Fundamentals for a Phenomenological Study of Chemistry

By Frits H. Julius
Association of Waldorf Schools in North America, 2000
ISBN 1-888365-22-6
Paperback; 311 pages; $   


This pioneering work in phenomenological chemistry encompasses the rich qualities of chemical substances and processes and opens up deeper dimensions of their lawfulness. Written by Dutch Waldorf teacher Frits Julius, this book was intended for teachers in Waldorf schools.  However, it provides a wonderful introduction to a phenomena-centered approach to chemistry for anyone interested in deepening and enlivening their study of chemistry. 


1. Overcoming One-Sidedness in Contemporary Chemistry Teaching

A New Path to Nature

Substances and Life

Fitness of All to All

The Method of the True Alchemists; the Tria Principia and its Meaning for Us

Three Alchemic Principles

Man and Nature Between Light and Gravity

Polarity of Above-Below

The Four Elements

2. Experimentation as an Art

Guidelines for Experimentation


A Demonstration Cabinet with Ventilation

Bottom Lighting

Examples of Experiments

The Light Box

3. Salts, Acids, and Bases

Crystallization of Salts

Phenomena Occurring when Salts Dissolve

Splitting of Salt by Fire; Acid and Alkali

Salt-Formation by Adding an Acid and a Base

Transition to Chemical Equations

Weight Relationships

Oxygen, Oxidation, Burning, and Rusting

The Importance of the Approach Chosen


Solution of Metals in Strong Acids


Rounding off the Main Lesson Block

Acid or Base Substitutions―Double Substitutions (Displacements)

4. Guidelines for Teaching Chemical Formulas

On the Essence of a Chemical Compound and the Principle of Impenetrability

The Foundations of Chemical Formulas

5. Weight Ratios in Chemistry

The Balance and Materialism

The Balance and the Spiritual Ordering of Nature

The Spiritual Background of Materialism

Equivalent Number as a Pure Expression of Weight Ratios

Gas Volume and Weight Ratios

Atomism as a Starting Point for Explaining Natural Phenomena

6. The Process of Dissolving―Phenomena, Concepts, Laws

The Most Important Phenomena

The Concept of Solubility

The Influence of Heat on Solubility

Phenomena of Osmosis

Explanation of Osmosis

The Concept of Concentration

The Concept of Dissociation

7. The Great Matter Cycles

Teaching Chemistry in the 11th Grade

Usefulness of the Element Concept

The Periodic System of Elements in Chemistry Classes

The Human Organism as a Key to a New System

The Twelve Substances as a Representation of the Realms of Nature

Indications for Teaching


   Oxygen, Matter Awakened by the Sun

   Oxygen as Atmospheric Gas

   Oxygen as a messenger from the Sun

   Oxygen and the Crust of the Earth

   Oxygen and the Hydrosphere

   Oxygen and the Tria Principia of the Alchemists

   Further Effects of Oxygen in Chemistry

   Fire as an Image of the Sun


   Hydrogen in the Atmosphere

   Hydrogen as a Gas

   Hydrogen and Heat

   Hydrogen―the Decomposition of Living Substances

   Hydrogen and Water


   Diamond and Graphite

   How Carbon Withdraws Itself from Life

   Phenomena with Combustion of Carbon

   On Carbon Dioxide

   The Importance of Carbon Dioxide and Carbon for the Life-Process in the Plant

   Carbon Between Sun and Earth

   More on Diamond and Graphite

Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen

   Kinship and Opposition between Carbon and Hydrogen

   Compounds of Carbon and Hydrogen

   Sugar as a Balanced Substance―Harmonizing through Oxygen

   Something more about the Task of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen

Sodium and Sulfur

   The Natural Cycle of Sodium

   Properties of Sodium Compounds in Relation to its Place in Nature and in our Body

   The Natural History of Sulfur

   Sulfur in Protein

   A Comparison of Sodium and Sulfur Processes

   Examples for Discussing Sodium

   An Example for a Discussion of Sulfur


   A Comparison with Sodium

   A Comparison with Carbon

Silicon and Silica

   The Occurrence of Silica in the Earth’s Crust

   The Properties of Quartz in Relation to the Different Realms of Nature

   Silica in Living Organisms

   Silicic Acid and Water

   Silicic Acid and Warmth

   Silica as Oxide

   Silica and Fluorine

   Silica Technology

   Silica and the Sun

Lime (Chalk, Limestone)

    Formation and Erosion of Limestone Mountains

   The Cycle of Limestone in Water

   Animal Existence as a Battle with Lime

   The Diversity of Form in Calcareous Coats, Shells, and Skeletons

   Lime in the Human Being

The Chemistry of Calcium

   Lime as an Alkaline Substance

   Calcium as Element

   Calcined Lime and Slaking of Lime

   Calcium Hydroxide and Carbon Dioxide

   A Few Illustrative Experiments

   Something about the Uses of Calcareous Substances

   Lime and Light—Contrast to Silicon

   Lime as opposed to Hydrogen

Phosphorus and Magnesium

   On the Availability and Circulation of Phosphorus in Nature

   Phosphorus as Element—Fire and Light Phenomena

   Images in the Night Sky During Experiments with Phosphorus

   Properties of Magnesium as Element—Phenomena and Experiments

   The Occurrence of Magnesium Compounds in Earth and in Living Organisms—Contrast to Lime

   Phosphorus as Creator of an Equilibrium between Heaven and Earth and Herald of the Conscious Spirit

   The Magnesium Flame with Regard to Photosynthesis

   Phosphorus as Representative of the Stars on Earth; Results of a Comparison with Magnesium 

   Magnesium Chemistry

   Phosphorus in Mythology and Industry


   Nitrogen as a Component of the Atmosphere—The Atmosphere as Environment for Living Beings

   Nitrogen in the Soil

   Nitrogen in Protein and the Atmosphere

   Nitrogen in Nature Between Oxygen and Hydrogen

   Nitrogen Chemistry


   Aluminum as Element

   Chemical Properties of Aluminum

   Aluminum in the Crust of the Earth:  Clay

   Alchemy and the Mythological Views of Pottery and Porcelain Manufacture

Nitrogen and Aluminum   

   Polarity and Harmony in Various Realms

   Something from the History of the Production of Nitrogen Compounds, and the Extraction of Aluminum by Comparison

8. The Structure of the Element Circle as an Image of the Order of Nature

The Circle of Elements and the Stage of Life

Balanced Opposites in the Circle of Elements

Acid and Base in the Circle of Elements

Surprising Number of Relations; Air and Protein

Metamorphosis in the Circle of Elements

Relation to the Annual Movement of the Sun; Seasonal Changes and the Human Organism

9. The Halogens

Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine—a Characterization





Structural Relationships in the Halogen Group

10. The Most Important Heavy Metals

Introduction—a Comparison with the Substances of the Element Circle

Characterization of the Metallic State—Crystal and Metal

Rusting as Expression of the Nature of Metals

Metals and Planets

   Tradition and Modern Research

   The Usage of Metals in Three Spheres

   Technical Usage

   Medical Purposes

   A New Realm—Metal Chemistry

Discussion of Lead and Silver

   Lead and Silver in the Metallic State

   Lead and Silver Chemistry

   Lead Chemistry

   Lead and Silver as Representatives of Certain World-Principles

   The Importance of Lead and Silver for Civilization


   Gold in the Metallic State

   Comparison of Silver and Gold

   Gold Chemistry

   The Principle Represented by Gold

The First Use of Iron and Copper as Tool-Metal

Iron as a Metal—The True Relation Between the Human Organism and Technology

Copper and Iron

   Iron in the Human Body and in Nature


   The Principles Represented by Copper and Iron

Mercury and Tin as Metals


The Chemistry of Mercury

   Mercury and Tin

Quartz and Gold—the Summit in the Realm of Matter

11. Completing the Whole—Curriculum for Grade 12

Chemistry and the Human Organism

Chemistry as an Intermediary between an Organic and Inorganic Science

Matter and Life

Matter and Consciousness

Chemistry on Four Levels

Victory over Materialism—The Task of Teaching Chemistry in Grade 12