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Metamorphoses of Light

Lightning, Rainbows, and the Northern Lights: A Spiritual-Scientific Study


Walther Bühler

88 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Temple Lodge Press

Paperback

$18.00

978-1-906999-80-3


“Goethe called color the deeds and sufferings of the light—victorious deeds when it pierces matter and suffering when it endures the darkness in matter. Indeed, there is no greater contrast in the whole cosmos than that between matter and light.”

Walter Bühler was left with unforgettable memories after spending time above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, where the sky fills with floods of color, the midnight sun shines for weeks, and the long polar night is brightened by the shining northern lights. Pondering on these experiences led to this short, penetrating work—a study of the pathways and metamorphoses of light from a global perspective.

The essence of light is to shine; it radiates dynamically in all directions at an unimaginable speed, never resting. The nature of matter, by contrast, is heavy, static, and condensed. Nevertheless, matter can also let light through, as with crystals or in the transparent and flowing element of water, evaporation, and air. Water and air thus act as “mercurial” factors, allowing the creative potential of light to appear as diverse colors. The “deeds and sufferings of light” are also found in many inorganic phenomena, such as the northern lights. By seeing the laws within phenomena, Goethe approached an understanding of the etheric formative forces. The object of this book is to observe nature’s wonders through Goethe’s methodical process.

Apart from the “rainbows, lightning, and northern lights” in the subtitle, the author discusses the blue of our skies, the colors of twilight, dewdrops, halos, and other light phenomena. The author tells the reader that the power of imagination produced by us as observers creates depth and inwardness. In such a state of consciousness, our inner eye can picture “a threefold global union of light, which speaks to a threefold organization of the Earth.” Bühler’s concentrated work will inspire readers to make their own observations of the optical phenomena in our atmosphere, learning again to treasure our planet for what it is—a human-scale home for which we are all responsible.

Related Titles

  • Goethe on Science : An Anthology of Goethe's Scientific Writings
  • The Light Course : Toward the Development of a New Physics (CW 320)
  • Nature's Open Secret : Introductions to Goethe's Scientific Writings (CW 1)
  • Taking Appearance Seriously : The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Nature & Environment ; Science & Nature: General and Science & Nature: Goethean Studies