Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given June 8, 1923:
I refer to an age when all the arts, except poetry, were but little developed. The other arts existed, to be sure, but in only a rudimentary state because the human beings of that time were deeply conscious of the fact that with the word, created out of their organisms' innermost secret, they could express something supersensible, that language was fitted to express what appears in star-constellations and star-movements; far better fitted than the art-mediums using substances taken directly from the earth. For language originates in spiritual man — this they felt — and is therefore eminently adapted to what, from cosmic reaches, manifests here on earth. Poetry, then, was not an offspring merely of phantasy but of spiritual perception; and it was by this means that man learned what he in turn poured into the other arts. Poetry, which finds expression through words, was the medium by which man entered into soul-communion with the stars, the extra-earthly.
This soul-communion constituted the poetic mood. Through it man saw how thoughts not yet separated from objects gain pictorial expression in his vault-like head, a head resembling the firmament; how thought represents a spiritual firmament, a celestial vault; how thought is inherent throughout the cosmos. Individual thoughts were expressed through the relative positions of the stars, by the way the planets moved past each other. In those ancient times man — unlike the free man of a later age — did not think merely by virtue of his own inner force. In every thought-movement he felt the after-image of some star-movement, in every thought-form the after-image of a constellation. Thus his thinking transported him into stellar space. The sunlight which illumined the day, and which would seem to be blinding out in the cosmos, was not considered the guide to wisdom, not the guiding force of thought, but, rather, sunlight as reflected by the moon. The following is ancient Mystery wisdom: During the day we see light with the physical body, at night we do more; we see it gathered up by the silver chalice of the moon. And this sunlight, collected by the moon, was regarded as the soul's Soma drink. Enspirited thereby, the soul could conceive those thoughts which were the result, the image, of the starry heavens.
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