of the heart.
Looking once more into the heart to examine the path of the blood itself we see that the blood moves at some point in every direction in space. It does a complicated, merry caper in the dance hall of the heart. Added to this, the septum is moved as the lungs inhale and exhale (2), to the left while breathing in to the right while breathing out (4). When we look at this pathway in relation to the body we find still more polarities. The right side of the body is deemed to be the most active and the left to be the most receptive (7) and yet it is the right side of the heart which (passively) receives the blood from the surrounding body, and the left side of the heart which (actively) sends the blood round its journey. The blood exiting the heart via the aorta and pulmonary aorta moves in a front to back direction and yet the action they most usually facilitate is in the opposite direction as we would normally walk in a forward direction (7).
The heart is uniquely the only organ that sustains itself; all other organs rely on external forms of nourishment. The heart’s internal spaces are dedicated to serving the body not itself. The heart nourishes itself externally. The coronary veins and arteries which feed this muscle lie on the surface
of the heart, and there once more is a reversal. As established above, the right side of the heart receives blood and so is served by the veins and yet externally it is encased and enfolded by the coronary artery. On the left side of the heart, containing arterial blood, the reverse is true. Here the heart is enfolded by the cardiac vein and coronary sinus. “It is as if the heart’s own supply system, which wraps the ventricles in a loving embrace, is attempting to functionally harmonize the whole by balancing out the reversed dimensionality that the heart has acquired.” (7)
The Heart is also a muscle but it is uniquely hollow (the uterus could also be classified in this way). On the outside, the muscle fibers are continuous sheets of complex spiraling fibers. When one recalls that our muscles are 75% water, we begin to see the heart and the blood as an image of fluid movement. (2). The cavities of the heart have grooves which mould the exiting blood into spiral columns. These forming spirals move in opposite directions within the heart and on the apex of the heart the opposing vortices can be seen.
Rohen, J. W., Functional Morphology, 2007, page 193
According to Kummell the area of lowest pressure in the body’s circulation is in the chest. And yet even when we stand upright, the blood flows upwards to the heart. The venous return is evidently adequate stimulus for the contraction of the heart. Kummell goes on to maintain that the volume of blood that leaves the heart at any time is regulated not only by the venous return, but also by the hunger of the organs for oxygen and food. It then comes as no
surprise to learn that the heart is formed by the spiralling flow of blood. Hauschka maintains that this spiral tendency arises when time enters space and develops towards a center (10). In the embryo the opposing streams of blood in the right and left sides do not mix, despite the lack of walls. In this still water zone that arises between the two currents, the septum dividing the chambers forms (2).
The heart also serves our whole organism by providing warmth. Of the Oxygen consumed by the heart, 20% is used for its own basal metabolism, and 5% to fuel the work it does. Up to 70% of Oxygen consumed is turned into heat which warms the body via the blood. (10). At night when we sleep, our circulation opens to the surrounding space and we need our bed clothes covering us. During the day our thermoregulation centralises and we create a warmth space separate from the surrounding world (10). This ability is unique to humans.
The heart is a dance hall and a meeting place where opposites meet and polarities exist side by side: where opposing spirals twirl without interrupting each other. It is a place with an immense richness of nerve endings.
William Crawford in a lecture on the heart to teachers at Raphael House described the heart as a space that is inside out in time. A place where etheric or life force streams come in from the world through nourishment and the senses. These streams are mediated in the heart through the interplay of pulse and breath (4). It is a place where the soul or emotional life builds pictures of the world and expresses them through speech and movement. And the translation of inner intention to external deeds happens in the heart. It is the seat of conscience and morality.
This heart space we hold within us is something we can also strengthen. Who has not seen a young child drowning in the depths and complexity of emotions they have no ability or capacity to understand or digest? The tantrum that ensues cannot be rationally explained away. The child who is lucky will have an adult close by – mother, father, grandparent, teacher – who patiently sits it out receiving and later digesting the experience sometimes on behalf of the child, sometimes with him or her. Through this experience of another’s heart space or love, new links to the world are forged (9).
As the blood moves through the heart, spiralling in vortices, it reaches a still point. In each heart beat there is a brief moment where the blood stops – a moment of death, a moment of eternity (2). Finding this still point means finding the harmony of inner coherence. There are websites involved in developing techniques for strengthening this inner coherence. From this inner coherence, one can begin to work towards harmony and coherence with the environment.
So how does one put down the bags most of us carry, how does one forgive and move on?
Eileen Boland referred to Lecture 2 of Curative Course (Steiner, 1921) maintaining that movement determines brain development. She went on to say that the thinking element enters the will and our movement along the nerve pathways. Thus movement connects and creates nerve pathways, which when repeated become stronger and are eventually sheathed in myelin.
Movement builds nerve pathways as the will works into the senses and brings about brain development. Michael Tapp the South Pacific Oberlenker for the Christian Community once stated: “Forgiveness is an act of will. Do it and then do it again. The more one does it, the easier it gets.”
Rudolf Steiner, quoted by Bernard Graves in his article “The Craft Gesture” points out that all our movement gestures are transformed and held by the etheric heart, and at death are sown as seeds for our future. Deeds become us. I would add to Michael’s words that forgiving happens best when thought is followed by a deed…..it means doing something.
The heart is the central organ of self realisation and self consciousness (4). It is the central organ of reflection and integration and can respond flexibly to the demands of the whole organism. It is an organ of love that practises the gesture of giving and receiving, but does not act out of power (4).
In the heart weaves feeling,
In the heads shines thinking
In the limbs strengthens willing
Lo this is Man.
1) Hauschke, Rudolf: 1950. The Nature of Substance published by Rudolf Steiner Press.
2) Holdrege, Craig (editor): 2002. The Dynamic Heart and Circulation published by AWSNA
3) Konig, Karl: 1999. A Living Physiology, published by Camphill Books
4) Kummell, Hans Christoph: 1999. Functional Aspects of the Human Heart, published by Medical
Section at the Goetheanum
5) Netter, Frank H. MD: 2011. Atlas of Human Anatomy Edition 5, published by Saunders.
6) Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried: 1950. Heart Lectures, published by Mercury Press.
7) Rohen, Johannes W: 2007. Functional Morphology, The Dynamic Wholeness of the Human Being.
Published by Adonis Press.
8) Steiner, Rudolf: 1911. An Occult Physiology, Eight Lectures by Rudolf Steiner, given in Prague, 20th to
28th March,. Published by Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1951
9) Treichler, Rudolf: 1989. Soulways: Development, crises and illnesses of the soul, published by
10) Twentyman, Ralph: 1989. The Science and Art of Healing published by Floris Books.
LIBRARY OF ASD BOOKS
ASK Trust (a charitable trust for and by ASD adults) has a large library of ASD books (over 500 titles), which can be borrowed by post (or in person by special arrangement, as they’re based on Kapiti Coast). The catalogue can be viewed on their website www.asknz.net , and items borrowed by emailing your request to email@example.com. The current cost to borrow is $5 per book, or $30 annually for unlimited number of books (max. two at a time) – plus postage if applicable.
GET IN TOUCH
If you want to get in touch with any of the Aurora Therapists, please visit our website: www.auroracollective.nz. You will find all contact details, descriptions of the different therapies and biographies of the therapists there. You can also contact us there via the ‘contact us’ page.
For questions and suggestions for contributions to the upcoming newsletters, you can also email Lut Hermans on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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