Rethinking the Nature of Substance

Rudolf Steiner describes in his agriculture course in 1924 Lecture V, that plants are able to transform potassium and calcium gradually into nitrogen. This means that the law of conservation of matter can be broken. Inspired by Steiner's indication Professor Holleman tried to confirm this phenomenon. In contact with Rudolf Hauschka, who published Baron von Herzeele's transmutation experiments (1876 - 1881), he repeated Herzeele's research in 1933. From 1970 - 1980 he succeeded in getting results from experiments with the alga, Chlorella. In the following webpages Holleman's work and related research is given.

In order that we might have a better understanding of this challenging phenomenon, we now are focussing on four connected subjects: water, Spanish moss (Tillandsia), the atom and eurythmy.


The eternally existing molecule is still popular in education; so the water molecule. In consequence there are strange facts to think and speak of. Can it be true that as is often said the water we drink now has already been drunk by many others, for instance, by Napoleon and his soldier's in Egypt when they were thirsty? Can't we think otherwise? Cannot it be true that the water is renewed in the process of its recycling? There is warmth in the atmosphere. Warmth has the ability to materialise and dematerialise substances. Could it be that water itself turns to an imponderable state and that it streams in a measurable form renewed and fresh to us when it is raining?

Spanish Moss

The Spanish moss is a plant which grows in the southern states of America. It is an epiphyte, which implies that it grows on the branches of trees without taking nourishment from them. It is also able to grow on fences and on wires. Its leaves are covered with scales which suck, like blotting paper, the water and dust from the air. Several of the received minerals, when compared with the water from the surrounding atmosphere, are highly augmented. Apart from using this for its own nourishment, it drops a part of its enriched water onto the soil below. Where do these augmented minerals come from?

The Atom

Mainstream science uses the concept of a material atom as a guiding principle. It is easy to forget that this idea is nothing more than a useful tool to describe and manage aspects of its observable behavior. The mathematical developments of the nineteenth century, which overcame the limitations of classical geometry, enabled new conceptions of substance to be developed. This approach soon led to the new ideas of quantum physics. More or less at the same time Rudolf Steiner developed an alternative understanding of substance. Most recently these ideas were developed further by Nick Thomas. Steiner introduced his theory in the 'Warmth Course' which we are currently studying, to bring examples which illustrate this new and challenging idea of matter and negative matter.


In cooperation with the Stichting, a group of eurthmists, musicians and speechperformers developed the programm "Wolken in Wandlung" (Metamorphosis of Clouds), see programme. After two presentations in Dornach and Basel (2016) new performances are planned for 2017 (Bern, Unterlengenhardt, Schaffisheim)