Saturday, October 16, 2021

no nonsense


no  no
nse nse

Emily Dickinson: "Anthroposophia"

Given in Marriage unto Thee
Oh thou Celestial Host -
Bride of the Father and the Son
Bride of the Holy Ghost.

Other Betrothal shall dissolve -
Wedlock of Will, decay -
Only the Keeper of this Ring
Conquer Mortality - 

The Holy Grail; King Arthur's Round Table; Parsival and Amfortas; Saelde


The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity. Lecture 4 of 4
Rudolf Steiner, February 7, 1913:

In the last lecture we spoke of the experiences of the human soul in relation to the Mystery principles of ancient times, the Eastern and Egyptian Mysteries. In a certain sense this brought us to the last step in the stages of initiation, for in the first lecture we described as characteristic of the nature of all Mysteries these four steps: Approach to the Boundary of Death; Becoming acquainted with the Life of the Elementary World; Beholding the Sun at Midnight; Standing before the Upper and the Lower Gods.
This Standing before the Upper and the Lower Gods comes about when the aspirant has to apprehend the forces which rule everything that belongs to the physical side of man, the part which remains behind in sleep as physical and etheric body — here we have to do with the Lower Gods in the widest sense of the word. We have to speak of the Upper Gods in relation to all the forces which are concerned with the innermost being of man; with that which passes through the various incarnations, the ego and the astral body.
In the preceding lectures I was able to describe the experiences of a modern man, acquainted with the nature of the Mysteries, when he looks back in the Akashic Record at the experiences undergone by human souls within the Mysteries of ancient times. We had to point to the tragic impression made on Egyptian souls when in the course of their initiation they came face to face with the changes that had affected the Cosmic Power known as Isis in the Egyptian Mysteries. From the Osiris legend we learn that the spouse of Isis was overcome by the enemy and torn away from her. But we have also come to know the results in the higher worlds of this changed situation in the life of Isis. The soul which in later Egyptian times had raised itself into spiritual worlds became a participant in the fate of Osiris, the God who was dying to the higher worlds and descending into the earthly region. For that is how it was experienced.
Now, it is extraordinarily difficult to speak in ideas and concepts concerning the further development of this “fate of Gods”. But since we have become accustomed to bring in pictures as a help in connection with the most intimate things of the higher worlds, where our ordinary speech, which has already become so secular, fails us, let us express in a readily understandable picture something that is to form, as it were, the leit-motif of the exposition to be given today.
Let us enter into the tragic mood of one about to be initiated during the Egyptian epoch. We transpose ourselves into this mood and find that it originated from experiences that the aspirant could express only by saying to himself: “Formerly, when I entered the spiritual worlds, I found Osiris permeating cosmic space with the Creative Word and its meaning, which represent the ground-forces of all being and development. Now the Word has become mute and silent. The God who was called Osiris has forsaken these realms. He is preparing to penetrate into other regions; he has descended into the Earth-region in order to enter into the souls of men.”
The Being who had been known spiritually to human souls in earlier days first became manifest in physical life when Moses heard in the physical world the Voice that in earlier ages had been heard only in the spiritual worlds: “Ejeh asher Ejeh!” — “I AM THE I AM, Who was, and is, and will be”. And then this Being who, as the Creative Word, had gradually become lost to the experience of the candidate for initiation, transferred His life into the Earth-region so that He could gradually come to life again in the souls of earthly men; and in this new life, rising to ever higher and higher glory, would consist the further development of the Earth, even to the end of the Earth-evolution.
Let us try to transport ourselves as vividly as we can into the frame of mind of one of these candidates, and realize how in the spiritual regions to which he could first attain he felt the Creative Word disappearing, sinking down into the Earth-region and becoming lost to spiritual sight. Let us follow the evolution of the Earth, and we shall see that for spiritual sight this Creative Word now goes forward somewhat as a stream which has been on the surface and then disappears for a certain time below the Earth's surface, in order to reappear later at another place. And so there reappeared That which the souls who were being initiated in the later Egyptian Mysteries had seen sinking tragically out of sight. It reappeared, and could be looked upon by those in later times who were permitted to participate in the Mysteries. And they had to bring into the picture what they could see arising again, but arising now in such a way that henceforward it belonged to Earth-evolution.
How did That reappear which had become submerged in ancient Egypt? It reappeared in such a way that it became visible in the Holy Vessel which is spoken of as the “Holy Grail”, guarded by the Knights of the Holy Grail. In the rise of the Holy Grail can be found That which had sunk down in ancient Egypt, and in this arising of the Holy Grail there stands before us everything that went into the post-Christian renewal of the principle of the ancient Mysteries. Fundamentally speaking, the phrase the “Holy Grail”, with all that belongs to it, involves a reappearing of the essence of the Eastern Mysteries.
Everything that appears at a certain time in the evolution of humanity, in order to bring this evolution forward, must include a kind of repetition of what has gone before. In every later epoch the earlier experiences of humanity must appear again, but in a fresh form. We know that in the third post-Atlantean epoch the emphasis was on the Sentient Soul; in the fourth, the Graeco-Latin epoch, it was on the Intellectual Soul, and the development of the Consciousness Soul is the special task of our own epoch, the fifth. For the candidate for initiation all these things are important, because in a given epoch the most important forces of initiation must proceed from the soul-principle which is specially connected with that epoch. The Egyptian initiation was connected with the Sentient Soul; the Graeco-Latin initiation with the Intellectual Soul; and the initiation of the fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch must be connected with the Consciousness Soul. But in the dawn of this fifth epoch there must also be a repetition of what the Initiates once went through out of the forces of the Sentient Soul; and equally a repetition of what was gone through in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch. Then something is added, something new which must come from the Consciousness Soul to provide supporting forces for the candidate. Hence the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, with its special emphasis on the arising of the new initiation, must have centers where there can be recalled to human souls the secrets poured into human evolution through the Egyptian-Chaldaic soul, and the secrets poured out in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, the Graeco-Latin time, during which the Mystery of Golgotha took place. And to that must be added a new element.
As in earlier ages, so also in this later age, that which was enacted in the depths of the Mysteries finds expression in the most varied legends, and these correspond more or less closely to secrets in which the human soul has participated. Hence it was necessary that the secrets of the Egyptian-Chaldaic period should appear as a kind of repetition before the souls of the fifth epoch. They were secrets related to the Cosmos, to the inpouring of the forces of the Zodiac and of the Planets, but particularly to the secrets connected with the cooperation of the Sun and Moon, and to the shifting influences of the Sun and Moon as they pass through the signs of the Zodiac. (I am speaking of the apparent movements, because they sufficiently characterize the processes involved.) But there had to be a difference between the way in which these secrets had emerged in the third epoch and the way in which they were presented in the fifth epoch. Everything now had to work right into the Consciousness Soul, into that which makes for and constitutes human personality. This took place in a quite special way through the fact that those inspiring forces which were seen when in the third epoch souls were transported into spiritual regions of the Cosmos, and which simultaneously streamed out of cosmic space into the Earth — during the fifth epoch these forces inspired certain individuals. In the dawn of the fifth epoch, accordingly, there were persons who, not exactly through their training but through certain mysterious influences, became the instruments, the vehicles, of cosmic influences issuing from the Sun and Moon during their passage through the signs of the Zodiac. The secrets that could then be won for the human soul through these individuals were a repetition of what had once been experienced through the Sentient Soul. And the persons who expressed the transit of the cosmic forces through the signs of the Zodiac were those called “The Knights of King Arthur's Round Table”. Twelve in number, they had around them a band of other men, but they were the principal Knights. The others represented the starry host; into them flowed the inspirations which were more distantly distributed in cosmic space; and into the twelve Knights flowed the inspirations from the twelve directions of the Zodiac. The inspirations which came from the spiritual forces of the Sun and Moon were represented by King Arthur and his wife Guinevere. Thus in King Arthur's Round Table we have the humanized Cosmos. What we may call the pedagogical high school for the Sentient Soul of the West proceeded from King Arthur's Round Table. Hence we are told — and the legend here refers in pictures of external facts to inner mysteries which were taking place in the dawn of that epoch in the human soul — how the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table journeyed far and wide and slew monsters and giants. These external pictures point to the endeavors of human souls who were to make progress in refining and. purifying those forces of the astral body which expressed themselves for the seer in pictures of monsters, giants, and the like. Everything that the Sentient Soul was to experience through the later Mysteries is bound up with the pictorial concepts of King Arthur's Round Table.
What the Intellectual Soul was to experience in this later time has in turn found legendary form in the saga of the Holy Grail. Everything that had to be recapitulated from the epoch in which the Mystery of Golgotha took place was concentrated in the influences that streamed forth from the secrets of the Holy Grail. And these influences could work on the Intellectual Soul in persons who had gained understanding of the Holy Grail and wished to understand their own epoch. In the present day also the human soul must be open to these influences if it is to be initiated, if it is to have understanding for the spiritual nature of our times. The Holy Grail is surrounded by many, many mysteries. Today, naturally, we can give only a sketchy outline of these mysteries; but it may provide a starting-point for more detailed studies which may one day be undertaken regarding these mysteries of the Holy Grail. In the Holy Grail, if understood in its true nature, there was embraced everything which characterized the secrets of the human soul in later times.
Let us take an initiate of later times when, having freed his ego and astral body from his physical and etheric bodies and come forth from them, he looked down at them from outside, and let us picture what he saw in them. He saw something which could be very disturbing, if he had not learnt to understand it thoroughly. And he still sees it today. The physical and etheric bodies have woven into them something which flows through them like streams or strands running in various directions. As the nerve fibers run through the physical body, so is there woven into the physical body something finer than the nerves, of which occult sight reports: That is dead — so dead that there really is something like a piece of dead substance in the human body. It is now condemned to be dead throughout the time between birth and death, but during the Eastern period of human evolution it was still living. Yes, one has the experience that in human bodies there is something dead which once was alive. And one sets out to discover what it really is. “Dead” is to be understood here in a relative sense; the dead part is indeed stimulated by its environment, but there are tendencies and currents in the human body which, in comparison with the life that animates it, have always a disposition toward death. We investigate how this has come about, and we find that the origin of it is as follows.
Once in ancient times men's souls possessed a certain faculty of clairvoyance, and in the latter part of the Egyptian-Chaldaic civilization this clairvoyance still existed to such a degree that a man, when gazing into the starry heavens, saw not merely the physical stars but also the spiritual beings united with them. And so, when in the intermediate state between waking and sleeping the human soul looked out into the universe and saw something spiritual, the impression received was different from the impressions made upon the human soul today, when people study science in the modern way or are living mostly in the ordinary consciousness of the times. But all the souls living and embodied today were also incarnated in the Egyptian-Chaldaic epoch. All the souls present here today once looked out from their bodies into starry space, took part in the spiritual life of the universe and received its impressions. This sank into our souls and became an intrinsic part of them. All the souls of today once looked out into the universe and received spiritual impressions in the same way as they now receive impressions of colors and sounds. It is all there still, in the depth of our souls, and the souls created their bodies in accordance with it. But our souls have lost remembrance of it! For modern consciousness it is no longer present in the souls of men. And that which corresponds to the old upbuilding forces which the souls used to receive cannot now build upon the body, with the result that the corresponding part of the physical and etheric bodies remains lifeless. If nothing else were to happen, if men went on living merely with those sciences which are concerned with the outer physical world, then men would deteriorate more and more, because their souls have forgotten those former impressions of the spiritual world which go with the vivifying and building up of the physical and etheric bodies.
That is what the candidate for initiation sees today. And he can say to himself: Souls are thirsting to  vitalize something in the physical and etheric bodies which they have to abandon as lifeless because the impressions they once absorbed do not penetrate into modern consciousness. This is the disturbing impression received today by the candidate for initiation.
Thus there is something in man that is withdrawn from the sovereignty of the soul. I beg that you will take these words with all earnestness; for a characteristic of modern man is that something in his nature is withdrawn from the rule of the soul, something that is dead in contrast with the life of the organism that surrounds it. And by working upon this dead part, the Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces exercise on man a very great influence in a quite special way. While on the one hand men can acquire more and more freedom, the Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces insinuate themselves precisely into that part of the organism which has been withdrawn from the sovereignty of the soul. That is why so many people in modern times feel (and quite rightly say they feel) as if there were two souls dwelling  within their breast, and as if one wanted to tear itself away from the other. Much of what modern man finds so baffling in his inner experience lies in what has just been said. The Holy Grail was and is nothing else than that which can so nurture the living portion of the soul that it can become master of the dead part. Montsalvat, the sanctuary of the Holy Grail, is the school in which one has to learn, for the sake of the living part of the human soul, something that there was naturally no need to learn in the Eastern and Egyptian Mysteries. One needs to learn what has to be poured into the still living part of the soul in order to become master of the part of the physical body that has died, and the part of the soul that has become unconscious. Hence, in these secrets of the Grail, the Middle Ages saw something related to a repetition of the Graeco-Latin period in the Intellectual or Mind-soul, for in the Intellectual Soul are rooted mostly those parts of the soul which are now forgotten and dead. Thus the  secrets of the Grail referred to the permeation of the Intellectual or Mind-soul with new wisdom.
When the initiate of the Middle Ages wanted to present in picture form what he had to learn in order to permeate with the new wisdom the part of his soul that had remained living, he spoke of the Castle of the Holy Grail and of the new wisdom — which is in fact the “Grail” — that flows out from it. And when he wanted to indicate that which is hostile to this new wisdom, he pointed to another domain, the domain wherein dwelt all the beings and forces which had made it their task to gain access to the part of the body that had become dead, and to the part of the human soul that had become unconscious. This domain, into which were justly transferred (“justly” is here used in an occult sense) all the successors of the evil spiritual beings of earlier times who had preserved the worst forces of oriental magic (not the best forces, which also had remained) — the domain which was the most vicious and hostile to the Grail was Castle Merveil, the gathering-place of all the forces which attack man in this part of his body and soul and have undergone a karmic fate such as has been indicated. Spiritual wisdom can be carried anywhere today, because we have reached a transition stage leading towards the Sixth Epoch and these things are no longer tied to particular localities, but in the Middle Ages it had to be sought in certain definite places, as I have shown in my book The Spiritual Guidance of Man and of Mankind. Hence when in earlier times it was said that one had to travel to a particular neighborhood in order to receive a certain teaching, this was not meant in any figurative sense. In our own time it must be said that wisdom has less of a local character; for we are living in a time of transition from life in space and time into more spiritual forms of time.
Whereas it has been said that the Castle of the Grail is situated in the West of Europe, the stronghold of hostility to the Grail must be located in another place, a place where, on account of certain spiritual forces there, a person can have just as great and powerful and good an impression as he can have also of its opposite, through other forces which have remained there to this present time like an Akashic after-effect from those opponents of the Grail of whom we have been speaking. For at that place one can speak of the very worst forces, and they are still perceptible in their after-effects. At one time evil arts were practised in that place, arts which penetrated right into physical life and thence launched their assaults on the part of the human soul that had become unconscious and on the portion of the human organism that had become dead.
All this is closely connected with a figure who glimmers across from the Middle Ages as a legendary being, but is well known to anyone acquainted with the nature of the Mysteries: a personality who was quite real in the middle of the Middle Ages: Klingsor, the Duke of Terra de Labur, a district we have to look for in what is now Southern Calabria. From there were carried out the incursions of the enemy of the Grail, especially over to Sicily. Even as today, if we tread Sicilian soil and have occult sight, we are aware of the Akashic after-effects of the great Empedocles still present in the atmosphere, so we can still perceive there the evil after-effects of Klingsor, who allied himself from his Duchy of Terra de Labur, across the Straits of Messina, with those enemies of the Grail who occupied the fastness known in occultism and in legend as Calot bobot.
In the middle of the Middle Ages, Calot bobot in Sicily was the seat of the goddess called Iblis, the daughter of Eblis; and among all evil unions which have taken place within the Earth's evolution between beings in whose souls there were occult forces, the one known to occultists as the worst of all was between Klingsor and Iblis, the daughter of Eblis. Iblis, by her very name, is characterized as being related to Eblis, and in Mohammedan tradition Eblis is the figure we call Lucifer. Iblis is a kind of feminine aspect of Eblis, the Mohammedan Lucifer, and with her the evil magician Klingsor united his own evil arts, through which in the Middle Ages he worked against the Grail. These things must needs find expression in pictures, but in pictures that correspond to realities; they cannot be expressed in abstract ideas. And the whole of the hostility to the Grail was enacted in that fastness of Iblis, “Calot bobot”, whither the remarkable Queen Sibylla had fled with her son William, in 1194, under the rulership of the Emperor Henry VI.
Everything that was undertaken by a power hostile to the Grail, and whereby also Amfortas was wounded, is finally to be traced back to the alliance which Klingsor had contracted with the stronghold of Iblis, Calot bobot; and all the misery and suffering which we see embodied in the Grail legend through Amfortas is an expression of that pact. For this reason the soul must still be strongly armed even today when it comes into the neighborhood of those places from which can emanate all hostile influences related to the Mysteries of the Grail and the advancing evolution of humanity.
Viewed thus, we have on the one hand the Kingdom of the Grail, and on the other the evil Kingdom, Chastel Merveille, with all that came from the pact between Klingsor and Iblis playing into it. And here we can see, expressed in a wonderfully dramatic form, all that the most independent and innermost of the soul-organs, the Intellectual or Mind-soul, has had to endure in face of attacks from without. In the fourth post-Atlantean period this soul-principle was not yet as inward as it had to become in the fifth. It withdrew itself more from the life in the external world that had prevailed in Greek and Roman times, back into the inner part of man, and became freer, more independent. But on that account (for reasons already given) it was much more open to attack by all the powers than it had been in the Graeco-Latin epoch. The whole of the change which had taken place in the Intellectual or Mind-soul is portrayed haltingly, in a legendary way, and yet it stands so dramatically before us in the antithesis between “Montsalvat” and “Chastel Merveille”. We feel an echo of all the sufferings and all the conquests of the Intellectual Soul in the stories connected with the Holy Grail. All that had to be changed in the human soul in more recent times is revealed to him who has come to know the nature of the Mysteries. In this connection we need only take a concrete case.
We often find that persons who have not gone far enough into the matter will ask how a man such as Goethe can on the one hand bear within him certain secrets of the human soul, and on the other hand be so often torn by passion, as he is found to be by those who read his life-story in a rather superficial way. In fact, there was in Goethe something that can be called, in a crude sense, a double nature. To a superficial view the two sides can hardly be brought into harmony. On the one hand there is the great, high-minded soul who could bring forth certain portions of the second part of Faust, and gave expression to many deep secrets of human nature in the Fairy-Story of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily; and one would like to forget everything one knows from biographies of Goethe and pay homage only to the soul who was capable of such achievements. On the other side, there appears in Goethe, tormenting him and often causing him pangs of conscience, his other nature, “human, all-too-human”, in many respects. In earlier times the two natures of man were not so widely separate in their development; they could not diverge in this way. A person with a biography comparable with Goethe's could not rise to such heights as are revealed in certain passages of the second part of Faust or in the Fairy-Story of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, and at the same time be so divided in his soul. That was not possible in earlier times. It has become possible only in later days, because there now exists in human nature something we have already spoken of — the part of the soul that has become unconscious, and the part of the organism that has died. The part that has remained alive can be so elevated and purified that the impulse which leads on to the Fairy-Story of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily can be nurtured there, while the other part may remain exposed to the attacks of the outer world. And because the forces described are able to make their abode there, circumstances may arise in which there is very little agreement with the higher ego of the person. It should be understood that the soul living in Goethe had once belonged to an Egyptian initiate, and had then lived in Greece as a sculptor and a disciple of philosophy; then, between this Greek incarnation and the one as Goethe, there comes an incarnation (probably only one) which I have not yet been able to find. If we keep this in mind, we can see how a soul who in former incarnations could rule the entire man can be led downwards, and then has to relinquish a part of the total human nature, which then lies open to the influence of evil forces.
That is what is mysterious and so hard to understand in a nature such as Goethe's; but by the same token it brings to light many hidden aspects of the human soul in modern times. Everything brought about by the duality of human nature lays hold, in the first place, of the Intellectual Soul, and the Intellectual Soul divides into those “two souls”, whereof one can sink fairly deeply into matter and the other can rise into the spiritual.
Thus in the “Knights of King Arthur's Round Table” we are presented with a repetition of all that the candidate for initiation had in a certain sense to experience through the Sentient Soul. In all that was grouped around the Holy Grail we are shown what can be experienced in modern times by the Intellectual Soul. Everything that a man must now go through, so that he may make one part of his double nature strong enough to penetrate into the mysteries of the spiritual worlds in modern times, must be enacted in the Consciousness Soul. This is the new thing that has to be added. And that which has to be enacted in the Consciousness Soul is crystallized in the figure of Parsifal. All the legends connected with King Arthur and the Round Table represent the repetition of the experiences of earlier ages in the Sentient Soul; all the legends and narratives which are directly connected with the Holy Grail, apart from Parsifal, represent what the Intellectual Soul had to go through; and all that finds expression in the figure of Parsifal, this ideal of the later initiation in so far as this later initiation is dependent on the Consciousness Soul, represents the forces which must especially be made our own through the Consciousness Soul. So the interaction of the three soul-principles in modern man is presented in a threefold legendary form. And just as we can discern deep secrets of the human soul in old legends, so can we now also sense in them deep secrets of the Mysteries of the modern age.
It is false to suggest that the nature of initiation has not changed since olden times, as though a present-day Western man had to go through the same stages as did a person belonging either to the ancient or to the more modern East. Things are so that a characteristic belonging to an earlier epoch will persist into a later time for certain peoples. A much more important point is that the whole nature of modern initiation has a more inward character, makes greater demands on the innermost part of the human soul; but in a certain sense it cannot directly approach the external part of human nature. Much more than in the old initiation, therefore, the external must be cleansed and purified through the strengthening of the inner, so that this inner part becomes lord over the outer. Asceticism and external training belong more to the character of the old initiation; a direct evolution of the soul itself, so that it develops strong forces in its inner being, belongs more to the nature of the newer initiation. And because external circumstances are such that only in the course of time will the lifeless elements of human nature be overcome — the elements which can so greatly disturb the initiate of today — we must say that in our time and on into the far future there will still be many natures similar to that of Goethe, persons who with one part of their being rise up into the heights, while with the other part they are connected with the “human, all-too-human”. Persons who in earlier incarnations showed no sign of these peculiarities, but on the contrary displayed a certain harmony between the outer and the inner, may enter fresh incarnations in which a deep disharmony can show itself between the external and the inner organization. Those who know the secrets of human incarnations will not feel confused in face of this disharmony. For in proportion as these things increase, the human faculty of judgment grows also, so that the old principle of authority comes to an end. Hence there will be an ever more insistent call to test the fruits of the Mysteries. It would be more convenient to pay heed only to the external characteristics of those who have to teach, for then one would not need to ask whether the facts concerning them — what they have to say and teach and do in a spiritual sense — are in line with human understanding and impartial logic. The duality of human nature is not in the very least to be defended; on the contrary, we must insist in the strictest sense on the rule of the soul over externals, but it must still be said that the facts which have been indicated are absolutely true for modern evolution. For the after-effects of Klingsor and Iblis are still always present, even though in another form.
A special feature of our time is that these attacks from Klingsor and Iblis, as they gradually lay hold  of people, are insinuating themselves into intellectual life, particularly the intellectual life that bears on education, with its popularization of modern science. Consider what people have been learning for quite a long time now and what they think it right to instill into children; consider what is accepted as  the basis of modern education — all this should not be judged in accordance with the views of someone who, believing he is very clever, says he understands these things and knows they are entirely correct. No, all this should be judged in accordance with how it influences and fructifies the soul, and in terms of the impressions it produces on the soul. And when a person becomes cleverer and cleverer, in the sense in which it is fashionable to call people clever today, he develops in his soul certain forces which in this incarnation may make him very well able to dominate the conversation in circles wedded to materialistic or monistic ideas; but then certain vital forces necessary for the human  organism are worn away. And when such a person has taken into himself only these typical dregs of modern education, in his next incarnation he will lack the forces that are required for properly building up the human organism. The “cleverer” a person is by the standards of the time we are now facing and the closer his intellectual attunement to it, the more of an imbecile will he be in a later incarnation. For those categories and concepts which relate only to the sense-perceptible outer world and to the ideas which hold it together — these concepts set up in the soul a configuration which may be ever so fine intellectually but lacks the force to work intensively on the brain and to make use of it, And to be unable while in the physical body to make use of the brain is to be an imbecile.
If it were true, as the materialists maintain, that the brain does the thinking, then one could certainly give them some comfort. But this is as false as the assertion that the “speech-center” has formed itself. It has acquired its form through human beings having learnt to speak, and so the speech-center is the result of speech. Similarly, all cerebral activity, even in the historical past, is the result of thinking — not the other way about. The brain is plastically modeled through thinking. If only such thoughts are developed as are customary today, if the thoughts are not permeated by the wisdom of the spirit, then the souls occupied with thinking only about material things will find in later incarnations that they are unable to use their brains properly; their brain-forces will be too weak to lay hold of things. A soul which today is occupied merely with calculating debit and credit, let us say, or with the usages of commercial and industrial life, or absorbs only the ideas of materialistic science, is filling itself with thought-pictures which in later incarnations gradually darken the consciousness, because the brain would be an unformed mass — as today in cases of softening of the brain — and so no longer capable of being taken hold of by the forces of thinking. Hence for anyone who looks into these deeper forces of human evolution, everything that can live in the soul must be permeated by a spiritual comprehension of the world.
So in this modern time the nature of man may still be twofold. The forces belonging in particular to the Consciousness Soul must be infused with inner spiritual knowledge. Man must overcome the two regions through which Parsifal went; he must overcome “apathy and doubt” in his own soul. For if he were to carry apathy and doubt with him over to a later incarnation, he would not make a success of it. Man must come to have knowledge of the spiritual worlds. Only through the fact that life widens out in the human soul, the life called Saelde by Wolfram von Eschenbach, the very life that pours out spiritual knowledge over the Consciousness Soul — only by this means can human soul-development advance fruitfully from the fifth epoch onwards into the sixth.
These are among the fruits of the newer Mysteries; they are the important and significant results which must be drawn from these Mysteries, which are an after-effect of the Grail Mystery. But, unlike all ancient Mystery-wisdom, they can be understood by the generality of people. For gradually the unconscious and dead forces of the soul and of the organism must be overcome through a strong permeation of the Consciousness Soul with spiritual knowledge; that is, with a knowledge that has been understood and grasped spiritually, not a knowledge built up on authority.
Even such things as have been said in these lectures — if a person takes into account all that modern knowledge and education are able to give — can, when they are heard, be thoroughly understood and grasped; though they can be discovered only by one who gets to know the Mysteries through occult sight. And they should be most thoroughly grasped. Now, it may perhaps be true of many a modern man who is striving to attain to higher worlds that in the shape of his outer life something will still be visible of the “human, all-too-human”, or of his efforts to raise himself out of it. Yes, it may well be that the “fool's motley” is still discernible through the raiment of the spiritual, as with Parsifal. But that is not the point. What matters is that there should be present in the soul the impulse toward spiritual knowledge, spiritual understanding — that impulse which is inextinguishable in Parsifal and brings him at last, in spite of everything, to the stronghold of the Holy Grail. In the whole picture drawn of Parsifal, if rightly understood, we can find all the different methods of training the Consciousness Soul which are necessary to evoke from it the right effects, so that the person can gain control of the forces which whirl in confusion and strive against one another in the Intellectual or Mind-Soul. The more present-day man looks into himself and tries to exercise honest self-knowledge, the more will he find how conflict is raging in his soul; it is a conflict within the Intellectual or Mind-Soul. For self-knowledge is a harder thing than many people suppose, and it will indeed become more and more difficult. Someone tries to acquire self-knowledge, but even if he is able to discipline himself in many respects and to build up his character, he will very often notice at critical moments how in his innermost depths the most deeply hidden passions and forces are raging, and how they tear apart the domain of the Intellectual Soul. And how is it with a modern man who devotes himself seriously to knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge? The difficulties of the inner life may perhaps never dawn on people who believe that real knowledge is to be found in external scientific work and its fruits. But anyone who takes the search for knowledge seriously and from worthy motives will be in a different situation once he looks with real insight into his inner being. He seeks in this or that field of knowledge, seeks and seeks, and seeks also in life to come to terms with the diverse aspects of human living. After searching for a while, he thinks he knows something; but then he searches further. And the more he searches with the means normally available today, the more does he feel himself torn into pieces, the more does he feel drawn into doubt. And a person who, having acquired a present-day education, confesses to himself that in spite of all this education he really knows nothing, is often just the person who strives most earnestly and worthily for spiritual knowledge.
In truth there can be no one with any depth of soul today who does not experience this gnawing doubt. And it is something he ought to be familiar with. For only then will he immerse himself in that spiritual knowledge which is right for the Consciousness Soul and must pour itself out into the Intellectual Soul in order to be master there. Hence we must try to penetrate with rational understanding into what is brought to the Consciousness Soul from out of occult knowledge. By that means we shall draw into our inner being such a self as will be a real lord and master there; and then, when we come to know the nature of the modern Mysteries, we shall stand confronting ourselves.
Anyone who approaches the Mysteries today must. feel that he is confronting himself in such a way that he will strive after the virtues of Parsifal, while knowing that — because of the modern conditions already described and because he is a man of modern times — he is in fact someone else also, the wounded Amfortas. A man of our time carries within him this double nature — aspiring Parsifal, wounded Amfortas. That is what his self-knowledge must lead him to feel. Then from this recognition will flow the forces which out of duality must make a unity, and so should bring man a little further on in the course of world-evolution. In our Intellectual Soul, in the depths of our inner life, there must be a meeting between Amfortas, wounded in body and soul, and Parsifal, whose task is to cultivate the Consciousness Soul. And it is entirely true to say that in order to gain freedom for himself a man must go through the “wounding” of Amfortas and become acquainted with the Amfortas within himself, so that he may also come to know Parsifal. Just as it was right for Egyptian times that one should rise up into the spiritual worlds in order to know Isis, so is it right for our times to start with the spirituality, the spiritual nature, of this world, and through it to rise into the higher spiritual worlds. A wish to deny the Amfortas-nature is not a true characteristic of our time. It is because modern man is so fond of surrounding himself with Maya that he wants to deny Amfortas. For how delightful it sounds when we hear it said: “Humanity is always advancing!” Yes, but this “advance” follows a very tortuous path. And in order to develop the forces of Parsifal in human nature, the Amfortas-nature in man must be recognized.
So in this cycle of lectures, using legends from which I have tried to call forth pictures of deep soul-processes, I have sought above all to lead your deeper premonitions, at least in some degree, towards the nature of the modern Mysteries. Perhaps one day we shall have opportunity to speak in still clearer words, if that can be, of what the nature of the modern Mysteries discloses concerning the dual nature which man bears within himself: concerning Amfortas and Parsifal.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Fear-mongering medical authority


Rudolf Steiner, January 5, 1911:

We must especially beware of attending too much in any era to what emerges as authority. As long as we lack spiritual insight, this can seriously mislead us. This is particularly true in one area of human culture: the field of materialistic medicine. Here we can discern the decisive influence of authority, and the ever increasing claim to authority, which is in fact far, far more dreadful than any kind of medieval tyranny. We find ourselves in the very midst of this tendency, which will keep increasing. People may mock the ghosts of medieval superstition, but we can ask if anything much has changed. Has this fear of ghosts faded? Aren't people actually far more afraid of ghosts than they were back then? What happens in the human soul when people are told they carry 60,000 bacilli on their hands is far more terrible than generally acknowledged. In America statistics have been calculated about how many such bacilli can be found on a man's moustache. At least the ghosts of medieval times were, one might say, decent ghosts; but modern bacilli-ghosts are too minuscule to grapple with. The fear invoked by them is only just beginning, and leads, in health matters, to people succumbing to a really terrible belief in authority.

Source: The Mission of the New Spirit Revelation, p. 9

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Recommended book:

The Harmony of the Spheres and the Cosmic Word; Isis and Osiris; Moses. The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity, Lecture 3



Lecture 3 of 4

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, February 5, 1913:

When aman of our time goes through an occult training which leads him to such experiences as were described in the last two lectures, he enters by means of this training into the spiritual worlds; and there he experiences certain facts and meets with certain beings. The phrase, “To see the Sun at Midnight”, is fundamentally only an expression for spiritual facts and for the meeting with spiritual beings who are connected with the Sun-existence. But when this man of our time ascends into the higher worlds, he goes through certain experiences which one cannot describe otherwise than by saying: A man experiences much that is significant in the higher worlds through such an ascent, but he also feels himself forsaken and alone. He feels that he can gather up his experience in some such words as these: “Much, very much, you are seeing here, but the very thing you must long for above all else, after all you have gone through — that you are not able to experience.” And he would like to question all the beings whom he meets after such an ascent concerning certain secrets he longs to understand. That is the feeling he has. But all these beings, who unveil much that is immense and powerful, remain silent when he wants to learn from them about those mysteries which he must now regard as the most important of all. Hence the man of our time, when he has thus mounted to the higher worlds, feels it to be above all painful that in spite of all the splendour, in spite of his meeting with those glorious beings, he has an immense emptiness in his inner life. And if nothing else were to happen, a protracted experience of this loneliness, this forlorn condition in the higher worlds, would finally bring about something like despair in his soul.

Now at this point something can happen — and usually does happen if the ascent has been undertaken according to the true rules of Initiation — which may be a protection from this despair, at first, though not permanently. Something like a remembrance may arise in the soul, or one might say a retrospect into far-off times of the past, a kind of reading in the Akashic Record about long-past happenings. And what is then experienced (one cannot characterise these things except by trying to clothe them in approximate words) might be put in the following way: “When as a modern man you ascend into these higher worlds, you are met by forlorn-ness, despair. But pictures call up for you long-past happenings, showing you that in distant times men ascended into the worlds into which you now wish to rise. Yes, from these memory pictures you may well come to recognise that in earlier incarnations your own soul took part in what these men experienced when formerly they rose into the higher worlds. It might even appear that the soul of a present-day man, in contemplating these pictures, looks at experiences of his own, gone through in times long since past. Then in those remote ages this soul would have been an Initiate. In other cases, the man would know only that his soul had been connected with those who as Initiates had then risen into the higher worlds; but his soul now feels lonely and forsaken, whereas those once initiated souls did not feel lonely and forsaken in the same worlds, but experienced innermost bliss. He will recognise further that this was so because in those ancient times souls were differently constituted, and for this reason they experienced differently what they beheld in the higher worlds. What is it, then, that is really experienced?

The experience now in question is such that it brings before the soul beings of higher worlds who are working upon the sense-world from the super-sensible worlds; beings are perceived who stand behind our sense-world; conditions are seen such as were described yesterday. But if one tries to summarise all one sees, it can be characterised in some such way as the following: The seer feels himself to be in the higher worlds, and gazing down, as it were, into the sense-world; he feels himself united in some way with spirits who have passed through the Gate of Death, and, with them, too, he gazes downward, and sees how they will again employ their forces in order to enter physical existence. He looks down and sees how forces are sent out of the super-sensible worlds in order to bring about the processes of the different kingdoms of nature in the sense-world. He sees the whole current of events which are prepared for our world out of the higher worlds. Because in the course of a sojourn of this kind in the higher worlds he is outside his physical and etheric bodies, he looks down upon them and sees also those forces in the Cosmos, in the whole spiritual universe, which are working on the physical and etheric bodies of man. And through the activity of the beings into whose company he has entered, he learns to understand how physical and etheric bodies come into existence within the physical world. He learns to understand this thoroughly. He comes to understand how certain beings who are associated with the Sun send their activity into the Earth and work on engendering the physical and etheric bodies of man. He learns also to know certain beings associated with the Moon-existence, who work down out of the Cosmos in order likewise to co-operate in bringing about the physical and etheric bodies of human beings.

Then, however, arises a great longing, a longing that becomes terrible for a man of the present time. It is the longing to know something of how the astral body and the ego are born out of the Cosmos, how they come into existence. Whereas the seer can discern exactly how the physical body and the etheric body arise out of the forces of the Cosmos, completely hidden from him is everything that could point to how the astral body and the ego of man are brought into being. In deepest darkness and secrecy is veiled everything that has to do with the astral body and ego. Thus the feeling grows: What you are in your innermost nature, what you yourself really are, is veiled from your spiritual sight; and that in which you sheathe yourself when you are living in the physical world is disclosed to you precisely enough!

All this is experienced by a man of the present time when he rises to higher worlds in the manner described. It was experienced. also by those who in ancient times undertook the ascent. But they did not feel the great longing we have spoken of: they had no need to behold their innermost being, for they were so constituted that they felt a deep inward satisfaction in perceiving how the spiritual beings whose company they had reached were at work in building physical and etheric bodies on the Earth. In contemplating how these beings worked down from the Sun to accomplish this task, the souls who were initiated in past times found their highest satisfaction. It must be added that the work performed by these beings presented itself under a different aspect in those times; hence the satisfaction it could afford. In our time the work appears in such a light that one asks: Wherefore all this preparation of the physical and etheric bodies, if one cannot understand what these sheaths conceal? That is the difference between a person of the present time and a man of old. And the period in the past which was connected particularly with these experiences is that in which Zarathustra initiated his pupils and guided them up into the higher worlds. If aspirants were to be led up into the higher worlds in the same way to-day as they were by Zarathustra, they would feel that emptiness and loneliness to which reference has been made. In the time of Zarathustra those who were to be initiated experienced the working of Ahura Mazdao on the physical body and the etheric body, and in the unveiling of this wonderful mystery they felt bliss and satisfaction, for they were so disposed that they felt inwardly stirred when they saw how the sheaths which man needs if he is to accomplish his Earth-mission are brought into existence. In this they found satisfaction.

Thus it was with the Zarathustrian Initiation. For the initiates could “See the Sun at Midnight”; that is, they were not looking upon the physical form of the Sun but upon the spiritual beings who are linked with the Sun. They saw emanating from the Sun the forces which play into the physical body; saw how the forces which the Sun is able to send forth mould the human head and form the different parts of the human brain. For it would be folly for anyone to think that a marvellous construction such as the human brain could come into existence merely through terrestrial forces; solar forces must work into it. These forces bring together the complex lobular formations of the human brain, poised above the human face. Engaged in this task are quite numerous beings; Zarathustra gave them the name of “Amshaspands”. They furnish the stimulus for the forces of the Cosmos which make possible the building of the human brain and the upper nerves of the spinal cord, with the exception of the lower twenty-eight pairs of nerves. Then Zarathustra also pointed out how other currents flow from beings who are linked with the life of the Moon; he showed how wonderfully the structure of the Cosmos is adapted so that from twenty-eight groups of entities — “Izeds” as they are called — currents proceed which build up the spinal cord with its twenty-eight lower pairs of nerve fibres. Thus are physical and etheric bodies formed out of currents which stream forth from cosmic beings.

They were powerful impressions that the initiates of Zarathustra received in this way. And in receiving them as an expression of the work of Ahura Mazdao, they felt an inner bliss concerning all that is thus accomplished. in the world. If a modern man were to raise himself in the same way into the higher worlds, he would of course also be capable of wonderment; he, too, would be able to begin to experience the same bliss. But gradually he would pass on to the feeling which one cannot clothe in words other than these: “What is the purpose of it all? I know nothing about that being who passes from incarnation to incarnation! I know solely about those beings who in each new incarnation build up sheaths out of the Cosmos, but they build only sheaths.” That was precisely the essence of the Zarathustra Initiation: its revelation of the connection between the earthly part of man and the life of the Sun. It was characteristic of the time of Zarathustra that men were able to absorb into their occult knowledge those mysteries we have now described.

Again, it was in a different way that souls in ancient Egypt entered the higher worlds at Initiation — souls, for example, who went through the Hermes Initiation. We have already spoken about all these things; but in these lectures they will be presented in rather more detail than was possible previously. When in ancient Egyptian times souls were raised into the higher worlds through the Hermes Initiation, then — as it must always be after Initiation — they felt themselves to be outside their physical and etheric bodies and knew that they were now within a world of spiritual facts and spiritual beings. Wide was the circuit of vision through which these souls were then led. They were shown the individual beings and facts, as can happen also with the soul of to-day. But one must not think of it as though they went about on physical feet; it was their vision that was guided, as if a person's sight were to be led all round a region as wide as the universe. Thus it was in this Initiation.

Then came a moment of experience wherein the initiates felt as though a traveler in a country encircled by the sea had reached the shore. They knew they had come to the farthest point attainable. In the Egyptian Initiation they experienced what one cannot clothe in other words than these: “In your vision you have been led far and wide through cosmic realms and have come to know the beings and forces that work on your physical body and your etheric body. But now you are entering the most holy place. You are entering a region where you can feel yourself united with the Being who works with others on the part of you that goes from one incarnation to another, and on your astral body.” It is a significant experience that occurs at this point, for after it all things become in some sense different.

For the initiate, after that, one possibility is closed. In the world he has now entered, on the shores of cosmic existence, he is no longer able to make use of his former ways of thinking and judging. If he cannot cast off all this earthly, physical power of judgment; if he cannot disregard what has guided him so far, then he cannot have this experience on the borders of existence; he cannot feel himself united with that Being who is active when the human being as spirit and soul approaches his birth into a new incarnation, and seeks nation, family and parents in order to clothe himself with new sheaths. All the beings whom he has already come to know, and who make it clear to him how the etheric and physical sheaths arise and are formed out of the Cosmos, are unable to explain what kind of forces are working in that Being with whom he now feels himself united, and who is building and weaving in the innermost astral being of the man himself. It becomes quite apparent to the seer, as it was to the Egyptian soul who was going through the Hermes Initiation, that now, after the soul is outside its sheaths and has passed through the “cosmic existence” already alluded to, it feels itself united with a Being. The soul can feel the qualities of this Being, only it feels itself as if it were within these qualities and not outside this Being, and it can know that this Being is really there, but that it is at the same time within this Being. And the first impression that the aspirant receives of this Being is such that one says to oneself: In this Being lie the forces which bring the soul from one incarnation to another, and also the forces which illuminate the soul between death and a new birth. All that is there within. But when there surges towards you a force like unto spiritual cosmic Warmth, one that conveys the soul from death to a new birth; and when there presses towards you the spiritual Light that illumines souls between death and a new birth, and when you feel how this Warmth and this Light stream out from the Being with whom you are united, you are now in a quite peculiar situation. You have had to drink the waters of Lethe, to forget the art of understanding which formerly guided you through the physical world, to lay aside your former power of judgment, your intellectuality, for here these would only lead you astray; and as yet you have gained nothing of a new kind. In your experience of the cosmic Warmth which brings the soul to a new birth, you are within the ocean of forces which illuminate the soul between death and a new birth. You experience the force and the light which issue from this Being. You behold this Being in such manner that you can do no other than ask of it: “Who art Thou? For Thou alone canst tell me who Thou art, and only then can I know that which takes the essential inward part of me as a human being from death to a new birth. Only when Thou tellest me this can I know what my innermost nature is as man!” And mute remains the Being with whom the aspirant knows himself to be united. He feels with the deepest part of himself that he is united with the deepest part of the Being. The urge towards self-knowledge arises, to know what a man is — and yet the Being remains silent. The aspirant must first have stood for a while before this silent Being, and have felt deeply the longing to have the riddle of the universe solved after a new manner, as it never can be on the physical Earth; he must have brought into this world, to this Being, as a force out of himself, the deep longing to have the riddle of the universe solved in a way foreign to physical existence, and the soul must entirely live in the longing to have the cosmic enigma solved in this manner. Then, when he has felt himself united with the mute spiritual Being, and has lived in him with longing for the solution that we have indicated, then he feels that there streams forth into this spiritual Being with whom he is united, the force of his own longing. And because this force of the aspirant's own longing for the solution of the riddle streams out into the spiritual Being, after a time it gives birth to something like another being projected from it. But what is born is not after the manner of an earthly birth, as the aspirant knows at once through his own vision. An earthly birth arises “in time”; it enters into the stream of time. But concerning the birth from this Being, the aspirant knows: It is born from Him, it has been born from Him since primordial times — always, and this birth continues from primordial ages up to the present. Only this birth-process of one being from another has hitherto not been visible to man; until now it has been withheld from his sight. This birth-process consists in his: it is really continuous, but man, owing to his having prepared himself by means of his yearning for the solving of the riddle, now sees it — it is now perceived in the spiritual world. The aspirant knows this. Thus he does not say: Now a being is born, but: From the Being with whom you have united yourself, ever since primordial times, a being has always been born; but now the process of the being's birth, and the being itself who is born, are perceptible to you.

What I have now pictured to you, as far as it can be done in the words of our language, is that to which the Hermes Initiator led. his pupils. And the feelings that I have just described (I might say with stammering words, for the things contain so much that the words of our tongue can express them only in a stammering way) — these feelings were the experiences of the so-called Egyptian Isis Initiation.

When the aspirant who was going through the Isis Initiation had reached the furthest shore of existence and had gazed upon the beings who build up the physical body and the etheric body, when he had stood before the silent Goddess from whom Warmth and Light come forth for the innermost of the human soul, he said to himself: “That is Isis. That is the mute and silent Goddess whose countenance can be unveiled to no-one who sees only with mortal eyes, but only to those who have worked themselves through to the shores which have been described, so that they can see with those eyes which go from incarnation to incarnation and are no longer mortal. For an impenetrable veil hides the form of Isis from mortal eyes.”

When the aspirant had thus gazed upon Isis and had experienced in his soul the feeling described, he understood what has been described. as the birth. What was this “birth?” He understood that it can be designated as “The resounding through all space of the Music of the Spheres,” and as the merging of the tones of this Sphere-music with the creative cosmic Word — the Word which permeates space and pours into the beings everything that has to be so poured into them, as the soul has to be poured into the physical and etheric body after passing through the life between death and a new birth. Everything that has to be thus poured out from the spiritual world into the physical world, so that what is poured out acquires the inward character of soul, is poured in from the Harmony of the Spheres resounding through space. The Harmony of the Spheres gradually assumes such a form that through the inner significance it expresses it can be understood as the Cosmic Word — the Word which ensouls the beings that are vitalised by the forces of Warmth and Light which pour into those bodies that arise from the divine forces and beings perceived with the vision already attained.

Thus did the aspirant look into the world of the Harmony of the Spheres, the world of the Cosmic Word; thus did he look into the world which is the veritable home of the human soul during the time between death and a new birth. That which is hidden deep in the physical earthly existence of man, but lives between death and a new birth in the splendour of the Light and Warmth; that which deeply veils itself in the physical world as the world of the Harmony of the Spheres and the Cosmic Word, was experienced in the Hermes-Initiation as coming to birth from Isis. There Isis stands before the aspirant, Isis herself on the one side, and on the other side the being she has borne, whom one must speak of as Cosmic Tones and the Cosmic Word. The aspirant feels himself in the company of Isis and of the Cosmic Word born of her. And this “Cosmic Word” is in the first place the appearing of Osiris. “Isis in association with Osiris”: thus do they appear before direct vision; for in the very oldest Egyptian Initiation it was said that Osiris was at the same time spouse and son of Isis. And in the older Egyptian Initiation the essential thing was that the aspirant, through this Initiation, experienced the mysteries of soul-life, which remains united with man during the period between death and a new birth. Through the union with Osiris it was possible to recognise oneself in one's deeper significance as man.

So it was brought to pass that the Egyptian Initiate met the Cosmic Word and the Cosmic Tones as the elucidators of his own being in the spiritual world. But that was up to a certain point of time only in the old Egyptian period. After that it ceased. There was a great difference — this is shown also by the Akashic Records when one looks back into ancient times — between the experiences of the Egyptian Initiate in the ancient Egyptian temples and what he experienced later on.

Let us bring before our souls what the Initiate experienced in these later times. He could still be led through the vast spaces of the universe to the confines of existence; there he could meet with all the beings who build up the physical and etheric bodies of man; there he could approach the shores of being and could have the vision of the mute, silent Isis, and could apprehend in her the Cosmic Warmth which contains for man the forces that lead from death to a new birth. There he could also become acquainted with the Light which illumines the soul between death and a new birth; and the longing arose to hear the Cosmic Word and the Cosmic Harmony; longing lived in the soul when it united itself with the silent Isis. But the Goddess remained dumb! In that later age no Osiris could be born, no Cosmic Harmony resounded, no Cosmic Word expounded that which now showed itself only as Cosmic Warmth and Cosmic Light. And the soul of the aspirant could not have expressed. these experiences otherwise than by saying something like the following; “Thus, 0 Goddess, do I look up in grief to thee, tormented by the thirst for knowledge, the yearning for knowledge, and thou, thou remainest silent and speechless towards the tormented and sorrow-laden soul. And this soul, because it cannot understand itself, seems to itself as though extinguished, as if it must lose its very existence.” And through her mourning countenance the Goddess expressed her powerlessness to bring forth the Cosmic Word and the Cosmic Harmony. The aspirant saw in her that she had been deprived of the power to bring forth Osiris and to have him at her side, Osiris as Son and Spouse. He felt that Osiris had been torn from Isis.

Those who went through this Initiation and came back into the physical world had a serious but resigned world-outlook. They knew her, the Holy Isis, but they felt themselves as “Sons of the Widow”. And the point of time between the old Initiation, wherein one was able to experience the birth of Osiris in those ancient Egyptian Mysteries, and that wherein one met only the mute, mourning Isis and could become a Son of the Widow in the Egyptian Mysteries; the point of time which separates these two phases of the Egyptian Initiation — when was it? It was the time in which Moses lived. For the karma of Egypt was fulfilled in such a way that not only was Moses initiated into the Mysteries of Egypt, but he took them with him. When he led his people out of Egypt he took with him the part of the Egyptian Initiation which added the Osiris-Initiation to the mourning Isis, as she later became. Such was the transition from the Egyptian civilisation to that of the Old Testament. Truly, Moses had carried away the secret of Osiris, the secret of the Cosmic Word! And if he had not left behind the powerless Isis there could not have resounded for him, in the way that he had to understand it for the sake of his people, that great, significant Word, “I AM THE I AM”, (“Ejeh asher Ejeh”). So was the Egyptian Mystery carried over to the ancient Hebrew Mystery.

We have tried now to show, using such words as are available for these matters, what the experiences were like in the Mysteries of Zarathustra and of Egypt. These things do not lend themselves to intellectual presentation. The essential point is that the soul goes through experiences corresponding to what I have endeavoured to describe. And it is important to enter into what took place in the soul of the aspirant in the later Egyptian Initiation: to feel how he raised his soul into the higher worlds and met Isis with the mourning look and sorrow-stricken countenance, the result of her having to look on the human soul which was well able to yearn and thirst for knowledge of the spiritual worlds, but could not be satisfied.

Thus also certain Greek Initiates experienced the same Being of whom the Egyptians spoke as the later Isis. Hence the seriousness of the Greek Initiation, where it appears in its solemnity. What had been experienced in earlier times in the super-sensible worlds — that which gave significance to those super-sensible worlds in that they resounded to the Cosmic Word and Cosmic Tone — was no longer there. It was there no more ... The super-sensible worlds were as though desolate and forsaken by the Cosmic Word, those worlds into which in earlier Initiations man had been able to enter. The Zarathustrian Initiate could still feel satisfied when in these worlds he encountered the Beings already described, for he felt himself fulfilled by the Cosmic Light, which he perceived as Ahura Mazdao. He perceived it as masculine, of solar nature; the Egyptian perceived it as feminine, lunar. And at a higher stage in the Zarathustrian Initiation he perceived also the Cosmic Word, not so concretely as if born from such a Being as Isis; but he experienced it and he knew the Harmony of the Spheres and the Cosmic Word.

In the later Egyptian time — and also in other lands during this late Egyptian time — when a man raised himself into the higher worlds, his feelings were quite similar to those of a present-day man, as described at the beginning of the present lecture. He rises up into the higher worlds, becomes acquainted with all the Beings who co-operate in building up the physical and etheric bodies, but he feels himself forsaken and alone if nothing else appears, because he has something in himself that longs for the Cosmic Word and the Cosmic Harmony, and the Cosmic Word and the Cosmic Harmony cannot resound for him. To-day such a man feels lonely and forsaken; in the later Egyptian Age he did not only feel forsaken and desolate, but, if he was a true “Son of the Widow” and was out of the physical and etheric bodies and in the spiritual worlds, he felt himself as a human soul in such a way that be was constrained to clothe his feeling in the words: The God is preparing to leave the worlds which you have always trodden when you felt the Cosmic Word; the God has ceased to be active there. And ever more and more did this feeling condense itself into what one may call the super-sensible equivalent of that which one encounters in the sense-world as the death of man — when one sees a person die, when one knows that he is passing out of the physical world. And now, when the Initiate of the later Egyptian Age rose up into the higher worlds, he was a partaker in the gradual dying of the God. As one feels with a person when he is passing into the spiritual world, so did the Initiate of the later Egyptian period feel how the God took leave of the spiritual world in order to pass over into another world. This was the significant and remarkable part of the later Egyptian Initiation — that when the aspirant raised his life into the spiritual worlds, it was not into rapture and bliss, but in order to partake in the gradual passing away of a God who was present in these higher worlds as Cosmic Word and Cosmic Harmony. Out of this frame of mind there gradually condensed the myth of Osiris, who was torn away from Isis and conveyed to Asia, and for whom Isis mourned.

With this lecture we have placed ourselves on one bank of the stream which separates the evolution of humanity into two parts. We have come from the direction of this evolution as far as the bank; we stand upon it, and what this standing there signifies has been brought home to us through the frame of mind, of the later Egyptian Initiate, the “Son of the Widow”, who was initiated in order to experience mourning and resignation. It will now be our task, in the boat of Spiritual Science, to cross the stream which separates the two shores of human evolution.

In the last lecture we shall see what is on the other shore — when we push off our boat from the place where we have experienced the mourning for the God who is dying in the Heavens, when we leave that place in order to traverse the stream and arrive at the other bank. When the boat of spiritual science has carried us across, with the remembrance that we have previously experienced the dying of a God in the Heavens, we shall see what is offered to our view on the other side.


The Midnight Sun; the Vice of Indolence: The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity, Lecture 2


Lecture 2 of 4

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, February 4, 1913:

From what has been said we can well see that the ascent into the spiritual worlds depends upon the strengthening of the inner forces of the soul-life, so that through the exercises which a person undertakes for the purpose of penetrating into the higher worlds, he develops forces in his soul which far surpass those needed in ordinary life. This requirement is shown by the fact that when the soul becomes independent of the physical body in ordinary life, i.e. in sleep, it falls at once into unconsciousness. This means that in normal life the individual lacks sufficient force to unfold inner activity and maintain consciousness when, as in sleep, the physical and etheric bodies are not helping him to do so. The other members of the human organism, the ego and the astral body, must be worked upon and illuminated through the exercises of meditation, concentration and contemplation, so that they become capable of conscious experience when they are separated from the physical and etheric bodies, as in ordinary sleep. The stronger-than-ordinary soul-forces that a man develops are what enable him to reach the stage we spoke of yesterday. They give him the power, after he has confronted the Void, to enter a new world which he can experience through the fact that — as the spider spins its web out of itself — he pours out into space the spiritually substantial content of his soul, and receives into it the spiritual worlds which then present themselves to him.

So now, after having left behind him the physical sense-world in this way, and gone through the stage of having stood over the abyss — for that is how it feels when one confronts the Void — the aspirant is in a new world. And in this new world he not only experiences something different, but he experiences it in a quite new way. We can begin from an ordinary experience on the physical plane. There, events occur in two apparently quite separate domains. In one domain the events are subject to the laws of nature; in the other they are subject to moral laws. When in ordinary physical life we observe the events of nature, even when we ascend to the animal kingdom, we know that we are looking only for natural laws and that moral standards are inapplicable there. We do not enquire, for example, why a rock crystal has the form of a six-sided column ending in two six-sided pyramids; we do not ask why this mineral substance aggregates itself in such a way that this crystal form appears. We expect no answer except that it obeys a natural law. We do not ask what good thing the rock crystal has done that it should have become a rock crystal. We do not ask what its intentions are, We do not apply moral standards to the mineral world. Neither do we apply them to the plant world. And only in a somewhat indirect sense — and, one might say, according to the sympathies of Darwinistically-inclined persons — do we apply moral concepts to the animal kingdom. What interests us in the animal kingdom, first of all, is its conformity to natural law. When we rise to the human kingdom, we feel obliged to judge men according to the standards of goodwill, love, and so forth. As already said, we regard the facts of the physical world as enmeshed in the web of natural laws, while we judge human actions and soul dispositions by the standard of moral laws; and we are indeed not doing well in our estimate of the physical plane if we mix up these two sets of facts. We are accustomed on the physical plane to judge the world in this twofold way. Hence it is not very easy, after one has sprung, as it were, over the abyss of the Void, to pass into the spiritual world where a different kind of judgment is necessary; where, in fact, there is no separation between something that could be ascribed to natural laws, as with natural events on the physical plane, and a purely moral happening, which likewise exists on the physical plane. When, therefore, the point is reached of which we spoke yesterday, one must accustom oneself to judge events in like manner as we judge natural facts, but also as we judge moral facts in the physical world. The world of natural law and the world of moral law intermingle when one enters the spiritual world.

That shows itself at once, for example, when a man is confronted with the realm that he inhabits between death and a new birth. When the seer has in all earnestness come as far as we have already indicated, he can and will meet those souls who, having passed through the Gate of Death, are going through their development between death and a new birth. He then learns to know the kind of experience these souls are encountering, and if he is to form any judgment of what their experience is, he must adopt quite different habits of thought. A few examples will explain this.

In that realm we find souls which for a certain period between death and a new birth have to undergo very hard conditions. The seer has at first the impression that in the spiritual world these souls — of a certain category — have become the servants of very terrible beings, and that it was through their own lives before death that they condemned themselves to this labour for the terrible spirits. As seer he gradually learns to understand their hard fate, and he does so in the following manner. He cultivates the thought of how a man lives in his physical body from birth to death and how — as has often been described in the course of our lectures on spiritual science — so-called natural death is brought about through an inner conformity to law, when a man has in old age expended his life-forces. We will not speak of this death at present. But there are other deaths. There are those deaths by which a man is snatched away, through accident or illness, in the very flower of his life. We do not all die after having fulfilled our measure of life. Men die at all ages, and we must ask ourselves: Whence come the forces which are responsible for these deaths at different ages? We understand that a man must die when his measure of life is fulfilled. We have often seen how that is brought about by the spiritual worlds. But everything that happens in the physical world comes about through influences from the spiritual worlds. Those deaths which are to a certain extent untimely also happen through influences from the spiritual worlds; that is, they are caused by forces and beings of the spiritual world.

There is something else in the physical world to which we must pay attention if we want to understand the life between death and the next birth. We see the physical world permeated by illnesses and diseases, and in earlier times afflicted by well-known pestilences. One need but recall those devastating visitations among earlier European peoples when the plague, cholera, etc., swept through the land. In this present age we are comparatively fortunate in regard to such things. But already — as indicated in the course of our lectures — certain epidemics are preparing. So we see what appears to be untimely death pass over the Earth; we see disease and pestilence. And. the seer sees souls living between death and a new birth who are helping those spirits who bear from the super-sensible worlds into the sense-world the forces which bring epidemics and illnesses, and so-called untimely death.

It makes a terrifying impression to perceive how during certain periods of their lives between death and a new birth human souls have become servants of the evil spirits of illness and death, and have condemned themselves to this servitude. If one tries to trace back the lives of such persons to the time before they went through the Gate of Death, one always finds that during their life on the physical plane they were lacking in conscience, lacking in feelings of responsibility. A fixed law is evident here. The seer perceives how souls who were morally irresponsible in their dispositions in their lives on Earth have to co-operate, for a period after death, in bringing epidemics, illnesses and untimely deaths into the physical sense-world. Here we see a natural ordinance to which these souls are subject, but we cannot say of it that, like a crystallisation, or like the concussion between two elastic balls, it has no connection with morality. These souls show us how in the higher worlds there is an interweaving of natural law with the moral world-order. The manner in which things come about in the higher worlds is dependent on beings whose fate is conditioned by their moral behaviour in the world.

To take another example, we can look at what the seer learns when he turns his attention to a characteristic, the desire for ease and comfort, that is very widespread among men — more widespread than is generally supposed. People indulge far more in indolence than one realises. They are indolent in their thinking, indolent in their manners and behaviour and particularly so when they are required to alter their thinking or their habits. If men were not so ease-loving in their innermost souls, they would not have so often resisted a necessary change in their ideas. They struggled against it because to have to unlearn anything is uncomfortable. After having thought so long that the Earth stood still and that the

Sun and Stars went round it, it was tiresome to have to learn something different when they suddenly heard through Copernicus about the movement of the Earth! It was an uncomfortable thing when — theoretically, at least — the ground was taken from under their feet. All the resistance of those times against this new idea sprang from indolence of thought, from the love of ease, for to unlearn anything is tiresome. But one need merely consider the most ordinary everyday life and one will find how widespread is the quality — really a vice — of indolence. In recent times we have gained some idea of the enormous extent of indolence, love of ease, among humanity. This will be seen from the following example.

There are many theories of political economy. I need not speak about them now. But there is one theory of political economy which is somewhat out of date to-day but once played a great role. It was based upon the idea that all men should be free to compete in the exchange of commodities, etc.; and that the best social structure would be obtained if completely free competition were allowed. Then other, more socialistic theories took root. But latterly some political economists have drawn attention to the fact that all these theories were in the highest degree one-sided. For what takes place in the world of commerce and in social life is much more dependent on the love of ease than on the law of competition or the law of getting on in the world — yes, even more than on the laws of conscious egoism. Thus even into political economy a knowledge of the law of slothfulness finds entry — which means that even in this realm one can discern good sense, and a readiness to recognise facts that cannot be overlooked, unless one adopts an ostrich policy towards life.

Love of ease is a general and widespread attribute of mankind. And if one follows up after death the souls who were subject to it, one sees how this love of ease persists, and how for a certain time after death these souls have to live in a region where — as a result of indolence — they become servants of the god or gods of Opposition, those gods who place particular obstacles in the path of evolution. And these again are spirits under the rule of Ahriman. Ahriman has various things to do; one of his tasks, is to conduct out of the spiritual worlds into the physical world the forces which call forth opposition in physical life. Thus men are on the one hand ease-loving, but on the other hand the fate of lovers of ease is such that when they want to do anything they run up against a general cosmic law. Obstacles are everywhere, and even if they are not in the grotesque form once pictured by a German poet, they are there in the most tragic guise. He called them the “malice of things”. This “malice of things” is especially apparent when, for instance, a preacher in the pulpit is in the midst of a tremendously long tirade and a fly alights on his nose, causing him to sneeze violently. That is the “malice of things”. But it appears first in full force when persons who in this sense are the children of misfortune are exposed to it at every step. Friedrich Theodor Vischer once wrote a novel in which someone was continually exposed to this “malice of things”.

In truth, these things rise from the grotesque to the tragic. All such obstacles are directed from the spiritual worlds and the Lord of Opposition is Ahriman. And souls that are lovers of ease make themselves into servants of Ahriman for a certain time between death and a new birth. On the whole it is not so terrible to see the punishment of the devotees of ease as it is to see the souls who are living in servitude to the spirits of illness and. death. But it shows again how moral and natural law intermingle as soon as we come into the higher worlds.

Such are the experiences that are gone through when one has come to the point described yesterday; and a man has to go through these experiences in order that he may also experience other necessary conditions (we shall see later why “necessary”) and so may advance still further in regard to higher experiences. This matter of ascending into the higher worlds is not such that one can say: To-day you are beginning your ascent into the higher worlds, and then you will mount upwards stage by stage. For him who wants to become an Initiate, things go forward unnoticed in relation to external happenings amid the affairs and events of ordinary life. He does indeed come stage by stage into the higher worlds, but from this sojourn in the higher worlds he must again come forth and live in the ordinary world. From the experiences in the spiritual worlds, however, he brings with him something into the physical world. He realises, after he has become an Initiate, that while moving around in the physical world he is endowed with feelings and perceptions other than those pertaining to anyone who is not a seer. He need only train himself (and a correct schooling will see to this) not to be misled in ordinary life through the alteration of his perceptions and feelings. He must learn to be a seer only for the higher worlds, and not to bring into the ordinary world the characteristics and attitude of soul needed for the higher worlds. This must be strictly avoided. He should be able to be a seer, while remaining as rational as anyone else in the ordinary physical world.

Hence the least suitable persons for the development of seership are those who from the outset are predisposed to be visionaries. Enthusiasts and intellectual idealists, those who already experience in the physical world that which has its justification in the spiritual world; people who in the physical world “hear the grass grow”, who see everywhere the visions of the dreamer, not the realities perceived by a sober disposition; people who indulge their imagination — there are many more such than is generally supposed — such people are of no use for training in seership. Persons who stand with both feet on solid ground, who understand something of actuality and judge things as they are — these are the people best fitted for developing seership.

This will have indicated how a person should not let feelings and perceptions necessary for the physical world be misled through what he acquires for the ascent into the higher worlds. Quite definite feelings and perceptions remain with him, once he has become a seer; in the physical world he will be too, a different person. But in order that this may do him no harm he must also apply these new feelings and perceptions to things in the external physical world to which he had previously paid no attention or had not noticed. Then he will find — not in a bad sense but emphatically in a good one — that his relations with nature are somewhat altered. For instance, he will feel differently towards the plant world which spreads itself like a carpet over the Earth. Formerly he looked at the plants and was delighted with their greenery, with the wealth of flowers and their colours, with everything that the plant world offered to him as it grows out of the Earth and delights the eyes and perhaps the other senses. Let us not think in this connection of some dull, prosaic person, but of someone who can really enjoy to the full the effect which the beauty of the Earth's plant-cover can evoke in the soul. And do not let us imagine that anyone who has become a seer must forfeit in the very least any part of his feeling for the plant-vesture of the Earth. Something else, however, arises within him. When he looks at the plant world he feels that a certain inner relationship links it with Sun, Moon and Stars. In his feeling and perception the green carpet of plants grows together with the out-there in the Cosmos.

Nowadays men build up plenty of abstract ideas on this subject. Everyone with a mere smattering of learning knows how the Earth's carpet of plants is connected with the activity of the light from the Sun; how the plants cannot grow without the specific action of the Sun's rays. And men have some inkling that not only the Sun's activity has an influence on the plant world, but that the rest of the starry world also has an influence. Certainly some people are incredulous about this, but not so long ago there lived a great and significant thinker who applied himself in a thoroughly scientific way to studying the influence of the Moon on the weather, and so on the vegetation of the Earth. I refer to Gustav Theodor Fechner. Not from the standpoint of any superstition, but from that of quite empirical observation, he tried to show that the influence of the new Moon on rainfall is different from that of the full Moon, and so on. There were many people who wanted to prove their scientific outlook by laughing at Gustav Theodor Fechner and his studies of the Moon. One of those who laughed loudest was the celebrated botanist, Schleiden, who voiced his opinion that it certainly does not depend on the full Moon or the new Moon whether for fourteen days we have more rain or less. Fechner replied (conditions then were somewhat more patriarchal than they are to-day): “Let the matter be put to the test indirectly through the women; learned men soon begin to quarrel.” Now the two wives, Frau Professor Schleiden and Frau Professor Fechner, always put out tubs in their Leipzig backyards to catch rain-water for washing-day. Fechner proposed that Frau Professor Schleiden should put out her tubs at new Moon, while his own wife put out hers at full Moon, and they would soon see in which period. the greater quantity of rain would fall. And behold, Frau Professor Schleiden was by no means in agreement with her husband, for she caught the smaller quantity of rain-water!

Thus — ironically, one might say — a decision was reached, though we would not want to attach any value to it now. Later on, however, it will emerge that sunlight, sun-heat, and also the other stellar influences, all have effects on the plant world. At first, this is theoretical knowledge. But the seer has direct perception of how influences from the Earth interact with those from stellar space. He regards them ultimately as one, and he feels as a vital occurrence the pouring out of the sunlight upon the vegetation of the Earth, and again the withdrawal of the sunlight. He feels how it is with the plants when the sunlight is withdrawn from them. As one feels sympathy with a child that is very much attached to its mother when the mother is removed from its sight for a while, so does the seer feel sympathy when the sunlight is withdrawn from the plants? This sympathy with the plant world is an experience that comes to the seer; so that when he has reached the point spoken of in the preceding lecture, he acquires perceptions of such a kind that he becomes a participant in the relations between Earth-growth and plant-growth and the Sun and Stars.

Through the birth of this feeling he is adapted for feeling something else besides. He can feel this something when he returns into the physical world from the spiritual world and looks for instance, at a waking or sleeping person. Also when he has, so to speak, laid aside his seer's gift and sees only the physical world and the sleeping person, then, too, comes the feeling that the sleeper has been forsaken by something. This is very similar to the feeling one has when, for example, in autumn the relation of the Sun's rays to the Earth's vegetation changes in the usual way. Quite similar are the feelings towards nature now forsaken by Sun and Stars to the feelings towards the human organism forsaken by its ego and astral body. And now one has the specific experience that in this respect man is independent of his relation to the physical heavens, whereas the plant-growth is dependent on this relationship. Concerning the plants we know that they cannot go to sleep as they like, owing to their inner constitution; they must wait until the Sun sets in the evening, or until autumn comes. Concerning man we know that in our time, and especially under our conditions of civilisation, he is no longer in the least guided by the Sun. For instance, if we had to guide ourselves by the Sun, as do the plants, we could not be assembled here together. The transition, which for the plants is so strictly ruled by the course of the Sun and Stars, has no influence on man. Certainly if we come into primitive rural conditions and see how not only the fowls but also the village folk go to sleep at a certain time and wake at a certain time, we feel as if there were something of a plant-like connection between human beings and the course of the Sun and Stars. But we have to conclude that in the course of human evolution man has emancipated himself from the cosmic course of events. With his physical and etheric bodies he is able to come into the situation which the plant comes to through the position of the Sun and Stars — he comes to it through inner conditions, I will not say by dint of inner free will. A man can have his afternoon nap through his own inner condition; that is he can come out of his physical and etheric bodies. The plant cannot have an afternoon sleep at will; it has to regulate itself entirely in accordance with the course of the stars. But what is man when as physical and etheric body he lies asleep, with his astral body and his ego outside? His physical and etheric bodies then have the value of the plant. A physical and an etheric body are what the plant has. Considering all this, you may say: A plant grows gradually into connection with the Sun and the starry world, becomes one with them. Hence we must direct our feeling from the plant to the world of the Stars and Sun. This same direction of feeling applies to the sleeping man, who also consists of physical body and etheric body, and has the value of a plant in relation to his ego and astral body, for these, quite independently of the Sun's position, are outside his physical and etheric bodies when he sleeps, just as the physical Sun is outside the physical body and etheric body of the plant.

What I have here explained to you is experienced by the seer. Now when, proceeding from such perceptions, a man deliberately brings about the independence of the ego and astral body from the etheric and physical bodies; when he has got so far as deliberately to make the physical body and the etheric body into a kind of plant by passing out of them, then he comes to know something very strange — it is as if the Sun were speaking, as if it were looking down on the plants and observing itself in relation to them, and then saying: Yes, this physical and this etheric body of the plants belong to me, for they need what I can send them! Exactly as the Sun might speak to the plant growing below, so can the ego of a person say of his physical and etheric bodies: “They belong to me as the plant does to the Sun; I am like a Sun to the physical and etheric bodies.” A Sun to the physical and etheric body — so does a man learn of necessity to speak of his ego. And just as he learns to speak of his ego with reference to his physical and etheric bodies as the Sun would speak to the plant, so does he learn to speak of his astral body as the Moon, and also the planets, would have to speak to the plant. That is a quite special and important experience in the Mysteries. It was cultivated as a real and immediate experience, first in the Mysteries of Zarathustra and then wherever the world was developing, right on to the Mysteries of the Holy Grail.

This experience was always called “Seeing the Sun at midnight”, because a man had it most clearly — especially at the time of the Egyptian Mysteries — when in sleep he saw the Sun spiritually at midnight and felt himself united with the forces of the Sun in the manner described. It was an experiencing of the Sun-element in one's own ego, as a Sun-force that shines upon the physical and etheric bodies. This, then, was a third experience common to all the different Mysteries. Common to them all were, and are, the “Pressing forward to the boundaries of Death”, the “Experiencing of the Elementary World”, and now “Seeing the Sun at midnight”. But it must be clearly understood that at the moment when the seer feels himself isolated and as though sun-like or star-like in relation to his own etheric and physical bodies, he no longer feels the Sun and Stars only in their physical substantiality but becomes acquainted with the spiritual beings and worlds belonging to them. The experiencing of the Cosmos is an experience in the spiritual worlds — one must be quite clear about that.

Now in order to grow up correctly into the higher worlds, and to have the experiences which correspond with the spiritual realities, it is important and necessary that one should first gain acquaintance with the quite different nature of the spiritual world as compared with the physical world. One learns enough of this when, as a seer, one can test and observe the consequences of indolence, or of a lack of conscience for the experience of the soul in the time between death and a new birth, and much else besides. Through these things the seer must, so to speak, open out his soul for conditions essentially different from those on the physical plane. Only then is he ripe for gaining living experience of the spiritual Cosmos, for recognising the inner connection of the ego and the astral body with the Cosmos. Directly one comes to the experience that man, in regard to the highest members of his being, belongs not only to the Earth but is at home in the whole Cosmos, then all previous theorising is seen as a mere playing with words. One knows then that every person, when on going to sleep in the evening he passes out of his physical and etheric bodies, enters into participation with cosmic forces. He seeks strength for himself out of the whole universe, and on reawaking brings back the forces he has gathered during sleep in order to use them in the physical world. The connection with the Cosmos is experienced. at a quite definite stage of the Mysteries. From this stage we will go on to-morrow.