Every word, every thought, everything which has ever taken place in humanity, can be read in the Akasha Chronicle -Rudolf Steiner


Yin and Yang ~ Artist Luisa Villavicencio

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Every word, every thought, everything which has ever taken place in humanity, can be read in the Akasha Chronicle

Now I am speaking to you, but you would not hear me if my voice were not able to produce vibrations in the air. Thus every word which I utter exists in the air in the form of fine movements. These fine movements of course vanish, but everything which occurs here on earth becomes impressed in that fine substantiality which we experience when reaching the spiritual world. This impression is everlasting. Every word, every thought, everything which has ever taken place in humanity, can be read in the Akasha Chronicle.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture IV: Man’s Further Destinies in the Spiritual Worlds – Kassel, 19th June, 1907

Previously posted on December 12, 2016


Gratitude to all artists. Any queries or information, please contact me, Shekinah


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Lecture by Dr. RUDOLF STEINER,
delivered on the 7th of March, 1907.

From stenographic notes unrevised by the lecturer.

The spiritual-scientific movement has arisen in our time not because of the arbitrary act of this or of that individual, of this or of that society, but because it is connected with the whole evolution of humanity and, as such, it should be considered as one of the most important of cultural impulses. If we would penetrate into the mission of the spiritual-scientific movement, we must transfer ourselves into the past and future of mankind.

Just as the individual human beings have evolved, from the moment when they first descended as individual souls from the bosom of the Godhead, so mankind as a whole has also evolved. Consider the differences, the changes and the development which may be observed upon the surface of the earth in the course of thousands of years! Consider how entirely things have changed during that time! Generally speaking, this is difficult to realise and to grasp quite clearly.

We should first explain that what we are accustomed to name “mankind” is only the product of the so-called fifth root-race. This was preceded by another human race, the fourth root-race, which lived on a continent that should be thought of as lying between present-day Europe and America. This continent was Atlantis. Here our ancestors had quite a different form and an entirely different civilisation. The ancient Atlantean did not possess a developed intellect and mind, but he was equipped with fine somnambulistic-clairvoyant forces. Logical power, a combining intellect, science and art, such as they exist now, did not exist in ancient Atlantis, for man’s faculties of thought and feeling were quite different. At that time, he could not have combined thoughts, nor could he have reckoned, counted, or read; as men do now; yet certain somnambulistic-clairvoyant spiritual forces lived in him. He could understand the language of Nature and could hear God speak to him in the murmuring waves; he could understand the rolling thunder, the rustling forest, the delicate aromas of the flowers; he could understand this language of Nature and was in the whole of Nature. At that time, no law or jurisprudence were needed to come to an understanding with one’s neighbour; the Atlantean just went out and listened to the sounds of the trees and of the wind and these told him what he had to do.

Folk-lore, which never contains anything haphazard or thought-out, has preserved the memory of ancient Atlantis in a beautiful way, when it speaks of “Nibelheim”, for instance, in the Nibelung Poem. In a delightful way it speaks of the Rhine and all these rivers as waters which have remained behind from the mists of ancient Atlantis. And the wisdom of Atlantis is referred to in the treasure which lies buried below their waves, On this continent, which was situated between America and Europe, we must seek the seminary of the ancient adepts, Those who were suited to be the pupils of the great individualities whom we call the Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony-Feelings, were trained in these schools.

The seminary which flourished during the fourth Atlantean sub-race, this first school of adepts, would now be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There, the pupils were taught in quite a different way from now. At that time, a powerful, influence could pass from man to man, through the force which still lay in the spoken word.

Simple folks of to-day still possess a fine feeling for the inner, spiritual and occult power of words. But it is impossible to compare the present power of words with that of the past. For in the past, this was something tremendous, and the word alone awakened forces in the soul of the pupil. A mantram of to-day has no longer the force of earlier times, when words were not so permeated by thoughts, as is the case to-day. The influence which went out from these words awakened the soul-forces of the pupil; one might call this a human initiation through the powerful effect of the language of Nature. … A clear language was also spoken there by the smoke from substances such as incense, etc.

There was then a far more direct connection between the souls of teacher and pupil. The written signs in the Adept-School of ancient Atlantis were imitations of the phenomena of Nature, written by the hand in the air, these signs had their effect and also influenced the spirit of the population, arousing forces in the soul.

Thus every race has its task in the evolution of humanity. The task of our race, the fifth root-race, consists in adding Manas to the four members of the human being. That is to say, the understanding must be awakened through concepts and ideas. Every race has its own task: the Atlantean race had the task of developing the Ego. Our race, the fifth root-race, or the post-Atlantean era, must develop Manas, the Spirit-Self.

But the achievements of Atlantis did not die, when Atlantis was submerged, for the essence of everything that existed in the Atlantean School of Adepts was rescued by a small group of men. Under the guidance of the Manu, this small group journeyed into a region now known as the Desert of Gobi. And this small number of men then prepared copies of the former culture and teachings, but in a more intellectual form; the earlier spiritual forces were transformed into thoughts and signs. The various streams of culture then journeyed out from this centre like rays, or beams. First came the pre-Vedic Indian culture, which transformed for the first time the in-streaming wisdom into thoughts.

The second culture which went out from this ancient School of Adepts was the old Persian culture; the third one, the Chaldean-Babylonian culture with its wonderful star-wisdom, its lofty sacerdotal wisdom. The fourth culture to flourish was the Graeco-Latin one, with its personal colouring, and finally the fifth culture, which is our present one. The sixth and seventh lie in the future.

I have now characterised our task in the evolution of humanity: What once existed in the form of cosmic wisdom, must be transformed into thoughts and brought down to the physical plane.

When the old Atlantean listened, between the tones sounding round him, he could hear the NAME of what he recognised as divine: “TAO”, In the Egyptian Mysteries this sound was transformed into thoughts, script and signs — the Tao-sign, the Tao-books. Everything in the form of knowledge, writing and thought first came into the world during the post-Atlantean age. Before that time, nothing could have been written down, for the understanding for it would not have been there.

Now we are living in the middle of the Manas-development. It is the task of our race to develop intellectual culture, and at the same time to develop egoism in its extremest form. Though it sounds grotesque, we may say that never before was there so much intellectual power in the world, and yet so little capacity of inner vision as at the present time. Thought is at the greatest distance from the inner essence of things; it is far away from inner spiritual vision.

When the Atlantean priest wrote a sign in the air, its chief effect was on the pupil’s inner soul-experience.

The personal element came more to the fore during the fourth, the Graeco-Latin epoch. In Greece, the personal element developed in art, and in Rome we find it in the structure of the government, etc. In our time, we experience egoism, the dry personal, intellectual element. But our task to-day is to grasp the occult truths in Manas, in the purest element of thought. The comprehension of the spiritual in this finest distillation of the brain is the true mission of our age. To render thought so forceful that it acquires something of an occult power is the task which has been given us. This task must be fulfilled, so that we may be able to take our place in the future.

Mighty flames of fire destroyed ancient Lemuria, and mighty floods ancient Atlantis. Our civilisation will also perish, through the war of all against all. This is what we must face. Our fifth root-race will perish, because egoism will reach its highest pitch. But at the same time, a small group of men will develop the power of Budhi, of the Life-Spirit, through the force of thought, in order to carry over Budhi into the new civilisation. Everything that is productive in the striving human being will grow stronger and stronger, until his personality reaches the summit of freedom. At present, every individual must discover in himself a kind of guiding spirit in the soul’s inner depths: — This is Budhi, the power of the Life spirit. Were we to approach the future by taking up the cultural impulses as in earlier epochs, we should face the disintegration of humanity.

What do we see now at the present time?

Everyone wants to be his own master: Egoism, selfishness have been pushed to the extreme. A time will come when no other authority will be recognised except one which men recognise freely, whose power is based upon free confidence. The Mysteries which were founded upon the power of the spirit, are called the MYSTERIES OF THE SPIRIT; the Mysteries of the future, which will have trust as their foundation, are called the MYSTERIES OF THE FATHER. These will mark the end of our civilisation. The new impulse of the power of confidence must come, otherwise we approach human disintegration, a universal cult of the Ego and of egoism.

In the times of the Mysteries of the Spirit, which were founded upon the rightful power, authority and might of the Spirit, there were certain wise men who possessed wisdom, and only the soul who passed through difficult probations could be initiated by them. In future, we approach the Mysteries of the Father, and we must strive more and more that each single human being should attain wisdom.

Will this counter-act egoism and the threatening disintegration? Yes! For only when we reach the highest wisdom, in which there are no differences, no personal opinion and no personal standpoint, but ONE VIEW only, will men agree. If they were to remain as they are at present, following their different standpoints, they would become more and more disunited. The highest wisdom always produces a unanimous view among all men. Real wisdom is ONE, and it unites men again, whilst leaving them as free as possible, without any coercive authority. Just as the members of the great WHITE Brotherhood are always in harmony with one another and with humanity, so all men will one day be one, through this wisdom. Only this wisdom can establish the true idea of brotherhood. Spiritual science therefore has only one task: to bring this idea to men, by developing now the Spirit-Self and later on the Life-Spirit. The great goal of the spiritual-scientific movement is to make it possible for man to attain freedom and true wisdom; its mission is to let this truth and wisdom flow into men.

The modern movement of spiritual science began with the most elementary teachings. Many important things have been revealed in the years which have passed since the founding of this movement, and much that is even more important will be revealed. The work of the spiritual-scientific movement, is therefore to allow a gradual flowing out of wisdom of the great white brotherhood that had its origin in Atlantis. Such work has always been prepared for through long periods of time. The whole activity of the great founders of religions was a preparation for the ONE great event, for the appearance of Christ-Jesus.

Spiritual science seeks to be the testamentary executor of Christianity. And so it will be. When the Mysteries of the Father have been fulfilled, that is, when the development of Budhi is accomplished in every individual human being, then each one will discover within himself his own deepest being — ATMAN, the Spirit-Man.

The coming of Christ-Jesus was prepared for by the sequence of the founders of religions, by Zarathustra, Hermes, Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras. All their teachings pursue the same aim: To let wisdom flow into humanity, but in every case, in the form most suited to each people respectively. The essentially new element is not found in what Christ said; the new element in the appearance and teaching of Christ-Jesus is the force that lay in Him to awaken into LIFE all that, formerly was only teaching.

Christianity has brought men the power to be united in free-willed recognition of the authority of Christ-Jesus, whilst maintaining the greatest possible individualisation, so that they are able to join together in brotherly union through faith in Him, in His manifestation and in His divinity.

Between the Mysteries of the SPIRIT and those of the FATHER, stand the MYSTERIES OF THE SON. Their seminary was the School of St. Paul, who had appointed Dionysios as its leader. This school flourished under him, for Dionysios taught these Mysteries in a very special way, whereas St. Paul propagated the teaching exoterically.

Let us now seek an explanation from another side, so as to understand the meaning of the words: The MYSTERIES OF THE FATHER will come. In the old Atlantean schools for adepts the teachers were not men, but beings higher than man, They had completed their development upon earlier planets, and these beings, who had come down to the earth from other planetary developments, instructed a group of chosen men in the MYSTERIES OF THE SPIRIT. In the MYSTERIES OF THE SON, Christ Himself appeared as a teacher in the most solemn celebrations and was therefore also a teacher who was not a man, but God. But in the MYSTERIES OF THE FATHER, those who will become teachers will be men, These men, who develop more quickly than the others, will be the true Masters of Wisdom and of Harmony; they are called “The Fathers”, in the Mysteries of the Father, the guidance of mankind passes from beings who have descended from other worlds into the hands of men themselves. This is significant.

It is the task of spiritual science to prepare men to form a centre for this end, to prepare them for a universal wisdom, for an authority built only on trust and confidence, and to develop an understanding for this, to begin with, in a small nucleus of humanity.

The development of the materialistic civilisation reached its climax in the nineteenth century, and that is why the impulse of spiritual science entered the world at that time. Through spiritual science, something was called into life — and now exists — which counter-acts materialism: It is the counter-movement in the direction of spirituality. Spiritual science is nothing new, and even the spiritual-scientific movement is not new; it is only the continuation of what has already existed.

Materialism and egoism bring disintegration to humanity, for the individual human being only regards his own interests. Wisdom must therefore reunite the human beings who have thus become separated. Wisdom brings them together in fullest freedom and exercises no coercion whatever. This is the task of the spiritual-scientific movement in our time.

We must realise that wisdom must be acquired quite concretely. We all know the example of the stove which was given the task of heating a room. If we explain this to the stove in words as moving as possible, and entreat it to warm the root, it will not obey us unless we heat it; only then will it be able to fulfil its task. Similarly, all talk of brotherhood and of brotherly love is useless; only through KNOWLEDGE we draw nigh to the goal. Individual human beings, and mankind as a whole, can only reach the path of wisdom and of brotherhood through knowledge.

We have now followed this path by considering three kinds of Mysteries. Spiritual science must be able to awaken an understanding for such things in a small nucleus of humanity, so that when the sixth race appears this understanding can be awakened in all men. This is the task which spiritual science must fulfil.

A small part of the fifth root-race will forestall the course of evolution, it will spiritualise Manas and unfold the Spirit-Self. The majority, however, will reach the summit of selfishness. Only this nucleus of humanity, that develops the Spirit-Self, will become the seed of the sixth root-race, and the most advanced of these, the Masters, as we call them, who have grown out of mankind, will then be the leaders of humanity. The movement for spiritual knowledge strives towards this goal.



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art serenade by shijun munns

 ART : Serenade ~ by Shijun Munns

At the Gates of Spiritual Science

Schmidt Number: S-1376

On-line since: 15th June, 2008



Yesterday we described the various stages by which pupils of the Eastern and the Christian occult schools came to higher knowledge. Today I will try to describe, in a similar way, the stages of Rosicrucian training.

You must not imagine that the Rosicrucian training contradicts the other two. It has existed since the fourteenth century, and it had to be introduced because mankind then needed a different form of training. Among the Initiates it was foreseen that a time would come when because of the gradual increase of knowledge men would be confused in matters of religious faith. Therefore a form of instruction had to be created for those who felt within themselves the discord between faith and knowledge. In the Middle Ages the most learned men were also those of the greatest faith and piety; and for a long time afterwards those who had made headway in scientific knowledge could not conceive of any contradictions between knowledge and faith. We are usually told that faith was shaken by the ideas of Copernicus, but that is quite wrong: after all, Copernicus dedicated his book to the Pope! It is only in quite recent times that this conflict has gradually developed. The Masters of Wisdom saw that this was bound to happen and that a new path would have to be found for those whose faith had been destroyed. For persons much occupied with science, the necessary path towards Initiation is the Rosicrucian, for the Rosicrucian method shows that the highest knowledge of mundane things is thoroughly compatible with the highest knowledge of spiritual truths. It is precisely through the Rosicrucian path that those who have been led away from Christian belief by what they take to be science can learn to understand Christianity truly for the first time. By this method anyone can come to a deeper grasp of the truth of Christianity. Truth is one, but it can be reached along different paths, just as at the foot of a mountain there are various paths, but they all meet at the summit.

The essence of Rosicrucian training may be described in two words: true self-knowledge. The Rosicrucian pupil has to distinguish two things, not merely theoretically but practically, so that they become part of his everyday life. There are two forms of self-knowledge — the lower form, called by the Rosicrucian pupil “self-mirroring”, which should serve to overcome the lower self, and the higher form of self-knowledge which is born out of self-renunciation.

What is the lower form of self-knowledge? It consists in the recognition of our everyday self, of what we are and of what we bear within us: in other words, an examination of our own soul-life. But we must make it quite clear to ourselves that by this means we cannot reach the higher self. When we look into ourselves we see only what we are, and that is just what we have to grow out of in order to surmount the ordinary self. But how is this to be done? Most people are convinced that their characteristics are the best, and anyone who lacks these characteristics is uncongenial to them. Once a person has outgrown this idea, not only in theory but in feeling, he will be on the way to true self-knowledge.

You can get out of the habit of self-admiration by a particular method which can be practised whenever you have five minutes for it. You must start from the principle that all characteristics are one-sided; you must learn to recognise in what respects yours are one-sided and then try to balance them. This principle may not amount to much in theory, but in practice it is highly effective. If you are industrious, you must ask yourself whether your activity may not be wrongly applied. Quickness, too, is one-sided; it needs to be supplemented by careful deliberation. Every quality has its polar opposite; you should cultivate its opposite and then try to harmonise the two extremes. For example, make haste slowly; be quick and yet deliberate; deliberate and yet not slow. Then the pupil will begin to grow beyond himself. All this is not part of meditation, but must be acquired alongside it.

It is by attention to small details that this harmony can be achieved. If your tendency is not to let anyone finish what he is saying, you must keep a watch on yourself and make up your mind that for six weeks you will keep silent, as far as possible, when someone else is talking. Then you must accustom yourself to speak neither too loudly nor too softly. Things such as this, which are generally not thought of, contribute essentially to inner self-development, and the more attention you pay to quite insignificant characteristics, the better it will be. If you try not only to acquire certain moral, intellectual or emotional qualities, but to get rid of some external habit, this will be particularly effective. It is a question not so much of investigating your inner self as of endeavouring to perfect the qualities which you have not yet fully developed, and to complement those you already have by cultivating their polar counterparts. Self-knowledge is one of the hardest things to acquire, and it is precisely those who think they know themselves best who are most likely to be deceived: they think too much about themselves. You should get out of the habit of fixing your attention on yourself and constantly using the word “I” — “I think, I believe, I consider this right”. Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people. Suppose, for instance, that someone is very clever. If he displays his cleverness in the company of people who are not so clever, his behaviour will be very ill-timed; he will be doing it only to please his own egoism. He ought to adapt his response to the needs and capacities of others. Agitators are particularly apt to offend against this rule.

In addition to all this you must cultivate patience, in the occult sense of the word. Most people who want to achieve something cannot wait; they imagine they are already fit to receive anything. This patience derives from strict self-training, and it, too, is related to the lower form of self-knowledge.

Higher self-knowledge begins only when we can say that our higher self is not in our ordinary “I”. It is in the whole great world outside, in the sun and the moon, in a stone or an animal: everywhere can be found the same essential being that is in us. If a man says: “I wish to cultivate my higher self and to withdraw from the world; I want to know nothing about anything material,” he entirely fails to understand that the higher self is everywhere outside, and that his own higher self is only a small part of the Great Self outside. Certain methods of so-called “spiritual” healers make this mistake, which can be very serious. They instil into patients the idea that matter has no real existence and so there can be no illnesses. This notion is based on a false self-knowledge, and, as I have said, it can be very dangerous. This healing method calls itself Christian, but in fact it is anti-Christian.

Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine. Everything material becomes an illusion unless we look on it as an expression of the Divine. If we disown the external world, we are disowning the Divine; if we reject the material realm, in which God has revealed himself, we are rejecting the Divine. The important thing is not to gaze into ourselves, but to seek to know the Great Self which shines down into us. The lower self says: “Standing here I am cold.” The higher Self says: “I am also the cold, for as part of the one Self I live in the cold and make myself cold.” Again the lower self says: “I am here in the eye which beholds the sun.” The higher Self says: “I am in the sun and in the sun’s rays I look into your eyes.”

Really to go out of yourself is to renounce yourself. Hence the Rosicrucian training aims at drawing the lower self out of man. In the early days of Theosophy the gravest mistake was made when people were told to look away from the external world and to gaze into themselves. That is a great illusion, for then we find only the lower self, the fourth principle, which imagines itself to be divine but is not so at all. We must come out of ourselves if we are to know the Divine. “Know thyself” means also “Overcome thyself”.

The Rosicrucian training leads its pupils through the following stages, and these go hand in hand with the six exercises already mentioned: control of thought; initiative in action; tranquillity; lack of prejudice, or positiveness; faith; and inner balance. The training itself consists of the following:

1. Study. Without study, a modern European cannot get to know himself. He must try, first of all, to reproduce in himself the thoughts of the whole of humanity. He must learn to think in harmony with the world-order. He must say to himself: “If others have thought this, it must be a possible human thought; I will test whether one can live with it.” He need not swear to it as a dogma, but by studying it he must get to know what it is. The pupil must learn about the evolution of sun and planets, of the earth and humanity. Thoughts of this kind, given to us for study, purify the spirit. By following the strict lines of these thoughts, we come to form strictly logical thoughts ourselves. This kind of study, again, purifies our thoughts, and so we learn to think with strict logic. If, for instance, we are reading a difficult book, the most important thing is not to comprehend its whole content, but to enter into the author’s line of thought and learn to think with him. Hence the pupil should find no book too difficult; if he does, it means only that he is too easy-going to think.

The best books are those we have to take up again and again, books we cannot understand immediately but have to study sentence by sentence. It does not matter so much what we study as how we study. If we study the great truths, for instance the planetary laws, we develop an important line of thought, and this is what really matters. If we say that we want more moral teaching and nothing about planetary systems, we show great egoism. True wisdom engenders a moral life.

2. Imagination or Imaginative Knowledge is the second thing we have to attain. What is it and how do we achieve it? As we go through the world we must observe it in the light of Goethe’s saying: “Everything transitory is but a symbol.” Goethe was a Rosicrucian and he can lead us into the life of the soul. Everything must become for us a symbol in manifold respects. Suppose, for instance, we are walking past a meadow saffron: in form and colour it is a symbol of mourning. Another flower, the convolvulus, is a symbol of helplessness; another flower, with its splash of red, is a sign of gaiety, and so on. A bird with bright colours may be a symbol of coquetry. The symbols may actually be expressed in the names: weeping willow, forget-me-not, and so on. The more we reflect in this way, so that external things become symbolic pictures of moral qualities, the more easily shall we attain to Imaginative Knowledge. We can see similar likenesses in human beings. For instance, we can study people’s temperament from their gait — look at the slow, heavy step of the melancholic, the light, springy step of the sanguine type.

After some time spent on these exercises we can pass to exercises of real Imagination. Take, for example, a living plant, look at it carefully, sink yourself into it, then draw forth the inner feeling of your soul and lay it as it were in the plant, as is described in the book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. All this stimulates the Imagination, and by this means the pupil acquires astral vision. After a time he will notice a little flame proceeding from the plant: that is the astral counterpart of its growth. Again, the pupil takes a seed and visualises the whole plant, as it will later on be in reality. These are exercises of the Imagination; by their means one comes to see things surrounded by their astral element.

3. The third stage is called learning the occult script. There is in fact such a script, through which one can penetrate more deeply into things. An example will show you more exactly what I mean. With the close of the old Indian civilisation a new civilisation began. The symbol for such an evolutionary stage is the vortex. These vortices exist everywhere in the world. They occur in the nebulae — the Orion nebula, for instance. There, too, an old world is dying and a new one being born. When the Indian civilisation was coming into being, the Sun was in the sign of Cancer; during the Persian civilisation in Gemini; during the Egyptian civilisation in Taurus; during the Graeco-Roman civilisation in Aries. Since the astronomical sign for Cancer is , this was the sign for the rise of the Indian civilisation.

Another example is the letter M. Every letter of the alphabet can be traced back to an occult origin. Thus M is the symbol of wisdom; it derives from the shape of the upper lip. It is also the sign for the waves of the seas ; hence wisdom may be symbolised by water. These signs indicate sounds which correspond with real things, and in the Rosicrucian training such studies are cultivated.

4. A rhythmical element is brought into breathing. It plays a less important part than it does in Eastern training, but it belongs to the Rosicrucian training and a Rosicrucian knows that through meditation the air he breathes out is purified.

5. The correspondence between Microcosm and Macrocosm is emphasised. This means the connection between the great world and the small, or between man and the world outside him.

Man has emerged by gradual stages and his various members have been formed in the course of evolution. Now it is impossible for certain organs to arise in a being which has, for example, no astral body, and therefore they could not come into existence on the Sun, even in a preliminary form. The liver is an instance of this: it cannot exist without the etheric body, but it is actually created by the astral body. Similarly, no being can have warm blood unless it first appeared at a time when the Ego was at least in course of preparation. True, the higher animals are warm-blooded, but they split off from man when the development of his Ego was already on the way. Hence we can say that the liver is closely related to the astral body, and warm blood to the Ego. In fact every one of man’s organs, even the smallest, has its specific relationship to one member of his being. If the pupil concentrates his attention on himself objectively, as though on something outside himself — if for instance he concentrates on the point at the root of the nose and connects with it a particular saying given by his occult teacher, he will be guided to that which corresponds to this point and he will come to know it. If he concentrates on this point under definite guidance, he will come to know the nature of the Ego. Another, much later exercise is directed towards the inner part of the eye; through this one learns to know the inner nature of light and of the sun. The nature of the astral can be learnt by concentrating on the liver, with the aid of certain specific words.

This is true self-development, when the pupil is taken out of himself by means of each organ on which he concentrates his attention. This method has become specially important in recent times because humanity has become deeply involved in matter. In this way one penetrates through the material to its creative cause.

6. Dwelling in, or sinking oneself into, the Macrocosm. This is the same form of spiritual contemplation that we described as Dhyanam. The pupil sinks himself into the organ he is contemplating — for example, the inner part of the eye. After concentrating on it for a while, he drops the mental picture of the external organ and thinks only of that to which the eye leads him — the light. In this way he comes to the creator of the organ and so out into the Macrocosm. He then feels his body increasingly growing larger and larger until it is as large as the Earth; indeed even bigger than the Earth, until all things are in it. And then he lives in all things.

7. The seventh stage corresponds to the Eastern Samadhi. It is called divine blessedness, because now the pupil ceases to think of this last concept, but he retains the power to think. The content of his thought falls away, but the activity of thought remains. And thus he comes to rest in the divine-spiritual world.

These stages of Rosicrucian training are more inward, and call for a subtle cultivation of the higher life of the soul. The widespread superficiality of our material epoch is a powerful obstacle to the necessary deepening of the whole inner life; it must be overcome. This form of training is particularly well suited to Europeans. Anyone who is in earnest can carry it out. But Goethe’s saying, “It is indeed easy, but even the easy is hard”, applies here.

We have gone into the various methods of training, and I will end these lectures by showing you something of the relationship between man and the whole Earth, so that you will see how man is related to everything that happens on Earth.

I have described the evolution of man and shown you how he can acquire a true inner being of his own. In the course of evolution the whole of humanity will attain to everything that the individual can achieve through occult training. But what will be happening to the Earth while mankind is developing in this way? There is a great difference between the Earth seen by the occultist and the Earth known to the ordinary geologist or scientist. He looks on it as merely a sort of great lifeless ball, with an interior not very unlike its exterior, except that at most the interior substances are fluid. But it is not easy to understand how such a lifeless ball could have produced all the different kinds of beings on it.

We know that on this Earth of ours various phenomena occur which deeply affect the fate of many people; but present-day science looks on this as a purely external relationship. Thus the fate of hundreds and thousands may be affected by an earthquake or a volcano. Does the human will have any influence on this, or is it all a matter of chance? Are there dead laws which act with blind fury, or is there some connection between these events and the will of man? What is really happening when a man is killed by an earthquake? What does the occultist say about the interior of the Earth?

The occult science of all epochs says the following about the interior of the Earth. We must think of the Earth as consisting of a series of layers, not completely separated from one another like the skins of an onion, but merging into one another gradually.

1. The topmost layer, the mineral mass, is related to the interior as an eggshell is to the egg. This topmost layer is called the Mineral Earth.

2. Under it is a second layer, called the Fluid Earth; it consists of a substance to which there is nothing comparable on Earth. It is not really like any of the fluids we know, for these all have a mineral quality. This layer has specific characteristics: its substance begins to display certain spiritual qualities, which consist in the fact that as soon as it is brought into contact with something living, it strives to expel and destroy this life. The occultist is able to investigate this layer by pure concentration.

3. The “Air-Earth”. This is a substance which annuls feelings: for instance, if it is brought into contact with any pain, the pain is converted into pleasure, and vice versa. The original form of a feeling is, so to speak extinguished, rather as the second layer extinguishes life.

4. The “Water-Earth”, or the “Form-Earth”. It produces in the material realm the effects that occur spiritually in Devachan. There, we have the negative pictures of physical things. In the “Form-Earth” a cube of salt, for example, would be destroyed, but its negative would arise. The form is as it were changed into its opposite; all its qualities pass out into its surroundings. The actual space occupied by the object is left empty.

5. The “Fruit-Earth”. This substance is full of exuberant energy. Every little part of it grows out at once like sponge; it gets larger and larger and is held in place only by the upper layers. It is the underlying life which serves the forms of the layers above it.

6. The “Fire-Earth”. Its substance is essentially feeling and will. It is sensitive to pain and would cry out if it were trodden on. It consists, as it were, entirely of passions.

7. The “Earth-mirror” or “Earth-reflector”. This layer gets its name from the fact that its substance, if one concentrates on it, changes all the characteristics of the Earth into their opposites. If the seer disregards everything lying above it and gazes down directly into this layer, and if then, for example, he places something green before him, the green appears as red; every colour appears as its complementary opposite. A polaric reflection arises, a reversal of the original. Sorrow would be changed by this substance into joy.

8. The “Divisive” layer. If with developed power one concentrates on it, something very remarkable appears. For example, a plant held in the midst of this layer appears to be multiplied, and so with everything else. But the essential thing is that this layer disrupts the moral qualities also. Through the power it radiates to the Earth’s surface, it is responsible for the fact that strife and disharmony exist there. In order to overcome this disruptive force, men must work together in harmony.

That is precisely why this layer was laid down in the Earth — so that men should be enabled to develop harmony for themselves. The substance of everything evil is prepared and organised there. Quarrelsome people are so constituted that this layer has a particular influence on them. This has been known to everyone who has written out of a true knowledge of occultism. Dante in his Divine Comedy calls this layer the Cain-layer. It was here that the strife between the brothers Cain and Abel had its source. The substance of this layer is responsible for evil having come into the world.

9. The “Earth-core”. This is the substance through whose influence black magic arises in the world. The power of spiritual evil comes from this source.

You will see that man is related to all the layers, for they are continually radiating out their forces. Humanity lives under the influence of these layers and has to overcome their powers. When human beings have learnt to radiate life on Earth and have trained their breathing so that it promotes life, they will overcome the “Fire-Earth”. When spiritually they overcome pain through serenity, they overcome the “Air-Earth”. When concord reigns, the “Divisive” layer is conquered. When white magic triumphs, no evil remains on Earth. Human evolution thus implies a transformation of the Earth’s interior. In the beginning the nature of the Earth’s body was such as to hold subsequent developments in check. In the end, when human powers have transformed the Earth, it will be a spiritualised Earth. In this way man imparts his own being to the Earth.

Now there are occasions when the very substance of the passions of the Fire-Earth begins to rebel. Aroused by men’s passions, it penetrates through the Fruit-Earth, forces its way through the channels in the upper layers and even flows up into and violently shakes the solid Earth: the result is an earthquake. If this passion from the Fire-Earth thrusts up some of the Earth’s substance, a volcano erupts. All this is closely connected with man. In Lemurian times, the upper layer was still very soft and the Fire-layer was near the surface. Human passions and the “passion-substance” of this layer are related; when men give rein to evil passions they strengthen its passions, and that is what happened at the end of Lemurian times. Through their passions the Lemurians made the Fire-Earth rebellious, and in this way they brought the whole Lemurian continent to destruction. No other cause for this destruction could be found except in what they had themselves drawn forth from the Earth. Today the layers are thicker and firmer, but there is still this connection between human passions and the passion-layer in the interior of the Earth; and it is still an accumulation of evil passions and forces that gives rise to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

How man’s destiny and will are related to happenings in the Earth can be seen from two examples which have been occultly investigated. It has been found that persons who have been killed in an earthquake appear in their next incarnation as men of high spiritual quality and faith. They had progressed far enough to be convinced by that final stroke of the transitoriness of earthly things. The effect of this in Devachan was that they learnt a lesson for their next lives: that matter is perishable but spirit prevails. They did not all come to realise that, but many of them are now living as people who belong to some spiritual-theosophical movement.

In the other example, the births which occurred during a time of frequent earthquakes were investigated. It was found that all those born at about the time of an earthquake, though not exactly in its area, were, surprisingly enough, men of a very materialistic cast of mind. The earthquakes were not the cause of this; rather it was these strongly materialistic souls, ripe for birth, who worked their way down into the physical world by means of their astral will and let loose the forces of the Fire-Earth layer, which proceeded to shake the Earth at the time of their birth.

Man transforms his dwelling-place and himself at the same time, and when he spiritualises himself, he spiritualises the Earth also. One day, at a later planetary stage, he will have ennobled the Earth by his own creative power. Every moment when we think and feel, we are working on the great structure of the Earth. The Leaders of mankind have insight into such relationships and seek to impart to men the forces which will work in the true direction of evolution. One of the latest of these impulses is the Theosophical Movement. Its purpose is to develop harmony and balance in the very depths of the human soul. Anyone who puts the assertion of his own opinion higher than love and peace has not thoroughly understood the idea of Theosophy. The spirit of love must penetrate even into the opinions a man holds. In the course of occult development he must unavoidably learn this, or he will get no further. He must renounce entirely his own opinions and must wish to be solely an instrument of the objective truth which comes from the spiritual world and flows through the world as the one great Truth. The more a man renounces himself and sets his own opinions aside, becoming instead a channel for the great Truth, the more does he manifest the true spirit of Theosophy.

All this is extraordinarily difficult today. But theosophical teaching is itself a promoter of peace. When we come together so that we may live within this teaching, it gives rise to peace. But if we introduce something from outside, we bring dissension in, and that should really be an impossibility. So the theosophical conception of the world must pass over into feeling — into something I would call a spiritual atmosphere — in which Theosophy lives. You must have a will to understand; then Theosophy will hover like a unifying spirit over our gatherings, and from there will spread its influence out through the world.



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The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature @ Rudolf Steiner Archive


art light pink fairy in tree by stephen mackey

ART : Light Pink Fairy in Tree ~ by Stephen Mackey

 The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature

Lecture 1: Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature


April 3, 1912


WHEN our friends here gave me a warm invitation to come to them, they requested me to speak about the spiritual beings we find in the realms of nature and in the heavenly bodies.

Our theme will compel us to touch upon a realm that is very far removed from all the knowledge given to man today by the external world, the intellectual world. From the very beginning we shall have to allude to a domain, the reality of which is denied by the external world of today. I shall only take for granted one thing, namely, that as a result of the studies you have hitherto made in spiritual science, you meet me with a feeling and perception for the spiritual world; in respect to the manner in which we shall name things, we shall come to a mutual understanding in the course of the lectures. All the rest will, in certain respects, come of itself when, as time goes on, we acquire an understanding born of feeling and of perception for the fact that behind our sense world, behind the world which we as men experience, there lies a world of spirit — a spiritual world; and that just as we penetrate into the physical world through regarding it not only as a great unity, but as specified into individual plants, animals, minerals, peoples, persons — so can we specify the spiritual world into different classes of individual spiritual beings. So that in spiritual science we do not merely speak of a spiritual world, but of quite definite beings and forces standing behind our physical world.

What then do we include in the physical world? First let us be clear about that. As belonging to the physical world we reckon all that we can perceive with our senses, see with our eyes, hear with our ears, all that our hands can grasp. Further, we reckon as belonging to the physical world all that we can encompass with our thoughts in so far as these thoughts refer to external perception, to that which the physical world can say to us. In the physical world we must also include all that we, as human beings, do within it. It might easily make us pause and reflect when it is said that all that we, as human beings do in the physical world forms part of that world, for we must admit that when we act in the physical world, we bring down the spiritual into that world. People do not act merely according to the suggestions of physical impulses and passions, but also according to moral principles; our conduct, our actions, are influenced by morals. Certainly when we act morally, spiritual impulses play a part in our actions; but the field of action in which we act morally is, nevertheless, the physical world. Just as in our moral actions there is an interplay of spiritual impulses, even so do spiritual impulses permeate us through colors, sounds, warmth, and cold and through all sense impressions. The spiritual is in a sense always hidden from external perception, from that which external man knows and can do. It is the characteristic of the spiritual, that man can only recognize it when he takes the trouble, at least to a small extent, to become other than he has been hitherto.

We work together in our groups and gatherings; not only do we hear there certain truths which tell us that there are various worlds — that man consists of various principles or bodies, or whatever we like to call them, but by allowing all this to influence us, although we may not always notice it, our soul will gradually change to something different, even without our going through an esoteric development. What we learn through spiritual science makes our soul different from what it was before. Compare your feelings after you have taken part in the spiritual life of a working group for a few years, the way in which you feel and think, with the thoughts and feelings you had before, or with the way in which people think and feel who are not interested in spiritual science. Spiritual science does not merely signify the acquisition of knowledge; it signifies most pre-eminently an education, a self-education of our souls. We make ourselves different; we have other interests. When a man imbues himself with spiritual science, the habits of attention for this or for that subject which he developed during previous years, alter. What interested him before, interests him no longer; that which had no interest for him previously, now begins to interest him in the highest degree. One ought not simply to say that only a person who has gone through esoteric development can attain to a connection with the spiritual world; esotericism does not begin with occult development. The moment we make any link with spiritual science with our whole heart, esotericism has already begun; our souls begin at once to be transformed. There then begins in us something resembling what would arise, let us say, in a being who had previously only been able to see light and darkness, and who then through a special and different organisation of the eyes, begins to see colors. The whole world would appear different to such a being. We need only observe it, we need only realise it, and we shall soon see that the whole world begins to have a different aspect when we have for a time gone through the self-education we can get in a spiritual science circle. This self-education to a quite definite feeling with regard to the spiritual world, this self-education to a perception of what lies behind the physical facts is a fruit of the spiritual scientific movement in the world, and is the most important part of spiritual understanding. We should not believe that we can acquire a spiritual understanding by mere sentimentality, by simply repeating continually that we wish to permeate all our feelings with love. Other people, if they are good, wish to do that too; this would only be giving way to a sort of pride. Rather should we make it clear to ourselves how we can educate our feelings by letting the knowledge of the facts of a higher world influence us, and transforming our souls by means of this knowledge. This special manner of training the soul to a feeling for a higher world is what makes the spiritual scientist. Above all we need this understanding if we intend to speak about the things which are to be spoken about in this course of lectures.

He who, with trained occult sight, is able to see behind the physical facts, finds at once behind all that is spread out as color, sound, as warmth, cold, all that is embodied in the laws of nature — beings, which are not revealed to the external senses, to the external intellect, but which lie behind the physical world. Then, as he penetrates further and further, he discovers, so to say, worlds with beings of an ever higher order. If we wish to acquire an understanding of all that lies behind our sense-world, then, in accordance with the special task that has been ascribed to me here, we must take as our real starting-point what we encounter first of all behind our sense-world, as soon as we raise the very first veil which our sense perception spreads over spiritual happenings. As a matter of fact, the world which reveals itself to the trained occult vision as the one lying next to us, presents the greatest surprise to the present-day understanding, to the present power of comprehension. I am speaking to those who have to some extent accepted spiritual science, consequently I may take it for granted that you know that behind that which meets us externally as the human being, behind what we see with our eyes, touch with our hands, and grasp with our understanding in ordinary anatomy or physiology concerning man — behind what we call the physical human body, we recognize a super-sensible human principle coming immediately next to it. This first super-sensible principle of man we call the etheric, or life-body.

We will not today speak of still higher principles of human nature, but will only be clear that occult sight is able to look behind the physical body and to find there the etheric or life-body. Now occult sight can do something similar with regard to Nature around us. Just as we can investigate man occultly to see if there is not something more than his physical body, and then find the etheric body — so we can look with occult vision at external nature in her colors, forms, sounds, and kingdoms — in the mineral, the plant, the animal and the human kingdoms, in so far as they meet us physically. We then find that just as behind the physical body of man there is a life-body, so we can also find a sort of etheric or life-body behind the whole of physical nature. Only there is an immense difference between the etheric body of all physical nature and that of man. When occult vision is directed to the etheric or life-body of man, it is seen as unity, as a connected structure, as one connected form or figure. When the occult vision penetrates all that external nature presents as color, form, mineral, plant, or animal structures, it is discovered that in physical nature the etheric body is a plurality — something infinitely multiform. That is the great difference; there is a single unitary being as etheric or life-body in man — while there are many varied and differentiated beings behind physical nature.

Now I must show you in what way we arrive at such an assumption as that just made, namely that there is an etheric or life-body — strictly speaking an etheric or life-world — a plurality, a multiplicity of differentiated beings, behind our physical nature. To express how we can arrive at this, I can clothe it in simple words:, we are more and more able to recognize the etheric or life-world behind physical nature when we begin to have a moral perception of the world lying around us. What is meant by perceiving the whole world morally? What does this imply? First of all, looking away from the earth, if we direct our gaze into the ranges of cosmic space, we are met by the blue sky. Suppose we do this on a day in which no cloud, not even the faintest silver-white cloudlet breaks the azure space of heaven. We look upwards into this blue heaven spread out above us — whether we recognize it in the physical sense as something real or not, does not signify; the point is the impression that this wide stretch of the blue heavens makes upon us. Suppose that we can yield ourselves up to this blue of the sky, and that we do this with intensity and for a long, long time; that we can so do it that we forget all else that we know in life and all that is around us in life. Suppose that we are able for one moment to forget all the external impressions, all our memories, all the cares and troubles of life, and can yield ourselves completely to the single impression of the blue heavens. What I am now saying to you, can be experienced by every human soul if only it will fulfil these necessary conditions; what I am telling you can be a common human experience. Suppose a human soul gazes in this way at nothing but the blue of the sky. A certain moment then comes, a moment in which the blue sky ceases to be blue — in which we no longer see anything which can in human language be called blue. If at that moment when the blue to us ceases to be blue, we turn our attention to our own soul, we shall notice quite a special mood in it. The blue disappears, and as it were, an infinity arises before us, and in this infinity a quite definite mood in our soul; a quite definite feeling, a quite definite perception pours itself into the emptiness which arises where the blue had been before. If we would give a name to this soul perception, to that which would soar out there into infinite distances, there is only one word for it; it is a devout feeling in our soul, a feeling of pious devotion to infinity. All the religious feelings in the evolution of humanity have fundamentally a nuance which contains within it what I have here called a pious devotion; the impression of the blue vault of the heavens which stretches above us has called up a religious feeling, a moral perception. When within our souls the blue has disappeared, a moral perception of the external world springs to life.

Let us now reflect upon another feeling by means of which we can in another way attune ourselves in moral harmony with external nature. When the trees are bursting into leaf and the meadows are filled with green, let us fix our gaze upon the green which in the most varied manner covers the earth or meets us in the trees; and again we will do this in such a way as to forget all the external impressions which can affect our souls, and simply devote ourselves to that which in external nature meets us as green. If once more we are so circumstanced that we can yield ourselves to that which springs forth as the reality of green, we can carry this so far that the green disappears for us, in the same way as previously the blue as blue disappeared. Here again we cannot say, “a color is spread out before our sight,” but (and I remark expressly that I am telling you of things that everyone can experience for himself if he fulfils the requisite conditions) the soul has instead a peculiar feeling, which can be thus expressed: “I now understand what I experience when I think creatively, when a thought springs up in me, when an idea strikes me: I understand this now for the first time, I can only learn this from the bursting forth of the green all around me. I begin to understand the inmost parts of my soul through external nature when the outer natural impression has disappeared and in its place a moral impression is left. The green of the plant tells me how I ought to feel within myself, when my soul is blessed with the power to think thoughts, to cherish ideas.” Here again an external impression of nature is transmuted into a moral feeling.

Or again we may look at a wide stretch of white snow. In the same way as in the description just given of the blue of the sky and the green of earth’s robe of vegetation, so this too can set free within us a moral feeling for all that we call the phenomenon of matter in the world. And if, in contemplation of the white snow mantle, we can forget everything else, and experience the whiteness, and then allow it to disappear, we obtain an understanding of that which fills the earth as substance, as matter. We then feel matter living and weaving in the world. And just as one can transform all external sight-impressions into moral perceptions, so too can one transform impressions of sound into moral perceptions. Suppose we listen to a tone and then to its octave, and so attune our souls to this dual sound of a tonic note and its octave that we forget all the rest, eliminate all the rest and completely yield ourselves to these tones, it comes about at last that, instead of hearing these dual tones, our attention is directed from these and we no longer hear them. Then again we find that in our soul a moral feeling is set free. We begin then to have a spiritual understanding of what we experience when a wish lives within us that tries to lead us to something, and then our reason influences our wish. The concord of wish and reason, of thought and desire, as they live in the human soul, is perceived in the tone and its octave.

In like manner we might let the most varied sense perceptions work upon us; we could in this way let all that we perceive in nature through our senses disappear, as it were, so that this sense-veil is removed; then moral perceptions of sympathy and antipathy would arise everywhere. If we accustom ourselves in this way to eliminate all that we see with our eyes, or hear with our ears, or that our hands grasp, or that our understanding (which is connected with the brain) comprehends — if we eliminate all that, and accustom ourselves, nevertheless, to stand before the world, then there works within us something deeper than the power of vision of our eyes, or the power of hearing with our ears, or the intellectual power of our brain-thinking; we then confront a deeper being of the external world. Then the immensity of Infinity so works upon us that we become imbued with a religious mood. Then does the green mantle of plants so work upon us that we feel and perceive in our inner being something spiritually bursting forth into bloom. Then does the white robe of snow so work upon us that by it we gain an understanding of what matter, of what substance is in the world; we grasp the world through something deeper within us than we had hitherto brought into play. And therefore in this way we come into touch with something deeper in the world itself. Then, as it were, the external veil of nature is drawn aside, and we enter a world which lies behind this external veil. Just as when we look behind the physical body of man we come to the etheric or life-body, so in this way we come into a region in which, gradually, manifold beings disclose themselves — those beings which live and work behind the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom. The etheric world gradually appears before us, differentiated in its details.

In Occult Science, that which thus gradually appears before man in the way described, has always been called the Elemental World; and those spiritual beings which we meet with there, and of which we have spoken, are the Elemental Spirits that lie hidden behind all that constitutes the physical-sense-perceptible. I have already said that whereas the etheric body of man is a unity, that which we perceive as the etheric world of nature is a plurality, a multiplicity. How then can we, since what we perceive is something quite new, find it possible to describe something of what gradually impresses itself upon us from behind external nature? Well, we can do so, if by way of comparison, we make a connecting link with what is known. In the whole multiplicity that lies behind the physical world, we first find beings which present self-enclosed pictures to occult vision. In order to characterize what we first of all find there I must refer to something already known. We perceive self-enclosed pictures, beings with definite outline, of which we can say that they can be described according to their form or shape. These beings are one class of those which we first of all find behind the physical-sense world. A second class of beings which we find there, we can only describe if we look away from that which shows itself in set form, with a set figure, and employ the word metamorphosis — transformation. That is the second phenomenon that presents itself to occult vision. Beings that have definite forms belong to the one class; beings which actually change their shape every moment, which, as soon as we meet them and think we have grasped them, immediately change into something else, so that we can only follow them if we make our souls mobile and receptive — belong to this second class. Occult vision actually only finds the first class of beings, which have quite a definite form, when (starting from such conditions as have already been described), it penetrates into the depths of the earth.

I have said that we must allow all that works on us in the external world to arouse a moral effect, such as has been described. We have brought forward by way of example, how one can raise the blue of the heavens, the green of the plants, the whiteness of the snow., into moral impressions. Let us now suppose that we penetrate into the inner part of the earth. When, let us say, we associate with miners, we reach the inner portion of the earth, at any rate we enter regions in which we cannot at first so school our eyes that our vision is transformed into a moral impression. But in our feeling we notice warmth, differentiated degrees of warmth. We must first feel this — that must be the physical impression of nature when we plunge into the realms of the earthly. If we keep in view these differences of warmth, these alternations of temperature, and all that otherwise works on our senses because we are underground, if we allow all this to work upon us, then thus through penetrating into the inner part of the earth, and feeling ourselves united with what is active there, we go through a definite experience. If we then leave out of count everything that produces an impression, if we exert ourselves while down there to feel nothing, not even the differences of warmth which were only for us a preparatory stage, if we try to see nothing, to hear nothing, but to let the impression so affect us that something moral issues from our soul — then there arises before our occult vision that class of creative nature-beings which, for the occultist, are really active in everything belonging to the earth, especially in everything of the nature of metal, and which now present themselves to his imagination, to his imaginative knowledge, in sharply defined forms of the most varied kind. If, having had an occult training, and having at the same time a certain love of such things — it is especially important to have this here — a man makes acquaintance with miners and goes down into the mines, and below there, can forget all external impressions, he will then feel rising up before his imagination, the first class, as it were, of beings which create and weave behind all that is earthy, and especially in all that pertains to metals. I have not yet spoken to-day of how popular fairy tales and folk-legends have made use of all that, in a sense, is actually in existence; I should like first to give you the dry facts which offer themselves to occult vision. For according to the task set me, I must first go to work empirically — that is, I must give an account, first of all, of what we find in the various kingdoms of nature. This is how I understand the subject which was put before me.

Just as with occult vision we perceive in our imagination clearly outlined nature-beings, and in this way can have before us beings with settled form, for which we see outlines that we could sketch, so it is also possible for occult vision to have an impression of other beings standing immediately behind the veil of nature. If, let us say, on a day when the weather conditions are constantly changing, when, for instance., clouds form and rain falls, and when perhaps a mist rises from the surface of the earth; if on such a day we yield to such phenomena in the way already described, so that we allow a moral feeling to take the place of a physical one — we may again have quite a distinct experience. Especially is this the case if we devote ourselves to the peculiar play of a body of water tossing in a waterfall and giving out clouds of spray; if we yield ourselves to the forming and dissolving mist and to the watery vapor filling the air and rising like smoke, or when we see the fine rain coming down, or feel a slight drizzle in the air. If we feel all this morally there appears a second class of beings, to which we can apply the word metamorphosis, transformation. This second class of beings we cannot draw, just as little as we can really paint lightning. We can only note a shape present for a moment, and the moment after everything is again changed. Thus there appear to us as the second class of beings, those which are ever changing form, for which we can find a symbol for the imagination in the changing formations of the cloud.

But as occultists we become acquainted in yet another way with these beings. When we observe the plants as they come forth from the earth in spring-time, just when they put forth the first green shoots — not later, when they are getting ready to bear fruit — the occultist perceives that those same beings which he discovered in the pulverizing, drifting, gathering vapors, are surrounding and bathing the beings of the budding plants. So that we can say that when we see the plants springing forth from the earth, we see them everywhere bathed by such ever-changing beings as these. Then occult vision feels that that which weaves and hovers unseen over the buds of the plants is in some way concerned with what makes the plants push up out of the ground, draw forth from the ground. You see, ordinary physical science recognizes only the growth of the plants, only knows that the plants have an impelling power which forces them up from below. The occultist, however, recognizes more than this in the case of the blossom. He recognizes around the young sprouting plant, changing, transforming beings which have, as it were, been released from the surrounding space and penetrate downwards; they do not, like the physical principle of growth, merely pass from below upwards, but come from above downwards, and draw forth the plants from the ground. So, in spring, when the earth is robing herself in green, to the occultist it is as though nature-forces, descending from the universe, draw forth that which is within the earth, so that the inner part of the earth may become visible to the outer surrounding world, to the heavens. Something which is in unceasing motion hovers over the plant and what is characteristic is, that occult vision acquires a feeling that that which floats round the plants is the same as is present in the rarefied water, tossing itself into vapor and rain. That, let us say, is the second class of nature-forces and nature-beings. In the next lecture we shall pass on to the description of the third and fourth classes, which are much more interesting; and all this will become clearer. When we set about making observations such as these, which lie so far from the present consciousness of man, we must keep well in mind that “All that meets us is physical, but permeated by the spiritual.”

As we have to think of the individual man as permeated by what appears to occult sight as the etheric body, so must we think of all that is living and weaving in the world as permeated by a multiplicity of spiritual living forces and beings. The course to be followed in our considerations shall be such that we shall first describe simply the facts that an occultly-trained vision can experience in the external world; facts which are evident to us when we look into the depths of the earth or the atmosphere, into that which happens in the different realms of nature, and in the heavenly spaces filled by the fixed stars. And only at the end shall we gather the whole together in a kind of theoretical knowledge, able to enlighten us as to that which lies, as spirit, at the foundations of our physical universe and its different realms and kingdoms.



art light pink fairy in tree by stephen mackey


Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse: Part 1: Lecture Three @ Rudolf Steiner Archive


sam carlo 5.11 b

Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse: Part 1: Lecture Three


MUNICH — May 8, 1907

A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE SUCH as we have today [See Note 1] means much to those who belong to the theosophical movement, who feel that they belong to a spiritual movement. It means something entirely different from a day of remembrance for others, for those departed human beings who were firmly anchored in our materialistic culture. Such a day for us is also a day of gathering together; for what would the teachings of Theosophy be if they did not enter into every fiber of our hearts and there enrich our innermost life of feeling? If a soul has been separated from its physical body, that means only that a person’s inner being has entered into a different relationship to us. It is just such a relationship to the founder of the theosophical movement that we would like to especially enliven on this day. We want to be filled with a feeling for our connectedness with the founder of our movement. We want to become fully conscious that thoughts and feelings are invisible powers in our soul, that they are facts. Feelings are living forces. If we today unite all our thoughts with what is included in the name “Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,” if we are united with the spirit who left her earthly sheaths behind on May 8, 1891, then our feelings and thoughts are real forces and create a real, spiritual bridge to another form of existence. Another world finds access to our souls across this bridge. For human beings who see, such thoughts and feelings are really living rays, rays of spiritual light that shoot forth from a human being, and are then united in a point that meets with the spiritual being. Such a festive moment is a reality. When our soul, dwelling in our body, wants to work on the physical plane, then it must form a body for itself: it must build and form matter and forces in such a way that it can express itself through them. If the matter and forces did not fit together then this soul could no longer live its life on the physical plane. Just as it is here on the physical plane, so it is also on the higher planes for spiritual beings. If we want to understand correctly Helena Petrovna Blavatsky then we must realize that all of her efforts are bound up with the proper progress of the theosophical movement. And so it has been since her soul freed itself from her physical body. Even now she is working as a living being within the Theosophical Society. If she is to be able to work then matter and forces must be at her disposal. From where could they be better taken than from the souls of those who understand her being within the theosophical movement. As our souls take hold of matter and forces on the physical plane, so also does such a being take hold of the matter and forces in human souls in order to work through them. If those people who are members of the theosophical movement were not willing to place themselves at the disposal of this being, then she could not find expression on the physical plane. We ourselves must create a place in our souls for reverence, love, and devotion, thus creating the forces through which Helena Petrovna Blavatsky can work, just as our soul works trough our bodies of flesh. We must become aware that we are truly creating something when, in this moment, we are loving and receptive. It is true that all the love and devotion that today streams up to the soul of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky are powerful forces that are called upon to connect with her.

We must correctly understand what this personality signifies within our cultural life. The nineteenth century will one day be described as the materialistic century in the history of humankind. The people of the twentieth century cannot really imagine how deeply the nineteenth century was entangled in materialism. Only later when people have again become spiritual will that be possible. Everything, even the religious life, was permeated by materialism. Anyone who can look upon human evolution from higher planes knows that in the forties of the nineteenth century there was an extreme low point in the spiritual life. Science, philosophy, and religion were in the grip of materialism. It was incumbent upon the leaders of humankind gradually to allow a stream of spiritual life to flow into humanity. It is most telling that, within the widest circumference of spiritual life in Occidental culture, no one was found as suitable as Helena Petrovna Blavatsky to guide the stream of spiritual life into the world, the stream that should refresh humankind and begin to pull it out of materialism. In the light of this one fact, the impact of all the attacks against her swirling around in the world today fade away. For, among many other things, the Theosophical Society must teach us the feeling of positivity. We must acquire an attitude that seeks, above all, to see what speaks of greatness in a human being. Then, in comparison to this greatness, all the little faults that incite criticism must fade away. Just as with other great personalities many things that were seen by their contemporaries with critical eyes have disappeared, so too will all these things fall away from her. But the great things she has accomplished will remain.

Let us learn to regard the mistakes of human beings as their own affair and the accomplishments of human beings as something that concerns all of humankind. People’s errors belong to their karma; their deeds concern humanity. Let us learn not to be troubled by people’s mistakes; they themselves must atone for them. Let us rather be thankful for their accomplishments, for the entire evolution of humanity lives from them.

This year’s White Lotus Day, a day of remembrance for souls who have struggled free from the body and lift their experiences in another form up into the heights like a lotus flower, is the first day of this kind that we are not celebrating in community with Henry Steel Olcott, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s associate. He, too, has left the physical plane, he who stood there as the great organizer, as the form-giving power. [Here follows an indecipherable sentence.] To him we direct our grateful, revering, and love-filled thoughts; these thoughts will flow into the spiritual world and we ourselves will thereby be strengthened. We should continue the celebration on the other days of the year as we send out our thoughts as rays of light, as we apply the strength we have received to the work that we call the theosophical movement. We will only work as they would if we are devoted to the spiritual life in an entirely undogmatic, nonsectarian way. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky did not ask for blind faith. What can be asked of her followers is that they let themselves be stimulated by her spirituality. There is a spring of spiritual power in what Helena Petrovna Blavatsky left to the physical plane, a spring that will be a blessing to us if we let it influence us in a living way. The letters on the page can stimulate us, but the spirit must become alive within. One thing that can be said of the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is this: Only someone who does not understand them can underestimate them. But someone who finds the key to what is great in these works will come to admire her more and more. That is what is significant about these works — the more one penetrates them the more one admires them. It is not the case that there are no mistakes to be found in them. But those who really take hold of life know, if they strive to evermore penetrate these works, that what is therein expressed could only have come from the great spiritual beings who are now guiding world evolution. This is how we must read Isis Unveiled, [See Note 2] a book containing truths which, although sometimes caricatured like a beautiful face seen in a distorting mirror, are truly great.

A person who would merely like to speak out of a critical spirit might perhaps say: It would have been better not to give any such distortion. But anyone seeing matters in the proper light will say: If someone places their weak spiritual forces at the disposal of spiritual powers who wish to reveal themselves, and knows that these forces will produce only a distorted picture but that there is no one else who could do it any better, then that person, through their devotion, is making a great sacrifice for the world. All renderings of the great truths are distortions. If someone wanted to wait until the whole truth could be manifested, then they would have a long wait. Selfless are those who devote themselves to the spiritual world saying: It doesn’t matter if people tear me apart, I must present the truth as I can. This sacrifice is much greater than a moral sacrifice, this noble sacrifice of the intellect — an expression so often misused by a wrong-headed conception of religion — it signifies the yielding up of the intellect for instreaming, spiritual truth. If we are unwilling to offer up our intellect then we cannot serve the truth. When we look toward Helena Petrovna Blavatsky with gratitude, we do so above all because she is a martyr in the sense just described, a martyr among the great martyrs for the truth. This is how we consider her when we gladly and willingly regard her as a model in the Theosophical Society. Therefore, when I speak about regions of the spirit inaccessible to her it will not profane this day.

I will speak about spiritual streams in the world that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky least understood on the physical plane. We serve her best by placing ourselves in the service of that to which she could find no access. She would much prefer to have followers rather than worshipers. Although much of what I say may sound opposed to her, nevertheless we know that we are acting according to her wishes; by taking this liberty we esteem her the most.

Our transition now to the Apocalypse is not sought after, not forced. For if we wish to understand more deeply the world mission of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, then we must imagine evolution as consisting of two streams. Eighteen forty-one was the low point of humanity’s spiritual life. The opponents of spiritual life had, in 1841, the strongest point of attack in the evolution of humankind. [See Note 3] They did the groundwork necessary to prepare for many of the things described in the Apocalypse as prophetic visions of the future. What is represented by the beast with the horns of the ram and the number 666, the beast with the seven heads and so forth — that is prepared by the powers who, in 1841, found their moment for attacking the evolution of humankind. Those elemental beings who, at that time, found suitable soil, those powers have taken possession of a large part of humanity and, from that position, are exerting their influence. Otherwise, the adversarial powers that find expression in the two beasts would not reside in humanity pulling it down. Against this downward pull there is another movement drawing us upward. What is accomplished today for this upward movement is a preparation for all those who are to be sealed, who enter the stream of spiritual evolution. This stream found an instrument precisely in Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. We do not understand our present age if we do not recognize the deep necessity for this spiritual stream. We stand now in the fifth subrace of the fifth root race and are living toward the sixth and seventh subrace, then the sixth ground-race. What does it mean to say that we are living toward these races? [See Note 4] It means that an understanding of Christ is contained in the sixth epoch — be it in the sixth epoch of the sixth subrace prophetically announced, or the sixth root race — for the human being who wants it.

At that time there will be human beings who are Christ filled, who have been sealed; in the ages of future spirituality the opening up, the breaking of the seals of human souls will take place. That the five wise virgins have oil burning in their lamps, that the bridegroom finds illuminated souls, signifies that a portion of humanity will have revealed to it the mystery that is still today closed to humankind. The book with the seven seals will be deciphered for a portion of humankind. The writer of the Apocalypse, John, wants through signs to point to this time, wants to proclaim prophetically this age. In one sentence we read: “And a great sign appeared in heaven …” (Rev. 12:1) That means we are dealing in the Apocalypse with signs representing the great phases of the evolution of humanity. We must then decipher these signs. We remember that our present fifth root race was preceded by the Atlantean race, which was destroyed by a flood. What will destroy the fifth race? The fifth race has a special task: the development of egotism. This egotism will, at the same time, create what causes the downfall of the fifth root race. A small part of humankind will live toward the sixth main race; a larger part will not yet have found the light within. Because egotism is the fundamental power in the soul, the war of all against all will rage within this larger part of humanity. As the Lemurian race found its end through the power of fire, the Atlantean through water, so will the fifth race find its destruction in conflict between selfish, egoistic powers in the war of all against all. This line of evolution will descend deeper and deeper; when it arrives at the bottom everyone will rage against everyone else. A small part of humankind will escape this, just as a small part escaped during the destruction of the Atlantean race. It is up to every individual to find a connection to the spiritual life in order to be one of those to go over into the sixth root race. Mighty revolutions stand before humankind; they are described in the Apocalypse.

First, seven letters to seven communities are placed before us. If human beings are to find the path to that great point in time, they must have something to hang on to, something that enables them to ennoble the seven sheaths of their human constitution, so that they are prepared when the time comes. There are places on the earth where, through religious exercises, the main emphasis is on the development of the physical body. In other places the emphasis is on the development of the etheric body. In other locations the emphasis is on the development of the astral body, or the I. There will also be more and more places where special attention will be given to the development of manas, or budhi, or atma. [See Note 5] We would not believe in reincarnation in the proper sense unless we would say: If a person has once been born in a location where the primary emphasis is on the physical body, then, another time, he or she would be born in a place where more attention was paid to the other bodies, and so forth.

Seven letters are directed to seven separate geographical regions where particular emphasis is placed on one of the seven parts of the human being. The first letter is directed to the Ephesians. They put great stock in the development of the physical body. The Phrygians in Smyrna emphasized the etheric body; in Pergamon people worked especially on the astral body.

We want to consider why seven geographical regions signify special kinds of development for humankind in relation to the seven members of the human being. Let us assume that someone lives in a region where the physical body is especially developed; if that person then neglects the physical body, it then becomes a caricature of what it might have become. If what is supposed to be brought to a certain perfection is not developed, then something arises inwardly that makes such a person receptive to the evil manifestations in the evolution of humankind.

The first letter is directed to the community in Ephesus, the place consecrated to Diana. [See Note 6] It emphasizes the beautiful formation of the human body. Where does the development of the physical body lead? We can become increasingly clear about this if we realize that the physical body must be evermore purified, and must become more and more an expression of the etheric body. The etheric body must itself become an expression of the astral body, which in turn should become an expression of the I.

Numbers played a large role in the ancient Pythagorean schools. Let us remember that in the world of devachan, everything is ordered according to measure and number. Of course, this is the case with everything. What would it mean to seek the laws of nature, if they did not already exist? We weigh and measure the bodies of the world as we do substances on a smaller scale. We must put this fact together with another. We can think of this space as filled with the “sound forms” of a sublime musical composition, for example, the sounds of the “Good Friday Spell” from Wagner’s opera Parzifal. That is the higher, soul form for what a physicist would express in numbers for the frequency of the sound vibrations. The spirit of these vibrations of the music flows through our souls. If we think of the numbers being heard by the ear of the spirit, then we have the music of the spheres. If a physicist would record in numbers the vibrations in the air he or she would record the magic of “Good Friday” just as little as a mathematician describes Pythagorian ideas in measure and number. The numbers express only the harmonies. When Pythagoreans wanted to express the four members of the human being, they expressed the harmony in the ratio: 1:3:7:12. That signifies the sound wherein the four numbers harmonize in the same way as do the four parts of the human being. The three sounds: I, the sound of the sun; II, — the sound of the moon; III, the sound of the earth — resound into the astral body.

Physical body : 12 Ephesus
Etheric body : 7 Smyrna
Astral body : 3 Pergamon
I : 1
Spirit self
Life spirit
Spiritualized human being

What comes forth from the earth, sun, and moon sound together in our astral body. But what comes forth from the planets sounds in our etheric body. There is a sevenfold influence from the planets on the etheric body, as there is from the seven musical intervals: the unison interval, major second, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major sixth, major seventh — Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus. These seven planets resound into our etheric body. There are twelve influences from the signs of the zodiac that resound into our physical body. The seer experiences twelve fundamental tones on the devachanic plane. They influence our physical body. Everything in the I, astral body, etheric body, and in the physical body resounds in tones. One tone resounds in the I, three tones in the astral body, seven tones in the etheric body and twelve tones in the physical body. Altogether this results in harmony or disharmony.

There is an expression in occultism: the twelve goes into the seven, which means that the physical body is constantly becoming more like the etheric body. If the physical body sounds right then we can hear the seven tones of the stars through the twelve tones. “Become such that the twelve becomes the seven, that the seven stars appear” is said to the Ephesians, because with them the physical body is especially developed. They should turn to look at the seven stars. We know that the development of Christianity means a transition from the old forms of community based on blood ties to spiritual love, that the spiritual will take over from the flesh. Those who tell us that we should endeavor, above all, to insure that the sensual, the elemental gets its due — those people were called the Nicolaitans: They wanted to remain rooted in the material forces of the blood; hence, the warning concerning the Nicolaitans. [See Note 7] They are the ones who will bring about the downfall.

Opposing them are those who want to overcome material evolution, who want spiritual life. The letter closes with the symbol of the tree of life: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna …” (Rev. 2:17)

The second letter is directed to the community that is supposed to be most concerned with the cultivation of the etheric body. The etheric body must gradually be developed into life spirit. The human being now goes through birth and death, but later this etheric body will become life spirit. Then it will have overcome death. In the Sermon on the Mount we read: “Blessed are those who pray for spirit, for they find through themselves the Kingdom of Heaven” (compare: Matt. 5:3) Those who pray for spirit are blessed; that means that soul permeates their life. Just as the physical body is developed by the Ephesians, so, too, in the second community, is the etheric body developed into a body of soul. When they strive for this blessing they are called “beggars for spirit”; they pray for a blessing through the enlivening of the etheric body. This is indicated by the words: “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.” With these words the development of the etheric body is clearly expressed.

The Apocalypse is one of the greatest spiritual documents. There are hardly any great spiritual truths whose significance is not to be found there. The study of the Apocalypse is not without its connections to theosophical evolution.

By understanding such a work we allow ourselves to be stimulated by the spirit who spoke through Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. What the Theosophical Society seeks to achieve must strike us like a trumpet proclamation sent to humankind. The more we understand the Apocalypse the more we understand the task of our movement.



Note 1. Day of remembrance of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (born 1831) who died on May 8, 1891. In 1875 with Henry Steel Olcott (1832 – 1907) she founded the Theosophical Society.

Note 2. Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, 2 vols. (New York: J.W. Bouton, 1877).

Note 3. Compare Rudolf Steiner’s lecture of October 14, 1917 in The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness (GA 177) (Forthcoming from Rudolf Steiner Press).

Note 4. Steiner uses the old theosophical term “root race” to designate the seven epochs of earth evolution: the Polarian, the Hyperborean, the Lemurian, the Atlantean, Post-Atlantean and the last two, the sixth and seventh epochs. Each of these epochs consists of seven “subraces” It should be noted that Steiner used the word “race” only in the early, the theosophical, period of his work. Furthermore, his use of the word has little in common with the word’s use today. On June 20, 1908 he said, “… we speak of ages of civilization, in contradistinction to races. All that is connected with this idea of race is still the remains of the epoch preceding our own, namely, the Atlantean. We are now living in the age of cultural epochs. Atlantis was the age in which seven great races developed one after another. Of course, the fruits of this race development extend into our epoch, and for this reason races are still spoken of today, but they are really mixtures and are quite unlike those distinct races of the Atlantean epoch. Today the idea of civilization has already superseded the idea of race” (The Apocalypse of St. John, London: The Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958, 61).

Note 5. Characterized by Rudolf Steiner in his book Theosophy. as Spirit-self, Life-spirit, and Spirit-Man.

Note 6. Ancient Roman goddess of the forest, protector of wilderness and women. She was identified with the Greek goddess Artemis.

Note 7. The Nicolaitans mentioned in chapter 2 of the Book of Revelation are pagan Christians from Pergamon. They disregarded the Old Testament proscriptions concerning the consumption of food sacrificed to idols and certain marital unions characterized as sexually immoral.



sam carlo 5.11 b


The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness ~ Lecture 1: The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas @ Rudolf Steiner Archive

sam carlo ART Juli Cady Ryan

ART Juli Cady Ryan

The Christ Impulse and the Development of the Ego-Consciousness

Lecture 1: The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas


Berlin, 25th October, 1909.


Today, on the occasion of our General Meeting, I feel it incumbent upon me to speak upon a very sublime subject with which man is concerned. You must allow me to begin by mentioning once again that it is necessary for us to grow accustomed to speak in such a way on these subjects, that we must not rest satisfied with a one-sided rendering of the particulars connected with the higher world, as regards the general idea of the Bodhisattvas and their mission. We must accustom ourselves here to penetrate from the abstract into the concrete and to try, with the help of the ideas and sentiments which we have acquired from our sincere and loving study of life, to press through even to the sublime subjects pertaining to the Bodhisattvas. In doing this we must not merely accept the facts communicated to us, but try to a certain extent to understand them. For this reason I intend in this lecture to-day to begin by giving some description of the idea men had of the Bodhisattvas and of how that idea moved through the world.

We cannot really understand what a Bodhisattva is, without going somewhat deeply into the progressive course of man’s evolution, and calling to mind some of the things we have heard in the last few years. Let us consider the nature of this progress. After the great Atlantean catastrophe humanity went through the period of the Old Indian civilisation, during which the great Rishis were the teachers of man. Then followed the period of the Old Persian civilisation; then that of the Egypto-Chaldean civilisation, then the Graeco-Latin period — up to our own, which is the fifth period of civilisation of the Post-Atlantean age. The purpose of these periods is the progressive development of humanity from one form of life to another. Progress is not made only in what is generally described in external history; for if we take great periods of time, we find that all the sentiments and feelings, all the conceptions and ideas of men, alter and are renewed in the course of the development of humanity. What would be the use of advocating the idea of re-embodiment or reincarnation, if we did not know this? What use would it be for our soul to come back over and over again into an earthly body, unless it were to learn something new each time — and not only to have new experiences, but to learn to feel differently? Even the capacities of man, the intimacies of his soul-life, are each time renewed and altered. This makes it possible for the soul to do more than merely ascend stage by stage as though up a series of steps, for each time it meets with new opportunities, through the altered conditions of life, of acquiring something new on earth. The soul is not merely guided from one incarnation to another by its sins and errors; but as our earth alters in every one of its conditions of life, so our souls can each time add something new from without. Therefore the soul progresses from incarnation to incarnation, but also from one period of civilisation to another. It would not, however, be able to progress and develop, were it not that those Beings who had already reached a high development, and were in some way or other above the ordinary humanity, had taken care that something new might always flow into earthly civilisation. In other words, we could not have advanced if there had not been great Teachers at work who, on account of their higher development, were able to receive the experiences from the higher worlds and carry them down to the scene of action of the life of earthly culture. There have always been such Beings in the development of our earth. (I am only speaking to-day of the Post-Atlantean development) and these Beings were in certain respects the Teachers of the rest. We can only understand the nature of these Teachers of humanity if we are clear as to the way humanity itself progresses.

You will have heard the two Lectures just given by Dr. Unger, on the Ego in its relation to the Non-Ego in its comprehension of itself considered according to the theory of Knowledge. Now do you suppose that what you then heard rendered by human lips and human thinking, could have been heard in this form 2,500 years ago? It would have been impossible in any part of the earth to speak about the Ego in this form of pure thought. Suppose some individuality 2,500 years ago had desired to incarnate into our earth-life, having made up its mind beforehand to speak of the Ego in that special way, well, it could not have done so! Anyone who supposes that anything of the kind could have been uttered by human lips, 2,500 years ago, entirely fails to recognise the actual progress and alteration in the development of civilisation since that time. For this to be possible it would not only be necessary for an individuality to resolve to incarnate in a human body, but it would also have been necessary that our earth in her evolution should have produced a human body with a particular sort of brain, so that the truths, which in the higher worlds are quite of a different nature, could in that particular brain take the form which we call ‘pure thought.’ For the way in which Dr. Unger spoke of the Ego we call the form of pure thought. 2,500 years ago there would have been no human brain capable of being an instrument for translating these truths into such thoughts. The Beings who wish to descend to our earth must make use of the bodies which this earth-cycle itself produces. Our earth, however, throughout the different periods of civilisation has always brought forth bodies with ever different organisations; only in our fifth Post-Atlantean epoch of civilisation, has it become possible to speak in the form of pure thought — the human race having produced the necessary bodies. Even in the Graeco-Latin age it would not yet have been possible to speak like that along the lines of the theory of knowledge, for there would have been no instrument there to translate such thoughts into human language. That precisely is the task of our fifth Post-Atlantean period; it must gradually form the physical organisation of man into an instrument through which those truths, which in other ages were grasped in quite other forms, can flow in ever purer and purer thought. We will take another example. When a man considers the question of good and evil at the present day, hesitating as to whether he should or should not do a certain thing, he says that a kind of inner voice speaks, telling him: ‘You ought not to do this. You ought to do that!’ and that this has nothing to do with any outer law. If we listen to this inner voice, we distinguish in it a certain impulse, an incitement to act in a certain way in a given case. We call this inner voice conscience. If a man is of the opinion that the different periods of man’s development were all exactly alike, he might easily believe that as long as man has inhabited the earth, conscience has always existed. That would not be correct. We can, so to speak, prove historically that there was a beginning to the time when men began to speak of conscience. When this was, is clearly evident. It lay between the periods of two tragic poets: Æschylos, who was born in the sixth century before our era, and Euripides, who was born in the fifth century. You will find no mention of conscience previous to this. Even in Æschylos you will not as yet find what could be called the inner voice; what he writes of, still took the form of an astral, pictorial apparition; the Furies or Erinyes, vengeful beings, appeared to men. The time came, however, when the astral perception of the Furies was replaced by the inner voice of conscience, Even in the Graeco-Latin period, in which a dim astral perception was still present, a man who had committed a wrong could perceive that every wrong act created astral forms in his environment, whose presence filled him with anxiety and fear as to what he had done. Those forms were man’s educators at that time; they gave him his impulses. When he lost the last remains of his astral clairvoyance, this perception was replaced by the invisible voice of conscience; that means, that what was at first outside, then entered into the soul and became one of the forces now within it. The alteration that has taken place in mankind in the course of development comes from the fact that the external instrument of man, in which he seeks embodiment, has changed. Five thousand years ago, when a human soul did something wrong, the Furies were perceived; it could not then have heard the Voice of Conscience. In this way it learnt to establish an inner relation to good and evil. This same soul was born again and again, and at last it was born into a body possessing an organisation in which the quality of conscience could approach it. In a future cycle of human development other forms and other capacities will be experienced in the soul.

I have repeatedly laid stress on the fact that no one who really understands Anthroposophy will take up the dogmatic attitude of asserting that the form in which this is given out to-day will be permanent and will suffice for the humanity of all future time. Such is not the case. In 2,500 years’ time the same truths will not be revealed in this form, but in a different form, according to the instruments then existing. If you bear this in mind, it will be clear to you that humanity must be spoken to in a different manner in each successive age and that the attitude of the great Teachers towards the capacities and qualities of man must likewise differ. This signifies that the great Teachers themselves undergo development from one cycle to another, from one age to another. In the ages through which humanity progresses, we find going on above man, as it were, a progressive evolution of the great Teachers of humanity. Just as man passes through certain stages and then reaches a certain turning-point, so likewise do the Great Teachers.

We are now living in the fifth period of our Post-Atlantean epoch of civilisation. This is in a certain sense, a recapitulation of the third, of the Egypto-Chaldean period. The sixth will, in like manner, recapitulate the Old Persian, and the seventh will recapitulate the Old Indian. Thus do the various cycles overlap each other. The fourth period will not be recapitulated; it stands in the middle — sufficient unto itself, as we might say. What does this mean? It means that what men experienced in the Graeco-Latin period they only need go through once in an epoch of civilisation; not that they were only once incarnated in it, but that they only experience that period in one form. What was experienced in the Egypto-Chaldean period is being recapitulated now; it will thus be experienced in a two-fold form. There are certain stages of development which betoken a sort of crisis; while other periods are in certain respects like one another, the one recapitulating the other, not in the same way, but in a different form. The manner of man’s development in the Post-Atlantean age is this: he went through a certain number of incarnations in the Old Indian period — and will go through a certain number in the seventh period, and these latter will resemble the former. A like resemblance will exist between the second and the sixth — and between the third and the fifth periods. Between these — in the fourth period — there are a number of incarnations, which resemble no other, and which therefore do not signify a transition. Man goes through a descending and an ascending development. The great Teachers of humanity also go through a period of descent and one of ascent, and differ absolutely at the different periods.

Now as man in the first Post-Atlantean period had quite different capacities from those he acquired later, he had to be instructed in quite a different way. To what do we owe the fact that in our time wisdom can be clothed in the concise forms of pure thought? We owe this to the circumstance that in our period of development the chief and average quality that is being developed is the consciousness soul (Since 1923 called by Dr. Steiner “The Spiritual Soul.”). In the Graeco-Latin period the intellectual soul or mind was being developed, in the Egypto-Chaldean the sentient soul, in the Old Persian the sentient body, and in the Old Indian the etheric body; — as the chief factor in their culture, of course. What the consciousness-soul is to us, that the etheric body was to the inhabitants of Old India. They had therefore quite a different mode of grasping and understanding. If you had spoken to the Old Indian in forms of pure thought, he would not have had the faintest idea what you meant. To him such words would have been mere sounds, without meaning. The great Teachers could not have taught the Old Indians by communicating wisdom to them in the form of pure thought, nor could they have explained it by word of mouth. To the Old Indians the Great Teachers said very little; for at the stage which the etheric body had then reached people were not receptive to the word which enclosed the thought. It is very difficult for people of our day to imagine how teaching could have taken place under those conditions. Very little indeed was spoken; rather did the listening soul recognise in the nuances of the sound, in the way a word was uttered, what flowed down from the spiritual world. That, however, was not the chief thing. The word was, so to speak, only the call to attention, the signal, that a relationship must now be established between the teacher and the hearer. In the earliest times of the Old Indian period the word was hardly more than when we ring a bell as a sign that something is about to begin. It was a crystallising point around which were woven the indescribable, spiritual currents which passed from the teacher to his pupil. What was of greatest importance was what the teacher saw, in his inner personality. It did not matter what he said; the qualities of his soul were of the greatest importance; for a sort of inspiration passed over from him to the pupil. The latter, having in particular developed the etheric body, the teacher had to address himself specially to that; and it was much easier to understand what the teacher himself was, than anything spoken. Before they could understand the spoken word, men had to pass through the subsequent periods of civilisation. It was therefore not necessary for any one of the great Teachers of the Old Indians to have a particularly developed intellectual or consciousness soul, for such would have been at that time an instrument of which he could make no use.

One thing, however, was necessary in these great Teachers: their own etheric bodies had to be at a more advanced stage of development than were those of the people. If a great teacher had stood at the same stage of development as they, he could not have had much effect upon them; he could not have communicated messages from a higher world, nor given an impulse for progress. In a certain sense what man was to grow to in the future, had first to be brought to him. The Indian teacher had to anticipate, as it were, what the others would only be able to acquire in the subsequent period of civilisation, that of the Old Persians. What the ordinary man in the Old Persian period would take in through the sentient body, that the Great Teacher of the Indians had to communicate through the etheric body. That means that the etheric body of such a teacher must not work like those of other men, it had to work as the sentient body was to do in the Persian civilisation. If a seer, in the present sense of the word, had come in contact with one of the great Indian teachers, he would have said: “What sort of etheric body is that?” For such an etheric body would have looked like an astral body of the Old Persian period.

It was, however, no such simple matter for such an etheric body to have worked as an astral body of a later period. It could not have been brought about at that time by any advanced stage of development. It could only be made possible by the descent of a Being who had already reached a further stage than the others, and who incarnated in a human body which was really neither suited to nor well adapted to him, but which he was obliged to enter to make himself understood by the others. Outwardly he looked like other men, but inwardly he was quite different. To judge of such an individual by his outer aspect would mean to deceive oneself utterly; for while the outer appearance of ordinary persons harmonises with their inner being, in the case of these Teachers it was in complete contradiction. Here we have an individuality, who, as far as he himself was concerned, had no longer any need to come down to earth at all, but who descended to a certain stage and took his place among the Old Indian people, to teach them. He descended willingly, and incarnated in human form, though he was a different Being altogether. He was an individual of such a nature that the destiny to which a normal man — as man — is subject, did not affect him. A Teacher of this kind would live in a body having an external destiny, yet he would have no part in that destiny; he lived in that body as in a house. When that body died, death for him was a very different experience from what it is for other men. Birth, too, and the experiences between birth and death were quite different for him. Hence also such a Being worked in quite a different way in this human instrument. Let us picture to ourselves in what way such an individuality used the brain, for instance. For even if he was able to perceive through the astral body, yet the brain which indeed was otherwise organised, still had to be used as an instrument to observe the pictures through which perceptions were received. There were, therefore, two human types; the one, who used his brain as an ordinary human being, and the Teacher type, who did not use his brain at all in the ordinary way, but in a certain sense left it unused, A great Teacher did not need to use the brain in all its details; he knew things that other people could only learn through the instrument of the brain. It was not a real, earthly incarnation as such; it was not a real incarnation of a human being in the ordinary sense. It represented a sort of double nature; a spiritual being lived in this organisation. There were such Beings also in the later Persian and in the Egyptian periods. It was always the case that in their individuality they towered far above the stature of their human organisation. They were not wholly contained within it. For that reason they were able to work upon the rest of the people in those olden times. This state of things continued down to the time when, in the Graeco-Latin period, an important crisis occurred in the development of mankind.

Now in the Graeco-Latin age the intellectual soul or mind (Mind in the sense of ‘I have a mind to do’ a thing.) began gradually to form inner faculties. Whereas in the time preceding this the chief things flowed in from outside, so to speak — as we saw in the example of the Furies, when men had avenging beings around them but not within them — in the Graeco-Latin period something began to flow from within, towards the great Teachers. In this way quite new conditions were established. Formerly, Beings from the Higher Worlds descended and found a state of things which enabled them to say: “It is not necessary for us completely to enter the human organisation; for we can do our work by carrying down to men what they cannot otherwise obtain, and causing that to flow into them from the Higher Worlds.” At that time it was not yet necessary for man to contribute anything, there was no need for him to bring anything to meet the great Teachers. But if the great Teachers had gone on with this policy, it might have occurred — from the fourth Period onwards — that one of these great Individualities would have descended into some part of the earth and found there something which did not exist above. As long as the Furies, the avenging spirits, were visible, men could turn their attention away from what was to be found on earth. Now, however, came something quite new — conscience. That was unknown to the spirits above; there was no possibility up there of observing it. It came as something quite new to them. In other words, in the fourth period of Post-Atlantean civilisation the necessity arose for these great Teachers actually to descend to the stage of man, therein to learn what it was that was coming up to meet them out of the human souls. Now began the time when it would not do for them not to share to some extent in the qualities inherent in man. Let us now observe that significant Being, whom in his earthly incarnation we know as Gautama Buddha.

Gautama Buddha was a Being who had always been able to incarnate in the earthly bodies of the various periods of civilisation, without having had to use everything in this human organisation. It had not been necessary for this Being to go through real human incarnations. Now, however, came an important turning-point for the Bodhisattva; it now became necessary for him to make himself acquainted with all the destinies of the human organisation within an earthly body which he was to enter. He was to experience something which could only be experienced in an earthly body; and because he was such a high Individuality, this one incarnation was sufficient for him to see all that a human body can develop. Other people have to evolve the inner capacities gradually, throughout the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh periods; but Buddha could experience in this one incarnation all that it was possible to evolve. In his incarnation as Gautama Buddha he saw, in advance, the first germ of what was to arise in man as conscience, which will become greater and greater as time goes on. He was therefore able to re-ascend into the spiritual world directly after that incarnation; there was no need for him to go through another. What man will, in a certain sphere evolve out of himself during future cycles, Buddha was able to give in this one incarnation, as a great directing force. This came about through the event which has been described as the “sitting under the Bodhi-tree.” He then gave forth — in accordance with his special mission — the teaching of compassion and love contained in the eightfold path. This great Ethic of humanity which men will acquire as their own during the civilisations yet to come, was laid down as a basic force in the mind of the Buddha who descended at that time, and from Bodhisattva became Buddha, which means that he really rose a stage higher, for he learnt through his descent.

That, in different words, describes that great event in Eastern civilisation known as “the Bodhisattva becoming Buddha.” When this Bodhisattva, who had never really incarnated, was 29 years of age, his individuality fully entered the son of Suddhodana; not having fully had possession of him. He then experienced the great human teaching of compassion and love. Why did this Bodhisattva, who then became Buddha, incarnate in this people? Why not in the Graeco-Latin people?

If this Bodhisattva was really to become the Buddha of the fourth Post-Atlantean period of civilisation, he had to bring in something new for the future. When the consciousness-or spiritual-soul has been fully developed, man will, by its means, gradually become sufficiently ripe to recognise of himself the great impetus given by Buddha. At a time when man had only developed the intellectual soul, it was necessary that Buddha should already have developed the spiritual soul. He had so to use the physical instrument of the brain that he was complete master of it; and this in quite a different fashion than could have been done by one who might have progressed in advance as far as the Graeco-Latin period of civilisation. The Graeco-Latin brain would have been too hard for him to use. It would only have enabled him to develop the intellectual or mind (Mind in the sense of ‘I have a mind to do a thing.’) soul, whereas he had to develop the spiritual soul. For that he required a brain that had remained softer. He made use of the soul that was only to develop later, in an instrument that had been used by man in earlier times and had been retained by the Indian people. Here again we have a recapitulation: Buddha repeated a human organisation belonging to earlier times, together with a soul-capacity belonging to times yet to come. The events that take place in the evolution of humanity are to this extent, of the nature of a necessity. In the 5th to the 6th century before our era, Buddha had the task of introducing the spiritual-soul into the organisation of man. He, as a single individual, could not, however, take over the whole task of doing all that was necessary in order that the spiritual-soul might prepare itself in the right way from the 5th century onward. His own particular mission only comprised one part of that task: that of bringing to man the doctrine of Compassion and Love. Other teachers of humanity would have other tasks. This part of the Ethics of Humanity, the ethic of Love and Compassion, was first introduced by Buddha, and its vibrations still endure; but humanity must in future develop a number of other qualities besides these, as, for instance, that of thinking in forms of pure thought, in crystal-clear thoughts. It was no part of Buddha’s mission to build up thoughts, to add one clear thought to another. His task was to form and establish that which leads man of his own accord to find the eight-fold path.

So there had to be another Teacher of humanity having quite different faculties, one who carried down a different stream of spiritual life from the higher spiritual worlds into this world. To this other individuality was given the task of carrying down what is gradually showing itself, in mankind to-day, as the faculty of logical thought. A Teacher had to be found, able to carry down what makes it possible for man to express himself in forms of pure thought; for logical thought itself only developed as time went on. What Buddha accomplished had to be carried into the intellectual- or mind-soul. This soul, through its position between the sentient soul and the consciousness- or spiritual-soul, possesses the peculiar attribute of not having to recapitulate anything. The Old Indian epoch will be repeated in the seventh, the Old Persian in the sixth, the Egyptian in our own; but just as the fourth epoch stands alone, apart from the others, so does the intellectual- or mind-soul. The forces necessary for our intellectual faculties which only appear in the spiritual-soul, could not be developed in the intellectual soul; although these were only to appear later, they had to be laid down in germ and stimulated at an earlier period.

In other words: the impulse for logical thinking had to be given before the Buddha gave the impulse for Conscience. Conscience was to be organised into man in the fourth epoch; conscious, pure thinking was to develop in the consciousness- or spiritual-soul in the fifth epoch, but had to be laid down in the third epoch of civilisation, as the germ for what we are evolving now. That is why that other Great Teacher had the task of instilling into the sentient soul the forces which now appear as pure thought. It is therefore easy to see that the difference between this Teacher and the normal man was even greater than it was in Buddha. Something had to be aroused in the sentient soul which did not as yet exist in any living man. Ideas or conceptions would not have helped to develop this; therefore although this Individuality had the task of laying the germ of certain faculties, he could not himself make any use of them. That would have been impossible. He had to employ other, quite different, forces.

I explained this morning (in the second lecture on “Anthroposophy”) that certain forces working through the power of vision on the sentient soul, will at a higher stage become conscious forces, and will then appear in the form of thought. If that great Teacher-Individuality was able so to stimulate the sentient-soul that the forces of thought could penetrate it, in somewhat the same way as life subconsciously penetrated it through the act of vision — without the least realising it, that Teacher could then achieve something. This could only be done in one way. To stimulate the sentient soul and instill into it, so to speak, the power of thought, this Individuality had to work in a very special way. He had to give his instruction, not in conceptions — but through music! Music engenders forces which set free in the sentient soul something, which, when it rises into the consciousness and has been worked upon by the spiritual soul, becomes logical thinking. This music came forth from a mighty Being, who taught through music. You will think this strange, and may perhaps not believe it possible, yet such was the case. Before the Graeco-Latin age, in certain parts of Europe, there existed an ancient culture among those peoples who had remained behind as regards the qualities strongly developed in the East. In those parts of Europe the people were not able to think much, for their development had been of quite a different nature; they had but little of the forces of the intellectual soul. Their sentient soul, however, was very receptive to what proceeded from the impulses of a special kind of music, which was not the same as our music to-day. We thus go back to a time in Europe when there was what we might call an ancient “musical culture” — a time when not only the “Bards” were the teachers, as they were later, when these things had already fallen into decadence, but when a music full of enchantment passed through all those parts of Europe. In the third epoch of civilisation (i.e., the Egyptian) there was a profound musical culture in Europe, and the minds of those peoples who were waiting quietly for what they were destined to carry out later, were receptive in a particular way to the effects of music. These effects worked upon the sentient soul in a similar way to that in which the thought-substance works upon it through the eyes. Thus did music work on the physical plane; but the sentient soul had the subconscious feeling: “This comes from the same regions as the Light.” Music — the song from the realms of Light!

Once upon a time there was a primeval Teacher in the civilised parts of Europe — a primeval Teacher who in this sense was a primeval Bard, the pioneer of all the ancient Bards and minstrels. He taught on the physical plane by means of music, and he taught in such a way that something was thereby communicated to the sentient-soul, which was like the rising and shining of a sun. What tradition has retained concerning this great Teacher was later on gathered together by the Greeks — who were still influenced by him from the West as they were influenced in a different way from the East. This was embodied in their conception of Apollo, who was a Sun-God and at the same time the God of music. This figure of Apollo dates back, however, to that great Teacher of primeval times, who put into the human soul the faculty which appears to-day as the power of clear thinking.

The Greeks also tell of a pupil of this Great Teacher of humanity — of one who became a pupil in a very special way. How could anyone become the “pupil” of this Being?

In those bygone times, when this Being was to work in the manner just described, he was not, of course, encompassed in the physical organisation; he transcended that which walks the earth as physical man. A man with an ordinary sentient-soul might have been receptive to the effects of the music, but he could not have aroused them in others. A higher Individuality had come down and was like the radiance of what lived in the cosmos outside. It became necessary, however, that in the fourth Post-Atlantean epoch of civilisation, in the Graeco-Latin period, he should descend again — that he should descend to the human stage and make use of all the faculties that are in man. Yet, although he made use, so to speak, of all the human faculties, he could not quite descend. For, in order to bring about what I have described, he required faculties transcending those possessed by a human organisation in the fourth post-Atlantean period. The effects of this music even then included what was to be found in the spiritual soul; and it could not at that time have lived in an individuality organised only for the intellectual soul. Hence, although incarnated in such a form, he still had to hold something back. His incarnation in the fourth epoch was such, that although he completely filled the whole human form, yet he as man, dwelling within that form, had, as it were, something within him that extended far beyond it; he knew something of a spiritual world, but he could not make use of this knowledge. He had a soul which extended beyond his body. Humanly speaking, there was something tragic in the fact that the Individuality who had acted as a great Teacher in the third epoch of civilisation, should have had to incarnate again in a form in which his soul was to a great extent outside it — and yet that he could not make any use of this superior and unusual faculty of soul. This kind of incarnation was called a “Son of Apollo”, because that, which had dwelt on earth before, was reincarnated in a very complicated and not in a direct way. A Son of Apollo bore within him as soul what Mysticism designates by the symbol of the ‘feminine’ element; he could not bear all of it within him, because it was in another world. His own feminine soul element was itself in another world to which he had no access but for which he longed, because a part of himself was there. This marvellous inner tragedy of the reincarnated Teacher of former times has been wonderfully preserved in Greek Mythology under the name of ‘Orpheus’ — the name given to the reincarnated Apollo, or “Son of Apollo.”

This tragedy of the soul is represented in a marvellous way in the figures of ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’. Eurydice was soon torn from Orpheus. She dwelt in another world; but Orpheus still had the power, through his music, of teaching the beings of the nether world. He obtained permission from them to take Eurydice back with him. But he must not look around him; for that would mean inner death; — at all events it would bring about a loss of what he formerly was and which he cannot now take into himself.

Thus in this incarnation of Apollo as Orpheus, we have again a sort of descent of a Bodhisattva — if we may use this Eastern term — to Buddha-hood. We might quote a number of such Beings who stand out from age to age as the great Teachers of humanity and who always had a very special experience at the time of their deepest descent. The Buddha experiences the bliss of inspiring the whole of humanity. That Bodhisattva, whose memory is preserved externally under the name of ‘Apollo,’ had an individual experience: he was to prepare the individuality, the quality of the Ego. He experiences the tragedy of the Ego; he experiences the fact that this ego is, in the present state of man as regards this attribute of his, not entirely with him. Man is struggling up to the higher ego. That was foreshadowed for the Greeks by the Buddha or Bodhisattva in Orpheus.

These particulars furnish us with a characterisation of the great Teachers of humanity and we are then able to form a picture in our minds. If you summarise what I have said, you will find that I have all along been speaking of those Beings who formed the sentient-soul and the spiritual-soul in a particular way as inner faculties — faculties which must draw into man from within. As we are now surveying this one period we can only for the moment consider two of these Beings, those who formed the sentient soul. But there are many such, for the inner nature of man evolved gradually, stage by stage.

Let us now compare yet another Being with that which affects the inner nature of man, so to speak. For indeed we cannot but say to ourselves: If there is a constant succession of Teachers who supply the progressing and developing inner faculties of man with spiritual food from the higher regions, there must be other Individualities who accomplish other work and above all take part in the changes in the earth itself and in what evolves from one age to another. When the Buddha influenced the intellectual soul from within, so to speak, through the consciousness or spiritual soul in the fourth period of civilisation, it must also be influenced from without. Something had to approach the intellectual soul from without. This Being had to approach from another aide and to work in quite a different way. A Teacher such as those we have been describing, had, when he appeared among men, to pour into their inner being what he had to bring down from higher regions. He was a Teacher. What had the other Being to do, who was to bring the earth forward, so that it developed further from one generation to another? He was not only to influence the inner being of man to develop this or that faculty within him, but He Himself, as Being, had to descend to the earth. He who was to descend, was not merely to teach, the intellectual soul, but to form it. One had to appear who was to form that soul and who was Himself to be its direct expression in the fourth period, that eminent period that stands alone in the middle. This Being had to come from quite a different side. He had to draw into human nature itself, to incarnate within it. The Bodhisattvas transformed the inner nature of man; this Being transformed his whole nature. He made it possible for the Teachers to find a suitable soil on which to work in the future. He transformed the whole human being. We must recollect how the different souls in man build themselves into the different bodies: the sentient soul into the sentient body, the intellectual into the etheric body and the spiritual soul into the physical body. The field of action of the Bodhisattva is there where the spiritual soul builds itself into the physical body. That is where they lay hold of man from the one side. There the intellectual- or mind-soul works into the etheric body, another Being, in the fourth period, influenced man from another side. When did he do this? It was accomplished at the time when the etheric body in man could be directly affected, — when that Being whom we have described more closely as Jesus of Nazareth, forsook the physical body at the moment of the Baptism in Jordan. When that whole body was immersed, whereby occurred what we have described as a ‘shock,’ the Christ-Being sank down into that etheric body. That is the Individuality Who comes from quite a different side and is of quite a different nature. Whereas in the case of the other great Leaders of humanity we have, in a sense, to do with more highly evolved human beings, men who have at least once been subject to all the fate of a man, — of Christ that cannot be said. What is the lowest principle of the Christ-Being? Counting from below, it is the etheric body. That means that when some day man, through Spirit-Self, shall have transformed his whole astral body and will set to work on his etheric body, he will then be working in an element in which the Christ once worked in the same way. Christ gives an impulse of the most powerful kind, which will continue to work on into the future, and which man will only reach when he begins to work at the transmutation of his etheric body in a conscious way.

In his journey through life, man starts from birth, or even from conception, and travels on till death; from death to his next birth is another journey. On his way from death to a new birth he first passes through the astral world then through what we call the lower part of the Devachanic world, and after that through the higher Devachanic world. Or, using the European terms, we call the physical world the little world or the world of mental powers, of intelligence; the astral world is called the elemental world; the lower Devachan the heavenly world, and the Higher world is the world of reason, of discernment, of discretion. The European mind is only gradually evolving to the point where the true expressions may be found in its language. Therefore, what lie beyond the Devachanic world has been given a religious colouring and is called the ‘World of Providence’ — which is the same as the Buddhi-plane. What is beyond that again could indeed be seen by the old clairvoyant vision, an ancient tradition tells of it; in the European languages no name could be formed for it. — Only in our present day can the seer once more work his way up to that world which is above and beyond the World of Providence. European languages cannot truly give a name to this world. This world does indeed exist; but thought is not yet far enough advanced to be able to describe it. For to that which Eastern Theosophy calls Nirvana and which lies above the ‘World of Providence,’ one cannot just give any name one pleases.

As I was saying, between death and rebirth, man ascends to the higher Devachan or world of Reason. When there he looks into higher worlds, worlds he cannot himself enter, and there he sees the Higher Beings at work. Whereas man spends his life in worlds extending between the physical plane and Devachan, it is normal for the Bodhisattvas to extend to the Buddhi-plane, or what we in Europe call the World of Providence. That is a good name, for it is precisely the task of the Bodhisattvas to guide the world as a good ‘providence’ from age to age. Now what took place when the Bodhisattva went through the embodiment of Gautama Buddha? — When he reaches a certain stage, he can ascend to the next higher plane — to the Nirvana-Plane. That is his next sphere. It is characteristic of the Bodhisattvas that when they become Buddhas they ascend to the Plane of Nirvana. Everything that works on the inner being of man dwells in a sphere extending to that Plane. A Being such as the Christ works into the nature of man from the other side. He also works, from the other side, into those worlds to which the Bodhisattvas ascend when they leave the region of man; in order themselves to learn, in order that they may become Teachers of humanity. There they meet, — coming down to them from above, from the other side — a Being such as the Christ. They then become pupils of Christ. A Being such as He, is surrounded by twelve Bodhisattvas; we cannot indeed speak of more than twelve; for when the twelve Bodhisattvas have accomplished their mission we shall have completed the period of earth-existence.

Christ was once on earth; He has descended to earth, has dwelt on the earth, has ascended from it. He comes from the other side; He is the Being who is in the midst of the twelve Bodhisattvas, and they receive from Him what they have to carry down to earth. — Thus, between two incarnations the Bodhisattva-Beings ascend to the Buddhi-Plane; there they meet the Being of Christ as Teacher, and they are fully conscious of Him. He in this Being, extends to that Plane. The meeting between the Bodhisattvas and the Christ takes place on the Buddhi-Plane. When men progress further and shall have developed the qualities instilled into them by the Bodhisattvas, they will become more and more worthy themselves to penetrate that sphere. In the meantime it is necessary that they should learn that the Christ-Being was incarnated in human form in Jesus of Nazareth, and that in order to reach the true Being of the Individuality of Christ, one must first permeate the human form with understanding.

Thus twelve Bodhisattvas belong to Christ, and they prepare and further develop what He brought as the greatest impulse in the evolution of human civilisation. We see the twelve, and — in their midst — the thirteenth. We have now ascended to the sphere of the Bodhisattvas, and entered a circle of twelve stars; in their midst is the Sun, illuminating, warming them; from this Sun they draw that source of life which they afterwards have to carry down to earth. How is the image of what takes place above, represented on earth? It is projected into the earth in such wise that we may render it in the following words: Christ, Who once lived on the earth, brought to this earth evolution an impulse for which the Bodhisattvas had to prepare humanity and they then had to develop further what He gave to the earth-evolution. Thus the picture on earth, is something like this: Christ in the middle of the earth-evolution; the Bodhisattvas as His advance-messengers and His followers, who have to bring His work closer to the minds and hearts of men.

A number of Bodhisattvas had thus to prepare mankind, to make men ripe to receive the Christ. Now, although men were ripe enough to have Christ among them, it will be a long time before they mature sufficiently to recognise, to feel, and to will, all that Christ is. The same number of Bodhisattvas will be required to develop to maturity in man what was poured into him through Christ, as was necessary to prepare men for His coming. For there is so much in Him, that the forces and faculties of men must go on ever increasing, before they are able to understand Him. With the existing faculties of man, Christ can only be understood to a minute extent. Higher faculties will arise in man, and each new faculty will enable him to see Christ in a new light. Only when the last Bodhisattva belonging to Christ shall have completed his work, will humanity realise what Christ really is; man will then be filled with a will in which the Christ Himself will live. He will draw into man through his Thinking, Feeling, and Willing, and man will then really be the external expression of Christ on the earth.



sam carlo ART Juli Cady Ryan

No one can live on money – The Challenge of the Times – Lecture II @ Rudolf Steiner Archive


ART : Josephine Wall

No one can live on money

How many people there are today who have an abstract and confused conception of their own personal lives! If they ask themselves, for example, “What do I live on?” — for the most part, they do not do this, but if they did it once, they would say to themselves, “Why, on my money.” Among those who say to themselves, “I live on my money,” there are many who have inherited this money from their parents. They suppose they live on their money, inherited from their fathers, but we cannot live on money. Money is not something on which we can live. Here it is necessary at last to begin to reflect.

This question is intimately connected with the real interest that one individual has in another. Anyone who thinks he lives on the money he has inherited, for example, or has acquired in any way whatever except by receiving money for work, as is the custom today — whoever lives in this way and supposes that he can live on money has no interest in his fellow men because no one can live on money. We must eat, and what we eat has been produced by a human being. We must have clothing. What we wear must be made through the labor of people. In order that I may put on a coat or a pair of trousers, human beings must expend their strength in labor for hours. They work for me. It is on this labor that I live, not on my money. My money has no value other than that of giving me the power to make use of the labor of others. Under the social conditions of the present time, we do not begin to have an interest in our fellow men until we answer that question in the proper way, until we hold the picture in our minds of a certain number of persons working for a certain number of hours in order that I may live within the social structure. It is of no importance to give ourselves a comfortable feeling by saying, “I love people.” No one loves people if he supposes that he is living on his money and does not in the least conceive how people work for him in order to produce even the minimum necessary for his life.

But the thought that a certain number of persons labor in order that we may possess the minimum necessities of life is inseparable from another. It is the thought that we must recompense society, not with money but with work in exchange for the work that has been done for us. We feel an interest in our fellow men only when we are led to feel obligated to recompense in some form of labor the amount of labor that has been performed for us. To give our money to our fellow men only signifies that we are able to hold our fellow men on a leash as bound slaves and that we can compel them to labor for us.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 186 – The Challenge of the Times – Lecture II – Dornach, 30th November 1918

Previously posted on 12th October 2013


Jeshu ben Pandira ~ Rudolf Steiner @ Rudolf Steiner Archive

 To Touch a Star - FINE ART by Heather Theurer - new angel
ART : To Touch a Star – FINE ART by Heather Theurer

Jeshu ben Pandira

Jeshu ben Pandira: Lecture I


My dear Friends:

When we discuss, in connection with spiritual-science, other spiritual worlds besides our physical world, and declare that the human being sustains a relationship, not only to this physical world, but also to super-sensible realms, the question may arise as to what is to be found within the human soul — before one achieves any sort of clairvoyant capacity — which is super-sensible, which gives an indication that the human being is connected with super-sensible worlds. In other words, can even the ordinary person, possessed of no clairvoyant capacity, observe something in the soul, experience something, which bears a relationship to the higher realms? In essence, both today’s lecture and that of tomorrow will be devoted to the answering of this question.

When we observe the life of the human soul, it manifests three parts in a certain way independent of one another and yet, on the other hand, closely bound together.

The first thing that confronts us when we direct attention to ourselves as souls is our conceptual life, which includes also in a certain way our thinking, our memory. Memory and thought are not something physical. They belong to the invisible, super-sensible world: in man’s thought-life he has something which points to the higher worlds. What this conceptual world is may be grasped by each person in the following way. We bring before him an object, which he observes. Then he turns away. He has not immediately forgotten the object, but preserves within himself a living picture of it. Thus do we have concepts of the world surrounding us, and we may speak of the conceptual life as a part of our soul life.

A second part of our soul life we can observe if we inquire whether we do not possess within us something else related to objects and beings besides our concepts. We do, indeed, have something else. It is what we call feelings of love and hate, what we designate in our thinking by the terms sympathy, antipathy. We consider one thing beautiful, another ugly; perhaps, we love one thing and hate another; one we feel to be good, the other evil. If we wish to summarize what thus appears in our inner life, we may call it emotions of the heart. The life of the heart is something quite different from the conceptual life. In the life of the heart we have a far more intimate indication of the invisible than in the life of concepts. It is a second component of our soul-organism, this life of emotions. Thus we have already two soul-components, our life of thought and of emotion.

Of a third we become aware when we say to ourselves, not only that we consider a thing beautiful or ugly, good or evil, but that we feel impelled to do this or that, when we have the impulse to act. When we undertake anything, perform a relatively important act or even merely take hold of an object, there must always be an impulse within us which induces us to do this. These impulses, moreover, are gradually transformed into habits, and we do not always need to bring our impulses to bear in connection with everything that we do. When we go out, for instance, intending to go to the railway station, we do not then purpose to take the first, second, and third steps; we simply go to the station. Back of all this lies the third member of our soul life, our will impulses, as something ranging wholly beyond the visible.

If we now connect with these three impulses characteristic of the human being our initial question, whether the ordinary man possesses any clue to the existence of higher worlds, we must take cognizance of dream life, how this is related to the three soul elements: the thought impulse, the emotions, the impulse of will.

These three components of our soul life we can clearly differentiate: our thought life, our emotions, and our will impulses. If we reflect somewhat about our soul life, we can differentiate among these three single components of the life of the soul in our external existence. Let us first take the life of concepts. The thought life follows its course throughout the day — if we are not actually void of thought. Throughout the day we have concepts; and, when we grow tired in the evening, these concepts first become hazy. It is as if they became transmuted into a sort of fog. This life becomes feebler and feebler, finally vanishing altogether, and we can then go to sleep. Thus this conceptual life, as we possess it on the physical plane, persists from our waking till our falling asleep, and disappears the moment we fall asleep. No one will suppose that, when he is really sleeping — that is, if he is not clairvoyant during sleep — his thought life can nevertheless continue just as while he is awake. The life of thought — or the conceptual life — which occupies us fully from our waking till our falling asleep, must be extinguished, and only then can we go to sleep.

But the human being must recognize that the concepts he has, which have so overwhelmingly taken possession of him during the day, and which he always has unless he merely drowses along, are no hindrance to his falling to sleep. That this is so is best seen when we surrender ourselves to particularly vigorous concepts before falling asleep — for instance, by reading in a very difficult book. When we have been thinking really intensely, we most easily fall asleep; and so if we cannot go to sleep, it is good to take up a book, or occupy ourselves with something which requires concentrated thinking — study a mathematical book, for instance. This will help us to fall asleep; but not something, on the other hand, in which we are deeply interested, such as a novel containing much that captivates our interest. Here our emotions become aroused, and the life of the emotions is something that hinders us from falling asleep. When we go to bed with our feelings vividly stirred, when we know that we have burdened our soul with something or when there is a special joy in our heart which has not yet subsided, it frequently happens that we turn and toss in bed and are unable to fall asleep. In other words, whereas concepts unaccompanied by emotions weary us, so that we easily fall asleep, precisely that which strongly affects our feelings prevents us from falling asleep. It is impossible then to bring about the separation within ourselves which is necessary if we are to enter into the state of sleep. We can thus see that the life of emotions in us has a different relationship to our whole existence from that of our life of thought.

If we wish, however, to make the distinction quite correctly, we must take cognizance of something else: that is, our dreams. It might be supposed at first that, when the variegated life of dreams works upon us, this consists of concepts continuing their existence into the state of sleep. But, if we test the matter quite accurately, we shall observe that our conceptual life is not continued in our dreams. That which by its very nature wearies us does not continue during our dreams. This occurs only when our concepts. are associated with intense emotions.

It is the emotions that appear in dream pictures. But to realize this it is necessary, of course, to test these things adequately. Take an example: — Someone dreams that he is young again and has one experience or another. Immediately thereafter the dream is transformed and something occurs which he may not have experienced at all. Some sort of occurrence becomes manifest to him which is alien to his memory, because he has not experienced this on the physical plane. But persons known to him appear. How often it occurs that one finds oneself during dreams involved in actions in connection with which one is in the company of friends or acquaintances whom one has not seen for a long time. But, if we examine the thing adequately, we shall be forced to the conclusion that emotions are back of what emerges in dreams. Perhaps, we still cling to the friend of that time, are not yet quite severed from him; there must still be some sort of emotion in us which is connected with him. Nothing occurs in dreams that is not connected with emotions. Accordingly, we must draw a certain conclusion here — that is, that when the concepts which our waking life of day impart to us do not appear in dreams, this proves that they do not accompany us into sleep. When emotions keep us from sleeping, this proves that they do not release us, that they must be present in order to be able to appear in dream pictures. It is the emotions which bring us the dream concepts. This is due to the fact that the emotions are far more intimately connected with man’s real being than is the life of thought. The emotions we carry over even into sleep. In other words, they are a soul element that remains united with us even during sleep. In contrast with ordinary concepts, the emotions are something that accompanies us into sleep, something far more closely, more intensely, connected with the human individuality than is ordinary thinking not pervaded by emotion.

How is it with the third soul component, with the impulses of will? There also we can present a sort of example. Of course, this can be observed only by persons who pay attention to the moment of falling asleep in a rather subtle way. If a person has acquired through training a certain capacity to observe this moment, this observation is extremely interesting. At first, our concepts appear to us to be enveloped in mist; the external world vanishes, and we feel as if our soul being were extended beyond our bodily nature, as if we were no longer compressed within the limits of our skin but were flowing out into the elements of the cosmos. A profound feeling of satisfaction may be associated with falling asleep. Then comes a moment when a certain memory arises. Most likely, extremely few persons have this experience, but we can perceive this moment if we are sufficiently attentive. There appear before our vision the good and also the evil impulses of will that we have experienced; and the strange thing is that, in the presence of the good impulses, One has the feeling: “This is something connected with all wholesome will forces, something that invigorates you.” If the good will impulses present themselves to the soul before the person falls asleep, he feels so much the fresher and more filled with life-forces, and the feeling often arises: “If only this moment could last forever! If only this moment could endure for eternity!” Then one feels, in addition, how the bodily nature is deserted by the soul element. Finally there comes a jerk, and he falls asleep. One does not need to be a clairvoyant in order to experience this, but only to observe the life of the soul.

We must infer from this something extremely important. Our will impulses work before we fall asleep, and we feel that they fructify us. We sense an extraordinary invigoration. As regards the mere emotions, we had to say that these are more closely connected with our individuality than is our ordinary thinking, our ordinary act of conceiving. So we must now say of that which constitutes our will impulses: “This is not merely something that remains with us during sleep, but something which becomes a strengthening, an empowering, of the life within us.” Still more intimately by far are the will impulses in us connected with our life than are our emotions; and whoever frequently observes the moment of falling asleep feels in this moment that, if he cannot look back upon any good will impulses during the day, the effect of this is as if there had been killed within him something of that which enters into the state of sleep. In other words, the will impulses are connected with health and disease, with the life force in us.

Thoughts cannot be seen. We see the rose bush at first by means used in ordinary physical perception; but, when the beholder turns aside or goes away, the image of the object remains in him. He does not see the object but he can form a mental image of it. That is, our thought life is something super-sensible. Completely super-sensible are our emotions; and our will impulses, although they are transmuted into actions, are none the less something super-sensible. But we know at once likewise, when we take into consideration everything which has now been said, that our thought life not permeated by will impulses is least closely connected with us.

Now, it might be supposed that what has just been said is refuted by the fact that, on the following day our concepts of the preceding day confront us again; that we can recollect them. Indeed, we are obliged to recollect. We must, in a super-sensible way, call our concepts back into memory.

With our emotions, the situation is different; they are most intimately united with us. If we have gone to bed in a mood of remorse, we shall sense upon awaking the next morning that we have waked with a feeling of dullness — or something of the sort. If we experienced remorse, we sense this the next day in our body as weakness, lethargy, numbness; joy we sense as strength and elevation of spirits. In this case we do not need first to remember the remorse or the joy, to reflect about them; we feel them in our body. We do not need to recollect what has been there: it is there, it has passed into sleep with us and has lived with us. Our emotions are more intensely, more closely, bound up with the eternal part of us than are our thoughts.

But any one who is able to observe his will impulses feels that they are simply present again; they are always present. It may be that, at the moment of waking, we note that we experience again in its immediacy, in a certain sense, what we experienced as joy in life on the preceding day through our good moral impulses. In reality nothing so refreshes us as that which we cause to flow through our souls on the preceding day in the form of good moral impulses. We may say, therefore, that what we call our will impulses is most intimately of all bound up with our existence.

Thus the three soul components are different from one another, and we shall understand, if we clearly grasp these distinctions, that occult knowledge justifies the assertion that our thoughts, which are super-sensible, bring us into relationship with the super-sensible world, our emotions with another super-sensible world, and our will impulses with still another, even more intimately bound up with our own real being. For this reason we make the following assertion. When we perceive with the external senses, we can thereby perceive everything that is in the physical world. When we conceive, our life of concepts, our thought life, is in relationship with the astral world. Our emotions bring us into connection with what we call the Heavenly World or Lower Devachan. And our moral impulses brings us into connection with the Higher Devachan, or the World of Reason. Man thus stands in relationship with three worlds through the impulses of thought, emotion, and will. To the extent that he belongs to the astral world, he can carry his thoughts into the astral world; he can carry his emotions into the world of Devachan; he can carry into the higher Heavenly World all that he possesses in his soul of the nature of will impulses. [See also — Rudolf Steiner: Macrocosm and Microcosm.]

When we consider the matter in this way, we shall see how justified occult science is in speaking of the three worlds. And, when we take this into consideration, we shall view the realm of the moral in an entirely different way; for the realm of good will impulses gives us a relationship to the highest of the three worlds into which the being of man extends.

Our ordinary thought life reaches only up to the astral world. No matter how brilliant our thoughts may be, thoughts that are not sustained by feelings go no further than into the astral world; they have no significance for other worlds. You will certainly understand in this connection what is said in regard to external science, dry, matter-of-fact external science. No man can by means of thoughts not permeated by emotion affirm anything regarding other worlds than the astral realm. Under ordinary circumstances, the thinking of the scientist, of the chemist, the mathematician, runs its course without any sort of feeling. This goes no further than just under the surface. Indeed, scientific research even demands that it shall proceed in this way, and for this reason it penetrates only into the astral world.

Only when delight or repugnance are associated with the thoughts of the research scientist is there added to these thoughts the element needed in order to penetrate the world of Devachan. Only when emotions enter into thoughts, into concepts, when we feel one thing to be good and another evil, do we combine with thoughts that which carries them into the Heavenly World. Only then can we get a glimpse into deeper foundations of existence. If we wish to grasp something belonging to the world of Devachan, no theories help us in the least. The only thing that helps us is to unite feelings with our thoughts. Thinking carries us only into the astral world.

When the geometrician, for example, grasps the relationships pertaining to the triangle, this helps him only into the astral element. But, when he grasps the triangle as a symbol, and derives from it what lies therein as to the participation of the human being in the three worlds, something regarding his threefoldness, this helps him to a higher level. One who feels in symbols the expression for the soul force, one who inscribes this in his heart, one who feels in connection with everything that people generally merely know, brings his thoughts into connection with Devachan. For this reason, in meditating we must feel our way through what is given us, for only thus do we bring ourselves into connection with the world of Devachan. Ordinary science, therefore, void of any feeling of the heart, can never bring the human being, no matter how keen it may be, into connection with anything except the astral world.

Art, music, painting and the like, on the other hand, lead man into the lower Devachan world. To this statement the objection might be raised that, if it is true that the emotions really lead one into the lower Devachan world, passions, appetites, instincts, would also do this. Indeed, they do. But this is only an evidence of the fact that we are more intimately bound up with our feelings than with our thoughts. Our sympathies may be associated with our lower nature also; an emotional life is brought about by appetites and instincts also, and this leads into lower Devachan. Whereas we absolve in Kamaloka whatever false thoughts we have, we carry with us into the world of Devachan all that we have developed up to the stage of emotions; and this imprints itself upon us even into the next incarnation, so that it comes to expression in our Karma. Through our life of feeling, so far as this can have these two aspects, we either raise ourselves into the world of Devachan, or we outrage it.

Through our will impulses, on the contrary, which are either moral or immoral, we either have a good relationship with the higher world or we injure it, and have to compensate for this in our Karma. If a person is so evil and degenerate that he establishes such a connection with the higher world through his evil impulses as actually to injure this, he is cast out. But the impulse must, nevertheless, have originated in the higher world. The significance of the moral life becomes clear to us in all its greatness when we view the matter in this way.

Out of the worlds with which the human being is in such a close relationship through his threefold soul nature and also through his physical nature — out of these realms proceed those forces which can lead man through the world. That is, when we observe an object belonging to the physical world, this can occur only through the fact that we have eyes to see it with: it is thus that the human being is in relationship with the physical world. Through the fact that he develops his life of thought, he is in relationship with the astral world; through the development of his life of feeling, he is connected with the world of Devachan; and through his moral life with the world of upper Devachan.

Four Worlds

Upper Devachan

Lower Devachan

Astral world


Participation of the Human Being

Will: moral impulses

Feelings: aesthetic ideals

Thought: etheric nature

Corporeality: physical-material nature

The human being has four relationships with four worlds. But this signifies nothing else than that he has a relationship with the Beings of these worlds. From this point of view it is interesting to reflect upon man’s evolution, to look into the past, the present, and the immediate future.

From the worlds we have mentioned there proceed those forces which penetrate into our lives. Here we have to point out that, in the epoch which lies behind us, human beings were primarily dependent upon influences from the physical world, primarily capacitated to receive impulses out of the physical world. This lies behind us as the Graeco-Latin epoch. During this epoch Christ worked on earth in a physical body. Since the human being was then capacitated primarily to receive the influences of the forces existing in the physical world, Christ had to appear on the physical plane.

At present we live in an epoch in which thinking is primarily developed, in which man receives his impulses out of the world of thought, the astral world. Even external history demonstrates this. We can scarcely refer to philosophers of the pre-Christian era; at most, to a preparatory stage of thinking. Hence the history of philosophy begins with Thales. Only after the Graeco-Latin epoch does scientific thinking appear. Intellectual thinking comes for the first time about the sixteenth century. This explains the great progress in the sciences, which exclude all emotion from the activity of thought. And science is so specially beloved in our day because in it thought is not permeated with emotions. Our science is void of feeling, and seeks its well-being in the utter absence of sentiments. Alas for one who should experience any feeling in connection with a laboratory experiment! This is characteristic of our epoch, which brings the human being into contact primarily with the astral plane.

The next age, following our own, will already be more spiritual. There the sentiments will play a role even in connection with science. If any one shall then wish to stand an examination for admission to some scientific study, it will be necessary for him to be able to sense the light that exists behind everything, the spiritual world which brings everything into existence. The value of scientific work in any test will then consist in the fact that one shall observe whether a person can develop in the test sufficient emotion; otherwise he will fail in the examination. Even though the candidate may have any amount of knowledge, he will not be able to pass the examination if he does not have the right sentiments. This certainly sounds very queer but it will be true, none the less, that the laboratory table will be raised to the level of an altar, at which the test of a person will consist in the fact that, in the electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen, feelings will be developed in him corresponding with what the Gods feel when this occurs. The human being will then receive his impulses from an intimate connection with the lower Devachan.

And then will come the age that is to be the last before the next great earth catastrophe. This will be the age when man shall be related with the higher world in his will impulses, when that which is moral will be dominant on the earth. Then neither external ability nor the intellect nor the feelings will hold the first rank, but the impulses of will. Not man’s skill but his moral quality will be determinative. Thus will humanity, upon arriving at this point of time, have reached the epoch of morality, during which man will be in a special relationship with the world of higher Devachan.

It is a truth that, in the course of evolution, there awaken in the human being ever greater powers of love, out of which he may draw his knowledge, his impulses, and his activities.

Whereas at an earlier period, when Christ came down to the earth in a physical body, human beings could not have perceived Him otherwise than in a physical body, there are actually awaking in our age the forces through which they shall see the Christ, not in His physical body, but in a form which will exist on the astral plane as an etheric form. Even in our century, from the 1930’s on, and ever increasingly to the middle of the century, a great number of human beings will behold the Christ as an etheric form. This will constitute the great advance beyond the earlier epoch, when human beings were not yet ripe for beholding Him thus. This is what is meant by the saying that Christ will appear in the clouds; for this means that He will appear as an etheric form on the astral plane.

But it must be emphasized that He can be seen in this epoch only in the etheric body. Any one who should believe that Christ will appear again in a physical body loses sight of the progress made by human powers. It is a blunder to suppose that such an event as the appearance of Christ can recur in the same manner as that in which it has already taken place.

The next event, then, is that human beings will see Christ on the astral plane in etheric form, and those who are then living on the physical plane, and who have taken in the teachings of spiritual-science, will see Him. Those, however, who are then no longer living, but who have prepared themselves through spiritual-scientific work will see Him, none the less, in etheric raiment between their death and rebirth. But there will be human beings also who will not be able to see Him in the etheric body. Those who shall have scorned spiritual-science will not be able to see Him, but will have to wait till the next incarnation, during which they may then devote themselves to the knowledge of the spirit and be able to prepare themselves in order that they may be able to understand what then occurs. It will not depend then upon whether a person has actually studied spiritual-science or not while living on the physical plane, except that the appearance of the Christ will be a rebuke and a torment to these, whereas those who strove to attain a knowledge of the spirit in the preceding incarnation will know what they behold.

Then will come an epoch when still higher powers will awake in human beings. This will be the epoch when the Christ will manifest Himself in still loftier manner; in an astral form in the lower world of Devachan. And the final epoch, that of the moral impulse will be that in which the human beings who shall have passed through the other stages will behold the Christ in His glory, as the form of the greatest “Ego,” as the spiritualized Ego-Self, as the great Teacher of human evolution in the higher Devachan.

Thus the succession is as follows: In the Graeco-Latin epoch Christ appeared on the physical plane; in our epoch He will appear as an etheric form on the astral plane; in the next epoch as an astral form on the plane of lower Devachan; and in the epoch of morality as the very essence and embodiment of the Ego.

We may now ask ourselves for what purpose spiritual-science exists. It is in order that there may be a sufficient number of human beings who shall be prepared when these events take place. And even now spiritual-science is working to the end that human beings may enter in the right way into connection with the higher worlds, to the end that they may enter rightly into the etheric-astral, into the aesthetic-Devachanic, into the moral-Devachanic. In our epoch it is the spiritual-scientific movement that aims, in a special way at the goal of having the human being capable in his moral impulses of entering into a right relationship with the Christ.

The next three millennia will be devoted to making the appearance of the Christ in the etheric visible. Only to those whose feelings are wholly materialistic will this be unattainable. A person may think materialistically when he admits the validity of matter alone and denies the existence of everything spiritual, or through the fact that he draws the spiritual down into the material. A person is materialistic also in admitting the existence of the spiritual only in material embodiment. There are also Theosophists who are materialists. These are those who believe that humanity is doomed to the necessity of beholding Christ again in a physical body. One does not escape from being a materialist through being a Theosophist, but through comprehending that the higher worlds exist even when we cannot se them in a sensible manifestation but must evolve up to them in order to behold them.

If we cause all this to pass before our minds, we may say that Christ is the true moral impulse which permeates humanity with moral power. The Christ impulse is power and life, the moral power which permeates the human being. But this moral power must be understood. Precisely as regards our own epoch it is necessary that Christ shall be proclaimed. For this reason Anthroposophy has the mission also of proclaiming the Christ in etheric form.

Before Christ appeared on earth through the Mystery of Golgotha, the teaching about Him was prepared in advance. At that time, likewise, the physical Christ was proclaimed. It was primarily Jeshu ben Pandira who was the forerunner and herald, a hundred years before Christ. He also had the name Jesus, and, in contrast to Christ Jesus, he was called Jesus ben Pandira, son of Pandira. This man lived about a hundred years before our era. One does not need to be a clairvoyant in order to know this, for it is to be found in Rabbinical writings, and this fact has often been the occasion for confusing him with Christ Jesus. Jeshu ben Pandira was at first stoned and then hanged upon the beam of the cross. Jesus of Nazareth was actually crucified.

Who was this Jeshu ben Pandira? He is a great individuality who, since the time of Buddha — that is, about 600 B.C. — has been incarnated once in nearly every century in order to bring humanity forward. To understand him, we must go back to the nature of the Buddha.

We know, of course, that Buddha lived as a prince in the Sakya family five centuries and a half before the beginning of our era. The individuality who became the Buddha at that time had not already been a Buddha. Buddha, that prince who gave to humanity the doctrine of compassion, had not been born in that age as Buddha. For Buddha does not signify an individuality; Buddha is a rank of honor, This Buddha was born as a Bodhisattva and was elevated to the Buddha in the twenty-ninth year of his life, while he sat absorbed in meditation under the Bodhi tree and brought down from the spiritual heights into the physical world the doctrine of compassion. A Bodhisattva he had previously been — that is, in his previous incarnations also — and then he became a Buddha. But the situation is such that the position of a Bodhisattva — that is of a teacher of humanity in physical form — became thereby vacant for a certain period of time, and had to be filled again. As the Bodhisattva who had incarnated at that time ascended in the twenty-ninth year of his life to the Buddha, the rank of the Bodhisattva was at once transferred to another individuality. Thus we must speak of a successor of the Bodhisattva who had now risen to the rank of Buddha. The successor to the Gautama-Buddha-Bodhisattva was that individuality who incarnated a hundred years before Christ as Jeshu ben Pandira, as a herald of the. Christ in the physical body.

He is now to be the Bodhisattva of humanity until he shall in his turn advance to the rank of Buddha after 3,000 years, reckoned from the present time. In other words, he will require exactly 5,000 years to rise from a Bodhisattva to a Buddha. He who has been incarnated nearly every century since that time, is now also already incarnated, and will be the real herald of the Christ in etheric raiment, just as he proclaimed the Christ at that time in advance as the physical Christ. And even many of us will ourselves experience the fact that, during the 1930’s, there will be persons — and more and more later in the century — who will behold the Christ in etheric raiment.

It is in order to prepare for this that spiritual-science exists, and every one who’ works at the task of spiritual-science shares in making this preparation.

The manner in which humanity is taught by its Leaders, but especially by a Bodhisattva who is to become the Maitreya Buddha, changes greatly from epoch to epoch.

Spiritual-science could not have been taught in the Graeco-Latin epoch in the manner in which it is taught today; this would not have been understood by any one at that time. In that period, the Christ Being had to make manifest in physically visible form the goal of evolution, and only thus could He then work. Spiritual research spreads this teaching ever increasingly among human beings, and they will come to understand more and more the Christ Impulse until the Christ Himself shall have entered into them.

Today it is possible by means of the physically uttered word, in concepts and ‘ideas, by means of thinking, to make the goal understandable and to influence men’s souls in a good way, in order to fire them with enthusiasm for aesthetic and moral ideals. But the speech of today will be replaced in later periods of time by forces capable of a mightier stimulation than that which is possible at present by means of speech alone. Then will speech, the word, bring it about that there shall dwell in the word itself powers which shall convey feelings of the heart from soul to soul, from master to pupil, from the Bodhisattva to all those who do not turn away from him. It will then be possible for speech to be the bearer of aesthetic feelings of the heart. But the dawn of a new epoch is needed for this. In our time it would not be possible even for the Bodhisattva himself to exert such influences through the larynx as will then be possible.

And during the final period of time, before the great war of all against all, the situation will be such that, as speech is at present the bearer of thoughts and conceptions and as it will later be the bearer of the feelings of the heart, so will it then carry the moral element, the moral impulses, transmitting these from soul to soul. At present the word cannot have a moral influence. Such words can by no means be produced by our larynx as it is today. But such a power of spirit will one day exist. Words will be spoken through which the human being will receive moral power. Three thousand years after our present time will the Bodhisattva we have mentioned become the Buddha, and his teaching will then cause impulses to stream directly into humanity. He will be the One whom the ancients foresaw: the Buddha Maitreya, a Bringer of Good.

He has the mission of preparing humanity in advance so that it may understand the true Christ Impulse: He has the mission of directing men’s eyes more and more to that which men can love, to bring it about that what men can spread abroad as a theory shall flow into a moral channel so that at length all that men can possess in the form of thoughts shall stream into the moral life. And, whereas it is still entirely possible today that a person may be very keen intellectually but immoral, we are approaching a time when it will be impossible for any one to be at the same time intellectually shrewd and immoral. It will be impossible for mental shrewdness and immorality to go hand in hand.

This is to be understood in the following way. Those who have kept themselves apart, and have opposed the course of evolution, will be the ones who will then battle together, all against all. Even those who develop today the highest intelligence, if they do not develop further during the succeeding epochs in the heart and in the moral life, will gain nothing from their shrewdness. The highest intelligence is, indeed, developed in our epoch. We have reached a climax in this. But one who has developed intelligence today and who shall neglect the succeeding possibilities of evolution, will destroy himself by his own intelligence. This will then be like an inner fire consuming him, devouring him, making him so small and feeble that he will become stupid and be able to achieve nothinga fire that will annihilate him in the epoch wherein the moral impulses will have reached their climax. Whereas a person can be very dangerous today by means of his immoral shrewdness, he will then be without power to harm. In place of this power, however, the soul will then possess in ever increasing measure moral powers — indeed, moral powers such as a person of the present cannot in the least conceive. The highest power and morality are needed to receive the Christ Impulse into ourselves so that it becomes power and life in us.

Thus we see that spiritual-science has the mission of planting in the present stage of the evolution of humanity the seeds for its future evolution. Of course, we must consider in connection with spiritual-science also that which must be considered in connection with the account of the whole creation of the world: that is, that errors may occur. But even one who cannot as yet enter into the higher worlds can make adequate tests and see whether here and there the truth is proclaimed: here the details must be mutually consistent. Test what is proclaimed, all the individual data which are brought together regarding the evolution of the human being, the single phases in the appearing of the Christ, and the like, and you will see that things mutually confirm one another. This is the evidence of truth which is available even to the person who does not yet see into the higher worlds. One can be quite assured: for those who are willing to test things, the doctrine of the Christ reappearing in the spirit will alone prove to be true.



To Touch a Star - FINE ART by Heather Theurer - new angel