Thursday, December 31, 2009

David Levine, R.I.P.



T. S. Eliot by David Levine


2,500 more Levine drawings:  http://www.nybooks.com/gallery/

Ourobos



The conclusion to "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot:

. . . .
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.

                        IV.

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one dischage from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
     Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre-
     To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
     We only live, only suspire
     Consumed by either fire or fire.

                         V.

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake


















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Gurley, R.I.P.




LOS ANGELES – James Gurley, the innovative guitarist who helped shape psychedelic rock's multilayered, sometimes thundering sounds as a member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band that propelled Janis Joplin to fame, has died of a heart attack. He was 69.

Gurley was pronounced dead Sunday at a Palm Springs hospital, two days before his 70th birthday, the band announced on its Web site.

One of many prominent guitarists to emerge from San Francisco's psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s — others included the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, Jefferson Airplane's Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish — Gurley was hailed by many as the original innovator of the sound.

"I would say all of my guitar-playing contemporaries strived to have their own sound, but I think James was a huge influence on all of us because he wasn't afraid to break the boundaries of conventional music," Melton said Thursday. "What one thinks of that genre of music is that place that it takes you to where the beat is just assumed and the whole thing is transported to another place, and James is the guy who started that."

Doing things like using an electric vibrator as a slide on his guitar, and picking up amplifiers and shaking them during performances, Gurley created a loud, esoteric sound that was the driving force behind Joplin's voice on such classic songs as "Ball and Chain," "Piece of My Heart" and "Summertime."

"Some of the innovations were the result of the fact he came from kind of a progressive bluegrass school of music where weirdness was encouraged," said Peter Albin, the group's bass player.

One of the few rock guitarists to use finger picks rather than a flat pick, Gurley had taught himself to play by listening to old Lightnin' Hopkins blues records as a teenager.

He was playing acoustic guitar in a coffee house in San Francisco in 1965 when legendary counterculture figure Chet Helms, founder of the Family Dog commune, introduced him to the other band members.

Although Joplin would become the public face of the band when she joined in 1966, Albin recalled Gurley as being the true force of nature who introduced the other members to alternative lifestyles, psychedelic drugs and musical innovation.

"He was very influential to the whole band early on, and even later, just by being a guy who had strange tastes and played guitar in a very bizarre manner," Albin told The Associated Press.

When he first met Gurley, Albin said, the guitarist was living in a walk-in closet with his wife and young son and told him that before that he'd lived in a cardboard house along the California coast and with indigenous people in the mountains of Mexico, where he had taken part in hallucinogenic religious ceremonies.

After Joplin left Big Brother in 1968, the group disbanded but has since reformed and continues to perform to this day. Gurley, however, left for good in the late 1990s after a falling out with the other members.

Born in Detroit in 1939, Gurley was the son of a stunt-car driver and, according to the band's Web site, would sometimes perform as a "human hood ornament" when his father drove a car through a flaming plywood wall.

After leaving Big Brother, he lived quietly in Palm Desert, occasionally working on solo projects. He released the album "Pipe Dreams" in 2000.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and sons Hongo and Django.

Band members plan to hold a memorial sometime next month in San Francisco.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Emerson's Dream









"I dreamed I floated at will in the great ether, and I saw this world also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said, 'this must thou eat.' And I ate the world."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 21, 2009

"A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne




As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

At-one-ment



























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

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

13 ways of looking at my guru. #6: Love's blessing

The words of Benedictus, from scene 7 of Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Drama “The Portal of Initiation”:


You have been joined by destiny
together to unfold the powers
which are to serve the good in active work.
And while you journey on the path of soul,
wisdom itself will teach you
that the highest goal can be achieved
when souls will give each other spirit certainty,
will join themselves in faithfulness
for the healing of the world.
The spirit’s guidance has united you in knowledge;
so now unite yourselves for spirit work.
The rulers of this realm bestow on you,
through me, these words of strength:

Light’s weaving essence radiates
from person to person
to fill the world with truth.
Love’s blessing gives its warmth
to souls through souls
to work and weave the bliss of all the worlds.
And messengers of spirit
join human works of blessing
with purposes of worlds.
And when those who find themselves in others
can join one with the other
the light of spirit radiates through warmth of soul.






"Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him."
Proverbs 8:30


"Love is the goal of world history, the Amen of the universe."--Novalis



13 ways of looking at my guru. #12: Sarasvati-Isis-Mary-Sophia



"AI represents Sarasvati. The nasalization means the removing of pain. This is the seed-utterance of Sarasvati. With it the Word is worshipped."--Varada Tantra






"...we understand human individuality outside the physical body and know how it must be immediately taken up outside the physical body into the bosom of the beings of the higher hierarchies, so that it does not become destructive or lethal to our own being on the physical plane. And the feeling of the human soul resting in the bosom of a being of the higher hierarchies will become real, infinitely real. Then, for the first time, we will know how it looks beyond death. We will know that there on Earth we are surrounded by the mineral kingdom, the plant, animal, and human kingdoms. Beyond death we enter into the bosom of the higher hierarchies, to whose environment we belong, as here we belong to the environment of the physical beings that surround us. A certain feeling of communality with the beings of the higher hierarchies comes into our soul. We can permeate ourselves with this feeling. And we learn properly that a true penetration into the spiritual worlds is not at all possible without bringing with us certain feelings, which can be called religious and pious feelings, feelings of devotion to the higher spiritual world.
The feelings I have just described are so nuanced that they elicit a particular mood in the soul, which I can only express as a mood of resting in the bosom of spiritual beings. This soul mood is needed for any real experience of the spiritual worlds, just as in the physical human world, to be understood by other people, we need to produce an ee sound [as in meek] through the larynx and the other organs of speech. In the higher worlds the soul feeling flowing from devotion brings about what makes it possible to produce an ee sound in ordinary human speech. The experience of this kind of devotion is one of the vowels of the higher worlds. And we can experience nothing, read and hear nothing in the higher worlds if we cannot maintain this soul mood--and then wait for what the beings of the higher worlds have to communicate because we offer them this mood of the soul. From such soul moods, from such a way of meeting the higher worlds, the vowel system of the cosmos is composed.
You may have the feeling that the world surrounds you, but you cannot live in this world with your feeble human powers. You feel that what surrounds you while you live in your human body can be perceived in the shadowy forms of your thoughts and ideas; or, better said, they reflect themselves from inside you. You may also come to feel that you cannot experience these imaginations directly; your protecting angelic being in ordinary life must reduce it. And when you feel all of this inwardly with the necessary tone of inner piety, then you have the ability to perceive one of the vowels of the spiritual world."

--Rudolf Steiner, from the lecture "The Vowels and Consonants of the Spiritual World," given October 5, 1914, in Inner Reading and Inner Hearing, pp.39-40

Christmas





In the eye of the soul is mirrored
The light of hope of the Earth.
The spiritual wisdom of the universe
Speaks to the human heart:
The Father's eternal love
Sends the Son to Earth,
Who, full of grace, on our human path
Bestows heavenly light.



Im Seelenaug' sich spiegelt
Der Erde Hoffnungslicht.
Der Welten heil'ge Weisheit
Zu Menschenherzen spricht:
Des Vaters ewige Liebe
Den Sohn zur Erde sendet,
Der gnadevoll dem Menschenpfade
Die Hiimmelshelle spendet.


--Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given December 26, 1914

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Beholder [Der Schauende]: Rudolf Steiner





"Imagine you have before you a reflective wall; it reflects back what is spread about the room--for example, a table. However, what you see is not the table, but rather the reflection of the table. Imagine you wanted to go into the reflection, take the table out, and put something in its place. You would not be able to do that, because you cannot put a plate or soup bowl on the reflected table. It is just as impossible to put a plate or a soup bowl on the reflected table as it is to derive the essence of the soul's immortality from what human beings experience on the phgysical plane and have around themselves in a waking state between birth and death. For the real soul is immortal. It is not its reflection, which we experience on the physical plane. Think about that.
Human beings yearn to know what is constantly hidden from them and which, while they are on the physical plane, shows them only a reflection. The philosophies of all ages have striven to draw reality out from the reflections; they have sought to prove immortality from reflections. They have taken on the duty, symbolically speaking, of fetching the table out of the reflection, putting it in the room, and placing plates and bowls upon it.
...Why should we take philosophy into consideration at all, since it concerns itself only with a futile effort of humanity?
But that is not how things are, not how things are at all! What we do when we immerse ourselves in what, from a certain point of view, is otherwise a futile struggle, is nonetheless something infinitely important, something that can be replaced with nothing else. Philosophy will perhaps always remain unfruitful as far as knowledge of the immortal nature of the soul, the spiritual world, and of the divine is concerned, but it will not remain unfruitful for the unfolding of certain human powers and the further development of certain human abilities. Just because philosophy as such proves unsuitable to reach the things I have mentioned--because it remains to a certain extent dull in relation to them--it strengthens the human soul all the more. And if it cannot deliver knowledge, it still--because it is a concentrated life of thought--prepares the soul to make itself suitable to penetrate the spiritual world. What we gain through the practice of philosopy raises us into the spiritual world more than anything else."



"...Just as an infant sucks nourishment from its mother's breast, so the human soul can suck the stuff of life for a new form of Earth experience--by knowing oneself within the spiritual order--from what spiritual science can open up for us."

--Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given December 19, 1914 [from the lecture series "How to Achieve Existence in the World of Ideas," in Inner Reading and Inner Hearing, pp. 121-122, 131]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"The Beholder" ["Der Schauende"] by Rainer Maria Rilke







I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend,
I can't love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers' sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by the Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.






Ich sehe den Bäumen die Stürme an,
die aus laugewordenen Tagen
an meine ängstlichen Fenster schlagen,
und höre die Fernen Dinge sagen,
die ich nicht ohne Freund ertragen,
nicht ohne Schwester lieben kann.

Da geht der Sturm, ein Umgestalter,
geht durch den Wald und durch die Zeit,
und alles ist wie ohne Alter:
die Landschaft, wie ein Vers im Psalter,
ist Ernst und Wucht und Ewigkeit.

Wie ist das klein, womit wir ringen,
was mit uns ringt, wie ist das groß;
ließen wir, ähnlicher den Dingen,
uns so vom großen Sturm bezwingen, -
wir würden weit und namenlos.

Was wir besiegen, ist das Kleine,
und der Erfolg selbst macht uns klein.
Das Ewige und Ungemeine
will nicht von uns gebogen sein.
Das ist der Engel, der den Ringern
des Alten Testaments erschien:
wenn seiner Widersacher Sehnen
im Kampfe sich metallen dehnen,
fühlt er sie unter seinen Fingern
wie Saiten tiefer Melodien.

Wen dieser Engel überwand,
welcher so oft auf Kampf verzichtet,
der geht gerecht und aufgerichtet
und groß aus jener harten Hand,
die sich, wie formend, an ihn schmiegte.
Die Siege laden ihn nicht ein.
Sein Wachstum ist: der Tiefbesiegte
von immer Größerem zu sein.




From Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, A Translation from the German and Commentary by Robert Bly.  Also, from p. 65: "I once heard a story of Rilke's early life with his mother. It seems she wanted a girl, not a  boy; and she gave him seven or eight middle names, including Maria. When he was two or three years old, Rilke would knock on the living room door from the hall. 'Who is it . . . is it Rainer?' 'No, that naughty Rainer is dead.' ' Is it Margaret?' 'Yes.' 'Well, then you can come in.' Rilke would then enter, wearing a small dress, and he and his mother would have tea." Also, on p. 134, Bly quotes the poet Francis Ponge: "One will surely understand what I consider to be the function of poetry. It is to nourish the spirit of man by giving him the cosmos to suckle."

Friday, November 27, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru. #10: The great good fish



The Gospel of Thomas, Saying 8:

And he said, "The one is like a wise fisher who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisher discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish back into the  sea, and with no hesitation picked the great good fish. Whoever has ears, listen!"






I basically divide everyone I've ever met in my life into two groups of people: Swamiji, and everybody else.


"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can."--Emerson

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dharma as penance

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

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

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's the anniversary of Swamiji's mahasamadhi

"Wisdom is the precondition of love. Love is wisdom reborn in the human I."--Rudolf Steiner

Wisdom: Born out of the periphery of the cosmos

Rudolf Steiner, conclusion to the evening lecture of April 18, 1909 [the last in the lecture series "The Spiritual Heirarchies and the Physical World"]:

"'We are the center of our universe. Everything around us loses its significance because we have to acknowledge that the outer, sense-perceptible world cannot solve the riddles that confront us. It is as if everything were concentrated at a single point. But just as everything compresses altogether, the solution of the cosmic riddle comes back from the periphery as powerfully real as matter itself, which is a reflection and image of the spiritual. Matter gathers itself together, disappears at the center and reappears at the periphery. That is reality. Our knowledge is real when it steps in front of our eyes as the structure and process of the entire cosmos. Such knowledge is no longer a form of speculation--a weaving of fanciful theory--for such knowledge is born out of the cosmos. This is the feeling we should develop. Wisdom must become an ideal for us, born out of the periphery of the cosmos and capable of filling us with great strength, with strength that enables us to fulfill our own destiny and to achieve our own cosmic ideal. With this strength, we shall also be able to realize the human ideal that awaits us in the future."



Rudolf Steiner: "Wisdom is the precondition of love. Love is wisdom reborn in the human I."

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Holy Spirit is the Bodhisattva


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

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Intuitive health report from the School of Metaphysics

July 13, 2009. You will search for the essence of the entity referred to as Pearl Rosenbourg....

We have this.

You will examine the essence of this entity throughout, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. You will relate all disorders as seen, whether mental, emotional, or physical, and you will also relate those things necessary for the correction of any disorder.

We see regret within this one. We see that there are actions that this one has taken that in this one’s estimation, this one views as having either hurt others or produced discordance between the self and others. We see that this one eats the self up in thinking about this. Would suggest to this one that evaluation of the past is useful, and this one having some perspective from the present, that this one did not have at the time, would suggest that this one be more gentle with the self, more forgiving of the self, more forgiving of other people in the present as well as the past. And then for this one in the present to seek ways that this one can cause something different, even if it is not with the people that this one has regrets about. That when there is the regret there are always resonant type situations, even if they are with different people or different situations, there is some resonance in the present, that this one can cause something different to occur in the present with the self, which will then aid this one in the forgiveness, the compassion, the gentleness. It would benefit this one to recognize that learning is a process for this one to forgive the process of learning, to be willing to learn, to be happy about learning. It would aid this one to consider viewing the self as if this one were a child. Not as childish, rather the kind perspective that this one would have, of a child, and this one’s capacity to be more forgiving, patient, compassionate, loving and so forth. And to treat the self in this way. It would benefit this one to have some place to volunteer the time and energy to aid others. This would aid this one in building a deeper sense of knowing this one’s value and worth.

We see within the emotional system there has been a kind of shutdown emotionally. It is as if this one has beaten the self emotionally for the regrets and mistakes of the past. Would suggest to this one that a gentle reprimand for what this one views as being a mistake is enough. And that in order for this one to move forward within the self and to aid others, there is a need for this one to appreciate the emotions and their use. It could benefit this one to engage the imagination in this, for this one to make a list of people who this one views as being gentle and warm emotionally, affectionate, loving. And for this one to imagine the self being like these ones and then to practice this. It would benefit this one to touch more and to allow the self to be touched.

We see within the physical system there is a shrinking of some of the tissues that is occurring. There is some dehydration that is occurring. It would benefit this one to drink water by sipping. It would also benefit this one to eat foods that have absorbed water. Such as making rice with extra water so then it can be absorbed by the body. It would benefit this one to reduce foods that are hot in nature such as hot spices such as cinnamon or red pepper. To eat foods that are more cooling, such as watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes. There is a need for this one to eat a variety of foods. Chick peas would be of benefit. We see that there is a kind of fraying of some of the muscle fibers. There is less elasticity. Gentle massage would be of benefit. Stretching the body with the breath would be of benefit. We see that there are times when this one is somewhat harsh with the body. This follows upon what has been described. Would suggest therefore that this one be more gentle with the body rather than pushing it beyond limits. To allow it to rest. There are times when there is a need for rest that should be respected. It would benefit this one to sleep when needed rather that when this one thinks this one should be awake or asleep. There are changes that are occurring in the needs of the system for sleep. Sleeping more often for shorter periods of time would be of benefit. It would also benefit this one to be attentive to the dreams, to record them, to receive the images that are in. Even to draw them. We see that that it would be of benefit for there to be focus upon the senses of smell and taste. There are times when the foods that are eaten, although healthy, are not received by the body nutritionally. This also would be a matter of this one learning to appreciate the self and the process of eating rather than as a kind of duty that this one must do.

This is all.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe," by Gerard Manley Hopkins


Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that's fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race—
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemèd, dreamèd; who
This one work has to do—
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

     I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
     If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn—
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.
     Again, look overhead
How air is azurèd;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
     So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
     Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

13 ways of looking at my guru: The thirteenth among the twelve

Rudolf Steiner, from "Rosicrucian Christianity," a lecture given September 27, 1911:

"If you imagine a young man who is very pious and who devotes all his time to fervent prayer to God, then you can have a picture of this thirteenth individuality. He grew up entirely under the care and instruction of the twelve, and he received as much wisdom as each one could give him. He was educated with the greatest care, and every precaution was taken to see that no one other than the twelve exercised an influence on him. He was kept apart from the rest of the world. He was a very delicate child in that incarnation of the thirteenth century, and therefore the education that the twelve bestowed upon him worked right into his physical body....
Whilst the spiritual forces of the thirteenth increased beyond measure, his physical forces drained away. It came to the point when he almost ceased to have any further connection with external life, and all interest in the physical world disappeared. He lived entirely for the sake of the spiritual development which the twelve were bringing about in him. The wisdom of the twelve was reflected in him. It reached the point where the thirteenth refused to eat and wasted away.... After a few days the body of the thirteenth became quite transparent, and for days he lay as though dead. The twelve now gathered around him at certain intervals. At these moments all knowledge and wisdom flowed from the their lips. While the thirteenth lay as though dead, they let their wisdom flow toward him in short prayer-like formulae. The best way to imagine them is to picture the twelve in a circle around the thirteenth. This situation ended when the soul of the thirteenth awakened like a new soul. He had experienced a great transformation of soul. Within him there now existed something that was like a completely new birth of the twelve streams of wisdom, so that the twelve wise men could also learn something entirely new from the youth. His body, too, came to life now in such a way that this revival of his absolutely transparent body was beyond compare. The youth could now speak of quite new experiences.... In the course of a few weeks the thirteenth reproduced all the wisdom he had received from the twelve, but in a new form. This new form was as though given by Christ Himself.... The thirteenth died relatively young, and the twelve then devoted themselves to the task of recording what the thirteenth had revealed to them....We have to see the occult process in such a way that the fruits of the initiation of the thirteenth remained as the residue of his etheric body, within the spiritual atmosphere of the Earth. This residue inspired the twelve as well as their pupils who succeeded them, so that they could form the occult Rosicrucian stream. Yet it continued to work as an etheric body, and it then became part of the new etheric body of the thirteenth when he incarnated again.
The individuality of the thirteenth reincarnated as early as halfway through the fourteenth century. In this incarnation he lived for over a hundred years. He was brought up in a similar way, in the circle of the pupils and successors of the twelve, but not so secluded as in his previous incarnation.... This is the individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz. He was the thirteenth in the circle of the twelve."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Iron Necessity

Rudolf Steiner: Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, Lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death, October 6, 1917:

“Anyone with more or less normal feelings, even today, will be shaken to learn the truth that in order to bring about birth and death in the physical world, the divine spirits who guide world destinies have to use elemental spirits who actually are the enemies of everything human beings seek and desire for their welfare and well-being here in the physical world. If everything was done just to suit the wishes of human beings -- to be comfortable in this physical world, be fit and well as we go to sleep and wake up again and go about our work -- if all spirits were of a kind to see to it that we have such a comfortable life, birth and death could not be. To bring about birth and death the gods need entities whose minds and whole way of looking at the world give them the urge to destroy and lay waste to everything which provides for the welfare of human beings here in the physical world.
We have to get used to the idea that the world is not made as people would really like it to be and that there exists the element which in the Egyptian Mysteries was known as ‘iron necessity.’ As part of this iron necessity, entities hostile to the physical world are used by the gods to bring about birth and death for human beings.
So we are looking at a world that is immediately next to our own, a world that day by day, hour by hour, has to do with our own world, for the processes of birth and death happen every day and every hour here on earth. The moment human beings cross the threshold to the other world they enter into a sphere where entities live and are active whose whole conduct, views and desires are destructive for ordinary physical human life. If this had been made known to people outside the Mysteries before now, if people had been given an idea of these entities, the following would inevitably have happened. If people who are quite unable to deal with their instincts and drives, with their passions, had known that destructive entities were present around them all the time, they would have used the powers of those destructive entities. They would not have used them the way the gods do in birth and death, however, but within the realm of physical life. If people had felt the desire to be destructive in some sphere or other, they would have had ample opportunity to make these entities serve them, for it is easy to make them serve us. This truth was kept hidden to protect ordinary life from the destructive elemental spirits of birth and death.
The question is, should we not continue to keep them hidden? This is not possible, and for quite specific reasons, one of which is connected with a great, important cosmic law. I could give you a general formula, but it will be better to use the actual form it is taking now and in the immediate future to demonstrate this law to you. As you know, not long ago growing numbers of impulses came into human evolution which did not exist before and which are quite characteristic of our present civilization. Try and go back in your mind to times not very long ago. You will find times when there were no steam locomotives, when people did not yet use electricity as we do now; times perhaps when only thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci were able to have the idea, theoretically and on the basis of experiments, that humans could create apparatus which would enable them to fly. All this has come to realization in a relatively short time. Just consider how much depends on the use of steam, of electricity, of the changes in atmospheric density which has made airships possible, or the knowledge of statics which has led to the airplane. Consider everything which has come into human evolution in recent times. Think of the destructive powers of dynamite, etc., and you can easily imagine, seeing how swiftly this has gone, that new and different fabulous things of this kind will be the goal of future human endeavor. I think you can easily see that the ideal for the near future will be to have not more and more Goethes, but more and more Edisons. This really is the ideal of modern humanity.
Modern people do, of course, believe that all this -- the telegraph, telephones, the use of steam power, etc. -- happens without the participation of spiritual entities. This is not the case, however. The development of human civilization involves the participation of elemental spirits, even if people do not know about it. Modern materialists imagine that the telephone and telegraph, and the steam engines driven long distances and also used by farmers, have been constructed merely on the basis of what people produce by the sweat of their brow. Everything people do in this respect is under the influence of elemental spirits. They are always involved and helping us in this. People are not taking the initiative on their own in this field -- they are guided. In laboratories, workshops, really everywhere where the spirit of invention is active, elemental spirits are providing the inspiration.
The elemental spirits who have given impulses to our civilization from the eighteenth century onwards are of the same kind as those used by the gods to bring about birth and death. This is one of the mysteries which human beings have to discover today. And the law of world history of which I have spoken is that as evolution proceeds, the gods always rule for a time within a particular sphere of elemental spirits and then human beings enter into this same sphere and use the elemental spirits. In earlier times, the elemental spirits of birth and death essentially served the divine spirits who guided the world; since our day -- and this has been going on for some time now -- the elemental spirits of birth and death are serving technology, industry and human commerce. It is important to let this disturbing truth enter into our souls with all its power and intensity.
Something is happening in this fifth post-Atlantean period of civilization which is similar to something that happened in Atlantean times, during the fourth Atlantean period. I have spoken of this before. Up to the fourth Atlantean period the divine spirits who guide human evolution used certain elemental spirits. They had to use them because not only birth and death had to be brought about at that time, but also something else, which may be said to be closer to the earth. You will remember some of the descriptions I have given of the Atlantean age, when human beings were still flexible in their physical nature and their souls could make their bodies grow large or remain dwarf-like, with their outer appearance depending on their inner nature. Please call this to mind again. Today the service certain elemental spirits give to the divine spirits on occasions of birth and death is clearly apparent in physical terms. In those times, when outer appearance was in accord with inner nature, certain elemental spirits were serving the gods for the whole of human life. When the Atlantean age had reached its fourth period, people again began to rule the elemental spirits, which had previously been used by the gods, to govern the growth and general physiognomy of human beings. Human beings gained control of certain divine powers and made use of them.
The consequence was that from about the middle of the Atlantean age it was possible for individuals who desired to harm their fellow human beings to use all kinds of creative powers on them -- keeping them dwarf-sized in growth or making them into giants, or letting the physical organism develop in such a way that the individual concerned would be an intelligent person or a cretin. A terrible power was in human hands in the middle of the Atlantean age. You know, for I have drawn attention to this, that this was not kept secret, though not from any kind of evil intent. According to one of the laws of world history, something which initially was the work of the gods had to become the work of human beings. This led to serious mischief in the Atlantean age, so that over the last four or three periods of civilization the whole of Atlantean civilization had to be guided towards its own destruction. Our own civilization was saved and brought across from Atlantis, as I have described elsewhere, and you will recall my descriptions of what happened in the Atlantean age.
In the last three, or two, periods of post-Atlantean civilization in the fifth stage of earth evolution, work now done by the gods will again become work to be done by humanity. We are only in the early stages of the technological, industrial and commercial activities which proceed under the influence of the elemental spirits of birth and death. This influence and its effects will be increasingly more radical. Until now, the elemental spirits of birth and death have been guided by the gods and their influence has been limited to the coming into being and passing away of humans at the physical level. But the civilization of our own and future ages has to be such that these spirits can be active in technology, industry, commerce, and so on.
There is also another, quite specific, aspect to this. As I have said, these elemental spirits are the enemies of human welfare and want to destroy it. We have to see things straight and not have any illusions concerning the radical nature of this. Civilization must progress in the fields of technology, industry and commerce. But by its very nature such a civilization cannot serve the well-being of humanity in the physical world; it can only prove destructive to the human weal.
This will be an unpalatable truth for people who never tire of making great speeches on the tremendous advances made in modern civilization, for they see things in abstract terms and know nothing of the rise and fall which is part of human evolution. I have made Brief reference to the causes of destruction in Atlantis. The commercial, industrial and technological civilization which is now in its beginnings harbours elements which will lead to the decline and fall of the fifth earth period. And we only see things straight and face reality if we admit that we are here beginning to work on something which must lead to catastrophe.
This is what it means to enter into iron necessity. Looking for an easy way out people might say: All right, I won't take the tram. It might even go so far -- though even members of the Anthroposophical Society are unlikely to take things this far -- that people will not go on trains, and so on. This would be complete nonsense, of course. It is not a matter of avoiding things but of getting a clear picture, real insight into the iron necessities of human evolution. Civilization cannot continue in an unbroken upward trend; it has to go through a succession of rising and falling waves.
There is, however, something else which can happen, something people generally do not want to know about today but which is exactly what modern humanity will have to discover. Insight -- a clear picture of the necessity which exists - is what will have to come to all human minds. It will necessarily mean that much will have to change in the frame of mind in which we consider the world. Human beings will need to live with inner impulses which they still prefer to ignore today, for these go against the good life they want. There are many such impulses. Let me give you just one example.
People today, especially if they want to be good people, wanting nothing for themselves but only to be selfless and desire the good of others, will of course seek to develop certain virtues. These, too, are iron necessities. Now, of course, there is nothing to be said against a desire for virtue, but the problem is that people are not merely desiring to be virtuous. It is quite a good thing to want to be virtuous, but these people want more. If one looks to the unconscious depths of the human soul one finds that in the present time people are not really much concerned to develop the actual virtues. It is much more important to them to be able to feel themselves to be virtuous, to give themselves up entirely to a state of mind where they can say: ‘I am truly selfless, look at all the things I do to improve myself! I am perfect, I am kind, I am someone who does not believe in authority.’ They will then, of course, eagerly follow all kinds of authorities. To feel really good in the consciousness of having one particular virtue or another is endlessly more important to people today than actually having that virtue. They want to feel they have the virtue rather than practice it.
As a result, certain secrets connected with the virtues remain hidden to them. They are secrets which people instinctively feel they do not want to know, especially if they are modern idealists who like to feel good in the way I have described. All kinds of ideals are represented by societies today. Programs are made, and a society states its principles, which are to achieve one thing or another. The things people want to achieve in this way may indeed be very nice, but to find something nice in an abstract way is not enough. People must learn to think in terms of reality. Let us look at the aspect of reality when it comes to people having virtues. Perfection, benevolence, beautiful virtues, rights - it is nice to have them all in the outer social sphere. However, when people say 'It is our program to achieve perfection in some particular way, benevolence in some particular direction, we aim to establish a specific right' they usually consider this to be something absolute which can be brought to realization as such. ‘Surely,’ people will say, ‘it must be a good thing to be more and more perfect?’ And ‘What better ideal can there be but to have a program that will make us more and more perfect?’ But this is not in accord with the law of reality. It is right, and good, to be more and more perfect, or at least aim to be so, but when people are actually seeking to be perfect in a particular direction, this search for perfection will after a time change into what in reality is imperfection. A change occurs through which the desire for perfection becomes a weakness. Benevolence will after a time become prejudicial behaviour. And however good the right may be that you want to bring to realization -- it will turn into a wrong in the course of time. The reality is that there are no absolutes in this world. You work towards something that is good, and the way of the world will turn it into something bad. We therefore must seek ever new ways, look for new forms over and over again. This is what really matters.
The swing of the pendulum governs all such human efforts. Nothing is more harmful than belief in absolute ideals, for they are at odds with the true course of world evolution.”

The human being: a chalice glowing with inner light


Rudolf Steiner: Egyptian Myths and Mysteries, Lecture 5, The Genesis of the Trinity of Sun, Moon, and Earth. Osiris and Typhon. September 7, 1908

"In the fullness of the light lived still higher beings also: the Powers, or Exusiai, or Spirits of Form; the Virtues, or Dynameis, or Spirits of Motion; the Dominions, or Kyriotetes, or Spirits of Wisdom; those spirits who are called the Thrones, or Spirits of Will; finally, in looser connection with the fullness of the light, more and more detaching themselves therefrom, the Cherubim and Seraphim. The earth was a world inhabited by a whole hierarchy of lower and higher beings, all sublime. What radiated out into space as light, the light with which the earth-body was permeated, was not light only but also what was later the mission of the earth: It was the force of love. This contained the light as its most important component. We must imagine that not only light was rayed forth, not physical light alone, but that this light was ensouled, inspirited, by the force of love. This is difficult for the modern mind to grasp. There are people today who describe the sun as though it were a gaseous ball that simply radiates light. Such a purely material conception of the sun prevails exclusively today. The occultists are the only exception. One who reads a description of the sun today as it is represented in popular books, in the books that are the spiritual nourishment of countless people, does not learn to know the true being of the sun. What these books say about the sun is worth about as much as if one described a corpse as the true being of man. The corpse is no more man than what astrophysics says of the sun is really the sun.
Just as one who describes a corpse leaves out the most important thing about man, so the physicist who describes the sun today leaves out the most important thing. He does not reach its essence, although he may believe that with the help of spectroanalysis he has found its inner elements. What is described is only the outer body of the sun.* In every sunbeam there streams down on all the inhabitants of the earth the force of those higher beings who live on the sun, and in the light of the sun there descends the force of love, which here on earth streams from man to man, from heart to heart. The sun can never send mere physical light to earth; the warmest, most ardent, feeling of love is invisibly present in the sunlight. With the sunlight there stream to earth the forces of the Thrones, the Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the whole hierarchy of higher beings who inhabit the sun and have no need of any body other than the light. But since all this that is present in the sun today was at that time still united with the earth, those higher beings themselves were also united with the earth. Even today they are connected with earth-evolution.
We must reflect that man, the lowest of the higher beings, was at that time already present in the germ as the new child of the earth, borne and nourished in the womb by these divine beings. The man who lived in the period of earth-evolution that we are now considering, had to have a much more refined body, since he was still in the womb of these beings. The clairvoyant consciousness perceives that the body of the man of that time consisted only of a fine mist-form or vapor-form; it was a body of air or gas, a gas-body rayed through and entirely permeated by light. If we imagine a cloud formed with some regularity, a chalice-like formation expanding in an upward direction, the chalice glowing with inner light, we have the men of that time who, for the first time in this earth-evolution, began to have a dim consciousness, such a consciousness as the plant-world has today. These men were not like plants in the modern sense. They were cloud-masses in chalice-like form, illuminated and warmed by the light, with no firm boundaries dividing them from the collective earth-mass."

"The stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos"




"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth:
for thy love is better than wine." --The Song of Solomon 1:2



Rudolf Steiner: The Whitsun Festival, Its place in the study of Karma, June 4, 1924:

"Every star that we see glittering in the heavens is in reality a gate of entry for the Astral. Wherever the stars are twinkling and glittering in towards us, there glitters and shines the Astral. Look at the starry heavens in their manifold variety; in one part the stars are gathered into heaps and clusters, or in another they are scattered far apart. In all this wonderful configuration of radiant light, the invisible and super-sensible astral body of the Cosmos makes itself visible to us.
For this reason we must not consider the world of stars unspiritually. To look up to the world of stars and speak of worlds of burning gases is just as though -- forgive the apparent absurdity of the comparison, but it is precisely true -- it is just as though someone who loves you were gently stroking you, holding the fingers a little apart, and you were then to say that it feels like so many little ribbons being drawn across your cheek. It is no more untrue that little ribbons are laid across your cheek when someone strokes you, than that there exist up there in the heavens those material entities of which modern physics tells. It is the astral body of the Universe which is perpetually wielding its influences -- like the gently stroking fingers -- on the etheric organism of the Cosmos. The etheric Cosmos is organised for very long duration; it is for this reason that a star has its quality of fixity, representing a perpetual influence on the cosmic Ether by the astral Universe. It lasts far longer than the stroking of your cheek. But in the Cosmos things do last longer, for there we are dealing with gigantic measures. Thus in the starry heavens that we perceive, we actually behold an expression of the soul-life of the cosmic astral world.
In this way, an immense, unfathomable life, yet, at the same time, a soul-life, a real and actual life of the soul, is brought into the Cosmos. Think how dead the Cosmos appears to us when we look into the far spaces and see nothing but burning gaseous bodies. Think how living it all becomes when we know that the stars are an expression of the love with which the astral Cosmos works upon the etheric Cosmos -- for this is to express it with perfect truth. Think then of those mysterious processes when certain stars suddenly light up at certain times, -- processes which have only been explained to us by means of physical hypotheses that do not lead to any real understanding. Stars that were not there before, light up for a time, and disappear again. Thus in the Cosmos too there is a “stroking” of shorter duration. For it is true indeed that in epochs when divine Beings desire to work in an especial way from the astral world into the etheric, we behold new stars light up and fade away again.
We ourselves in our own astral body have feelings of delight and comfort in the most varied ways. In like manner in the Cosmos, through the cosmic astral body, we have the varied configuration of the starry heavens. No wonder that an ancient science, instinctively clairvoyant, describes this third member of our human organism as the “astral” or “starry” body, seeing that it is of like nature with that which reveals itself to us in the stars."

God is love

Rudolf Steiner: Love and Its Meaning in the World, Zurich, December 17, 1912:

"Besides love there are two other powers in the world. How do they compare with love? The one is strength, might; the second is wisdom. In regard to strength or might we can speak of degrees: weaker, stronger, or absolute might -- omnipotence. The same applies to wisdom, for there are stages on the path to omniscience. It will not do to speak in the same way of degrees of love. What is universal love, love for all beings? In the case of love we cannot speak of enhancement as we can speak of enhancement of knowledge into omniscience or of might into omnipotence, by virtue of which we attain greater perfection of our own being. Love for a few or for many beings has nothing to do with our own perfecting. Love for everything that lives cannot be compared with omnipotence; the concept of magnitude, or of enhancement, cannot rightly be applied to love. Can the attribute of omnipotence be ascribed to the Divine Being who lives and weaves through the world? Contentions born of feeling must here be silent: were God omnipotent, he would be responsible for everything that happens and there could be no human freedom. If man can be free, then certainly there can be no Divine omnipotence.
Is the Godhead omniscient? As man's highest goal is likeness to God, our striving must be in the direction of omniscience. Is omniscience, then, the supreme treasure? If it is, a vast chasm must forever yawn between man and God. At every moment man would have to be aware of this chasm if God possessed the supreme treasure of omniscience for himself and withheld it from man. The all-encompassing attribute of the Godhead is not omnipotence, neither is it omniscience, but it is love -- the attribute in respect of which no enhancement is possible. God is uttermost love, unalloyed love, is born as it were out of love, is the very substance and essence of love. God is pure love, not supreme wisdom, not supreme might. God has retained love for himself but has shared wisdom and might with Lucifer and Ahriman. He has shared wisdom with Lucifer and might with Ahriman, in order that man may become free, in order that under the influence of wisdom he may make progress."

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe

Rudolf Steiner: The Gospel of St. Mark, Lecture 10, Basel 24th September, 1912:

“I should like to remind you of something I have often pointed out with regard to the difference between male and female, pointing out the fact that to some extent the female element — not the single individual woman but rather “womanhood” — has not entirely descended to the physical plane, whereas the man — again not a single individuality, not man in a particular incarnation but “manhood” — has crossed the line and descended lower. As a result true humanity lies between man and woman; and it is for this reason that a human being also changes sex in different incarnations. But it is already the case that the woman, as such, because of the different formation of her brain and the different way in which she can use it, is able to grasp spiritual ideas with greater facility. By contrast the man because of his external physical corporeality is much better adapted to think himself into materialism, because, if we wish to express the matter crudely, his brain is harder. The female brain is softer, not so stubborn, that is to say in general — I am not referring to individual personalities. In the case of individual personalities there is no need to flatter oneself, for many truly obstinate heads sit on many a female body — to say nothing of the reverse! But on the whole it is true that it is easier to make use of a female brain if one is to understand something exceptional, as long as the will to do so is also present. It is for this reason that the evangelist [Mark] after the Mystery of Golgotha allows women to appear first.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru: The thirteenth among the twelve

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given September 21, 1909:

"We must acknowledge the role of the great lodge of the twelve bodhisattvas in governing the entire evolution of the Earth. On a higher plane, the bodhisattvas manifest the concept of 'teacher' as we apply it on lower levels of existence. As teachers, they inspire faculties that human beings must acquire.
What is the source of the content the bodhisattvas proclaim from epoch to epoch? If you could behold the circle of the twelve bodhisattvas in the great spirit lodge, you would discover a thirteenth being sitting in their midst. This being, who cannot be called a teacher in the same sense as the twelve, radiates the substance of wisdom itself. The twelve bodhisattvas in the great spirit lodge sit around a central point, immersed in contemplation of the great being who exudes the wisdom that they are to incorporate into earthly evolution. The thirteenth being exudes what the other twelve will teach. The twelve are the teachers and inspirers who proclaim the presence of the thirteenth from epoch to epoch; the thirteenth is the very substance of their teaching. He is the ancient rishis' Vishva Karman, Zarathustra's Ahura Mazda, and our Christ, the leader and guide of the great bodhisattva lodge. Thus the entire choir of the bodhisattvas proclaims the doctrine of the Christ, or Vishva Karman....
The task of the thirteenth is not to present teachings but to be the teachings, to be spiritual substance itself.
What is Vishva Karman, Ahura Mazda, the Christ, in his true form, but the divine Word of creation? Strange as it may seem, Zoroastrianism tells us that Zarathustra was initiated so that he could perceive, standing behind the light, not only Ahura Mazda but also Honover, the divine Word of creation--the Veda--that was to descend to Earth. During the baptism in the Jordan, this Word descended into an individual human ether body for the first time. The spirit Word--the Veda--that had been preserved since Lemurian times streamed down from the heights into the ether body of the Nathanic Jesus. When the baptism was completed, the Word--the Veda--had become flesh....
The element that had been denied human beings for so long because of their involvement with Lucifer first became flesh, descending to Earth and living on Earth, in a single personality. This being is the great ideal to be emulated by all those who slowly learn to understand his nature. This is why our earthly wisdom must follow the example of the bodhisattvas, whose task is always to proclaim the thirteenth in their midst. We must apply all our spiritual science--our wisdom, our knowledge, and the results of spiritual research--to comprehending the being and nature of Vishva Karman, Ahura Mazda, the Christ."

Friday, October 23, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru: The thirteenth among the twelve

The conclusion of a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner December 18, 1912 on the mission of Gautama Buddha and Saint Francis on Mars, in the service of Christian Rosenkreutz:

"It is possible to put a kind of question to one's own destiny: 'Can I make myself worthy to become a pupil of Christian Rosenkreutz?' It can come about in the following way: Try to place before your soul a picture of Christian Rosenkreutz, the great teacher of the modern age, in the midst of the twelve, sending forth Gautama Buddha into the cosmos as his emissary at the beginning of the seventeenth century, thus bringing about a consummation of what came to pass in the sixth century before Christ in the sermon of Banaras.
If this picture, with its whole import, stands vividly before the soul, if a man feels that something streaming from this great and impressive picture wrings from his soul the words: O man, thou art not merely an earthly being; thou art in truth a cosmic being!--then he may believe with quiet confidence: 'I can aspire to become a pupil of Christian Rosenkreutz.' This picture of the relationship of Christian Rosenkreutz to Gautama Buddha is a potent and effective meditation.
And I wanted to awaken this aspiration in you as a result of these considerations. For our ideal should always be to take an interest in world happenings and then to find the way, by means of these studies, to carry out our own development into higher worlds."

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe




Sunday, October 18, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru: #1. When the student is ready, the guru appears



"The Lord dwells in the hearts of all creatures
and whirls them round upon the wheel of maya.
Run to him for refuge with all your strength,
and peace profound will be yours through his grace."
--Bhagavad Gita 18:61-62


"The significance of a philosophical poem such as the Bhagavad Gita, or similar works of world literature, can only be rightly valued by one to whom they are not just theory, but destiny."--Rudolf Steiner


Guru Gita 76

Dhyana mulam guror murtih
Puja mulam guroh padam
Mantra mulam guror vakyam
Moksha mulam guroh krpa

The root of meditation is the guru's form
The root of worship is the guru's feet
The root of mantra is the guru's word
The root of liberation is the guru's grace


Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jesus: Krishna, Redeemed by Christ

According to Rudolf Steiner, Jesus was the reincarnation of Krishna, the unfallen twin soul of Adam.
"Christ took sin upon himself. He gave to humanity what reconciles the two one-sided tendencies [of Krishna and Lucifer]. He took upon himself the sin of Krishna, the sin of self-consciousness, which would close its eyes to the world outside. He took upon himself the sin of Krishna and of all who would commit his sin. On the other hand he also  took upon himself the sin of Lucifer and of all who would commit the sin of fixing their attention on externalities. By taking both extremes upon himself he makes it possible for humanity by degrees to find a harmony between the inner and the outer world, because in that harmony alone is the salvation of humanity to be found....
So many people today have little understanding left of our environment. Therefore it is just in our time that an understanding of the Christ impulse must break in upon us.The Christ path must be added to the Krishna path. The path of one-sided striving for perfection has become too strong....Many souls now feel how little they can escape from this enhanced self-consciousness, and this creates an impulse to know the divinity of the outer world. It is such souls as these who in our time will seek the understanding of the Christ impulse that is opened up by true Anthroposophy, the force that does not merely strive for the one-sided perfection of the individual soul but belongs to the whole progress of humanity. To understand the Christ means not merely to strive toward perfection, but to receive in oneself something expressed by Saint Paul: "Not I, but Christ in me." "I" is the Krishna word; "Not I, but Christ in me" is the Christian word."

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture in Helsinki June 5, 1913

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe

A new da Vinci swims into our ken


Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Redemption of Human Longing: "Ejeh Asher Ejeh"



John 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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