Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More powerful than destiny

"If there is something more powerful than destiny, this must be the human being who bears his destiny unshaken."  — Rudolf Steiner

The transposition of the realms of Lucifer and of Christ; Oedipus and Judas

"The degree to which the necessity for brotherliness is felt is the degree of our permeation by Christ."  ~Rudolf Steiner

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."
1 Corinthians 12:27

The East in the Light of the West:
The Children of Lucifer and the Brothers of Christ
Lecture 7 of 9

Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 29, 1909:

There are certain facts in the evolution of mankind which are hardly noticed in outer life. As a result there is misunderstanding of much that is being fulfilled in the spiritual depths underlying human evolution. It has been shown that the mystical Christ-experience — such an experience as a man may have when by profound, inner life he permeates his soul experiences with what we have called the Christ substance — was not always possible, but became so in the course of time. The historical descent into incarnation of the Christ was a necessary in preparation for the presence of the mystical Christ in the soul. It is not correct to say that in pre-Christian times the mystical Christ experience had always been possible; individuals such as Meister Eckhart add other similar personalities with their inner mystical experiences are only possible in the Christian epoch; such experiences would not have been possible at an earlier time. Abstract thinking will be fundamentally unable to understand this; only concrete and spiritually realistic thinking dealing with facts would find its way to these things. Again, the description of the Luciferic beings and the Christ can only be comprehensible if we assume that a change took place in the whole human organisation. A change, it is true, not to be realised by the external senses or the outer reason, but none the less a radical change. This was accomplished during the last thousand years before the appearance of Christ and during the centuries following His appearance. Since the Atlantean catastrophe man has essentially changed. And although in the present cycle of humanity the important thing is that man, on incarnation depends for his perception of the world, so far as his outer experiences are concerned, upon the instruments which are at his disposal in the envelopes of the physical, etheric and astral bodies, yet the nature of his perception and realisation through subsequent epochs depends upon the changes which this organisation undergoes. There is no such thing as a conception of the world which holds good for all times. Men's perception of the — world is conditioned by his organisation.
Now let us call up before our minds the most radical change in the nature of man, which has occurred since the Atlantean catastrophe. Before this the different members of our human nature were connected otherwise than they grew to be later on. The etheric body did not co-operate with the physical body during the Atlantean era in the way it has done since. Formerly the etheric body of the head, for instance, extended further above the physical head, and the progress of evolution is expressed by the very fact that the etheric and physical bodies grew more alike and their connection closer and closer. Now it is in the etheric body that all the forces necessary for the organisation of the physical body reside, all those forces which unite the members of the physical body and produce harmony between them. In the humanity of Atlantis the forces of the etheric body and especially of the head worked at the building of the physical body from outside. Later these forces drew within the space filled by the physical body and at the present day they work more in man's inner being, animating and stimulating it. But this was only a matter of development. And if we wish to understand the old Indian culture we must clearly realise that the conditions were quite different from what they became during the Chaldean-Egyptian epoch. But in humanity of the Graeco-Latin epoch, there was such a complete permeation of the physical body by the etheric body, that in no part of the human Organisation would clairvoyant consciousness have perceived the etheric body extending far beyond the physical body. This had not been the case with the old Indians. Their clairvoyant vision perceived the etheric body still extending, especially as regards the head, out beyond the physical body. Hence a native of Old India saw the world quite otherwise than did a native of Old Egypt. A man belonging to the Graeco-Latin people saw the world much as it is to be seen today, i.e. as a sense-tapestry of colours, shades, etc. But the whole of this world which lies spread out before the present day sense-perceptions, was to the Indian spirit of the olden times finely permeated by what we might today call the misty cloud characteristic of etheric nature. It arose from all things, for they all looked as if they were burning, and a fine misty smoke arose out of each form. The manner of perceiving then was what might be called a seeing of the etheric element, which was spread out over everything like dew or hoar frost. That peculiar kind of sight was then natural. At the present day the human soul can only attain to it by means of special exercises given by spiritual science. The object of the progressive evolution of mankind through the different periods of civilisation is to cause the etheric body to descend deeper and deeper into the physical body. Thus the whole manner of human perception alters, for all human perception depends upon the way in which the etheric body is organised. And this in its turn is connected with the fact that the Luciferic beings manifesting within the earth and within the soul have risen to the state of cosmic beings, and that the Christ-Being Who was formerly a cosmic being descended into incarnation in a human body and has now become an inner being.
This permeation of the Apollonian with the Dionysian principle — this transposition, as it were — only became possible because of a corresponding change in the human Organisation. It was a change that not only affected the past, but was also a preparation for the future. We live in a time when the most complete inner permeation of the physical by the etheric body is already a thing of the past; a time when the tendency of evolution is in the opposite direction. We live in an era in which the etheric body is slowly emerging from the physical body. The normal development of humanity will in the future consist in the gradual emergence of the etheric body from the physical body; the time will come when the human Organisation will once again wear the appearance which it wore in grey primeval ages, and we shall again see the etheric body spreading out beyond the human physical body. We are in the middle of this transition, and many of the more subtle diseases characteristic of the present time would be understood if this were known. But all this has a meaning and corresponds with great cosmic laws, for man could not attain the goal of his evolution unless he thus underwent a transposition of the constituent parts of his Organisation. Now everything within us is permeated by our whole surroundings; and by the divine spiritual beings in the spiritual world sending their currents down into us, just as the physical elements of the earth send their currents into our physical organisation. At the time when the etheric body was outside the physical body, currents were perpetually pouring into this etheric body man experienced this consciously as a cosmic revelation, as something revealed to him inwardly. These currents descending into his etheric body from the spiritual world also worked at the perfecting of his physical body.
Now that which descended into the etheric body of man and was experienced as the most inward element of his being, was the influence of the Luciferic world, a great and powerful inheritance brought over from the old ages of the pre-Atlantean evolution. The fact that these Luciferic influences had become so much darkened that man, at the very time when Christ appeared, could perceive nothing of them unless he had reached a high grade of initiation, is explained by the fact that the etheric body drew more and more inside the physical body and became one with it; and man learned to make increasing use of the physical organs as instruments. It was therefore necessary that the divine spiritual being shortly to appear on earth, should be manifest on the physical plane as a figure able to be perceived physically, incarnate like other physical beings upon the earth. Only thus could mankind have at that time understood a God appearing in a body because it had become accustomed to consider true only what could be observed by means of the instrument of the human physical body. This had to come to pass before those who surrounded the Christ could say by way of emphasising an event, ‘We have placed our hands in His wounds, and our fingers in the prints of the nails.’ This certainty yielded by the senses had to live as a feeling in those men, a feeling which gave the stamp of truth to the event. To that sort of testimony a man of the old Indian age would have attached no importance; he would have said: ‘The spiritual perceived by means of the senses means nothing much to me; in order to realise the spiritual there must be ascent to a certain grade of clairvoyant cognition.’ Understanding of Christ therefore had gradually to be developed like everything else in the world.
The Luciferic impulse, however, which man formerly had in his etheric body gradually became exhausted. That which he had brought with him out of primeval ages when his etheric body did not as yet dwell entirely in the physical body, but was still outside and received the Luciferic influence through the portion that still was outside, was gradually used up. In order that the etheric body might slip into the physical body it had to lose the capacity of realising the higher worlds through its etheric organs. Therefore at a certain epoch it is true to say of our human ancestors that they were still able to see into the spiritual worlds, and what they saw is preserved in their literature. There was, as it were, a primeval wisdom. The reason why later this was not more directly attainable was, that as the etheric body was taken up into the physical body, man could only make use of his physical senses and of his physical reason. Clairvoyant power was paralysed. The faculty of seeing into the spiritual world was therefore only possible in the initiates who ascended to the super-sensible worlds by means of systematic training.
The reverse process is now being enacted. Mankind is entering a condition in which the etheric body is to a certain extent drawing itself out of the physical body again; but it must not be thought that it now receives spontaneously everything which in earlier times it possessed as an ancient heritage. If nothing else happened but its withdrawal, the etheric body of man would just leave the physical body and would retain in itself none of the forces which it formerly possessed. In the future it will be born from out of the human physical body. If the human physical body did not add something to it, this etheric body would be empty, barren. The future of human evolution will be that men will, as it were, allow their etheric body to leave their physical bodily nature, and they will eventually have the possibility of being able to send it out empty. What does that mean? The etheric body is the force-bearer, the energiser of all that takes place in the physical body. It must not only provide forces for the physical body when it is entirely concealed within it, but at all times; it must provide forces for the physical body even when it is again partly outside it. If the etheric body is left empty it cannot react upon the physical body, for it would then have no strength with which to react. The etheric body must, after it has passed through the physical body, have obtained its forces from within the physical body. The forces with which the etheric body can react again upon the physical body, must have been drawn from within the latter. The task of present-day humanity is to absorb into itself that which can only be acquired through activity in a physical body. That which is gained within the physical body accompanies evolution, and when man in future incarnations lives in organisms wherein the etheric body is to a certain extent released from the physical body, he will experience in his consciousness a kind of memory through the partially liberated physical body.
Now let us ask ourselves, what enables the physical body to hand something on like an heirloom to the etheric body? What enables a man to send such forces into his etheric body that some day he will be in a position to bear an etheric body itself and able to send back certain forces into the physical body from outside? Suppose man's life, let us say, from 3000 BC to our own era, and on to 3000 AD had been such that nothing more was added to him than what would have been his without the coming of Christ; he would then have experienced in his physical body nothing that might bestow a power on the etheric body when it is released from the physical body. That which a man can hand on is what he can gain within the physical world through the Christ event. All association with the Christ principle and the experiences we may have in connection with the appearance of Christ, sink down into the life of the soul in the physical world and the soul as well as all that is physical are prepared in such a way that there can flow into the etheric body that which it will need in the future. Therefore the Christ event had to take place; to permeate the human soul in order that men should be able to understand their future evolution. That which is in the physical body today sends out forces into the etheric body; and the etheric body, nourished by the physical experiences of the Christ, will take up these forces, in order again to become clairvoyant and possess the life-forces which will sustain the physical body in the future. Hence what man experiences of Christ through the reversal of the principles has its proper bearing upon the future of human evolution.
But this alone would not suffice. By passing through the Christ experience in our own souls, by becoming more and more familiar with the Christ, and by letting Him grow more and more into our soul experiences, we do indeed thus influence the etheric body, and pour streams of force into it. Now if this etheric body withdraws and enters into a wrong element it will undoubtedly have the Christ force, but if it does not meet there the forces which are able to work in a sustaining and enlivening way upon the Christ principle which has entered it, it will find itself in a sphere in which it cannot live. The outer forces would destroy it. It would, being permeated with the Christ, and having entered an unsuitable element, be faced with its own destruction, and would react destructively upon the physical body. Furthermore the etheric body must make itself fit once more to receive the light out of which it originally sprang forth, the light from the realm of Lucifer. Whereas by an inner experience man formerly saw Lucifer appear through the veil of his soul-life, he must now prepare himself to be able to experience Lucifer as a cosmic being in the world around him. From having been a sub-terrestrial god, Lucifer becomes a cosmic god. Man must prepare himself in such a way that his etheric body is provided with such forces as make Lucifer a fructifying and a beneficent element, instead of a destructive one. Man has to pass through the Christ experience, but in such a way that he becomes capable of recognising in this world the spiritual fabric of which the world was created.
Training such as spiritual science offers, is fully empowered to prepare the whole nature of man again to understand the light of Lucifer's realm, because only thus can the human etheric body receive life forces adequate to it. Christ was influencing man even before He appeared upon the earth. As long ago as the age when Zarathustra was pointing up to Ahura Mazdao, the force of Christ was radiating down. And from the other direction there shone the power of Lucifer,
That is reversed as we have seen; in the future the forces of Lucifer will stream in from outside, while the Christ will dwell within. The human Organisation must again be influenced from two sides. The old Indian realised on the one side ‘That thou art,’ and on the other side ‘I am the all’ and knew that the world which he saw outside was the same as that within. In ancient Indian times this was realised as an abstract truth; it will be realised on earth as a concrete experience of the soul when the time is accomplished, when by means of suitable preparation, that which was manifest prophetically, among the ancient Indians, shall come to life again in a new form. Thus does human evolution proceed in the post-Atlantean epoch.
Hence it is clear that the evolution of humanity does not move in a straight line, but runs its course, as does everything in nature. I have given the example of a plant, which grows but cannot develop its fruit unless a new factor comes into its development. Here is a picture which shows that other influences must come in from another side. There is no such thing as an evolution which proceeds along a straight line. The Luciferic and the Christ principles had to overlap one another. Those who seek to find an undeviating evolution can never understand the world evolution; only those who notice the divided streams and how they mutually fructify each other can really understand evolution. During the old Indian civilisation, when man was in a certain sense differently organised, his outlook was different. What man's outlook then was can only be definitely experienced by means of that kind of clairvoyant research which is suitable for the present age. And clairvoyance is a power which today has to be acquired by effort, although it was at one age a natural faculty. It is very difficult indeed, even for those who have a thorough knowledge of spiritual science to understand how much the soul-experiences in the old Indian age different from those of later times, and one can only try to clothe this difference in words which approximate to the real sense.
When man looks out into the world today he perceives it through his various senses. We cannot here go into all that modern science has to say about sense-perception; it will suffice to hold in our mind the usual conception that man perceives the outer world by means of his various senses, and gathers the different impressions together by means of the spiritual faculty that is bound up with the physical brain. Think this over a little, and it will become evident that there is a great difference in the character of the different sense-perceptions; compare, for instance, the sense of hearing with that of sight. It is evident that as regards hearing, if we look in the outer world for the facts corresponding to it, we find matter in movement, air in regular motion. If our instrument of hearing is brought into contact with this air which is in motion we experience what is called hearing. But the inner experience of hearing and the air in motion without, are two very different things. Now sight is not such a simple thing as hearing, though physicists have made it appear to be so. Their postulate, built up by analogy runs somewhat as follows: Let us take, they say, one of the finer substances which moves just as does the air outside. But the realistic thinker sees a great difference, viz. that as regards the ear, one can very easily detect what moves outside. It can easily be proved that something really does move outside — as far as the ear is concerned — by putting little paper riders on a violin string and striking it. But nobody can see for himself the existence of vibrations in the ether. It is a hypothesis; it exists only as a theory of physics and is non-existent for the realistic thinker. Sense perception by means of sight is a very different thing. What is perceived through light is much more objective than what is sense through hearing. We perceive light as colour, we perceive it spread out in space; but we cannot, as in the case of sound, go into the outer world in search of external processes. Such distinctions as these are readily overlooked by man of modern times. The old Indian, possessing a finer consciousness of the whole outer world, could not have overlooked this. He perceived all these delicate external distinctions. I only want to point out that there are characteristic and essential differences between the realms of the various senses. If we consider the German language it may strike us that with the same word we express an inner soul experience and an impression that comes, in a sense, from outside (I admit that this happens in incorrect speaking). That word is the word ‘feeling.’ We speak of the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. When speaking of feeling in a superficial way we mean the sense of touch, but call it feeling and add that which is experienced by this sense to the outer sense experiences. Again, inspired by the genius of speech, we define in a much more spiritual sense than is generally realised, an inner soul experience by the wood ‘feeling.’ Experiences of joy or pain are defined as feelings. This particular feeling of which we are here speaking is an intimate soul experience; the other feelings, produced by the sense of touch, are always caused by some external object. The other feeling may be associated with an external object, but it can be seen that an external object is not the only cause, because the effect upon one person is different from the effect upon another. We have two experiences, one connected with the external sense the other bound to the inner. These two at the present day appear to be widely divided, but this was not always the case. Here we come to another view of what has previously been described in an external sense. We have described how the etheric body slips in and out again. This is connected with the fact that something takes place in the inner being of man. Today these two experiences, the experience of ‘feeling’ within one and the experience caused by personal contact with an external object which we also describe by the word ‘feeling’ are widely divided. The further we go back in the evolution of humanity, that is to say, the further the etheric body is outside the physical body, so much the nearer are these two experiences to one another. They are only widely divided in mankind today. In the Indian epoch this difference did not exist to the same extent. At that time the inner experience of feeling and the outer were more like each other. Why was that?
If you meet a man today who has an evil thought about you (let us say you dislike him and he has the same sort of feeling towards you), you will, as a general rule, if you are only provided with the external senses and the physical brain, not be deeply aware of his feelings, of his sympathies and antipathies. If he should strike you, you would be aware of it, because your sense of feeling would notice it. In the old Indian times there was a different state of things. Man then was so organised, that be was not only aware of that which is felt by the present crude sense of touch, but also of that which today has withdrawn into his inner being; he was still able to sense what someone else felt about him. Through sympathetic comprehension of another individual's feelings he awakened in his soul just such an experience as we have through the sense of touch. He felt the physical-psychical process. On the other hand that which we call our inner feeling was not so far developed in those days; it was still more closely connected with the outer world. Man had his sorrows and joys which in many respects corresponded more to outer happenings; but he could not retire so deeply into his inner being as he can today. At the present time, inner soul experience is to a far greater extent severed from the whole surroundings than formerly was the case. At the present time a man may find himself in a position in which he is surrounded by circumstances which could be better; but because of his inner soul life being severed from his surroundings he may perhaps feel inward pain without any real cause on account of his way of looking at the world.
This would have been impossible at the time of the old Indian epoch of civilisation. At that time the inner impressions were a much truer reflection of what went on in the outer environment, for man's feeling was then to a greater extent bound up with the external world. The reason for this was that in those olden times, for example, man, in his whole make up, stood in a very different relation to light. The light surrounding us has not only its external physical aspect, but, like everything physical, is also permeated by soul and spirit. The course of human evolution was such that the soul and spirit of the outer world withdrew more and more from man and gradually the physical part came to be all that was perceptible. Man came to perceive light as a fluid pouring into his Organisation from all sides, and within this light streaming through him, he felt its soul. Today the soul of the light is stopped by the human skin. The Indian organisation was permeated by what lives as soul within the light, and man realised the soul of the light. That light was the bearer of what could be perceived as sympathy and antipathy in other beings, which has now withdrawn with the soul of the light away from men. This was connected with other experiences. Today when men inhale and exhale they can, at the most, know of the existence of breath through the mechanical working. If it is at all chilled they see it becoming watery. This is a mechanical way of seeing the breath. Improbable as it may appear to the man of today, it is nevertheless true that by means of occult research we can substantiate the fact that most of the old Indians had quite a different conception of what their breath signified. The soul of light had not as yet withdrawn from what went on around men of that time; so that they perceived the air as it was breathed in and breathed out in different light and dark shades of colour. They saw the air pouring in and out again like flames of fire. We may therefore say that even the air itself has become something quite different, by reason of the change that has taken place in man's conceptual life.
Air today is something that is only perceived mechanically by men through the resistance it offers, because they are no longer directly aware of the soul of the light which permeates the air. Man has parted even from this last remnant of instinctive perception. The old Indian would not have called that which is breathed in and out merely ‘air’; he would have called it ‘fire air,’ because he saw it in varying degrees of fiery radiations.
There again we have an example of how even in external experiences the transformation in the constitution of man in the course of evolution is manifest. These are intimate, hidden processes in human evolution, and we can never understand the Vedas, if we do not understand how and in what sense the words are used. If we read the words contained in them without knowing that they described what could then be seen, the words would lose all sense, and our interpretation would be completely wrong. We must always take the realities into consideration when we approach the study of ancient documents. That which lives in the human soul alters in character with the course of time. And now a certain fact will be comprehensible which could not have been so without these statements, statements which are quite independent I of any proofs to be established by physical research. Look into the eastern writings and see how the Elements are there enumerated. They are placed in the following order: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Only in Greek times do we find a different order which to us today is the obvious one and upon which we base all our understanding, viz. earth, water, air, fire and the other ethers. Why is this so? The old Indian consciousness saw, just as man sees today what is manifested through the solid (that which we call the earth), through the fluidic, or water, to speak in the spiritual sense. But what we today call air, to the old Indians was fire, for they still saw the fire in the air — they described what they saw as fire. We no longer see this fire in the air; we only feel it as heat. Everything has changed since the fourth post Atlantean epoch. So it was that only when they went a little higher in the series of the elements the Indians came to an element in which at that time there appeared to mankind what we today call air — the air to us being penetrated by light, but not revealing the light. In respect to fire and air, man's vision has been entirely reversed. What we have said about Christ and Lucifer crossing each other — that Christ the cosmic being has entered within the human soul, while Lucifer who at first was within man has become a cosmic being — holds good in all departments of life. That which in the first post-Atlantean epoch was what we call fire, is at the present day perceivable as air, and that which we today see as fire, was then seen as air. That which underlies human evolution is expressed not only in great things but also in small ones. These things must not be put down to chance; we can see into the profundities of what happens in the course of the evolution of mankind, if we look at things from the only real point of view — that of spiritual science. The Indian consciousness was one which felt the unity of that which lies deep down in the soul with that which is outside it; hence the Indian lived to a greater degree in his environment. The last echoes of what existed in the ancient Indian as instinctive sight are to be found in the rudimentary ‘clairvoyance’ possessed today by those men who have what we call second sight. Suppose when walking along the street anywhere, there enters the mind the thought of a certain man whom at the moment we cannot physically see, and we meet him a little further on. Why was the thought of him in the consciousness before he was seen? It is because his influence has entered into the sub-consciousness, whence it ascended into the consciousness as a complete thought. Today man possesses in rudimentary form what was once of great significance in his life. In earlier times there existed a much closer connection between inner and outer feeling. These are some more detailed instances of my oft-repeated statements that humanity has evolved out of the old dim clairvoyance into the full consciousness of the senses we now possess, and humanity in the future will once again evolve a fully conscious clairvoyance. This will be attained in such a way that man will consciously experience it; he will know that his etheric body goes forth out of him and that he can use the organs of the etheric body just as he can the physical body.
In earlier, more spiritual ages, when men had more wisdom than has modern abstract materialistic science, they were always conscious that there was an old clairvoyance to the possessors of which the world became transparent. They felt that man had lost this old sight and had entered into his present state. Formerly, men did not express their knowledge in abstract formulae and theories, but in mighty, vivid pictures. The Myths are not ‘thought out’ or invented, but are the expressions of a profound primeval wisdom acquired by spiritual vision. In ancient times there was consciousness of the fact that at a still earlier epoch man had embraced the whole world in his feeling, and this is expressed in the Myths. The ‘clair-sentience’ of the old Indian was the last remnant of an original, dim clairvoyance. This was known; but what was not known, was that this clairvoyance — let us summarise it so — withdraws little by little, giving way to the external life which is confined to the world of the senses. The more important Myths express this very fact. It was known, for instance, that there were mystery places, leading the way to the sub-terrestrial spirits and that there were others leading up to the cosmic spirits. There was a sharp distinction between them. Men who were not initiated knew nothing of this, just as today men who do not seek along the right paths have no idea that there is such a thing as Mystery Wisdom. A certain amount of information filtered out. With regard to the mysteries it is true to say that the further we go back into olden times, the more significant does their age of splendour appear. Even the Greek Mysteries do not belong to the most brilliant period. The mysteries themselves had fallen into decadence.
Nevertheless the people knew that that which came from those places where clairvoyant consciousness was still active was connected with the spiritual substance which streams through the world and animates it; they knew that where clairvoyant consciousness still prevailed, something could be experienced about the world which was possible in no other way.
And even in the period of their decadence clairvoyant consciousness was cultivated in these oracle-places, and from them information was conveyed to mankind such as cannot be experienced by ordinary sense-methods, and intellectual conceptions bound up with them. Yet it was also known that man is developing, that that which could be attained by the old clairvoyance, useful and practicable in ancient days, was no longer adequate for later times. The Greeks had a deep consciousness of the fact that that which came from the oracles certainly aroused curiosity, that men would fain know something about the hidden connections of the world, but that they had departed from the right method of using such clairvoyant information; that man's relation to the world was different from what it had formerly been and that therefore no good could originate from clinging to the results of the old clairvoyance. This is what the Greeks wanted to express and they did so in magnificent pictures. One such picture is the Oedipus legend. Through an oracle (that is to say, from a place in which secret connections, hidden from the human gaze, were clairvoyantly perceived), the father was told that if a son were born to him, disaster would result, that this son would murder his father and marry his mother. This son was born. The father tried to prevent what had been seen clairvoyantly from coming to pass. The son was sent away, and brought up in another place, but he came to know the oracle that is to say, something entered his soul which could only be known by means of clairvoyance. The Greek consciousness would say: Something still continues to enter into man from olden times, but the human organisation has already progressed so far that it is no longer adapted to this sort of clairvoyance, and cannot make use of it. Oedipus listens to the oracle, but acts in such a way that it is all the more certainly fulfilled. Men can no longer handle the results of clairvoyance; the spiritual world has withdrawn and the old clairvoyance is no longer of service to them. But there has always existed a consciousness that things will one day entirely change and that what comes from spiritual worlds will once again mean something to humanity; men have felt that what comes from these spiritual worlds will be covered over by sense life only for a time. Of these facts consciousness has existed; and has been expressed in the Myths by the forces of human evolution which created them. We have seen that the Christ event, when the two forces, the Lucifer principle and the Christ principle, crossed each other, was the decisive one in human evolution. The Christ event was the turning point, when that which comes from out of the Cosmos, from the fountain of the spirit, was to be poured as a ferment into human evolution. It had been lost, but it had to be poured in again as a ferment. That which was harmful to mankind, that which made it into something evil, is poured in as a ferment and transformed into good. The evil has to drop into the fructifying spiritual power inherent in human evolution and work with it for the good. That too has been expressed in the Myths. There is another legend which runs somewhat as follows: A certain man and wife were told by an Oracle that they would have a son, who would bring disaster upon his whole people. This son was to murder his father and marry his mother. This son was born to the mother. On account of the warning, this son was sent away too; he was put upon the island of Kariot and was found by the Queen of that island. And because she and her husband had no son, she adopted him. But later on a son was born to her. Then the foundling thought he was wrongly treated and he killed the real son. He was obliged to flee from the island of Kariot, and he went to the court of Pilate in Palestine, where he obtained employment as overseer of Pilate's household. He quarreled with his neighbour, of whom he knew nothing beyond the fact that he was his neighbour. In the course of this quarrel he killed him and later married the widow. Only then did he learn that it was his real father whom he had killed and that it was therefore his mother whom he had married. The story tells us that he saw his entire existence ruined but did not behave like Oedipus; for he was overcome by remorse and went to the Christ and the Christ received him; this was Judas Iscariot, Judas from Kariot. And the evil which dwelt in Judas became a leaven in the whole of evolution. For the deed of Palestine is connected with the betrayal by Judas; Judas is bound up with the whole event; he belongs to the twelve that are not thinkable without him. Here we see that the sayings of the oracle were indeed fulfilled, and further that they are embodied in universal evolution in the form of evil which is transformed and lives on as good.
The story (which is in reality wiser than external science) indicates in the most significant way that there is such a transformation in human nature in the course of time, and that the same thing has to be regarded differently at different epochs. In speaking of the fulfillment of an oracular saying we must not relate it in the same way when speaking of the time of Oedipus as when speaking of the time of Christ. The same fact is at the one period the story of Oedipus at another, in the time of Christ; it becomes the story of Judas. Only when we know the spiritual facts lying at the foundation of the evolution of the world and of humanity do we understand the results of those spiritual facts which are manifest to external historical conceptions. All phenomena of the sense-world, all external sense impressions or manifestations of the human soul can be comprehended by us when we understand their spiritual basis. That which the investigator of spiritual worlds discovers he gladly hands on as a stimulus to those who are willing to take it from him and who will then examine the external facts which confirm it. If what is discovered in the spiritual world be true, it is confirmed in the physical world. But every true explorer of the spiritual life will say that in communicating his knowledge of the higher world he facilitates and desires the testing of all external facts in the light of his assertions. If what I have said about the re-incarnation of Zarathustra for instance be compared with external history, it will be found that what has been said stands every test, if sufficiently careful search is made in external history. External life becomes comprehensible only when there is knowledge of the inner, the spiritual.

Monday, May 21, 2018

I got phoned and I missed it

For those who, for whatever reason, missed the original:

The Incorrigible Idealist

"An idealist is incorrigible: if he is removed from his paradise he will make an ideal of his hell."  Nietzsche

Thank you, Romina Venturi!


"The degree to which the necessity for brotherliness is felt is the degree of our permeation by Christ."  ~Rudolf Steiner

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."
1 Corinthians 12:27


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst 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

Receiving the Word

Rudolf Steiner:

Feel how in the heights of heaven
Selfhood selflessly can live
If in spirit-fullness it will follow
Powers of thought and striving to the heights
And courageously receive the Word
That rings forth with blessing from heights above
Into Man's true being.

Fühle wie in Himmelshöhen
Selbstsein selbstlos leben kann,
Wenn es geisterfüllt Gedankenmächten
In dem Höhenstreben folgen will
Und in Tapferkeit das Wort vernimmt,
Das von oben gnadevoll ertönet
In des Menschen wahre Wesenheit.

Whitsun verse

There first
Where sense can know no more
Stands the portal which discloses
To Soul-being;
This portal's key the Soul may fashion
If she herself grows strong within the strife
By World-Powers waged on their own ground
With human forces;
If of her own accord she puts to flight
The sleep, which at the frontier of her senses
Cloaks the forces of knowledge
In spirit-night.

Wo Sinneswissen endet,
Da stehet erst die Pforte,
Die Lebenswirklichkeiten
Dem Seelensein eröffnet;
Den Schlüssel schafft die Seele,
Wenn sic in sich erstarket
Im Kampf, den Weltenmächte
Auf ihrem eignen Grunde
Mit Menschenkräfte führen;
Wenn sic durch sich vertreibt
Den Schlaf, der Wissenskräfte
An ihren Sinnesgrenzen
Mit Geistesnacht umhüllet.

                —Rudolf Steiner

Thank you, Willem Develter!

Whitsuntide: Festival of the liberation of the human spirit

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, Whit Monday, May 23, 1904:

It was to be expected that only a small company would gather here today. I have nevertheless decided to hold our meeting this evening to talk to those of you who are present about something connected with Whitsuntide.
Before I start I would like to report to you one result of my latest visit to London, which is that in all likelihood Mrs. Besant will be visiting us here in the autumn. We shall have the opportunity then of hearing again one of the personalities belonging to the most powerful spiritual influences of our time. The next two public lectures will be held in the Architektenhaus — on spiritualism a week hence, and on somnambulism and hypnotism, the following week. Then the usual Monday arrangements will take place again regularly. On the coming Thursdays I shall speak about theosophical cosmology, about theosophical ideas concerning the creation of the universe. Those of you who are interested in such things may hear much which is not already known from the usual theosophical literature. I wish to hold over till a later date the lectures on the rudiments of theosophy. What I wish to talk about today comes from an old occult tradition. The subject cannot, of course, be dealt with exhaustively today. Some of it may appear incredible.
I would request, therefore, that today's lecture be treated as an episode in which nothing is to be proved, but only things related.
People celebrate their festivals today without having an inkling of what is signified by them. In the newspapers, which constitute the main source of the education and enlightenment of most of our contemporaries, one can read many and various articles dealing with such festivals, the writers of which have not the slightest idea of the meaning of such a festival. But for theosophists it is necessary to look again at their inner meaning. And so I want today to direct your attention to the origin of such an age-old festival: the source of the Whitsuntide Festival.
Whitsuntide is one of the most important festivals, and one of the most difficult to understand. For Christian consciousness it commemorates the coming of the Holy Ghost. This event is described as a miracle: the Holy Spirit was poured out over the Apostles so that they started to speak in all manner of tongues. This means that they could enter into every heart and speak according to each one's understanding. That is one of the interpretations of Whitsuntide. If we wish to reach a more fundamental understanding of it, we must go still deeper into the matter. Whitsuntide — as symbolical festival — is connected with the most profound mysteries, with the holiest spiritual qualities, of humanity — that is why it is so difficult to talk about it. Today I should like at least to touch on just a few things.
What the Whitsuntide festival symbolizes, the underlying principle from which it receives its deep inner meaning, is preserved in a single manuscript copy which is to be found in the Vatican Library, where it is guarded with the greatest care. To be sure, no mention is made of Whitsuntide in this manuscript, but it certainly tells of that for which Whitsuntide is only the outer symbol. Hardly anyone has seen this manuscript, unless he has been initiated into the deepest secrets of the Catholic Church, or has been able to read it in the Astral Light. One copy is possessed by a personality who has been very much misunderstood in the world, but who is beginning to interest today's historians. I could equally well have said ‘was possessed’ instead of ‘is possessed’, but it would thereby cause a lack of clarity. Therefore I say again: a copy is in the possession of the Count of St. Germain, who is the only existing source of information about it.
I should like to give a few hints about this from a theosophical point of view. We shall be led thereby to something intimately connected with the evolution of mankind during the fifth Root Race. Man assumed his present-day form during the third Root Race, the time of ancient Lemuria, developed it further during the fourth Root Race, the time of ancient Atlantis, and then progressed to the fifth Root Race with what he had thus acquired. Whoever heard my Atlantis lectures will remember that a vivid memory of those times still existed among the Greeks.
To find our bearings, we must get a little insight into two currents belonging to our fifth Root Race, which are active as hidden powers in the souls of men and are often in conflict with one another. The one current is most clearly and best represented by what we call the Egyptian, Indian, and South European outlook on life. Everything belonging later to Judaism and even to Christianity contains a little of that. But in our European culture, on the other hand, this has been intermingled with that other current which is to be found in ancient Persia and — if we disregard what the anthropologists and etymologists say and go deeper into the matter — we find it again stretching westward from Persia to the regions of the Teutons.
Of these two currents I would maintain that two mighty and important spiritual intuitions underlie them. The one was best understood by the ancient Rishis. To them was revealed the intuition of beings of a higher order, the so-called Devas. He who has undergone occult training and can carry out investigations into these matters will know what Devas are. These purely spiritual beings, of the Astral or Mental Plane, have a twofold inner nature, whereas man's nature is threefold. For man consists of body, soul, and spirit, but the Deva nature — as far as can be investigated — consists only of soul and spirit. It may possess other members, but we are unable to find them, even by occult means. The Deva is an ensouled spirit. The impulses, emotions, desires, and wishes which live invisibly within man, but are seen as light effects by the seer, these soul powers, this soul body, which constitutes man's inner being, supported by the physical body, is the lowest body which the Devas possess. We can regard it as their body. The intuitive faculty of the Indian was concerned mainly with the worshiping of these Devas. The man of India sees these Devas all around. He sees them as creating powers when he penetrates the veil of outward appearance. This intuition is fundamental to the outlook on life of the peoples of the Southern Zone! It is expressed most powerfully in the Egyptians' conception of the world.
The other intuition was the basis upon which the ancient Persian mysticism was founded, and this led to the veneration of beings who were also only twofold in their nature: the Asuras. They, too, possessed what we call soul, but the soul organ was enclosed within a physical body developed in sublime and titanic fashion. The Indian view of the world, which clung to the Deva worship, looked upon the Asuras as something inferior; whereas those who inclined to the viewpoint of the Northern peoples adhered to the Asuras, to physical nature. Thus there developed in the Northern Zone more especially the impulse toward controlling the things of the sense world in a material way, toward an ordering of the world of realities by means of the highest technical advancement, through physical arts and so on. Nowadays there is nobody who still persists in Asura worship, but there are many among us who still have something of this within them. Thence comes the tendency toward the materialistic side of life, and that is the basic tendency of the Northern peoples. Whoever acknowledges purely materialistic principles can be sure that he has something of the Asuras in his nature.
Among the Asura adherents there then developed a strange undertone of feeling. It first made its appearance in the spiritual life of Persia. The Persians developed a kind of fear of the Deva nature. They experienced fear, apprehension, and dread in face of what was of a purely soul-spirit nature. That was the reason for the great contrast which we now observe between the Persian and the Indian attitude. In the Persian attitude those things were often venerated which to the Indians were bad and inferior, and just those things were avoided by the Persians which the Indians held in veneration. The Persian experience of the world was steeped in a mood of soul which feared and avoided a being of the nature of a Deva. In short, it was the picture of Satan which arose in this view of the world. Lucifer, the being of Spirit and Soul, became an object of fear and dread. That is where we have to look for the origin of the belief in the Devil. This mood of soul has also been absorbed into the modern view of the world; Lucifer became a much-feared and avoided figure in the Middle Ages. Lucifer was definitely shunned.
We learn particulars about it in the manuscript already mentioned. If we follow in it the course of earth evolution we shall find that in the middle of the third Root Race, the Lemurian Epoch, mankind was clothed in physical matter. It is a wrong conception when theosophists believe that reincarnation had no beginning and will have no ending. Reincarnation started in the Lemurian Age and will cease again at the beginning of the sixth Root Race or Age. It is only a certain period of time in earth evolution during which mankind reincarnates. It was preceded by a most spiritual condition which precluded any necessity for reincarnation, and there will follow again a spiritual state which will likewise obviate the necessity for reincarnation.
Simultaneously with its first incarnation in the Lemurian Age, the untarnished human spirit, consisting of Atman-Buddhi-Manas, sought its primal physical incarnation. The physical development of the earth with its animal-like creatures had not evolved so far at that time; the whole of this animal-human organism was not so far advanced then that it could have incorporated the human spirit. But a part of it, a certain group of animal-like beings, had evolved so far that the seed of the human spirit could descend into it to give form to the human body.
Some of the individualities who incarnated at that time formed the small nucleus of those who later spread over the whole earth as the so-called Adepts. They were the original Adepts, not those whom we call initiated today. Those whom we call initiates today did not go through incarnation at that time . Not all incarnated at that time who would have been able to find human-animal bodies; only some of them. Some others were opposed to the process of incarnation for a particular reason. They delayed that until the time of the Fourth Age. The Bible hints at that in a concealed and profound way: ‘The Sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose.’
That is to say, the incarnation of those who had waited began at a later time. We call this group the ‘Sons of Wisdom’, and it almost appears as if there were a kind of arrogance, a sort of pride, about them. We shall make an exception of the small group of Adepts. Had these other ones also incarnated at the earlier period, mankind would never have been able to acquire the clarity of consciousness which he possesses today. He would have been held fast in a dull trance-like state of consciousness. He would have developed that kind of consciousness which is to be found in people who have been hypnotized, sleepwalkers and the like. In short, man would have remained in a kind of dreamlike state. But one thing would have been lacking then — one thing of great importance, if not of the utmost importance — he would have lacked a feeling of freedom, a capacity to exercise his individual discrimination with regard to good and evil by means of his own consciousness, his own human ego.
This postponement of incarnation — in the form it assumed in consequence of that feeling of dread of the Devas which I characterized — this is called in the Book of Genesis ‘the Fall of Man’. The Devas delayed their incarnation and only descended to the earth to take possession of physical bodies when humanity had reached a further stage in its development. Through this they were able to evolve a more mature form of consciousness than would have been the case earlier.
Thus, you see, the cost of man's freedom was the deterioration of his nature, by waiting for his incarnation till he could descend into denser physical conditions. A deep understanding of this has been preserved in Greek mythology. Had man descended earlier into incarnation — so says the Greek myth — then that would have happened which Zeus wanted when man was still living in Paradise. He wished to make man happy — but as an unconscious being. Clear consciousness would have been possessed solely by the gods, and man would have been without a feeling of freedom. The rebellion of the Lucifer Spirit, the Deva Spirit within humanity, who wished to descend in order to rise up again out of his own freedom, is symbolized by the saga of Prometheus! But Prometheus had to suffer for his endeavors by having an eagle — symbol of inordinate desire — gnawing at his liver and causing him the most deadly pain.
Man had thus descended more deeply and now had to achieve through his own free conscious activity what he would have attained by magical arts and powers. But because he had descended deeper, he must suffer pains and torment. This is also indicated in the Bible with the words: ‘In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’, etc. That is no less than to say: mankind must raise itself again with the help of culture.
Through the figure of Prometheus, Greek mythology has symbolized free humanity struggling toward culture. He is the representative of suffering mankind, but at the same time the giver of freedom. The one who sets Prometheus free is Heracles, of whom it is said that he underwent initiation in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Whoever descended to the underworld was an initiate, for the descent into the underworld is a technical term denoting initiation. This journey to the underworld is attributed to Heracles, Odysseus, and to all who are initiates who wish to lead man of his epoch to the source of primeval wisdom, to a life of the spirit.
Had mankind retained the attitude of Lemurian times we would have been dreamers today. Through his Deva nature, mankind fructified his lower nature. Out of his self-awareness, out of his awareness of freedom, man now has to reawaken that spark of awareness which he brought down from heaven in justified presumption; he has to reawaken that spiritual knowledge which he had received without his own striving when he was still unfree. There lies in human nature itself that satanic rebelliousness which, however, in the form of luciferic aspiration is the only safeguard of our freedom. And out of this freedom we shall again wrest spiritual life. It will be reawakened in the man of the fifth Root Race, our present epoch. This form of consciousness will again be conveyed through initiates. It will not be a dreamy, but a clear consciousness. It is the Heraclean spirits, the initiated ones, who will help mankind forward and reveal to him his Deva nature, his knowledge of the spirit. That was also the endeavor of all the great founders of religion, that they should restore to mankind the knowledge of the spirit which had been lost in physiological existence. The fifth epoch still contains much of the material life within it. This materialistic culture of the present time shows us how far man has become embedded in purely physical-physiological nature, as Prometheus was enmeshed in his chains. But it is equally certain that the vulture, the symbol of lust and craving, gnawing at our liver, will be thrust aside by spiritual men. That is the goal to which the initiates would lead mankind through consciousness of self, by means of such movements as the theosophical movement, so that it can raise itself up in full freedom.
The moment which we have to regard as the one in which spiritual life poured into the self-conscious human being is indicated precisely in the New Testament. It is alluded to in the profoundest of the Gospels, the one which is misunderstood by today's theologians, the St. John's Gospel, when it speaks of the Feast of the Tabernacles which was attended by Jesus. The founder of Christianity there speaks of the outpouring of spiritual life with which humanity was to be endowed. It is a remarkable passage. For the Feast of the Tabernacles, the people had to visit a spring from which water flowed. There followed a festival which intimated to man that he should call to mind again his spiritual nature, his Deva and spiritual strivings. The water which flowed there was to remind him of the soul and spirit world. After repeated refusals Jesus finally went up to the feast. The following happened on the last day of the feast (John 7:37): ‘In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.’ Those who drank celebrated a feast in which the spiritual life was brought to recollection. But Jesus connected something else with it, as can be seen in the following words of St. John's Gospel: ‘He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)’.
Here the Whitsuntide mystery is indicated. It is intimated that man has to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. When the moment arrives in which man is able to kindle the spark of spiritual life within him, when the physiological nature of man is able to attempt the ascent by means of its own forces, then will the Holy Spirit descend upon him and the time of spiritual awakening will be at hand.
Man descended as far as the physical body, and so, in contrast to the nature of the Devas, he is built up out of three principles: Spirit, Soul, and Body. The Devas are at a higher stage than man, but they do not have to surmount physical nature as man does. This physical nature has to be transfigured so that it can absorb the life of the spirit. Man's consciousness in the body, his physiological consciousness of today, will itself be able to enkindle the spark of spiritual existence in freedom.
Christ's sacrifice is an example which shows that man will be able to unfold a higher form of consciousness out of his life in the physical plane. His lower individuality lives in the physical body, but it must be enkindled so that the higher personality can develop. Only then can the ‘rivers of living water’ flow from man's ‘belly’. Then can the Holy Spirit appear and be poured forth upon humanity. Man, as an ego being, must be as though dead to physiological existence.
Herein lies what is truly Christian, and it also embodies the deeper mystery contained in the Whitsuntide festival. Man lives primarily in his lower organism, in his consciousness imbued with desires. It is right that this is so, because it is only this consciousness which can provide him with awareness of his true goal: to attain freedom. He should not remain there, however, but must raise his ego to the nature of a Deva. He must develop the Deva within him, bring it to birth so that it becomes a spirit of healing — a Holy Spirit. To that end he must consciously sacrifice his earthly body, he must experience that ‘dying and becoming’ so that he does not remain a ‘gloomy guest’ on this dark earth.
Thus the Easter mystery is only revealed in its fullness when taken together with the Whitsuntide mystery. We see the human ego, exemplified in its Divine Representative, divesting itself of the lower ego and dying in order to be completely transfigured in its physical nature and offered up again to the Godhead. Ascension is the symbol of this. When man has become transfigured in the physical body, has offered it up again to the Spirit, he will be ripe to receive the outpouring of spiritual life, to experience what is called the ‘coming of the Holy Spirit’ according to the explanation of One Who is mankind's greatest Representative. Therefore it is also said: ‘And there are three that bear witness in earth: (Note 19) the Spirit, the water, and the blood.’ Whitsuntide is the outpouring of the Spirit into man.
The highest goal of humanity is symbolically expressed by means of the Whitsuntide festival; that is, that mankind must progress once more from an intellectual to a spiritual life; just as Prometheus was set free from his suffering by Heracles, so will mankind be set free by the power of the Spirit. By descending into matter, mankind has attained self-consciousness. Through the fact that he ascends again. he will become a self-aware Deva. Those who worshiped the Asuras and regarded the Devas as beings of a satanic nature, who did not wish to descend into the innermost depths, regarded this descent as something devilish.
That, too, is referred to in Greek mythology. The one whose state of consciousness is not free — the contemplator — the one who does not wish to win redemption in complete freedom and therefore is the opponent of Prometheus — is Epimetheus. Zeus gives him Pandora's box, the contents of which — sufferings and plagues — fall on mankind when it is opened. The only gift which is left behind is hope; the hope that one day, in a future state, he will also progress to this higher, clear consciousness. He is left with the hope that he will be set free. Prometheus advises him against accepting this doubtful gift from the god Zeus. Epimetheus does not listen to his brother, but accepts the gift. The gift which Epimetheus receives is not worth as much as the one belonging to his brother Prometheus.
Thus we see that there are two ways of life open to men. Some of them cling to a feeling of freedom and — although it is dangerous to develop spirituality — they search for it in freedom nevertheless. The others are the ones who find their satisfaction in the dull round of life and in blind faith, and who suspect danger in the luciferic endeavors of their fellow men. The founders of the Church's outward doctrine have distorted the deeper meaning of luciferic striving. The ancient teachings on the subject are contained in hidden manuscripts (Note 20) in undisclosed places, where they have hardly been seen by anyone. They are available to a few people who are able to see them in the Astral Light, and otherwise only to a few initiates. The path is fraught with danger, but it is the only one which leads to the sublime goal of spiritual freedom.
The spirit of man should be free and not dull. That is also the aim of Christianity. Health and healing are connected with holy. A spirit which is holy is able to heal, it sets men free from sufferings and torments. Healthy and free is the human being who is released from the bondage of his physiological state. For only the free spirit is the healthy one, whose body is no longer gnawed by an eagle.
Thus Whitsuntide can be looked upon as the symbol of the freeing of the human spirit, as the great symbol of mankind's struggle for freedom, for consciousness of his own freedom.
If the Easter Festival is the festival of resurrection in nature, then the Whitsuntide Festival is the symbol of the becoming conscious of the human spirit, the festival of those who know and understand and — penetrated through and through by this — go in search of freedom.
Those spiritual movements of modern times which lead to a perception of the spiritual world in clear day consciousness — not in trance or under hypnosis — are the ones which lead to an understanding of such important symbols as this. The clear consciousness, which only the spirit can set free, is what unites us in the Theosophical Society. Not the word alone, but the spirit gives it its meaning. The spirit which emanates from the great Masters, which flows through a few people only who are able to say: ‘I know they are there, the great Adepts, who are the founders of our spiritual movement — not our society’ (Note 21) — this spirit flows into our present civilization and bestows on it the impulse for the future.
Let a spark of understanding of this Holy Spirit flow again into the misunderstood Whitsuntide festival; then it will be revivified and gain meaning once more. We want to live in a world that makes sense. Whoever celebrates festivals without sparing them a thought is a follower of Epimetheus. Man must see what binds him to his surroundings and also to what is invisible in nature. We have to know where we stand. For we humans are not confined to a dull, dreamy, semi-existence, we are destined to develop a free, fully conscious unfolding of our whole being.

Source: http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA/GA0093/19040523p01.html