According to the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, we have additional senses beyond our five senses that not only affect the physical body, but the emotional, and spiritual body as well. As we are now within the season of winter, I would like to take a moment to consider one of these, the sense of temperature. This is an especially good time to work on protecting our bodies’ temperature physically, both inside and out, as well as our emotional temperature.
The sense of temperature is made up of sensory receptors in the dermis that distinguish hot from cold. The difference between touch and temperature is that when something touches you, you sense where it is touched. Temperature is sensed in relation to your total body temperature and how much body surface is exposed. In addition, when something touches you it is experienced as separate from you. When experiencing temperature it can be outside of you but become you- it can radiate outward and inward.
Temperature affects the comfort of your entire body; therefore, it can change your mood and your physical abilities. To live in good health, it is important to protect the warmth deep within the body. Warmth allows children to properly develop, and it allows the immune system to properly function. Being chronically cold leads to illness that is often resolved via fever. A fever is the way the body adjusts itself and heals from illness by elevating internal heat in order to kill a virus or bacteria. There are spiritual aspects of a fever as well. Perhaps the energy of such extreme self made heat shifts something within us. In the few times I have experienced my daughters’ having a fever, they have come out of the fever changed in ways that are very profound.
Rudolf Steiner linked warmth and the blood to the immortal spirit of the individual. You can sense that certain people radiate warmth and you want to be near them. While others feel cold and leave you feeling rejected. Humans crave the feeling of warmth from their communities. Therefore, heat goes beyond something that can be measured by a thermometer. Heat directly manifests in the human spirit in different ways. For example think about feeling warm inside when you are with loved ones or experiencing joy compared to when you experience inner temperature extremes such as anger making your “blood boil” or how fear and discontent “make your blood run cold” or leave you feeling “left out in the cold”.
There are many ways to foster warmth both physically and emotionally that are interwoven and supportive. This time of year we eat warming foods prepared with spices that support inner heat and immunity. These slowly cooked foods require less energy and heat from our bodies to process and digest. Even drinks above room temperature are more easily absorbed and integrated into our bodies. Using a kind tone when speaking with others generates a feeling of love and warmth. Additionally, creating a warm environment contributes to our emotional well being. Living in a space that is intentionally cared for and visually calm (with smells of homemade foods, peaceful music, warm lighting and light of real fire from beeswax candles or a fireplace) contribute to a warm spirit.
Physical touch also contributes to inner warmth. A massage or bath is a great way to warm up and support the sense of temperature. These grounding practices help to rekindle emotional health at the end of the day and can help us to sleep more peacefully.
Recipe for a warming mineral bath
Cook freshly chopped ginger (about a 3 inch piece) in a pot of water
1 TBSP Freshly ground mustard seed
2 cups Magnesium Flakes
Sea of Tranquility Warming Massage Oil (two or more droppers full)
2 TBSP Aluminum Free Baking Soda
Handful of Calendula flowers
Goddess of the Harvest Salt Scrub
This bath needs to be considered ahead of time, since the ginger tea needs a long simmer, so plan in advance! To prepare the tea, chop a large knob of ginger and add it to a saucepan filled with water. Simmer on the stove with lid on for at least an hour. Turn off heat and let cool for awhile before straining. Set aside until you are ready to draw your bath. Prepare your bath space with a candle, a glass of water or Mint Magnesium Tonic, and towels. Then, start drawing your bath- add your jar of ginger tea into the water along with the mustard, magnesium, baking soda, a handful of calendula flowers, and a few droppers full of Sea of Tranquility. Use your hands to stir until all is incorporated. Enjoy the warming water for 15-20 minutes. Then, quickly shower off in warm water with Goddess of the Harvest salt scrub to cleanse, exfoliate the skin, and stimulate circulation. Follow with another glass of water or herbal tea, and sleep.