Problem j: The Arterial Self & Cannibalism
He looked down to see if he could find what had caused him to stumble. One of his toes was missing; he just caught sight of it as it inched its way through the scrub that lay beside the dirt path.
He made a dive to catch it before it disappeared from view altogether, when to his dismay his arm fell off.
In Man's endeavor towards edification he has come to the blessed but mistaken concept that anything within the world and beyond is merely a consumable for his purpose. This notion is born from the desire to not only endorse signatory keys within his own system of systems, but also from the combining which in turn affects his ego and subsequent perceptions about him in his relations.
The Arterial Self is his signature key, the one key which stands quite separately to that mix which has shared over and over in relation and with relation to a multitude of beings. In the combining of a man with animal or with plant we have such an experience and subsequent knowledge (astrally, psychically, spiritually, morally) with their inherent characteristics and plan of physiology.
Whenever there becomes a crisis in the evolution of Man there also follows a clamoring in and out of the gates, from beings who wish to either maintain a different status and depart (men included) or those 'outsiders' who have awaited their opportunity and make the cyclic dive to come in. Man has at one time or another adopted a myriad of uncertain entities into his own system, along with the score he has exhumed from times past.
With respect to the animal kingdom we can firstly observe that their hierarchy of being manifests quite differently to the individual incarnating of men with single bodies. The animal and the plant have a limited consciousness manifest within the physical. Although they are self-aware they are at the same time concurrently aware of those fellows to whom they share soul with. As corporate beings there can be an entire herd of beasts belonging to the one governing soul. They may be as one party combined or dispersed upon the Globe. There are groupings of the same species which share their peculiar signature and soul merit, and are not dependent upon the survival of one or of some, in order that their representing incarnation be maintained.
So the piece above is thus explained: that when an animal or plant has withdrawn (deceased from the world) it is not as it is with the death to one man, for there are, whilst others exist, other limbs as it were, of the one remaining body. So the insult of death is not as it would be considered in the instance of a murder of a man. However, and having made that point, we should at the same time examine what it implies to kill anything and to take gain from it.
The statement [by Rudolf Steiner] that killing impedes occult development shows the nature of the man who expressed this and his allegiance to both the truth and to Christ. It is interesting to note that the very opposite is asserted by black magicians of the corrupt persuasion, as they would extract life unlawfully just as their masters do to they.
Once again the critical issue has leveled itself to life and to death and to what may be our own significance here. Some plants and some animals are already inextricably linked to the overall keys in which humankind share. Our natures are not only compatible, but our evolutionary pathways are as dual carriageways because of their service to us - having of their own spiritual volition, given to us, we commit to carry them. (These are to be distinct from those who are 'brothers' in common, who share traits but not the involvement implied to the same level - horses, dolphins, pigs, bears etc.)
To eat of a cow for example (given that our relationship to the cow is so close that we are cow and cow is us) is an instance where the separateness is illusory, in the sense that we are no more morally unusual in this compared with digesting our own ecoli or chewing our own finger nails. (This does not take issue here with the karma of causing pain; it is simply to address the practice of meat-eating itself).
Not all plants or creatures have the physical, psychical, spiritual endorsement with Man. Nor would it become desirable for this to be so. It would be retrogressive for men to adopt the qualities of the reptilian races and others which are equally as foreign, and try to take into him such anti-man forces which they now contain.
Many such creatures have bonded with other entities since their initial extraction from Man. There are reasons for this which are better not entered into, however, if for nothing else than the logic of it, we can observe that Man himself could not possibly find a harmonious correspondence with all varieties of kingdom concurrently as they stand represented today.
The interdependence of the working ecology at any geographical site proves that conditions are mixed but particular, and could not elaborate themselves into accommodating all species conducively, and neither can Man.
But for those beings who are represented amongst the species of fish, animal and plant which have already become enveloped and embraced amongst us - those which have beneficent trait, who are willing to be as part of us, even to the degree of death and consumption - then it is by agreement and karmic settlement for which we combine.
There does come a time when the qualities which a man has formerly drawn for himself from the ingesting of an animal, are not significant to his actual eating, that he may entertain the forces or subsequent strengths without. As the constitution refines itself down it will instinctively refrain from flesh-eating, intuitively knowing which foods are profitable and which are not relevant anymore.
With vegetarianism which is adopted too early - i.e. an individual who has morally preferenced the change but not acted from a constitutional necessity – the person invites a soiree of elemental beings who are given to the opportunity of place-filling so to speak.
The process occurs in miniature similarly as with what was described in the closing and reopening of humanity's gates. When we deliberately cast out something from our system radically there are impeding alternatives which happen in upon us, pushing to sequester a space for themselves. This may or may not be profitable in every case, depending upon the readiness of the man: how strong he be, how apt those forces next in line are. Remembering also that the quality/nature of an elemental being drawn to a man requires a similar cast of quality so known in him. In other words, when we invoke forces of being, we shall draw to ourselves that which is commensurate with our level as expressed of virtue and character - so colored, so told.
Therefore, if for example a man has given up meat-eating (and even if it is for the higher good as the case may be) this desistance (if rapid and not gradual) will create pockets within his astral body which would have otherwise been taken up with the breaking down and dissemination, interpretation and assimilation of the animal qualities. These pockets within his astral makeover will have naught to work upon, and just as their habit has constructed, they shall set about to continue on the same.
During this time the excessive vitalities allowed for this will act within the ethers as a beacon to all and sundry elemental astral form. If the man's nature is completely clean of lower nature tendencies of fault, then he may bring to himself beings who are useful to employ and have on team. However, men who are in this category still most usually make the transition a slow one, either never having eaten meat before anyway (in which case the problem does not exist) or because their development is gradual their giving up was also gradual and therefore did not give rise to the situation so described.
It would be difficult indeed for a man to be bereft of all untoward tendencies. These tendencies anyway, have their countering and conjoining virtues in the first place, and in the second there is always, even in the highest man, potential sin at his highest level. So the risk in such radical change is great indeed.
These opportunistic elementals only understand affinity and are so attracted to a man who displays similar behaviors in being. If the man has just given up his meat-eating and has been prone to a 'bad day' it can happen that he acts poorly - perhaps exceptionally - and yet because this has come right at that time, he may consequently be lumbered with an entire troop of guests that have adhered to those places left vacant. They will go on to thrive from the forces which ordinarily were used to work upon the astral properties in the meat which, depending upon its variety would manifest other qualities and traits that are predictable to a large extent. (This is given to 'clean' meats and not those of incompatible variety.)
These newly adopted elemental qualities can then go on into the man and move throughout his other bodies. Not confining themselves to their immediate trait, they can translate into problems such as the 'egotism' as cited by Dr. Rudolf Steiner. This egotism which becomes accentuated and enfired, is most likely to have been the lesser aspect to the virtue of wanting to become vegetarian in the first place. It is simply more of the same but inflamed. Self-improvement can be a virtue; it can also become a consuming egotism when say in this case, the animal was not the concern of the man at all.
So we may understand that for the Arterial Self to work well with the constitution it is preferable where possible, for the man to make this and other change slowly, consistently, and to be most careful as to his thoughts and behavior during this special period of transition.
As a fundamental law we may regard this: that at some times more than others - i.e. at the changing of the guard - we are required to be ever more vigilant as to what strangers and curiosities there are about us, and deciding well as to who we may truly wish to entertain.