Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centers. Lecture 9 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, December 9, 1923:
I have related to you different things concerning the nature of the Hibernian Mysteries, and you saw in the last lecture that the peculiar path of evolution which men pursued on the island of Ireland led them to gain an insight, first of all, into what is possible to the human mind, into what the human mind can experience through its own inner activity. You must now consider how, through all the preparatory exercises which those about to be initiated had to go through, it was possible that, as by magic, landscapes as they are usually spread out before human senses were conjured up before these senses. No religious or fanciful hallucinatory impressions were thus given, for that which man was accustomed to look upon appeared before the soul as from behind a veil, concerning which he knew very well something was behind. And it was the same in regard to the gazing into his own inner being in the case of the enchanted vision of the dreamlike summer landscape. The pupil was prepared beforehand to have Imaginations which were connected with that which he otherwise saw with his outer senses. But he really knew when he had these Imaginations that he was about to penetrate further by means of these Imaginations to something quite different.
I have shown you how the pupil penetrated through to the vision of the time before earthly existence, and to the time after earthly existence; by vision forward to the time after death as far as the middle point between death and a new birth, and by vision backward into the time which immediately preceded the descent to Earth — again to the middle point between death and a new birth. But something still further happened. Because the pupil had been led further to sink himself deeply into that which he had gone through, and because his soul was strengthened through the vision of the pre-earthly and of the post-earthly life, because he had gained insight into Nature dying and continually being reborn, because of all this he could with yet stronger inner power and energy sink himself into what had happened through the numbness, through his being taken up into world-spaces, through floating out into the blue ether-distances, and again through what had taken place when he felt himself a personality only within his senses, when he so to speak received nothing through the rest of his whole being as man, but only received anything from existence through the eye, or in the auditory tract, or in the sensation of feeling, etc., when he thus became completely a sense-organ.
The pupil had learned to revive these conditions in himself with strong inner energy, and out of these conditions to allow that to come over him which worked a still further result. When all this was indicated to him, after he had gone through all that which I have described, quite voluntarily and inwardly to bring again before himself the condition of inner numbness, so that he felt, as it were, his own organism as a kind of mineral thing, that is to say, as something quite foreign to him, when he felt his external being, his bodily being, as a thing strange to him, and the soul, as it were, only floating around, ensheathing this mineral thing, then in the condition of consciousness which resulted he received a clear vision of the Moon-existence which preceded that of the Earth.
You remember how I have described this Moon-existence in my Occult Science and in many different lectures. That which has there been described arose in the consciousness of the pupil. It was actually present before him. This ancient Moon existence appeared to him as a planetary existence, actually at first only in a watery, in a fluid, condition, but not like the water of today, rather I might say as if gelatinous, like something coagulated. And the pupil felt himself within it; he felt himself organized in this half-soft mass, and he felt the organization of the whole planet streaming out from his own organization.
But you must make clear to yourselves the difference between experience at that time and experience today. Today we feel ourselves to some extent bounded by our skin, and we say indeed that as men we are that which is inside the skin. It is of course a mighty mistake, for as soon as we consider that which is in the form of air in the man the foolishness is evident of feeling ourselves limited by the skin. I have often said: the volume of air which is within me was a little while ago not within me, and the volume of air which will soon be in me is outside. So that we only feel ourselves rightly today as men when we do not think ourselves, as regards the air, cut off from the outer world. We are everywhere where the outer air is; in fact there is no difference whether you have now a piece of sugar in your mouth and the next moment in your stomach, where it has gone a certain way, or whether a volume of air is out there this moment and next moment it is in your lungs. The piece of sugar goes its way through the mouth, the air also goes its way through the organs of air and breathing, and he who thinks this does not belong to him should also think his mouth does not belong to him, but that his body begins with his stomach. So it is really nonsense for the present-day man to think he is contained within the limits of his skin.
But in the Moon-existence there was no possibility of thinking of oneself as enclosed within one's skin. Of such furniture as is around us, toward which we go and of which we take hold, there was none at that time. Everything that was there was a natural product. And if you stretched out such an organ as you had at that time, which may be compared with the finger of today, it was as if one could draw this finger in till it disappeared, or an arm till it disappeared; one could make oneself quite thin, and many other things. Today when you take hold of a table you do not feel as if the table belonged to you. If a man seized anything then, he simply felt it belonged to him, as the air-volume now belongs to him. So actually man's own organization was felt as only a piece of the whole planet-Moon-existence
All this arose before the consciousness of the Hibernian pupil. He received the impression that the gelatinous fluid was only a condition of the Moon organization at a particular time. There were certain epochs in the Old Moon organization when within the gelatinous material something arose which was physically much harder than our hard things today. It was not, however, mineral, as the present-day emerald or corundum or diamond is mineral; it was just hard horny material. There was at that time nothing mineral in the present sense of crystallization or the like. That which was hard as a mineral was of a hard horny nature. It has such a structure that one saw it had been formed organically. Today we should not speak of the crystal formation of a cow's horn because we know that a cow's horn is what it is through organic agency. Similarly with deer or the like; all bone matter is the same. Mineral matter is different. But at that time there was a mineral-like substance built up out of organic life.
Those beings who at that time partly went through their human stage, who have only to accomplish part of their human evolution during the Earth-existence, are those individualities of whom I have spoken as the great wise primeval teachers of humanity on Earth, and who today find themselves in a colony on the Moon.
All this appeared to the Hibernian pupil during the state of numbness. And when he had experienced all in the suitable manner, that is to say, in the way which seemed suitable to his initiators, then he was directed to advance again, repeatedly to advance to causing the numbness to melt, to stream out into the ether-distances, to that point where he could feel: The paths of the heights bring me out into the distances of the blue ether, even to the boundaries of space-existence.
Then when he had repeatedly gone through this experience, he felt all which was to be felt from the Earth in his movement out toward the ether-distances. But while he was moving toward the ether-distances after the heights had received him, and had brought him near the ether-distances, he felt that there outside, as if at the boundary of the world of space, something pressed in to him which again permeated him, which we today should call the astral principle, something inwardly experienced, which united itself much more significantly, much more energetically, with the human being of that time, though it could not be perceived as clearly as its counterpart can be perceived today. This astral element united itself with the human soul, only in a more energetic, more powerful, more living way than today. It may be compared with the way that a feeling would arise within the human inner being if a man were to expose himself to the instreaming, refreshingly instreaming sunlight to such an extent that the sunlight permeated his inner being with a vivifying element, enabling him to feel his organization right into each individual part. For if you only observe a little, you will indeed be able to feel that if you freely expose yourself to the Sun, if you let the Sun stream through you, but not in such a way that the Sun becomes uncomfortable to your inner feeling, but if you expose yourself to the Sun so that with a certain pleasure its light and heat pour on to your body and into your organism, then you will feel as if each individual organ felt slightly different from before. You come in fact into a condition in which you could inwardly give a description of yourself.
It is only through lack of the power of observation in men today that such things are so little known. If there were not this lack of observation in man at the present day they would actually be able to give at least dreamlike indications of what I have shown you as to inner experience of the in-streaming sunlight. In earlier times the pupil was instructed differently from today concerning the interior of the human organism. Today corpses are dissected and from this study one makes anatomical maps. That does not require much attention, indeed it must be granted that many students do not bring much attention, but it does not demand much. But formerly the pupil was so instructed that he was placed in the Sun, and was led to feel his internal parts in reaction to the pleasant in-streaming sunlight. Accordingly he could take note of his liver, stomach, etc. This inner relationship of man with the macrocosm is there if only the conditions are brought about. You may of course be blind, and yet through touch feel the form of an object. And so if one organ in your organism is made sensitive to another through attention to light, you may describe the internal organs so that at least you can get shadow-pictures of them in your consciousness. To a high degree it was implanted in the pupil of the Hibernian Mysteries that by the flowing out into the blue ether-distance, by the flowing in of the astral light, he would not now pre-eminently feel himself, but he would feel in his consciousness a mighty world, a world of which he now said as follows: I live wholly in an element with other beings. This element is really nothing but Nature-goodness, for I feel streaming into me from all around out of this element (forgive that I use a mode of speech only possible in later times) out of this element in which I swim as a fish in water, but myself also only consisting in quite volatile imponderable elements, I feel how out of this planetary element from all sides comes this pleasant instreaming. The pupil felt the astral light all around him streaming into him, forming and fashioning him. This element is pure Nature-goodness (thus he might have spoken) for from all around something is being given to me. I am really surrounded by pure goodness. It is goodness, but a Nature-goodness which is all around me. But this Nature-goodness is not only goodness, it is creative goodness. For it is that which at the same time with its powers causes me to exist, gives me form, and sustains me in so far as I swim, hover, move in this element. Thus the impressions which were produced were of a natural-moral character.
To compare with something of the present day we might say: If a man had a rose before him and could smell it, and out of inner truthfulness and honesty said: “Divine goodness which is spread out in the whole Earth-planet flows also into this rose, and because this rose communicated its essence to my organ of smell I smell the living divine goodness in the planet” — if a man today with inner honesty could say such a thing when inhaling the scent of the rose, then he would experience something like a weak shadow of that which formerly, as complete life-element, was experienced by the individual man. And that was the experience of the Sun-existence which preceded the Moon-existence. Thus the pupil could experience the Sun-existence and the Moon-existence, which preceded the existence of our Earth.
And further, when the pupil had been led to it, to feel himself only in his senses, when he had experienced something like the stripping off of his whole organism, and lived only in the experience in the senses, so that he actually lived in his eye, in his auditory tract, in his whole sense of touch, then he perceived that which I have described in my Occult Science as the Saturn-existence, as the existence where man lived and moved in the heat-element, in the differentiated heat-element. It was as if he did not feel himself as flesh and blood, as bones and nerves, but merely as an organism of heat, of heat amid other heat, as planetary Saturn-heat; he perceived heat when the outer heat was of a different degree from the inner heat. Moving in heat, living in heat, sensing heat against heat: this was the Saturn-existence.
And this experience was gone through by the pupil when he was drawn into his senses. These senses themselves were not so much differentiated as today. The perception of heat against heat, of life through heat, of life in heat was the most important thing. But there were moments when man, himself a heat-organism, approached another heat-organism or heat-mass, when, through the contact, he felt in himself something like a springing-up of flames; he was now in an element not merely of heat which streams and moves and surges — he was suddenly something like a flaming thing, also something like a moving sensation of taste, taste not only as on the tongue — that organ of course did not exist at that time — but taste which a man feels in himself, but which is kindled by contact with another body which also imparts something of itself. The Saturn-existence had become active in the pupil.
You see, therefore, that in the Hibernian Mysteries the pupil was led into the past existence of our own Earth-planet. He learned to know Saturn, Sun, and Moon-existence as the successive metamorphoses of the Earth-existence.
And then he was repeatedly stimulated to live through the experience which now led him into his own inner being: first, to experience again what I have described as the sensation of inner pressure, as if he were pressed together by the feeling of his own center, as if the air in him became condensed, so that, if we would compare the condition with something corresponding to the experience of a man today, we could compare it with the feeling that he could not get his breath out — it pushed and pressed in on him on every side.
That was the first condition, and the pupil again, by external voluntary effort, had to re-awaken it in his soul. And if he did this, if he actually came into the dream-condition of which he had earlier been capable, of dreaming in the waking-state of nature-existence as summer landscape, if he came into this condition, then at a particular moment he had suddenly a quite peculiar experience. If I am to characterize this experience for you I must do it in a somewhat roundabout way. Think then, as man of the present day, you come into a warm room; you feel the heat; you come out, and if it is 5 or 10 degrees below zero you feel the cold. You feel the difference between heat and cold, but you feel it bodily. You do not unite it with your soul. And as Earth-man, when you come into a warm room, you do not always have the feeling: here in this room something has spread itself abroad like a great spirit which encircles me with love. You experience this heat as something bodily pleasant. You do not experience it as something for the soul. It is the same with the cold: you freeze, your body freezes, but you have not the feeling: out there, through particular climatic conditions, demons come in all directions toward you which whisper to you something so frosty that you are also cold in the soul. Physical heat is not at the same time something belonging to the soul, because you do not feel intensely the nature-soul experiences as Earth-man with ordinary consciousness. As Earth-man you can warm yourself in the friendship, in the love, of another human being. You may feel chilled by his frostiness, or perhaps by his commonplace nature, but by such experiences we mean something belonging to the soul. Only think how little the physical Earth-man of today is inclined to say when in summer he steps out into the hot sultry air: Now the gods love me. Nor how little the man of today is inclined to say when he steps out into the wintry cold: now only those sylphs fly through the air who are frosty and commonplace in the sylph-world. Those are expressions which we do not hear at all today. Now you see, this sensation which I wish to indicate (this is why I said that I had to explain the thing, in a roundabout way), this sensation when the pupil experienced that inner feeling of pressure, resulted as a matter of course. All that he felt as heat he felt at the same time as soul-heat as well as physical heat. This was because with his consciousness he was transported into the Jupiter-existence, which will arise out of the Earth-existence. For we shall only become Jupiter-men if we unite physical heat with soul-heat. As Jupiter-men we shall come to this: if we caress in love a human being, or it may be a child, we shall be to that child at the same time an actual pourer-forth of heat.
To pour forth love and heat will not be separated as now: we shall actually come to this, that we shall pour forth from our souls into our surroundings the heat we experience.
Not indeed in this Earth-world, but transported into another world, was the pupil of the Hibernian Mysteries brought to this experience. Hence the Jupiter-existence was present to him — not of course in physical Earth-reality, but in a picture.
And the next advance was that the pupil felt so truly that inner distress of which I spoke yesterday that he actually experienced the necessity of overcoming his own ego, because otherwise it may be the source of evil.
If the pupil rightly caused this soul-conception to be present in himself, then something else arose in him. He did not only feel soul-heat and physical heat as one, but that which he felt as one, this soul-physical heat, began to shine. The mystery of the shining of light, of the shining of soul-light, arose for the pupil. Thus he was transported into that future when the Earth will be changed into the Venus-planet, into the future Venus-planet.
And now when the pupil felt everything flowing together into his heart which he had experienced earlier, just as I described it to you yesterday, all that he had experienced in his soul manifested itself at the same time as the experience of the planet. Man has a thought. The thought does not remain within the skin of the man. The thought begins to resound. The thought becomes Word. That which the man lives forms itself into Word. In the Vulcan-planet the Word spreads itself out. Everything in the Vulcan-planet is speaking living Being. Word sounds to Word. Word explains itself by Word. Word speaks to Word. Word learns to understand Word. Man feels himself as the World-understanding Word, as the Word-world understanding Word.
While this was present before the candidate for initiation in Hibernia he knew himself to be in the Vulcan existence, in the last metamorphosed condition of the Earth-planet.
So you see that the Hibernian Mysteries really belong to those which we are entitled to call in spiritual science the Great Mysteries. For that into which the pupils were initiated gave them a survey, an outlook, over human pre-earthly and post-earthly life. It gave them at the same time a survey over cosmic life, into which man is woven, out of which in the course of time he is born. The human being learned thus to know the Microcosm, that is, to know himself, as spirit-soul-bodily Being in connection with the Macrocosm. He learned also to know the coming into being, the weaving, the arising and passing away, and the changing, metamorphosing itself of the Macrocosm. These Hibernian Mysteries were Great Mysteries.
And they reached their full flower in the period which preceded the Mystery of Golgotha. But there was this peculiarity in the Great Mysteries, that in these Great Mysteries the Christ was spoken of as the One who was to come, just as later men spoke of the Christ as of Him who had gone through events in the past. And actually when after the first initiation, when the pupil leaving the temple was led before the image of the Christ, they wished to show him: The whole trend of Earth-evolution leads toward the Event of Golgotha. At that time it was presented as an event which was to come.
There was in fact upon this island, which was later to go through so many trials, a center of the Great Mysteries, a center of Christian Mysteries before the Mystery of Golgotha, in which in the right way the spiritual gaze of a man living before the Mystery of Golgotha was directed toward the Mystery of Golgotha.
And then, when the Mystery of Golgotha took place, when over in Palestine the wonderful events came to pass which we describe as the experience of Christ Jesus on Golgotha and its surroundings, while these wonderful events came to pass in Palestine, great festivals were held within the Hibernian Mysteries, and within their community, i.e. by the people who belonged to the Hibernian Mysteries. And that which came to pass in actual fact in Palestine was portrayed in pictures on the island of Hibernia in ways a hundredfold, though the picture was as a memory of the past. They experienced in pictures the Mystery of Golgotha contemporaneously on the island of Hibernia while the Mystery of Golgotha came to pass historically in Palestine. When later, in temples and churches, the Mystery of Golgotha was experienced pictorially, was shown in pictures to the people, then these were pictures which recalled something which had taken place on the Earth, which were drawn out of the ordinary consciousness as a kind of historic memory. These pictures existed on the island of Hibernia before they could be produced from historic memory of the past, but as they only could be produced out of the Spirit itself. On the island of Hibernia that was spiritually seen which took place before the bodily eye in Palestine at the beginning of our era. And so on the island of Hibernia humanity actually experienced the Mystery of Golgotha spiritually. And this indicates the greatness of all that went forth later from the island of Hibernia for the rest of the civilized world, but which vanished in later time.
I beg you now to notice the following. He who studies only external history will find much that is splendid, beautiful, that lifts up the heart, that illumines the mind, when he looks back historically into the ancient world of the East, when he looks back historically into ancient Greece, into ancient Rome. He may experience many things of this kind if he goes on, let us say, to the time of Charles the Great, and through the Middle Ages. But just notice how meager historical records were in that age, a couple of centuries after the rise of Christianity and approximately to the ninth or tenth post-Christian centuries. Examine historical works yourselves. In all the older genuine historical works you will find everywhere only short accounts, very little material for these centuries. Then the material begins to be set out more fully. Certainly later historians, who are, as it were, ashamed for the sake of their profession to disperse their material so badly, because they cannot relate what they do not know, invent all sorts of fancy constructions which are now placed in these centuries. But that is all nonsense. If you honestly represent external history it is somewhat thin as regards historical records during that period when ancient Rome fell, and when devastating swarms of migratory peoples took place, which were really not so fearfully striking outwardly as men of today represent them, which were indeed only striking compared with the quiet of earlier and later times. For if you only consider today, or perhaps in the time before the War had counted how many people journeyed from Russia, let us say, to Switzerland each year, you would find they were more in number than during the times of the migrations of peoples through these same regions of Europe. All these things are relative. So that if we would speak in the style which the historians lavish upon the migrations of the peoples, we should have to say: up to the time of the late War the whole of Europe was in continual migration. The emigration to America was infinitely greater than the streams of the peoples' migrations. We do not make this clear to ourselves. Historic records are meager during the time that is called the period of migration of peoples, and in the period which followed that migration. Very little is known about this period. Very little can be described of what took place in this neighborhood, for example, or in France, or in Germany. But this was the very time when the echoes of that which was seen in the Hibernian Mysteries spread over Europe, even though only in a weak echo — the very time when the effects, the impulses, of the great Hibernian Mysteries streamed into civilization.
And now two great streams met, one stream of which we may say — for all that I am saying now is simply a relation of facts, not in any way letting fall a shadow of sympathy or antipathy, but simply describing actual history — two streams met, one of which in a roundabout way came from the East through Greece and Rome. This movement which took into account the endowment or talents more and more breaking in upon humanity, depending merely on the power of reason and the senses, occupied itself with that which existed as historic memory of externally visible, externally experienced events. From Palestine the news spread through Greece and Rome, which was taken up by men into their religious life, the news of what had taken place in the physical-sense world through the God Christ.
This reckoned upon the human understanding, which by this time was dependent upon what today we call the ordinary consciousness bound up with the reason and the senses. This stream spread in the most magnificent way. But it finally overwhelmed that stream which came over from the West, from Hibernia, which as a last echo of the ancient instinctive Earth-wisdom relied on the ancient treasures of wisdom of humanity, which were now to be illuminated by the new consciousness. Something spread over Europe from Hibernia which did not take into account illumination with the wisdom founded on sense perception, or proofs which could demonstrate that which had taken place historically. But cults, wisdom teachings as Hibernian cults, Hibernian wisdom teachings spread abroad which were based on illumination from the spiritual world, from the spiritual world even at the identical time when as in the case of the Mystery of Golgotha the event was taking place in physical reality on another spot of Earth. The physical reality of Palestine was seen spiritually in Hibernia.
But that which was based only on physical reality overshadowed that which came from the spiritual exaltation of men, from the spiritual deepening of the inner nature of man, from the spiritual permeation of the soul of man. And gradually, out of a necessity of which I have often spoken from other points of view, gradually that which appealed to the sense-physical existence gained the upper hand over that which derived from spiritual insight. The news of the Redeemer living on Earth in a physical body gained the upper hand over the wonderful imaginative pictures which came over from Hibernia and which could be presented in cults, over the magnificent imaginative pictures which announced the Redeemer as a spiritual being, and which paid no attention in the presentation of their cult, in their descriptions, to the fact that it was also a historic event. For least of all were they able to take this fact into consideration in the period when it was not yet a historic event, for the rites were already instituted before the Mystery of Golgotha.
And the time dawned when men more and more were only to be reached through that which was to be seen physically, when men, one might say, naturally came to this, that things were no longer accepted as true which were not founded on physical sight. Thus wisdom which came over from Hibernia was no longer grasped in its reality. And the art which came from Hibernia could no longer be felt in its cosmic truth. Thus there arose more and more not a Hibernian knowledge, but a knowledge which only had to do with the external sense world, not a Hibernian art, but an art — and even Rafael's art is no other — an art which needed the physical-sense world as model, whereas the Hibernian art was founded on the direct representation of the spiritual, and all that belongs to the spirit.
Thus a time came when in a certain sense a veil of darkness was drawn over the spiritual life, in which men boasted about reason and the senses only, and founded philosophies which showed in some way how reason and the senses could approach existence, or truth, or attain to truth.
Then there came about that amazing fact that men were no longer accessible to spiritual influences. And where could it be seen more clearly, I would say, how the consciousness of men was no longer accessible to spiritual influences, than in that which was given to men — the way in which the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz was given to mankind. I explained this some time ago in the periodical Die Drei. There I called attention to the remarkable thing which happened regarding the Chemical Wedding. Valentine Andreae is the physical writer of this Chemical Wedding. This Chemical Wedding was written down in the year just before the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. But no one who knows the biography of Valentine Andreae would not doubt that Valentine Andreae, who became later an orthodox pastor, and wrote other books full of unction, wrote the Chemical Wedding. It is pure nonsense to believe that Valentine Andreae wrote the Chemical Wedding. Just compare the Chemical Wedding, or The Organization of the World, or the other writings of Valentine Andreae — physically it was the same personality — with the greasy unctuousness, fat oiliness, of that which Pastor Valentine Andreae, who only bears the same name, wrote in his later life. It is a most noteworthy phenomenon. Here is a young man, who has scarcely completed his school education, who writes down such things as the Organization of the World, as the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz, and we have to exert ourselves to fathom the inner meaning of these writings. He himself understands nothing of it, for he shows us that later. He becomes an unctuous pastor. It is the same man! And we only need to examine this phenomenon to find it a reasonable explanation which I have given, that the Chemical Wedding was not written by a human being, or only in so far written by a human being as Napoleon's secretary, constantly full of anxiety, wrote his letters. But Napoleon was always a man who stood on his feet, with his legs firmly on the ground, was in fact a physical personality. He who wrote the Chemical Wedding was not a physical personality. He made use of this secretary, who later became the oily pastor, Valentine Andreae.
Think of this wonderful event, just preceding the Thirty Years' War — a young man, quite a young man, lends his hand to a spiritual being, who writes down such a thing as the Chemical Wedding. And that which comes to light in this case only, in a particular example, often happened at that time. Only things are not so well known or preserved. That which above all was important for mankind at that time was given to men in such a way that they were unable to grasp it with their reason. This was the spirituality flowing forth, which still revealed itself to men, which men themselves could set down, but could no longer experience.
Thus in those days when mere empty pages filled the history books, in that time humanity lived, I would say, in two streams: in one stream which proceeds from the physical world below, when men more and more only believe in that which reason and the senses say to them, but above, continually, there is to be found a spiritual revelation made manifest through men, but not understood by men. And to the most characteristic examples of this spiritual revelation belonged such things as the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz.
But all this revelation went, in spite of everything, through human heads, even though these human heads did not understand it. It went through human heads, became feebler and distorted. Fine poetry, grand poetry became such murmuring and babbling as the verses in the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz often are. Nevertheless, they are revelations of something magnificent, mighty macrocosmic images, mighty experiences majestically arising, between man and the macrocosm. If one reads the Chemical Wedding with the insight of today, one learns to understand these images of the Chemical Wedding; they explain themselves, for they are colored by the brain through which they have passed, and behind them the grandiose element appears.
Such things are a proof that that which men once experienced has continued to live on in the subconscious. It was so undoubtedly in the first period of the devastating Thirty Years' War. In the first half of the seventeenth century there flowed in that which was great, majestic spiritual truth. Only the mystics preserve the impress made by it on the mind. But the real substance, the spiritual substance, is quite lost. Reason above all conquers, reason prepares the age of freedom. Today we look back over these things, we gaze back on the Hibernian Mysteries I would say, with a truly deepened inner soul-life, for they are in very truth the last great Mysteries, those last great Mysteries through which human and cosmic secrets could express themselves. And when today we search into these secrets again, then do these Hibernian Mysteries appear to us truly great.
But we cannot really fathom them if we have not first searched into these matters in an independent way. And even when we have investigated them in an independent way, something peculiar arises. If in the Akashic Record one approaches the images of these Hibernian Mysteries, then one experiences something which works in a repelling way. It is as if one were held back by some force, as if one could not approach with the soul. And the nearer one approaches, the more does that obscure itself toward which one would hasten in soul, and one passes into a state of soul-bewilderment. One has to work through this soul-bewilderment. One can do nothing else than vivify in oneself that which one already knows of as resembling it, that which has been achieved and discovered by oneself. And one realizes why that is so. We see that indeed these Hibernian Mysteries were indeed the last echo of an old wisdom given to mankind by the Divine Spiritual Powers, which, however, in the age when the Hibernian Mysteries sank down into the shadow-life, were at the same time spiritually surrounded with a thick rampart, so that the human being cannot passively penetrate them, cannot passively gaze into them, so that he cannot approach them unless he has awakened in himself spiritual activity, and has thus become in the right way a man of modern times. I would say, the approach to the Hibernian Mysteries was closed at that time so that men are not able to approach the Mysteries in the old way, so that they are compelled to experience in the activity of their own consciousness that which in the epoch of freedom must be found inwardly by man. No longer through a historical nor even through a clairvoyant historical vision of ancient, marvelously great secrets may he reach these secrets, but he may enter this path only through his own inner activity.
Herewith it is most markedly indicated in regard to the Mysteries of Hibernia that a new age begins in the epoch in which these Mysteries sink into the shadow-land; but they may be seen even today in their whole glory and majesty by the soul-being who is sustained by inner freedom. For through real inner activity we can approach them, we can conquer that which beats us back, a desire to bewilder us, which for the soul obstructs that which down to these latest times revealed itself to the candidates of the great ancient Mysteries of the former wisdom — instinctive indeed, but nonetheless a high spiritual wisdom, which once poured itself over humanity on the Earth as a primal force of the soul. The most beautiful, the most significant memorials in later times to the primal wisdom of men, to the primal grace of the Divine Spiritual Beings, which reveals itself in the primal conditions of humanity — the most beautiful soul-spiritual memorials of this time are those images which can unveil themselves to us when we direct our gaze to the Mysteries of Hibernia.