THE THERAPEUTIC EFFECT OF
JUXTAPOSING TWO RHYTHMS
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
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
‘Iggie Krie was bold and bearded
On a kind of
Seeking seeds from ancient,
forgotten land of
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
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
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
This phantasy account takes place just before the time of the great
flood. In Genesis 7, verses 22 & 23 one can read the
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
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):
‘Sam had experienced how the bard /
told that old legend of
He could see pictures unfolding / as
tones seemed to sound all around
There was a seed in his hand, / ‘twas a
magical seed that brought healing.
Roots of the flowering plant / could be
made into tea to cure
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
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
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
being can call forth
which gathers forces unto itself
from out of
the depths of soul,
in order to
fashion human-colours -
world-thoughts, as well as from divine-light.
declamation lives the strength of world-light.
recitation pulses the soul’s colour-might.
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.
Ibid, Seite 158-159.
Wahrspruchworte, Philosophisch-Anthroposophisch Verlag,
1935, Translation by Katherine Rudolph.