The Vortex of Life
by Lawrence Edwards
Floris Books, Edinburgh,1993. Hardback. pp220. ISBN 0-86315-148-5
Reviewed by DOUGLAS CAUGHILL
THIS REMARKABLE book is the result of some 40 years of painstaking study and research into nature's formative life forces. It is a model of scientific objectivity in the Goethean sense, allowing the phenomena to speak for themselves.
In the first part of the book the author outlines the mathematical geometrical basis of his work. He makes a valiant effort to make this understandable to the lay reader such as myself. I found this part of the book quite difficult but was eventually able to get the general gist of it. One sees that using projective geometry one arrives at ideal or archetypal curve forms, or 'path curves'. The author demonstrates that the eggs of most birds, the buds of most trees and flowers, and even the ventricles of the heart have oval forms that are not merely random but conform with amazing accuracy to the ideal curve forms arrived at by pure mathematics.
In the second part of the book he explains his, to me, even more fascinating discovery that the buds of trees and flowers not only conform to predetermined spatial patterns but also to cyclic time patterns. Steiner indicates that the plant world reflects the laws of planetary movement. Mr Edwards has been able to demonstrate this quite conclusively in respect of plant buds.
By picking the buds, for example, of oak trees each day through the autumn and winter months, and making exact measurements of the slight variations in their shape from day to day, a cyclic pattern, a sort of pulse beat, emerges. These recurring form changes can be represented in a graph, just as the pulse beats of the heart appear in an electrocardiogram. It then becomes apparent that the graph line reaches its lowest point approximately every 14 days.
Even more surprising is the fact that in the case of the oak tree buds these low points consistently recur on the very day when the Moon is in conjunction or opposition to Mars, i.e. when the Earth, Moon and Mars are aligned. In the case of the beech tree buds the lows occur on the day when Moon, Earth and Saturn are aligned. With the cherry tree it is Moon, Earth and Sun, and so on. Not only that, but these results confirm the indications given by Sreiner as to which planets corresponds to each of several tree species. Mr Edwards demonstrates with many different tree and flower buds that in each case their cyclic pattern corresponds to a particular planet.
One must qualify this, however. The above was true in 1982-83 when the author first began his research into this aspect of the matter [parts of this book were published in The Field of Form (Floris Books 1982)]. But as he continued making graphic records in 1984-85-86 an unexpected deviation appeared. The recurrences began to occur a day early, then gradually 2, 3, 4 and 5 days early, till by 1989-90 this had reached a full 14 days and the recurring lows again took place on the day of alignment. It appears from this that a cycle of about seven years is superimposed on the small 14-day cycle. Since there is no obvious planetary movement or recurnng aspect corresponding to this seven-year cycle it remains a fascinating unsolved mystery. (A companion book, The Vortex of Life Supplement and Sequel, is obtainable from Floris Books, price £10. It contains detailed descriptions and graphs comprising eight years of painstaking research into a large number of tree and flower buds.)
Ar certain points in the book one has the feeling: here nature herself is revealing bit by bit some of the secrets of her creative formative processes, and many more are waiting to be revealed This completely new field of research offers a rich potential for further discoveries. One can only admire the author's pioneering efforts and scientific dedication, and hope that others will be inspired to carry on the work that he has inaugurated.
This review first appeared in Anthroposophy Today, 24, Spring/Summer 1995, pp90-91.