Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Of the proving of the true lover of God. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 6


Chapter 6: Of the proving of the true lover of God

“My Son, thou art not yet strong and prudent in thy love.”
Wherefore, O my Lord?
“Because for a little opposition thou fallest away from thy
undertakings, and too eagerly seekest after consolation. The
strong lover standeth fast in temptations, and believeth not the
evil persuasions of the enemy. As in prosperity I please him, so
in adversity I do not displease.
“The prudent lover considereth not the gift of the lover so
much as the love of the giver. He looketh for the affection more
than the value, and setteth all gifts lower than the Beloved.
The noble lover resteth not in the gift, but in Me above every
“All is not lost, though thou sometimes think of Me or of My
saints less than thou shouldest desire. That good and sweet
affection which thou sometimes perceivest is the effect of
present grace and some foretaste of the heavenly country; but
hereon thou must not too much depend, for it goeth and cometh.
But to strive against the evil motions of the mind which come to
us, and to resist the suggestions of the devil, is a token of
virtue and great merit.
“Therefore let not strange fancies disturb thee, whencesoever
they arise. Bravely observe thy purpose and thy upright
intentions towards God. It is not an illusion when thou art
sometimes suddenly carried away into rapture, and then suddenly
art brought back to the wonted vanities of thy heart. For thou
dost rather unwillingly undergo them than cause them; and so long
as they displease thee and thou strivest against them, it is a
merit and no loss.
“Know thou that thine old enemy altogether striveth to hinder
thy pursuit after good, and to deter thee from every godly
exercise, to wit, the contemplation of the Saints, the pious
remembrance of My passion, the profitable recollection of sin,
the keeping of thy own heart, and the steadfast purpose to grow
in virtue. He suggesteth to thee many evil thoughts, that he may
work in thee weariness and terror, and so draw thee away from
prayer and holy reading. Humble confession displeaseth him, and
if he were able he would make thee to cease from Communion.
Believe him not, nor heed him, though many a time he hath laid
for thee the snares of deceit. Account it to be from him, when
he suggesteth evil and unclean thoughts. Say unto him, ‘Depart
unclean spirit; put on shame, miserable one; horribly unclean art
thou, who bringest such things to mine ears. Depart from me,
detestable deceiver; thou shalt have no part in me; but Jesus
shall be with me, as a strong warrior, and thou shalt stand
confounded. Rather would I die and bear all suffering, than
consent unto thee. Hold thy peace and be dumb; I will not hear
thee more, though thou plottest more snares against me. The Lord
is my light and my salvation: whom then shall I fear? Though a
host of men should rise up against me, yet shall not my heart be
afraid. The Lord is my strength and my Redeemer.’
“Strive thou like a good soldier; and if sometimes thou fail
through weakness, put on thy strength more bravely than before,
trusting in My more abundant grace, and take thou much heed of
vain confidence and pride. Because of it many are led into
error, and sometimes fall into blindness well-nigh irremediable.
Let this ruin of the proud, who foolishly lift themselves up, be
to thee for a warning and a continual exhortation to humility.”

Evolution: The Utterance of the Word of God. Lecture 1

"All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made."  — John 1:3

The Influence of Spiritual Beings Upon Man [Collected Works vol. 102]. Lecture 1. Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, January 6, 1908

Today we shall have to speak from the aspect of Spiritual Science about various facts and beings of the higher worlds and about their connection with man. It must be pointed out from the outset, although in such a working group it might seem unnecessary, that today's lecture is intended for those students of spiritual matters who have reached a more advanced stage. This must be possible from time to time. One who is a newcomer at these Monday lectures may perhaps feel somewhat surprised by what is said today, yet we should make no progress if we did not sometimes discuss things pertaining to the higher spheres of spiritual science. It is possible that someone who has only lately met the truths of Spiritual Science and is waiting to be convinced may find a sort of craziness in many things to be expressed today, but such provinces must be touched upon from time to time.
You will have gathered from the lectures given here recently that when we ascend with clairvoyance into the higher worlds we there meet with beings who, it is true, do not belong to our physical world, but who are in themselves so independent that we can describe them as ‘persons’ for those worlds, just as we call men here on the physical plane ‘persons.’ You have seen that groups of animals of the same species together belong to a group-soul or group-ego and that on the astral plane we come upon the lion-soul, the tiger-soul, and so on, as independent personalities whom we can meet there as we meet the human being on the physical plane. In the same way we find in still higher regions, on the devachanic plane, the egos of quite large plant groups, and in the highest parts of Devachan we find the egos of the minerals, personalities as distinct as men are here on the physical plane. We saw in this way that in these higher worlds we meet with certain beings who, so to speak, extend part of their organism, their separate members, down into the physical plane. If a man were to extend his fingers through openings in a curtain or partition we should only see the ten fingers, the man himself would be behind the partition. So it is with the group-egos of the animals. Here with the physical eye we see what is extended down below as members by higher beings of the astral world, and the actual ego is behind the partition, behind that wall which separates the physical world from the astral world. And in a corresponding way this holds good for the other group-egos, the group-egos of the plant or the mineral world. When we raise ourselves from the physical world into higher worlds we meet not only these beings who have been described as extending their members down below here, but we meet a whole number of other beings who may equally well be considered personalities for those worlds, but whose physical members are not so directly visible and evident as those of the group egos of animals, plants, and minerals.
The astral plane and devachanic plane are in fact densely populated worlds. We find many kinds of beings there whose effects are manifested here on the physical plane though not obviously, and who have much to do with the physical plane, with our whole modern human life. One does not understand this life if one does not know that beings who live above in higher worlds are active within it. In the human body itself much goes on over which man is not master, which is not the expression of the human ego but the deed, effect, manifestation, of beings of higher worlds. It is of these things that we will speak today.
When we observe the astral plane we come upon certain beings there — only one kind among many — who seem to have no expression or manifestation among the beings found on the physical plane, but who are yet connected with it. There on the astral plane we meet with them as astral beings — with pronounced will, pronounced purposes, and so on. Within our immediate world they have this existence on the astral plane, but they are related, belong, to the same sort of beings as inhabit our present moon, having even a certain physical existence on the moon. One who is able to approach these things clairvoyantly knows that on their scene of action, the moon, these are beings in a certain respect similar to man, but that they are dwarfs in comparison, scarcely reaching the height of a six or seven year old child. Upon the moon, however, a particular opportunity is offered them for their activity. The physical conditions are quite different there, the atmosphere for instance is quite different and in consequence when these beings withdraw, so to speak, to their habitat they acquire the faculty of a tremendous roaring, of uttering immensely powerful, frightful sounds. These dwarf-like beings can maintain an astral existence within our world. You must in fact picture conditions in the higher worlds as being much more complicated than people are wont to do.
As soon as we speak from the aspect of the higher worlds, there exists an unbroken connection between the different planets and so the moon is connected with the earth just as for instance Berlin and Hamburg are connected by the telephone. Beings that live on the moon can therefore carry out their operations on the earth with the aid of astral forces. One might call them the reverse side of other beings whom we also find in the astral world, beneficent beings who, compared even with the mildest human nature, are yet much, much milder — in their speech too, very mild and gentle. The speech of these beings has not that aridity of human language which a man must ponder over a long time if he is to express himself, and clothe his thoughts and ideas in words. One could say that the thoughts of these beings flow from their lips — not merely the expression of the thoughts in words, but thoughts themselves flow in a gentle language from their lips. These beings are likewise to be found within our astral world; they have their actual scene of action on another planet. As the first-named beings are at home on the moon, these second are at home on Mars, they inhabit Mars and are in fact the main population — as certain human races are the principal population on our earth. If we then mount up higher to the devachanic plane we find certain beings who in their own way are also of a mild, peaceable nature and who in a certain respect are extraordinarily clever. These beings to be found on the devachanic plane have their actual home on the planet Venus, as the other beings on moon and Mars. On Venus too we find yet a second species of beings who — in contrast to the gentle, amiable kind — present a wild and furious vitality, and whose principal occupation consists in mutual fighting and plunder.
Again we find on the higher parts of the devachanic plane certain beings who are very difficult to describe. We can only do so comparatively by saying that they are infinitely inventive: at every moment of life they devise something — for it would be false to say that they think it out. Their inventive gift is rather as if one were to look at something and at the same instant — even in the beholding — one had the impression of how one could form it differently. Invention comes to them spontaneously. These beings, who have their home on Saturn, are again confronted by others who seem to be their reverse side; savage, horrible beings who possess to an infinitely higher, more frightful degree all that lives in man as wild, sensual greed and inordinate desire.
Now all these beings who have been mentioned are by no means unconnected with our existence. Their deeds, activities, manifestations, are definitely extended into our life and their action is particularly to be traced by clairvoyance when certain conditions appear on earth. Thus the beings who — naturally as astral beings — are at home on the moon are present on earth in the most varied circumstances, when for instance a man falls a prey to illusionary ideas, or where insane people are gathered. Such astral beings show special preference for the neighborhood of insane asylums. They are, moreover, almost always to be found near mediums and somnambulists; these persons have such beings swirling round them, and a large proportion of the influences that are exercised upon them is derived from the presence of these creatures. Where on the other hand love and kindliness prevail, where humanitarianism is unfolded, there you find the mild, gentle Mars beings present as astral creations, taking part in the forces which are there at work. That is nourishment for them, the atmosphere in which they can live and whence they exercise their influence on man.
Whenever human discoveries are made, where engineers are at work, in technical workshops, there the atmosphere is created for the inventive Saturn beings. On the other hand where some sort of activity is developed which has to do with presence of mind, beings are there who have their seat on Venus.
So you see how man in the most varied circumstances is continually accompanied by such swirling elemental beings, as they may be called. Man is really never alone; whatever he does and whatever he undertakes is at the same time an opportunity for the development of a number of beings. Man's deeds, both fine and crude, deeds of idealism and the most ugly deeds, all give an opportunity for the presence of creatures who encroach into man's forces and occupy themselves there and whom one must know if one is to get a true view of life. He who does not realize these things passes through life in complete blindness. We are not concerned here with mere theory or a theoretical challenge; all these things are directly practical. For man will only little by little in the future earthly evolution learn to act and frame his conduct on right lines, when he begins to recognize what creatures are summoned in response to certain deeds and circumstances. Everything that man does is like a summons to unknown beings. It is not only the insane or mediums that these moon beings — among whom are thoroughly malevolent little rascals, can venture to approach; when, for instance, young children are overfed in such a senseless way that they become greedy, then these beings can sidle up to them and spoil their development. You see then how necessary it is for man to know what he stirs up around him through his behavior and whole attitude in the world!
Now these beings in yet another respect are by no means unconnected with man. They have on the contrary a deep relation to our human structure. Of all that exists in the human body, there is actually only one thing that belongs or can increasingly belong to man — and that is his blood. Man's blood is the direct expression of his ego. If however he is not perpetually careful to strengthen his ego inwardly through a strong and vigorous will, through strong forces of his soul, if so to speak, he loses control of his ego then other beings can fasten upon his blood, and that is very grave and evil for him. On the other hand, many other beings are anchored in other parts of the present human organism. We will now see all that actually stretches its feelers into the human body, all that is anchored there. But we must first examine the human body a little.
You are aware that the blood as it flows through the arteries and spreads out in the body is the expression of man's ego and that it becomes a stronger and stronger expression as the ego itself finds its centre, finds its inner centre of strength in an increasing degree. Man's ego will only in a far distant future obtain control of other enclosed portions of the organism. Many other beings are still contained to-day in these other constituents of the human body. Let us call to mind, for example, the three bodily humors, the three juices, chyle, lymph, blood, in order to study them more closely. You perhaps know the significance that these three kinds of fluid have for man. You know that when food is taken in, it is first conveyed through the preparatory organs into the stomach, mixed and prepared with the right juices secreted by the glands so that it can be worked upon through the intestines. There the food is brought into a pulpy condition, the chyme, which is conveyed forwards through the intestines. Whatever can form nutritious material for man is then passed into the body through minute vascular organs called the ‘villi’ in order to serve as nutritive juices for renewing the body. This is one of the substances which we have in the body and which we call the ‘chyle.’
Then perhaps you also know that besides the chyle, which is produced through the entry into the human body of food from outside, there are other vessels inside the body of a similar nature which conduct a species of fluid resembling in a certain respect the white substance in our blood. This juice flows through the whole human organism in certain vessels which very largely take the same course as the blood vessels we call veins, because they contain blue-red blood. These even take up the chyle too. The fluid which they contain is the lymph. This is a juice which one might say is spiritualized in comparison with the uniform food juice, the chyle. The vessels which convey the lymph take their course throughout the whole body, in a certain respect they even pass through the bone marrow and what they convey then absorbs the chyle too. All the lymph which is spread out and runs through the left half of the body and lower extremities — that is the left side of the head, left side of the trunk, the left hand and both legs — all this is collected, flows into the left clavicular vein and then empties into the blood circulation. Only the lymph contained in vessels on the right side of the head and the right side of the trunk, unite and enter the right clavicular vein so that in this way the lymph vessels become the expression of an important fact.
You see how man is divided into two parts; not, indeed, symmetrically, but so that one part comprises all the lower parts of the body with the left half of the trunk and head, while the other part is formed from the right side of the trunk and head. Lymph is a second fluid pulsating in man, a fluid that stands much nearer to the soul than does the chyle, the gastric and intestinal juices of the chyle. It is true that the digestion and the whole circulation of the chyle are also influenced greatly by the soul conditions, but these are much more deeply connected with the lymph. In a man who is very active and energetic the lymph flows much more vigorously than in a man who is heavy, lazy and inactive. We could instance many conditions of the soul which are connected with the course of the lymph in the human body.
The third fluid is the blood, of which we have often spoken. It comprises a red life-giving blood, rich in oxygen that flows in the arteries and a blue-red blood rich in carbon that flows in the veins. And as our blood is the expression of our ego, so is the lymph in a certain direction the expression of the human astral body. Such things do not manifest themselves merely in one direction. From another aspect the nerve-system is the expression of the astral body. To-day we will consider the aspect in which the deed, the revelation, the expression, of the astral body is the lymph. Just as a man can fill two professions so too can the astral body be on the one hand the builder of the nerve-system, and on the other hand the builder, the creator, of the lymph. In the same way man's etheric body is the builder and creator of the whole glandular system, as well as in another aspect the organizer, creator, and controller of the circulation of the chyle. Here you have the connection of these fluids taking their course in the human body, with the members of human nature itself.
Now we must be clear that in the human astral body and etheric body, the ego is definitely not the only master. Gradually in the course of evolution man's ego attains to a greater control over his astral body and his etheric body as he changes the former into spirit-self or Manas and the latter into life spirit or Budhi. But as long as man has not control of these parts of his being, other beings are connected with these human members.
In the human astral body other beings are embedded like the maggots in cheese — forgive the unappetizing comparison — but so it is. And in fact the astral beings which are embedded in, and connected with, the human astral body are those whom I have described as having their real habitat on the moon or Mars, according as they are benevolent or malevolent. They anchor themselves there. And lymph, the whitish juice that courses through man, belongs to the body of beings who live in our astral world. To be sure, these beings of the astral plane, with their real home on the moon or Mars, are not so obvious as are the animal group-egos. But they are of such an astral nature that in a certain other direction we can say: just as in an animal group, a group of lions, for instance, we have a kind of manifestation of the distinct personality on the astral plane, the lion-ego, so in the lymph passing through the human body we have, though not so obviously, the manifestation, the extended members, of these astral beings.
Then — you may ask — have these astral beings as much a kind of physical existence as the group-souls of the animals, as the group-ego of the Lion-species in its manifestation in the single lions here on the physical plane? If you ask this question, one would have to answer: yes, they have. Just as in the case of the animals we saw that the astral group-ego extends its separate members into the separate lion-individuals, so these astral beings also extend their physical being here. They could not, however, extend it from outside into the physical plane; for this they need beings on the physical plane whose parasites they are, into whom they fasten and bore. They are here the parasites of men. If there were no human race here on earth they would very soon take their departure; they could find no dwelling place, it would not suit them here. But there are beings, men and higher animals, who have lymph and there these beings have their physical manifestation. Thus not merely a material substance pulses through our body but in such circulation move whole hosts of these beings. They revolve through man, move along through him and have their bodies in the lymph — whereas the actual human being, the ego-man has his body, to begin with, merely in the blood. And the preponderance of moon beings or Mars beings of this nature circling through a man gives his lymph its special character. If more moon beings circulate through his body he is a man who inclines more easily to wrong-doing, irritation, and anger, if more Mars beings, then he is a man who is more inclined to gentleness, kindliness, mildness. You see how man is not traversed merely by fluids but also by spirits, and how one only understands man when one knows that spirits pass through him and not fluids merely.
Now if you examine clairvoyantly what one calls chyle, that is, the external expression of the human etheric body, you find that similar beings are also incorporated into this. The beings primarily anchored there are those whom we have already characterized as the good and the evil Venus beings, those having their home on Venus and existing in our devachanic world. There they are personalities for clairvoyant vision and they have their expression, their manifestation, here in physical life in the human chyle — however strange that may seem. Living in this fluid that courses through the human body, these beings have their actual home on the devachanic plane, and in so far as they take on a physical body, have their physical life on Venus. And since Venus is connected in a certain way through its forces with our whole earthly vegetation and all that lives on earth, you will realize the connection existing between man's nourishment and the effect produced in him through what he takes in as nourishment. That most assuredly is not a matter of indifference. Influences of the Venus beings live in all the plants and naturally also in the animal kingdom. The influences may come on the one hand from the good, gentle, mild Venus beings, or on the other hand, from the wild beings who have been described to you as greedy for plunder and engaged in conflict with each other. According as the one or the other kind work upon our animals and plants, so are virtues or vices built into man's body when the flesh of these animals or the food obtained from these plants are transformed into the chyle.
By this you can see, from a higher standpoint than could he presented in earlier lectures, how important it is to know about human nutrition from the aspect of spiritual science, to know the influences under which the various plants and animals are standing. You can gather, for instance, that one who knows that plants and animals standing under certain celestial influences flourish in a certain country, can also learn to grasp how a quite definite national character must arise. For in everything that man consumes from his environment he eats, not only the substances analyzed by chemistry, he eats at the same time definite spirits, and it is these spirits which enter through his mouth into the stomach and spread out through his being. There the perspective opens to us of how the character of a people can be known from the deeper geographical constitution of a country.
Do not forget a remark which you can find in the lecture on the Lord's Prayer [1] where such a fact was presented from quite a different aspect. There it was stated that man stands in a certain relation to his whole people through his etheric body, and is connected through his astral body with his nearer surroundings.
Here again you see illuminated from a still deeper aspect how folk-character is formed from the spiritual beings which are absorbed into man with his food. It is one of the means by which the great spiritual guidance of the earth distributes the different national characters over the earth; foods which produce one or another effect have been distributed in such a way that the character of a certain people arises from the nourishment that it obtains. That does not lead in a round-about way to materialism: spiritual science shows how everything of a material nature is a revelation of the spirit and how in a way unknown to man spiritual influences are themselves diffused within him.
It is more difficult to understand the way in which the Saturn spirits work upon man. There are on the one hand Saturn spirits who directly they observe anything immediately make some invention, on the other hand there are those who develop terribly disordered passions of a sensual nature, in comparison with which all that man can develop in this direction is child's play. These Saturn spirits insinuate themselves into the human body in a still more hidden way, namely, through sense perception. When we turn our eye to a beautiful, pure and noble thing, a concept is aroused in us; when we turn our eye to a sordid, ignoble thing then a different concept is aroused. Now when a concept is called forth in the soul through outer impressions there slip into man at the same time these Saturn spirits — the good and the bad. And through all that man by his mere sympathies and antipathies unfolds around himself as environment, as what he hears and sees and smells, he exposes himself to the insinuations of the one or other order of the Saturn-spirits. When man is sensing they draw into him through eyes and ears and the whole skin. It is quite frightful, for instance, to observe occultly what dissolute spirits insinuate themselves into the nose of persons out of their surroundings, through many perfumes that are highly prized in human society — quite apart from what slinks into the nose of those who carry these perfumes on their own person.
We see from this how finely and closely one must observe the most everyday things from the spiritual standpoint if one wants to be clear about life. Much could be told you of people who more or less consciously knew how to command spirits which particularly work upon man through scents and slip into him with the perfume. If you had a deeper, more intimate knowledge of various things in history, particularly the history of France at the time of Louis XIII, XIV, and XV, with all the arts developed there, where in fact aromas played an important part in the drama of intrigue, you would then have an idea of what men are able to do — consciously or unconsciously — who know how to command the spirits which creep into human sense perception in perfumes. I could refer you to quite an attractive book[2] that has been written recently by the Minister of a little Court. He wrote it naturally without any knowledge of these facts, but he was quite clear about the effects. It is a very interesting book about this little Court where a notable catastrophe took place in recent years, and where the Minister and dignitary concerned describes from his Memoirs the machinations of a person[3] who in a certain way knew how to command aromas and their spirits. And he describes it with a certain satisfaction because he was armed against it and had not fallen a victim. You see, these things are not without significance and effect for practical life. When one understands life not as a blind materialist, but as a seeing man, then one can trace the spiritual influences everywhere — and if the influences are known, life is understood for the first time.
So you see how we must picture man to ourselves as quite a complicated being, as an associate of many kinds of worlds, many kinds of beings. One who advances on the path of occult development to ever higher stages of knowledge learns to know these beings in their special nature and thereby becomes independent of them, he is able to view them from an independent standpoint. To take into oneself the truth concerning higher worlds means to become really free, really mature, for we are then aware of the activities and impulses which pulse and flow through our life. Learning to know one's way means at the same time to become free and independent.
And just as one can point to certain fluids pulsing through man, so can certain human organs be indicated in which beings of the higher worlds likewise find their expression and manifestation. Thus, for instance, the beings just described to you as Saturn beings find their expression in a certain respect in the human liver. You must of course be clear that if one really wants to understand Spiritual Science one discovers it to be a very complicated domain.
You are aware that in the Saturn development of human evolution the first inception of the senses came into existence through the forces of Saturn. In a similar way Saturn still works into man and among his inner bodily organs it is the liver upon which the Saturn forces have a strong and intensive influence. The human being who is on the way to evolve beyond everything of a Saturn nature, must therefore grow beyond the forces which are anchored in his liver. And although certain forces are present in the liver from which man must free himself, yet they were necessary to enable him to come to his present form and shape; they must however be overcome. You can prove this in a certain way by external evidence. You can discover, for instance, that in the period before birth and directly after birth, when the human body is being built up, the liver occupies the greatest space in relation to the rest of the body and that then it becomes smaller and smaller. In fact the ratio at birth could be given as 1:18 whereas the relation later is 1:36. The liver decreases approximately by one half, and thus by purely natural development man overcomes the forces rooted in it.
Inasmuch as earthly man is intended to evolve to higher and higher spirituality he has acquired as an outward physical expression the power to overcome the liver forces. In a certain way the lungs represent the counter-organ to the liver. They do not enclose everything egotistically in themselves as the liver does, they open man fully outwards, he stands in continual communication with the world through the air that he takes in and again gives out. A combustion goes on in the lungs. The blue-red carbon-rich blood enters the lungs and is transformed through its combination with oxygen into red life-giving blood. Just as in a burning flame the substances unite with the oxygen, so in the lungs there is a process of burning. Breathing may be called a combustion process, and with this breathing and combustion process man has been endowed with the prospect of attaining a higher and higher evolution. The forces which built him up have reached their ultimate stage in the liver. The forces which he receives like a fire from the air will rescue him from the forces chaining him to earth. The fire which man receives from the air and which is expressed in his breathing is that which leads him upwards to ever higher spheres.
Myths and legends are always deeper and more filled with wisdom than our apparently advanced science. In the Prometheus myth we have a magnificent expression of what has just been related from the facts of human life. The myth says that Prometheus brought man fire from heaven and indicates in this way that Prometheus participates in the process which is expressed in the human breath and which leads man upwards. But a wonderful explanation is given: because Prometheus raises himself above the forces which chain man to the earth and opposes them, because he is the one to give man this force of the fire, therefore he must suffer for it. The suffering is wonderfully represented as the fact underlying the Myth, namely, a vulture devours the liver of the fettered Prometheus. How could it be shown more finely and wisely that the forces streaming into us with the breathing process gnaw at the liver and that he who accomplishes in advance what is accomplished by mankind in a far future, stands there like a crucified one — how that which sinks down out of the air, eats into the liver!
Thus the initiates have expressed the mighty truths of existence in the myths. There is no myth really drawn from the Mysteries which does not express deep wisdom which can afterwards be checked. When, equipped with the knowledge of spiritual science, we approach the myths we must stand before them in reverence. They have been revealed by the higher Spiritual Beings to man so that he may first learn in pictures what he must later attain in clear concepts. More and more it will be realized that the myths contain wisdom and if one would find deepest wisdom displayed in any sphere of life, one must go to the myths. This has been known to those who have created out of the depths of art. Deep truth, for instance, underlies Richard Wagner's relation to mythology, and it has come to expression in his work in an artistic way. Our time is one which will reascend from a merely physical commonplaceness to a completely spiritual stream. If you look into what pulsates in our time from this standpoint you will understand in ever deeper sense the task of Spiritual Science.
Thus, starting from the study of higher worlds we have come to recognize the actual mission of Spiritual Science. It is to enable man to learn to know life, and when he is working and creating to show him what is secretly working with him when he moves his hand, when he creates with spirit, soul, and body. Through spiritual knowledge he will become more and more conscious of the beings who are his companions, and will live and create with them in harmony. Thus spiritual research will reveal to him the fullness of reality and enable him to bring knowledge and wisdom into life.

1. Rudolf Steiner, The Lord's Prayer, Anthroposophic Press, New York. 12
2. Dr. Vladan Georgevitch: Das Ende der Obrenovitch (Leipzig, 1905).
3. Draga Maschin, who was murdered with Alexander I of Serbia at Belgrade on June 11, 1903.

Source: http://wn.rsarchive.org/GA/GA0102/19080106p01.html

Monday, September 29, 2014

Architecture: Creating the Holy Grail. Lecture 5: The Creative World of Color

Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, July 5, 1914:

Today we will continue our study of subjects connected with art. The lectures are meant to help us in regard to the kind of thoughts which should permeate the work before us. If we would couple right thoughts with the task which we are here beginning in a primitive fashion, the necessity arises to bring before the soul many things that impress us when we study man's achievements in art and their connection with human civilisation.
Herman Grimm, the very intuitive student of art in the nineteenth century, made a certain apparently radical statement about Goethe. He spoke of the date at which humanity would first have developed a real understanding of Goethe, placing it about the year 2000. According to Grimm's idea, therefore, a long time will have to elapse before mankind will have developed to the point of understanding the real significance of Goethe. And, indeed, when one observes the present age, one does not feel inclined to contradict such a statement. To Grimm, Goethe's greatest significance does not lie in the fact that he was a poet, that he had created this or that particular work of art, but that he always created from a full and complete manhood — the impulse of this full manhood lies behind every detail of his creative activity. Our age is very far from understanding this full manhood that lived, for instance, in Goethe. In saying this I have naturally no wish to speak derogatively of the specialisation that has entered into the study of science, which is indeed often deplored — for from one point of view this specialisation is a necessity. Much more significant than the specialisation in science is that which has crept into modern life itself, for, as a result of this, the individual soul, enclosed within some particular sphere of specialised conceptions or ideas, grows less and less capable of understanding other souls who specialise in a different sphere. In a certain sense all human beings are “specialists” to-day so far as their souls are concerned. More particularly are we struck with this specialised mode of perception when we study the development of art in humanity. And for this very reason it is necessary — although it can only be a primitive beginning — that there shall again come into existence a comprehensive understanding of spiritual life in its totality. True form in art will arise from this comprehensive understanding of spiritual life. We need not enter upon a very far-reaching study in order to prove the truth of this. We shall come to a better understanding if we start from something near at hand, and I will therefore speak of one small point in the numerous irrelevant and often ridiculous attacks made against our spiritual movement at the present time.
It is so cheap for people to try, by means of pure fabrications, to slander us in the eyes of the world, saying, for instance, that we are on the wrong track because here or there we have given to our buildings a form that we consider suitable to our work. We are reproached for having coloured walls in certain of our meeting rooms and we are already tired of hearing about the ‘sensationalism’ in our building — which is said to be quite unnecessary for true ‘Theosophy’ — that is how people express it. In certain circles ‘true Theosophy’ is thought to be a kind of psychic hotch-potch, teeming with obscure sensations, glorying to some extent in the fact that the soul can unfold a higher ego within. This, however, is really nothing but egotism. From the point of view of this obscure psychic hotch-potch people think it superfluous for a spiritual current to be expressed in any outer form, although this outer form, it is true, can only be a primitive beginning. Such people think themselves justified in chattering about these psychic matters no matter where they may be. Why, then — so they think—is it necessary to express anything in definite forms? We really cannot expect to find any capacity of real thought in people who hurl this kind of reproach at us — in fact we can expect it from very few people at the present time — but, nevertheless, we must be clear in our own minds on many points if we are to be able at least to give the right answers to questions that arise in our own souls.
I want to draw your attention to Carstens, an artist who made his mark in the sphere of art at the end of the eighteenth century as a designer and painter of decided talent. I do not propose in any way to speak of the value of Carstens' art, nor to describe his work — neither am I going to give you a biographical sketch of his life. I only want to call your attention to the fact that he certainly possessed great talent for design, if not for painting. In the soul of Carstens we find a certain artistic longing, but we can also see what was lacking in him. He wanted to draw ideas, to embody them in painting, but he was not in the position of men like Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci — or to take an example from poetry — of Dante. Raphael, Leonardo and Dante lived within a culture that teemed with import — a culture that penetrated into and at the same time surrounded the soul of man. When Raphael painted his Madonnas they were living in men's hearts and souls and in the very highest sense something streamed from the soul of the public in response to the creations of this great artist. When Dante set out to transport the soul into spiritual realms he had only to draw his material, his substance, from something that was resounding, as it were, in every human soul. These artists possessed in their own souls the substance of the general culture of the age. In any work of the scientific culture of that time — however much it may have fallen into disuse — we shall find connecting links with an element that was living in all human souls, even down to the humblest circles. The learned men of the spheres of culture where Raphael created his Madonnas were fully cognisant of the idea at the back of the figures of the Madonna, nay more, the idea was a living thing within their souls. Thus artistic creations seem to be expressions of a general, uniform spiritual life. This quality came to light again in Goethe as a single individual, in the way that was possible at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. So little is this understood in our times, that, in Herman Grimm's opinion, as I have already said, it will be necessary to wait until the year 2000 before the world will again reveal such understanding.
Let us turn again to Carstens. He takes the Iliad of Homer, and he impresses into his penciled forms the processes and events of which he reads. What a different relationship there is to the Homeric figures in the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century from the relationship that existed between the soul of Raphael and the figures of the Madonna and other motifs of that age! In the greatest epochs the content of art was immediately perceptible because it flowed from something that moved the innermost being of man. In the nineteenth century’ it began to be necessary for artists to seek for the content of their creations by dint of effort and we soon find that the artist becomes a kind of ‘cultural hermit,’ one who is only concerned with himself and of whom people ask, ‘What relationship is there between himself and his own particular world of form?’ A study of the history of art in the nineteenth century would reveal the true state of affairs in this connection.
Thus there gradually arose, not only the indifferent attitude to art, but the cold one that exists nowadays. Think of someone in a modern city walking through a picture gallery or exhibition of pictures. The soul is not moved by what is seen, no inner confidence is felt in it. The person is faced by what really amounts to a multitude of riddles — to use a radical expression — riddles which can only be solved if to some extent penetration is made into the particular relationship of this or that artist to nature, or to other things. The soul is faced with purely individual problems or riddles, and the significant thing is, that although people believe they are solving the problems of art, they are, in the vast majority of cases, trying to solve problems not really connected with art itself — to wit, psychological problems. Such problems as: How does this or that artist look on nature — are problems of philosophy or the like and are of no importance when we really penetrate into the great epochs of art. On the contrary, when this penetration is undertaken, the problems that emerge not only for the artist but for the contemplator of the works of art, are truly artistic, truly aesthetic ones. For it is the manner that really concerns the creative artists, while the mere matter, the mere substance, is only the element that flows around him, in which he is immersed. We might even put it thus: our artists are no longer artists. They are contemplators of the world, each from a certain point of view and what they see, what strikes them in the world, this they contrive to shape. But these are theory, problems of history and so forth, while on the other hand our age has almost altogether lost the power — or indeed the heart — to perceive art in its essence, to perceive the manner, not the mere matter.
Our conception of the world—theoretical from its very foundations — is a good deal to blame for this. Practical as men have become in technical, industrial and commercial affairs, they have become eminently theoretical so far as their thinking is concerned. The endeavour to build a bridge between modern science and the conception of the world held by the artist is not only fraught with difficulty, but with the fact that so few people feel there is any need to build it. Words like those of Goethe: “Art is the manifestation of secret laws of nature without which they could never find expression” are wholly unintelligible to our age, although here and there people think they understand them. Our age holds fast to the most external, the most abstract natural laws — laws which are themselves based on utterly abstract mathematical principles — and it will not admit the validity of any penetration into reality which transcends all abstract mathematics or systems of that kind. No wonder our age has lost the living element of soul which feels the working of the very substance of world connections — the substance that must indeed well up from these world connections before art can come into being. The thoughts and ideas evolved by the modern age in regard to the universe are inartistic in their very nature — nay more, they even strive to be so. Colours — what have they become according to modern scientific opinion? Vibrations of the most abstract substance in the ether, etheric vibrations of so many wave lengths. These waves of vibrating ether sought by modern science, how remote they are from the direct, living essence of colour! What else is possible than that man is led wholly to ignore the living essence of colour? I have already told you that this element of colour is, in its very being, fluidic and alive — an element moreover in which our soul lives. And a time will come — as I have also indicated — when man will again perceive the living connection of the flowing sea of colour with the colours of creatures and objects manifested in the external world.
This is difficult for man because, since he has to develop his ego during earthly evolution, he has risen out of this flowing sea of colour to a mode of contemplation that proceeds purely from the ego. With his ego, man rises out of the sea of colour; the animal lives wholly within it and the fact that certain animals have feathers or skins of particular colours is connected with the whole relationship existing between the souls of these animals and the flowing sea of colour. The animal perceives objects with its astral body (as we perceive them with the ego) and into the astral body flow the forces living in the group-soul of the animal. It is nonsense to imagine that animals, even higher animals, behold the world as man beholds it. At the present time there is no understanding of these things. Man imagines that if he is standing near a horse, the horse sees him in exactly the same way as he sees the horse. What is more natural than to think that since the horse has eyes it sees him just as he sees it? This, however, is absolute nonsense. Without a certain clairvoyance a horse would no more see a human being than a human being, being without problems of psychological clairvoyance, would see an angel, for the man simply does not exist for the horse as a physical being, but only as a spiritual being. The horse is possessed of a certain order of clairvoyance and what the horse sees in man is quite different from what man sees in the horse: as we go about we are spectral beings to the horse. If animals could speak in their own language — not in the way they are sometimes made to ‘speak’ nowadays, but in their own language — man would realise that it never by any chance occurs to the animals to contemplate him as a being of similar order but as one who stands higher than themselves — a spectral, ghostlike being. Even if the animals assume their own body to consist of flesh and blood, they certainly have a different conception of the body of man. To the modern mind this of course sounds the purest nonsense — so far is the present age removed from truth!
As a result of the relation between astral body and group-soul, a receptivity to the living, creative power of colour flows into the animal. Just as we may see an object that rouses desire in us and we stretch out towards it by movement of the hand, an impression is made in the whole animal organism by the direct creative power in the colour; this impression flows into the feathers or skin and gives the animal its colour. I have already said that our age cannot understand why it is that the polar bear is white; the white colour is the effect produced by the environment and when the polar bear ‘whitens’ itself, this, at a different level, is practically the same thing as when man stretches out with a movement of his hand to pick a rose in response to a desire. The living creative effects of the environment work upon the polar bear in such a way that an impulse is released within it and it ‘whitens’ itself.
In man, this living weaving and moving in the element of colour has passed into the substrata of his being because he would never have been able to develop his ego if he had remained wholly immersed within the sea of colour and were, for instance, in response to an impression of a rosy hue of dawn to feel the impulse to impress these tints through creative imagination into certain parts of his skin. During the ancient moon period these conditions still obtained. The contemplation of scenes in nature like that of a rosy dawn worked upon man as he then was; this impression was reflected back, as it were, into his own colouring; it penetrated into the being of man in those times and was then outwardly expressed in certain areas of his body. During the earth period, this living bodily existence in the flowing sea of colour had to cease in order that man might be able to evolve his own conception of the world in his ego. So far as his form was concerned he had to become neutral to this sea of colour. The tint of the human skin as it appears in the temperate zones is essentially the expression of the ego, of absolute neutrality in face of the outer waves of colour; it denotes man's ascent above the flowing sea of colour. But even the most elementary facts of Spiritual Science remind us that it is man's task to find the path of return.
Physical body, etheric body, astral body — these were developed during the periods of Saturn, Sun and Moon; the ego has to develop during the earth period. Man must find the ways and means to spiritualise his astral body once again, to permeate it with all that the ego has won for itself. And as he spiritualises his astral body and so discovers the path of return, he must again find the flowing, surging waves of colour out of which he arose in order that his ego might develop — just as a man who rises from the sea only sees what is over the sea. We are indeed already living in an age when this penetration into the spiritual flow of the powers of of nature — that is to say of the spiritual powers behind nature — must begin. It must again be possible for us not merely to look at colours, to reproduce them outwardly here or 'there, but to live with colour, to experience the inner life-force of colour. This cannot be done by merely studying in painting, for instance, the effects of the colours and their interplay as we look at them. It can only be done if once again we sink our soul in the flow of red or blue, for instance, if the flow of the colour really lives — if we are able to ensoul the essence of colour that instead of evolving any kind of colour symbolism (which would of course be the very opposite way of going to work) we really discover what is already living in colour just as the power of laughter exists in a man who laughs. Hence we must seek out the paths of return to the flowing world of colour, for as I have already said, man has risen above it with his ego. If he has no other perception save ‘here is red, here is blue’ — which is often the case to-day — he can never press onwards to living experience of the real essence of colour. Still less is this possible when he gives an intellectualistic garb to this inner essence and perceives red as a symbol, blue as another, and so forth. This will never lead to real experience of colour. We must know how to surrender the whole soul to what speaks to us from out of colour. Then, when we are confronted with red we have a sense of attack, aggression — this comes to us from the red. If ladies were all to go about dressed in red, a man possessed of a delicate sense for colour would silently imagine, simply on account of their clothing, that they might at any moment set about him vigourously! In red, then, there is a quality of aggression, something that comes towards us. Blue has an element that seems to pass away from us, to leave us, something after which we gaze with a certain wistfulness, with yearning.
How far the present age is removed from any such living understanding of colour may be realised from what I have already said about Hildebrand, an excellent artist, who expressly states that a colour on a surface is simply that and nothing more; the surface is there, overlaid with colour — that is all — though to be sure it is not quite the same in the case of form which expresses distance, for example. Colour expresses more than mere distance and we cannot help finding it deeply symptomatic of the whole nature of the present age that this is not perceived, even by an artist like Hildebrand. It is impossible to live into the essence of colour if one cannot immediately pass over from repose into movement, realising that a red disc approaches us, and that a blue disc, on the other hand, withdraws. These colours move in opposite directions. When we penetrate deeply into this living essence of colour we are led further and further. We begin to realise — if we really believe in colour — that we simply could not picture two coloured discs of this kind remaining there at rest. To picture such a thing would be to deaden all living feeling, for living feeling immediately changes into the realisation that the red and the blue discs are revolving round each other, the one towards the spectator, the other away from him. The relation between the red that is painted on a figure, in contrast to the blue, is such that the figure takes on life and movement through the very colour itself. The figure is caught up into the universe of life because this is shining in the colours. Form is of course the element that is at rest, stationary; but the moment the form has colour, the inner movement in the colour rises out of the form, and the whirl of the cosmos, the whirl of spirituality passes through the form. If you colour a form you endow it with the soul element of the universe, with cosmic soul, because colour is not only a part of form; the colour you give to a particular form places this form into the whole concatenation of its environment and indeed into the whole universe. In colouring a form we should feel: ‘Now we are endowing form with soul.’ We breathe soul into dead form when, through colour, we make it living.
We need only draw a little nearer to this inner living weaving of colours and we shall feel as if we are not confronting them on a level but as if we were standing either above or below them — again it is as if the colour becomes inwardly alive. To a lover of abstractions, to one who merely gazes at the colours and does not livingly penetrate into them, a red sphere may indeed seem to move around a blue, but he does not feel the need to vary the movement in any sense. He may be a great mathematician, or a great metaphysician, but he does not know how to live with colour because it seems to pass like a dead thing from one place to another. This is not so in reality; colour radiates, changes within itself, and if red moves it will send on before it a kind of orange aura, a yellow aura, a green aura. If blue moves it will send something different on before it.
We have, then, a play of colours as it were. Something actually happens when we experience in colour; thus red seems to attack, blue to pass away. We feel red as something which we want to ward off, blue as something we would pursue as if with longing. And if we could feel in colour in such a way that red and blue really live and move, we should indeed inwardly flow with the surging sea of colour, our souls would feel the eddying vortex of attacks and longings, the sense of flight and the prayer of surrender that intermingle with one another. And if we were to express this in some form, artistically of course, this form, which in itself is at rest, we should tear away from rest and repose. The moment we have a form which we paint, we have, instead of the form which is at rest, living movement that does not only belong to the form but to the forces and weaving being round about the form. Thus through a life of soul we wrest the material form away from its mere repose, from its mere quality of rigid form. Something like this must surely once be painted into this world by the creative elemental powers of the universe. [Note 1] For all that man is destined to receive by way of powers of longing — all this is something that could find expression in the blue. This on the one hand man must bear as a forming, shaping principle in his head, while all that finds expression in the red he must bear within him in a form that rushes upward from the rest of the body to the brain. Two such currents are indeed active in the structure of the human brain. Around man externally is the world — all that for which he longs — and this is perpetually being flooded over by that which surges upward from his own body. By day it happens that all which the blue half contains flows more intensely than the red and yellow: by night, so far as the physical human organism is concerned it is the opposite. And what we are wont to called the two-petalled lotus flower [Note 2] is indeed a true image of what I have here portrayed, for this two-petalled lotus flower does indeed reveal to the seer just such colours and movements. Nobody will really be able to fathom what lives in the world of form as the creative element, as the upper part of the human head, if he is not able to follow this flow of colour that in man is indeed a “hidden” flow of colour.
It must be the endeavour of art again to dive down into the life of the elements. Art has observed and studied nature long enough, has tried long enough to solve all the riddles of nature and to express in another form all that can be observed by this penetration into nature. What lives in the elements is, however, dead so far as modern art is concerned. Air, water, light — all are dead as they are painted to-day; form is dead as is expressed in modern sculpture. A new art will arise when the human soul learns to penetrate to the depths of the elemental world, for this world is living. People may rail against this; they may think that it ought not to be, but such raillery is only the outcome of human inertia. Unless man enters with his whole being into the world of the elements, and absorbs into himself the spirit and soul of the external world art will more and more become a work of the human soul in isolation. This of course may bring many interesting things to light in regard to the psychology of certain souls, but it will never achieve that which art alone can achieve. These things belong to the far, far future but we must go forward to meet this future with eyes that have been opened by Spiritual Science — otherwise we can see in that future nothing but death and paralysis.
This is why we must seek for inner connection between all our forms and colours here and the spiritual knowledge that moves innermost depths of the soul; we must seek that which lives in the Spirit in the same way as the Madonnas lived in Raphael, so lived in him that he was able to paint them as he did. The Madonnas were living in Raphael's very being, just as they were living in the learned men, the labourers in the fields and the craftsmen of his time. That is why he was the true artist of the Madonna. Only when we succeed in bringing into our forms in a purely artistic sense, without symbolism or allegory, all that lives in our idea of the world — not as abstract thought, dead knowledge or science, but as living substance of the soul — only then do we divine something of what the future holds in store.
Thus there must be unity between what is created externally and all that permeates the soul in the innermost depths of her being — a unity that was present in Goethe as the result of a special karma. Bridges must be built between what is still to many people so much abstract conception in Spiritual Science and what arises from hand, chisel and paint brush. To-day the building of these bridges is hindered by a cultural life that is in many respects superficial and abstract, and will not allow life to flow into action. This explains the appearance of the wholly groundless idea that spiritual knowledge might cause the death of art. In many instances of course a paralysing effect has been evident, for instance in all the allegorising and symbolising that goes on, in the perpetual questioning, ‘what does this mean?’ ‘what does that mean?’ I have already said that we should not always be asking what things ‘mean.’ We should not think of asking about the ‘meaning’ of the larynx, for instance. The larynx does not ‘mean’ anything, for it is the living organ of human speech and this is the sense in which we must look at all that lives in forms and colours when they are living organs of the spiritual world. So long as we have not ceased asking about allegorical or symbolical meanings, so long as we interpret myths and sagas allegorically and symbolically instead of feeling the living breath of the Spirit pervading the cosmos, realising how the cosmos lives in the figures of the world of myths and fairy stories — so long have we not attained to real spiritual knowledge.
A beginning, however, must be made, imperfect though it will be. No one should imagine that we take this beginning to be the perfect thing; but like many other objections to our spiritual movement made by the modern age, it is nonsense to say that our building is not an essential part of this spiritual movement. We ourselves are already aware of the facts which people may bring forward. We realise also that all the foolish chatter about the ‘higher self,’ all the rhapsodies in regard to the ‘divinity of the soul of man’ can also be expressed in outer forms of the present age; and of course we know that it is everywhere possible for man to promote Spiritual Science in its mental and intellectual aspects. But over and above this merely intellectual aspect we feel that if Spiritual Science is to pour life into the souls of men it demands a vesture of a different kind from any that may be a product of the dying culture of our day. It is not at all necessary for the outer world to remind us of the cheap truth that Spiritual Science can also be studied in its mental aspect in surroundings of a different kind from those which are made living by our forms. The ideal which Spiritual Science must pour into our souls must be earnest and grow ever more earnest. A great many things are still necessary before this earnestness, this inner driving force of the soul can become part of our very being. It is quite easy to speak of Spiritual Science and its expression in the outer world in such way that its core and nerve are wholly lacking. The form taken by the most vigorous attacks levelled against our spiritual movement creates a strange impression. Those who read some of these attacks will, if they are in their right minds, wonder what on earth they are driving at. They describe all manner of fantastic nonsense which has not the remotest connection with us, and then the opposition is levelled against these absurdities! The world is so little capable of absorbing new spiritual leaven that it invents a wholly grotesque caricature and then sets to work to fight against that. There are even people who think that the whole movement should be done away with. Attack of course is always possible but it is a reductio ab absurdum to do away with an invention that has no resemblance of any kind to what it sets out to depict. It behooves us, however, to realise what kind of sense for truth underlies these things, for this will make us strong to receive all that must flow to us from Spiritual Science, and, made living by this Spiritual Science, shine into material existence. That the world has not grown in tolerance or understanding is shown by the attitude adopted towards Spiritual Science. The world has not grown in either of these qualities.
We can celebrate the inner confluence of the soul with Spiritual Science in no better way than by deepening ourselves in problems like that of the nature and being of colour, for in experience of the living flow of colour we transcend the measure of our own stature and live in cosmic life. Colour is the soul of nature and of the whole cosmos and we partake of this soul as we experience colour.
This was what I wanted to indicate to-day, in order next time to penetrate still more deeply into the nature of the world of colour and the essence of painting.
I could not help interspersing these remarks with references to the attacks that are being made upon us from all sides — attacks emanating from a world incapable of understanding the aims of our Anthroposophical Movement. One can only hope that those within our Movement will be able, by a deepening of their being, to understand something truly symptomatic of our times, the falsehood and untruth that is creeping into man's conception of what is striving to find its place within the spiritual world. We of course have no wish to seclude our spiritual stream, to shut it off from the world; as much as the world is willing to receive, that it can have. But one thing the world must accept if it is to understand us, and that is the unity of the whole nature of man — the unity which makes every human achievement the outcome of this full and complete ‘manhood.’
These words are not meant to be an attack on the present age. I speak them with a certain sense of pain, because the more our will and our efforts increase in this Movement of ours, the more malicious — perhaps not consciously, but more or less unconsciously malicious — do the opposing forces become. I have, moreover, spoken thus because the way in which these things must be looked at is not yet fully understood even among ourselves. The unshakable standpoint must be that something new, a new beginning, is at least intended in our Movement. What lies beyond this ‘intention’ has of course yet to come. We with our building can still do no more than ‘intend.’ Those who can do more than intend — they will come, even though it be not before the time Herman Grimm thinks must elapse before there will be a complete understanding of Goethe. A certain humility is bound up with the understanding of this and there is little humility in modern spiritual life. Spiritual Science is well suited to give this humility and at the same time to bring the soul to a realisation of the gravity of these things.
A painful impression is caused by the opposition arising on all sides against our spiritual Movement, now that the world is now beginning to see real results. So long as the Movement was merely there in a spiritual sense the world could see nothing. Now that it does, and it cannot understand what it sees, dissonant voices are beginning to sound from every side. This opposition will grow stronger and stronger. When we realise its existence we shall naturally at first be filled with a certain sorrow, but an inner power will make us able to intercede on behalf of what is to us not merely conviction, but life itself. The soul will be pervaded by an ethereal, living activity, filled with something more than the theoretical convictions of which modern man is so proud. This earnest mood of soul will bring in its train the sure confidence that the foundations of our world and our existence as human beings are able to sustain us, if we seek for them in the spiritual world. Sometimes we need this confidence more, sometimes less. If we speak of sorrow caused by the echo which our spiritual Movement finds in the world — this mood of sorrow must give birth to the mood of power derived from the knowledge that the roots of man's life are in the Spirit and that the Spirit of man will lead him out beyond all the disharmony that can only cause him pain. Strength will flow into man from this mood of power.
If in these very days one cannot help speaking of things spiritual with a sorrow even greater than that caused by the discrepancy between what we desire in our spiritual Movement and the echo it finds in the world—yet it must be said that the world's disharmonies will take a different course when men realise how human hearts can be kindled by the spiritual light for which we strive in anthroposophy. The sorrow connected with our Movement seems only slight when we look at all the sadness lying in the destiny of Europe. The words I have spoken to you are pervaded with sorrow, but they are spoken with the living conviction that whatever pain may await European humanity in a sear or distant future there may, none the less, live within us a confidence born from the knowledge that the Spirit will lead man victoriously through every wilderness. Even in these days of sorrow, in hours fraught with such gravity, we may in very truth, indeed we must, speak of the holy things of Spiritual Science, for we may believe that however dimly the sun of Spiritual Science is shining to-day, its radiance will ever increase until it is a sun of peace, of love and of harmony among men.
Grave though these words may be, they justify us in thinking of the narrower affairs of Spiritual Science with all the powers of heart and soul, when hours of ordeal are being made manifest through the windows of the world.

Source: http://wn.rsarchive.org/GA/GA0286/19140726p02.html

Today is Michaelmas!

Rudolf Steiner: "One who understands how to observe such things knows what a great change took place in the last third of the nineteenth century with respect to the life of human thought. Before that time man could only feel how thoughts formed themselves in his own being; from the time indicated he is able to raise himself above his own being; he can turn his mind to the spiritual; he there meets Michael, who proves his ancient kinship with everything connected with thought. He liberates thought from the sphere of the head; he clears the way for it to the heart; he enkindles enthusiasm in the feelings, so that the human mind can be filled with devotion for all that can be experienced in the light of thought.
The Age of Michael has dawned. Hearts are beginning to have thoughts; spiritual fervor is now proceeding not merely from mystical obscurity but from souls clarified by thought. To understand this means to receive Michael into the heart. Thoughts which at the present time strive to grasp the spiritual must originate in hearts which beat for Michael as the fiery Prince of Thought in the universe."

Springing from powers of the Sun,
Radiant spirit-powers, blessing all worlds!
For Michael's garment of rays
You are predestined by Divine Thought.

He, the Christ messenger, reveals in you--
Bearing humankind aloft--the sacred will of worlds.
You, the radiant beings of ether worlds,
Bear the Christ-Word to human beings.

Thus shall the herald of Christ appear
To the thirstily waiting souls
To whom your Word of Light shines forth
In the cosmic age of the Spirit Human Being.

You, the disciples of spirit knowledge,
Take Michael's beckoning wisdom;
Take the Word of Love of the Will of Worlds
Into your soul's aspiring, fervently!