Sunday, August 22, 2010

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

Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given May 20, 1923:

"The Greeks prior to Sophocles and Aeschylus...Actors were to represent the god in man, and above all the god who, rising out of terrestrial depths, gave man his willpower. With a certain justification our predecessors, the ancient Greeks, experienced this will-endowment as rising up out of the earth. The gods of the depths who, entering man, endow him with will, these Dionysiac gods were to be given stage presentation. Man was, so to speak, the vessel of the Dionysiac godhead. Actors in the Mysteries were human beings who received into themselves a god. It was he who filled them with enthusiasm.

On the other hand, man who rose to the goddess of the heights (male gods were recognized as below, female gods in the heights), man who rose in order that the divine could sink into him, became an epic poet who wished not to speak himself but to let the godhead speak through him. He offered himself as bearer to the goddess of the heights that she, through him, might look upon earth events, upon the deeds of Achilles, Agamemnon, Odysseus, Ajax. Ancient epic poets did not care to express the opinions of such heroes; opinions to be heard every day in the market place. It was what the goddess had to say about the earthly-human element when people surrendered to her influence that was worth expression in epic poetry. "Sing, O goddess, of the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus": thus did Homer begin the Iliad. "Sing, O goddess, of that ingenious hero," begins the Odyssey. This is no phrase; it is a deeply inward confession of a true epic poet who lets the goddess speak through him instead of speaking himself, who receives the divine into his phantasy, that child of the cosmic forces of growth, so the divine may speak about world events."

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