Saturday, June 30, 2012

What's in a name?

"On June 30, 1860, a four-year-old boy named Saville Kent was taken from a wealthy family in England, near Trowbridge. Like little Charles Lindbergh, the boy was taken from his crib and brutally murdered in the middle of the night; it is one of the most famous crimes of 19th century England.
     Charles Lindbergh's nursemaid--to whom he was reportedly more attached than his own mother--was a woman named Betty Gow. Saville Kent's nursemaid, to whom he was similarly attached, was a woman named Elizabeth Gough. The two names are really the same; 'Betty' is a nickname of 'Elizabeth,' and 'Gow' and 'Gough' could be variant spellings of the same name. Like Betty Gow, Elizabeth Gough was suspected of the crime and was mercilessly harassed by police and by public speculation, in both cases for no real reason other than her proximity to the crime. It seems so odd, that these two women who really have the same name play identical roles in somewhat similar crimes."
     --Bill James, Popular Crime, page 151

Page 225: "In Cold Blood was required reading at Shawnee Mission North High School in Mission, Kansas, in the early 1970s. One day a young man was so affected by doing his homework that he dropped the book to the floor, and staggered out of the classroom in a daze. He had figured out, from reading the book, something that his family had never told him. His father was Richard Hickock. He was a baby at the time of the crime. His mother had long since re-married, and he had been adopted many years earlier. But he knew his grandmother, and he pieced the facts together after he saw her name in the book."

What Michael wants from us

"The Michael forces cannot be acquired through any form of passivity, not even through passive prayer, but only through our making ourself the instrument of divine-spiritual forces by means of our loving will. For the Michael forces do not want to be implored: they want us to unite with them. This we can do if we will receive the lessons of the spiritual world with inner energy."--Rudolf Steiner 9/28/23

Friday, June 29, 2012

What Michael expects of us

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given September 28, 1923:

"This ability to rise to the point at which thoughts about spirit can grip us as powerfully as can anything in the physical world, this is Michael power. It is confidence in the ideas of spirit — given the capacity for receiving them at all — leading to the conviction: I have received a spiritual impulse, I give myself up to it, I become the instrument for its execution. First failure — never mind! Second failure — never mind! A hundred failures are of no consequence, for no failure is ever a decisive factor in judging the truth of a spiritual impulse whose effect has been inwardly understood and grasped. We have full confidence in a spiritual impulse, grasped at a certain point of time, only when we can say to ourself: My hundred failures can at most prove that the conditions for realizing the impulse are not given me in this incarnation; but that this impulse is right I can know from its own nature. And if I must wait a hundred incarnations for the power to realize this impulse, nothing but its own nature can convince me of the efficacy or impotence of any spiritual impulse.

If you will imagine this thought developed in the human Gemüt as great confidence in spirit, if you will consider that man can cling firm as a rock to something he has seen to be spiritually victorious, something he refuses to relinquish in spite of all outer opposition, then you will have a conception of what the Michael power, the Michael being, really demands of us; for only then will you comprehend the nature of the great confidence in spirit. We may leave in abeyance some spiritual impulse or other, even for a whole incarnation; but once we have grasped it we must never waver in cherishing it within us, for only thus can we save it up for subsequent incarnations. And when confidence in spirit will in this way have established a frame of mind to which this spiritual substance appears as real as the ground under our feet — the ground without which we could not stand — then we shall have in our Gemüt a feeling of what Michael really expects of us."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why the existence of Christ Jesus cannot be proved historically

"In fact, the existence of Christ Jesus cannot be proved historically, as Caesar's or Napoleon's can be. And why? Because the Mystery of Golgotha was intended to confront us with an event to which we should have supersensible access only. In order that human beings might learn, precisely by means of the Mystery of Golgotha, to raise themselves to a supersensible perspective, there could be no external, physically documented proof of the event."--Rudolf Steiner, 9/23/19

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ego = Sun

"Ego and Sun are the inner and the outer aspects of the same being. What orbits out there through space as the Sun is the cosmic I. What lives within me is the human I." --Rudolf Steiner

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Foundation Stone

"The ground of the world is the being of inward love appearing outwardly as light." --Rudolf Steiner

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Rudolf Steiner, September 23, 1921:

"The modern materialistic world conception is a product of fear and anxiety. This fear lives on in the outer actions of human beings, in the social structure, in the course of history ... Why did people become materialists, why would they admit only the outer, that which is given in material existence? Because they were afraid to descend into the depths of the human being."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Saint John Imagination

From the focus lecture for Wednesday's meeting of the Rudolf Steiner Study Circle.
Rudolf Steiner, October 12, 1923:

"Above, illuminated as it were by the power of Uriel's eyes, the Dove. The silver-sparkling blue below, arising from the depths of the earth and bound up with human weakness and error, is gathered into a picture of the Earth Mother. Whether she is called Demeter or Mary, the picture is of the Earth Mother. So it is that in directing our gaze downwards we cannot do otherwise than bring together in Imagination all those secrets of the depths which go to make up the Earth Mother of all existence; while in all that is concentrated in the flowing form above we feel and experience the Spirit Father of everything around us. And now we behold the outcome of the working together of Spirit Father with Earth Mother, bearing so beautifully within itself the harmony of the earthly silver and the gold of the heights. Between the Father and the Mother we behold the Son. Thus there arises this Imagination of the Trinity which is really the Saint John Imagination. The background of it is Uriel, the creative, admonishing Uriel."

Source: The Four Seasons and the Archangels, p. 51

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Lucifer, resurrected and redeemed

Richard Distasi: "...the redeemed Lucifer now acts as the intermediary Holy Spirit to the Bodhisattvas. Steiner had also stated that Lucifer is the Holy Spirit among humanity. He is the intermediary, the intercessor between our inner Self and the Christ Being. The Holy Spirit works as a reflection of the Christ Impulse which then enters our soul and Ego. At this stage in our development, without the Holy Spirit one's soul and Ego would be overwhelmed by the Christ Impulse. Without the intercession of the Holy Spirit our individuated consciousness would be subjugated by the Christ Impulse. That which streams to us from Christ comes to us through the Holy Spirit; thereby we retain our self-consciousness. For the Bodhisattvas, there too, Lucifer acts as an intermediary. The future evolutionary Impulses for humanity and the Earth flow from Christ and then pass through Lucifer as the Holy Spirit to the Bodhisattvas who are the 'Teachers' of humanity. In this manner both Christ and Lucifer act in conjunction with one another and thereby are conjoined as One."

Source: The Fleeing Youth: The Cosmic Principle of Christ, p. 77

The essence of the ego is cosmic-divine

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given May 27, 1923:

In ancient India man did not speak of the ego in our modern way; it was not, for him, a point comprising all his soul experiences. On the contrary, when he spoke of the ego it was to him self-evident that it had little to do with Earth and Earth events. In experiencing himself as an ego, man did not feel that he belonged to the Earth, but, rather, that he was connected with the heaven of the fixed stars. This was what gave him the sense and security of his deepest self. For it was not felt as a human ego. Man was a human being only through the fact that here on Earth he was clothed by a physical body. Through this sheath-for-the-ego he became a citizen of Earth. But the ego was regarded as something foreign to the earthly sphere. And if today we were to coin a name for the way the ego was experienced, we would have to say: man felt not a human but a divine ego.

He might have looked outward to the mountains, to the rocks; he might have looked at everything else on Earth and said of it all: This is, this exists. Yet at the same time he would have felt the following: If there were no other existence than that of Earth's plants, rivers, mountains, and rocks, no human being would have an ego. For what guarantees existence to earthly things and beings could never guarantee it to the ego. They are in different categories.

To repeat: Within himself man felt not a human but divine ego: a drop from the ocean of divinity. And when he wanted to speak about his ego (I say this with the previously-made reservations) he felt it as a creation of the fixed stars; the heaven of the fixed stars was the one sphere sharing its reality. Only because the ego has a similar existence is it able to say “I am.” If it were able to say “I am” merely according to the level of existence of stone or plant or mountain, the ego would have no right to speak so. Only its starlike nature makes it possible for the ego to say “I am.”

Again, the human beings of this primeval epoch saw how the rivers flowed and the trees were driven by the wind. But if we regarded the human ego which dwells in the physical body and has an impulse to move about on the Earth hither and thither — if we regarded this ego as the active force in movement, as wind is the active force in moving trees, or as anything else of Earth is an active force, we would be wrong. The ego is not this kind of outer cause of motion.

In ancient times the teacher in the Mysteries spoke to his pupils somewhat like this: You see how the trees sway, how the river water flows, how the ocean churns. But from neither the moving trees, the flowing rivers, nor the heaving ocean could the ego learn to develop those impulses of motion which human beings display when they carry their bodies over the Earth. This the ego can never learn from any moving earthly thing. This the ego can learn only because it is related to the planets, to starry motion. Only from Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and so forth can the ego learn motion. When the ego of its own volition moves upon the Earth, it achieves something made possible by its relation to the wheeling world of the stars.

Further, it would have seemed incomprehensible to a human being of the ancient Indian epoch if somebody had said "Look how thoughts arise out of your brain!" Let us travel backward in time and imagine ourselves with the soul constitution we once had (for we have all passed through lives in ancient India); then confronted by the present-day soul condition, the one which makes people assume that thoughts arise out of the brain. All that modern people believe would appear as complete nonsense. For the ancient human being knew well that thoughts can never spring from brain substance; that it is the Sun which calls forth thoughts, and the Moon which stills them. It was to the reciprocal action of the Sun and the Moon that people of old ascribed their life of thought.

Thus in the first post-Atlantean epoch, the ancient Indian time, the divine ego was seen as belonging to the heaven of the fixed stars, to the planetary movements, to the reciprocal action of Sun and Moon; and what came to it from the Earth as transient, the essence of the ego being cosmic-divine.


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Holy Spirit is the Boddhisattva

Rudolf Steiner, lecture 9 of "The East in the Light of the West," August 31, 1909:

The being who is the great teacher of all civilizations "is the totality of the Bodhisattvas. The Christian conception would designate it the Holy Spirit. The Bodhisattva is a being who passes through all civilizations, who can manifest Himself to humankind in various ways."

Creating a new ground under our feet: Youthful striving in the Age of Light

Rudolf Steiner:

The Light Age has begun, and the relation of the spiritual world to the physical has become completely different. When I sit with spirits and minds of the nineteenth century and words resound, for instance of a Herman Grimm, they sound quite spiritually sensitive. But when I sit with the spirits that your souls want to become, it makes those fine, sensitive words sound like empty word-chiming. This is because at the present time such a great wealth streams down out of the spiritual world. One can experience this as spiritual snow flurries falling softly onto the souls of human beings.

The youth must find their way in what spurs them on to spiritual deeds...Now it is a matter of winning the Earth anew for thinking, feeling, and willing. It is a matter of your finding the development-stream of the world.

Then you will experience that the Earth-being disappears. The time will come when the ground is taken from beneath your feet. And when the moment comes in your life when everything physical plunges into the abyss, because the abyss opens up and the firm ground under your feet disappears, then the spirit light that shines in the development-stream of the world will become weaker and weaker. It will become like a thin thread, and you will experience that this thread burns. Then, however, you must have the courage to take hold of this thread, even though it burns. You must hold firmly onto this glowing, burning thread of the spiritual, and you must say to yourselves: We want to create a new ground under our feet.

Thus, you must learn to have soul courage!

There was an ancient sacred knowledge in humanity. You must have the courage to pick up the thread of this knowledge...Yes, the youth must learn to reach into that fiery thread, even though it burns. When everything sinks into the abyss, we must learn to find ourselves in the development-stream of the world. When earlier in ancient times there sounded forth to human beings out of stone and spring, out of tree and flower, the exhortation: "O Human Being, know yourself," the answer was then the sacred AOUM. The human being went into the sacred stillness to receive the Word of the gods. Now that the world has entered the age, however, in which human deeds are expected in the cosmos, when the human beings are called to their own activity, this sacred AOUM is no longer the answer that should resound. It should now sound forth to the spirits that want to become the spirits of your souls, as the answer:
Yes, I am there for your cosmic deeds.

The youth must make this come true.

Source: Esoteric Lessons 1913-1923, pp. 420-421

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Conquering The Earth Anew: The Earth Is A Star

Rudolf Steiner:

The human being is losing the force of thought. However, the time has come when humanity must reconquer this force....strive to experience the Earth as a star--as a star among stars. For thinking, feeling, and willing, the Earth must be conquered anew.

What makes something a star? Something is a star when it rays out, gleams, and has form and weight in it that holds the body together.

But what is it that rays out from the star? It is the will of the beings that reside in the star. You will--and the Earth radiates out into the universe.

It is the feeling of the beings that reside in a star that makes it gleam and sparkle. You feel, and the Earth gleams as star into the universe.

It is the thinking that wraps light-filled around the star. You think, and your thinking allows the Earth to shimmer in waves of light.

In the perceiving and touching of the beings that reside in the star, the star builds its density.Through your perceiving, the Earth achieves its form.

It is just that you must so train your consciousness that your thinking, feeling, and willing is not for you, but is for the cosmos; so that it rays out, gleams, and shines into the widths of the cosmos. Through your thinking, feeling, and willing the Earth becomes visible to the beings on the other stars....

Yes, dear sisters and brothers, cosmic responsibility should awaken in your souls. Loves gleams from the star, and truth forms on the star. The ancient wisdom of India already spoke of this. And it is again time for today's youth to bring the oldest wisdom of humanity back into consciousness.

Source: Esoteric Lessons 1913-1923, pp. 416-417

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shakespeare's Sonnet 116

                                 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
                                 Admit impediments. Love is not love
                                 Which alters when it alteration finds,
                                 Or bends with the remover to remove:
                                 O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
                                 That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
                                 It is the star to every wandering bark,
                                 Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
                                 Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
                                 Within his bending sickle's compass come:
                                 Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
                                 But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
                                    If this be error and upon me proved,
                                    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

The Cerebrum, the Cerebellum, and Christ

Rudolf Steiner:

We have an overview of three evolutionary periods of our Earth planet: the present one, the Earth; the previous one, the Old Moon; and the next one, the Jupiter condition. Most of you will know that human beings have, besides the cerebrum (the large brain) as the instrument through which they think, also the cerebellum (a small brain) that sits more underneath the other and at the back, near the neck. All physiologists and anatomists know this, but they do not know that the cerebrum is the remnant of the Old Moon condition. It stands there as a document of the Old Moon time as a sign of the battle fought for us by the gods. What was thought on the Old Moon became the cerebellum....

Also in the cerebrum, there is something left over from the Old Moon condition: the pineal gland and the mucus gland. These glands were, on the Old Moon, what the lungs and heart are in the human being of today.

Through our life here on Earth, we are living upwards to Jupiter. (We are already preparing Jupiter, the future planetary condition of the Earth.) What human beings are in their actions, deeds, and their whole being will build their cerebrum on Jupiter. And what they now think in their cerebrum will one day build the cerebellum on Jupiter. No longer do the gods watch over human thinking; human beings became free on the Earth. We must bear the consequences of our thinking ourselves, and the cerebellum sits at the neck like a judge, for it will take the results of all that we thought on Earth over to the Jupiter condition.

And now I ask you, if we let this fact in its entire magnitude and responsibility work upon us, do we need yet another judgment? Is this judgment not more gripping, more powerful, than even what Michelangelo presented in his "Last Judgment"? Just consider the tragedy that lies in the fact that human beings themselves must bear the consequences of their own deeds, feelings, and thinking! However, in the midst of this tragedy we have one comfort, one support: Christ entered into Earth evolution. If we entrust ourselves to him, he will carry our deeds, feelings, and thoughts over to the Jupiter condition. For this reason, it is so important that spiritual science (Christ-science, the knowledge of Christ) enters precisely into our time, so that the understadning for the true Christ is again enlivened....

...the totality of our work from the beginning was founded on the knowledge of Christ; it was inspired by the Christ-being himself.

Source: Esoteric Lessons 1913-1923, pp. 285-287


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Seventh Seal : The Holy Grail : Anthropos-Sophia

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:

In a symbolism of great profundity, the world's whole being is now revealed to us in the symbol of the Holy Grail.

Let me set this seal before your eyes in a few words. The occultist who has acquainted himself with our world knows that space in the physical world is not simple emptiness, but something quite different. Space is the source from which all beings have, so to speak, physically crystallized. Imagine a cube-shaped, transparent glass vessel filled with water. Now imagine that certain cooling streams are led through this water so that it congeals in the most manifold forms into ice. This will give you an idea of the world's creation, of space, and of the divine creative Word spoken into it. The occultist presents this space into which the divine creative Word has been spoken as the water-clear cube.

Within this space various beings develop. The ones standing nearest to us can be characterized as follows. The cube has three perpendicular directions, three axes: length, height, and breadth. It thus represents the three dimensions in space. Now imagine the counter-dimensions to these three outside dimensions of the physical world. You may visualize this by imagining someone moving in one direction and colliding with someone else coming from another direction. Similarly, there is a counter-dimension to every dimension of space, so that in all we have six counter-rays. These counter-rays represent the primal beginnings of the highest human members. The physical body, crystallized from out of space, is the lowest. The spiritual, the highest, is the opposite counter-dimension.

In their development, these counter-dimensions first form themselves in a being that is best described when we let them flow together into the world of passions, sensual appetites, and instincts. This it is at first. Later, it becomes something else. It becomes ever more purified — we have seen to what height — but it issued from the lower impulses, which are here symbolized by the snake. The process of purification is symbolized by the counter-dimensions converging in two snakes standing opposite each other. As mankind purifies itself, it rises through what is called the world spiral. The purified body of the snake, this world spiral, has deep significance. The following example will give you an idea of it.

Modern astronomy is supported by two postulates of Copernicus, but a third has not been taken into account. Copernicus said that the Sun also moves. It advances in a spiral so that the Earth, following the Sun, moves in a complicated curve. The same is true for the Moon that revolves around the Earth. These movements are far more complicated than is assumed in elementary astronomy. You see here how the spiral has significance for celestial bodies, and these describe a form with which men will one day identify themselves. At that time, a man's generative power will be cleansed and purified, and his larynx will become his generative organ. What the human being will have developed as purified snake body will no longer work upwards, but from above downwards. The transformed larynx will become the chalice known as the Holy Grail. Even as one is purified, so also the other, which unites with this generative organ. It will be an essence of world force and of great cosmic essence. This world spirit in its essence is represented by the dove facing the Holy Grail. Here it symbolizes the spiritualized fructification that will be active out of the cosmos when men will have identified themselves with the cosmos. The complete creativity of this process is represented by the rainbow. This is the all-embracing seal of the Holy Grail. The whole gives the sense of the connection between world and men in a wonderful way, as a summation of the meaning of the other seals.

The world secret is found here as a circular inscription on the seal's outer edge, which shows how men in the beginning are born out of the primal forces of the world. Everyone, when he looks back, sees that he has gone through the process in the beginning of time that he goes through spiritually today when he is born anew out of the forces of consciousness. This is expressed in the Rose Cross by E. D. N., Ex Deo Nascimur, out of God I am born.

We have seen that within the manifest world a second is added to life, that is, death. That he find life again in this death, a man must find the death of the senses in the primal source of all that lives. This is the center of all cosmic development because we have had to experience death in order to gain consciousness. We will be able to overcome death when we find its meaning in the mystery of the Redeemer. Just as we are born out of God, so, in the sense of esoteric wisdom, we die in Christ — I. C. M., In Christo Morimur.

Because a duality is disclosed wherever something reveals itself, with which a third member must unite, the man who has overcome death will identify himself with the spirit that permeates the world, symbolized by the dove. He will rise from death and again live in the spirit — P. S. S. R., Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.

Here stands the theosophical Rose Cross. It rays forth to those times in which religion and science will be reconciled.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Sixth Seal

Rudolf Steiner, September 16,1907:

"[The sixth seal] presents to us the way in which the human being who has risen to a high level of spiritualization is like the form of Michael. He holds the evil in the world fettered, in the symbol of the dragon."

Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts:

"The Age of Michael has dawned. Hearts are beginning to have thoughts; spiritual fervor is now proceeding not merely from mystical obscurity but from souls clarified by thought. To understand this means to receive Michael into the heart. Thoughts which at the present time strive to grasp the Spiritual must originate in hearts which beat for Michael as the fiery Prince of Thought in the Universe."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Fifth Seal: Anthropos-Sophia

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:

"Then the times approach in which great changes will occur in the cosmos. When the human being will have drawn the Sun power near, the Sun will again be united with the Earth. The human being will become a Sun-being and, through the power of the Sun, will give birth to a Sun; hence we see the woman who bears the Sun. At that point, humanity will be so moral, so ethical, that all the ruinous powers that lie in the lower human nature will be overcome. This is portrayed by the beast with seven heads and ten horns. At the feet of the Sun-woman is the Moon, which contains all the bad substances that the Earth could not use and which it has cast out. All the magic powers that the Moon still exerts upon the Earth today will be overcome. When human beings are united with the Sun, they will have overcome the Moon."

Rudolf Steiner, September 13, 1907:

"Today, man has a physical body, an etheric body, an astral body, and an ego. When the ego works upon the astral body, ennobling it intellectually, morally, and spiritually, then the astral body becomes the spirit self or manas. That has as of now hardly begun, but when in the future it will have been completed, when man will have transformed his whole astral body, then will his astral body become physically luminous. Just as the seed holds the whole plant within it, so does your astral body hold within it the seed of light. This will stream out into the world of space, its development and continuing formation effected by man as he ever more purifies and ennobles his astral body. Our Earth will transform itself into other planets. Today it is dark. Were one to observe it from space, then one would see that it appears bright only through the reflected light of the Sun. Someday, however, it will be luminous, luminous through the fact that human beings will then have transformed their whole astral bodies. The totality of astral bodies will stream out as light into world space, as it was also at the time of the Old Sun. It had higher beings at their human stage, and these beings had luminous astral bodies. The Bible, quite correctly, calls these beings, Spirits of Light or Elohim.

What does a man work into his astral body? What we call goodness and common sense. If you observe a savage who is still on the level of a cannibal, blindly following his passions, you must say of him that he stands lower than the animals because the animal still has no understanding, no consciousness of his deeds. Man, however, even the lowest, already has an ego. The more highly educated person can be distinguished from the savage through the fact that he has already worked on his astral body. Certain passions he has so understood that he says to himself, “This one I may follow, this other I may not follow.” Certain urges and passions he fashions to more refined configurations, which he calls his ideal. He forms moral concepts. All these are transformations of his astral body. The savage cannot do arithmetic or make judgments. This property man has acquired through work on his astral body from incarnation to incarnation. What develops as man gradually ennobles his present imperfect form to become that being of light of whom we spoke is called the assimilation of wisdom. The more wisdom the astral body contains, the more luminous it will be. The Elohim, those beings who dwelt on the Sun, were wholly permeated with wisdom. Just as our souls relate to our bodies, so wisdom relates itself to light that streams out into cosmic space. You see, the relation between light and wisdom is not an image that has been contrived. It is based on fact. It is a truth. Thus is it to be explained that religious documents speak of light as a symbol of wisdom."

Source: Occult Signs and Symbols

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Fourth Seal

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:

"Human beings come from even higher worlds, and they will again ascend to these higher worlds. The form that human beings have today will by then have disappeared from the world. We will take up again that which is in the outer world, the individual letters from which we are assembled; our form will have identified itself with the world form. In a certain trivial presentation of Theosophy it is taught and talked about that we should seek the god within ourselves. However, anyone wanting to find the god within must seek in the works that are spread out in the universe. Nothing in the world is mere matter; it just seems that way. In reality, all matter is the expression of spirituality, tidings of the effectiveness of the god. Human beings will, as it were, expand their being in the course of the coming ages. More and more, human beings will identify themselves with the world, so that we will be able to portray them with the form of the cosmos, instead of the human form. This you see in the fourth seal, with the rock, the sea, and the pillars.

That which moves through the world today as cloud will give up its substance in order to form the body of the human being. The forces that are with the spirits of the Sun today will deliver to human beings in the future the power that builds their spiritual forces in an infinitely elevated manner. It is to this Sun power that the human being strives. In contrast to the plant, which sinks its head--the root--toward the center of the Earth, human beings turn their head to the Sun; one day we will unite our head with the Sun and receive higher forces. This we see portrayed in the Sun-face that rests on the cloud-body on the rock and the pillars. Human beings will have become self-creative then; as the symbol of this completed creation, a colorful rainbow surrounds the human being in the fourth seal. You can find a similar seal in the Acopalypse of John. In the middle of the clouds, there is a book. The Apocalypse says that the initiate must eat this book. Here is indicated the time when human beings not only will receive wisdom from without, but will also permeate themselves with it as they do with food today--when they will themelves be an embodiment of wisdom."

Source: Rocicrucianism Renewed, pp. 90-91

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Third Seal

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:

"If we follow human evolution far, far back many millions of years, we are confronted by something quite different. The human being is a physical being on the Earth, but there was a time when the being that wandered on the Earth could not yet have taken up a human soul. This soul was on the astral plane. Still further back, we come to a time when it was on the spiritual plane, the devachan plane. In the future it will again climb up to this high level, when it has purified itself on the Earth. From the spirit through the astral to the physical and upward again to the spirit: this is the long evolution of the human being. And yet it seems like a short period when we compare it with the time involved in the evolution of the human being on Saturn and on the other planets. There the human being went through not only a physical transformation but spiritual and astral transformations also.

If one wishes to follow these transformations, one must go up into the spiritual worlds. There one perceives the music of the spheres, tones that flow through space in this spiritual world. When human beings live into this spiritual world again, the harmony of the spheres will sound toward them. In esotericism it is called the trumpet tones of the angels; hence, the trumpets in the third seal. Revelations coming out of the spiritual world are revealed only when the human being progresses ever further. At that point the book with seven seals will be revealed to us. These seals are precisely those we are examining here. They will give up their secrets. For this reason, the book is placed in the middle of the seal, and below it are the four phases of humanity. The four horses are nothing other than the evolutionary stages of humanity through the ages."

Source: Rocicrucianism Renewed, p. 90

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Second Seal

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:

When you compare a man of today with the animals, the difference between them forces one to say that the man, as an individual, has within him what cannot be found in the single animal. The man has an individual soul, the animal a group soul. The individual human being is, in himself, a whole animal species. All lions together, for example, have only one soul. Such group-egos are like human egos except that they have not descended into the physical world, but are to be found only in the astral world. Here on earth one sees physical men, each of whom bears his ego. In the astral world one finds beings like one's self, but in astral sheaths rather than physical. One can speak with them as to one's peers. These are the animal group souls.

In earlier times, men also had group souls. Only gradually have they developed themselves to their present independence. These group souls were originally in the astral world and then descended to live in the physical body. When one investigates the original human group souls in the astral world, one finds four species from which humans have sprung. Were one to compare these four kinds of beings with the group souls that belong to the present-day animal species, one would find that one of the four is comparable to the lion, another to the eagle, a third to the cow, and a fourth to the man of ancient times before his ego had descended. Thus, in the second picture, in the apocalyptic animals lion, eagle, cow, and man, we are shown an evolutionary stage of mankind. There is, and always will be as long as the earth shall exist, a group soul for the higher manifestation of men, which is represented by the lamb in the center of the seal, the mystical lamb, the sign of the Redeemer. This grouping of the five group souls--the four of man around the great group soul, which still belongs to all men in common--is represented by the second seal.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The First Seal: "And flesh will become the Word"

Rudolf Steiner, September 16, 1907:

The first seal presents a person clad in white, his feet of molten metal, and a fiery sword projecting from the mouth. His right hand is surrounded by the signs of our planets — Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus. Those familiar with the Apocalypse of St. John will remember that there is to be found in it a description that closely corresponds to this picture, for St. John was an initiate. It can be said that this seal represents the idea of total humanity. This will be understood when we recall some ideas already known to the older members here. When we go back in human evolution, we come to a time when men were at an imperfect stage. Thus, for example, they did not have heads like the ones you carry on your shoulders today. It would sound grotesque, indeed, were you to hear a description of the men of that time. Only gradually was the head developed, and it will continue developing. Men also have organs today that have come to the end of their development and in the future they will no longer form part of the human body. There are others that will transform themselves. An example is the larynx, which, to be sure, has a great future connection with the heart. At present the larynx is at the beginning of its development, but in times to come it will be transformed into a spiritualized organ of reproduction. You will get an idea of this mystery if you make clear to yourselves just what it is that a man achieves with his larynx today.

While I speak to you, you hear my words. Through the fact that this sound fills the air and that certain vibrations are produced in it, my words are transported to your ears and to your souls. When I say a word, for example, “world,” the air vibrates in an embodiment of that word. What we produce in this way today is called “creation in the mineral kingdom.” The movements of the air are mineral movements, so to speak, and thus through the larynx we have a mineral effect on our environment. But men will progress and will also become effective in the plant kingdom. Then they will call forth not only mineral, but also plant-like vibrations. They will speak “plants.” The next step will be that men will be able to speak “feeling beings.” On the highest stage of their development, they will generate their like through the larynx. A man now can only express the contents of his soul through his larynx, but then he will express himself. As men in the future will be able to call people into being through their speaking, so it was that the forerunners of mankind, the gods, were gifted with an organ with which they expressed all things that are around us today. It is they who have made all men, animals, and everything else that is manifest. In the literal sense of the word, all of you are words uttered by divine beings.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and a God was the Word!” This does not mean a philosophical word in the speculative sense; St. John set down a primal fact that is to be taken quite literally.

At the end there will be the Word. Creation is a realization of the Word, and men in the future will bring forth a realizations of what today is the Word. Then men will no longer have the physical forms they have today; they will have progressed to the form that existed on Saturn, to fire matter.

That being who spoke forth all that is in the world today is the great prototype of men. He spoke forth Saturn into the universe, the Sun, Moon, Earth, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus. The seven planets in the seal point to this. They are the sign that indicates the height to which a man will be able to develop himself. His planet then will consist of fiery matter, and he will be able to speak creatively into this fiery matter. The fiery sword that projects from the mouth of the figure in the seal represents this. All will be fiery, hence the feet of flowing metal.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Evil is the nourishing soil for the good.

From the notes of an audience member at an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner:

     When  we have come to the point that we let fall away all the shadow-nature of both our thoughts and our outer surroundings, we grow into the spiritual world. In order to be able to stand in the right manner in the new world, and be able to understand and judge the things and facts of the spiritual world, we must already have changed our entire thinking in the physical world through esoteric development. This is a new world for us, but it is a world of greater reality than the one we have known so far.
     There we enter a world of real things and beings, and we connect with them; we grow into this world. This world penetrates us, and we lose our earthly thoughts to it. We could say that we lose our head to this world, while the beings and things of this world move into us; it is as if we were to stick our head into an anthill. Then consciousness of the elemental world arises for us. When our soul life is strengthened ever more through the concentration of our thoughts, so that our inner self can separate more and more from the physical body, then the things of that world step before our soul's eye in ever clearer imaginations and visions. We will see that all of our thoughts that we have had on Earth of the good, the benevolent, the noble have transformed into eternal imaginations that, in their living further, lend worth to the universe. And we will see that all the bad, the evil, and all the lower egotistical thoughts remain behind as waste products. It becomes something that is unfruitful, but that then becomes nourishment for what should develop into the good. Just as here on the physical plane, the mineral soil provides the nutrients for the plant world, so will all that is badly thought become the precipitate for the thoughts of the good, the true, and the beautiful that are sprouting in the elemental world. For this reason, esotericists can ever so quickly think something bad or false and imagine it in their thoughts, but they do not let it go further. They know that they may go only to the point at which it remains a thought. They do not let it go over into deed, into a reality. They only let it prepare and make up the soil out of which the seed of the good can grow.
      And thus it has actually happened in the world order; this is how the mineral kingdom of the Earth has come into being. On the Old Moon [the most recent past incarnation of Earth] the Elohim thought the error--this was appropriate to do there--and out of this matter, the mineral kingdom arose. Out of this earthly material, earthly dust, Yahweh-Ehohim was able to create the human being and provide the physical sheath.
     However, Lucifer, who now stands at a similar level upon which the Elohim stood on Old Moon, wants to carry out this same thing. He can use only human beings for this. He can think the error only within human beings.

Source: Esoteric Lessons 1913-1923, pp. 227-228

Monday, June 11, 2012

The cause of society's ills, and the remedy

Rudolf Steiner:

Anyone who wants to become an esotericist in the anthroposophical sense must train his thought life so that every thought is thought through sufficiently. Short thinking is the sign of a materialist. Anthroposophical esotericists must not fall into comfortable thinking. Take the thought of social democracy: Change the circumstances and a man will have better living and working conditions — that's a belief of materialism, short and deceiving. This belief is very paralyzing for every study of social life. Now how can an anthroposophist free himself from this materialistic belief that existence and even morality would improve if one would just improve outer conditions? Let's begin with the reflection that every change has to be made by human beings and that therefore every condition that's brought about for the social order arises from human thoughts and feelings. Once one has this thought firmly in mind one can free oneself from the materialistic view that everything is brought about by external conditions.

A budding esotericist should gather proofs that no improvement of the world occurs through the creation of better outer conditions. Anthroposophy tells us that the social order is created by men and that it's the result of human thoughts and feelings. So one should cultivate thoughts and feelings and not change the social order. An esotericist  asks: Where does this condition that's worthy of being changed come from? And if the condition is not veiled by nature he sees that the condition was brought about by the thoughts and will impulses of men who lived before him. So conditions are the way they are now because men made them that way through their inadequate thoughts and feelings. Spiritual science wants to implement a mighty education of our innermost soul forces so that the social life will shape itself out of other thoughts and feelings. What this means is that spiritual science has no patented recipe about how this or that is supposed to be done on this or that post, it doesn't judge anyone, but it's very confident that everyone will arrive at a right judgment if he's permeated by the fundamental truths. One such truth is that poverty, misery, and suffering are nothing but the result of egotism. One should look upon this as a law of nature. A man is egotistical as soon as he lives in accordance with the principle: I must be remunerated personally, I must be paid for the work that I do. An esotericist must ask himself whether work is really what sustains life. Work is of no importance if it isn't directed wisely. What serves men can only be produced and made through the wisdom that men put into it. One who doesn't understand this and who sins against it even slightly, sins against the social thinking of the present time.

Reflection on this in all of its possible phases strengthens thinking. A social democrat who reflects on how to create work to get rid of joblessness is thinking antisocially in the highest degree. Instead the main thing is that work should only be used for human beings, to create valuable produce. In a social community the work impulse must lie in devotion for the whole, and never in a man's personality. It follows from this that real social progress is only possible if I work for the good of the whole. In other words: The work I do mustn't be for myself. Social progress is completely dependent on the acceptance of this statement, that one doesn't want to get paid personally for one's work. A man owes work to the social community. Conversely, a man must restrict his existence to what the social community gives him. The counterpart to such social thinking must also be followed exactly. You know the example that a seamstress works for little pay and that social democrats tell the workers: You're being exploited. But now the seamstress goes out and buys a cheap dress to go dancing on Sunday. She asks for a cheap dress. But why is the dress cheap? Because another worker was exploited. So in the end, who's exploiting the worker? Certainly the seamstress who wears a cheap dress to go dancing on Sunday. One who can think clearly here already gets away from the distinction between rich and poor, for this has nothing to do with wealth and poverty. Therefore the foundations must first be created so that in future men will work hard and devotedly without thinking of personal advantage.

Suppose that someone invents a remedy and wants to patent it right away. This shows that he was thinking of a personal advantage and that he isn't filled with love for all mankind. For if men's health was the most important thing for him he would be anxious to report what's in the remedy and how it's made. And something else would happen — he'd be convinced that the remedy that was made with his sentiments was the better one.

Here we've come to a statement that's very important in esotericism: Ways of ennobling the soul must be arrived at. One who uses his thinking to attain beneficial progress must first see to it that human souls are ennobled.

Therewith we'll place the Rosicrucian verse at the end:

From that power that all beings binds
The man frees himself who self-mastery finds.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Behold Your Mother: Isis-Mary-Sophia

Rudolf Steiner, December 24, 1920:

"We must realize that through the force of the Christ we must find an inner astronomy that will show us again the cosmos moving and working by the power of the spirit. When we have this insight into the cosmos that is awakened through the newfound Isis power of the Christ--which is now the power of the Divine Sophia--then Christ, united with the Earth since the Mystery of Golgotha, will become active within us, because then we shall know him. It is not the Christ that we lack; what we lack is the knowledge and wisdom of Isis, the Sophia of the Christ....Human beings today must realize that for Christ to appear to them they must first seek Isis-Mary-Sophia."

Wisdom of God--
Lucifer has slain her,
And on wings of cosmic forces
Carried her away into the depths of space.
Working in us
Shall free her from Lucifer
And on grounds of spiritual knowledge
Call to new life in human souls
Wisdom of God.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ex Deo Nascimur: World Karma Is God

From the Contents of Esoteric Classes

Rudolf Steiner, August 30, 1909:

After Parzival stood before Titurel and had the experiences of which we spoke, an intimate and deep feeling of shame arose in him. This feeling of shame permeated him completely. He had gone through catharsis and had thought that he was now so good and pure that he could become one of the followers of the Master of all masters, the Christ. In this feeling of shame he was reminded of Christ's words: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God.” He now knew how very imperfect he was still and how much he still had to take into his striving for the good, how much he was still lacking in order to be good.

And a second feeling, a feeling of fear, overcame him. He thought that he had gotten rid of that a long time ago. But it was a different kind of fear from the ones he'd known previously. It was a feeling of his own smallness and weakness as a man compared with the sublime Godly being when he let a second word of Christ live in his soul: “Become perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” These two words should live in the soul of every esotericist.

An esotericist should kindle full devotion for divine beings in his soul. Thereby the consciousness develops that what one does isn't so good, but that one should always try to become more perfect. We should look at what's developing in one's soul. God lives in developing things. If we get to the point where we're acting in a good and noble way, then it's God in us who's good. The God who lets us act in a good and noble way is our archetype itself, that created us. We must become a complete copy of this archetype.

Be it ever so hidden, there's a selfish motive in everything we do. We must realize that we can't be selfless. It's a world karma that lets us act egoistically. But world karma is God. Everything that God is and does in the way of good is better than we could do it. An esotericist should tell himself: Let me do something that I have made it my duty to do, let me do it as hard as I can and in such a way that I tell myself that the divine element that's at work in me is doing this and I'm only the instrument of this godly element — then the higher self in its striving towards perfection is revealed to him.

There are three revelations of the higher self: through a dream, an inkling, and through meditation. If an esotericist has lived in his meditations, if he has tried to repeatedly live in his thoughts, words, and deeds in accordance with the perfection principle, if he has repeatedly tried to be good — then at some point he'll realize: If I would place all the joy and suffering that I previously thought was in me outside me, then it would be as if it surrounded me like a soul-spiritual thing; I no longer live in what I have placed outside, I'm no longer touched by the waves of pain and joy. Then a pupil must learn to stand fast in the center of his existence by living entirely in the power of the mantra: Ex Deo Nascimur. Thereby the pupil inserts the higher self into his humanness; this second I isn't in us and can't be found by brooding into oneself but only by growing out beyond oneself.

Through the exercises, we stimulate a force in us that otherwise works more as a memory force in us and reawakens the ideas, feelings, and sensations that were aroused by past things and happenings in the outer world. The pupil gets to know this as a force only; he learns how to organize it up into the brain, so that it eventually grows toward the higher self that floats above us. The pupil now lives in this newly acquired force. All outer pains and joys now seem to be outside of his center. He stands there firmly enclosed in himself against all outer influences; he feels free in himself and free of all external things.

And the pupil feels something else. Previously he had learned the teachings about karma. Now he knows that he stands under the necessity of the effects of karma. He experiences the higher self that places him into existence through birth in this newly attained force, and he sees how what develops in his destiny in the outer world must be brought about through the active necessity of karmic force. This gives him a certain joy with respect to pain and suffering. He confronts everything with equanimity.

If a pupil has progressed this far, he then gets to contemplation and thereby to consomatio of the higher self. And now spiritual eyes and ears are organized into him and begin to function when he devotes himself to the exercises with patience, persistence, and concentration. He learns to see the light world of spiritual beings and the spiritual will being who resounds towards him, audible to his opened spiritual ears. And he knows that he can't have these spiritual experiences by means of his physical organism. In his experience of the pentagram he feels that he's placed into the whole etheric and spiritual world. This drawing and occult script has a soul-awakening and a spirit-liberating effect. The pupil should repeatedly place it before his soul and he'll experience that ever new forces grow in his soul thereby. We saw that Parzival who stood before Titurel in solitude had the experiences that come to expression in this occult script. The whole Christian wisdom and mystery that winds around the Grail is expressed in it.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Meditative Exercises: Piercing the Veil of Maya

From the notes of a participant in an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner:
     When we examine our exercises, we will find that they are so formed that they never call on human egotism. Many people find this unpleasant. We do not meditate on "love" or "truth," because that would only foster egotism. However, in spite of that, such concepts like "light," "warmth"--which are found in our exercises--are things of the physical world which we know at first only through the physical senses. All of this is a gift from Lucifer. For this reason, after the meditation we should drop the content--empty the soul completely of these impressions. By doing this we refuse everything that comes from Lucifer and Ahriman, and we prepare ourselves for the purely spiritual world. Then the world of the senses disappears, and the spiritual world opens up before us. This spiritual world has nothing in common with the physical world.
     Ordinary human beings are like the chick that would regard its eggshell as the real world. If the chick could see within its eggshell, this eggshell would not look small to the chick, but quite enlarged; it would look as large as our world looks to us. The content within the shell would look like the whole world. This is the way we see our eggshell: our aura that is spread out around us as the blue vault of the heavens. If we break through our shell, then the Sun and Moon become dark, the stars fall to the Earth, and in their place the spiritual world spreads itself out.
     Human beings live in their eggshell--their aura. The Elohim gave us our aura, and through the Fall this aura became like a shell around us. We are within it, just like the chick is in the egg. The sky and the stars are our boundary, and we must use our soul strength to break through the boundary, just as the chick has to use its own strength to break though its shell. Then we achieve entrance in to a new world, just as the chick has a new world before it when it has crawled out of the egg....
     The eggshell is: Ex Deo Nascimur. In order to break though this shell and also take something with us into the spiritual world, we must bring with us what penetrates into our shell from the outer world--that is, from the spiritual world--and what is common to us all. This is Christ. Thus, we speak: In Christo Morimur and hope that, when we have broken through the shell with Christ's help, we will be resurrected again: Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus.

Source: Esoteric Lessons 1913-1923, pp. 163-164

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The cycle of life: from sanguine to choleric to melancholic to phlegmatic

Rudolf Steiner, August 22, 1919:

"All children are primarily sanguine, even if they are also phlegmatic or choleric in certain things. All adolescents, boys and girls, are really cholerics, and if it is not so at this time of life it shows an unhealthy development. In mature life people are melancholic, and in old age, phlegmatic."

Becoming Anthroposophia: Offering Oneself

Rudolf Steiner:
     The more earnestly we develop ourselves as esotericists, the more we should nurture within us an offering, a devotion, that we should bring from our soul to the higher beings--for example, the angels. The angels need our esoteric striving and our study of Anthroposophy as food for themselves. And to the degree Anthroposophy penetrates us and we make it a part of our being, in the same degree can the archangels use it for the further development of individual peoples and for their own development.

Source: Esoteric Lessons 1913-1923, p. 160

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit]

Ex Deo Nascimur       In Christo Morimur       Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

Rudolf Steiner, June 16, 1921:

The closing of the Lord's Prayer was linked in the Mysteries from which it was taken with a specific symbol--with guiding over one's whole consciousness into symbolic contemplation. It was said: When one selects a symbol for the 'kingdom,' it is this: The boundary is the symbol for the kingdom. The kingdom encompasses a certain area. However, it only makes sense to speak of the 'kingdom' when we picture this area within its boundary, when we picture the extent to which the kingdom, the area, reaches.

Such a kingdom, however, has a meaning not just when it is a limited area, but when a force streams through it, when it is permeated with a force. The force must sit in the center-point and radiate through the kingdom. Thus you have something that spreads out through the area of the kingdom. The force that rays out from the center-point is the 'power.' The radiating force that rules the kingdom is the 'power.'

All of this would, however, take place in the interior, within the 'kingdom.' If only this were present, this kingdom with the power would stand there closed up within itself. It would exist only for itself. It is there for others in the world, for other beings, only when what rays out reaches the edge or surface, and rays out from there into the surroundings: so that what rays out into the world is a radiance found on the surface: a 'glory.' The raying out from within is the power. The power that sits fast on the surface and shines outward from there is the glory....Then you seek to find in the outer reality what you have in soul-spiritual seek it in the external world; and you find it in the Sun, because that is the image of it. And instead of ending the Lord's Prayer with the words used in Protestantism ("for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory"), you can also close it with the words: "for thine is the Sun."

"No one comes unto the Father except through me."

Source: First Steps in Christian Religious Renewal, pp. 166-167

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Buddha and Dharma

Rudolf Steiner, lecture five of According to Luke, September 19, 1909:

"If the bodhisattva had not appeared completely in the body of the great Gautama Buddha, individual human souls would not have been able to receive the lawfulness known as dharma, which human beings develop from within only by eliminating the astral content of their souls in order to free themselves from all the harmful effects of karma. The Buddha legend points to this fact in a wonderful way when it says that the Buddha had succeeded in "setting the wheel of the law rolling." That is, when the bodhisattva was enlightened and became the Buddha, a wave flowed over all of humankind, and as a consequence individuals gradually learned to develop dharma from within their own souls....
Through the Buddha, humankind acquired the lawfulness that each soul discovers for itself and uses to purify itself and rise to the highest possible level of earthly morality. As proclaimed by the Buddha, dharma, the law of the soul, is accessible to individual human souls at the highest level of development; the Buddha was the first to derive it from within."

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Auguries of Innnocence" by William Blake

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.

A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight
Does the rising sun affright.

Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.

The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.

The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov'd by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov'd
Shall never be by woman lov'd.

The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.

The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.

He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.

The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy's foot.

The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist's jealousy.

The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;

This is caught by females bright,
And return'd to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.

The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar's rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.

The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.

One mite wrung from the lab'rer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.

He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mock'd in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.

He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.

The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.

The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.

When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket's cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.

The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.

The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.

The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Learn To Dance

Learn to dance, or else the angels in Heaven will not know what to do with you.  --Saint Augustine

Saturday, June 2, 2012

War: What Is It Good For?

“War is waged by men; not by beasts, or by gods. It is a peculiarly human activity. To call it a crime against mankind is to miss at least half its significance; it is also the punishment of a crime.” --Frederic Manning

Paul Fussell:
That month away from the line helped me survive for four weeks more but it broke the rhythm and, never badly scared before, when I returned to the line early in March I found for the first time that I was terrified, unwilling to take the chances that before had seemed rather sporting. My month of safety had renewed my interest in survival, and I was psychologically and morally ill prepared to lead my platoon in the great Seventh Army attack of March 15, 1945. But lead it I did, or rather push it, staying as far in the rear as was barely decent. And before the day was over I had been severely rebuked by a sharp-eyed lieutenant-colonel who threatened court martial if I didn’t pull myself together. Before that day was over I was sprayed with the contents of a soldier’s torso when I was lying behind him and he knelt to fire at a machine gun holding us up: he was struck in the heart, and out of the holes in the back of his field jacket flew little clouds of tissue, blood, and powdered cloth. Near him another man raised himself to fire, but the machine gun caught him in the mouth, and as he fell he looked back at me with surprise, blood and teeth dribbling out onto the leaves. He was one to whom early on I had given the Silver Star for heroism, and he didn’t want to let me down.
As if in retribution for my cowardice, in the late afternoon, near Ingwiller, Alsace, clearing a woods full of Germans cleverly dug in, my platoon was raked by shells from an .88, and I was hit in the back and leg by shell fragments. They felt like red-hot knives going in, but I was as interested in the few quiet moans, like those of a hurt child drifting off to sleep, of my thirty-seven-year-old platoon sergeant—we’d been together since Camp Howze—killed instantly by the same shell. We were lying together, and his immediate neighbor on the other side, a lieutenant in charge of a section of heavy machine guns, was killed instantly too. My platoon was virtually wiped away. I was in disgrace, I was hurt, I was clearly expendable—while I lay there the supply sergeant removed my issue wristwatch to pass on to my replacement—and I was twenty years old.
I bore up all right while being removed from “the field” and passed back through the first-aid stations where I was known. I was deeply on morphine, and managed brave smiles as called for. But when I got to the evacuation hospital thirty miles behind the lines and was coming out of the anesthetic from my first operation, all my affectations of control collapsed, and I did what I’d wanted to do for months. I cried, noisily and publicly, and for hours. I was the scandal of the war.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Love" by George Herbert

    Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
    Guilty of dust and sin.
    But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
    From my first entrance in,
    Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
    If I lack'd anything.
    'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'
    Love said, 'You shall be he.'
    'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
    I cannot look on Thee.'
    Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
    'Who made the eyes but I?'
    'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame
    Go where it doth deserve.'
    'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'
    'My dear, then I will serve.'
    'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'
    So I did sit and eat.