Saturday, August 31, 2013

Anthroposophy: The Spiritualization of the Will. Focus lecture for the September 25 meeting of the Rudolf Steiner Study Circle

The Cycle of the Year as Breathing Process of the Earth. Lecture 3 of 5.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, April 2, 1923:

We should not underestimate the significance it once held for mankind to focus the whole attention during the year on a festival-time. Although in our time the celebration of religious festivals is largely a matter of habit, it was not always so. There were times when people united their consciousness with the course of the year; when, let us say, at the beginning of the year they felt themselves standing within the course of time in such a way that they said to themselves: “There is such and such a degree of cold or warmth now; there are certain relationships among the other weather conditions, certain relationships also between the growth or non-growth in plants or animals.” — People experienced along with Nature the gradual changes and metamorphoses she went through. But they shared this experience with Nature in such a way — when their consciousness was united with the natural phenomena — that they oriented this consciousness toward a specific festival. Let us say, at the beginning of the year, through the various feeling perceptions associated with the passing of winter, the consciousness was directed toward the Easter time, or in the fall, with the fading away of life, toward Christmas. Then men's souls were filled with feelings which found expression in the way they related themselves to what the festivals meant to them.

Thus people partook in the course of the year, and this participation meant for the most part permeating with spirit not only what they saw and heard around them but what they experienced with their whole human being. They experienced the course of the year as an organic life process, just as in the human being when he is a child we relate the utterances of the childish soul with the awkward movements of a child, or its imperfect way of speaking. As we connect specific soul-experiences with the change of teeth, other soul experiences with the later bodily changes, so men once saw the ruling and weaving of the spiritual in the successive changes of outer nature, in growth and decline, or in a waxing followed by a waning.

Now, all this cannot help affecting the whole way man feels himself as earthly man in the universe. Thus we can say that in that period at the beginning of our reckoning of time, when the remembrance of the Event of Golgotha began to be celebrated which later became the Easter festival — in that period in which the Easter festival was livingly felt and perceived, when man still took part in the turning of the year as I have just described it — then it was in essence so, that people felt their own lives surrendered, given over to the outer spiritual-physical world. Their feeling told them that in order to make their lives complete, they had need of the vision of the Entombment and the Resurrection, of that sublime image of the Mystery of Golgotha.

But it is from filling the consciousness in such a way that inspirations arise for men. People are not always conscious of these inspirations, but it is a secret of human evolution that from these religious attitudes toward the phenomena of the world, inspirations for the whole of life proceed.

First of all, we must understand clearly that during a certain epoch, during the Middle Ages, the people who oriented the spiritual life were priests, and those priests were concerned above all with the ordering of the festivals. They set the tone for the celebration of the festivals. The priesthood was that group of men who presented the festivals before the rest of mankind, before the laity, and who gave the festivals their content. In so doing the priests themselves felt this content very deeply; and the entire soul-condition that resulted from the inspiring effect of the festivals was expressed in the rest of the soul-life.

The Middle Ages would not have produced what is called Scholasticism — the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus and the other Scholastics — if this philosophy, this world conception, with all its social consequences, had not been inspired by the most important thought of the Church, by the Easter thought. In the vision of the descending Christ, Who lives for a time in man on Earth and then goes through the Resurrection, that soul impulse was given which led to the particular relation between faith and science, between knowledge and revelation, which was agreed upon by the Scholastics. That out of man himself, only knowledge of the sensible world can be acquired, whereas everything connected with the supersensible world has to be gained through revelation — this was determined basically by the way the Easter thought followed upon the Christmas thought.

And if, in turn, the idea-world of natural science today is totally the product of Scholasticism, as I have often explained to you, we must then say: “Although the natural science of the present is not aware of it, its knowledge is essentially a direct imprint of the Easter thought which prevailed in the early Middle Ages and then became paralyzed in the later Middle Ages and in modern times.” Notice the way natural science applies in its ideas what is so popular today and indeed dominates our culture: it devotes its ideas entirely to dead nature; it considers itself incapable of rising above dead nature. This is a result of that inspiration which was stimulated by viewing the Laying in the Grave.

As long as people were able to add the Resurrection to the Entombment as something to which they looked up, they then added also the revelation concerning the supersensible to mere outer sense-knowledge. But as it became more and more common to view the Resurrection as an inexplicable and therefore unjustifiable miracle, revelation — that is, the supersensible world — came to be repudiated. The present-day natural scientific view is inspired solely by the conception of Good Friday and lacks any conception of Easter Sunday.

We need to recognize this inner connection: The inspired element is always that which is experienced within all the festival moods in relation to Nature. We must come to know the connection between this inspiring element and all that comes to expression in human life. When we once gain an insight into the intimate connection that exists between this living-oneself-into the course of the year and what men think, feel, and will, then we shall also recognize how significant it would be if we were to succeed, for example, in making the Michael festival in autumn a reality; if we were really to succeed, out of spiritual foundations, out of esoteric foundations, in making the autumn Michael festival something that would pass over into men's consciousness and again work inspiringly.

If the Easter thought were to receive its coloration through the fact that to the Easter thought “He has been laid in the grave and is arisen” the other thought is added, the human thought, “He is arisen and may be laid in the grave without perishing” — If this Michael thought could become living, what tremendous significance just such an event could have for men's whole perceiving (Empfindung) and feeling and willing — and how this could “live itself into” the whole social structure of mankind!

My dear friends, all that people are hoping for from a renewal of the social life will not come about from all the discussions and all the institutions based on what is externally sensible. It will be able to come about only when a mighty inspiration-thought goes through mankind, when an inspiration-thought takes hold of mankind through which the moral-spiritual element will once again be felt and perceived along with the natural-sensible element.

People today are like earthworms, I might say, looking for sunlight under the ground, while to find the sunlight they need to come forth above the surface of the earth. Nothing in reality will be accomplished by all of today's organizations and plans for reform; something can be achieved only by the mighty impact of a thought-impulse drawn out of the spirit. For it must be clear to us that the Easter thought itself can only attain its new “nuance” through being complemented by the Michael thought.

Let us consider this Michael thought somewhat more closely. If we look at the Easter thought, we have to consider that Easter occurs at the time of the bursting and sprouting life of spring. At this time the Earth is breathing out her soul-forces, in order that these soul-forces may be permeated again by the astral element surrounding the Earth, the extra-earthly, cosmic element. The Earth is breathing out her soul. What does this mean?

It means that certain elemental beings which are just as much in the periphery of the Earth as the air is or as the forces of growth are — that these unite their own being with the out-breathed Earth soul in those regions in which it is spring. These beings float and merge with the out-breathed Earth soul. They become dis-individualized; they lose their individuality and rise in the general earthly soul element. We see countless elemental beings in spring just around Easter time in the final stage of the individual life which was theirs during the winter. We see them merging into the general Earth soul element and rising like a sort of cloud (red, yellow, with green). I might say that during the wintertime these elemental beings are within the soul element of the Earth, where they had become individualized; before this Easter time they had a certain individuality, flying and floating about as individual beings. During Easter time we see them come together in a general cloud (red), and form a common mass within the Earth soul (green). But by so doing these elemental beings lose their consciousness to a certain degree and enter into a sort of sleeping condition. Certain animals sleep in the winter; these elemental beings sleep in summer. This sleep is deepest during St. John's time, when they are completely asleep. Then they begin once more to individualize, and when the Earth breathes in again at Michaelmas, at the end of September, we can see them already as separate beings again.

Diagram I

Man needs these elemental beings... This is not in his consciousness, but man needs them nonetheless, in order to unite them with himself, so that he can prepare his future. And man could unite these elemental beings with himself, if at a certain festival time — it would have to be at the end of September — he could perceive with a special inner soul-filled liveliness how Nature herself changes toward the autumn; if he could perceive how the animal and plant life recedes, how certain animals begin to seek their shelters against the winter; how the plant leaves get their autumn coloring; how all Nature fades and withers.

Diagram II

It is true that spring is fair, and it is a fine capacity of the human soul to perceive the beauty of the spring, the growing, sprouting, burgeoning life. But to be able to perceive also when the leaves fade and take on their fall coloring, when the animals creep away — to be able to feel how in the sensible which is dying away, the gleaming, shining, soul-spiritual element arises — to be able to perceive how with the yellowing of the leaves there is a descent of the springing and sprouting life, but how the sensible becomes yellow in order that the spiritual can live in the yellowing as such — to be able to perceive how in the falling of the leaves the ascent of the spirit takes place, how the spiritual is the counter-manifestation of the fading sense-perceptible — this should as a perceptive feeling for the spirit ensoul the human being in autumn! Then he would prepare himself in the right way precisely for Christmastide.

Man should become permeated, out of anthroposophical spiritual science, by the truth that it is precisely the spiritual life of man on Earth which depends on the declining physical life. Whenever we think, the physical matter in our nerves is destroyed; the thought struggles up out of the matter as it perishes. To feel the becoming of the thought in one's self, the gleaming up of the idea in the human soul, in the whole human organism of man; to be akin to the yellowing leaves, the withering foliage, the drying and shriveling of the plant world in Nature; to feel the kinship of man's spiritual “being-ness” with Nature's spiritual “being-ness” — this can give man that impulse which strengthens his will, that impulse which points man to the permeation of his will with spirituality.

In so doing, however, in permeating his will with spirituality, the human being becomes an associate of the Michael activity on earth. And when man lives with Nature in this way as autumn approaches and brings this living-with-Nature to expression in an appropriate festival content, then he will be able truly to perceive the completing (Erganzung) of the Easter mood. But by means of this, something else will become clear to him. — You see, what man thinks, feels, and wills today is really inspired by the Easter mood, which is actually one-sided. This Easter mood is essentially a result of the sprouting, burgeoning life, which causes everything to merge as in a pantheistic unity. Man is surrendered to the unity of Nature, and to the unity of the world generally. This is also the structure of our spiritual life today. Man wants everything to revert to a unity, to a monon; he is either a devotee of universal spirit or universal nature; and he is accordingly either a spiritualistic Monist or a materialistic Monist. Everything is included in an indefinite unity. This is essentially the spring mood.

But when we look into the autumn mood, with the rising and becoming free of the spiritual, and the dropping away and withering of the sensible (red), then we have a view of the spiritual as such, and the sensible as such.

Diagram III

The sprouting plant in the spring has the spiritual within its sprouting and growing; the spiritual is mingled with the sensible; we have essentially a unity. The withering plant lets the leaf fall, and the spirit rises; we have the spirit, the invisible, supersensible spirit, and the material falling out of it. I would say that it is just as if we had in a container, first, a uniform fluid in which something is dissolved, and then by some process we should cause this to separate from the fluid and fall to the bottom as sediment. We have now separated the two which were united, which had formed a unity.

The spring tends to weave everything together, to blend everything into a vague, undifferentiated unity. The view of the autumn, if we only look at it in the right way, if we contrast it in the right way with the view of the spring, calls attention to the way the spiritual works on the one side and the physical-material on the other. The Easter thought loses nothing of value if the Michaelmas thought is added to it. We have on the one side the Easter thought, where everything appears — I might say — as a pantheistic mixture, a unity. Then we have what is differentiated; but the differentiation does not occur in any irregular, chaotic fashion. We have regularity throughout.

Think of the cyclic course: joining together, intermingling, unifying; an intermediate state when the differentiating takes place; the complete differentiation; then again the merging of what was differentiated within the uniform, and so forth. There you see always besides these two conditions yet a third: you see the rhythm between the differentiated and the undifferentiated, in a certain way, between the in-breathing of what was differentiated-out and the out-breathing again, an intermediate condition. You see a rhythm: a physical-material, a spiritual, a working-in-each-other of the physical-material and the spiritual: a soul element.

But the important thing is this: not to stop with the common human fancy that everything must be led back to a unity; thereby everything, whether the unity is a spiritual or a material one, is led back to the indefiniteness of the cosmic night. In the night all cows are gray; in spiritual Monism all ideas are gray; in material Monism they are likewise gray. These are only distinctions of perceiving; they are of no concern for a higher view. What matters is this: that we as human beings can so unite ourselves with the cosmic course that we are in a position to follow the living transition from the unity into the trinity, the return from trinity into unity. When, by complementing the Easter thought with the Michael thought in this way we have become able to perceive rightly the primordial trinity in all existence, then we shall take it into our whole attitude of soul. Then we shall be in a position to understand that actually all life depends upon the activity and the interworking of primordial trinities. And when we have the Michael festival inspiring such a view in the same way that the one-sided Easter festival inspired the view now existing, then we shall have an inspiration, a Nature/Spirit impulse, to introduce threefoldness, the impulse of threefoldness into all the observing and forming of life. And it depends finally and only upon the introduction of this impulse, whether the destructive forces in human evolution can be transformed once more into ascending forces.

One might say that when we spoke of the threefold impulse it was in a certain sense a test of whether the Michael thought is already strong enough so that it can be felt how such an impulse flows directly out of the forces that shape the time. It was a test of the human soul, of whether the Michael thought is strong enough as yet in a large number of people. Well, the test yielded a negative result. The Michael thought is not strong enough in even a small number of people for it to be perceived truly in all its time-shaping power and forcefulness. And it will indeed hardly be possible, for the sake of new forces of ascent, to unite human souls with the original formative cosmic forces in the way that is necessary, unless such an inspiring force as can permeate a Michael festival — unless, that is to say, a new formative impulse can come forth from the depths of the esoteric life.

If instead of the passive members of the Anthroposophical Society, even only a few active members could be found, then it would become possible to set up further deliberations to consider such a thought. It is essential to the Anthroposophical Society that while stimuli within the Society should of course be carried out, the members should actually attach primary value, I might say, to participating in what is coming to pass. They may perhaps focus the contemplative forces of their souls on what is taking place, but the activity of their own souls does not become united with what is passing through the time as an impulse. Hence, with the present state of the Anthroposophical Movement there can of course be no question of considering as part of its activity anything like what has just now been spoken of as an esoteric impulse. But it must be understood how mankind's evolution really moves, that the great sustaining forces of humanity's world-evolution come not from what is propounded in superficial words, but from entirely different quarters.

This has always been known in ancient times from primeval elementary clairvoyance. In ancient times it was not the custom for the young people to learn, for example, that there are so and so many chemical elements; then another is discovered and there are then 75, then 76; another is discovered and there are 77. One cannot anticipate how many may still be discovered. Accidentally, one is added to 75, to 76, and so on. In what is adduced here as number, there is no inner reality. And so it is everywhere. Who is interested today in anything that would bring to revelation, let us say, that a systematic threefoldness or trinity prevails in plants! Order after order is discovered, species after species; and they are counted just as though one were counting a chance pile of sticks or stones. But the working of number in the world rests on a real quality of being, and this quality must be fathomed. Only think how short a time lies behind us since knowledge of substance was led back to the trinity of the salty, the mercurial, and the phosphoric; how in this a trinity of archetypal forces was seen; how everything that appeared as individual had to be fitted into one or another of the three archetypal forces.

And it is different again when we look back into still earlier times in which it was easier for people to come to something like this because of the very situation of their culture; for the Oriental cultures lay nearer to the Torrid Zone, where such things were more readily accessible to the ancient elementary clairvoyance. Today, however, it is possible to come to these things in the Temperate Zone through free, exact clairvoyance.... Yet people want to go back to the ancient cultures! In those days people did not distinguish spring, summer, autumn, winter. To distinguish spring, summer, autumn, winter leads us to a mere succession because it contains the “four.” It would have been quite impossible for the ancient Indian culture, for example, to think of something like the course of the year as ruled by the four, because this contains nothing of the archetypal forms underlying all activity.

When I wrote my book Theosophy, it was impossible simply to list in succession physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego, although we can summarize it this way once the matter is before us, once it is inwardly understood. I had therefore to arrange them according to the number three: physical body, ether body, astral body, forming the first trinity. Then comes the trinity interwoven with it: sentient soul, intellectual soul, consciousness soul; then the trinity interwoven with this: spirit self, life spirit, spirit man — three times three interwoven with one another in such a way as to become seven.

Diagram IV

Only when we look at the present stage of mankind's evolution does the four appear, which is really a secondary number. If we want to see the inwardly active principle, if we want to see the formative process, we must see forming and shaping as associated with threefoldness, with trinity.

Hence, the ancient Indian view was of a year divided into a hot season, which would approximate our months of April, May, June, July; a wet season, comprising approximately our months, August, September, October, November; and a cold season, which would include our months, December, January, February, March. The boundaries do not need to be rigidly fixed according to the months but are only approximate; they can be thought of as shifting. But the course of the year was thought of according to the principle of the “three.”

And thus man's whole state of soul would be imbued with the predisposition to observe this primal trinity in all weaving and working, and hence to interweave it also into all human creating and shaping. We can even say that it is only possible to have true ideas of the free spiritual life, the life of rights, the social-economic life, when we perceive in the depths this triple pulse of cosmic activity, which must also permeate human activity.

Any reference to this sort of thing today is regarded as some sort of superstition, whereas it is considered great wisdom simply to count “one” and again “one,” “two,” “three,” and so on. But Nature does not take such a course. If we look, however, only at a realm in which everything is woven together, as is the case with Nature in springtime — which of course we must look at if we want to observe the interweaving of things — then we can never restore the pulse of three.

But when anyone follows the whole course of the year, when he sees how the “three” is organized, how the spiritual and the physical-material life are present as a duality, and the rhythmic interweaving of the two as the third, then he perceives this three-in-one, one-in-three, and learns to know how the human being can place himself in this cosmic activity: three to one, one to three.

It would become the whole disposition of the human soul to permeate the cosmos, to unite itself with cosmic worlds, if once the Michael thought could awaken as a festival thought in such a way that we were to place a Michael festival in the second half of September alongside the Easter festival; if to the thought of the resurrection of the God after death could be added the thought, produced by the Michael force, of the resurrection of man from death, so that man through the Resurrection of Christ would find the force to die in Christ. This means, taking the risen Christ into one's soul during earthly life, so as to be able to die in Him — that is, to be able to die not at death but when one is living.

Such an inner consciousness as this would result from the inspiring element that would come from a Michael service. We can realize full well how far removed from any such idea is our materialistic time, which is also a time grown narrow-minded and pedantic. Of course, nothing can be expected of us, so long as it remains dead and abstract. But if with the same enthusiasm with which festivals were once introduced in the world when people had the force to form festivals — if such a thing happens again, then it will work inspiringly. Indeed it will work inspiringly for our whole spiritual and our whole social life. Then that which we need will be present in life: not abstract spirit on one hand and spirit-void nature on the other, but Nature permeated with spirit, and spirit forming and shaping naturally. For these are one, and they will once again weave religion, science, and art into oneness, because they will understand how to conceive the trinity in religion, science, and art in the sense of the Michael thought, so that these three can then be united in the right way in the Easter thought, in the anthroposophical shaping and forming. This can work religiously, artistically, cognitionally, and can also differentiate religiously, cognitionally. Then the anthroposophical impulse would consist in perceiving in the Easter season the unity of science, religion, and art; and then at Michaelmas perceiving how the three — who have one mother, the Easter mother — how the three become “sisters” and stand side by side, but mutually complement one another. Then the Michael thought, which should become living as a festival in the course of the year, would be able to work inspiringly on all domains of human life.

With such things as these, which belong to the truly esoteric, we should permeate ourselves, at least in our cognition, to begin with. If then the time could come when there are actively working personalities, such a thing could actually become an impulse which singly and alone would be able, in the present condition of humanity, to replace the descending forces with ascending ones.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Easter and its complementary counter-pole, Michaelmas. Bonus lecture for the September 25 meeting of the Rudolf Steiner Study Circle

Diagram I

The Cycle of the Year as Breathing Process of the Earth. Lecture 2 of 5.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, Easter Sunday, April 1, 1923:

I have sought out of the esoteric aspect of the Easter thought to speak to you about how, when the course of Nature is permeated by spirit, it must come about that an autumn festival is added to the festivals of the year. This should be a kind of Michael festival, placed in relation to the fall equinox approximately in the same way as Christmas is to the winter solstice, Easter to the spring equinox, and St. John's to the summer solstice.

I should like to try to bring closer to you the Easter thought appropriate to the present age, particularly in its feeling content, so that tomorrow I can lay before you the whole significance of such a contemplation.

When we celebrate the Easter festival today, if we look about us into the consciousness of contemporary humanity and are honest with ourselves, we shall have to admit that the Easter thought is actually very little true for the greater part of humanity! On what does the truth of the Easter thought depend? The truth depends on a man's being able to link with this thought a mental image showing the Christ Being as having gone through death, having conquered Death, and then when He had undergone death and the succeeding Resurrection, having thereafter so united Himself with mankind that He could still give revelations to those who had formerly been His disciples, to the Apostles. But the Resurrection thought has more and more faded away, whereas when Christianity was in its inception it had been so living that Paul's words could sound across the ages from this epoch: “And if the Christ be not risen, then is... your faith vain!”

Paul has here linked Christianity directly with the Easter thought — that is, with the thought of the Resurrection. People who have received the education of the present day call the Resurrection a miracle, and as miracle it is excluded from the realm of what is or can be reality. So that for all those who can no longer penetrate to the Resurrection thought, the Easter festival merely reflects an ancient custom, as do the rest of the Christian festivals. In the course of the years we have mentioned this from the most varied points of view.

It will first be necessary for mankind to reacquire a knowledge of the spiritual world as such in order to understand events which do not belong to the realm of sense reality; and what is connected with the Resurrection thought must be regarded as such an event. Then it will be possible for the Easter thought to become truly living again, which it cannot be for a humanity that relegates the Resurrection to the realm of unreal miracles.

The Easter thought arose in those epochs of mankind in which there were still remnants of the ancient primitive human knowledge of the spiritual world. We know that at the beginning of human Earth evolution, man had a certain instinctive clairvoyance by means of which he could gain glimpses of the spiritual world which led him to view this world as of equal validity with the physical sense world. This original instinctive clairvoyance is lost for earthly humanity. But in the first three centuries of the Christian era the last remnants of it at least still existed. Hence in these centuries a certain understanding of the Easter thought based upon ancient human insight could still take root.

Such an understanding became blunted in the fourth century, when preparation began for what has come to full expression since the first third of the fifteenth century: namely, man's life in abstract, dead thoughts, which we have often mentioned. In these abstract, dead thoughts, in which natural science attains greatness, the Easter thought soon died. Today the time has come when it must again awaken as a living thought. But in order to awaken, it must pass over out of the state of death into a state of livingness.

That which is living is characterized by the fact that it puts forth something other than itself out of itself. In the early Christian centuries, when the Easter thought was spreading throughout Christendom, the “Gemuets”* of men were still sensitive enough to experience inwardly something very powerful when they pictured the grave of Christ and, rising out of the grave, that Being Who was now united with mankind. The Gemuets could experience with great inner force what appeared before their souls in this powerful image. And this inner experience was a reality in the human soul life.
* The Gemuet, or feeling soul, together with the intellectual soul forms the centermost of the three soul elements in Rudolf Steiner's picture of man. This soul element was predominant in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, in which the event of Golgotha took place.

Only that is a reality in the human soul life which this soul really lays hold of, just as the senses ordinarily lay hold of the outer sense world. The people of the early centuries felt that they were changed by beholding the event of the Death and the Resurrection of Christ. They felt that by this sight their souls were transformed, just as a man feels that he is changed by physical events in the course of his life on Earth.

The human being is transformed at about the seventh year by the change of teeth, and again at about the fourteenth or fifteenth year by the onset of puberty. These are bodily transformations. In the contemplation of the Easter thought the early Christians felt themselves transformed in their inner soul life. They felt themselves thereby lifted out of one stage of human existence and transported into another.

In the course of time the Easter thought has lost this force, this power, and it can regain it only when the Resurrection, which cannot be understood according to natural laws, regains reality through spiritual science, a science which comprehends the spiritual. But what is spiritually conceived attains reality not when this spiritual is conceived merely in abstract thoughts but only when it is also grasped in lively connection with the world appearing before the senses.

Anyone who wants to cling to the spiritual only in its abstraction, who says, for example, that we should not pull down the spiritual into the physical sense world, should at the same time maintain that the Divine Being is degraded when He is represented as having created the world. The Divine is comprehended in its greatness and power not when we place it outside and beyond the sensible, but when we ascribe to it the power to work in this sensible world, to permeate this sensible world creatively. It is a debasing of the Divine to want to set it up yonder in abstract heights, in a “cloud-cuckoo-land.” And we will never live in spiritual realities if we conceive the spiritual only in its abstractness, if we cannot bring it into connection with the whole course of the world as this comes to meet us.

And this cosmic course, as far as our earthly life is concerned, meets us first of all in the fact that this earthly life comprises a certain number of years, and that these years present the return of certain events in a regular rhythm, as I indicated yesterday. After a year we return to approximately the same conditions of weather, of Sun position, and so forth. The course of the year thus enters into our earthly life in a rhythmical way.

We saw yesterday that this course of the year represents an in-and-out-breathing by the Earth itself of soul-spiritual elements. If we picture to ourselves once more the four high points of this Earth breathing-process, as we allowed them to come before our souls, we must say to ourselves: The time of the Christmas festival represents the time when the Earth holds its breath within it. The soul-spiritual part of the Earth is completely absorbed. Deep in the bosom of the Earth there rests all that the Earth unfolded during summer in order to let it be stimulated by the cosmos. All that opened up to the cosmos and was yielded up to its forces during the summertime has now been completely drawn in by the Earth, to rest in her deeps at Christmas time. Man of course does not dwell in the earthly depths; physically he lives on the surface of the Earth. Soul-spiritually also, he does not dwell in the depths of the Earth, for he lives actually in the Earth's periphery; he lives in the atmosphere that surrounds the Earth.

Therefore esoteric wisdom has always recognized the essential being of the Earth at the time of the winter solstice, at Christmas time, as something concealed at first, as something which cannot be penetrated by the ordinary forces of human knowledge, something which belongs in the sphere of the esoteric mysteries. And in all ancient times when something comparable to our present Christmas festival existed, it was recognized that what goes on in connection with the Earth at Christmas time could be grasped only by initiation into Mystery knowledge, by the initiation still known in Greece as the Chthonian Mysteries. By means of this initiation, man forsook in a certain way the periphery of the Earth in which he lived with his ordinary consciousness, to immerse himself in something into which he could not submerge physically. He immersed himself in the soul-spiritual element, and thus he learned to know what the Earth becomes during midwinter, when she draws her soul-spiritual element into herself.

And then a man came to know through this Mystery initiation that at the time of the winter solstice the Earth is especially receptive to permeation by the Moon forces. This was regarded as the secret — if I may express myself in the modern sense — as the Christmas secret of the ancient mysteries: that just at Christmas time one comes to know how the Earth, by being permeated and saturated by her spirit-soul-being, becomes especially receptive in her inner being to the activity of the Moon forces.

In certain ancient times, for example, no one was entrusted with a knowledge of healing science unless he was initiated in the Winter Mysteries, and understood how the Earth, through the holding of her breath, becomes especially susceptible inwardly to the activity of the Moon forces, how at this time she permeates especially the plants with healing forces, how at this time she makes the plant world, and to a certain extent also the world of the lower animals, into something entirely different.

The Christmas initiation was felt as a descent into the depths of the earthly world. But something else was connected with this Christmas initiation: namely, something that was felt in a certain sense to be a danger for the human being. A man said to himself: “When anyone really observes his consciousness in connection with what lives in the Earth as Moon forces at Christmastime, he comes into a state of consciousness in which he must be inwardly very strong, must have inwardly fortified himself, in order to withstand the attack from all sides of the Ahrimanic powers, who live in the Earth precisely because of its having taken in the Moon activity.” And only in the strength which a man had himself developed in his soul-spiritual being, in the strength to break the opposition of these forces, did he see what makes it possible to endure his Earth existence over the long run.

But then sometime after the celebration of these Christmas Mysteries, the teachers of the Mysteries gathered their pupils together and as a sort of revelation said to them the following: “Certainly, through initiation one can, in full consciousness, behold what is at work within the Earth at the time of the winter solstice. But with the oncoming of spring, when the plant world starts to grow, something rises up out of the depths of the Earth which permeates all that is growing and sprouting, permeates also man himself: namely, what the Ahrimanic powers bring about. At a time when man was still endowed with divine forces, as he was at the Earth's beginning, then through this primordial divine heritage men could still resist the attack of the Ahrimanic powers which broke over mankind in this way during the time of the winter moon. But (so the initiates told their pupils) a time will come when mankind will be rendered insensible to the spiritual through the agency of the Moon forces which the Earth takes up in the wintertime. With the growing and sprouting in the spring, a kind of intoxication with regard to the spiritual will come over mankind, depriving men of any consciousness that anything spiritual exists. Then, should mankind not find it possible to resist these intoxicating forces, the humanity of the Earth will go into decline and not be able to develop further with the Earth to future higher stages of evolution.”

The initiates painted in gloomy colors the age which had to break in for humanity in the fifteenth century, when mankind will excel to be sure in abstract, dead thoughts, but when man can again acquire spiritual capacities only by gaining new strength to overcome the intoxicating forces that rise out of the Earth. This he can do by developing the particular spiritual force now accessible to mankind.

When we form such visualizations, we transpose ourselves, so to speak, into the connection that exists between the course of the year in nature and what lives in the spirit. We bring together what is otherwise abstract, merely thought-out, with what is the natural sensible course as it confronts us, for example, in the seasons.

The polar opposite of this Christmas Mystery is the St. John's Mystery, at the time of the summer solstice. Then the Earth has completely exhaled. The spirit-soul element of the Earth is then utterly surrendered to the super-earthly powers, to the cosmic powers. Then the spirit-soul element of the Earth takes in all that is extraterrestrial. Just as the ancient initiates had said of the Christmas Mystery, so they said also of the St. John's Mystery (we use modern forms of expression, but there were appropriate forms in the ancient Mysteries also) — the initiates said that it was necessary to attain initiation in order to penetrate the secrets of the St. John's Mystery — that is, the secrets of the heavens. For man belongs to the periphery of the Earth; he belongs neither within the Earth, nor as earthly man does he belong to the heavens. Hence he must be initiated into the secrets of the sub-earthly in order to come to know the secrets of the super-earthly.

In a certain way, the Easter Mystery and the Michael or Autumn Mystery were seen as holding the balance between the super-earthly and the sub-earthly. And the Michael Mystery, as we have said, will first attain its proper significance in the time that is still future to our own.

The Easter Mystery in its full magnitude entered into the evolution of mankind through the Mystery of Golgotha. And this Easter Mystery was understood, as I have already said, because remnants of the ancient clairvoyance still existed. At that time people could still raise themselves up in their Gemuets or feeling souls to the resurrected Christ. The Easter Mystery was therefore woven into that ritual which was not an initiation ritual, but a ritual for mankind in general: it was woven into the ritual of the celebration of the Mass.

But with the retreat of primitive clairvoyance, the understanding of the Easter Mystery was lost. People begin to discuss a matter only when they no longer understand it. All the discussion that began after the first Christian centuries about how the Easter thought is to be understood derive from the fact that people could no longer comprehend it in a direct elementary way.

Now, we have often been able to apply to the Easter thought what anthroposophical spiritual science gives to us. What is essential here is that this anthroposophical spiritual research points again to forms of life which are not exhausted between birth and death in the sense world; that it places what can be spiritually investigated over against what can be sensibly investigated; that it makes comprehensible how the Christ could converse with His disciples, even after the physical body was turned to dust. In the light of spiritual research, the Resurrection thought becomes alive again. But this Resurrection thought will be fully understood only if it is linked to what I might call its counter-pole. What then does the Resurrection thought really portray? The Christ Being descended from spiritual heights, entered into the body of Jesus and lived on Earth in this body, thereby bringing into the earthly sphere forces in themselves super-terrestrial. And these super-earthly forces which the Christ Being brought into the earthly sphere were, from the time of the Mystery of Golgotha on, united with the forces of mankind's evolution. Since then that which the men of ancient times could behold only outside in cosmic space is to be feelingly perceived within the evolution of earthly humanity. Following the Resurrection, the Christ united Himself with mankind, and since then He lives not only in the super-earthly heights, but also within Earth existence; He lives in evolution, in the stream of mankind's evolution.

Above all, this event must be regarded not from the earthly point of view alone, but also from the super-earthly viewpoint. We can say that we should not view the Christ only in the way He comes to Earth out of heavenly worlds and becomes man, in the way He is given to men, but we should view this Christ Event also from the standpoint that the Christ actually departs from the spiritual world when He descends to the Earth.

Human beings saw the Christ arise in their realm. The Gods saw the Christ forsake the heavenly world and plunge down among mankind. For men the Christ appeared; for certain spiritual beings He vanished. Only when He passed through the Resurrection did He appear again to certain extraterrestrial spiritual beings, now shining out to them from the Earth like a star, a star which radiates out from the Earth into the spiritual world. Spiritual beings mark the Mystery of Golgotha by saying: “A star began to shine out from the Earth into the spiritual realm.” And it was felt to be of immense importance for the spiritual world that the Christ had submerged into a human body, and had gone through death in this body. For by partaking in death in a human body He was enabled immediately after this death to undertake something which His former divine companions could by no means have accomplished.

These former divine companions confronted, as an inimical world, what even in earlier times was called “hell.” But the efficacy of these spiritual beings stopped short at the gates of hell. These spiritual beings worked upon man. The forces of man extend even into hell. This signifies nothing other than man's subconscious projection into the Ahrimanic forces in the wintertime and also into the ascent of these Ahrimanic forces in the spring. The divine spiritual beings felt this as a world opposed to them. They saw it rise up out of the Earth and felt it to be an exceedingly problematic world. But they themselves had only a roundabout connection with it through man. They could only observe it in a certain way. But because the Christ had descended to the Earth, had Himself become man, He could descend into the realm of these Ahrimanic powers and overcome them. This is expressed in the Creed as “the Descent into Hell.”

This Descent into Hell provides the opposite pole to the Resurrection. This is what Christ has done for mankind: By descending from the divine heights and taking on the form of man, He became able actually to descend into the realm to whose dangers man is exposed, into which the other Gods, who had not been exposed to human death, could not descend. In His way the Christ gained the victory over death. And therewith entered, I might say, as the opposite pole of the Descent into Hell, the ascent into the spiritual world, in spite of the fact that the Christ remained on Earth. For Christ had so united Himself with mankind that he had descended to that to which mankind is exposed. During the winter and spring seasons, He could win for man that which works out of extraterrestrial regions into the Earth again from St. John's to autumn. Thus in the Easter thought we see united in a certain way the Descent into the region of Hell, and through this descent the winning of the heavenly region for the further evolution of mankind.

All this belongs to a right conception of the Easter thought. But what would this Easter thought be if it could not become living! It was possible in ancient times to connect the right feeling awareness with the thought of the winter solstice only because they had on the other hand the St. John's thought. Schematically drawn: If one had the earthly with its deeply concealed winter nature (orange), then its counterpart was what in summer lay in the super-earthly periphery (orange). Both were to be reached only through initiation, yet they were connected by what was in the atmosphere surrounding the Earth, in the Earth's periphery (green), Christmas calls for St. John's. St. John's calls for Christmas. Man would rigidify under the influence of the Ahrimanic powers if he could not be exposed to the loosening Luciferic powers, who again give wings to thought, so that it need not remain rigid but can thaw again under the influence of the light.

Diagram I

At first humanity in its evolution had only the one pole, the Easter pole, and this Easter pole became paralyzed. The Easter festival lost its inner vitality. It will regain its inner life only when man can think about this festival in such a way that he can say to himself: “Through what is symbolically expressed in the Descent into Hell — which in reality can be understood as the Resurrection — a counterweight was given against something which had to come: namely, the paralyzing of all spiritual vision, its dying away in the earthly life. Prophetically, Christ Jesus wanted to prepare for what had to come: namely, the circumstance that man during his life on Earth between birth and death would have to forget the super-earthly, the spiritual, that he would in a certain way die to the spiritual. Opposed to this dying away of man in earthly life stands the Easter thought of the victory of super-earthly life over the earthly.”

On the one side is this: Man descends from his pre-earthly life; but in the period that dawned in the first half of the fifteenth century, he will in his earthly life more and more forget his super-earthly origin; as to his soul-being he will die away, as it were, in the earthly life. That stands on the one side.

On the other stands this: There was a spiritual, heavenly Being, Who by His deed, working out of the heavens into the Earth, set forth the counter-image. That spiritual Being descended into a human body, and in the Resurrection has, through His own being, placed the super-earthly spiritual among the men of Earth. In remembrance of this we have the Easter festival, which puts before mankind the picture of the burial of Christ Jesus and the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.

He was laid in the grave and thereafter He arose — this is the Easter thought, as it stands in cosmic records... “Look upon thyself, O Man: thou descendest out of the super-earthly worlds; thou art threatened by the danger that thy soul will die away in the earthly life. Therefore the Christ appears, Who sets before thine eyes how that from which thou also didst arise, how that super-earthly spiritual, conquers death. There stands before thee in mighty images such as could be placed before mankind: the entombment of Christ Jesus, the Resurrection of Christ Jesus. He was laid in the grave. He rose from the grave and appeared to those who could behold Him.”

But with the paralyzed soul forces of man today, this image can no longer become living. Where could it become alive? In a traditional faith man can still look upon what the Easter festival gives him: upon the sublime picture of the burial and the Resurrection. But out of the inner force of his soul he can no longer, of himself, find anything to connect with this Easter thought, with the thought of the entombment and the Resurrection. It is out of spiritual knowledge that he must again unite something with it.

And this something is another thought, to which there can be no alternative. It is, however, possible for a human being to let spiritual knowledge approach him so that he may understand this “other.” Let us place this “other” before ourselves, so as to inscribe it deeply within our souls. Easter thought: He has been laid in the grave; He is risen. Now let us place before ourselves the other thought which must come over mankind: He is risen, and can confidently be laid in the grave. Easter thought: He has been laid in the grave; He is risen. Michaelmas thought: He is risen, and can confidently be laid in the grave.

The first thought, the Easter thought, pertains to the Christ; the second thought pertains to the human being. It pertains to the man who directly comprehends the power of the Easter thought, comprehends how when spiritual knowledge enters into the earthly life of the present, in which his soul-spiritual is dying away, his soul can resurrect, so that he becomes living between birth and death, so that in the earthly life he becomes inwardly alive.

The human being must through spiritual knowledge comprehend this inner resurrection, this inner awakening; then will he confidently be laid in the grave. Then he may be laid in the grave, through which he otherwise would fall prey to those Ahrimanic powers who work within the Earth realm at the time of the winter solstice.

And the festival which contains this thought: “He is risen and can confidently be laid in the grave” — this festival must fall in the time when the leaves are beginning to turn yellow and fall from the trees, when the fruits have ripened, when the Sun has received that power which brings to maturity what in the spring was budding and sprouting, full of the forces of growth, but which also brings withering and the inclination to seek again the inner part of the Earth; when what is developing on the Earth begins to be a symbol of the grave.

If we place the Easter festival at the time when life begins to bud and to sprout, when the forces of growth attain their highest point, then the other festival, which contains: “He is risen, and can confidently be laid in the grave,” we must place at the time when Earth nature begins to wither, when the mood of the grave is spreading abroad in Earth nature, when the symbol of the grave can appear before the soul of man. Then the Michael thought begins to stir in man, that thought which is not, like the Easter thought in the earliest centuries of Christianity, directed toward a kind of inner perceiving (Anschauung).*

* It is assumed that Anschauung here is intended to describe the way man's Gemuet could inwardly experience the Entombment and Resurrection, as was indicated earlier. This would be perceptively, feelingly, rather than through logic.

In the first centuries of Christianity, this feeling perception was directed to the Christ laid in the grave and risen. In this perception the soul was made strong, was filled with its strongest forces. In the festival-thought at the time of the fall equinox, the soul must feel its strength when appeal is made not to its perceiving, but to its will. “Take into thyself the Michael thought which confers the Ahrimanic powers, that thought which makes thee strong to gain here on Earth knowledge of the spirit, so that thou canst overcome the powers of Death.” — As the Easter thought is directed to the perception, this thought is directed to the will-powers: to take up the Michael force, which means to take the force of spiritual knowledge into the will-forces. And so the Easter thought can become living, can be brought directly to the human soul and spirit, when now the Michael thought, the thought of the Michael festival in the autumn, is felt to be the counter-pole of the Easter thought — just as the St. John's thought was perceived to be the counter-pole of the Christmas thought. As the Christmas thought by its inner livingness has brought forth the St. John's thought after a half-year, so must the Easter thought bring forth the Michael thought. Mankind must attain an esoteric maturity, so as to think not merely abstractly, but to be able again to think so concretely that men can again become festival-creating. Then it will be possible again to unite something spiritual with the cycle of sense phenomena.

All our thoughts are so abstract! But no matter how remarkable they are, how intelligent, if they remain abstract, life will not be able to penetrate them. When today men reflect that Easter might be set abstractly on any day, no longer according to the constellations of the stars, when today all higher knowledge is darkened, when man no longer sees any relation between insight into the soul-spiritual and the natural-physical forces, the force must once more awaken in man which will be able to unite something spiritual directly with the sense phenomena of the world.

Wherein then did the spiritual strength of man consist, making him able to create festivals in the course of the year, in accordance with the yearly phenomena? It consisted in the primal spiritual force. Today men can continue to celebrate festivals according to the ancient traditional custom, but they must gain once more the esoteric force out of themselves to “speak” something into Nature that accords with natural events. It must become possible to grasp the Michael thought as the blossom of the Easter thought. While the Easter thought stems from physical blossoming, it will become possible to place the blossom of the Easter thought — the Michael thought — into the course of the year as the outcome of physical withering.

People must learn once more to “think” the spiritual “together with” the course of nature. It is not admissible today for a person merely to indulge in esoteric speculations; it is necessary today to be able once again to do the esoteric. But people will be able to do this only when they can conceive their thoughts so concretely, so livingly, that they don't withdraw from everything that is going on around them when they think, but rather that they think with the course of events: “think together with” the fading of the leaves, with the ripening of the fruits, in a Michaelic way, just as at Easter one knows how to think with the sprouting, springing, blossoming plants and flowers.

When it is understood how to think with the course of the year, then forces will intermingle with the thoughts that will let men again hold a dialogue with the divine spiritual powers revealing themselves from the stars. Men have drawn down from the stars the power to establish festivals which have an inner human validity. Festivals must be founded out of inner esoteric force. Then from the dialogue with the fading, ripening plants, with the dying Earth, by finding the right inward festival mood, men will also again be able to hold converse with the Gods and link human existence with divine existence.

O Spirit of God: fill my I [O Gottesgeist, erfülle mich]

O Spirit of God: fill my I,
Fill my I within my soul,
On my soul bestow a strengthening force,
Strengthening force too for my heart,
For my heart that seeks union with you,
Seeks union with deepest longing,
Deepest longing for good health,
For good health and strong courage,
Strong courage that streams through my body,
Streams as precious divine gift,
Divine gift from you, O Spirit of God,
O Spirit of God: fill my I.

—Rudolf Steiner

O Gottesgeist, erfülle mich,
Erfülle mich in meiner Seele,
Meiner Seele schenke Stärkekraft,
Stärkekraft auch meinem Herzen,
Meinem Herzen das dich sucht,
Sucht durch tiefe Sehnsucht,
Tiefe Sehnsucht nach Gesundheit,
Nach Gesundheit und Starkmut,
Starkmut der durch meine Glieder strömt,
Strömt wie edles Gottgeschenk,
Gottheschenk von dir, O Gottesgeist,
O Gottesgeist, erfülle mich.

Thursday, August 29, 2013



Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sunburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On the Occasion of Goethe's Birthday

File:Goethe (Stieler 1828).jpg
Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 28, 1911:

My dear theosophical friends!

The composition of Faust was Goethe's companion from his early years, on — one may say in the truest sense of the word — till his death. For the second part of the poem was left behind by him, sealed, as his literary testament. The composition of certain important passages of the second part of Faust really belongs to the closing years of that universal genius. Anyone who has had the opportunity of following Goethe's spiritual evolution, as revealed in his life-work, will discover many a thing of the most extreme interest, particularly in reference to the fact that Goethe's ideas continually altered regarding the course of development of his poem, when he returned again and again to this labor of his life.

There is an interesting memorandum extant on the conclusion of Faust as it was intended to be, in accordance with Goethe's views of that date — a period which we may fix at the end of the eighties or beginning of the nineties of the eighteenth century. We find here, besides a few notes on the first and second parts, a short sentence containing an indication bearing on the conclusion of the poem. This scrap of writing shows the words jotted down in pencil by Goethe: “Epilogue in Chaos on the way to Hell.” This reveals to us that it was Goethe's intention at one time not to honor his Faust by the kind of apotheosis which forms the present conclusion of the poem, brought to an end in his extreme old age; but that, in accordance with the course indicated in the Prologue in Heaven — from Heaven, through the world, to Hell — he desired to bring Faust to a conclusion with the Epilogue in Chaos on the Way to Hell. At that time Goethe entertained thoughts which led him to believe that knowledge which overstepped certain limits could only end in chaos. We may trace a certain connection between the frame of mind which prompted these words, which I quoted as Goethe's own, with that which was said yesterday regarding the ordeals of the soul: on the one hand the losing of itself in nothingness; on the other hand the descent into the turbid inner nature of the human being and the failure, in spite of all efforts, to find the junction. Goethe's personality was indeed one which compelled him to vanquish all difficulties, step by step, and to experience all vicissitudes in his own person. It is for this reason that all his creations leave such an impression of sincerity and truthfulness on us — sometimes indeed the effect is so powerful that we cannot immediately keep pace with him; because it is impossible for us, unprepared, to transport ourselves into the particular phase of his personality prevailing at one period or another of his life.

We may note a truly great advance in Goethe between the moment at which he intended to conclude his Faust with an epilogue in chaos on the way to hell, and that other period in which he brings his work to a close in the spirit of the monumental words “Wer immer strebend sick bemüht, den können wir erlösen.” [Approximately: “He who is ever striving, toiling onward, him we can deliver.”] For when Goethe wrote the present, universally-known conclusion to his Faust, the premonition of which we spoke yesterday was alive within him, coupled. with that inner strength which brings the assurance that, though we must pass through all ordeals of the soul, we shall inevitably accomplish the closing of the circle described yesterday.

This, my dear theosophical friends, is intended as a slight indication of the most pronounced characteristic in Goethe's life. Those among us who love a harmonious life, who cannot accommodate themselves to its contradictions, though these are the vital element in a progressive life reveals many contradictions, [?] and that Goethe's judgment of many matters in his old age differed from that of his youth. But this was only because he was forced to conquer every truth for himself. Goethe's personality is a striking example of the necessity of the lessons of life; it shows us that it is precisely life on the physical plane which evokes direct inner experiences, and that life, with its succession of events, is needful for us, in order that we may become human beings in the true sense of the word. When we pass in review Goethe's whole life and contemplate its successive stages, we are struck by the universality of his genius, the magnificent comprehensiveness and many-sidedness of his mentality. It is most important to study Goethe precisely from this point of view, in his lifetime, and also to measure by our own time the importance of that which he was by reason of the universality of his spirit, and then to ask ourselves how Goethe can above all things influence our own epoch by the universality of his genius.

It is well for us, then, to devote a little study to the inner character of the time in which we live — to our present epoch and its spiritual culture. It is especially important for theosophists to consider attentively the spirit of our age. It is often said that we live in an age of specialists, in which exact science must reign supreme. How frequently do we hear the words of the great physicist Helmholtz repeated, namely, that at the present day there can be no mind comprehensive enough to embrace all the various branches of human knowledge, as they now exist. It has become absolutely proverbial that there can be no doctor universalis at the present day, and that one must be content with a general knowledge of special subjects.

But when we consider that life is one and undivided, that everything in life is involved with everything else, and that life does not ask whether our souls are capable of comprehending what belongs to the common spiritual living organism of our age — when we consider this we must conclude that it would be a disaster for our age were it impossible to find, at least to some extent, the spirit ruling in all specialization. And our quest will be easiest if we endeavor to approach the subject precisely by those avenues opened up by theosophy or spiritual science. That science must be universal; it must be in a position to survey at a glance the branches of the various sciences in all the different domains of civilized life.

Today let us examine at least one aspect of our modern intellectual life, and see how it appears in the light of theosophy. As our time is limited, we will avoid those departments of science which are more or less unaffected by the passage of time, as least as to their nature and purpose, in spite of the enormous extensions which they have undergone in our day: I mean mathematics, although even here we might point to the fact that the weighty deliberations carried on in certain branches of mathematics during the nineteenth century may be said to have opened up the supersensuous world to that science. But it must be mentioned that great and wonderful discoveries have been made in all branches of science in the course of the last few decades, which testify everywhere, when examined in the proper light, to the fact that the teachings of theosophy exactly agree with science; whereas none of the theories that have been applied to these discoveries up to the present day at all coincide with the facts which have been accumulated with so much diligence and energy for the last forty or fifty years.

Taking, for example, chemistry and physics, we see how remarkable has been the tendency in the development of these branches in that period. When we were young, in the seventies or eighties or earlier, the so-called atomistic theories prevailed in chemistry and physics. These theories attributed all phenomena to particular kinds of vibration, either of ether or some other material substance. In short we might say that it was customary then to explain everything in the world, in the final instance, , by the theory of vibration. Then as we approached the last decade of the nineteenth century, it was shown by the facts which gradually came to light that the theory of motion, or atomistic theory, was untenable.

It may even be called a remarkable achievement (in the most limited sense of the word) that Professor Ostwald, who was chiefly noted as a chemist and natural scientist, brought forward at a congress in Lubeck, in place of the atomistic theory, the so-called theory of energy, or energetics. In a certain respect this was a progressive step; but the later discoveries in the field of chemistry and physics, down to our own times, have finally given rise to a considerable amount of scepticism and want of faith regarding all theoretical science. The idea of attributing external physical facts, such as the phenomena of light, etc., to the vibration of minute particles, or to a mere manifestation of energy, is now only entertained by unprogressive minds. This opinion is chiefly strengthened by all that has become known of late years regarding the substances which gave rise to the theory of radium; and we can already note the extraordinary circumstance that, owing to certain facts which have come to light by degrees, distinguished physicists such as Thomson and others have found themselves obliged to throw overboard all theories, first and foremost the ether hypothesis with its artistic forms of vibration, once cultivated with such extreme seriousness and assiduous application of the integral and differential calculus.

The theory of motion was therefore fated to be discarded by the great physicists, who then returned to the vortices of Cartesius, a theory which may be said to be based on ancient occult traditions. But even these theories have been relinquished in their turn; a feeling of scepticism toward all theorizing shows itself precisely in physics and chemistry, as a result of the conviction that all matter crumbles away, as it were, under the experiments of modern physical science. Things have gone so far that, in view of the advance of modern physical science, the theories of atomistic vibration and of energetics can no longer be upheld. All that might still have found a hearing five, six, or more years ago, all on which so many fond hopes were built, when we were young, when even the force of gravitation was ascribed to motion— in the eyes of those acquainted with the real facts, all this has been demolished.

But we still of course hear of extraordinary ideas on the part of the unprogressive. There is an interesting fact in this connection which I might mention, as it is my intention to discuss certain characteristics of our own time and of Goethe. A little book has just appeared which also takes the standpoint that there is no such thing as gravitation, that is, that there is no attraction between matter and the planets. — It has always been a difficulty for science to support this so-called theory of attraction, because one must ask: How can the Sun attract the Earth, if it does not stretch anything out into space? Now, within the last few days this book has appeared, in which attraction is ascribed to the effect of concussion. For instance, we represent to ourselves a body, whether planet or molecule, upon which impacts are continually being exercised from all sides by other planets or other molecular bodies, How does it happen that these bodies impinge upon one another from all sides? For of course they do impinge upon each other everywhere, one in this, another in the opposite direction, and so on.

Image 1

The essential point here is that when the number of impacts exercised from outside is compared with that produced by the bodies in the space between, the result is a difference. The last-mentioned are fewer and have less force than the outer. The consequence is that through the outer impacts the two bodies, whether molecules or planets, are driven together. According to this theory the force usually called attraction is attributed to the impacts of matter. It is refreshing to find something like a new thought nowadays; but to anyone who looks more deeply into the matter this theory is nothing more than refreshing. It is refreshing for the simple reason that the same theory had already been worked out with all possible mathematical quibbles. It is contained in a book, now out of print, written when I was a little boy, by a certain Heinrich Schramm: “The Universal Vibration of Matter as the First Cause of All Phenomena.” In this book the theory is much more thoroughly dealt with. Such ideas constantly reappear when scientists leave out of consideration the evolution of the spiritual life. In this respect the most extraordinary observations may be made — errors caused by a one-sided view are repeated over and over again.

What I should like to impress upon you above all is, that in consequence of the achievements of physics and chemistry of late years, abundant proofs have been furnished that that which is called matter is merely a human conception, which melts away under experiments, and that physics and chemistry, leaving behind all motion and energy, steer directly to the point at which matter merges into the spirit at its foundation. The body of facts accumulated by physics and chemistry already demand a spiritual foundation. Geology and paleontology are in a similar case. In these sciences more comprehensive theories, based upon vast aggregations of force, prevailed till about 1860–1870. Today we find scepticism. everywhere; and among our best geologists and palaeontologists there is an inclination to restrict their labors to the bare registration of facts, because they dare not combine them in thought. A considerable amount of courage is needed to develop a system of thought embracing the series of facts before them. People are afraid to take the step now demanded even by geology and paleontology: — from the material to the spiritual — a step which would transcend the Kant-Laplace theory. They dare not acknowledge that their imaginary universal nebula is finally merged in the spiritual regions, the world of the hierarchies, of which all that we might call the outer, physical, or perhaps the astrophysical theory, is but the garment. The case is different when we come to those sciences which have to deal more with life and the soul. We come in the first place to biology.

Now, you all know how great were the hopes built on the progress of biology, the science of life, when Darwin's great work “The Origin of Species” appeared. Perhaps you also know that at the natural science congress held in Stettin in the year 1863 Ernst Haeckel, with rare courage, extended to the human being the theory apparently applied by Darwin only to the animal, and we see that the science of biology afterward developed in a remarkable way. We find cautious spirits who confine themselves more to the registration of facts; but others are there, who push forward impetuously, constructing daring theories on the results of investigations dealing with the relationship of forms among the different creatures. Foremost of all we find Haeckel boldly constructing pedigrees, showing how, from elementary forms of life, the most complicated structures have arisen through ever-new ramifications.

But side by side with these more striking tendencies — as we might call them — there is a line of investigation which it is also important to notice. This might be called the school of the anatomist Carl Gegenbaur. In accordance with his nature, Gegenbaur was of opinion that, in the first place, we ought not to concern ourselves with the correlation existing between different creatures. He looked upon the Darwinian theory as a guiding principle of investigation, to be used as a standard, by the aid of which certain facts relating to the forms of living creatures could be traced. Let us suppose that the train of thought of a scientist might be expressed in the following words: “I am not prepared to say that the higher animals might not be descended from the birds or fishes, but I will start from the principle that a relationship exists between them, and, keeping this in view, will examine the gills and fins, and will see whether more and more subtle resemblances do not come to light.”

And in fact it was found that, by using Darwin's method as a clue, more and more important scientific facts were discovered. Important results were also arrived at when this method of research, stimulated by the Darwinian impulse, was applied to the descent of man, by following up all the evidence of paleontology and other archaeological records relating to geology. Wherever scientists have gone to work with caution, their method has been as follows: They begin by tracing the links, laying down Darwin's theory as a guiding principle. And here we have the astounding result that the Darwinian theory, used in this way, has shown itself to be extraordinarily fertile in results of late years, and that by the discoveries to which it has led up till the present time, it has contradicted and annulled itself!

So that we may observe the remarkable fact, scarcely to be found to the same extent in any other domain of science, that the Darwinian scientists disagree on all points. Thus, there are still persons (certainly the very unprogressive) who relate the human being to the anthropoid apes still extant, or at least only slightly metamorphosed. There are some, particularly among those who pursue the modern analysis of the blood and the relationship among the components of the blood, who have returned to the older forms of the Darwinian theory. Katsch, for instance, affirms that it is impossible, in view of the facts which have come to light, to relate the human being to any animal form whatever now extant. All shades of opinion prevail, from that according to which man is related to the ape as he now exists, on to others which diverge from the latter, but, following the descent of man is not traceable to the ancestors of these apes to any other mammals. [?] It is held that we must retrace our steps to animals of which we can form no representation, and that from these man is descended on the one hand, while the mammals have branched off on the other hand, so that the apes are very distantly related to the human being.

What strikes us as remarkable in this is the circumstance that when these scientists employ the forms familiar to us at present, in order to call up a picture of that real, primeval man, all existing physical forms dissolve into a nebulous mass — the result is nil. How is this? Because there is a point in the science of biology at which the outer physical facts, arrived at by sincere effort, lead to the conclusion that the ancestors of man cannot be represented as physical beings, as all attempts in this direction fail. We at last arrive at the spiritual, primal form of man, the fruit of an earlier planetary evolution — at that spiritual, primal man spoken of in theosophy.

Precisely those facts which have been revealed by the researches of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries bear incontrovertible testimony to this truth, and the disagreement among scientists is concealed solely because the students only attend the lectures of one professor, and do not compare his teachings with those of others. If they compared the opinions of the various learned authorities, they would make strange discoveries. In the books of a certain naturalist they would find a passage very distinctly underlined, to the following effect: “If any of my students now preparing for his doctor's degree should propound this theory, which is brought forward by another, I would reject him unhesitatingly.” This assertion is however no exaggeration, it is only what is said by the professor of one university of his colleague of another university. And the disagreement mentioned is one of the most conspicuous phenomena in the field of biology; while in physics and chemistry the utmost resignation prevails with regard to theories.

When we come to physiology we find still more singular conditions. We find that this science everywhere leads to the most extravagant theories. We see how even the mere outside husk of physiology is everywhere influenced by all sorts of things behind or within the physical, even among thinkers who, without knowing it, are yet absolute materialists in their mode of thought. I might mention hundreds of things in this connection, such for instance as the strange theories put forward of late years by a school of thought in Vienna, the so-called Freud school — theories dealing with the manner in which the subconscious life of man, as it shows itself in dreams or other phenomena of life, comes within the domain of physiology. I can merely hint at these facts, and only mention them because they show that it is necessary everywhere, even theoretically speaking, that the mass of empirical facts of the outer senses be traced to spiritual causes. At the same time we find that the moment at which general comprehension or conception of the impression necessarily made by science as a whole at the present day makes itself felt, a kind of resignation sets in.

In philosophy also we find the same resignation. You are probably aware that under the influence of William James in America, of Schiller in England, and of other scholars in the philosophic field, a strange theory has been developed, which is really the outcome of a tendency inherent in facts to strive toward their spiritual origin — but its followers nevertheless refuse to recognize that origin in the spirit. This is the so-called pragmatism, which affirms that, in considering the various phenomena of life, we must invent theories regarding them, as if they were capable of being combined; but that everything that we think out exists as an economy of the mind, and has no inner, constitutive, real value. This theory is the final refuse of the seared minds of the present day. It denotes the most absolute unbelief in the spirit, a reliance only on fragile theories, invented for the purpose of combining facts, and a failure to believe that the living spirit first implanted in the objects the thoughts which we find in them at last.

The strangest fate of all sciences in this respect is reserved to psychology. There are certain psychologists who are incapable of finding the way to a living spirit, in which the soul finds itself as if reborn in the objects. On the other hand they cannot deny that if any harmony at all can be established between the soul and the objects, something must be transferred to the objects from the soul. What is experienced in the soul must have something to do with the objects. And in connection with this, there is a curious word in circulation in German systems of psychology — one which really flies in the face of all philological thought — the word “to feel into” (an object) (Einfühlen). There can be no clearer example of helping oneself out of a dilemma than the use of such a word to avoid exact thought. As if it were of any importance that we should feel something into the objects, without being able to find in the things themselves the essential, real connection between the objects and that which we see in them. This is a state of forlornness, in which psychology finds itself bereft of the spirit and tries to help itself out of the difficulty by the use of such a word. Thus we might find many similar masterpieces brought into existence at the present day by systems of psychology which cannot be taken seriously.

Other systems of psychology confine themselves to a description of the outer instruments of the soul-life — the brain, etc.; and it has gone so far that psychologists are listened to with respect when they prove by experiment that no force or energy absorbed or taken into our system in food and drink is lost. This is supposed to prove that the law of the conservation of energy must also hold good for psychology, and that there is no such thing as a soul-nature independent of the body, and working apart through its bodily instruments. A conclusion such as this is perfectly illogical. One who can draw such a conclusion, and who is in a position to formulate such a thought at all, must also admit that it would be reasonable to stand in front of a bank, to calculate how much money is carried in and how much is carried out, and then to reckon how much remains in the coffers; and from this to draw the conclusion that there are no employees at work in the bank. Such conclusions are really drawn, and they are even regarded as scientific in our day.

Theories like these are built up on the returns of modern research. They cast a veil over the real nature of the facts. We can observe the real status of psychology in a highly interesting personality, a truly remarkable man, who wrote a work on psychology in the seventies of the last century: Francis Brentano. He wrote the first volume of a psychology which should have filled several volumes. Whoever is willing to follow the contents of the first volume with an understanding of the real standpoint of psychological facts must reflect that, considering the nature of the premise from which Francis Brentano starts, and if it be at all possible to advance on the basis of these premises, his arguments must lead into spiritual science or theosophy. This is the only way open; and those who will not be led to spiritual science, or even will not make a slight effort to arrive at a reasonable comprehension of the life of the soul, may be supposed to be incompetent. And here we have the interesting fact that the first volume of a psychological work intended to embrace several volumes had no successor. He only wrote the first volume; and though Brentano dealt, in smaller works, with one or another of the problems which occupied him, he never found his way to spiritual science; hence he barred the way to any further progress in psychology.

By another and still more pregnant fact we may see how even the negative principle, so conspicuous everywhere at present, demands that the thinkers who take their stand on the wonderful facts that have come to light during the last few decades should tend toward spiritual science. This is doubtless a difficult step for many at the present day. Some are deterred by reasons into which we need not enter now; we will merely show how, on all hands, when we try to find the true forces in modern science, when we set to work with honesty and sincerity, comprehensively and energetically, the merging of science into theosophy is a necessary consequence. Farthest of all from the union with spiritual science is history, as it is written at the present day. The historians who apparently approach it most nearly — those who do not merely regard history as a succession of fortuitous human impulses and passions and other facts belonging to the physical plane — are those who recognize the existence of ruling thoughts. As if abstract thought could possibly have any influence! Unless we ascribe will to those thoughts, they cannot be spiritual powers, nor can they become active. To recognize governing ideas in history, therefore, apart from entities, is devoid of all sense. Not until active life has been infused into history, not until the spiritual life-principle is conceived as pervading the soul, expending itself ever more intensely as it passes from soul to soul — not until history is understood as it is understood in “Les Grands Inities” (by Édouard Shuré) has the point been reached at which that science merges into theosophy or spiritual sciences.

 Thus we may boldly affirm that it is evident to any unprejudiced observer that all learning imperatively calls for the theosophical mode of thought. Thinkers who penetrate deeply into the spiritual life, who follow the path of knowledge with heart and soul, and are not content merely to weave theories, but whose very heart is bound up with true knowledge — spirits like these, it is true, show by their lives how life is everywhere in touch with spiritual. science.

As an example, I may cite a man who was known to the world for years as a celebrated poet, who was for long years condemned to a sick-bed and during that time wrote down the thoughts and experiences that came to him on the path of knowledge, as a bequest to posterity — a poet who was not of course taken seriously as a philosopher, by philosophers. I mean Robert Hamerling. But the latter, who was perhaps only justly appreciated by Vincenz Knauer (who even made him the subject of lectures), was not a theoretical philosopher, but one who entered heart and soul on the paths of wisdom, and synthesized the sciences of chemistry, physics, philosophy, physiology, biology, and the history of modern times, as far as these were accessible to him, fertilizing his knowledge by his poetic intuition. Robert Hamerling, who was able to fructify the thoughts regarding the world by his own gift of poetic intuition, laid down in his “Atomistics of the Will” all that he found upon the path of knowledge. His path was not like that trodden by so many today, who start from the mere theory of some school of thought; it led directly from life itself. In his “Atomistics of the Will” he has written much of importance for those who take an interest in the tendency of ordinary learning and intellectuality to merge into spirituality.

A passage from the “Atomistics of the Will,” written in 1891, will follow here as an example of the thoughts collected by him in his solitude, on the evolutionary path of knowledge on which he had entered. “It is possible,” says Hamerling on page 145 of volume two of “Atomistics of the Will,” “ that living beings exist, whose corporeality is more tenuous than atmospheric air. As regards other heavenly bodies, at least, nothing can be urged against this supposition. Beings whose corporeality is of such extreme subtlety would be invisible to us, and would exactly correspond to those beings ordinarily called spirits, or to the etheric bodies, or souls surviving after the death of individuals ... ” He continues in the same strain.

Here we have an allusion to the etheric body in the middle of a book which is the outcome of the intellectual life of the present day. Let us suppose that truth and uprightness everywhere prevailed, together with an earnest striving to know what really lives in the thought of men; let us imagine that an honest desire existed to try to understand what we already possess; that, in other words, people should write fewer books, until they have learnt the content of other books already written — then the work done in our time would be very different: there would be continuity in it. Were this so, it would have to be admitted that, during the last few decades, spiritual life has been breaking forth, and vistas opening of spiritual aims and perspectives, wherever science has been honestly and earnestly prosecuted. For there are many examples like that of Robert Hamerling.

Thus the special branches of the various sciences unite and demand that which can alone give a comprehensive view of the world at the present day, such as I have endeavored to sketch lately in Occult Science. Into that work are woven, imperceptibly, the latest results of all the sciences, side by side with spiritual research. When we consider this we must acknowledge that open doors to spirituality are everywhere to be found; but we pass them by unnoticed. Whoever is acquainted with modern science finds without exception that its facts, not its theories, require a spiritual explanation. Were it possible for ordinary science to emancipate itself from all theories — the atomic, the vibratory, energetics, and all other forms of one-sidedness with which the world is continually hedged about by a few stock ideas — if scientists could only liberate themselves from such trammels; did they allow the great mass of facts now brought to light by science to speak for themselves, all contradiction between the spiritual science which we follow here and the genuine results of modern research would cease.

Here, Goethe may be our great helper — Goethe, who fulfilled all the conditions of a universal mind so magnificently. He fulfilled those conditions even outwardly; for whoever is acquainted with Goethe's correspondence knows that he exchanged letters with countless naturalists on all the most important questions in the various departments of science. From his experimenting cabinets and from his study, communications went forth to the different branches of science at all points of the compass. He corresponded with botanists, opticians, zoologists, anthropologists, geologists, mineralogists, and historians, in short with scientists in every field. And though unprogressive minds certainly refused to recognize him as an authority, because his investigations were beyond their understanding, he found other thinkers by whom he was most highly appreciated, and who consulted him when it became necessary to settle any question of special interest. This is an incident of no great importance, but at the same time we can see how Goethe worked in thought and also in deed with the foremost philosophers of his day, such as Schelling and Hegel. We find that the minds of a number of philosophers were fructified by him, and that Goethe's thoughts reappeared in their work, in the same or another form. Finally we can see how in the course of his life Goethe seriously occupied himself with the study of botany, zoology, osteology in particular, also with anthropology in a wider sense; further with optics and physical science in their wider scope. Isolated scientists in the domain of biology are now showing a disposition to do justice to Goethe in a small degree.

On the other hand it is quite comprehensible that physicists are perfectly sincere in their inability to understand Goethe's teachings regarding color, from their own standpoint. These truths regarding color can only be understood in the future — unless the acquaintance with theosophy has meantime brought about a change — perhaps not before the second half of the twentieth century, or even the first half of the twenty-first century. The physical science of the present day can only look upon Goethe's ideas regarding color as nonsense; this however is no fault of the teaching; the fault lies in the forms of modern science. If you read my book Goethe's Conception of the World, also the preface to Goethe's works on natural science, published by Kirschner, you will see what I mean. You will see that the latter contains an appreciation of Goethe's theory of color, which is scientific in the truest sense, and, compared with which, all modern theories relating to physical science are mere dilettantism.

Thus we see how Goethe labored in all departments of science. We can see how his endeavors to understand the laws of nature were everywhere fertilized by the poetic forces of his genius. Goethe looked upon nothing as separate from the rest; everything intermingled in his soul. There no one pursuit interferes with another. Goethe is himself a proof that it is an absurdity to believe that the active pursuit of some branch of intellectual knowledge could hamper intuition. If both impulses are only present in strength and originality, they do not interfere with one another. We can form an idea of the living cooperation of the human forces of the soul, as they are expressed in the different sciences, and in the entire personality of the human being; the necessity of life makes it possible for us to form such an idea, and we are helped by the fact that a modern intelligence exists, in whom this cooperation of the different soul-forces of the whole personality was actually living. It is for this reason that Goethe's personality is a model, to which we must look up in order to study that living cooperation of the soul-forces. As he is a man whose progress we can watch from year to year, in the deepening of his own inner life and understanding of the world, he is an example to us of the manner in which man must strive, in order to attain a greater intensity of the inner life. Not the mere contemplation of Goethe, not the repetition of his words, nor even devotion to his works should be our duty on a day which the calendar shows us to be closely connected, in a narrow sense, with Goethe's life — but to consider the grandeur that radiates from his whole person, in the light of a model for our epoch.

Especially the scientific thinker of our day might learn much from Goethe. For in respect to the comprehension of the spiritual life, scientific thought is not in a flourishing condition; but precisely from that quarter we shall inevitably live to see a great revival of Goethe, and a gradual and increasing understanding of his genius. A contemplation of Goethe's life may throw a flood of light on our advance to spirituality, on theosophy in general; it will illuminate our progress healthfully, because in Goethe everything is healthy. He is trustworthy in every particular, and, where he contradicts himself, it is not his logic that is at fault. Life itself is a contradiction, and must be so in order that it may continue to live. This is a thought which I would fain kindle in you on this birthday of Goethe's, to show how necessary it is that we should become absorbed in the things lying open to us. Goethe can give us an infinity. We can learn most from him if we forget much that has been written in the countless works extant on Goethe, for such communications are more likely to cast a veil over the real Goethe than to make us acquainted with him.

But Goethe has an occult power of attraction; there is something in him which works of itself. If we yield ourselves up to Goethe we shall find that we can celebrate his birthday within ourselves, and we shall feel something of that which is ever young and fresh in Goethe, of which we might say that Goethe may rise again in a soul steeped in theosophy. Though Goethe's name is so often heard and his works so often quoted, our materialistic age has but a meagre understanding of him. There was a time when people were really fascinated, even by very serious discussions on the subject of Goethe — not literary and historical discussions in our sense of the word, for these are not serious. When Goethe was the subject of serious talk there were always listeners who were carried away by that inner spiritual vein which is never wanting in Goethe.

We may recall the time when old Karl Rosenkranz, the Hegel scholar, who was on a level with the highest culture of his day, ventured between 1830 and 1840 to announce a series of lectures on Goethe at the university of Königsberg. He wished to state frankly a philosopher's opinion of Goethe. He prepared his lectures, and left his study with the thought: “Perhaps one or two may come to hear what I have to say!” — But thought nearly died within him, when he found himself outside in the midst of a wild snowstorm, so violent that no one could be expected to venture out to a lecture that was not obligatory. He made his way to the lecture-hall — and behold, nothing could be more unfavorable than the conditions under which he had to deliver his lecture. It was a hall which could not be heated, the floor was in bad repair, and the walls ran water in streams. But the name of Goethe was an attraction and there was a good audience, even on the first evening, and though at each lecture the conditions grew worse, and the hall more uncomfortable, the audience grew more and more numerous. Finally the attendance at Karl Rosenkranz' lectures was so great that the hall could scarcely contain it.

Goethe is one of those thinkers who can best stimulate us theosophically. A healthy view of Goethe would be to regard him, in the light of theosophy, as a great spirit incarnated in the body of Goethe — a spirit whom we must first learn to understand. We must not allow him to be represented to us as a fleshly form in which there dwells a great spirit whom we are bound to take on authority. There are really safe paths leading to theosophy; it is only necessary to follow them, without shrinking from the trouble. This is why I never hesitate, even when great numbers are present at a course of lectures, to shed light, sometimes in a manner inconvenient perhaps to many, on some bye-path of spiritual knowledge, to risk a bold assertion or to make a statement difficult to understand. I should never shrink from such a step, because I know that only in this way is it possible for theosophy to make sound progress, or to take root in modern civilized life. It seems to me that we may mount to the highest spiritual regions without losing our warmth of heart; it seems to me that all those assembled here must be conscious to some degree of the truth, that the methods applied to the interpretation of theosophy here are those of the most modern intellectual life, and the strange opinion which prevails even in theosophical circles, that a réchauffé of mediaeval learning is served up here, instead of facts in agreement with modern science, is a very grave departure from the truth. As this has been pronounced by many — even among theosophists — it must be pointed out that anyone who can follow with understanding will be convinced that no mediaeval learning, but the union of objective, scientific teachings with genuine, modern spiritual aspirations, is our aim. It is not my province to judge how far this object has been attained; but it ought to be clear to everyone that nothing mediaeval in its character, nor anything merely associated with traditions, but objective knowledge, on a level with modern science, is the object of our study here.

It should also be experienced as a certainty that the conditions of life which are the outcome of our theosophical studies are able to fill our hearts with enthusiasm. What seems to me of most importance is that what our hearts have gained from such a course of study and we carry away with us into the world — what we have grasped in the breadth of the conceptions and words, is concentrated in our hearts; it lives itself out in our feelings and sensations, in our compassion and in our actions, and we are then living theosophy. As the rivers can only flow over the lands when they have been fed by the sources, so the life of theosophy can only stream out into the world when it draws its forces from the springs of wisdom open to us today by those spiritual powers whom we call the Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings. And we have grasped the true meaning of the word theosophy, or spiritual science, when it speaks to us in the forms of modern, intellectual life, when, at the same time, instead of leaving, our hearts and souls cold, it warms them, so that that warmth may communicate itself to others everywhere in the world. In proportion as you carry out into the world what has been said here, not only in your thoughts, but also in your feelings, your impulses of will and your actions, these lectures will have served their purpose. This is the aim of these lectures. With this wish, my dear theosophical friends, I always welcome you from the heart when you come, and with the same wish I take leave of you on this day, at the close of our series of lectures, with the words: “Let us remain united in the theosophical, in the intellectual and spiritual sense, even though we must live in space separated one from the other; and from the present time, in which we can be more closely united in space, let us take, as the most inspiring mutual greeting and farewell, the thought that we are together in spirit, even when we are dispersed in space. In this spirit I take leave of you today, on the occasion of our celebration of Goethe's birthday, at the close of our course of lectures. Let us think often of the object which has brought us together, and may it also bear fruit for that personal bond which may always unite one theosophist with another in love. May we be together in this sense, even after we have parted, and may we ever anew be drawn together again, that we may rise to heights of spiritual and supersensuous life.