There are twenty-four Greek rhythms. These rhythms should be spoken together with someone trained in professional Formative Speech to best experience their healing value. At a later time it will be possible to show and describe something of their relationships within this Journal.
Rhythm is, in fact, relationship. In the long accents one is drawn toward the earth as in the winter world. In the shorts one is lifted up to the heavens, as in the summer world. All the transformations and permutations of rhythm occur between these two polarities.
I have been asked by the editor to describe my use of the Kalevala rhythm in the ‘Krienol Legend’, which has been published in this issue. It is a declamatory epic account, arising out of the heart forces. It has a ballad-like quality written in trochee, or long-short. There are generally four lines to a stanza; each line consists of four trochees. Less emphasis is placed on the second and fourth lines while the first and third lines are generally spoken more strongly as in the following example:
‘Iggie Krie was bold and bearded
On a kind of quest adventure;
Seeking seeds from ancient, wondrous
Long forgotten land of Krienols.’
Certain ‘longs’ are to be emphasised in the case of alliteration or assonance such as I have underlined above. This occurs when the same beginning consonants, or vowel sounds are repeated within a span of two lines.
The Kalevala was first recited by Finnish storytellers in a northern world, where all through the winter months, the warriors were confined to close quarters. There, it had long been a tradition to retell stories of great heroes, like Vainamoinen, Lemminkainen and Ilmarinen. The alliteration involved allowed the warriors to ‘blow off steam’, avoid fighting, and keep in good humour. It is a deeply incarnating rhythm that actually brings warmth to the limbs; the metabolic system is especially benefited. It really must be spoken aloud to experience the healing quality.
The word Kalevala means land of Kaleva. It was first compiled in 1835, by Elias Lonnrot to form a continuous poem. Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’ is written in the same metrical composition. There are few other examples although this meter is much valued for therapeutic purposes. (Therefore my effort has evolved to help remedy this problem.) The Finnish composer, Sibelius has composed music for the Kalevala.
What is the therapeutic effect of declamation. The spinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and the spinal cord is actually pushed down during the process of speaking alliterative declamation more into the area of the spinal cord; that is, consciousness of the limbs is experienced and the person speaking comes down out of abstract thought, more into the warmth and activity of the metabolic system. A deeper out-breath is experienced through speaking this rhythm.1)
In ‘Krienol Legend’, which is published in this issue, one must actually imagine the application of a kind of healing-dream-story within a story. The child, Sam, who has become mute, needs courage to speak and incarnate. (Indeed the story was first written to help the many mute-autistic children who need to come down into their bodies.) ‘Krienol Legend’ appears within Leaves of the Lady’s Green Mantle as a legend experienced in the Fairy TaleTemple.
Sam, the child to be benefited by the tale, has been wandering in search of a bard he has met while apprenticed to the blacksmiths. Earlier he had escaped from the Iota fairies who had stolen him for his healing musical talents. However he had learned that he wasn’t a fairy but a human boy. He was now searching for his home.
The lines in ‘Krienol Legend’ are spoken with emphasis on the alliterated consonants. (Some of the lines could actually be sung, as well, using the simple music that I created.) In my story, the therapeutic element evokes a ‘dream in the limbs’, with a lot of action; and the child finds a healing seed and a lyre in his hands, after a journey to the FairyTale Temple. The theme of the tale he experienced relates to a king recovering from his muteness, a condition that had arisen out of fear and shock.
This phantasy account takes place just before the time of the great flood. In Genesis 7, verses 22 & 23 one can read the following:
22. ‘All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died. 23.And every living substance was destroyed that was on the face of the ground, both men and cattle, and creeping things, of the beast, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him.’
I have underlined that was on the face of the ground. What happened to the healing seeds for herbal medicine at this time is not spoken of in the bible. Weren’t there some that would be needed for times to come? Are there not elemental beings that are specifically connected with healing plants? These are the questions that brought about the idea of Krienols and how they were to preserve the healing seeds and store them in a world deep under the sea for the times to come.
It so happens that a child in need can experience certain stories from times past in the Fairy Tale Temple, which is written in the Kalevala rhythm. Of course such stories are phantasies invented by the author. Sam’s story up to the discovery of the Fairy Tale Temple has been written in hexameter, and it continues in hexameter after he leaves the temple, describing how he received the seed he needed.
Hexameter is a cosmic rhythm generally belonging to the realm of epic recitation and was first written down in accounts such as the Iliad by Homer of ancient Greece – from the southern lands. In hexameter the breathing and the pulse become harmoniously synchronized. In its rhythm there lives a musicality that bears witness to the extraordinary cosmic lawfulness out of which the human being is built. When hexameter is properly spoken we ‘breathe in’ 18 time in 9 lines of poetry. The out-breath contains the pictures created. The in-breath occurs two times per line, always at the beginning of the three dactylus before the caesura, and at the point of the caesura, before the next three dactylus or Long-short-shorts are spoken. The pattern of ‘shorts’ can be broken up around the caesura, as one can see in the third and fifth lines below. Let us look at these lines tahe occur immediately after Sam’s visit to the Fairy Tale Temple (the longs only are underlined):
1 ‘Sam had experienced how the bard / told that old legend of Krienols.
2 He could see pictures unfolding / as tones seemed to sound all around him.
3 There was a seed in his hand, / ‘twas a magical seed that brought healing.
4 Roots of the flowering plant / could be made into tea to cure muteness
5 And in his arms was a lyre / of golden, the one he’d forgotten….’
Following are a few words from Rudolf Steiner that in turn, shed light on the healing benefits of hexameter:
‘We breathe in 18 times per minute on the average. That is 25920 times in 24 hours. If the average life expectancy is 70-71 years (although many people live to be older), a day in the world for human beings, that makes about 25920 days in a life. The world breathes us in and out and we are born and die.
Look at the Platonic Year of the Sun. The Sun enters into a certain Zodiac sign. In ancient days the sun started off in Taurus, then in Aries, now in the Fishes (Pisces). The spring equinox appears to go (I must say ‘appears’, but that isn’t the point) around the whole heavens, shifts around, and comes back again in precisely 25920 years – You see human beings are part of a world rhythm….’2)
Hexameter sees from above, it overviews events, in a flow of storytelling, depicting a situation. It is a soothing rhythm that is connected to the cosmic vibrations in the head. Speaking hexameter pulls the spinal fluid up into the head. One gets a picture, in recitation, of the happenings involved. It is intelligible to human thought processes and strengthens the quality of the in-breath.1)
Thus the reason can understand and contemplate a happening and make sense out of it. The ‘Krienol Legend’ experienced in the limbs, in the Kalevala meter, remains strongly imbedded in the memory and appears as a more ‘first-hand experience’. Often a dream that has had a lot of spatial movement and quality will be remembered. It must be similar to overseeing life-experience-in-the-limbs, while in an after-death consciousness and gleaning the fruits thereof.
One must really penetrate the real therapeutic effect during the speaking of the hexameter previous to the ‘Krienol Legend’ and directly after it. The changing of rhythms after the story allows the child to grasp the kernel of meaning involved in the whole experience, while penetrated by the particularly objective state of mind that can be evoked by hexameter.
To end this contemplation, I would like to quote a meditation given to Marie Steiner by Rudolf Steiner.3) It is a harbinger of the future healing of the human hierarchy in evolution.
For Marie Steiner
In the act of speaking,
the human being can call forth
that spirit which gathers forces unto itself
from out of the depths of soul,
in order to fashion human-colours –
from world-thoughts, as well as from divine-light.
In declamation lives the strength of world-light.
In recitation pulses the soul’s colour-might.
1) Kunst und Kunst Erkenntnis Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach/Schweiz 1985 ‘Die Quellen der Kuenstlerischn Phantasie und die Quellen der Uebersinnlischen Erkenntnis’ Seite 178-179, Muenschen, 6 Mai 1918 Zweiter Vortrag. Also from information gleaned from studies in the Dora Gutbrod School in Dornach, Switzerland, during the course Anthroposophical Therapeutic Speech in 2000-2001.
2) Ibid, Seite 158-159.
3) Wahrspruchworte, Philosophisch-Anthroposophisch Verlag, 1935, Translation by Katherine Rudolph.