One must delve into the discussion of the reality beyond our 5 senses or ordinary reality- of the four ethers, for example. There are some materials in the internet that offer an elaboration of the four ethers. One is a site on Phenomenology of Tom Van Gelder  http://www.dynamisch.nu/feno/english/e1intro.html. Get started on the discussion on ethers from the site mentioned, but remember that the topic may take sometime to make full sense, esp for one who is new in the subject of subtle energy or spiritual science (e.g., Anthroposophy):

The Four Ethers

Whereas you can perceive the elements as external phenomena, you can’t perceive the ethers directly. You can, however, perceive their effects through the elements. The elements are found on earth; they are bound to it and attracted to it. This is most clearly the case for the solid element, least so for the warmth element.

The opposite is true for the ethers. They arise from the environment and their effect runs counter to that of the earth’s gravitation. They work from the cosmos, and attract earthly matter. An example of such an ether working from the cosmos is light. You can observe the force of light when a seed germinates into a plant, which starts to grow and elongate upwards, breaks through the asphalt surface and grows towards the light. The plant grows away from the earth and towards the light, that is, towards the cosmos. Light gives the plant power to overcome gravity. The etheric force overcomes the weight of material substance.

There are four types of ether: warmth ether, light ether, chemical or tone ether and life ether:

  • Warmth ether is the etheric side of warmth: the inner, impulse-creating warmth or the warmth of enthusiasm that occurs as the intention that underlies actions. Its elemental counterpart is fire, or externally perceivable warmth. Warmth ether and warmth as an element are closely related.
  • Light ether illuminates everything and makes all material things visible. It is also the force which makes plants grow upwards and makes people stand and walk upright. Light ether corresponds to the air element.
  • Chemical or tone ether is the force that structures the development of phenomena and can be seen, for instance, in the natural succession of plant communities. Chemical ether corresponds to the water element.
  • Life ether is the force that makes an object and its environment appear as a unified whole. It is the force that unifies an object’s course of life. Life ether corresponds to the earth element.

Continue reading here- http://www.dynamisch.nu/feno/english/e3pheno8.html.

A Waldorf education mentor and friend, Horst Hellmann shared his article/notes- “Imaginative Thinking and the Four Ethers” (may read here). It is very insightful and calls for transformed educational approach and content such that students are made aware of the “forces” beyond the physical, and experience awe and wonder and reverence and gratitude toward nature. We need start this early or students become too calcified and earth-bound, and disregard the greater truth of things, nature and of humans. Then they also become incapacitated to harness their own imagination and creativity, which are necessary to meet current challenges in society and the world. The 4 ethers, when internalized, could lead us to greater understanding of why certain seemingly unscientific or superstitious practice do work. That includes plants responding to sound and movement.

 

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