Sound ether

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The sound ether (also called chemical ether, number ether, mathematical ether) arose on the Old Moon at the same time as the water element. Today it has a formative effect in the elements down to the water element. It is the carrier of the harmony of the spheres, which can only be perceived with corresponding spiritual development. The sound ether therefore does not make itself known directly to the senses, but expresses itself by arranging the chemical substances in their interaction according to measure and number and according to geometrical relationships, similar to the sensual tone, which is its coarsened outer expression, arranging the physical substances into sound figures (Chladnian sound figures). In the periodic table of the chemical elements, this ordering power of the sound ether becomes apparent. Modern quantum physics draws a mathematical-abstract mental picture of this.

„On the astral plan lives the chemical ether. When one is somnambulic, one perceives on the astral plan the properties of the chemicals, the chemical properties, because on the astral plan the chemical ether has its life.“ (Lit.:GA 93a, p. 46)

The harmony of the spheres, which expresses itself in the sound ether, has its origin in the Devachan. In it the activity of the Spirits of Motion becomes audible to the spiritually awakened ear.

„When man learns to perceive something of what he otherwise sees only as maya in the action of chemical compositions and dissolutions, then he hears the spirits of movement, the dynamis, then he perceives the music of the spheres of which the Pythagorean and other secret schools speak.“ (Lit.:GA 121, p. 93)

In matter, in so far as it is perceived externally sensually in the physical world, the harmony of the spheres is silenced.

„In the world 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. The chemical relationship of two substances in the physical world is a shadowing from the world of sphere harmony. The numerical relations of chemistry are really the expressions of the numerical relations of the harmony of the spheres. This has become mute through the condensation of matter.“ (Lit.:GA 130, p. 102)

For our inner spiritual experience, thinking expresses itself in the sound ether; from it we draw our thought-forms, especially the mathematical thought-formations, through which we then in turn try to understand the numerical relationships of the chemical transformations of matter.

Through sensual perception man kills off the warmth ether and the light ether. If he could also kill the sound ether in the same way, he would hear the sensual expression of the harmony of the spheres. This was prevented, however, by the fact that after the Fall of man, as it says in Genesis, man should not also eat from the Tree of Life.


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.