Friday, January 31, 2014
What Is the Earth in Reality within the Macrocosm? Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #153, #154, #155
In these studies we have contemplated the evolution of the Cosmos and Humanity from the most varied points of view. We have seen how man derives from the extra-earthly Cosmos the forces of his being, with the exception of those that give him self-consciousness. These come to him from the Earth.
The significance of the earthly realm for man is thus explained. But in this connection the question must arise: What is the significance of the earthly realm for the macrocosm?
In order to approach the answer to this question, we must turn our attention once more to what has already been described in these pages.
The consciousness of the seer finds the macrocosm increasingly alive, the more his vision penetrates into the past. In the far distant past, the macrocosm so lives that there ceases to be any question of ‘calculating’ the manifestations of its life. Out of this living condition man is then brought forth as a separate being, while the macrocosm enters more and more into the ‘calculable’ sphere.
But in this it undergoes a slow process of death. In the same measure in which man — the microcosm — arises as an independent being from the macrocosm, the macrocosm dies.
In the present cosmic time, a dead macrocosm is existing. But it was not only man who arose in the process of its evolution. The Earth too came forth out of the macrocosm.
Deriving from the Earth the forces for his self-consciousness, man is far too close to it in his inner life to perceive its nature clearly. In the age of the Spiritual Soul, with the full unfolding of self-consciousness, we have grown accustomed to focus our attention on the spatial magnitude of the Universe, and to look on the Earth as a speck of dust, insignificant compared to the great universe of physical space.
Hence it will seem strange, to begin with, when spiritual vision unfolds the true cosmic significance of this alleged ‘particle of dust.’
In the mineral ground of the Earth the other kingdoms of Nature — the animal and plant kingdoms — are imbedded. In all this there live the forces which manifest themselves in varied forms of appearance through the seasons. Consider the world of plants. In autumn and winter it manifests the physically dying forces. In this form of appearance, the consciousness of the seer perceives the nature of those forces which have brought about the gradual death of the macrocosm. In spring and summer, forces of growth, springing and sprouting forces, show themselves in the plant life. In the growing, sprouting process, the seer's consciousness perceives not only what brings forth the abundant blessing of the plant life for the given year, but an excess. It is an excess of germinating force. The plants contain more germinating force than they expend upon the growth of foliage, flower, and fruit. For the consciousness of the seer, this excess of germinating force flows out into the extra-earthly macrocosm.
Now in the same manner a surplus of force streams out from the mineral kingdom to the extra-earthly Cosmos. This force has the task of carrying the forces from the plant-world to the right places in the macrocosm. Under the influence of the mineral forces, the plant-forces become a newly fashioned picture of a macrocosm.
Likewise there are forces proceeding from the animal nature. These however do not work, like the plant and mineral forces, radiating from the Earth. They work in such a way that the plant-nature, which the mineral forces carry in clear formation into the great Universe, is gathered into a sphere, so that the picture arises of a macrocosm compact and self-contained on all sides.
It is thus the spirit-seeing consciousness beholds the essence of the earthly realm, which stands as a new, life-kindling element within the dead and dying macrocosm.
As when the old plant has died and fallen away, the new plant, however large, is formed again from the seed in space so insignificant and small — so while the old dead macrocosm falls asunder a new macrocosm is coming forth from this ‘speck of dust,’ the Earth.
It is a true contemplation of the Earth-nature which sees in it on all hands a germinating universe. We only learn to understand the kingdoms of Nature around us when we feel in them the presence of this germinating life.
In the midst of it man fulfills his Earth-existence. He partakes in the germinating life as well as in the dead and dying. From the dead he derives the forces of his thought. In the past, when the forces of his thought were coming forth from the still living macrocosm, they did not provide the foundation for self-conscious humanity. They lived, as growth forces, in a human being who did not yet possess self-consciousness. For themselves, the forces of thought must not have life of their own if they are to provide a basis for the free self-consciousness of man. With the macrocosm whose life has gone out, they for themselves must be the dead shadows of what once was living in the primeval Cosmos.
On the other side man shares in the germinating life of the Earth, from which he has the forces of his will. These forces are indeed life itself, but with his self-consciousness man does not take part in their real nature. Deep down within the human being they radiate into the shadows of his thought. The shadows of thought flow through them, and in the flowing of free thought as it unfolds within the germinating earthly nature, the full and free human self-consciousness enters into man during this age of the Spiritual Soul.
The past throwing its shadows, the future fraught with the germs of a new reality meet in the human being; and their meeting constitutes the human life of present time.
That these things are so, is clearly revealed to the consciousness of the seer the moment he enters that spirit-region which immediately adjoins the physical and in which the active presence of Michael is found.
The life of all this earthly realm becomes clear and transparent when we feel at its foundation the germ of a new Universe. Every single plant and stone appears in a new light to the soul of man when he becomes aware that each of these creations is contributing by its life or by its form to this great fact: that the Earth in its unity is an embryo — the seed of a macrocosm newly rising into life.
One should but try to make the thought of these things fully living in oneself, and one will feel how much it may signify for the human heart and mind.
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (in connection with the foregoing study: What is the Earth in reality within the Macrocosm?)
153. In the beginning of the age of the Spiritual Soul, it became the custom to turn attention to the physically spatial greatness of the Universe. Impressed above all by this immensity of physical appearance, men speak of the Earth as a mere speck of dust within the Universe.
154. To the consciousness of the seer this ‘speck of dust,’ the Earth, is revealed as the germ and beginning of a new-rising Macrocosm, while the old Macrocosm appears as a thing whose life has died away. For the old Macrocosm had to die, that man might sever himself from it with full Self-consciousness.
155. In the cosmic present, man partakes with the Thought forces that make him free, in the dead Macrocosm; and with the Will-forces, whose essence is concealed from him, in the germinating of this Earth-existence — the Macrocosm newly springing into life.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
|"The perceiving of the Idea in existing reality is the true communion of man." —Rudolf Steiner|
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
|"The perceiving of the Idea in existing reality is the true communion of man." —Rudolf Steiner|
"...The effect is specially good when a person has experienced, by way of exercises, the various psychic moods — Occultism, Transcendentalism, Mysticism, Empiricism, Voluntarism, Logicism, Gnosis — so that he can conjure them up in his mind and feel all their effects at once, and can then place all these moods together in the constellation of Phenomenalism, in Virgo. Then there actually comes before him as phenomena, and with a quite special magnificence, that which can be unveiled for him in a remarkable way as the content of his world-picture. When, in the same way, the individual world-outlook-moods are brought one after another in relation to another constellation, then it is not so good. Hence in many ancient Mystery-schools, just this mood, with all the soul-planets standing in the spiritual constellation of Virgo, was induced in the pupils because it was through this that they could most easily fathom the world. They grasped the phenomena, but they grasped them “gnostically”. They were in a position to pass behind the thought-phenomena, but they had no crude experience of the will: that would happen only if the soul-mood of Voluntarism were placed in Scorpio. In short, by means of the constellation given through the world-outlook-moods — the planetary element — and through the nuances connected with the spiritual Zodiac, the world-picture which a person carries with him through a given incarnation is called forth."
|"The perceiving of the Idea in existing reality is the true communion of man." — Ruf Steiner|
Rudolf Steiner: "It is through phenomenology, and not abstract metaphysics, that we attain knowledge of the spirit by consciously observing, by raising to consciousness, what we would otherwise do unconsciously; by observing how through the sense-world spiritual forces enter into our being and work formatively upon it."
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
|Saint Thomas Aquinas|
Thank you, Hazel Archer Ginsberg!
What Is Revealed When One Looks Back into Former Lives Between Death and a New Birth: Part 2 of 2. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #150, #151, #152
In a second period man passes from the realm of the Archai to that of the Archangeloi. With these, however, he is no longer united in so bodily-spiritual a way as he was with the Archai. His union with the Hierarchy of the Archangeloi is more purely spiritual. But it is still so intimate that he cannot yet be said to have been severed in this period from the Divine-Spiritual world.
The Archangeloi Hierarchy gives to man for his etheric body that which corresponds in it to the form in the physical, which he owes to the Archai. The physical body, through its form, is adapted to the Earth in such a way as to become on Earth the vehicle of self-consciousness. In like manner the etheric body is adapted to the extra-earthly cosmic forces and relationships of forces. In the physical body lives the Earth; in the etheric the world of the stars. All the inner forces which man bears within him in such a way that while he is on Earth he does at the same time, in his posture, movement, and gesture, emancipate himself from the Earth, he owes to the creation of the Archangeloi in his etheric body. As the Earth forces are able to live in the physical body through its formation, so in the etheric body there live the forces which stream down on all sides from the encircling Cosmos to the Earth. The Earth-forces living in the physically visible formation of the body are those which make the form of man relatively complete, hard and fast within itself. Subject to a certain metamorphosis, the main outlines of man remain hard and fast throughout his earthly life. His faculties of movement, too, have hardened into permanent habits and the like. In the etheric body, on the other hand, there is perpetual mobility, mirroring the constellations of the stars as they change during the earthly life of man. The etheric body shapes itself even in accordance with the changes in the heavens as between day and night; and it does so also with the changes that take place between the birth and death of the man concerned.
This adaptation of the etheric body to the heavenly forces is not in contradiction to the gradual severance of the starry heavens from the Divine-Spiritual Powers, mentioned in earlier studies. It is true to say that in very ancient times Divine Will and Divine Intelligence were living in the stars, and that in later times the stars passed over into the “calculable”. Through what has now become their finished work, the Gods are no longer working upon man. Nevertheless, through his etheric body man gradually achieves a relationship of his own to the stars, just as he does through his physical body to earthly gravity.
What man incorporates into his nature when at birth he descends from the Spirit-world onto the Earth — namely the etheric body which absorbs the extra-earthly, cosmic forces — is created in this second period by the Hierarchy of the Archangeloi.
One of the essential features which man receives through this Hierarchy is his membership of a group of human beings on the Earth. Humanity is differentiated over the face of the Earth. Looking back into this second period, it is not, however, the present differentiation of races and nations that we find, but a somewhat different — a more spiritual one. It is due to the fact that the starry forces strike the different places of the Earth in varying constellations. For on the Earth itself — in the distribution of land and water, in climate, vegetation and the like — the starry heavens are indeed active. Inasmuch as man must adapt himself to these conditions, which are really there as heavenly conditions on the Earth, such adaptation belongs to his etheric body; and the forming of the latter is a creative work of the choir of Archangeloi.
But now it is just in this second period that the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Powers enter the life of man in a peculiar degree. Their entry is necessary, albeit to begin with it may seem to be driving man beneath the level of his true nature.
If man is to develop self-consciousness in his earthly life, he must get loose from the Divine-Spiritual world from which he originally proceeded, in greater measure than that world itself can bring about. This is what takes place in the time when the Archangeloi are at work upon him. For his union with the Spirit-world is no longer as firm as it was when the Archai were at work upon him. Lucifer and Ahriman are more able to grapple with the spiritual forces proceeding from the Archangeloi than with the stronger forces of the Archai.
The Luciferic Powers permeate the etheric formation of man with a more intense inclination toward the starry world than it would have if the Divine-Spiritual Powers originally united with man were alone at work. The Ahrimanic Powers entwine his physical formation more tightly in the realm of earthly gravity than would have been the case if they were unable to exert their influence.
By this means the seed of full self-consciousness and of free will is planted into man. Much as the Ahrimanic Powers hate free will, in man — by tearing him loose from his Divine Spiritual world — they bring about the germinal beginnings of free will.
To begin with, however, during the second period itself, that which the various Hierarchies from the Seraphim down to the Archangeloi have brought about in man is impressed into his physical and etheric bodies more deeply than would have been possible without the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influence. For without this influence, the working of the Hierarchies would remain more in the astral body and the Ego.
Thus it happened that the more spiritual grouping of mankind over the face of the Earth, which the Archangeloi were striving for, did not take place.
Being pressed down into the physical and etheric body, the spiritual forces are transformed into their opposite. In place of something more spiritual, the differentiation of races and nations comes about.
Without the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influence, human beings on Earth would see themselves differentiated by forces working downwards from the heavens. The different groups would be to one another in their life like beings who willingly, with love, give to one another of the spiritual and receive in turn. In races and nations it is earthly gravity which appears through the human body; in the spiritual groupings a mirrored image of the Divine-Spiritual world would have appeared.
With all this, the beginnings of what afterwards became the full self-consciousness of man had to be implanted in his evolution already at that time. And this meant that — in a mitigated form, it is true, but yet in a certain way — the primeval differentiation of humanity which existed when man passed over from the Hierarchy of the Exusiai to that of the Archai remained preserved.
Man — as it were in a cosmic school — experienced this stage in his evolution, contemplating it with inner feeling. True, he did not yet develop a knowledge of the fact that this was an essential preparation for his subsequent self-consciousness. But his feeling vision of the forces of his evolution at that time was none the less important for the incorporation of self-consciousness into his astral body and his ego.
With respect to Thought, the following took place. By the Luciferic Powers man was informed with the tendency still to immerse himself in the old forms of the Spiritual, instead of adapting himself to the new. Lucifer indeed always has this striving to conserve for man the earlier forms of his life.
By this means human Thinking was evolved. In the life between death and a new birth man gradually developed that faculty which in primeval times had formed the thoughts in him. It was a faculty which at that time could behold the Spiritual, though it was like what is now mere sense perception. For at that time the Physical still carried the Spiritual upon its surface. Today, however, the faculty of thought preserved from that time can only work as restricted sense-perception. Man's power to lift himself in thought to the spiritual world gradually declined. This became fully evident at length when in the age of the Spiritual Soul the spiritual world was veiled for man in complete darkness. Thus in the nineteenth century it came about that the best men of science, unable to become materialists, declared: We have no alternative but to limit our research to that world which can be investigated by measure, number, and weight and by the senses. We have, however, no right to deny a spiritual world, hidden beneath this world of Nature. In such words they indicated that there might be a world full of light, unknown to man, where man can only stare into an empty darkness.
And as Thought in man was misdirected by Lucifer, so was Will by Ahriman. Man's will was endowed with a tendency to a kind of freedom which he should have entered only at a later stage. This freedom is not real; it is but the illusion of freedom. Men lived in this illusion of freedom for a long time, and thereby became unable to evolve the idea of freedom in a truly spiritual way. They vacillated to and fro, between the one opinion and the other: that man is free, or that he is involved in a sphere of rigid necessity. And when with the spiritual Age of Consciousness true freedom came, they were unable to recognize it, because their powers of perception had too long become entangled in the illusion of freedom.
All that had sunk into the being of man during this second stage in the evolution of his lives between death and a new birth, he carried as a cosmic memory into the third, in which he still lives today. In this third stage he is related to the Hierarchy of the Angeloi as in the second to that of the Archangeloi. Only, this relationship to the Angeloi is such that through it the full independent individuality comes into being. For the Angeloi — not the chorus this time, but one Angelos for one human being — restrict themselves to the task of bringing about the right relation of the life between death and a new birth and the life on Earth.
A fact that may seem remarkable to begin with is this. For the individual human being in the second stage in the evolution of his lives between death and a new birth the whole Hierarchy of Archangeloi was working. Afterwards the guidance of nations and tribes becomes the task of this Hierarchy, and there is then one Archangelos as the Folk-Spirit for one nation. In the races the Primal Forces or Archai remain at work. Here again, for one race, one Being of the Hierarchy of the Primal Forces works as the Race-Spirit.
Thus the man of present time contains, in the life between death and a new birth also, the cosmic memory of earlier stages of his life. And in the physical world too, where something of spiritual guidance appears as it does in the races and nations, this cosmic memory is most distinctly present.
(New Year, 1925)
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (with respect to the foregoing study [Part two]: What is revealed when one looks back into former Lives between Death and a new Birth?)
150. In a second period of evolution of the lives between death and a new birth, man entered the domain of the Archangeloi. The seed of his later conscious Selfhood — prepared for, in the first period, in the forming of the human figure — was now implanted in the nature of his soul.
151. During this second period he was driven by Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences more deeply into the physical than would have happened without their intervention.
152. In the third period, man enters the domain of the Angeloi, who only wield their influence, however, in the astral body and the ego. This third period is the present; but what took place in the two former ones still lives on in human evolution and explains the fact that in the nineteenth century — within the age of the Spiritual Soul — man stared into the spiritual world as into vacant darkness.
Monday, January 27, 2014
What Is Revealed When One Looks Back into Former Lives Between Death and a New Birth: Part 1 of 2. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #147, #148, #149
In our last study we followed human life as a whole by turning our attention to the successive lives on Earth. The second point of view, which can throw still more light upon what was revealed by the first, is yielded when we consider the successive lives between death and new birth.
Here also we see that the content of these lives, such as they are at the present time, goes back only to a certain point of time in earthly evolution. Their content is determined by the circumstance that man carries with him through the gate of death the inward power of self-consciousness gained in earthly life. This also enables him to confront as an individual the Divine-Spiritual Beings into whose presence he comes.
This was not the case in a preceding period. At that time man had not yet progressed very far in the unfolding of his self-consciousness. The power gained on Earth was insufficient to detach him from the Divine-Spiritual Beings and so give him individual existence between death and new birth. Not that man was then within the Divine-Spiritual Beings, but he was within their sphere of influence, so that his will was essentially their will, not his own.
Before this period there lies another in which, as we look back, we do not meet with man in his present constitution of soul and spirit at all, but we find a world of Divine Spiritual Beings within whom man only exists germinally. These Beings are the Primal Forces, the Archai.
And indeed, if we trace back the life of one human being, we find not one Divine-Spiritual Being but all the Beings that belong to this Hierarchy.
In these Divine-Spiritual Beings lives the will that man shall be. The will of all these Beings plays a part in the ‘becoming’ of each single human being. The cosmic aim of their harmonious cooperation is the production of the human form; for man is still without form in the Divine-Spiritual World.
It may seem strange that the whole choir of Divine Spiritual Beings should work for a single human being. But the Hierarchies of the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim also worked in this way at a still earlier stage throughout the Moon, Sun, and Saturn evolutions, in order that man might come into being.
What had previously originated as a kind of pre-human being on Saturn, Sun, and Moon had no uniform shape. Some of these pre-human beings were chiefly organized with respect to the limbs-system, others with respect to the breast-system, others again with respect to the head-system. These were actual human beings; we describe them here as pre-human only in order to distinguish them from the later stage, when the union of all these systems appears in the human form. The differentiation among them goes even further, for we may speak of heart-men, lung-men, etc.
The Hierarchy of the Primal Forces considered it their task to lead into the general human form all these pre-human beings, whose soul-life also corresponded to their one-sided formation. They took over Man from the hands of the Exusiai. The latter had already in thought created unity out of the human multiplicity; but among the Exusiai this unity was still an ideal form, a World-thought-form. Out of this the Archai moulded the etheric form, and this form already contained the forces which made it possible for the physical shape to originate.
When we observe these things a stupendous fact is revealed, viz., that man is the ideal and aim of Gods. But this vision cannot be for man the source of vanity and pride; for he may only reckon, as coming from himself, what he has with full self-consciousness made out of himself during earthly life. And, expressed in cosmic proportions, this is little as compared with that foundation for his individual being which the Gods have created out of the macrocosm, which they themselves are, as the microcosm, which he is. The Divine Spiritual Beings confront one another in the Cosmos. The visible expression of this fact is the form of the starry heavens. They wished to create in a unity as Man all that they themselves are as a choir.
In order really to understand what the whole choir of the Hierarchy of the Archai accomplished when they created the human form, we must remember that there is a very great difference between this form and the physical body of man. The physical body is made up of the physical and chemical processes in man. These processes take place in the present human being within the human form. But this form itself is something that is altogether spiritual. It ought to fill us with solemn feelings when, on looking at the human form, we realize that with physical senses we are perceiving in the physical world something that is spiritual. For one who is able to see spiritually it is really the case that in the human form he sees a true Imagination which has descended into the physical world. If we wish to see Imaginations we must pass from the physical world to the neighboring spiritual world, and then we realize how the human form is related to these Imaginations.
When with the inner vision of the soul man looks back over the lives between death and a new birth he finds a first period during which this human form originated. And at the same time the deeper relation that exists between man and the Hierarchy of the Archai is revealed.
During this period there is just an indication of the difference between earthly life and the life between death and new birth. For the Hierarchy of the Archai works in rhythmical epochs at the development of the human form. In one period of their work the Archai direct the thoughts which guide their several wills more toward the Cosmos beyond the Earth; at another time they look down to the Earth. And out of the cooperation of what is aroused from the Cosmos and from the Earth the human form is developed, which is thus the expression of the fact that man is an Earth-being and at the same time an extra-earthly, cosmic being.
But the human form, here described as the creation of the Hierarchy of the Archai, comprises not merely the external outline of man and the formation of the surface as it is determined by the limit of the skin, but also the formation of the forces contained in his carriage, in his power of movement, which is adapted to the conditions on the Earth, and in the capacity to use his body as a means whereby to express his inner being.
It is owing to this creative work of the Hierarchy of the Archai that man is able to assume his upright position within the earthly conditions of gravity, that within these conditions he can maintain his balance while moving freely, that he can liberate his arms and hands from the force of gravity and use them freely — all this he owes to the Archai, in addition to much more that lies within him and yet has form. All this is prepared during the life which may also for this period be called the life between death and a new birth. It is here prepared in such a manner that, in the third period, at the present time, man is himself able, during his life between death and a new birth, to work at this form for his earthly existence.
(New Year, 1925)
Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society (in connection with the foregoing study: What is revealed when one looks back into former lives between death and a new birth?)
147. Man's lives between death and a new birth also show three distinct periods. In the first of these, he lived entirely within the Hierarchy of the Archai, who prepared, for the physical world, the human form and figure which he was afterwards to bear.
148. Thus the Archai prepared the human being subsequently to unfold the free Self-consciousness. For this Self-consciousness can only evolve in beings who can show it forth, in the form and figure which was here created, out of an inner impulse of the soul.
149. In this we see how qualities and powers of Mankind, becoming manifest in the present cosmic age, were laid down in germ in ages long gone by. We see how the Microcosm grows out of the Macrocosm.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
“I see the path of progress for modern man in his occupation with his own self, with his inner being, as indicated by Rudolf Steiner.” —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.
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 or 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.
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an 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, remembered 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 flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
|"The perceiving of the Idea in existing reality is the true communion of man." — Rudolf Steiner|
Rudolf Steiner: "The intellect alone can give us no real knowledge of what has really come to pass in the life of humanity through the ages. A great and far-reaching metamorphosis took place in man's life of soul and must never be forgotten when we are studying the course of evolution. We who have been living in the era of the development of the Consciousness Soul since the beginning of the fifteenth century have in our inner, intellectual activity, only a shadowy reflection of the spirituality which pervaded the life of the mind in the fourth Post-Atlantean period of civilization. And the task before us is to awaken a faculty of the soul which will quicken in this shadowy intellect of ours a living understanding of the universe. The shadow-intellect that is characteristic of all modern culture has fettered man to the Earth. He has eyes only for earthly things, particularly when he allows himself to be influenced by the claims of modern science. In our age it never occurs to man that his being belongs not to the Earth alone, but to the Cosmos beyond the Earth. Knowledge of our connection with the Cosmos beyond the Earth — that is what we need above all to make our own....The task before us is to begin once again to realize and understand the connection of the being of man with super-earthly existence."
Illustration: Thank you, John Barnwell!
Saturday, January 25, 2014
|"The Eternal Feminine leads us ever upward." — Goethe|
Today is the birthday of Robert Burns.
"When asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration, American singer songwriter Bob Dylan selected Burns' 1794 song A Red, Red Rose, as the lyrics that have had the biggest effect on his life." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Red,_Red_Rose
O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
|Ex Deo Nascimur In Christo Morimur Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus|
"A spirit of reverence for the ancient cultures pervades us when we see deeper into them and rediscover, for example, that the purpose of the Mithras cult was to enable the priest, by penetrating the secrets of the seasons' cycle, to tell the members of his community what should be done on each day of the year. The Mithras cult served to elicit from the heavens the knowledge of what should take place on Earth. How infinitely greater is the enthusiasm, the incentive, for what must be done on Earth if a man feels himself to be active in such a way that into his activity there flow the impulses deciphered from the great cosmic script he had read in the universe; that he made such knowledge his starting point and employed the resulting impulses in the ordinary affairs of daily life! However little this may accord with our modern concepts — naturally it does not — it was good and right according to the old ones. But in making this reservation we must clearly understand what it means to read in the universe what should be done in the lives of men on Earth, thereby knowing ourself to be one with the divine in us — as over against debating the needs of the social life in the vein of Adam Smith or Karl Marx. Only one who can visualize this contrast is able to see clearly into the nature of the new impulses demanded by the social life of our time. This foundation alone can induce the right frame of mind for letting our cognition pass from the Earth out into cosmic space: instead of abstractly calculating and computing and using a spectroscope, which is the common method when looking up to Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and so on, we thereby employ the means comprised in imagination, inspiration, and intuition."
"Ego and Sun are the inner and the outer aspects of the same being. What orbits out there through space as the Sun is the cosmic I. What lives within me is the human I."
A lecture given by Rudolf Steiner at Dornach, Switzerland, May 5, 1921:
The civilisation of the fourth Post-Atlantean epoch — the period of the development of the Mind Soul in humanity — was directed from the Greek Mysteries. In other words: the indications upon which the culture of the human mind was based issued from the Mystery-Sanctuaries which existed here and there in Asia Minor and Southern Europe. Now the secret of man's connection with the Sun was an essential part of these Mystery-teachings. From the book “Theosophy” we know that the Ego lights up within the Intellectual or Mind Soul and enters into possession of its full, inner force during the age of Consciousness, or Spiritual Soul.
Now because the Ego of man was destined from a certain point of view to be awakened during the age of the culture of the mind or intellect, it was quite natural that the Mysteries of that age should have been concerned with the secrets of the Sun and their connection with the human Ego. In the book “Riddles of Philosophy” it is said that the Greek's life of thought consisted in an actual perceiving of the outer world. The Greek's thought was at the same time a perception, just as we today have a perception of colours or sounds. The thoughts and conceptions of the Greek were not brought into being merely by inner activity of the soul, but they were born as it were from the objects themselves. In this respect Goethe's thinking undoubtedly possessed qualities in common with Greek thought. This is quite clear from his famous conversation with Schiller. Schiller stated that Goethe's conceptions were not perceptions, but ideas, and to this Goethe retorted that he actually saw his ideas before him, that he perceived them objectively.
The life of thought in Greece was associated with a very definite inner experience which arose when men looked at the world around them. They regarded the substance of the ideas which thus lit up before them as being the creation of the Sun. With the rising Sun they beheld the appearance in space of the life of ideas, and this life of ideas passed away again with the setting Sun. Men have now quite lost the faculty of perceiving and experiencing spirituality in the world around them. When the Sun rises they see only the phenomena of light and colour which there appear. And it is the same when the Sun sets in the red glow of evening. The Greeks felt that the world of ideas came to them at sunrise and passed away from them at sunset. They felt that in the darkness of the night they were bereft of the world of ideas. And when they looked at the sky, which seems to us to be blue, but for the colour of which the Greeks used a word which simply meant “darkness”, they felt that their world of ideas came to an end at the boundaries of visible space. Beyond this world of space the Greek divined the existence of other worlds — the worlds of the thoughts of the Gods, which he connected with light. These worlds seemed to him to be concentrated in the living Sun, and to withdraw during the night into the spaces of the dark firmament. Without some insight into this entirely different world of perception and experience, we cannot understand the further evolution of man's life of soul. This faculty of inwardly living perception functioned for a certain period of time, but then the most advanced representatives of the human race, those who still received their training in the Greek Mysteries, began to feel that their power to perceive the spiritual radiations from the living Sun in cosmic space was waning, and they saw salvation in the Mystery of Golgotha, inasmuch as the impulse coming from the Mystery of Golgotha made it possible for them to rekindle the light within their own being. And they tried now to experience the light by entering in spirit into the events connected with the Mystery of Golgotha.
Now the intellect alone can give us no real knowledge of what has really come to pass in the life of humanity through the ages. A great and far-reaching metamorphosis took place in man's life of soul and must never be forgotten when we are studying the course of evolution. We who have been living in the era of the development of the Consciousness Soul since the beginning of the fifteenth century have in our inner, intellectual activity, only a shadowy reflection of the spirituality which pervaded the life of the mind in the fourth Post-Atlantean period of civilisation. And the task before us is to awaken a faculty of the soul which will quicken in this shadowy intellect of ours a living understanding of the universe. The shadow-intellect that is characteristic of all modern culture has fettered man to the Earth. He has eyes only for earthly things, particularly when he allows himself to be influenced by the claims of modern science. In our age it never occurs to man that his being belongs, not to the Earth alone, but to the Cosmos beyond the Earth. Knowledge of our connection with the Cosmos beyond the Earth — that is what we need above all to make our own.
We take earthly life today as the basis of our ideas and concepts and build up a conception of the Universe in line with the conditions of this earthly life. But the picture of the Universe thus arising has been evolved by simply transferring earthly conditions to the world beyond the Earth. By means of spectro-analysis and other methods — admirable as they are in their way — a conception of the Sun has grown up which is really modelled wholly upon earthly conditions. Everyone is familiar with the appearance of luminous, incandescent gas, and this picture is then transferred to the Sun in the heavens. But we must learn to think of the Sun in the light of Spiritual Science. The Sun which the physicist believes to be a luminous body of gas out in cosmic space is spiritual through and through. The Sun receives the cosmic light and radiates it to the Earth, but the Sun is not physical at all. It is spiritual in its whole nature and being. The Greek was right when he felt that the Sun was connected with the development of his Ego, for the development of the Ego is associated with the intelligence and the faculty of forming ideas. The Greek conceived the rays of the Sun to be the power which kindled and quickened his Ego. His was still aware of the spirituality of the Cosmos, and to him the Sun was a living being, related to the human Ego in an absolutely concrete way. When a man says ‘ I ’ to himself, he experiences a force that is working within him, and the Greek, as he felt the working of this inner force, related it to the Sun. The Greek said to himself: Sun and Ego are the outer and inner aspects of one and the same being. The Sun out there in space is the Cosmic Ego. What lives within me is the human Ego.
As a matter of fact, this experience still comes to those who have a deeper feeling for Nature. The experience is not nearly as vivid as it was in the days of Greece, but for all that it is still possible to become aware of the spiritual forces indwelling the rays of the Sun in springtime. There are people here and there who feel that the Ego is imbued with a new vigour when the rays of the Sun begin to shine down upon the Earth with greater strength. But this is a last faint echo, an outward shell of an experience that is dying out altogether in the abstract, shadowy intellectualism prevalent in every branch of civilised life today. The task before us is to begin once again to realise and understand the connection of the being of man with super-earthly existence.
If we study and compare many things that are to be found in anthroposophical literature, we shall be able to understand the way in which the Sun is related to the Ego, and we shall also realise that the forces which stream down to the Earth from the Sun and from the Moon are entirely different in character and function. In a certain respect, Sun and Moon stand in polar antithesis. The forces streaming from the Sun enable the human being to become the bearer of an Ego. We owe to the rays of the Sun the power which moulds the human form into an image of the Ego. The forces which determine the human form from outside, even during the period of embryonic life, are the active forces of the Sun. While the embryo is developing in the mother's body, a great deal more is happening than modern science dreams of. Modern science is of the opinion that the forces all originate from the fertilised germ, but the truth is that the human embryo merely rests there in the body of the mother and is given form by the Sun forces. These Sun forces are, of course, associated with the Moon forces which are also working but in a different way. The Moon forces work above all in the inner, metabolic processes. We may therefore say: the Sun forces give form to the human being from outside. The Moon forces radiate outwards from within the metabolic process; they are centrifugal forces. This does not contradict the fact that these Moon forces are working, for instance, in the shaping and moulding of the human countenance. The Moon forces stream out from a centre in the metabolic system and work as it were by attraction upon the forming of the human face, differentiating the features, but there is an interplay between these Moon forces and the Sun forces. The organism that is connected with procreation is subject to the Sun forces. The whole being of man is involved in this way in the interplay between the forces of the Sun and the forces of the Moon.
A distinction must be made, however, between the Moon forces that work in the inner processes of metabolism in man, and the forces that originate in the metabolic processes itself. The Moon forces stream into the metabolic process, but this metabolic process has forces of its own as well. And these are earthly forces. The substances and forces in the vegetable and other foodstuffs work in the human being by virtue of their own inherent nature. They work here as Earth forces. Metabolism is primarily an outcome of the working of Earth forces. If the substances of the foodstuffs were merely to unfold their own forces within the human organism, there would be nothing but a chaotic play of forces in man. The fact that these forces work without intermission to renew and upbuild the being of man, is due not to the Earth at all, but to the Moon. The human being is shaped from within outwards by the Moon, and from without inwards by the Sun. Because the rays of the Sun are received through the eye into the head-organisation. The Sun forces work within the organism as well, but for all that they are still working from outside.
And so on the one hand the development and evolution of the Ego of man is dependent upon the forces of the Sun. Without the Sun, man could not be an Ego being living on the Earth; on the other hand there could be no such thing as propagation, there could be no human race without the Moon. It is the Sun which places man as an individual on the Earth, and it is the Moon that charms down the human race to Earth — the human race conceived here as one whole. The human race as the physical product of the generations is a product of the Moon forces which have worked in the generative process. As an individuality, however, man is the product of the Sun forces.
If, therefore, we want to understand the human being and the human race as a whole, we cannot do so by studying merely those conditions which obtain on the Earth alone. The efforts of geologists to understand the being of man by investigating the nature of the Earth are all in vain. Man is not primarily a creation of the Earth. He receives his shape and form from the Cosmos; he is an offspring of the world of the stars, above all of Sun and Moon. From the Earth are derived only those forces which are contained in the substances of the Earth. These forces work outside the human being and also within him when they are introduced into his organism either through eating or drinking. But within the organism they are received into the realm of forces of a super-earthly nature.
The processes that take place within the human being are by no means an affair of the Earth alone. They are through and through an affair of the world of stars. This is the kind of knowledge that we must struggle to reach once more.
Think of the human being as he stands there before us in his physical body. This physical body takes in the foodstuffs from the outer world and the forces of the foodstuffs continue to work within the body. But the physical body is permeated by the astral body and in the astral body the Moon forces are actively at work. The Sun forces too play into the astral body. The etheric body is there in the middle, between physical and astral body.
When we study the forces of foodstuffs, we find that, to begin with, they are active in the physical body and are then taken hold of by the astral body in which the influence of Sun and Moon are working. But between the physical body and astral body the etheric body is fulfilling its functions. The forces in the etheric body come, not from the Earth but from all directions of cosmic space. The products of the Earth, the substances which exist in the solid liquid or aeriform condition, are taken in by the human being and worked upon by the forces of Sun and Moon. But forces streaming in from all directions of cosmic space are also working in the human organism. The forces contained in the foodstuffs themselves come from the Earth, but from cosmic space the etheric forces stream in. These etheric forces also take hold of the foodstuffs and work upon them in such a way that they become inwardly responsive to light and also to warmth. We say, therefore: the human being is part of the Earth because he has a physical body. His etheric body relates him to the whole environment of the Earth. Through his astral body he is involved in the weaving forces of Sun and Moon.
Now these influences of the Sun and Moon in the astral body are modified and differentiated in a high degree as they work upon the ‘upper’ man. By ‘upper’ man I mean, in this case, the part of the organism that is encircled and permeated by the bloodstream which passed upwards from the heart in the direction of the head. The ‘lower’ man, then, comprises the other part of the organism — that part which lies below the heart.
Thus we have the upper part of man, including the head and everything that is organically connected with the head. The formation of this part of the organism is dependent, mainly, upon the Sun's influences. Its most important period of development is during embryonic life. The Sun's influences work upon the embryo in a very special way, but these influences continue to be active when the human being is born and is living in the physical world between birth and death. The astral influences working upon that part of the human organism which lies above the heart — speaking very roughly, for it would be necessary to go into more precise detail if we were describing the blood circulation — these astral influences are then modified by the influences of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.
The planet Saturn circles round the Sun and sends forces to the Earth. These forces of Saturn work in the whole astral body of man, but above all in the part of the astral body which corresponds to the ‘upper’ man. They stream into the astral body, pervade it, and are the essential factor in bringing about a proper connection between the astral body and the physical body. When, for instance, a man cannot sleep properly, that is to say, when his astral body will not leave or come down again properly into his etheric and physical bodies or in some other way is not rightly connected with the physical body — this is due to an irregularity in the working of the Saturn forces. In other words, Saturn is the heavenly body which, by way of the human head, promotes and is responsible for setting up the proper relation of man's astral body to his etheric body and his physical body. And it is the Saturn forces too which mediate the connection of the astral body to the Ego, because of Saturn's relation to the Sun. Saturn's relation to the Sun is expressed in space and time inasmuch as Saturn accomplishes its orbit around the Sun in a period of thirty years.
In the human being, the relationship of Saturn to the Sun is expressed in the connection of the Ego with the astral body and in the way in which the astral body is membered into the whole human organism. The connection of Saturn with the upper part of the astral body was regarded as a factor of great importance in ancient times. In the Egypto-Chaldean period, three or four thousand years before the Mystery of Golgotha, the Teachers and Sages of the Mysteries judged a human being according to his relation to Saturn — which was revealed by the date and time of his birth. For these Sages knew quite well that the position of Saturn in the heavens at the time of man's birth enabled his astral body either to function regularly or irregularly in his physical body. Knowledge of these influences played a very important part in olden days. But the onward progress of evolution is denoted precisely by the fact that in our age, which, as you know, began in the fifteenth century, we have to become free of these forces and influences.
Please do not misunderstand me This does not mean that Saturn is not working in us nowadays. Naturally the Saturn forces work in us, just as they worked in the Ancients, but we must now learn to make ourselves free and independent of them. And do you know how we can make ourselves free? Nothing is worse than to give oneself over to the shadowy intellectualism of our age. If we do that, the Saturn forces run riot within us and
give rise to the so-called nervous troubles that are so very prevalent in our time. When a man suffers from ‘nerves’ as we say, it is because his astral body is not properly connected with his physical organisation. This lies at the basis of the morbid nervous symptoms which are so common nowadays. Our striving should be to unfold real vision, to attain Imagination. If man can achieve nothing better than the forming of abstract concepts and ideas, nervous symptoms are bound to increase in severity, because this intellectual activity tends to alienate him from the influences of Saturn, which are still at work within his being. His astral body will be torn away from his nerves, and he will be driven more and more into a state of nervous tension and excitability. The nervous complaints of our age must be recognised in their cosmic aspect, for they are caused by an irregular working of the Saturn forces.
Just as Saturn works chiefly in the upper part of the astral body and in the whole astral body inasmuch as the astral body is connected with the organism as a whole through the nervous system, so is Jupiter active in thinking.
When a man thinks, one part of his astral body is active. It is pre-eminently the Jupiter forces in the astral body which strengthen the thinking faculty, and Jupiter is responsible for permeating the human brain with astral forces.
Now the influences of Saturn continue throughout the whole of man's life. The beginning of a human life may really be said to consist of the first three periods of ten years. This is the period of growth, for as a matter of fact the activity of the growth forces does not wholly cease until after the thirtieth year. And our whole life and our health depend on how our astral body has developed during the thirty years. Saturn needs thirty years to complete its orbit around the Sun and this has its exact parallel in the life of man.
The development of the faculty of thinking takes place essentially during the first twelve years of life. Again we find the parallelism in the orbit of the planet Jupiter.
Just as Jupiter has to do with thinking, so has Mars to do with speech.
Saturn: upper part of the astral body as a whole.
Mars works upon a still smaller part of the astral body than that with which Jupiter is concerned in connection with the thinking of man. And the development of the forces which finally express themselves in speech, is dependent upon the working of Mars within our being. Man learns to utter the first sounds of speech in a period which corresponds approximately to half the time required by Mars to complete its orbit around the Sun.
We see, then, that the development of faculties situated primarily in the region of the human head is connected with the Saturn forces, the Jupiter forces, and the Mars forces. The forces of the three outer planets, therefore, work on within the astral body through the life of man. The Sun is connected more directly with the Ego, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are concerned respectively with the behaviour and functioning of the astral body in the human organism, with the faculty of thinking and with the faculty of speaking.
The Sun is connected with the Ego. And then we come to the inner planets, as they are sometimes called, the planets which are nearer the Earth and lie between the Earth and the Sun, whereas Saturn, Jupiter and Mars lie on the other side of the Sun. The forces of these inner planets are likewise connected with the being of man. We will take Mercury to begin with.
Like the Moon, the centre, from which the Mercury forces work, lies in the inner being of man, and it is only in connection with the forming of the human countenance that Mercury works from outside. The Mercury forces work in the part of the human organism that lies below the region of the heart. From there these Mercury forces stream into the human organism. The working of the astral body in the breathing and circulatory functions of the human organism is regulated by Mercury. Mercury acts as the intermediary between the astral body and the rhythmic processes in the being of man. The Mercury forces act as the intermediary between the astral body and the rhythmic functions in the human organism. Because this is so, the Mercury forces intervene, as do the Moon forces, in the metabolic processes as a whole, but only in so far as the metabolic process is subject to rhythm and reacts in turn upon the rhythmic functions.
We come next to Venus. Venus works pre-eminently in the etheric body of man. The cosmic forces chiefly active in the etheric body, therefore, are those of Venus.
Then we come again to the Moon. The Moon forces in the human organism work in polar antithesis to the Sun forces. From within outwards the Moon forces lead substance over into the realm of the living and are therefore connected with procreation. The Moon stimulates not only the inner, reproductive processes of the organism, but the procreative process as well. Thus we have:
Saturn: upper part of the astral body as a whole.
Mercury: intermediary between the astral body and the rhythmic functions in the organism.
Venus: activity of the etheric body.
Moon: stimulates reproduction.
You see now in what way processes in the human organism are dependent upon the Cosmos. On the one side man is bound up with the earthly forces through his physical body. And on the other side he is bound up with his whole cosmic environment through the etheric body. The cosmic forces, however, work in different ways in his being as we have heard. This differentiation originates in the astral body in which the forces of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon are contained. By way of the Ego, the Sun works in man. Suppose that as the result of his earlier incarnations a man has within his being forces which predestine him to be a thinker in the earthly life upon which he is entering. He prepares for his descent to the Earth and — since Jupiter takes a definite time to complete his orbit — he will choose a moment for his birth when the rays of Jupiter pour directly down upon him.
In this way the heavenly constellations provide conditions into which a human being may be born — conditions which are determined by his previous earthly lives.
In the age of the Consciousness Soul, of course, it is the task of man gradually to make himself free of these conditions. But he must free himself from them in the right way.
In speaking of the Saturn influences, I said that it is a question of trying to replace shadowy intellectualism by real Imagination. In the book “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds” indications are given which, if they are followed, can make us independent of the cosmic forces, although none the less these cosmic forces continue to work in our being.
Man is born on Earth into conditions determined by a constellation in the heavens, but he must equip himself with forces which make him independent of this constellation. It is to this kind of knowledge — a knowledge of man's connection with the Cosmos beyond the Earth — that our civilisation must attain. Man must learn to realise that the forces of heredity described by modern science are not the only forces at work in his organism. To imagine such a thing, my dear friends, is the purest nonsense. It is pure nonsense to think that the maternal organism contains those forces which are then transmitted by heredity and so build up a heart, a liver and the other organs. There would be no heart in the human organism if the Sun did not build it into the organism of man, neither would there be a liver if Venus did not place it into the organism. And so it is with each single organ. Their presence in the human organism is due to the working of cosmic forces.
These are the things that humanity must once again learn to understand. Man must realise that the mysteries of his being cannot be explained by a science which deals merely with earthly phenomena. Around man live other creatures — and they too are not merely creatures of the Earth. It appears, to begin with, as if the minerals were entirely earthly in their nature. But in the minerals, too, changes have taken place which were due to the forces working in the cosmic environment of the Earth. The crystallised forms of the metals are all due to the play of forces from beyond the Earth. The metals were given shape and form at a time when the Earth's forces were not yet working in their full strength, but when cosmic forces were working in the Earth. The healing forces contained in the minerals, above all in the metals, are connected with the way in which these metals were formed within the Earth by the working of cosmic forces.
In the first epoch of Post-Atlantean times, when the ancient Indian civilisation was at its prime, man felt and knew himself to be a citizen of the whole wide universe. Although he had not yet developed the forces which modern humanity is so proud to possess, he was in the true sense of the word, MAN. By the time of the Chaldean epoch, however, man's attention had already begun to be diverted from the Sun. He had become a kind of amphibian — a creature who is thankful when the rays of the Sun pour down upon it, and when it need not always be confined to its dark burrows in the ground. But in our time one cannot say that man even resembles a creature like the mole, for he is really much more like an earthworm who has eyes at most for what has first been sent out into space from the Earth and comes back again as rain. This is really all that men see in the way of forces from beyond the Earth. But this the earthworms also see! In his materialism today man has become an earthworm. He must rise above this earth state, but he can only do so by realising and knowing his connection with the Cosmos beyond the Earth.
Our task therefore, is to raise ourselves above the earthworm state into which our civilisation has fallen, and bring a new spiritual life into being.