Thursday, May 31, 2012

Darkness Visible

Rudolf Steiner: "Where knowledge exists, knowledge is imparted and there is no particular desire for discussion. Where there is desire for discussion, however, there is as a rule no knowledge of the truth. Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of a decline regarding the seriousness of a subject when it is discussed. Disintegration of a particular trend is always proclaimed by discussions. It is important that in spiritual science we come increasingly to understand that the wish for discussion may really be taken as a sign of ignorance. On the other hand, the opposite of discussion, the will to learn, the will gradually to comprehend what is in question, should be cultivated."

Thanks to Tarjei Straume

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The archangel Michael, speaking through Edgar Cayce, exhorts the disciples of Christ

Bow thine heads, O ye men that would seek His presence! Be strong in His might! Falter not at thine own weak self! Know that thy Redeemer liveth and may this day make known in thine own heart His presence abiding with thee! Root from thine body, thine consciousness, aught that would hinder His entering in; for He would sup with thee! Wilt thou, then, O Man, make known thine own decisions? Will ye be one with Him? The way which I guard leads to that of glory in the might of the Lord. I, Michael, would guide thee. Do not disobey. Do not falter. Thou knowest the way.

Source: Study Group Readings, volume 7, page 144 [#262-33, December 4, 1932]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Anthroposophy: Piercing the Veil of Maya. Intellectualism versus Spirituality

Rudolf Steiner, June 14, 1921:

Religious life will disappear competely if it cannot represent a reality; it will fade away if it is to be something about which it can be said that everything can be expressed through intellectual thoughts. If this is the case, religious life absolutely cannot be preserved. Through religious experience something must happen; processes and events must exist, which, as such, as processes, have eternal significance not only for human beings but also for the cosmos.

Therefore, we must say to ourselves, everything that we take into our souls intellectually--all that modern science and scientific achievement acknowledges--dies when we die. The living concepts that we form in our soul in childhood, and which transform themselves during our life, do not die, but the intellectual content--even though it extends our understanding of natural laws and has great ramifications--dies when we die.

Do not take this statement lightly. Intellectual knowledge is subject to death just as the human body is, because it is obtained and conveyed entirely through the body. All soul life that is conveyed intellectuallly arises after birth and perishes with death. What is eternal in the soul is found first behind what is intellectual. No abstract concept, but only what we have experienced in life that is beyond the abstract concepts passes through the portal of death with us. Many present-day people will have to lead a long sleep-life after death, because they were fixed only in intellectuality between birth and death. Intellectuality grows dark after death. It will be only after a long time that intellectual people will be able to acquire a content beyond the intellectual, which they can then, in turn, work on for their next earthly life. It is a fact that human beings in their entire development lose much of their present lifetime because of their intellectual lives.

Our contemporaries see this as folly--our theologians, in any case, do--but it is certain, a result of solid spiritual scientific research. To the degree that our entire education today is based only on intellectualism, and because we are so proud of this intellectualism, we deprive human beings of any spiritual, eternal content. From various sides, then, we are inoculating humanity with this intellectualism that is subject to death.

Source: First Steps in Christian Religious Renewal, pp. 75-76

Monday, May 28, 2012

Anthroposophia: the human soul purified and streamed through by Christ

Rudolf Steiner: An Esoteric Lesson given in Hannover, September 24, 1907. From the notes of a participant.

Christ is a sun-spirit, a fire-spirit. It's his spirit that reveals itself to us in sunlight. It's his breath of life in the air that sweeps around the earth and presses into us with every breath. His body is the earth on which we live. He actually feeds us with his flesh and blood, for all the food we eat is taken from the earth, from his body. We breathe his breath of life that he streams to us through the earth's plant-cover. We see in his light, for the sunlight is his spirit-radiation. We live in his love, even physically, for the sun's warmth that we get is his spiritual force of love, that we perceive as warmth. And our spirit is drawn towards his spirit, as our body is fettered to his body. That's why our body must be consecrated, because we walk on his body. The earth is his holy body that we touch with our feet. And the sun is the manifestation of his holy spirit to which we are allowed to look up. And the air is the manifestation of his holy life that we are allowed to take into us.

So that we could become aware of our self, our spirit, so that we could become spirit-beings ourself, this high sun-spirit sacrificed himself, left his royal abode, descended from the sun and took on physical raiment in the earth. Thus he is physically crucified in the earth. But he spiritually embraces the earth with his light and his love power, and everything that lives on it belongs to him. He's only waiting for us to want to belong to him. If we give ourselves to him completely then he'll not only give us his physical life, but also his higher spiritual sun-life. Then he streams through us with his divine light-spirit, with his warming waves of love, and with his creative God's will.

We can only be what he gives us, what he makes out of us. Everything about us that corresponds to the divine plan is his work. What can we do in addition to this? Nothing but to let him work in us. It's only if we resist his love that he can't work in us. But how could we resist this love? resist him who says “I have always loved you and have drawn you to me out of pure goodness”? He has loved us since the earth's very beginning. We must let his love become a real being in us. Real life, spirit, and bliss are only possible if this life becomes real life for us, becomes Christ's life in us. We can't become pure and holy by ourselves, but only through this Christ-life. All our striving and wrestling is in vain as long as this higher life doesn't fill us. It alone can wash everything out of our nature that's still unpurified, like a clean, pure stream. This is the soul-ground from which this purifying light-life can ascend. There we must seek our dwelling, at his feet and in devotion to him. Then he will transform us himself and stream through us with his divine love-life until we become illumined and pure as he is, become like him. Until he can share his divine consciousness with us. Our soul must become pure and wise through his light — then it can unite with his life. This then is the union of Christ and Sophia, the union of Christ's life with the human soul that has been purified by his light.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Goal of Yoga: Pentecost

Ex Deo Nascimur         In Christo Morimur         Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, June 4, 1924:
When we consider how karma works we always have to bear in mind that the human ego, which is the essential being of man, the inmost being of man, has as it were three instruments through which it is able to live and express itself in the world. These are the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body. Man really carries the physical, etheric, and astral bodies with him through the world, but he himself is not in any one of these bodies. In the truest sense he is the ego; and it is the ego which both suffers and creates karma.
Now the point is to gain an understanding of the relationship between man as the ego-being and these three instrumental forms — if I may call them so: the physical, etheric, and astral bodies. This will give us the foundation for an understanding of the essence of karma. We shall gain a fruitful point of view for the study of the physical, the etheric, and the astral in man in relation to karma if we consider the following.
The physical as we behold it in the mineral kingdom, the etheric as we find it working in the plant kingdom, and the astral as we find it working in the animal kingdom — all these are to be found in the environment of man here on Earth. In the cosmos surrounding the Earth we have that universe into which, if I may so describe it, the Earth extends on all sides. Man can feel a certain relationship between what takes place on the Earth and what takes place in the cosmic environment. But when we come to Spiritual Science we have to ask: Is this relationship really so commonplace as the present-day scientific conception of the world imagines? This modern scientific conception of the world examines the physical qualities of everything on the Earth, living and lifeless. It also investigates the stars, the Sun, the Moon, etc.; and it discovers — indeed it is particularly proud of the discovery — that these heavenly bodies are fundamentally of the same nature as the Earth.
Such a conception can only result from a form of knowledge which at no point comes to a real grasp of man himself — a knowledge which takes hold only of what is external to man. The moment, however, we really take hold of man as he stands within the Universe, we become able to discover the relationships between the several instrumental members of man's nature — the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body — and the corresponding entities, the corresponding realities of being, in the Cosmos.
In regard to the etheric body of man, we find spread out in the Cosmos the universal Ether. The etheric body of man has a definite human shape, definite forms of movement within it, and so on. These, it is true, are different in the cosmic Ether. Nevertheless the cosmic Ether is fundamentally of like nature with what we find in the human etheric body. In the same way we can speak of a similarity between what is found in the human astral body and a certain astral principle that works through all things and all beings out in the far-spread Universe.
Here we come to something of extraordinary importance, something which in its true nature is quite foreign to the human being of today. Let us take our start from this. (A drawing is made on the blackboard). We have, first, the Earth; and on the Earth we have Man, with his etheric body. Then in the Earth's environment we have the cosmic Ether — the cosmic Ether which is of the same nature as the etheric in man. In man we also have the astral body. In the cosmic environment too there is Astrality. Where are we to find this cosmic Astrality? Where is it? It is indeed to be found, but we must first discover — what it is in the Cosmos that betrays the presence of cosmic Astrality; what it is that reveals it. Somewhere or other is the Astrality. Is this Astrality in the Cosmos quite invisible and imperceptible, or is it, after all, in some way perceptible to us?
In itself, of course, the Ether too is imperceptible for our physical senses. If I may put it so, when you are  looking at a small fragment of Ether, you see nothing with your physical senses, you simply see through it. The Ether is like an empty nothingness to you. But when you regard the etheric environment as a totality, you behold the blue sky, of which we also say that it is not really there but that you are gazing into empty space. Now the reason why you see the blue of the sky is that you are actually perceiving the end of the Ether. Thus you behold the Ether as the blue of the heavens. The perception of the blue sky is really and truly a perception of the Ether. We may therefore say: In that we perceive the blue of the sky we are perceiving the universal Ether that surrounds us.
At first contact, we see through the Ether. It allows us to do so; and yet, it makes itself perceptible in the  blue heavens. Hence the existence for human perception of the blue of the sky is expressed in that we say: The Ether itself, though imperceptible, yet rises to the level of perceptibility by reason of the great majesty with which it stands there in the Universe, revealing its presence, making itself known in the blue of the vast expanse.
Physical science theorizes materialistically about the blue of the sky; and for physical science it is indeed very difficult to reach any intelligent conclusion on this point, for the simple reason that it is bound to admit that where we see the blue of the sky there is nothing physical. Nevertheless men spin out the most elaborate theories to explain how the rays of light are reflected and refracted in a peculiar way so as to call forth this blue of the sky. In reality, it is here that the supersensible world begins already to hold sway. In the Cosmos the Supersensible does indeed become visible to us. We have only to discover where and how it becomes visible. The Ether becomes perceptible to us through the blue of the sky.
But now, somewhere there is also present the astral element of the Cosmos. In the blue sky the Ether peers through, as it were, into the realms of sense. Where then does the Astrality in the Cosmos peer through into the realms of perceptibility? The answer, my dear friends, is this.
Every star that we see glittering in the heavens is in reality a gate of entry for the Astral. Wherever the stars are twinkling and glittering in towards us, there glitters and shines the Astral. Look at the starry heavens in their manifold variety; in one part the stars are gathered into heaps and clusters, or in another they are scattered far apart. In all this wonderful configuration of radiant light, the invisible and super-sensible astral body of the Cosmos makes itself visible to us.
For this reason we must not consider the world of stars unspiritually. To look up to the world of stars and speak of worlds of burning gases is just as though — forgive the apparent absurdity of the comparison, but it is precisely true — it is just as though someone who loves you were gently stroking you, holding the fingers a little apart, and you were then to say that it feels like so many little ribbons being drawn across your cheek. It is no more untrue that little ribbons are laid across your cheek when someone strokes you, than that there exist up there in the heavens those material entities of which modern physics tells. It is the astral body of the Universe which is perpetually wielding its influences — like the gently stroking fingers — on the etheric organism of the Cosmos. The etheric Cosmos is organized for very long duration; it is for this reason that a star has its quality of fixity, representing a perpetual influence on the cosmic Ether by the astral Universe. It lasts far longer than the stroking of your cheek. But in the Cosmos things do last longer, for there we are dealing with gigantic measures. Thus in the starry heavens that we perceive, we actually behold an expression of the soul-life of the cosmic astral world.
In this way an immense, unfathomable life, yet, at the same time, a soul-life, a real and actual life of the soul, is brought into the Cosmos. Think how dead the Cosmos appears to us when we look into the far spaces and see nothing but burning gaseous bodies. Think how living it all becomes when we know that the stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos — for this  is to express it with perfect truth. Think then of those mysterious processes when certain stars suddenly light up at certain times — processes which have only been explained to us by means of physical hypotheses that do not lead to any real understanding. Stars that were not there before, light up for a time, and disappear again. Thus in the Cosmos too there is a “stroking” of shorter duration. For it is true indeed that in epochs when divine beings desire to work in an especial way from the astral world into the etheric, we behold new stars light up and fade away again.
We ourselves in our own astral body have feelings of delight and comfort in the most varied ways. In like manner in the Cosmos, through the cosmic astral body, we have the varied configuration of the starry heavens. No wonder that an ancient science, instinctively clairvoyant, describes this third member of our human organism as the “astral” or “starry” body, seeing that it is of like nature with that which reveals itself to us in the stars.
It is only the Ego that we do not find revealed in the cosmic environment. Why is this? We shall find the reason if we consider how this human Ego manifests here on the Earth, in a world that is in reality threefold: physical, etheric, and astral. The Ego of man, as it appears within the Universe, is ever and again a repetition of former lives on Earth; and again and again it finds itself in the life between death and a new birth. But when we observe the Ego in its life between death and a new birth, we perceive that the Etheric which we have here in the cosmic environment of the Earth has no significance for the human Ego. The etheric body is laid aside soon after death. It is only the astral world, that shines in towards us through the stars, that has significance for the Ego in the life between death and a new birth. And in that world which glistens in towards us through the stars, in that world there live the beings of the higher hierarchies with whom man forms his karma between death and a new birth.
Indeed, when we follow this Ego in its successive evolutions through lives between birth and death and between death and a new birth, we cannot remain within the world of space at all. For two successive earthly lives cannot be within the same space. They cannot be within that Universe which is dependent on spatial co-existence. Here therefore we go right out of space and enter into time. This is actually so. We go out of space and come into the pure flow of time when we contemplate the Ego in its successive lives on Earth.
Now consider this, my dear friends. In space, time is still present, of course, but within this world of space we have no means of experiencing time in itself. We always have to experience time through space and spatial processes. For example, if you wish to experience time, you look at the clock, or, if you will, at the course of the Sun. What do you see? You see the various positions of the hands of the clock or of the Sun. You see something that is spatial. Through the fact that the positions of the hands or of the Sun are changed, through the fact that spatial things are present to you as changing, you gain some idea of time. But of time itself there is really nothing in this spatial perception. There are only varied spatial configurations, varied positions of the hands of the clock, varied positions of the Sun. You only experience time itself when you come into the sphere of the soul's experience. There you do really experience time, but there you also go out of space. There, time is a reality, but within the earthly world of space, time is no reality. What, then, must happen to us, if we would go out of the space in which we live between birth and death and enter into the spacelessness in which we live between death and a new birth? What must we do? The answer is this: We must die!

We must take these words in their exact and deep meaning. On Earth we experience time only through space — through points in space, through the positions of spatial things. On Earth we do not experience time in its reality at all. Once you grasp this, you will say: “Really to enter into time we must go out of space, we must put away all things spatial.” You can also express it in other words, for it is really nothing else than — to die. It means, in very deed and truth: to die.
Let us now turn our eyes to this cosmic world that encircles the Earth — this cosmic world to which we are akin both through our etheric body and also through our astral body — and let us look at the spiritual in this cosmic world. There have indeed been nations and human societies who have had regard only to the spiritual that is to be found within our earthly world of space. Such peoples were unable to have any thoughts about repeated lives on Earth. Thoughts about repeated lives on Earth were possessed only by those human beings and groups that were able to conceive time in its pure essence, time in its spaceless character. But if we consider this earthly world together with its cosmic environment, or, to put it briefly, all that we speak of as the Cosmos, the Universe; and if we behold the spiritual manifest in it, we are then apprehending something of which it can be said that it had to be present in order that we might enter into our existence as earthly human beings; it had to be there.
Unfathomable depths are really contained in this simple conception — that all that to which I have just referred had to exist in order that we as earthly human beings might enter this earthly life. Infinite depths are revealed when we really grasp the spiritual aspect of all that is thus put before us. If we conceive this Spiritual in its completeness as a self-contained whole, if we consider it in its own purity and essence, then we have a conception of what was called “God” by those peoples who limited their outlook to the world of space alone.
These peoples — at any rate in their wisdom-teachings — had come to feel: The Cosmos is woven through and through by a divine element that is at work in it, and we can distinguish from this divine element in the Cosmos that which is present, on the Earth in our immediate environment as the physical world. We can also distinguish that which, in this cosmic, divine-spiritual world reveals itself as the Etheric, namely that which gazes down upon us in the blue of the sky. We can distinguish as the Astral in this divine world that which gazes down upon us in the configuration of the starry heavens.
If we enter as fully as possible into the situation as we stand here, within the Universe, as human beings on this Earth, we shall say to ourselves: “We as human beings have a physical body: where, then, is the Physical in the Universe?” Here I am returning to something which I have already pointed out. The physical science of today expects to find everything which is on the Earth existing also in the Universe. But the physical organization itself is not to be found in the Universe at all. Man has in the first place his physical organization: then in addition he has the etheric and the astral. The Universe on the other hand begins with the Etheric. Out there in the Cosmos the Physical is nowhere to be found. The Physical exists only on the Earth, and it is but empty fancy and imagination to speak of anything physical in the far Universe. In the Universe there is the Etheric and the Astral.
There is also a third element within the Universe which we have yet to speak about in this present lecture, for the Cosmos too is threefold. But the threefoldness of the Cosmos, apart from the Earth, is different from the threefoldness of the Cosmos in which we include the Earth.
Let these feelings enter into our earthly consciousness: the perceiving of the Physical in our immediate earthly dwelling-place; the feeling of the Etheric, which is both on the Earth and in the Universe; the beholding of the Astral, glistening down to the Earth from the stars, and most intensely of all from the Sun-star. Then, when we consider all these things and place before our souls the majesty of this world-conception, we can well understand how in ancient times, when with the old instinctive clairvoyance men did not think so abstractly but were still able to feel the majesty of a great conception, they were led to realize: “A thought so majestic as this cannot be conceived perpetually in all its fullness. We must take hold of it at one special time, allowing it to work on the soul in its full, unfathomable glory. It will then work on in the inner depths of our human being, without being spoilt and corrupted by our surface consciousness.” — If we  consider by what means the old instinctive clairvoyance gave expression to such a feeling, then out of all that combined to give truth to this thought in mankind in olden time there remains to us today the institution of the  Christmas Festival.
On Christmas Night, man, as he stands here upon the Earth with his physical, his etheric, and his astral bodies, feels himself to be related to the threefold Cosmos, which appears to him in its Etheric nature, shining so majestically, and with the magic wonder of the night in the blue of the heavens; while face to face with him is the Astral of the Universe, in the stars that glitter in towards the Earth. As he realizes how the holiness of this cosmic environment is related to that which is on the Earth itself, he feels that he himself with his own Ego has been transplanted from the Cosmos into this world of Space. And now he may gaze upon the Christmas Mystery — the new-born Child, the Representative of Humanity on Earth, who, inasmuch as he is entering into childhood, is born into this world of Space. In the fullness and majesty of this Christmas thought, as he gazes on the Child that is born on Christmas Night, he exclaims: “Ex Deo Nascimur — I am born out of the Divine, the Divine that weaves and surges through the world of Space.”
When a man has felt this, when he has permeated himself through and through with it, then he may also recall what Anthroposophy has revealed to us about the meaning of the Earth. The Child on whom we are gazing is the outer sheath of That which is now born into Space. But whence is He born, that He might be brought to birth in the world of Space? According to what we have explained today, it can only be from Time. From out of Time the Child is born.
If we then follow out the life of this Child and His permeation by the Spirit of the Christ-Being, we come to realize that this Being, this Christ-Being, comes from the Sun. Then we shall look up to the Sun, and say to ourselves: “As I look up to the Sun, I must behold in the sunshine Time, which in the world of Space is hidden. Within the Sun is Time, and from out of the Time that weaves and works within the Sun, Christ came forth, came out into Space, on to the Earth.”
What have we then in Christ on Earth? In Christ on Earth we have That which coming from beyond Space, from outside of Space, unites with the Earth.
I want you to realize how our conception of the Universe changes, in comparison with the ordinary present-day conception when we really enter into all that has come before our souls this evening. There in the Universe we have the Sun, with all that there appears to us to be immediately connected with it — all that is contained in the blue of the heavens, in the world of the stars. At another point in the Universe we have the Earth with humanity. When we look up from the Earth to the Sun, we are at the same time looking into the flow of Time.
Now from this there follows something of great significance. Man only looks up to the Sun in the right way (even if it be but in his mind) when, as he gazes upwards, he forgets Space and considers Time alone. For in truth, the Sun does not only radiate light, it radiates Space itself, and when we are looking into the Sun we are looking out of Space into the world of Time. The Sun is the unique star that it is because when we gaze into the Sun we are looking out of Space. And from that world, outside of Space, Christ came to men. At the time when Christianity was founded by Christ on Earth, man had been all too long restricted to the mere Ex Deo Nascimur, he had become altogether bound up in it, he had become a Space-being pure and simple. The reason why it is so hard for us to understand the traditions of primeval epochs when we go back to them with the consciousness of present-day civilization is that they always had in mind Space, and not the world of Time. They regarded the world of Time only as an appendage of the world of Space.
Christ came to bring the element of Time again to men, and when the human heart, the human soul, the human spirit unite themselves with Christ, then man receives once more the stream of Time that flows from Eternity to Eternity. What else can we human beings do when we die, i.e. when we go out of the world of Space, than hold fast to Him who gives Time back to us again? At the Mystery of Golgotha man had become to so great an extent a being of Space that Time was lost to him. Christ brought Time back again to men.
If, then, in going forth from the world of Space, men would not die in their souls as well as in their bodies, they must die in Christ. We can still be human beings of Space, and say: Ex Deo Nascimur, and we can look to the Child who comes forth from Time into Space, that he may unite Christ with humanity. But since the Mystery of Golgotha we cannot conceive of death, the bound of our earthly life, without this thought: “We must die in Christ.” Otherwise we shall pay for our loss of Time with the loss of Christ Himself, and, banished from Him, remain held spellbound. We must fill ourselves with the Mystery of Golgotha. In addition to the Ex Deo Nascimur we must find the In Christo Morimur. We must bring forth the Easter thought in addition to the Christmas thought. Thus the Ex Deo Nascimur lets the Christmas thought appear before our souls, and in the In Christo Morimur the Easter thought.
We can now say: On the Earth man has his three bodies: the physical, the etheric, and the astral. The Etheric and Astral are also out there in the Cosmos, but the Physical is only to be found on the Earth. Out in the Cosmos there is no Physical. Thus we must say: On the Earth — physical, etheric, astral. In the Cosmos — no physical, but only the etheric and the astral.
Yet the Cosmos too is threefold, for what the Cosmos lacks at the lowest level, it adds above. In the Cosmos the Etheric is the lowest: on the Earth the Physical is the lowest. On Earth the Astral is the highest; in the Cosmos the highest is that of which man has today only the beginnings — that out of which his Spirit-Self will one day be woven. We may therefore say: In the Cosmos there is, as the third, the highest element,  the Spirit-Selfhood [Manas].
Now we see the stars as expressions of something real. I compared their action to a gentle stroking. The  Spirit-Selfhood that is behind them is indeed the Being that lovingly strokes — only in this case it is not a single Being but the whole world of the Hierarchies. I gaze upon a man and see his form; I look at his eyes and see them shining towards me; I hear his voice; it is the utterance of the human being. In the same way I gaze up into the far spaces of the world, I look upon the stars. They are the utterance of the Hierarchies — the living utterance of the Hierarchies, kindling astral feeling. I gaze into the blue depths of the firmament and perceive in it the outward revelation of the etheric body which is the lowest member of the whole world of the Hierarchies.
Now we may draw near to a still further realization. We look out into the far Cosmos which goes out beyond earthly reality, even as the Earth with its physical substance and forces goes down beneath cosmic reality. As in the Physical the Earth has a sub-cosmic element, so in Spirit-Selfhood the Cosmos has a super-earthly element.
Physical science speaks of a movement of the Sun; and it can do so, for within the spatial picture of the Cosmos which surrounds us we perceive by certain phenomena that the Sun is in movement. But that is only an image of the true Sun-movement — an image cast into Space. If we are speaking of the real Sun it is nonsense to say that the Sun moves in Space; for Space itself is being radiated out by the Sun. The Sun not only radiates light; the Sun creates Space itself. And the movement of the Sun is only a spatial movement within this created Space. Outside of Space it is a movement in Time, What seems apparent to us — namely, that the Sun is speeding on towards the constellation of Hercules — is only a spatial image of the Time-evolution of the Sun-Being.
To His intimate disciples Christ spoke these words: “Behold the life of the Earth; it is related to the life of  the Cosmos. When you look out on the Earth and the surrounding Cosmos, it is the Father whose life permeates this Universe. The Father-God is the God of Space. But I make known to you that I have come to you from the Sun, from Time — Time that receives man only when he dies. I have brought you myself from out of Time. If you receive me, you receive Time, and you will not be held spellbound in Space. But you find the transition from the one trinity — Physical, Etheric, and Astral — to the other trinity, which leads from the Etheric and Astral to Spirit-Selfhood. Spirit-Selfhood is not to be found in the earthly world, just as the Earthly-Physical is not to be found in the Cosmos. But I bring you the message of it, for I am from the Sun.”
The Sun has indeed a threefold aspect. If one lives within the Sun and looks down from the Sun to the Earth, one beholds the Physical, Etheric, and Astral. One may also gaze on that which is within the Sun itself. Then one still sees the Physical so long as one remembers the Earth or gazes down towards the Earth. But if one looks away from the Earth one beholds on the other side the Spirit-Selfhood. Thus one swings backwards and forwards between the Physical and the nature of the Spirit-Self. Only the Etheric and Astral in between are permanent. As you look out into the great Universe, the Earthly vanishes away, and you have the Etheric, the Astral, and the Spirit-Selfhood. This is what you behold when you come into the Sun-Time between death and a new birth.
Let us now imagine first of all the inner mood of a man's soul to be such that he shuts himself up entirely within this Earth-existence. He can still feel the Divine, for out of the Divine he is born: Ex Deo Nascimur. Then let us imagine him no longer shutting himself up within the mere world of Space, but receiving the Christ who came from the world of Time into the world of Space, who brought Time itself into earthly Space. If a man does this, then in Death he will overcome Death. Ex Deo NascimurIn Christo Morimur. But Christ Himself brings the message that when Space is overcome and one has learned to recognize the Sun as the creator of Space, when one feels oneself transplanted through Christ into the Sun, into the living Sun, then the earthly Physical vanishes and only the Etheric and the Astral are there. Now the Etheric comes to life, not as the blue of the sky, but as the lilac-red gleaming radiance of the Cosmos, and forth from the reddish light the stars no longer twinkle down upon us but gently touch us with their loving effluence.

If a man really enters into all this, he can have the experience of himself, standing here upon the Earth, the Physical put aside, but the Etheric still with him, streaming through and out of him in the lilac-reddish light. No longer now are the stars glimmering points of light; they are radiations of love like the caressing hand of a human being. As we feel all this — the divine within ourselves, the divine cosmic fire flaming forth from within us as the very being of man; ourselves within the Etheric world and experiencing the living expression of the Spirit in the Astral cosmic radiance — there bursts forth within us the inner awakening of the creative radiance of Spirit, which is man's high calling in the Universe.
When those to whom Christ revealed these things had let the revelation sink deep into their being, then the moment came when they experienced the working of this mighty concept, in the fiery tongues of Pentecost. At first they felt the falling away, the discarding of the earthly-Physical as death. But then the feeling came; This is not death, but in place of the Physical of the Earth, there now dawns upon us the Spirit-Selfhood of the Universe. “Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.”
Thus may we regard the threefold nature of the one half of the year. We have the Christmas thought — Ex Deo Nascimur; the Easter thought — In Christo Morimur; and the Whitsun thought — Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.
There remains the other half of the year. If we understand that too, there dawns on us the other aspect of our human life. If we understand the relationship of the physical to the soul of man and to the superphysical — which contains the true freedom of which man is to become a partaker on the Earth — then in the interconnection of the Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun festivals we understand the human freedom on Earth. As we understand man from out of these three thoughts — the Christmas thought, the Easter thought, and the Whitsun thought — and as we let this kindle in us the desire to understand the remaining portions of the year, there arises the other half of human life which I indicated when I said: “Gaze upon this human destiny; the Hierarchies appear behind it — the working and weaving of the Hierarchies.” It is wonderful to look truly into the destiny of a human being, for behind it stands the whole world of the Hierarchies.
It is indeed the language of the stars which sounds towards us from the thoughts of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide; from the Christmas thought, inasmuch as the Earth is a star within the Universe; from the Easter thought, inasmuch as the most radiant of stars, the Sun, gives us his gifts of grace; and from the Whitsun thought, inasmuch as that which lies hidden beyond the stars lights into the soul, and lights forth again from the soul in the fiery tongues of Pentecost.
Enter into all this, my dear friends! I have told you of the Father, the Bearer of the Christmas thought, who sends the Son that through him the Easter thought may be fulfilled; I have told you further how the Son brings the message of the Spirit, so that in the thought of Whitsun man's life on Earth may be completed in its threefold being. Meditate this through, ponder it well; then for all the descriptive foundations I have already given you for an understanding of karma, you will gain a right foundation of inner feeling.
Try to let the Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun thoughts, in the way I have expressed them to you today, work deeply and truly into your human feeling, and when we meet again after the journey which I must undertake this Whitsuntide for the Course on Agriculture — when we come together again, bring this feeling with you, my dear friends. For this feeling should live on in you as the warm and fiery thought of Pentecost. Then we shall be able to go further in our study of karma; your power of understanding will be fertilized by what the Whitsun thought contains.
Just as once upon a time at the first Whitsun Festival something shone forth from each one of the disciples, so the thought of Pentecost should now become alive again for our anthroposophical understanding. Something must light up and shine forth from our souls. Therefore it is as a Whitsun feeling, to prepare you for the further continuation of our thoughts on karma, which are related to the other half of the year, that I have given you what I have said today about the inner connections of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Piercing the veil of maya

Rudolf Steiner:   "In the course of evolution, it is simply part of human nature to raise some specific individual capabilities to a certain degree of perfection at the expense of others from time to time. Human faculties that lead to 'hidden worlds' had to be forced into the background by the exact sensory observation that the natural sciences developed to such a significant extent. But now a time has again come when we need to cultivate these faculties. We will win acknowledgment of what is hidden, not by combating judgments that are the logical consequence of denying the existence of hidden elements, but by showing these elements themselves in the right light so that they can then be acknowledged by those for whom the time is right."

Source: An Outline of Esoteric Science, pp. 34-35

Friday, May 25, 2012

The archangel Michael, speaking through Edgar Cayce, encourages his disciples

"Come ye, my children, in that ye have all been called unto that way which would show forth to thy neighbor, thy brethren, that the Father loveth His children. Who are His children? They that keep His commandments day by day. For unto him that is faithful and true is given the crown of life. The harvest is ripe, the laborers are few. Be not weary because there has been that which has seemed to trouble thee, for the ways are being opened to those that show themselves faithful and true. Faint not, for the day of the Lord is near at hand."

Source: Study Group Readings, volume 7, p. 192

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Steady As She Goes

The sacred word
and the holy prayer
and the priestly sacrifice
hold the Earth in its course.
               --Atharva Veda

The Candle and the Mirror

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." - Edith Wharton

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life Between Death And Rebirth: Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

The conclusion of Rudolf Steiner's lecture of April 13, 1914:

Let us suppose that we have passed the portal of death and that we have left someone behind on the earth. We are now in the period when we have gained the power of beholding elemental beings and of having the inward feeling that the fruits of our earthly life have withdrawn, but that we are still connected with this last earthly life. Let us suppose that when we have passed the portal of death we have left behind one whom we have loved very much. Now, when after death we have become accustomed to our elemental creations, we gradually attain to seeing the elemental beings of others; it is possible for us now to see the thoughts of others as elemental beings. We see the thoughts that live in the soul of the person we have left behind, for they are expressed in living elementals which appear before our soul as mighty Imaginations. In this way we can now have a much more intimate connection with the inner life of this person than we had with them in the physical world; for while we ourselves were in the physical body we could not indeed see the thoughts of the other, whereas now we can. But we have need of the feeling-memory — please note the word — the feeling-memory, the connection of feeling with our own last earthly life. We must feel, just as we felt in the body, and this feeling must echo in us. Then, when the thoughts of the other appear to us, the whole condition, which otherwise would only be as a picture, receives life. Thus, by the route of our feeling, we gain a living connection with our friend: it is really so with everyone.

You see, it is a development of a condition which may be described thus: There is a period during which we still have to draw from our last earthly life the forces enabling us to enter into living relationship with the surrounding spiritual world; we have still to be connected with this earthly life. We love the souls we have left behind, the contents of whose souls appear to us as thoughts, as elemental beings. But we love them because we ourselves are still living in the love we developed for them during our earthly life. The expression is not a happy one, but some of you will understand me when I say that earth-life — not the thought-life but the earth-life whose soul-contents are filled with feeling and permeated with the impulse of will — this earth-life, with which we are still connected, becomes like a sort of electric switch connecting our own individuality with what goes on around us spiritually; we perceive everything in a roundabout way through our last earthly life, but we only perceive what appertains to us in the spiritual world through the feeling and will that were ours in our last earthly life. It is now really the case that we feel ourselves living on further into time, as a sort of comet of time. Our earthly life is still there like the kernel of the comet, but the kernel sends out a sort of tail into the near future through which we live. We are still connected with our earthly life in so far as this is filled with feeling and will, and from this experience something must be born within our soul as I have described, something that is not directly feeling and will. The soul-powers we develop here in the physical world, which include the power of feeling as we have it here in the physical world and the power of the will as we have it here in the physical world, these soul-powers we possess in this form, because we are living in the physical body. When the soul no longer lives in the physical body it has to develop other qualities which only slumber during physical life. Because the echoes of feeling and will reverberate in it for years, the soul has to mature something from them which it can also use for the spiritual world in this respect, namely a force which I might describe as something like a feeling-desire or a desiring-feeling. In respect of our feeling and our will, we know that these dwell within our soul; but after death we do not, on the whole, possess such feeling and desire, they must gradually fade and die down, and they do this after some years.

But during this dying down and fading away, something has to develop from feeling and will which can be ours after death. Our thoughts live outside us as elemental beings; of inward feeling and will we should have nothing in this spiritual world which we ourselves are, and which is there, outside us. We have gradually to develop a will — and this we really do — which streams forth from us, which pours forth from us, as it were, and undulates and moves to where our living thoughts are. These it penetrates, because then upon the waves of will floats the feeling which in physical life is within us and not outside. Feeling then returns to us floating on the waves of will. There, outside, surges and billows the ocean of our will, and upon this swims our feeling. When the will strikes against an elemental thought-being, the contact produces an up-glimmering of feeling and we perceive this ‘ricochet’ of our will as an absolute reality of the spiritual world. Let us suppose there is an elemental being in the outer spiritual world. When we have gradually worked out of the condition we must first pass through, our will going forth from us breaks against this elemental being. When it strikes against the elemental being it is thrown back. It does not now return as will, but as feeling, which floats back to us on the waves of will. Our own being which is poured out into the cosmos lives as feeling which comes back to us on the waves of will. The elemental beings thereby become real to us and we gradually perceive that which exists outside us as the outer spiritual world.

Still another soul-force has to come forth from us, which slumbers in a much deeper layer of the soul than the feeling-will or the willing-feeling. It is creative soul-force, which is like an inner soul-light that must shine forth over the spiritual world, in order that we may not only see the living, active, objective thought-beings floating back to us on the waves of feeling in the ocean of our will, but that we may also illumine this spiritual world with spiritual light. Creative, spiritual illuminating power must go forth from our soul into the spiritual world. This awakens gradually.

You see that while living in physical life we have at least differentiated within us the pair of brothers — feeling and will — from feeling-will or willing-feeling: we possess these as a duality, whereas when we have passed the portal of death they are unity. The creative soul-force which we radiate as soul-light into spiritual space (if I may use the word ‘space’ here, for in reality it is not space, but we have to try to make these conditions comprehensible by expressing them pictorially), this soul-light slumbers so deep down within us because it is connected with something regarding which we neither may nor can know anything during life. That which is liberated as light and which then illumines and brightens the spiritual world slumbers very deep down within us during our life on the physical plane. What then rays forth from us has to be transformed during our physical life and used in such a way that our body shall really live and that consciousness shall dwell in it. Entirely below the threshold of consciousness works this spiritual illuminating power in our physical body, as the power which organizes life and consciousness. We dare not bring it into our earthly consciousness, for we should then rob our physical body of the power which has to organize it. But when we have no body to take care of, it becomes spiritual illuminating power, and streams through, shines and glitters through, everything: these words signify actual realities.

Thus we gradually work our way onward to where we become at home in the spiritual world and experience it as a reality, just as here we experience the physical world as a reality. We gradually arrive at really having the souls of those who have passed the portal of death as our companions in the spiritual world, in so far as these really live in the spiritual world. We then live among souls, just as here in the physical body we live among bodies. As we enter more and more into the true spirit of spiritual science, the assertion that after death we do not meet again all those with whom we have lived here would be, to one who goes more deeply into the matter, as foolish as if someone were to say, with respect to the physical plane, that when we enter upon the earth at birth we find no human beings there. Human beings are all about us. — To one who knows spiritual life it is exactly the same as if someone were to say: the child comes into the physical world, but it sees no one there. That, obviously, is nonsense. In the same way it is nonsense when people say: when we enter into the spiritual world we do not find again all the souls with whom we have been associated, neither do we find the beings belonging to the higher hierarchies, whom we recognize in their order, as here upon the earth we recognize minerals, plants, and animals! But there is this difference: here in the physical world we know that when we see and hear objects and beings, the possibility for doing so comes through our senses, from the outer world. In the spiritual world we know that this possibility comes from ourselves, because what we may call the soul-light streams forth from our souls, illuminating everything about us.

Thus do we live in the period which may be called the first half of our life between death and rebirth. While we are living in this period we go through the two conditions I have already described: — one, a condition lasting for years, in which, through the illuminating power proceeding from our soul, we are connected with the spiritual world and are thus enabled to perceive spirits and souls about us. This then grows dim and we have the feeling: thou canst develop thy soul-illuminating power, thy soul-light, less and less; thou art obliged to let it become dimmer and darker in a spiritual sense. Thereby thou canst see spiritual beings less and less. It becomes increasingly the case that we enter alternating periods in which we have a feeling which we may express thus: Beings surround thee on all sides, but thou art becoming more and more solitary; thou art aware only of the contents of thine own soul, and these contents grow richer to the same extent that thou ceasest to be able to illuminate the beings without. — There are periods of spiritual companionship, and again, periods of spiritual solitude during which we live over again in our soul what we experienced in the periods of spiritual companionship. These conditions alternate. Such is our life in the spiritual world: spiritual companionship, and again spiritual solitude. In periods of spiritual solitude we know: what thou didst experience in the spiritual world around thee was indeed there, thou knewest about all that; but now there remains only the echo of it within thee. One might say that what we experience in the periods of spiritual solitude are memories; but these words do not express it exactly. I must therefore try to describe it to you from another aspect. It is not as if in the period of spiritual darkness, when one has no companions, one were to remember what one had previously experienced in the spiritual world, but as if one had to produce this afresh every moment: it is a continual inward creation. One is inwardly aware: While there, outside thee the outer world exists; thou must remain alone and create and create. What thou createst is the world which surges around thee beyond the shores of thine own being.

As we thus live on further during the first half of our life between death and rebirth and approach the middle of the period between death and rebirth, we feel the solitary life grow richer and richer, and at the same time the vision of our spiritual environment becomes dimmer and more restricted. This continues until we arrive at the middle of the period between death and rebirth, which in my last Mystery Drama, "The Soul's Awakening," I have endeavored to describe as the Midnight of the World. That is the period when we have the strongest inward life — but we no longer have within us the creative soul-force enabling us to illumine our spiritual environment. Here, one might say, infinite worlds fill us inwardly, spiritually, but we are unable to know anything about any other being except our own. That is the central point in our experience between death and rebirth: it is the Midnight of the World.

Now the time begins when there develops within us the longing for a positive creative power; for although we have an infinite inner life, there awakens within us the longing to have an outer world again. And so different are the conditions of the spiritual world from those of the physical world, that whereas in the physical world longing is the most passive force (when there is something for which we long, this something is what determines us), the reverse is the case in the spiritual world. There, longing is a creative force; it transforms itself into something which, as a new kind of soul-light, is able to give us an outer world, an outer world which is yet an inner world, inasmuch as it reveals to us a vision of our previous earthly incarnations. These now lie outspread before us, illumined by the light that is born of our longing. In the spiritual cosmos there is a power which comes from longing, which can illumine this backward survey and enable us to experience ourselves.

But to this end one thing is necessary in our present age. I have said that during the whole of the first half of our life between death and rebirth we alternate between inner life and outer life, between solitude and spiritual companionship. At first the conditions in the spiritual world are such that each time we return to our solitude in the spiritual world, to our inner activity, we call up before our soul again and again what we have experienced in the outer world. Thereby a consciousness is aroused which expands over the whole of the spiritual world; with the swing of the pendulum this again contracts during the period of solitude.

There is one thing, however, which exists there and which we must retain, no matter whether we expand into the great spiritual world or withdraw into ourselves. Before the Mystery of Golgotha took place, it was possible, through the forces connecting man with primeval times, to preserve a connection with that which gave him the feeling of ‘I’. It was possible not to lose this connection, for he could preserve a clear remembrance of one thing in the previous earthly life, namely, that in this life on the earth he had lived as an ‘I’; and this remembrance continued both through the periods of solitude and of companionship. Before the Mystery of Golgotha the forces of inheritance took care of this. Now it can only be accomplished through the fact that the soul-content which we may have through Christ having entered into the earth aura remains connected with that which we have released from us as the treasure we have brought from the earth, which we perceived withdraw immediately after leaving the physical body. This is the permeation with the Christ-substance, which after death gives us the power to maintain the remembrance of our ‘I’ up to the time of the world-midnight, in spite of all expansion and in spite of all the contraction into solitude. Thus far does the impulse proceeding from the power of Christ extend, that through it we do not lose ourselves. Then from our longing must spring a new spiritual power, a power that only exists in spiritual life and by which, through our longing, a new light may be kindled.

In the physical world there is Nature and the Divinity which pervades Nature, from which we are born into the physical world. There is the Christ-impulse which is present in the earth's aura, that is, in the aura of physical nature. But the power which draws near to us in the Midnight of the World, through which our longing is enabled to illumine the whole of our past, this power exists only in the spiritual world where nobody can live. When the Christ-impulse has brought us as far as to the Midnight of the World, and when the Midnight of the World is experienced by the soul in spiritual loneliness, because the soul-light cannot yet stream forth from us, when world-darkness has come upon us, when Christ has led us thus far, then in the Midnight of the World there emerges something spiritual from our desire, creating a new world-light which illuminates our being and by means of which we enter anew into worldly existence. We learn to know the Spirit of the spiritual world which awakens us, because out of the Midnight of the World a new light shines, the light which illuminates the whole of our human past.

In Christ we have died; through the Spirit, through the bodiless Spirit for which the technical expression Holy Ghost is used, i.e., the Spirit that lives without a body — (for this is meant by the word Holy, namely, a spirit without the weakness of one that lives in the body) — through this Spirit we are reawakened at the Midnight of the World. At the World-Midnight we are awakened by the Holy Ghost:



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Love and Light

"When we enter into that divine condition which is in a state of balance, a state of ever-repeated balance between the luciferic and the ahrimanic, and when we grasp this in its deepest essence, we then realize--if we look correctly--that wherever the influence of Lucifer is not and wherever the influence of Ahriman is not, that is where there exists what comes from the progressive divine spirituality which is linked to the evolution of humanity. If, in the realms into which the luciferic constantly streams and into which the ahrimanic constantly streams, we look towards the divine that holds the balance, we find there pure love as the fundamental force of everything that streams continuously, forming the human being outwardly, and giving him soul and spirit inwardly. This fundamental force is pure love. In its substance and in its being, and insofar as it is the cosmos of the human being, the universe consists of pure love, it is nothing other than pure love. In the part of the divine that is associated with the human being we find nothing except pure love. This love is something inward; souls can experience it inwardly. It would never achieve an outward appearance if it did not first build itself a body out of the etheric element of light. When we observe the world in a genuinely occult manner we cannot help but say to ourselves: The ground of the world is the being of inward love appearing outwardly as light."

Rudolf Steiner, lecture of 19 September 1924, in The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest, p. 210.

Monday, May 21, 2012

13 ways of looking at my guru: #8

"I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." --John 16:28

"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." --Luke 23:46

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The union of science and art becomes religion

Rudolf Steiner:  "...these Madonna pictures and representations of Isis are indeed dearly and definitely artistic exponents of the very deepest secrets of Nature and of the spirit. In reality they are just a transcription of Plato's sublime words: “Once man was a spiritual being; he descended to Earth only because he was robbed of his spiritual wings, and was enveloped in a physical body. He will struggle out of this physical body again and re-ascend to the world of spirit and soul.” This was proclaimed by the philosopher Plato. Pictures of the Madonna proclaim the same, for in the most beautiful sense they are what Goethe wished to express in the words: “Art is the worthiest exponent of the recognized mysteries of the world.” Man need not fear that art will become abstract or wholly allegorical if it is once again compelled, I repeat compelled, to recognize the higher spiritual realities; nor need he fear that it will become stiff and lifeless when it finds itself unable to continue using outer, crude physical models.

Because man has forgotten the spiritual, art has become bound up with the outer senses. But when men find the way back to spiritual heights and spiritual knowledge, they will then realize that true reality lies in the spiritual world, and that those who perceive this reality will create livingly, without being slavishly bound to physical models. Goethe will be understood only when it is more widely recognized that art and wisdom go hand in hand, when art again becomes a representation of the spiritual. Science and art will then again be one; in their union they will become religion, for the spiritual will work in this form as divinity once again in the heart of man, and give birth to what Goethe called the true, genuine piety. “A man who has both science and art also has religion,” says Goethe. “If anyone does not possess these two, then let him have religion.”

In truth, whoever has knowledge of the spiritual secrets of the world and knows what speaks through Isis and Madonna sees in them something of primeval life, something much more living than all it is possible to express in any slavish imitation of a physical human model. A man of this kind whose gaze penetrates as through a veil to the living quality these Madonnas portray, and beholds the spiritual behind it, can, free from all dogma and prejudice, again feel piety in complete spiritual freedom. He will unite in his soul science or wisdom with art and give new birth to genuine free religious feeling — to genuine piety."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Great White Lodge, and Progressing Toward Freedom and Love

Rudolf Steiner, from the contents of an Esoteric Class given in Berlin on May 5, 1909:

We form an idea of a rose when we see it, we feel that it's beautiful, and so we pick it. We stimulate our physical and etheric bodies through this thinking, feeling, and willing. We make an impression on the physical body through every ideation and feeling, whether we perceive it or not.
But things are different in a meditation. The masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feeling made meditations that stimulate the etheric body and not the physical body; the etheric brain oscillates while the physical one is quiet. Thereby the etheric body can imprint its meditative experiences on the astral body and thus develop the organs it needs in it. And this has a salutary effect on the physical body.
Looking at a shiny object can also loosen one's etheric body. But since no meditational material streams into it, it's exposed to all high and low, good and bad spiritual influences around it. This is something that's very low, whereas the exclusion of the physical body through meditation is something high. Things were different in ancient times when an initiator pulled the etheric body out of the pupil's body to imprint experiences from spiritual worlds into it. From trances to three and one-half day temple sleeps, it was always the hierophant who mediated everything into the pupil's consciousness, whereas today the pupil tears out and elevates the etheric body himself and lets the master's teachings stream into him. Why is this so? The being whom we call the archangel Gabriel started directing things around 1525. Through the right control of births he brought it about that the organ that's in the sinus above the root of man's nose gradually developed. It's not directly perceptible physically, but if one could compare a recent corpse with one from the 13th century, one would find differences in structure and in the windings of the brain at the place mentioned. Archangel Gabriel gradually prepared this organ in man, so that he was able to take in the message of archangel Michael, who was next in line in 1879. Through this new organ Michael will print theosophy's message into men, although not directly but by letting his wisdom stream into men's etheric bodies through the Great White Lodge, and from there a man must consciously let them flow into the organ for them and then let them work in his etheric body. Those who make themselves receptive for the message are ready to work on human and Earth evolution in the right way, and an esotericist should place this high, ideal goal before his soul modestly but also decisively and to become ever more aware of his high, responsible task. The others who don't use the organ allow it to degenerate and dry out, and so they don't do the work they should be doing. Archangel Michael will see to it that the work gets done — but in a different way than it would have been done by men. Whenever men shirk their duty the spiritual world is obliged to do their work. When the Earth passes over to the Jupiter condition the task that was assigned to it in this evolutionary period must be done. We want to unroll the great future panorama that will be seen when the Earth matures for the Jupiter condition. It will be completely spiritualized by the men who worked in the right way, and these men will live in a wonderful paradise. But another part of the Earth will harden and shrink into a small kernel, as it were, through the men who let their organ dry out, and the men who live on it won't perceive the others; they won't exist for them. They aren't mature enough to go into the Jupiter condition by themselves and will therefore be carried over in the lap of spiritual beings; and they'll show one how hard it is not to have gone along with evolution. A man only has this Earth period to develop to freedom and through it to love and we should get strength for this work in our meditations. Sooner or later we'll get to know spiritual worlds that surround us, and namely through our meditation, but we should always remember to do it with the right attitude, not out of curiosity — that we like to call thirst for knowledge — but to help mankind to progress toward freedom and love.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The three aberrations of the human soul

Rudolf Steiner:
"... there are atheists, those who deny the existence of God; there are also deniers of Jesus; and there are materialists, deniers of the spirit. To be an atheist is possible only for those who are wholly insensitive to the phenomena of external nature. For if the physical forces in us are not blunted, we arc continually aware of the presence of God. Atheism is really sickness of the soul, a disease of the human personality. To deny Christ is not a sickness; we must make every effort to find Him in the unfolding of human evolution. If we do not find Him we are lost to the power that redeems the soul from death. This is a misfortune of the soul. Atheism is a sickness of the soul, of the human personality. To deny Christ is a misfortune of the human soul. Note the difference. To deny the Spirit is to be guilty of self-deception.
It is important to meditate upon these three conceptions. Sickness of the soul, misfortune of the soul, deception of the soul, i.e. self-deception — these are the three significant aberrations of the human soul."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Ascension of Christ

"At the place where Christ goes to after the Resurrection, space does not exist. Coming from the Sun, Christ, the bringer of time, carries this Sun into the Earth. In the place from which time comes, however, time is not as it is for us, because it has no space to overcome. Space as we know it does not exist. Seen from our perspective, time there runs backwards. You experience this every night when in sleep you enter the spiritual world, or after death, when you first live though your experiences on Earth in reverse. If you encounter a spiritual entity beyond the threshold, then it is not as though you approach it, but as though it approaches you from the depths of the spiritual being of time.

Now Christ, the Sun-Time Being, has through His connection with the Earth brought His time to the Earth. In the Mystery of Golgotha, therefore, you have a certain interpenetration of both principles of space and time. Subject to the laws of the Earth, conceived, incarnated, and died, the divine being wanders through space. However, this God carries His cosmic time, the backwards flowing, spaceless time, with Him in all these processes. That is why that happens which I have mentioned previously: the inversion of the 'sequence of events' in Christ's life.

The phantom body [of Christ] now merges through the Ascension into the sphere surrounding the Earth, where it replicates itself. Here lies an important and wondrous Mystery, because for the first time through the passage of God through earthly, material death and through the subsequent Resurrection, the spiritual archetype of the physical body was able to overcome this death, this imprisonment in space. You could say: the spiritual essence of this physical human body was able to merge into cosmic time from the dimension of space, just as the salt crystal merges into a liquid. As a result, the spiritual expression of the physical body became free. It was the counter image to the old, first Adam, which became embedded into space as it sank down to Earth. This is why Paul speaks especially of the 'second' or 'new' Adam, as he was aware precisely of this difference (1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Romans 5:14)."

--Judith von Halle, "The Whitsun Event at the Time of Christ," in And If He Has Not Been Raised, pp. 164-65

Our Value for the World

"Our value for the world must be seen to lie wholly in acts of love, not in what is done for the sake of self-perfecting. Let us be under no illusion about this. When a person is endeavoring to follow Christ through love of wisdom and dedicates that wisdom to the service of the world, it only takes real effect to the extent it is filled with love." — Rudolf Steiner

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Christ the Earth Spirit, Christ the Sun Spirit

Rudolf Steiner, June 30, 1908:

"Christ becomes more and more the Earth Spirit, and the true Christian understands the words 'He who eats my bread treads me underfoot' [John 13:18], for he considers the body of the Earth to be the body of Christ; of course at present this is only at its beginning. Christ has still to become the Earth Spirit; He will unite Himself fully with the Earth. And when the Earth later unites with the Sun, the great Earth Spirit, Christ, will be the Sun Spirit."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clairvoyance: Maternity

Rudolf Steiner:

"The age to which orthodox science can look back reveals indeed man in the physical form we see today. But spiritual science looks back into a primordial past when man was born out of the spiritual world and was still of a spirit and soul nature. When we contemplate the soul of man today we can say that the soul element in him is the last remnant, so to speak, of the spiritual and soul nature that once was his. We look at the inner nature of man, learning to know his spiritual and soul being, and come to realize that as he is in his inner being, so he was once long ago when he was born out of the womb of the spiritual world. This being of soul is sheathed from outside in the lower elements of the sense world, but he can be purified and cleansed, can raise himself to a perception free of the senses, thereby regaining the spirituality out of which he was born. This is the process of spiritual knowledge that passes through purification. Thus in spirit we gaze into man's being of soul, and speaking not merely in imagery but with reality say: Knowing this soul being in its truth, we perceive that the being is not of this world. In the background of this soul being we see a divine spiritual world out of which he was born.

Now let us try to turn what has been said into a physical picture. Let us ask ourselves: Do we not possess a physical picture of what has been described, where the spiritual world is represented by cloud formations out of which the spiritual is born in the form of angels' heads portraying the human soul? Have we not in the Virgin's figure in Raphael's Sistine Madonna a picture born out of the divine spiritual world?

Let us go on to ask: What becomes of a man whose soul has been cleansed and purified, who has ascended to higher knowledge and has unfolded in his soul those spiritual images that give life within him to the Divine, living and weaving through the world? This human being who gives birth in man to the higher man, to a man who represents a little world in the great world, who out of his purified soul brings forth the true higher man — what is he? He cannot be otherwise described than by the word clairvoyant. If we try to make a picture of the soul that gives birth to the higher man out of himself, out of the spiritual universe, we need only call to mind the picture of the Sistine Madonna, the Madonna with the wonderful Child in her arms.

Thus in the Sistine Madonna we have a picture of the human soul born of the spiritual universe, and springing from this soul the highest that a human being can bring forth — man's own spiritual birth, what within him is a new begetting of cosmic creative activity.

Let us try to experience in our feeling what clairvoyant consciousness does. There was once a time when the structure of the world was founded on divine spirituality; for it would be senseless to seek in the world for spirit if this spirit had not originally built the world. All that surrounds us in the world has sprung from the spirit we seek in the soul. Thus the soul has sprung from the divine Father-spirit living and weaving throughout the universe, bearing the Son of wisdom Who is like unto this Father-spirit, of Whom He is a repetition."


"Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Mother(s): Isis-Mary-Sophia

Rudolf Steiner:

Therefore in the true sense of spiritual science we do not speak only of one Mother but of the Mothers, realizing that what we have today as the physical Mother is the last development of the soul-spiritual figure out of the spiritual realm. Crux Ansata There are in fact images of Isis representing not one Mother but Mothers, three Mothers. In front we have a figure, Isis with the Horus child at her breast, resembling the oldest representations of the Madonna. But behind this figure in certain Egyptian representations we have another figure, an Isis, bearing on her head the two familiar cow horns and the wings of the hawk, offering the “crux ansata” (see Figure) to the child. We see that what is physical, human, in the foremost figure is here more spiritualized. Behind there is yet a third figure, bearing a lion's head and representing the third stage of the human soul. This is how these three Isis figures appear, one behind the other. It is an actual fact that our human soul bears in it three natures: a will nature, found in the inmost depths of the being; a feeling nature; and a wisdom nature. These are the three soul Mothers; we meet them in the three figures of the Egyptian Isis.
That behind the physical Mother we have the superphysical Mother, the spiritual Mother, the Isis of spiritual antiquity, with the hawk's wings, the cowhorns with the globe of the world between them on the head of Isis — this is profound symbolism. Those who understand something of the ancient so-called theory of numbers have always said — and this corresponds with a deep truth — that the sacred number three represents the divine masculine in the cosmos. This sacred number three is pictorially expressed by the globe of the world and two cowhorns, which are, if you like, a kind of image of the Madonna's crescent, but actually represents the fruitful working of the forces of nature.
The globe represents the creative activity of the cosmos. I should have to speak for hours were I to give a picture of the masculine element in the world. Thus behind the physical Isis stands her representative the superphysical Isis, who is not impregnated by one of her own kind but by the divine masculine living and weaving throughout the world. The process of fructification is still portrayed as being akin to the process of cognition. The consciousness that the process of cognition is a kind of fructification was still living in ancient times. You may read in the Bible: “Adam knew his wife and she brought forth ...” What today we receive as spiritual gives birth to the spiritual in the soul; it is something that represents a last remnant of the ancient mode of fructification. What comes to expression here shows us how today we are fructified by the spirit of the world receiving this spirit into the human soul as spirit of the world in order to acquire human knowledge, human feeling, human will.
This is what is represented in Isis. She is fructified by the divine male element, so that the head is fructified; and it is not material substance that is offered the child, as in the case of the physical Isis, but the “crux ansata” which is the sign of life. Whereas here from the physical Isis physical substance of life is offered, there is offered the spirit of life in its symbol. Behind the physical Mother of life there appears the spiritual Mother of life; behind her again the primal force of all life, represented with the life force, just as the will dwells behind everything in the still spiritual, far distant past. Here we have the three Mothers, and also the way in which out of the cosmos these three Mothers impart vitalizing force to the sun. Here we have what is not an artistic expression, nevertheless a symbolic expression of a profound cosmic truth. What lasted throughout the Egyptian evolution as the Isis symbol was received in more recent times and transformed in accordance with the progress made by humanity as a result of the appearance of Christ Jesus on earth; for in Christ Jesus we have the great prototype of everything that the human soul is destined to bring forth out of itself. The human soul in its fructification out of the spirit of the world is given tangible form in the Madonna. In the Madonna we meet, as it were, with Isis reborn and in an appropriate way enhanced, transfigured.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Goal of Yoga: Eternal Life

John 17

Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.