The pineal gland (named after the pine and the shape of its cones; also called conarium, corpus pineale, glandula pinealis, pineal organ) or epiphysis (cerebri) (from Greek: επίφυση, literally "the up-growth", "the sessile growth" with the Latin suffix cerebri - of the brain, as the bone ends of the long tubular bones are also called epiphyses), is a small unpaired organ in the epithalamus, a part of the diencephalon. In the pineal gland, the hormone melatonin is produced in special neurosecretory cells called pinealocytes. The hormone is mainly produced at night. The sleep-wake rhythm and other time-dependent rhythms of the body are controlled via melatonin. In case of malfunction, it causes - apart from a disturbed daily rhythm - either sexual prematurity or an inhibition of sexual development. Descartes believed the pineal gland to be the transition point between mind and body.
The development of the pineal gland from an anthroposophical point of view
The pineal gland is a metamorphosis of the heat perception and fertilisation organ of Lemurian man. In the early Lemurian period, before the detachment of the moon, the solid earth element did not yet exist. The human being lived as a still asexual being in the airy-liquid heat-permeated element, as it very similarly already formed the atmosphere of the Old Moon and was called fire-air (Ruach) by the alchemists. The biblical story of creation speaks of this, for example, where it says:
"... ruach elohim m'rachephet 'al p'ne hammájim (... And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.)" (Genesis 1:2)
which could be more aptly translated as:
"... the spirit of the Elohim brooded over the material darkness."
Over the "waters", i.e. above the dark, denser liquid mass of matter, spreads the spiritualised, animated and living atmosphere of the fire-air, Ruach, which Rudolf Steiner also calls the primordial protein atmosphere in another context (the same chemical elements C, N, O, H, which today build up protein, are also still to be found in our present atmosphere).
In this atmosphere lives first the upper human being as a pure light-form, still completely open to the solar forces. This light-form descends into the lower human being formed from the dark masses of matter. While the upper human being is completely asexual, in the lower human being the two sexes are already slowly beginning to form. At first, however, the human being is still altogether an asexual being.
At the time of the separation of the moon, the lower human being was developed up to the sexual organs. At that time, the sun was in the constellation of Scorpio. Shortly before, when the sun was still in Sagittarius, the relationship between the lower and upper human beings was such that it is aptly described by the image of the centaur.
The rest of this upper light form then later only protrudes as a luminous lantern above the still open head and forms the first earthly sense organ. This polyphemus eye is actually not an eye in the external sense, but an organ for perceiving the heat currents near and far. At the same time, however, it is a powerful clairvoyant organ that perceives the spiritual side of the world in imaginations; thus, although it is not a physical eye, it is a spiritual eye. At that time man still had predominantly a dream-like imaginative picture consciousness. The last remnant of this upper light form is today the pineal gland:
„Through this organ man absorbed those forces from his environment which enabled him to produce his own kind. And at a certain time, when the moon had not yet separated from the earth, the atmosphere of the earth became particularly capable of giving off that substance which made this organ particularly luminous when the sun was in a certain position. There really were such times - and certain sea animals which at times develop a luminosity still remind us of it today - when a general fertilisation occurred; times when, through a special position of the sun, man, who at that time was still completely asexual, experienced a fertilisation so that he could bring forth his own kind. Sensory perception and fertilisation, nutrition and respiration were intimately connected in the distant past.
And so the organs gradually differentiated, and only little by little did man take on the form he shows today. In this way, however, he became more and more capable of becoming his own master, of developing that which we have expressed in the I-consciousness. At the time just described, when he was moving in this earthly atmosphere, guided by his sensation of warmth, higher beings were still influencing him. Preferably it was the forces of the sun, which had already gone out of the earth, which acted on the earth's atmosphere in such a way that this organ was stimulated. On the other hand, another organ was particularly stimulated by the lunar forces - before and after the moon had gone out; it is situated in another part of the brain and is usually called the pituitary gland. It is an organ that has no real function today. In former times, the pituitary gland was the regulator of the lower activities, of the nutritional and respiratory processes, which at that time were still one. All that was regulated from this organ was connected with it: the inner powers of the human being, by means of which he could inflate himself, give himself the most varied forms - everything that was given to his arbitrariness in his form was connected with this organ, with the mucous gland; that which was less arbitrary depended on the other organ, on the pineal gland.“ (Lit.:GA 105, p. 116f)
Among the people of the Atlantean era, the etheric head still protruded far beyond the physical head. This ether head had a special centre of perception. In the course of development, the etheric head, and with it this centre of perception, withdrew more and more into the physical head. Now, at the corresponding point, with the pineal gland, we have the organ whose further development will give people back clairvoyance.
When passing through life between death and rebirth, the heart of the previous incarnation is transformed into the pineal gland of the following incarnation.
- Rick Strassman: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences. Park Street Press 2000, ISBN 978-0892819270
- Rudolf Steiner: Universe Earth and Man in their Relationship to Egyptian Myths and Modern Civilization. Reprint of the original edition. CW 105. Kessinger Publishing 2010, ISBN 978-1162581132
- Rudolf Steiner: Man as Symphony of the Creative Word. 3rd Revised edition. 12 lectures Dornach. CW 230. Translatation by V.& J. Compton-Burnet. Rudolf Steiner Press 1970. ISBN 978-0854402069 rsarchive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Esoteric Lessons 1904 – 1909. Edited by Christopher Bamford. CW 266/I. Translated by James H. Hindes. Anthroposophic Press Inc. 2007. ISBN 978-0880106108 rsarchive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Kosmogonie, GA 94 (2001), ISBN 3-7274-0940-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Welt, Erde und Mensch, GA 105 (1983), Siebenter Vortrag, Stuttgart, 11. August 1908 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Der Mensch als Zusammenklang des schaffenden, bildenden und gestaltenden Weltenwortes, GA 230 (1993), ISBN 3-7274-2300-5 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden, Band I: 1904 – 1909, GA 266/1 (1995), ISBN 3-7274-2661-6 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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 (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - 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.