XII: winter

‘In Winter, when the earth envelops herself in her raiment of snow and is no longer in living interchange with the atmosphere around her, man too is fettered more strongly to the earth; he does not share in the life of the wide universe but enters into the life that is rooted beneath the soil of the earth. — But the meaning of this must be understood.

‘We can continually be made aware of how in the earth’s environment there is not only that which comes directly from the Sun but also that which partakes in the life of the earth beneath the surface of the soil. I have spoken of this before by referring to some very simple facts. — Those of you who have lived in the country will know how the peasants dig pits in the earth during Winter and put their potatoes in them. Down there in the earth the potatoes last splendidly through the Winter, which would not be the case if they were simply put in cellars. Why is this? — Think of an area of the earth’s surface. It absorbs the light and warmth of the Sun that have streamed to it during the Summer. The light and the warmth sink down, as it were, into the soil of the earth, so that in Winter the Summer is still there, under the soil. During Winter it is Summer underneath the surface of the earth. And it is this Summer under the surface of the earth in Winter time that enables the roots of the plants to thrive. The seeds become roots and growth begins. So when we see a plant growing this year it is actually being enabled to grow by the forces of last year’s Sun which had penetrated into the earth.

‘When therefore we are looking at the root of a plant, or even at parts of the leaves, we have before us what is the previous Summer in the plant. It is only in the blossom that we have this year’s Summer, for the blossom is conjured forth by the light and warmth of the present year’s Sun. In the sprouting and unfolding of the plant we still have the previous year and the present year comes to manifestation only in the blossom. Even the ovary at the centre of the blossom is a product of the Winter — in reality, that is, of the previous Summer. Only what surrounds the ovary belongs to the present year. Thus do the seasons interpenetrate. When the earth dons her Winter raiment of snow, beneath that raiment is the continuation of Summer. Man does not now unite himself with the wide expanse but turns his life of soul inwards, into the interior of the earth. He turns to the Lower Gods.’ [Steiner, talking in Dornach, december 23, 1923.]

Summer continues beneath, he said. (This year, so far: no snow at all.)