The etherization of the blood is the foundation for spiritual development.
In the “gap” between the pineal gland and the pituitary gland, exists a shared region where the earthly and cosmic nutrition streams join. In this gap, humans can create out of nothingness. This is the essence of reciprocity. This gap initiates the process of giving spirit the food it needs from our work. Spirit reciprocates by giving us the cosmic food we need to feed the etheric body.
In this gap, sense impressions are digested and memories created. The results impress themselves upon the blood, where those forces originated as perceptions.
The gap is the threshold of creation and destruction, and the hope for rebirth. It is one of the most powerful spaces in our body. We feed the gods nectar and ambrosia from our gifts of love gleaned from transforming our faculties of soul into spirit. Then, each night, in response to our efforts, the gods feed us the elixir of immortality. Sophia herself guides this reciprocation as the individual soul engages in the process of spiritual marriage with the higher self.
An Occult Physiology: Man’s Inner Cosmic System, Lecture 4. Rudolf Steiner. Translated by D. S. Osmond.
If we observe the blood – let us now imagine ourselves within the human ether-body – quite schematically as it courses through the heart, and think of it as the external physical expression of the human ego, we thereby see how this ego works, how it receives impressions corresponding with the outer world and condenses these to memory-pictures. We see, furthermore, not only that our blood is active in this process, but also that, throughout its course, especially in the upward direction, somewhat less in the downward, it stirs up the ether-body, so that we see currents developing everywhere in the ether-body, taking a very definite course, as if they would join the blood flowing upward from the heart and go up to the head. And in the head these currents come together, in about the same way, to use a comparison belonging to the external world, as do currents of electricity when they rush toward a point which is opposed by another point, so as to neutralize the positive and the negative. When we observe with a soul trained in occult methods, we see at this point ether-forces compressed as if under a very powerful tension, those ether-forces which are called forth through the impressions that now desire to become definite concepts, memory-pictures, and to stamp themselves upon the ether-body.
We see here a very powerful tension which concentrates at one point, and announces: “I will now enter into the ether-body!” just as when positive and negative electricity are impelled to neutralize each other. We then see how, in opposition to these, other currents flow from that portion of the ether-body which belongs to the rest of the bodily organization. These currents go out for the most part from the lower part of the breast, but also from the lymph vessels and other organs, and come together in such a way that they oppose these other currents. Thus we have in the brain, whenever a memory-picture wishes to form itself, two ether-currents, one coming from below and one from above, which oppose each other under the greatest possible tension, just as two electric currents oppose each other. If a balance is brought about between these two currents, then a concept has become a memory-picture and has incorporated itself in the ether-body.
Such supersensible currents in the human organism always express themselves by creating for themselves also a physical sense-organ, which we must first look upon as a sense-manifestation. Thus we have within us an organ, situated in the center of the brain, which is the physical sense-expression for that which wishes to take the form of a memory-picture; and opposite to this is situated another organ in the brain. These two organs in the human brain are the physical-sensible expression of the two currents in the human ether-body; they are, one might say, something like the ultimate indication of the fact that there are such currents in the ether-body. These currents condense themselves with such force that they seize the human bodily substance and consolidate it into these organs. We thus actually get an impression of bright etheric light-currents streaming across from the one to the other of these organs, and pouring themselves out over the human ether-body. These organs are actually present in the human organism. One of them is the pineal gland; the other, the so-called pituitary body: the “epiphysis” and the “hypophysis” respectively. We have here, at a definite point in the human physical organism, the external physical expression of the co-operation of soul and body!
The description above underscores the importance of sense impression’s effect upon the blood, thus its effect upon the etheric body. Here, Steiner refers to the blood as the “ego-instrument,” pointing out that the ego rides on this etheric stream from heart to head.
The polarity of pineal and pituitary are connected to the dynamic between the sympathetic and autonomic nervous systems. We also learn that in the gap between the pineal and the pituitary glands, something results which we may call a “glimmering through from the one side to the other, a being disturbed on the one side by the other.” This phrase indicates that human efforts on our side of this gap create the response from the other side. In other words, the individual is responsible for the health of the etheric stream through his effort to digest the world, gleaning the life therein.
An excerpt from The Gospel of Sophia series by Tyla and Douglas Gabriel.