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Chemistry (from Greekχυμεία chymeia "the art of pouring; cast togehther", probably derived from ancient Egyptian kemet "black earth"[1], the ancient name of Egypt), which developed from medieval alchemy from about the 17th century and was formerly also called the art of separation or the science of separation, is a natural science concerned with the properties, structure and chemical[2] transformation of substances.

„If one talks lively about potassium and calcium, that is, does living chemistry, that is much more valuable than if one does, for example, a dead, intellectualistic theosophy.“ (Lit.:GA 217, p. 51)

Chemistry and the Harmony of the Spheres

„When man learns to perceive something of what he otherwise sees only as Maya in the effect of chemical compositions and dissolutions, then he hears these Spirits of Motion, then he perceives the music of the spheres of which the Pythagorean and other secret schools speak. This is also what Goethe describes when he speaks of the sun not as the giver of light, but says: "The sun resounds in the ancient manner in brother spheres competitive song, and its prescribed journey it completes with thundering."“ (Lit.:GA 121, p. 93)

„In the world there are a number of substances which are connectable and separable. What we call chemism is projected into the physical world from the world of Devachan, the harmony of the spheres. So that in the connection of two substances according to their atomic weights we have the shadowing of two tones of the harmony of the spheres. The chemical relationship of two substances in the physical world is a shadowing from the world of the harmony of the spheres. The numerical relations of chemistry are really the expressions for the numerical relations of the harmony of the spheres. This latter has become mute through the condensation of matter. If one were really able to bring the substances to the etheric dilution and to perceive the atomic numbers as an inwardly forming principle, one would hear the harmony of the spheres. One has the physical, the astral world, the lower Devachan and the upper Devachan. Now if you push a body down even further than to the physical world, you come to the sub-physical world, the sub-astral world, the lower or bad lower devachan and the lower or bad upper devachan. The bad astral world is the realm of Lucifer, the bad lower devachan is the realm of Ahriman and the bad upper devachan is the realm of the Asuras. If you push chemism even further down than under the physical plan, into the bad lower devachanic world, magnetism arises, and if you push light into the sub-material, that is, one step lower than the material world, electricity arises. If we push that which lives in the harmony of the spheres still further down to the Asuras, then there is a still more terrible force which will not be able to be kept secret much longer. One must only wish that when this power comes, which we must imagine to be much, much stronger than the strongest electrical discharges, and which will come at any rate - then one must wish that before this power is given to humanity by an inventor, men will have nothing more immoral about them!“ (Lit.:GA 130, p. 102f)

The liver as a "chemicator" in humans

See also: Liver

The liver is the actual chemicator in the human organism:

„Man has in himself - if I may so express myself - a chemicator. He has something of the heavenly sphere in him, in which the origin of chemical actions lies. And this is quite strongly localised in the human being, what works there is localised in the liver. And study all this strange activity which the liver develops in the human organism, all the part which it plays on the one hand, in that it acts, I would like to say, like a sucker for the nature of the blood, and on the other hand, in that it has a regulating effect through the secretion of bile in the human organism, for the whole preparation of the blood fluid. Look at all this activity of the liver, and you will see in it that which, when studied to the end, gives chemistry, real chemistry, for our external chemistry is not to be found on earth in its reality. We must regard it as a reflection of the extra-human chemical sphere. But we can also study this extraterrestrial sphere by studying all the wonderful effects of the human liver.“ (Lit.:GA 312, p. 221)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. Thus Plutarch reports and adds that what is actually meant is the black in the eye, i.e. a deep secret - a reference to the "black art" of the Egyptians, to alchemy.
  2. Nuclear reactions, which lead to a transformation of the chemical elements, are not regarded today as chemical but as physical processes.