Thursday, November 28, 2013

Winter [the Past; Science] and Summer [the Future; Art] in the Hibernian Mysteries

Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centers. Lecture 8 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, December 8, 1923:
You have seen that the initiation of the Hibernian Mysteries described yesterday had for its object a real insight into the secrets of the world and man, for the inner soul-experiences of which I had to speak were of a deeply impressive kind for the human mind and soul-life. They really concern everything which leads man along the path into the spirit-world, so that by means of specially impressive inner experiences he attains to certain conquests, essentially strengthens his own power through these conquests, and thereby by one way or another presses through into the spirit-world.
We saw, then, how in initiation in Hibernia the candidate was placed before two symbolic statues — we must not misunderstand the word “symbolic.” I described to you, firstly, the nature of these statues and secondly, through what sensations and soul-experiences the pupil was conducted on the occasions for contemplation of these statues.
Now you must be quite clear on this point: the impression that one receives from such majestic statues in circumstances such as I have described is of course not to be compared with that which one receives through description only, but is an extraordinarily powerful, inner impression. Hence it was possible that after the pupil had gone through all that I have described the initiator was able to cause the experiences he had gone through in the presence of each individual statue to echo for a long while in his mind. The pupil was simply kept to this, that that which he had experienced through the male statue, through the female statue, echoed in him. For weeks together — these things are determined by the karma of the pupil — sometimes longer, in many cases shorter, the pupils were kept above all to feel the echo of the one, of the male statue. The tests of which I spoke yesterday were first made in the case of both statues, for the impressions which were made by both statues had to flow together into the deepest soul-life of the pupil. Yet the pupil was held in the most intense fashion to the experience of the impression which he had received from the male statue. And I will now describe the impression as it echoed in him.
Of course, for this, we must use words which are not coined for initiation experiences such as these. Hence much that is expressed in these words must be realized according to its true inner significance. That which the pupil at first experienced when he gave himself up to the impression from the male statue was a kind of soul-freezing, an actual benumbing of soul, a soul-stiffening, which came over him more and more the oftener he allowed these things to echo within him — a soul numbness which felt like a bodily numbness. In the intervening periods of time the pupil might certainly care for what is necessary for life, but his soul was again and again brought into this echo, and he then experienced this numbness. This numbness brought about an alteration of his consciousness — it was certainly a very stem initiation even if it no longer recalled the ancient form of the primeval Mysteries. One cannot say that the consciousness was dulled, but the pupil became aware: “The state of consciousness into which I have come is one to which I am wholly unaccustomed. I can actually at first make no use of it. I can make nothing of it.” The pupil really only felt that this state of consciousness was filled with a sensation of numbness. But presently he felt that that which was benumbed in him — in fact he himself — had been taken up by the cosmos. He felt as if transported into the expanses of the universe. He could say to himself: “The cosmos receives me.”
Then something quite extraordinary came to him: not a vanishing of consciousness but an alteration of consciousness. When the pupil had experienced this kind of numbness for a sufficiently long time — the initiators had to take care that it was a sufficiently long time — when the pupil had experienced this kind of numbness, and this being taken up by the cosmos, so that he said to himself somewhat as follows: “The rays of the Sun, the rays of the stars are drawing me, they are drawing me out into the whole cosmos — yet I remain actually together within myself” — when the pupil had experienced this long enough he attained a remarkable perception. He now actually learned to know whence arose this consciousness which had come upon him during the numbness, for now he received, according to his experiences echoing from this or that, the most manifold impressions of winter landscapes. Winter landscapes were before him in the spirit, winter landscapes in which he looked into whirling flakes of snow which filled the air — all, as has been said, seen in the spirit — or landscapes where he gazed into forests, where snow lay pressing down the trees or the like, really things which, as has been said, recalled that which he had seen here or there in life, and which always gave him the impression of reality. So that he felt after he had been taken up by the cosmos as if his own consciousness conjured up whole wanderings in time through winter landscapes, and at the same time he felt as if he were not in his body but nevertheless in his sense organs. He felt his being in his eyes, he felt his being in his ears, he felt his being also on the surface of his skin. Here especially when he experienced his sense of feeling, his sense of touch spread out over his skin, he perceived: “I have become like the elastic but hollow statue.” And he felt an inner union of his eyes, for example, with these landscapes. He felt as if this whole landscape that he gazed upon were active in each eye, as if it worked everywhere into his eye, as if his eye were an inner mirror for all that which appeared outside.
But there was something more that he felt: he did not feel himself as a unity, but in very fact he felt his ego multiplied as many times as he had senses; he felt his ego multiplied twelve times, and because he felt his ego multiplied twelve times there came to him this remarkable experience, so that he said: “There is an ego that sees through my eye, there is an ego that works through my sense of thinking, in my sense of speech, in my sense of touch, in my sense of life. I am really split up in the world.” From this arose a living longing for union with a being out of the hierarchy of the angels, in order that from this union with the being out of the hierarchy of the angels he should receive the ability and the power to control this splitting-up of the ego into the individual sense-experiences. And out of all this there arose in his ego the experience: “Why do I have my senses?”
This whole peculiar experience was such that the pupil felt how all that is connected with the senses and with the nerve continuations of the senses inwardly and is one with the inner being of man — how that this is related to the actual surroundings on Earth. The senses belong to the winter — this is what the pupil felt. In this whole life which he went through in the changing winter landscapes — which, as has been said, recalled that which he had seen in life, but which with great beauty rayed from the spiritual toward him — out of all this experience the pupil gained a unified condition of soul. This unified condition of soul had the following content: I have experienced in my Mystery winter-wandering that which in the cosmos is actually past. The snow and ice-masses of my magic winter have shown me what destructive forces work in the cosmos. I have learned to know the impulses of destruction in the cosmos, and my numbness on the way to my Mystery winter-wandering was indeed the announcement that I should see into that which was present in the cosmos as forces which come over out of the past into the present, but arrive in the present as dead cosmic forces.
This was first of all communicated to the pupil through the echo of his experiences before the male statue.
Then he was brought to the echo of his experiences with the statue which was plastic, not elastic. And it was as if he now fell not into an inner numbness but into an inner condition of heat, as into a fever condition of the soul, into a fever condition of such a nature that things which have power, because of their inner nature, to work on the soul, manifested themselves first as bodily symptom-complexes. The pupil felt as if he were being inwardly pressed, as if everything were pressing hard, his breath were pressing hard, his blood in every direction were pressing too hard. The pupil experienced a great anxiety, even to a deep inner distress of soul. In this deep soul-distress the second thing arose which he had to experience, and that which was born for him out of the soul distress can be clothed somewhat in the following words: “I have something in me which in my ordinary Earth-life is claimed by my corporality. This must be conquered; my Earth-ego must be conquered.” This impression lived powerfully in the consciousness of the pupil.
Then when he had for a sufficiently long time experienced this inner condition of heat, this inner distress, this feeling that the Earth-ego must be conquered, there arose in him something by which he knew that it was not the earlier state of consciousness, but it was a state of consciousness well known to him, the state of consciousness in dreaming. While in the case of the first, which arose out of a numbness, he had clearly the feeling that he was in a condition of consciousness which he did not know in ordinary life, he now recognized in his condition of consciousness a kind of dreaming. He dreamed, but he dreamed in contrast to that which he had dreamed earlier, and again in reminiscence of that which he had experienced, the most wonderful summer landscapes. But he knew these were dreams, dreams which affected him with an intense joy or an intense pain, according to whether that which came to him out of the being of summer was either sorrowful or joyful, but withal with the possession with which a man is possessed by dreams.
You only need to remember what is possible to a dream which first rises in pictures, out of which you wake with a beating heart, hot and in anxiety. This condition of being inwardly possessed made itself known to the pupil in a quite elementary natural way, so that he said to himself: “My inner being has brought the summer as a dream to my consciousness: the summer as a dream.”
The pupil now knew that that which was there as magic summer before his consciousness in continuous change may be likened to the impulses from the vast future of the cosmos. But now he did not feel himself as he did before, dismembered into his senses as a multiplicity; he felt himself now truly drawn together as into a unity. He felt himself as drawn together into his heart.
This is the culmination, the highest point to which he attained, this being drawn together into his heart, this inner self-possession and feeling of kinship in his innermost human nature, not with the summer as one sees it externally, but with the dream of this summer.
And following on, the pupil said to himself: “In that which the dream of summer gives, which I inwardly experience in my human being, in that lies the future.” When the pupil had gone through this experience there came to him the experience that these two conditions followed each other. He looked, let us say, upon a landscape consisting of meadows, ponds, and small lakes. He looked upon ice and snow. This changed into whirling, falling snow, like a mist of snowflakes. This prospect gradually grew dimmer, and finally vanished into nothing. In the moment when it vanished into nothing, when he felt himself to a certain extent in empty space, in that moment the summer-dreams rose on the threshold. And the pupil had the consciousness: “Now past and future meet in my own soul-life.”
And from now onwards the pupil learned to look on the outer world, and to say of this outer world as a permanent truth for the Future: In this world which surrounds us, in this world from which we derive our corporeality, in this world something continually is dying. In the winter crystals of the snow we have the outer sign of the spirit which is continually dying in matter. As men we are not yet fully in the condition to feel this dying spirit, which is rightly symbolized in outer nature in snow and ice, unless initiation has taken place. But if initiation has taken place, then man knows that the spirit dies continually in matter, announces itself in freezing and frozen nature. Annihilation exists here everywhere. Out of this annihilation first of all something like nature-dreams are born. And nature-dreams contain the germs for the world future. But world death and world birth would not meet if man did not stand between them. For if man did not stand between them — as I have said, I am describing to you simply the experiences which the pupil of the Hibernian initiation inwardly went through — if man did not stand between them, the actual processes into which the pupil gazed by means of the new consciousness born of the numbness would be an actual world death, and the dream would not follow the world death. No future would result out of the past. Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth would be there; no Jupiter, no Venus, and no Vulcan. In order that the future of the cosmos may join itself to the past, man must stand between past and future. The pupil knew this directly out of what he experienced.
That which the pupil had lived through in this way was now summarized for him by his initiators. The first condition — when he had gone through numbness, when he felt himself sucked up by the cosmos — was summarized for him by his initiators in words which I may give you somewhat in the following way, in the German language:

In den Weiten sollst du lernen
Wie in Blau der Aetherfernen
Erst das Weltensein entschwindet
Und in dir sich wiederfindet.

In spaces far and wide shalt thou learn
How in Blue of Ether-distance
World-Being first vanishes
And finds itself again in thee.

In these words were the experiences which had been gone through actually summarized.
Then the experiences of the second condition, the after-effects of the second statue, were summarized:

In den Tiefen sollst du lösen
Aus dem heiss erflebernden Bösen
Wie die Wahrheit sich entzündet
Und durch dich im Sein sich ergründet.

In the depths shalt thou solve
The riddle of fever-heated evil
How Truth is enkindled
And through thee finds foundation in Being.

Remember that at the stage of which I spoke at the end of yesterday's lecture, the pupil was dismissed with the words which appeared in the place of the two statues, with the words “Science” and “Art.” “Science” appeared in the place of the statue which actually said: “I am Knowledge, but I lack Being.” “Art” was written in the place of the statue which said: “I am Phantasy, but I lack Truth.” And the pupil had experienced all the difficulty, all the inner fearful difficulty, because inwardly full of desire he had actually chosen something else instead of knowledge. For it had become quite clear to him: Concerning knowledge which is acquired on Earth, only ideas, only images belong to it; Being is lacking. The pupil had now experienced the after-effects. Out of the after-effects he had learned to know that man must find Being for the knowledge he has acquired, by losing himself in cosmic spaces:

In Spaces far and wide shalt thou learn
How in Blue of Ether-distance
World-Being first vanishes
And finds itself again in thee.

For this was in fact the sensation: he rushes out as it were into ether-distances which are bounded by the blue of space. He unites himself at last with this blue of the far distances, but then that which was Earth is so scattered into the far spaces that it is as if changed into nothingness. And the pupil learned to experience annihilation in gazing upon the magic winter landscape. And he knows now that it is man alone who can hold himself upright in these far spaces, which lead away into the blue ether-distances.
The tendency of phantasy to disregard truth, that very tendency to be contented with a relationship to the world which does not include truth but runs amok in arbitrary subjective pictures, this tendency the pupil had experienced. But now, out of the dreamlike magical summer experience he had gained the insight: I can carry out into the world that which as creative phantasy arises in me. Out of my inner being the pictures of phantasy grow Imaginations, Imaginations of plants. If I had only the pictures of phantasy I should be a stranger to that which is around me. If I have Imaginations, there grows out of my own inner being that which I then find in this plant or that plant, in this animal or that animal, in this man or that man; all that I find in my inner being clothes itself in something that is external to me. And for everything that confronts me in the outer world I can cause to arise out of the depths of my own soul-being something which is connected with it, something which clothes itself with it.
This twofold connection with the world is something which remained with the pupil as an inner grand and impressive sensation as the after-effect of both statues. And the pupil really learned in this way, on the one side to stretch his soul spiritually out into cosmic spaces, and on the other to plunge deeply into his own inner being, where this inner being works not with the feebleness of ordinary consciousness but where it works with half-reality, i.e., chilled or shaken and bewitched as by dreams. The pupil learned to bring this whole intensity of inner impulse into union with the whole intensity of outer impulse. Out of the relation to the winter landscape and the relation to the summer landscape he has struggled through to explanations concerning external nature and concerning himself; he has become closely related to external nature and to himself. Then he was well prepared to go, as it were, through a kind of recapitulation. In this recapitulation it was brought clearly before his soul by his initiators: “Thou must inwardly control thy soul in its condition of numbness. Thou must inwardly control thy going out into cosmic spaces, and thirdly, thou must inwardly control thyself when thou dost feel poured out into and multiplied in thy senses. Thou must make inwardly clear to thyself what each condition is; thou must be able to distinguish exactly each one of these three conditions from the other; thou must have an etheric inner experience of each one of these three conditions.”
When the pupil now called up again before his soul in full consciousness the condition of inner numbness, there appeared before his soul all that he had experienced before he had descended from the spiritual worlds to Earth, before the earthly conception of his body, when he had drawn together out of cosmic spaces etheric impulses and etheric forces in order to surround himself with an etheric body. The pupil in the Mysteries of Hibernia was thus guided into the vision of the last condition before the descent into the physical body. Then he had to make quite clear to himself the inner experience when he went out into the cosmic spaces. Here he felt at this second time, at this recapitulation, not as if he were sucked up by the rays of the Sun and the stars, but he felt at this recapitulation as if something came to meet him, as if from all sides out of the spaces the hierarchies came to meet him, as if other experiences also came to meet him. He felt also that which lay still further behind in his pre-earthly life. Then he had to make quite clear to himself the condition when he was poured out into the senses, and found himself as if split up into the sense-world. For here he had reached the middle point of existence between death and a new birth.
You see how that which gives the candidates for initiation entrance into these hidden worlds — worlds to which, however, man with his being belongs — can be reached in the most manifold ways. And when we look around in the way in which yesterday and indeed frequently I have indicated, then we may say: In the different Mystery centers the vision into the supersensible world is reached in the most manifold ways.
Why man must strive in such manifold ways, why in all the Mysteries a single spiritual path was not indicated, we shall show in later lectures. Today I only mention the fact. But all these different paths of the Mysteries were appointed in order to unveil the hidden sides of existence in regard to the world and man, which have again and again been shown from the most varied points of view here in these studies and in other lectures and writings.
It was then made clear to the pupil that he ought also now to go through those other conditions which he had experienced as an echo from the other statue; he must live through those conditions inwardly separated, so that for each single condition he should always have an inner clear knowledge according to the feeling which he had experienced, which he should recall then in full consciousness. This then he did. And in the case of that of which I have spoken as a kind of distress of the soul, he felt directly that which follows in the soul-experience after death.
Then came the vision through that which he further experienced, when external nature showed itself in summer landscape, but as a dream of summer landscape.
When he lived through this again, and with a full consciousness now separated this condition from the other condition of consciousness, he learned to know what would be the further progress of his post-earthly life. And when he made the feeling of compression into his heart's being quite clear and living in his consciousness, then he could reach to the middle point of existence between death and a new birth. And the initiator could say to him:

Leme geistig Wintersein schauen
Und dir wird der Anblick des Vorirdischen.

Lerne geistig Sommersein träumen
Und dir wird das Erleben des Nachirdischen.

Learn in spirit to see Winter-being
To thee will come the vision of the pre-earthly.

Learn in spirit to dream Summer-being
To thee will come experience of the post-earthly.

I beg you to notice exactly the words which I use, for in the relation here of the vision of the pre-earthly to the experience of the post-earthly, and in the relation of seeing to dreaming, rests the mighty difference which lay in these two experiences of the initiation candidates of the Mysteries of Hibernia.
How this initiation stands in connection with the whole history of mankind, in the whole evolution of mankind, what it betokens for human evolution, and how far the whole experience had a still deeper meaning — in that, at the stage where I closed the last lecture, something like a vision of the Christ appeared before the pupil of Hibernia — this will be set before you in the next lecture.

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