"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." — Galatians 2:19-21
Friday, March 23, 2018
"Nothing is religious in the strict sense that is not a product of freedom." — Schlegel
"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." — Galatians 2:19-21
It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?
Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you’re equal portions clay
and water, thick mud.
Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.
You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.
You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name God,
As the priest does with the knife when he offers an animal.
Bismillah your old self
to find your real name.
The Human Soul's Experience During Sleep And After Death
Lecture 2 of 3
Rudolf Steiner, London, November 16, 1922:
Lecture 2 of 3
Rudolf Steiner, London, November 16, 1922:
My Dear Friends,
We have around us, to begin with, the world of Nature in her various kingdoms, mineral, plant and animal, — and we may also add to these the human kingdom, in so far as man's physical being is concerned. Behind Nature lies a kind of second Nature, — a spiritual, super-sensible Nature. The first, the Nature to which we are accustomed, man perceives with his senses. The super-sensible Nature that is behind, he does not perceive. It has, for all that, a great influence upon him.
And then we have to recognise that we human beings have something of physical Nature also within us. When we look within, we perceive this physical nature in our instincts and our passions. These are of course astral, but they rise up from the physical Nature. And this physical Nature that we have within us and that we perceive in our instincts and urges and passions, has again — this time we have to say beneath it, a kingdom of beings, who are intimately connected with man, but are really sub-human.
Thus, looking around us with the help of our senses, we behold the surface of Nature, her external appearance; and behind it we have to divine the presence of a super-sensible nature. When on the other hand we look within and perceive ourselves in our instincts and passions, then we have to divine beneath these the presence of a subsensible Nature.
The super-sensible Nature that is around us can be understood and appreciated only by one who is equipped with spiritual insight, and who is not always focusing attention, as Natural Science does to-day, on the strict laws of Nature and on what takes place within their framework. For Natural Science, as we know, is concerned with the investigation of what takes place in accordance with firm laws of Nature. The super-sensible that is behind external Nature will never reveal itself to these researches. It will however become manifest when we have learned to look with keen and discerning spiritual vision upon things which are not to be explained by natural law, but are generally regarded as subject to chance.
Of this character are the phenomena of the weather, all the irregularities of the atmosphere throughout, the four seasons of the year. If you stop to consider, for example, in detail how a London fog [There was an unusual thick fog in London during Dr. Steiner's visit at this time.] takes its course, you will perhaps find that in its main events you can trace the working of certain laws. You will not however be able to do this for all its continual changes and movements. When it comes to the particular single phenomena of wind and weather, there we are inclined to say that we are at the mercy of chance. You can of course read in the newspapers a description of what kind of weather we are likely to have in the near future, but you will not build upon it with certainty with which you rely on the sun rising tomorrow morning. Phenomena which show the working of natural law are in quite another category from the phenomena of wind and weather, which are more or less generally ascribed to the working of chance. People can and do acquire a certain prophetic gift in regard to these phenomena, but this prophetic gift cannot be given to place within the framework of natural law, it has more the character of inspiration or intuition.
As a matter of fact, beings live in all the various manifestations of wind and weather, — beings who are only not seen because they lack a body that is visible to the senses. They are present and alive, notwithstanding. The beings who live in wind and weather have a body that consists of air and warmth, a body that has in it no water — no fluidity, that is, of any kind — and no solid earth; it consists of nothing but air and warmth. And this body is continually undergoing sudden changes. At one moment it will assume form and shape, then again it will dissolve and pass away. The changing cloud formations that we observe in the sky, the play of the currents of the wind, — these are not the body, which remains more hidden, they are but the outer expression, the deeds, of the beings of whom I speak. When therefore we look out into the atmosphere which surrounds our Earth, and within which we ourselves are living, we have there around us a world of beings, who are composed merely of air and warmth. They are of the same kind as the beings whom I have called in my books and frequently spoken of in lectures as the Luciferic beings.
Now these beings have a specific end in view in regard to man. Notwithstanding the fact that they inhabit an element which we often find far from agreeable and pleasant — living, as we have said, in the weather! — these beings attach great value to the moral element in the human social order. So highly do they prize it, that in their opinion it would be best for man not to have a physical body at all — not, at any rate, a body that partakes of the watery or earthly elements. If they could have formed man in their own way, they would have made of him a moral being, pure and simple. Man would not of course in that case have had freedom, he would have been moral without being inwardly free. As it is these beings wage a fearful battle in the course of the year, struggling to wrest man away from the Earth and draw him into their own sphere. They would like him to be cut off from the Earth, — a complete stranger to it. On this account they are particularly dangerous for people who are inclined to any kind of visionary idealism or vague mysticism. Such persons readily fall a prey to these beings who seek to entice man away from the Earth and endow him with a kind of angel nature, so that under no circumstances shall he find himself tempted to be otherwise than purely moral.
Strange therefore and paradoxical as it may sound, dear friends, — inhabiting the forces that pulsate through the encircling air in all the vagaries of wind and weather, are beings who, abhorring human freedom and desiring nothing better than its complete annihilation, want to make man a moral automaton, want to make of him indeed a kind of good angel. And they fight hard to attain their end; to use an earthly expression, they wage war to the teeth.
In addition to these beings who build, as it were, their strongholds in the air — do not cavil at the word, I told you. I am obliged to speak in pictures — there are also beings of a contrary nature, to whom I alluded in my last lecture in another connection. And this latter class of beings has to do with all that comes to expression in man's instinctive urges and impulses, in his desires and passions. You must not however think of them as belonging first and foremost to man. In man we can see the results of their activity. But they have their home, so to speak, right on the Earth. Only we cannot see them, for these beings too have not a body that is formed in such a way as to be visible to us. They have, in fact, a body that lives entirely in the elements of earth and water. And their deeds are to be seen in the ebb and flow of the tides, in volcanic eruptions and in earthquakes. Natural Science, as is well-known, can find no satisfactory explanation for these phenomena. One who has keen spiritual perception can however see behind them a world of sub-human beings, who are under the control of the powers to which I have always given the name of the Ahrimanic powers.
Now, these Ahrimanic powers also cherish a particular aim as regards man. With the help of their various sub-spirits, which inhabit the earth and water elements of our Earth and can, for example, be recognised even in the kobolds or brownies of fairy lore — aided by these, the Ahrimanic powers have set themselves to carry out another and a different project.
If one considers these Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings by themselves, just as they are, one cannot, you know, be angry with them. Why be angry with the Luciferic beings, for instance? They want to make man into a being who is moral entirely as a matter of course. What could be better? Man would, it is true, never under their influence be free, he would be an automaton; but what they seek and desire for him can nevertheless be truthfully described as good.
Now let us see what is the aim of these other beings, who build their strongholds immediately below the surface of the Earth, and whose activities rise up into man’s metabolism, — for the phenomena we observe in the tides and less frequently in volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are always present also in the ebb and flow in man's metabolism. Whilst the Luciferic spirits build, as we said, their strongholds in the air, in order to fight for the moral — as against the earthly — element in man, the Ahrimanic beings struggle to harden man; they want to make him like themselves. Were they to be successful, man would become extremely clever in the material realm — incredibly clever and intelligent. They cannot achieve their end directly, but they aim at doing so indirectly. And their efforts, which have actually been going on for thousands of years, have in fact succeeded in producing a whole race of sub-human beings. Their method is as follows.
Suppose a man has strong and rude instincts. These beings will clutch at his instinctive nature and seize hold of it. The man then falls victim to the Ahrimanic powers. He is completely given up to his passions and leads a wild and dissolute life. When a man has in this way become a prey, during his earthly life, to the Ahrimanic powers, then these powers will be able to hold on to his instinctive nature and tear it out of him after death. There exists already on the Earth a whole population of beings who have arisen in this way. They are there, in the elements of earth and water, a sub-human race. And then what is it the Ahrimanic powers intend with this sub-human race? As we have seen, they draw out of a human being his instinctive nature and make of it an earth-and-water being. These earth-water beings inhabit the strata immediately below the surface of the Earth; and those who go down into mines, if they are able to look with spiritual vision, are quite familiar with them. They are beings that have been snatched out of man in the moment of death. And with what ultimate aim? Ahriman is waiting. The Ahrimanic powers are waiting for the time when men will descend to incarnation and, on account of a karma that their instincts and passions have prepared for them, feel particularly drawn to certain of these beings and say to themselves: “I will not go back to the spiritual world; when I have left my physical body” — out of which, as you know, man generally goes forth to a super-sensible life — “I will incorporate myself in a subsensible being of this kind. And that will mean, I shall be able to stay on the Earth. I shall not die any more, but be permanently united with the Earth. Yes, I will choose to be a subsensible being.”
It may sound incredible — and indeed it is astonishing, considering how extraordinary clever they are, — but it is a fact that the Ahrimanic beings persist in believing they will ultimately be able in this way to entice such a vast number of human beings into their own race that the Earth will one day be peopled entirely with such Ahrimanic sub-human beings. By this means they hope to make the Earth itself immortal, so that the hour may never come for it to perish and be dispersed in cosmic space.
We have thus around us in our earthly environment two hosts of beings; one in the air, that wants to make man moral but to lift him away from the Earth, and then we have also, immediately below the surface of the Earth, the Ahrimanic beings who want to draw man down and fasten him permanently to the Earth.
When we come to consider the relation in which these two classes of beings stand to one another, we find that in the mineral kingdom, in the plant kingdom, in the animal kingdom, and even in the human kingdom as it is by nature before man’s passions and desires begin to get the better of him, the two classes of beings have perforce to agree, they must bear with one another. In a remote primeval past the Godhead who is called in the Christian religion the Father God, established peace in this respect. Peace was established by the Father God for minerals, plants and animals, and also for man in his animal nature, in so far as he does not allow himself to be perverted and contaminated by passion and desire.
Take up in your hand a crystal, or any other mineral, or again a plant; you will not find that in that crystal or plant any conflict is taking place between these two classes of beings. But the moment you direct your observation to a man whose body is permeated and suffused with soul, you will at once discern signs of their conflict. The Luciferic beings are saying to Ahriman: “We promised the Father God that we would not fight nor do battle for the minerals, the plants, the animals, nor for man so long as he remained an unconscious being as in olden times and had not acquired the power of reflection, but lived more like an animal; but as for men who have acquired self-consciousness — for then we will fight to the teeth.” And it is so: a fearful war is waged all the time between the air-fire beings and the earth-water beings; they fight to get possession of man. And it is important that man should be aware of this war that is perpetually being waged for him; he must not be blind to it. In our day we have advanced far in our knowledge of external Nature. Here, as we have seen, the conditions are quite different; here the Luciferic beings live at peace with the Ahrimanic. But man's knowledge does not reach to that which lies behind the world of the senses, does not reach to super-sensible Nature, nor has he any knowledge of sub-human Nature. And these two realms harbour beings who carry on, as I have said, a terrible warfare, fighting for the possession of man.
The Being who in the Old Testament is called Jahve, has his seat — I need not remind you of what I said at the beginning of the lecture about the use of such expressions — has his seat in the Moon. That is to say, Jahve is that spiritual Being in the Cosmos who finds expression in the physical phenomena of the Moon. And in the whole ordering of the world this Being has the following task to perform.
When man is descending from the divine spiritual world in order that he may clothe himself in a body, then it is Jahve who leads him down to Earth. Nor does the Jahve Being lose all part in man's life when man has already come to Earth; he takes in hand the ordering of everything that is connected with generation. The Jahve Being, who has his seat in the Moon and who leads man down to Earth, claims control in man over all that has to do with the instincts and impulses of generation.
The process of generation cannot however be regular or regulated by itself, for it is connected with the other instincts and impulses. Consequently, the Jahve Being needs helpers, he needs beings who will, for instance, regulate the instincts connected with eating and drinking, and bring these into harmony with the instincts of generation. He needs helpers who will in fact see to the ordering of the whole instinctive life of man. And Jahve — the Moon God, if we may call him so — finds such helpers in Mercury and Venus.
A kind of compact has been made in the spiritual universe between the Moon, — that is, the Jahve Being and the beings that dwell with him in the Moon — and Mercury and Venus, And it is the will and concern of the beings who have joined together in this way, to control, from Moon, Mercury and Venus, the whole flesh-and-blood nature of man. Man is by no means merely an earthly being; influences play into him from the whole great Universe.
Turning now again to the beings whom I called Ahrimanic and who have their stronghold just below the surface of the Earth — the earth-water beings — how do these compare with Jahve and the Mercury and Venus beings? What place is assigned to them in the world order? They are not ripe to take up their abode in a heavenly body, in the way that Jahve has his abode in the Moon, and his helpers in Mercury and Venus. No, these Ahrimanic beings are doomed to look for a dwelling place just below the surface of the Earth, You will accordingly not be surprised to find that it is not with the air-fire beings alone that these earth-water beings feel themselves in opposition, but particularly also with Jahve and with the powers of Venus and Mercury. And this, notwithstanding the fact that they are themselves devoid of morality. (Man's instinctive nature, being regulated by Jahve from outside and beyond the Earth, is thereby subject to another rulership than that of the aforesaid ‘moral’ beings, but it would not under this rulership become immoral). The Ahrimanic beings wage war continually on Jahve and on the Venus and Mercury powers, and are determined to usurp from Jahve his rightful sovereignty. For it is owing to the rightful sovereignty of Jahve that the human race as we know it has come into existence on the Earth; it needed the powers of Moon and also of Mercury and Venus for this to be accomplished.
In a spirit of retaliation, the Ahrimanic beings are founding — over against the Jahve race, which is mankind — this other race of which I have been telling you. And a prime means for them to attain their end is the device I explained in our last lecture. You will remember I told you how they approach man in his sleep and say to him: “Good is evil; evil is good,” Man hearkens to this all too easily when he is asleep, and then he brings it back with him into his physical and his ether-body. The Ahrimanic beings are confident they will be able to achieve their end by means of these vicious whisperings.
Man should, you see, depend entirely — in his lower nature — on the Moon, Venus and Mercury powers. The lower nature of man is not in itself evil or degenerate; it is so only because powers that are antagonistic to Jahve insinuate themselves into it in the manner I have described. What Jahve would desire is that these earth-water beings should express themselves merely in the ebb and flow of the tides, in volcanic eruptions, in earthquakes. But they strain every nerve to establish themselves also in man, to make their presence felt in man too; and not content with attacking there the air-fire beings, they launch their attacks with particular force against Jahve and his helpers.
Man therefore finds himself placed right in the very midst of a conflict. On one side are ranged Jahve and his hosts, who are fighting for righteousness; on the other side the hosts of Ahriman, who, in respect of cleverness, far outstrip man, and whose concern it is utterly to repudiate man’s moral nature and make him into a sheer automaton of cleverness.
Such then are the influences that stream up from earth and water, and work in man. For man is obliged to eat of the products of earth and water; he cannot nourish himself on air, nor live on warmth alone!
In the other direction are the beings who incorporate themselves in air and warmth. These also, like the enemies of Jahve, are immature. And the corresponding mature beings are in their case beings who dwell on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And so we find these air-fire beings making sallies from their strongholds not only upon the Ahrimanic powers, but upon the influences that should be continually reaching man from Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Now, the influences of these more distant planets, — or rather, of their spiritual beings — are to be found particularly in the eyes, in the ears, — in short, in the sense organs of man. So that, whilst Moon and Venus exercise their influence in the interior organs of man's body, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars work on man's exterior, work in his sense organs. The influences, for example, of Saturn are to be met with primarily in the human eye.
These beings, — Saturn beings, Jupiter beings and Mars beings — have it as their special concern to make man a real Earth man; that is to say, they want first to give him senses that are properly inserted into the human organism and that remain at its surface, and then to supply him with nerves that run from the senses and extend inwards into the organism. Saturn gives the senses, Jupiter gives their continuation in the nerves, and Mars exerts the kind of control that endows man, for example, with the faculty of speech. The whole aim and purpose of these beings is to furnish man with all that is on the surface of his body. For the senses, and the nerves too, have come about through a ‘turning outside in’ of the human skin.
Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars are however resisted in their activities by the air-fire beings of whom we were speaking. Here again, a furious fight goes on all the time. The air-fire beings sit fast, so to speak, in their airy strongholds and display their power and might in the fiery flashes of the lightning. They would like to make the whole of man what he should properly be on the surface only, so that the entire physical being of man should partake of the nature that is actually assigned only to eye and ear and nose. They would like to pour the surface of man's organism right through him, to make him all surface, so that he would do nothing but see and hear, — never eat nor drink, but only see and hear, be in fact a kind of angel being.
The Mars, Jupiter and Saturn beings, who work as we have seen in man's senses, acquit themselves most praise-worthily — if I may employ the expression in speaking of such sublime beings — in the world of external nature. For they permeate what to our eyes appears mere Nature, with morality. In this manner they bring morality to man; for it is actually so, morality enters into us through the senses. When therefore the air-fire beings seek to permeate man through and through with his sense nature, it is with the intention that man, seeing nothing but what is moral, may become a moral automaton.
If we look out on the world of Nature, we can know that whatever manifests as forces in that world comes from the Mars beings, whatever manifests as natural law from the Jupiter beings, and whatever manifests as colour and sound from the Saturn beings. And the air-fire beings would have man become nothing but force, law (that is to say, thought), colour and sound. They want man not to have a physical body at all, but to be insubstantial, rarefied; they would like him to be, as we said, an angel being.
And so you see, whilst in external nature. Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn live at peace with one another and are held in balance by the Sun, they wage a double fight for the possession of man. First of all, there is the conflict that goes on between the Ahrimanic and the Luciferic beings; and then we have on the one hand, the fight that is put up by the Luciferic beings against the planetary forces beyond the Sun, — the Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn influences — whilst on the other hand the Ahrimanic forces are waging war on the influences that proceed from Moon, Venus and Mercury.
Behind Nature and within man the hard-fought battle goes on; and it is with this conflict raging all around him that man has to press forward in his development and win his freedom. In an older time man had the teaching of the Mysteries to aid him on his path; now he must turn to what spiritual investigation can tell him concerning what lies behind Nature and below man. For ignorance on these matters would inevitably lead to the deterioration and ruin of mankind.
You will have seen, my dear friends, from the descriptions I have given you, that the beings we are accustomed to call Luciferic and Ahrimanic, are particularly highly developed in respect of certain qualities — the Luciferic beings, namely, in morality, and the Ahrimanic in cleverness and intelligence. And yet both these classes of beings never relinquish the belief that they will one day achieve their ends, and they are therefore always ready to begin the fight over again. For, time after time, when they think they are on their way to success, they experience frustration and disappointment. So that when a modern initiate encounters such beings behind Nature or below man, he sees how on the one hand they will not be deterred, but press forward again and again to their goal with renewed confidence in ultimate victory, and then how, on the other hand, they are perpetually being frustrated. This kind of being may indeed be said to live in a mood that oscillates between jubilation and triumph on the one side and constantly recurring disappointment on the other.
I will show you how this can be observed in particular instances. Let us see, in the first place, how the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings suffer disillusionment through what happens with the physical part of man's being. One can form a very good impression of the disappointments that await Lucifer and Ahriman in this connection, when one pays a visit to one of our hospitals or asylums. Sickness, whether in mind or body, means disappointment for Lucifer or Ahriman. These beings are, you see, fighting a battle to get possession of the nature of man. But it does not help them at all, if within man's nature one of them gains a victory over the other. The situation is different if Ahriman gains a victory over the Moon Godhead; or again, if the air-fire beings gain a victory over Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Such victories are, however, always incomplete. They can only become complete if reinforced by some success that the Luciferic or Ahrimanic beings achieve in their own mutual conflict. But, as a matter of fact, by far the greater number of these successes are only apparent; hence the disillusion that ensues. Let us suppose for a moment that the Ahrimanic powers were victorious in the physical body of some person, victorious, that is, over the Luciferic powers who try to permeate man throughout with what should by rights be only on the surface, only in the senses. The result would be that the person would succumb to illnesses producing tumours or carcinoma, or else to illnesses of the metabolism, such as diabetes. Whenever an illness of this description shows itself in a man's physical nature, it means that Ahriman has won a victory over Lucifer. Since however, as a result, that physical nature is temporarily ruined, it is of course of no use to Ahriman; he cannot possibly pull up out of it the man's instincts and impulses in order to create from these a race of his own.
We have in this way arrived at a perhaps paradoxical, but nevertheless correct picture of illness. Illness is in very many cases the sole means left to the good Powers, to rescue man from the fangs of Ahriman.
If on the other hand Lucifer gains a victory in a man's physical nature over the Ahrimanic powers, who would like to harden man and drag him down into their race of earth-water beings, — if Lucifer gains a victory over these powers, then the person concerned succumbs to illnesses of a catarrhal nature, or else to insanity. Once again, for Lucifer this time, the victory turns out to be quite indecisive.
The Ahrimanic and Luciferic powers, who work unceasingly with all their might for the attainment of their ends, are thus compelled to turn away sad and disappointed from beds of sickness, from hospitals and from mental asylums. These show them all too clearly that though they may continue to carry on their fight, they cannot ever be really victorious.
And now, if you are able to look with real insight into man's etheric nature, — not merely into his physical, but into his etheric nature — you will find there too, occasion for disappointment to the Ahrimanic and Luciferic powers. For when the Luciferic powers are victorious over the Ahrimanic in the ether-body, then the person becomes a liar, he becomes an habitual liar. In that case he is obviously not moral; and so he falls out of the world within which Lucifer would like to secure him. Instead of making him a moral automaton, Lucifer has turned him into a liar. And, strange as it may seem, the fact that the person becomes addicted to lying is a weapon in the hands of the good Powers, to aid them in rescuing him from Lucifer. For when someone turns liar, — well, that can be ameliorated in the further course of karma; whereas if Lucifer were really to gain the victory he seeks, the Earth would lose that human soul, it would soar right away above the Earth. If, on the other hand, Ahriman were to conquer, or come near to conquering, in the ether body, then the person would become possessed — possessed by his own cleverness. And since he is inwardly possessed by it, the cleverness must needs remain within him. It has hold of him; his ether-body is absolutely charged with it. And so there is no possibility for Ahriman to draw out the instincts and impulses; they are stuck fast in the ether-body, because the person is possessed by his cleverness. Here too, then, will be plenty of opportunity for Lucifer and Ahriman to experience bitter frustration and disappointment, when addiction to lying, or on the other hand, obsession follows as a consequence of their apparent victories.
Let us now see what can happen with the astral body. Suppose the Ahrimanic powers come near to being victorious in the astral body. The person in question will in this case tend to become an out-and-out egoist. But that will mean that he, as an egoist, keeps fast hold of his instincts, and there will be no chance for Ahriman to snatch them away. So once more, Ahriman's prize escapes him. Suppose on the other hand. Lucifer nearly gains a victory. Then the person is liable to turn into a dreamer in the astral body, to become an ego-less dreamer, who is, as one says, “not in his right mind.” Such things happen; it can well be that people succumb, if only for a time, to such a condition. The Luciferic and Ahrimanic powers are thus subject to disillusionment on earth in many directions.
But do you see in what a critical situation man stands to-day? In olden times it was different. Let us look back and see how things were for man in the past. The first great teachers in the Mysteries were messengers of the Father God. They had disciples, the Gurus; and then there were the Chelas who were disciples of a second grade, for they were disciples of the Gurus. The highest Gurus however received their instruction direct from the messengers of the Father God, And these messengers of the Father God were able to find remedies with which to heal man. Illnesses are, as we have seen, the occasion of deep disappointment and frustration to Ahriman and Lucifer, so much so that they leave these beings quite benumbed and bewildered. For, outstandingly clever and moral as the Ahrimanic and Luciferic beings are, just because their consciousness is so particularly keen and wide-awake, they are all the more liable to suffer a clouding of it; and so the messengers of the Father God were on this account able to approach the sick person undisturbed by Lucifer and Ahriman, and could then find the remedy for the illness. I told you last time, you will remember, how an illness due to Saturn influence could be cured with a remedy taken from the Moon, and so on. This, then, is how things were in the time of the ancient Mysteries. The messengers of the Father God were able to intervene directly and extricate man from the confusion in which he finds himself owing to the fight which is going on, as, I have explained to you, all the time, behind Nature and below man.
My dear friends, the confusion that reigns within man to-day is no whit less than it was in olden times. That man is unaware of it makes no difference, the confusion is there, just the same. Man is perpetually being torn and tossed, this way and that, while the powers behind Nature and below himself fight to get possession of him. And when one crosses the Threshold and, looking consciously into the spiritual world, observes this terrific battle that is going on, this complicated game that is being played with man as the prize, then one may look now in vain for the messengers of God who in an earlier age would come forward with the staff of Mercury, for example, and with other symbols of that nature, ready to give them into the hands of the Mystery doctors, who could then use them to bring healing to man. At the present time, when you cross the Threshold, you find yourself only in the midst of the terrific conflict of which we have spoken, between beings of the upper planets who have remained behind in their evolution, — immature Mars, Jupiter and Saturn beings — and beings of the lower planets who have remained behind, — immature Moon, Mercury and Venus beings. Like two armed encampments they stand facing one another; on one side, the air-fire beings, — Saturn, Jupiter and Mars beings that have failed and fallen out of their true evolution; and on the other side, facing them, the earth-water beings, — Moon, Mercury and Venus beings who have also failed and fallen behind. And there, beyond the Threshold, the fight goes on with such fury that the Sun becomes first of all fiery and aflame, and then grows darker and darker, until at last it shows like a terrible black disk. It was not so for the initiates of long ago. They saw right through the black disk; and from the direction of the black disk itself came towards them the messengers of God, of the Father God, who were also in those times the bearers of the knowledge of healing. But for us, when we cross the Threshold and see before us the terrific battle and behold how the Sun becomes fiery red and then black, — for us, the Sun remains black, it remains a black disk. And we are rebuffed, we are turned back; for if we men of modern times are to find our way amid all this confusing and perplexing conflict, it is on the Earth that we must look for help.
And then, my dear friends, then we are guided to turn our eyes to the Christ. Christ stands before us, the Spirit Being who, through the Mystery of Golgotha, united Himself with the Earth. And He says to us: Be not dismayed that the Sun has become black; it is black because I, the God of the Sun, am no longer in it; for I have come down and united myself with the Earth.
And if, with inner devotion, and with quick and sensitive recognition of all that a knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha can bring, we draw near to Christ, and then the Sun does not, it is true, become bright again, it remains the black disk that it was, but the Sun begins to make audible for us what Christ is saying to us. And this experience reveals to us the relationship of Christ with the Sun. Yes, the Sun, although still a black disk, becomes a being who enables us to listen to the Christ, if we are duly prepared and approach Him in the right mood and attitude of soul.
And it is the Christ who provides now for man the means of reconciliation so that in man too the upper then the lower powers may be reconciled, — the powers that are above the black Sun disk and that make themselves known around our Earth as air-fire beings, and the powers that manifest as lower beings. And we can receive guidance, we men, for the healing of diseases, and for the true understanding of all the other evils that are constantly leaving Lucifer and Ahriman disappointed. Through the power of Christ and through the power of the Mystery of Golgotha we then become able to speak to these beings, and what we say to them is wonderful enough. “Ye creatures of Lucifer and Ahriman,” we say, “the disappointment and great frustration that you meet with, time and again, are due to evils of your own making, evils that are bound to arise on Earth in consequence of your own partial victories. And that must go on; for you will not cease from making people sick and ill and obsessed, nor from turning people into liars and self-seekers and ego-less dreamers. And so you have no choice but to continue this restless alternation between triumphant joy and the grief of acute disappointment.”
But as for man, if he can find the right relation to the Christ, then it will be given him not to despair, even in face of the despair of higher beings than himself, — beings however whose will it is to go another way than the way of the Gods to whom man belongs and to whom he should remain true throughout the further course of the Earth. At the centre of these sublime God Beings is the Christ Being, who spoke to the initiates of old through the Sun disk and who speaks also to us — but now from the Earth with the help of the Sun.
When therefore we speak of Christ today, we are speaking of One who can be at our side here on Earth as our Leader, guiding us out of the terrible conflict that the Luciferic and Ahrimanic powers are waging, — with one another and with the worlds of the Upper and Lower Gods.
In my next lecture, on Sunday at 7:o'clock, I will say more of this.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
|Anandamayi Ma and Yogananda|
Hermann Hesse: "Now in comparison with this narrow and pinched form of Christianity, with these somewhat mawkish hymns, these generally so boring ministers and sermons, the world of Indian religion and poetry was frankly far more inviting. Here no such oppressive narrowness, no smell of the sober gray paint of pulpits or of pietistic Bible hours; my imagination had room, I could welcome without resistance the first messages that reached me from the world of India and they have continued all my life to have their effect on me."
Rudolf Steiner: "Rather than surrendering to the fear that the elements of will in the spiritual world will seize, devour, and strangle us, one must swing oneself to the back of the lion, grasp these elements of will, and make use of them for action."
The Human Soul's Experience During Sleep And After Death
Lecture 1 of 3
Rudolf Steiner, London, November 12, 1922:
Lecture 1 of 3
Rudolf Steiner, London, November 12, 1922:
You will remember that on the last occasion when I was able to speak to you here, I gave you a description of the experiences of the soul during sleep. Today I would like to carry the subject a little further. It will, I am sure, already be clear to you that one whose knowledge of human life confines itself to daytime existence, knows only half the life of man; for things of the very greatest importance take place during sleep. There is no need for me here to explain first the methods by which one comes to know these things; I assume from the outset that you receive what I say as coming from the exact clairvoyance which you will remember I described in my lectures here in London, a few months ago. [Knowledge and Initiation, and Knowledge of the Christ through Anthroposophy. Two lectures, London, 14 and 15 April, 1922.]
When man passes from day-consciousness into sleep-consciousness — which is for the man of the present time unconsciousness — he is not in his physical body, nor in his etheric body. During sleep he is a purely spiritual being. On my last visit I gave you a description, from one aspect, of the experience man undergoes as soul and spirit between the times of falling asleep and awaking. Today I want to describe this experience from another side.
You will remember how in sleep man goes out into the cosmic ether, and feeling himself in the midst of a vast and vague unknown is at first overcome with anxiety and apprehension; then you will also remember how in this moment something awakens in the soul which one can call — borrowing the expression from conscious life — a yearning for the Divine. And we went on to speak of how in the second stage of sleep man experiences a reflection of the movements of the planets, and how, for one who has already a relation to the Mystery of Golgotha, Christ then appears, to be his Guide through the otherwise chaotic experiences that come to him while he is living his way through a kind of reproduction or copy of the life of the stars and the planets. For now comes the experience of the fixed stars. Man goes forth, from the planetary spheres — we mean of course the copy of the planetary spheres — and enters upon an experience of the constellations of the fixed stars. So that between falling asleep and awaking, man actually covers the whole cosmic existence beyond the Earth. I told you moreover that it is the forces of the Moon (the spiritual counterpart of what reveals itself to us in the various lunar phenomena) that bring man back again in the morning — or whenever he wakes up — bring him back into his physical and into his etheric body.
And now I should like, as I said, to describe these experiences from another angle. Unless we have allowed ourselves to become completely involved and imprisoned in the materialistic ideas of modern times, the conscious life that we lead in the daytime has for us a moral and also a religious foundation. We have our knowledge of Nature; but we cannot help feeling that we have in us something more than knowledge and science, that we have as well, moral duties, moral responsibilities, and we feel moreover that our whole being is grounded in a spiritual world. This latter realisation may be described as a religious consciousness. It is, however, only because he is in the physical body, that he is able to have this religious consciousness. It is, however, only because he is in the physical body, that he is able to have this religious consciousness in waking life. For you must understand that in his physical body man is not alone, but with him are spirits of higher cosmic rank; in his physical body, man lives together with higher spirits. And man lives, in his ether-body, with the moral purposes of these higher spirits. Thus, the religious consciousness of man is dependent on his life in the physical body, and his moral consciousness on his life in the etheric body. And this leads us to distinguish two parts in the cosmic ether, from which, as you know, our own ether-body is derived. One part is warmth, light, chemical ether, life ether. But behind all this, behind the warmth and light and chemical processes and life, is a moral element — the moral essence of the cosmic ether.
Now this moral essence of the cosmic ether is present only in the neighbourhood of stars and planets. If you are living on the Earth, then you are not only within the cosmic ether, but also within its moral essence, although by day you do not know it. And when you wander through the cosmos, then whenever you are in the environment of a star, you are in the moral essence of the cosmos ether. But in between the stars, the moral element is driven out of the ether by the action of the sunlight. Note that I say the sunlight, not the Sun, which is a cosmic body within which is contained the very source and origin of the moral ether; but when the Sun shines, then by means of its light it drives away the moral essence of the ether. And so it comes about that when we look out through our eyes on to the world, we see flowers, we see springs and brooks, we see the whole face of Nature, but without any moral element discernible within it; the sunlight has killed out the moral element. And when we fall asleep and leave our physical and etheric bodies, then we take with us what we have acquired in this way during waking hours on Earth by beholding Nature; but strange as it may sound, we leave behind us our religious feeling and our moral feeling, we leave them behind with the physical and with the ether-body, and our soul and spirit live as an a-moral being during the time of sleep.
This has an important consequence for us. We are living during this time in a world that has been irradiated by the light of the Sun. This means that the moral ordering of the world has gone out of the ether. Consequently the Ahrimanic Being has access to the ether in which we find ourselves as soon as we fall asleep. And this Ahrimanic Being speaks to man while he is asleep. And what he says is most mischievous, for he is rightly called the father of lies; he makes good appear bad to the sleeping human being and bad good.
Reference has been made in the newspapers recently to questions that are being investigated by scientists, as to why criminals sleep well, while moral people with a good conscience often sleep badly. The matter is explained when you consider what I have been telling you. In the case of a highly conscientious and devout man, who has a fine moral feeling, his moral sensibility enters so deeply into his soul that he takes it with him into sleep; with the result that he sleeps badly, believing as he does that he has been guilty of many misdeeds. A bad man, on the other hand, whose moral sensibility is very little developed, will carry with him into sleep no such pangs of conscience, — and this will mean of course at the same time that he will have, spiritually speaking, an open ear for the whisperings of Ahriman who makes evil appear good. Hence the quiet and contented sleep of the criminal! People say, it is not fair that criminals should sleep well, while good people often have poor and disturbed slumber. The fact is to be accounted for in the way I have shown.
The enticement to evil to which man is exposed during sleep is, in truth, exceedingly great, and it can easily happen that in the morning he brings over with him from sleep terrible demonic forces of temptation. Only when he has come down again into his physical and etheric body, will a man who is not very good and upright begin to feel pricks of conscience, — not before. There is thus abundant possibility for, man to fall a victim to Ahriman during the time of sleep.
The danger has by no means always been so great as it is today. In the course of the centuries it has gradually come about that men are so gravely exposed during sleep to the seductions of demonic powers, which make evil appear good. In earlier times of the evolution of mankind things were different. Man had then, as I have often explained to you, nothing like so strong an ego-consciousness as he has now. In the daytime, when he was awake, his ego-consciousness was weaker; and that meant also that during sleep he did not sail so smoothly into evil as he does today. He was protected. The fact is, we are living today in a time that is bringing us to a certain crisis in evolution. It behoves men to arm themselves against the powers of evil that approach them when they fall asleep. In older times men were protected through the fact that when they went to sleep, they entered more into the group-soul. During sleep man lived in the group-soul. We today still live to a certain extent in the group-soul during our waking hours; we feel we belong to a particular nation, often even to a particular clan; or perhaps we are inclined to put on aristocratic airs, and like to feel ourselves as members of a certain family. But sleep takes us right out of the group-soul feeling. It is hardly possible for the man of today to be an aristocrat in sleep. Yes, sleep is a great educator, more than you would think; on the one hand it educates man, it is true, in evil, as we have seen; but on the other hand, it educates him in democracy. The man of olden time passed into the group-soul when he fell asleep; and when he awoke and returned to his physical and to his etheric body, he brought with him a strong feeling of belonging to his group.
There you have the one side of man's life, — what he is during sleep. Man, of course, carries in him all the time the part of his nature that is exposed in sleep at the present day to the temptations of demonic forces, he has it in him continuously. Only, when he is awake, he has to let it merge into the moral and religious consciousness. The religious side of man is given to him, as we saw, by the powers that live with him in his physical body, and the moral side by the powers that live with him in his ether-body.
The man of an older time, who during sleep lived strongly, as we have seen, in the group-consciousness — it was with the Mystery of Golgotha that all this became changed for the further evolution of mankind — the man of an older time, when he dived down again, on awaking, into his physical and his etheric body, began to live then more in himself, But here we discover another difference between him and us. For when he was waking up and coming down again into his physical and ether body, before he was quite awake, he had a clear consciousness of the life he had lived ere he descended to Earth. And he had the same clear consciousness again just before falling asleep. Whilst, therefore, on the one hand he developed a strong group-consciousness, he had at the same time also a strong feeling of belonging to the life that is beyond the Earth. He knew quite well that he had come down from the spiritual world, had passed through the world of the stars, and had chosen for himself a physical body here on Earth. As time went on, this consciousness became darkened. In compensation, men became ‘clever’ — as we understand the word today. They developed powers of judgment and discrimination. This kind of faculty has evolved only in the course of time. It is our physical body that gives us the power of judgment, — and this is the reason we are able to exercise the power best during the morning hours. We enter more deeply in these days into our physical and etheric bodies than men did in olden times. Consequently, while they had a consciousness of their life before birth, we have a consciousness rather of earthly existence. We establish ourselves firmly in our physical and etheric body. They did not do so. They might be said to ‘carry’ their physical and etheric body, they carried it round with them, feeling it as something external to themselves, rather as we feel the clothes that we wear. We have quite lost this feeling. We no longer say as they did, when they were going through a door: I carry my physical being through the door. That was for them an entirely natural way of speaking. We would never say that; we say: I walk through the door. We press our I, our ego, right into the physical body; it is therefore perfectly natural for us to express ourselves in this way. And in consequence of this development, we have lost also the consciousness of our connection with the spiritual world and with the world of the stars. The man of an earlier time knew that he was connected with the world of the stars. He knew quite well that he was connected with the world of the stars, and also with the spiritual world that is behind the world of the stars: he knew that he had descended from these worlds to earthly existence.
Modern man will say: In order to live, I need meat, vegetables, eggs, etc. He needs, that is, products of the physical world, and with these he must concern himself from birth to death. Please do not imagine for a moment dear friends, that I mean to speak scornfully or slightingly of the food we eat. It is good in itself and belongs to life; let that be fully recognised. I want only to point out that the men of olden time[s] knew that in order to have strength to live, man needs more than the forces of the Earth that reside in beef and cabbage and egg, he needs also Jupiter and Venus and Saturn, They knew for a fact that just as man, when he is here on Earth, needs to eat eggs, so too has he need to have received, before he came down to Earth, the strength of Jupiter and of Venus; otherwise he could not be earthly man at all. Modern man feels united with the Earth and is very much concerned about what he must eat to keep his body in health. The man of an older time felt a need to be in right relationship with the stars. He said to himself: If I suffer, here on Earth, from some inability or lack of skill, it must be that I did not acquit myself well while descending into the world of the stars; I must put that right next time I make the journey from death to a new birth.
It is indeed so that in those times man evolved what might be called a spiritual diet. In the Mysteries there were leaders and guides who were not unlike our modern doctors of medicine. The modern doctor gives his advice about man's body. That is quite understandable, and no reproach is intended. But the leaders in the Mysteries, who were also physicians, would for example, if a man suffered from some physical infirmity, give instruction as to how he could better his relationship to Venus, or it may be to Saturn. It was thus advice for the soul that these leaders in the Mysteries gave. Let us suppose a physician of this kind found that the person who had come to him for healing was too strongly attracted to his physical body. Instead of feeling his body merely as a garment for his soul, he was firmly bound to it, rather like a man of the present day who persisted in sleeping in his clothes. The physician would say to such a person: When the Moon is full, try going out for a walk in its light, when it is rising in the evening; and while you walk, repeat a certain mantram.
Why did the physician of the ancient Mysteries give this advice? Because he knew that when a person goes for a walk in the light of the Moon, repeating the while certain mantrams, that will counteract the Saturn force, and so it will come about that Saturn has less power over him. For, you see, this physician of olden times knew that the clinging to the physical body, the being so closely knit with it, was due to the fact that the person in question had held on too strongly to Saturn when he was passing through the world of the stars, on his way from the spiritual world into earthly life. This excessive attraction to the life of Saturn had given him the infirmity from which he was suffering. But now the two heavenly bodies, Moon and Saturn, tend to counteract one another. In order, therefore, to cure an affliction due to the Saturn forces, the physician would have recourse to the forces of the Moon. He would, in effect, prescribe a spiritual diet.
We have today a physical diet and that is quite right and suitable for us. In the olden times man felt the need for a diet of a more spiritual kind, and we must now learn to add to our physical diet also a spiritual diet. That is the mission of the present age; we have our physical diet, and we must regain a feeling for the importance of a spiritual diet as well. If we can do this, it will enable us to achieve the tasks that call for fulfilment at this present moment in earth evolution.
This is what I wanted to put before you in the first part of my lecture.
It is a satisfaction to me, my dear friends, that I shall be able to give you two more lectures after today, and so I do not need to hurry — as I would otherwise be obliged to do — but can go more fully into that which lies on my heart to say to you on the occasion of this visit.
Vision of the pre-earthly life, of the life man lived in the spiritual world before he united himself here on Earth with a physical and an etheric body, was possible to the men of old, for they possessed an elemental clairvoyance. To attain such vision today we need the help of anthroposophical science. When with this help we have learned to look with the consciousness of Inspiration upon the time we pass through before we descend to Earth, we behold how we live for a long while in an entirely spiritual world, a world where there is no mineral kingdom, no plant kingdom, no animal kingdom, — a world where there are not even the stars that we see shining far away in the encircling heavens, a world, where we have around us spiritual beings, beings of the higher hierarchies. Throughout this period of the time between death and a new birth, we live among spiritual beings. And then we begin to travel through the starry heavens on our way back to Earth, passing — now with more, now again with less, sympathy — through the various starry spheres. And this is the time when we prepare our coming earthly life. For according as we relate ourselves to the starry spheres through which we pass, so will be our life on Earth. Let me give you an example of how this preparation takes place.
Coming forth from the world that is purely spiritual, we pass first through the sphere of the fixed stars. Of these I will not speak just now; that will come in the next lecture. Then we pass through the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, through the Sun sphere, and through the spheres of Mercury, Venus and Moon, and so by gradual stages come down to Earth. You will realise from the description that we approach the spheres of the stars from the other side. When you stand on Earth and look at Jupiter, you are seeing Jupiter from one side. And when a being — in this case, a human being — is descending from the spiritual world and passes, on his way to Earth, through the spheres of the stars, then at the time when we, looking from the Earth, see Saturn, this being, as he approaches Saturn, will be seeing it from the other side. It will be the same with all the stars. Coming from the spiritual world, he approaches the stars from behind, as it were, and sees the reverse of what men see on Earth with physical sight. You will not of course imagine that the human being who is making his journey to the Earth ‘sees’ in the way we do. He has no eyes as yet, he will only get eyes when he has a physical body. What he sees is spiritual. He sees Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, in their spiritual aspect; Venus also, then Mercury and Moon. And according to the measure of the sympathy or antipathy with which he passes through the one or other sphere, so will be the forces he receives in the course of his descent from each sphere in turn, — forces of Saturn, forces of Jupiter, and so on.
Let us imagine a particular case. In consequence of the way in which he lived his former life on Earth, a human soul may have the feeling, when the time comes to descend to a new life: It will be good if this time I come to Earth as a woman; if this time I incarnate in a female body.
It is an important question for the descending human soul to decide, whether it shall become man or woman. Its whole destiny on earth depends on the decision; for it is by no means a matter of indifference whether in one particular incarnation we go through our life as a man or a woman. But it is not enough for the soul simply to come to the conclusion: I will be a man, or, I will be a woman. Due preparation has to be made. If the soul desires to be a woman, it will approach the Earth at the time of Full Moon. When we, looking from the Earth, see the Moon full, the soul that is approaching from the spiritual world will see it dark. Now what the soul sees is of course, the spiritual aspect of the Moon. Seeing it dark, the soul sees it ‘peopled,’ as it were, with certain beings. And these beings it is who will prepare the soul, so that, when it comes on Earth, it shall be attracted to a female body. On the other hand, when we, looking from the Earth, see New Moon — which means, we cannot see it at all — then the soul that is descending and sees the Moon from the other side, will see it lit up, will see the light that rays forth from it out into cosmic space, — that is, of course, the spiritual in the light. In this case, the soul can become a man. Whether it receives the forces that bring it to a male or to a female incarnation depends, you see, on the manner of the soul's journey through the spheres of the stars.
And now, in addition to passing through the sphere of the Moon, the soul has also to go, for example, through the spheres of Mercury and Venus. While the manner of its journey through the sphere of the Moon determines whether the soul is to become man or woman, by its passage through the sphere of Venus the soul is endowed with greater or less sympathy for a particular family. For the soul could, of course, be man or woman in this or that or any other family. This attraction to a family is determined in the following way.
A human soul may be descending, for instance, at a time when Venus is right on the other side of the Earth, and the soul may thus be able to disregard the Venus sphere. Such a soul will then have no great connection with his family. Or the soul may, on the other hand, go past Venus, and it can do so in a variety of ways. It will then elect to take the path through the Venus sphere that guides it to some particular family. For the soul has this possibility; it can prepare itself for belonging to a particular family by choosing, as it were, the ‘ray’ that goes from Venus to this family. Coming down from the other side, the dark side, of Venus, the soul then draws near to Earth and finds its way to that family,
The same kind of thing may happen in regard to the Mercury sphere. The sphere of Mercury leads the soul to find its way into a particular folk or people. When the region inhabited by this people is receiving rays of Mercury, then the soul, coming from the other side and approaching the dark side of Mercury, will be helped to find its way to this people.
Thus are human souls prepared for life on Earth. Through the influence of the Moon — and when we speak of these heavenly bodies, it is always the spiritual in them that we have in mind — through the influence of the Moon, preparation is made for the soul to become man or woman; through the influence of Venus, for the soul to belong to some family; through the influence of Mercury, to belong to some folk or people.
The whole life of man on Earth depends, as you see, on the relationship he establishes with the spheres in the course of his descent from the spiritual world. The knowledge of this has been lost. We must regain it. We are accustomed to think of ourselves as composed of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, sulphur, etc. But we must come also to feel — quite simply and naturally — that we are composed and are created out of the world of the stars. For we are not just physical human beings made up of protein and a few other substances. All the forces of the universe have combined to form us. These forces of the universe work upon us while we are descending. When we come to Earth, we have them within us, — and something of a memory of this remains to us in sleep. Memory is however always, as you know very well, weaker than the actual experience. When someone who is dear to you has died, think how the memory of the event grows less vivid and powerful as time goes on. And it is the same with the memory we still have in sleep, of how it was with us when we had living and present experiences of the spiritual world, and of the world of the stars. The memory grows dim; and that is why man is exposed now in sleep to the temptations I described earlier in today's lecture. Thus a dim and feeble after-image in sleep — a weak cosmic memory — is all that is left of the experience we had with the spiritual world and with the stars during the time between death and our last birth.
This, dear friends, is what I wanted to say to you today byway of introduction. We shall continue with it next time we meet.