Images of Man
In the 20 years that I taught at Warmonderhof (the school
for biodynamic agriculture and horticulture in the Netherlands),
embryology has been
one of the subjects I taught. On these pages I will describe the
content of the
lessons: the development of the embryonic human being. At the
describe the principles of the embryonic development of the plant and
the (simple) animal, too, at the basis of phenomenology.
The basis of the classes was formed by a number of books by
and Wilmar. And I was in the fortunate position that I could
follow a course on embryology by the embryologist Jaap van der Wal
in my first year at the school. His course and later his
website were a vital source of information for me.
One may wonder why a subject such as embryology is part of the
curriculum of an
agricultural training. Primarily the classes are about the development
of the embryo
itself, from which will
- I hope - become clear that we are human beings
from the conception, only in a different form than we encounter after
birth. This may lead to respect for
unborn life: another reason for the lessons. A third
reason is that
many processes occur simultaneously and that it is an exercise to have
them all in our
consciousness at the same time. In addition, the development is a
three-dimensional process that must be visualised
from two-dimensional drawings; an appeal to the imagination.
This makes it a
difficult subject, stimulating the development of thought.
The embryonic development of man is described and represented
in a large
number of drawings, too, so that an image of the development
can arise. My starting-point for the description is the
anthroposophical view of man, which
sheds a special light on embryology.
I do not describe the embryonic development in an anatomical
or analytical way, but I try to
find the inner movement, the coherence and the larger
context by observing the changing forms and processes. This is more
about understanding the
language of the forms of living organisms than about a scientific
explanation of these forms. This all aims for awareness for,
called it the "transcendental" quality of Life, and of man.
These 10 pages and the book have been written for the interested
layman. On several occasions I made simplifications. If
one wants to delve deeper,
there are manuals and an informative website (www.embryology.ch)
drawings and photographs. For more background the
website of the embryologist Jaap van der Wal (www.embryo.nl)
may be consulted as well as several publications, see: sources.
Unless otherwise specified the drawings are based on Moore's
"Before we are born".
In the drawings - where appropriate - four colours are used: blue for
for the mesoderm, green
for the entoderm
for the allantois.
The book can be downloaded (see: books-page).