"The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Rudolf Steiner: "Let us look at the bird in the air — the eagle, let us say, in his majestic flight — upon whom, as though by an outer gift of grace, the rays of the Sun and their action bestowed his plumage, bestowed his horny beak — let us look at this eagle as he flies in the air. Certain forces work upon him there. The Sun does not only possess the physical forces of light and warmth of which we usually speak. When I described the Druid Mysteries to you, I drew your attention to the fact that spiritual forces too emanate from the Sun. It is these forces which give to the different species of birds their variegated colors, the special formation of their plumage. When we penetrate with spiritual perception into the nature of the Sun's working, we understand why the eagle has his particular plumage, and when we deepen our contemplation of this being of the eagle, when we develop an inner, artistic comprehension of nature which contains the spiritual within it, when we can perceive how formative forces work out of the impulses of the Sun — strengthened by other impulses of which I shall speak later — when we see how the Sun-impulses stream down over the eagle even before he has emerged from the egg, how they conjure forth the plumage, or, to be more exact, how they conjure it into his fleshy form, then we can ask ourselves: What is the significance of all this for man? The significance of this for man is that it is what makes his brain into the bearer of thoughts. And you have the right insight into the macrocosm, into Great Nature, when you so regard the eagle that you say: The eagle has his plumage, his bright, many-colored feathers; in these lives the self-same force which lives in you in that you make your brain into the bearer of thoughts. What makes the convolutions of your brain? What makes your brain capable of taking up that inner salt-force which is the basis of thinking? What really enables your brain to make a thinker of you? It is the same force which gives his feathers to the eagle in the air. Thus we feel ourselves related to the eagle through the fact that we think: we feel the human substitute for the eagle's plumage within us. Our thoughts flow out from the brain in the same way as the feathers stream out from the eagle." -- October 19, 1923
Edward Schuré on first meeting Rudolf Steiner: "I shall never forget the extraordinary impression made upon me by this man when he entered the room. As I looked at that thin, powerful face, at the black mysterious eyes flashing light as if from unfathomable depths, it struck me that for the first time in my life I was facing one of those supreme seers who have direct vision of the great beyond."