Friday, July 31, 2015

The word "guru" means "remover of darkness"

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  — John 8:12

"He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."  — John 3:21

"The shortest cut is to cut the ego." — Swamiji

Swamiji and Gopala [Glenview, Illinois, 1975]

"He [Swamiji] said, 'Isn't this a cremation ground?' referring to his ashram. 'You come here to be burned, and if you can't get that into your head, there's no point in your being here!'"
— Swami Veda
Job's final wisdom: "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
The Solar Plexus [The Manipura Chakra : The Altar of Humanity] 

Moses and the Golden Calf

Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
                            — Shakespeare

I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

                            — Goethe

From the after-the-fact notes of a member of the audience at an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner in Berlin on March 22, 1912:
Our occult exercises are supposed to bring us to imaginative knowledge. Not so long ago they had imaginations that could be understood by any pupil without further explanation. Today such imaginations must be explained in words, because very few esotericists would be able to understand them by themselves. An imagination will now be given here that's useful for any esotericist who has the feeling that he's not making any progress in spite of his efforts. The pupil should imagine that his teacher or master is standing before him in the shape of Moses, and that the latter asks him: “So you'd like to know why you're not getting ahead on the esoteric path?” “Yes.” “I'll tell you why. It's because you worship the golden calf.” Then the pupil sees the golden calf next to Moses. The latter lets fire come up from the earth that consumes the golden calf and turns it to powder. He throws this powder into some clear water and gives the mixture to the pupil to drink. A few centuries ago any esotericist would have been able to understand this image. Now it must be explained as follows.
When we go back in our memory, we get to a point where our memories stop and ego-consciousness began. What lies before that is what we made out of ourself in previous incarnations and brought into this one. That's the golden calf that we worship without realizing it — our sheath nature.
The pupil should now replace the image of the golden calf with the image of what he was as a child, before he had an ego-consciousness. He becomes fully aware that what he feels is his ego is just a Luciferic effect. For ordinary consciousness is based on memory and memory is a Luciferic force, since it's Lucifer's task to carry the past over into the present. If one strips oneself of what one has through ego-consciousness, then what remains is what we've brought with us from other earth lives.
Some people may feel that it's hard to have to think of themselves like that, but we won't be prepared to meet the Guardian of the Threshold without strict concepts like that.
Then the pupil should imagine that fire burns the child's form that he is; he's become a little bigger since then, but basically he's still the same sheath-man that the child was, except that the illusion of an ego has been added. He sees how the form turns to powder, and this becomes a strong awareness that all parts of these physical, etheric, and astral sheaths must become as indifferent to him as a pile of ashes, as indifferent as clay is for a sculptor before he's made something out of it. He must think away his physical body and its outer shape, his etheric body with its memory, his astral body with its sympathies and antipathies — or think that they are a pile of ashes.
One might not be able to put this into practice right away. It doesn't mean that one should suddenly hug someone one disliked, but when we carry out this imagination as an exercises, we must be able to get rid of all antipathies.
And the powder is thrown into the pure water of divine substance, the way it was before the Luciferic force worked on it. This is how the sheath nature is to be sacrificed and the divine substance is to be given back. But an esotericist also arrives at the insight that everything that's now only a pile of dust for him was formed out of the spirit. His body's shape was sculpted by the spirit, the spirit made him into what he now is as a form. And we should take what the spirit has made out of us back into ourselves. We should drink the water again in which the dust was dissolved. Then we have it pure, after the golden calf was burned, pulverized, and dissolved. If we do this, we'll feel that a whole place in us seems to become empty; it's the place where the ego usually is — we feel that this is getting empty. Then one can either become a Buddhist and go into a region for which a man should feel that he's too worthy — into nirvana, into an extraterrestrial sphere — or one can arrive at a new awareness of the Christ impulse and can feel it stream into the place of our ego that has become empty.
Christ would never have been able to come to earth among the Hebrew people if Moses hadn't destroyed the golden calf, thrown it into water, and given it to Israel's children to drink. This doesn't mean that one should do this imagination every day — but maybe every 3 or 4 weeks. It's basically just another clarification of our Rosicrucian verse.

Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." — Galatians 2:19-21

Related posts:

Holy Hell: 13 ways of looking at my guru. #3: The Consuming Fire

"The weakest of all weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire."  —Mark Twain

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
--William Blake

Swamiji has always served me as a father figure. As a resident at the Himalayan Institute, I'd seen him fry several people in public; in each instance I simply figured they must have had it coming. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition: one day out of the blue Swamiji lit into me! I was still burning a couple of days later when a Bible verse suddenly appeared out of the flames: "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." —Hebrews 12:6

I opened my Bible. 


Hebrews 12

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 

And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. 

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 

And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 

(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 

And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 

For our God is a consuming fire.

"He [Swamiji] said, 'Isn't this a cremation ground?' referring to his ashram. 'You come here to be burned, and if you can't get that into your head, there's no point in your being here!'" —Swami Veda

Related post:

Today is Guru Purnima

The root of meditation is the guru's form

The root of worship is the guru's feet

The root of mantra is the guru's word

The root of liberation is the guru's grace

                                    — Guru Gita 76

Dhyana mulam guror murtih

Puja mulam guroh padam

Mantra mulam guror vakyam

Moksha mulam guroh krpa

Related post: Rejoice! 34 years at the Himalayan Institute

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Be zealous, and repent

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"  — Matthew 7:7

Revelation 3:14-22

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Wisdom is crystallized pain

"Wisdom is crystallized pain."  — Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner: "...a truth which should be engraved in the human soul as a lofty moral maxim: When you see something evil in the world, do not say, Here is evil — that is, imperfection; ask, rather, How can I attain to the enlightenment which will show me that on a higher plane this evil is transformed into good by the wisdom of the cosmos? How can I learn to tell myself: Here you see naught but imperfection because you are as yet unable to grasp the perfection of this imperfect thing? Whenever you see evil you should look into your own soul and ask yourself: Why am I not yet able to recognize the good in this evil that confronts me?"

Related post: "Rejoice! 34 Years at the Himalayan Institute":

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A work of art by a first-grader

We did the soft wind
We danst   slowly  We swrld
Aroned  We danst soft
We lisin to the mozik
We danst to the mozik
We made personal space.

Source: Carolyn Jourdan

Do not lose your center fighting the world.

M'amour, m'amour
what do I love and
where are you?
That I lost my center
fighting the world
The Dreams clash
and are shattered-
and that I tried to make a paradiso

I have tried to write Paradise
Do not move
Let the wind speak
that is paradise
Let the Gods forgive what I
have made
Let those I love try to forgive
what I have made. 

― Ezra PoundThe Cantos

Emily Dickinson: Excess of Monkey!

Emily Dickinson, in a letter to her brother, describing their father's reaction to a recital by Jenny Lind in Northampton, Massachusetts:

'Father sat all the evening looking mad, and silly, and yet so much amused you would have died a laughing--when the performers bowed, he said "Good evening Sir"--and when they retired, "very well--that will do," it was'nt sarcasm exactly, nor it was'nt disdain, it was infinitely funnier than either of those virtues, as if old Abraham had come to see the show, and thought it was all very well, but a little excess of Monkey!'

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Love without end: the maelstrom of God's glory

Jan van Ruusbroec:

"You can thus see that the attractive power of the unity of God is nothing other than love without end, which, through love, draws the Father and the Son and all that lives in them into an eternal delight. And we desire to burn and be consumed in this love for all eternity, for it is here that the blessedness of all spirits lies. Therefore we should found our whole life on a fathomless abyss so that we eternally sink into love and immerse ourselves in its fathomless depths. And in the same love we will rise up and rise above ourselves to an imcomprehensible height. In this modeless love we will wander, and it shall bring us into the immeasurable breadth of God's love. There we shall flow forth and flow out of ourselves into the uncomprehended abundance of God's riches and goodness. There we will melt and be dissolved, eternally taken up into the maelstrom of God's glory."

Source: The Rhineland Mystics ed. and tr. Oliver Davies, p. 102

The Working Together of the Four Archangels in the Course of the Year. Focus lecture for tomorrow's meeting of The Olive Branch, a Rudolf Steiner Study Circle

Diagram 2

The Four Seasons and the Archangels. Lecture 5 of 5.
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, October 13, 1923:

During the last few days I have brought before you the four cosmic Imaginations which can be called up through an intimate human experience of the seasons of the year. If we are to arrive at an understanding of the whole place and situation of man in the world, we must seek it through the working together of the beings who appear in conjunction with these imaginative pictures. And here I would like first to say something by way of introduction.
If we open our souls to the impressions which may come to us from the content of these pictures, then at the same time there will come to us much that has been experienced in the course of human evolution as an echo of old, instinctive clairvoyance; today this is sometimes treated historically, but fundamentally it is not understood. Real poets and spiritually inspired persons lay hold of these often wonderful voices which sound from the traditions of the past, and make use of them just when they wish to express their highest and greatest conceptions. But even then they are very little understood. So in the first part of Faust there rings out a wonderful saying which is scarcely at all understood, though it is quoted often enough. It occurs when Faust, having opened the book of Nostradamus, comes upon the sign of the Macrocosm:
Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt,
Eins in dem andern wirkt und lebt!
Wie Himmelskräfte auf- und niedersteigen
Und sich die goldnen Eimer reichen,
Mit segenduftenden Schwingen
Vom Himmel durch die Erde dringen,
Harmonisch all das All durchklingen

How each the Whole its substance gives,
each in the other works and lives!
See heavenly forces rising and descending,
their golden urns reciprocally lending:
on wings that winnow sweet blessing
from heaven through the Earth they're pressing,
to fill the All with harmonies caressing.
[From the translation of Faust: Part One, by Bayard Taylor, revised and edited by Stuart Atkins]
A magnificent picture — but if one knows Goethe one must say that it is real to him only through his feelings. For what Goethe has evidently drawn from his reading of old traditions and his feeling for them — all this stands in its full significance before our souls only if we have in mind the four great cosmic Imaginations, as I described them to you — the Autumn Imagination of Michael, the Christmas Imagination of Gabriel, the Easter Imagination of Raphael, and the Midsummer, St. John's Day, Imagination of Uriel. You must really picture to yourselves how from all these beings — Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Michael — forces stream out through the cosmos and as formative forces stream again into man. In order to understand this, we must see how man stands within the cosmos in — I might almost call it — a purely material way.
In this connection there is very little understanding, unfortunately, for how things really are. For example, medical textbooks always describe how man breathes in oxygen from the air and how the carbon within him takes up the oxygen; this process is then compared with external combustion, in which all sorts of external substances combine with oxygen. The whole process in the human organism, whereby oxygen is taken up by carbon, is then called combustion.
All this is said because one essential fact is not known: the fact that all external substances and processes become different directly they enter into the human organism. Anyone who speaks of this peculiar combination of oxygen with carbon in man and thinks of it as combustion is talking in just the same way as if someone said: “There is no need for a man to have two living lungs; he could equally well have a pair of stones suspended inside him.” That is more or less how these people talk in speaking of the combustion of oxygen and carbon within the human organism.
Everything that takes place externally in nature is different as soon as it enters a human being. No process within the human organism takes place in the same way as in outer nature. A flame that burns externally is dead fire; that which corresponds to it within the human being is flame living and ensouled: Just as a stove stands toward a lung, so does the external flame stand toward the living activity that goes on in the human organism when carbon unites with oxygen there — a process which, viewed externally, is indeed combustion in chemical terms. All spiritual progress at the present day depends on our being able to grasp these things in the right way. Suppose you take salt with your food, or eat some albumen or anything else: people assume that it remains just the same substance within you as it was outside. That is not true. Whatever enters the human being becomes different immediately. And the forces which make it different proceed in a quite definite way from those beings whom I have pictured in the four Imaginations.
Plate V
Plate V

Let us recall the last picture: how at St. John's-tide, Uriel hovers in the heights, weaving his body out of golden light in the golden radiance of the Sun (see Plate V, red.) As I told you, we must picture him with grave, judicial eyes, for his gaze is directed down toward the crystal realm of the Earth, and he sees how little are human errors compatible with the abstract but nonetheless shining beauty of the crystallization process that goes on below the surface of the Earth. That is the reason for his gravely judging gaze, as he looks down and compares human errors with the living activity in the crystals of the Earth.
I spoke also of Uriel's gesture as a warning gesture, indicating to humans what they ought to do. It calls upon them, if they understand it rightly, to transform their faults into virtues. For up above in the clouds appear the shining pictures of beauty, woven out of the Sun-gold, and they are pictures of all that by dint of virtue humanity has achieved.
Now, from the being who has to be described in this way — and can be described in no other way — there proceed forces which work directly in humans, but have also a characteristic further effect. All that I am depicting goes on in high summer. The Uriel being, however, is not at rest, but in majestic movement. This must be so, for when it is summer with us, it is winter in the opposite hemisphere, and Uriel is there in the heights. We must picture this clearly, so that if we have the Earth here (see sketch), Uriel appears to us in summer, and then follows a course which brings him after six months to the other side. Then it is winter with us. While Uriel descends (yellow arrow) and while his forces are thus coming to us from a descending line, summer with us passes over into winter, and then Uriel is over the other hemisphere. But the Earth does not hinder his forces from coming to us; they penetrate through the forces which come to us directly from above (red arrows), seeking to permeate us with the Sun-gold of summer, penetrate right through the Earth in winter and permeate us as an ascending stream (red) from the other side.
Diagram 1
If we bring before our souls the midsummer working of Uriel through nature into humans— for his activity works into the forces of nature — we must picture the forces of Uriel streaming out in the cosmos, raying into the clouds, the rain, the thunder and lightning, and raying also into the growth of plants. In winter, after Uriel has made his way around the Earth, his forces stream up through the Earth and come to rest in our heads. And then these forces, which at other times are outside in nature, have the effect of making us citizens of the cosmos. For they actually cause an image of the cosmos to arise in our heads, illuminating us so that we become possessors of human wisdom.
We speak rightly if we say: Uriel makes his descent as summer passes through autumn into winter. Then in winter he begins to re-ascend, and from this descending and ascending power of Uriel we get the inner forces of our heads. Thus Uriel works in nature at midsummer, and during the winter season he works in the human head, so that in this connection man is truly a microcosm over against the macrocosm.
We understand the human being only if we place him in the world not merely as a being of nature, but as a spiritual being. And just as we can follow the forces of Uriel and see how they stream into man through the course of the year, so must we do with Raphael, who pours his forces into the forces of nature in spring, as I have described. I had to show you how the Easter Imagination is completed through the teaching that Raphael, the great cosmic physician, can give to humankind. For precisely when we allow all that Raphael brings about, working in the springtime forces of nature as Uriel does in summer — when we allow all this to work on us at Easter through the spiritual hearing of Inspiration, then we have the crowning of all the truths of healing for mankind.
But the springtime activity of Raphael travels around the Earth, as Uriel does. In terms of the cosmos Uriel is the spirit of summer; he moves around the Earth and in winter creates the inner forces of the human head. Raphael is the spirit of spring, and in autumn, as he travels around the Earth, he engenders the forces of human breathing. Hence we can say: While during autumn Michael is the cosmic spirit up above, the cosmic Archangel, at Michaelmas Raphael works in human beings — Raphael who is active in the whole human breathing-system, regulating it and giving it his blessing. And we shall form a true picture of autumn only if on the one hand, up above, we have the powerful Michael-Imagination, with the sword forged from meteoric iron, his garment woven out of Sun-gold and shot through with the Earth's silver-sparkling radiance, while Raphael below is working in us, aware of every breath that is drawn, of everything that flows from the lungs into the heart and from the heart through the whole circulation of the blood. Thus we learn to recognize in ourself the healing forces which play through the cosmos in the Raphael-time of spring, if in autumn, when the rays of Raphael pass through the Earth, we come to know how Raphael is active in human breathing.
For this is a great secret: all the healing forces reside originally in the human breathing system. And anyone who understands truly the circuit of the breath knows the healing forces from the human side. They do not reside in the other systems of the human organism; these other systems have themselves to be healed.
Look back and see what I have said about education: the breathing system comes specially into activity between the ages of seven and fourteen. There are great possibilities of illness during the first seven years of life, and again after fourteen; they are relatively least during the period when the breath pulses through the body with the help of the etheric body. A secret activity of healing resides in the breathing system, and all the secrets of healing are at the same time secrets of breathing. And this is connected with the fact that the workings of Raphael, which are cosmic in spring, permeate the whole mystery of human breathing in autumn.
We have learnt to know Gabriel as the Christmas Archangel. He is then the cosmic Spirit; we have to look up above to find him. During the summer Gabriel carries into humans all that is effected by the plastic, formative forces of nourishment. At midsummer they are carried into man by the Gabriel forces, after Gabriel has descended from his cosmic activity during the winter to his human activity in summer, when his forces stream through the Earth and it is winter on the other side.
And when at last we come to Michael, we have him as the cosmic Spirit in autumn. He is then at his highest; he has reached his cosmic culmination. Then he begins his descent; in spring his forces penetrate up through the Earth and live in all that comes to expression in man as movement and the power of will, enabling him to walk and work and take hold of things.
Now bring before you the complete picture. First, the summer picture at the time of St. John: up above, the grave countenance of Uriel, with his judicial look, his warning mien and gesture — and, drawing near to humans and permeating them, the mild and loving gaze of Gabriel, Gabriel with his gesture of blessing. So during summer we have the working together of Uriel in the cosmos, Gabriel on the human side.
If we pass on to autumn, we have the — I will not say commanding, but rather the guiding — look of Michael. For if we see it in the right light, Michael's gaze is like a pointing finger, as though wishing not to look into itself, but to look outward into the world. Michael's gaze is positive, active. And his sword forged out of cosmic iron is held so that at the same time his hand points out to us our way. That is the picture up above.
Below, in autumn, is Raphael, with deeply thoughtful gaze, who brings to mankind the healing forces which he has first — one might say — kindled in the cosmos. Raphael, with deep wisdom in his gaze, leaning on the staff of Mercury, supported by the inner forces of the Earth. Thus we have the working together of Michael in the cosmos, Raphael on Earth.
Now we go on to winter. Gabriel is then the cosmic Angel; Gabriel up above, with his mild and loving look and his gesture of benediction, weaving his garment of snow in the clouds of winter. And below, Uriel, with his grave judgment and warning, at the side of humans: the positions are reversed.
And as we come around again to spring, up above we find Raphael, with his deeply thoughtful gaze; with the staff of Mercury which now in the airy heights has become something like a fiery serpent, a serpent of shining fire, no longer resting on the Earth, but as though held forth, using the forces of the air, mingling and combining fire, water, and earth, so as to transmute them into healing forces, working and weaving in the cosmos.
And below, quite specially visible, is Michael, coming to meet mankind, with his positive gaze; a gaze that shows the way, as it were, into the world and would gladly draw the eyes of human beings in the same direction, as he stands close to mankind, the complement of Raphael, in spring.
So there, you see, are the pictures:
Winter: Gabriel above, Uriel below
Spring: Raphael above, Michael below
Summer: Uriel above, Gabriel below
Autumn: Michael above, Raphael below
Now let us take the words which have come down through the ages like an old magical saying and were used again by Goethe:
Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt,
Eins in dem andren wirkt und lebt!
Yes, indeed, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael work together, one working in the other, living in the other, and when the human being is placed in the universe as a being of spirit, soul, and body, these forces work magically in us. And how far-reaching is the truth in these words, how far they go! Think what they mean:
Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt,
Eins in dem andern wirkt und lebt!
Wie Himmelskräfte auf- und niedersteigen
— rising and descending! And then the lines that follow:

Und sich die goldnen Eimer reichen,
Mit segenduftenden Schwingen
Vom Himmel durch die Erde dringen,
Harmonisch all das All durchlingen!
Remember how in yesterday's lecture I spoke of it all passing over from plastic form into musical sound, universally resounding harmony.
I cannot tell you what I felt when this stood before my soul and I read again these lines by Goethe: vom Himmel durch die Erde dringen! This durch — it can shake one profoundly, for that is just how it is — it is true! It is staggering to realize that these words ring through the world like a peal of bells and are regarded as poetic licence or something of the sort — or as words that anyone might write in letters or articles. It is not so. These are words which correspond to a cosmic fact. It is really shattering to read these words in the context of Goethe's Faust and to know how true they are.
Now we will go further. We have seen how the heavenly Powers with golden pinions — the Archangels — permeate the universe in harmony, working and living in one another. But that is not all.
Let us look at Gabriel, who draws nutritive forces out of the cosmos and carries them into human beings at midsummer. These forces are active in the human metabolic system.
Raphael rules in the breathing system. And now Gabriel and Raphael, as they ascend and descend, work together in such a way that Gabriel passes up into the breathing system those forces of his which are otherwise active in human nutrition, and there they become healing forces. Gabriel hands on the nourishment to Raphael, and it then becomes a means of healing. When that which is otherwise only a nutritive process in the human organism is interwoven with the secret of breathing, it becomes a healing force.
We must indeed observe carefully the transformation which external substances undergo in the nutritive system itself; then we come to recognize the significance of the Gabriel forces, the nutritive forces, in the human being. But these forces are led over into the breathing system. And in working on further there, they become not only a means of quenching hunger and thirst, and not only restorative forces: they turn into forces for the inward correction of illness. The transmuted nutritive forces become healing forces. Anyone who understands nutrition correctly, understands the first stage of healing. If he knows what salt should do in a healthy person, then, if he allows the metamorphosis from the Gabriel-way to the Raphael-way to work on him, he will know how salt can act as a means of healing, in this or that case. The healing forces within us are metamorphoses of the nutritive forces. Raphael receives the golden vessel of nutrition from Gabriel; it is passed on to him.
Diagram 2
And now we come to a secret, familiar in early times but entirely lost today. Anyone who can read Hippocrates, or, if he cannot read Galen, can still gather something from him, will notice that, in Hippocrates, and even in Galen, those old physicians, there survived something of what is really a great human secret. The forces that prevail in our breathing system are healing forces; they are healing us continually. But when these breathing forces rise into the head, the healing forces become spiritual forces, active in sense-perception and in thinking. Here is the secret that was known at one time; the secret that is almost explicit in Hippocrates and can at least be drawn out of Galen. Thought, perception, the inner spiritual life of man, are a higher metamorphosis of therapy, the healing process; and when the healing element in the breathing system, which lies between the head and the digestive system, is driven further up, as it were, it becomes the material foundation for the spiritual life of man.
So we can say: The thought which flashes through the human head is really a transmutation of the healing impulses that reside in the various substances. Hence if a man sees truly into the heart of this, and has some healing salt-substance, let us say, in his hand, or some remedial plant-substance, he can look at it and say: Here is a beneficent healing force which I can give to someone in accordance with their need. But if this substance penetrates into the person and passes beyond the realm of breathing, so that it works in their head, it becomes the material bearer of the power of thought: Raphael then hands on his vessel to Uriel.
Why does a remedy heal? Because it is on the way to the spirit. And if one knows how far on the way to the spirit a remedy is, one knows its healing power. The spirit cannot of itself lay hold directly on the earthly in the human being; but the lower stage of the spirit is a therapeutic force.
And just as Gabriel passes on to Raphael the nutritive forces, to be transmuted into forces of healing — in other words, he passes on his golden vessel — and just as Raphael passes on his golden vessel to Uriel, whereby the healing forces are made into the forces of thought, so it is Michael who receives from Uriel the thought-forces, and through the power of cosmic iron, out of which his sword is forged, transforms these thought-forces into forces of will, so that in the human being they become the forces of movement.
Hence we have this second picture: Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, ascending and descending; Uriel and Gabriel, let us say, working in one another, but also working with one another, one giving his possession to the other, so that it can work on further in him. We see how the heavenly Powers rise and descend, passing to one another golden vessels — the golden vessels of nourishment, of healing, of the forces of thought and of movement. So these golden vessels move on from one Archangel to another, while at the same time each Archangel works with the other in cosmic harmony.
And again in Faust we find:
Wie Himmelskräfte auf- und niedersteigen
Und sich die goldnen Eimer reichen!
True indeed, down to the very word “golden,” for these things are woven out of the Sun-gold radiating from Uriel, as I described yesterday.

Goethe had of course read the old saying to which he then gave poetic expression, and it made a tremendous impression on him. But the meaning I have been able to picture for you here — that he did not know. It is just this which staggers one — to find that when out of a certain poetic feeling a spirit such as Goethe's takes hold of something handed down from old traditions, it so incredibly reflects the truth! This is the splendid thing that unites us, if we are cultivating spiritual science today and these things are revealed to us: when we truly see how Uriel and Raphael and Michael and Gabriel are working together, and how they really do pass on to one another their own particular forces. If we first see this for ourselves and then, having perhaps come across indirectly an ancient saying, through Goethe in this case, we let it work upon us, we see how an old instinctive truth — no matter whether mythical or legendary — was at one time widely current in the world. And then times change, and in our own time we see how the ancient truth has to be raised to a higher level.
O Hippocrates — it is all the same whether we now give the name of Raphael, or Mercury, or Hermes to the one who stood at his side — this Hippocrates lived at a time when twilight was falling over the knowledge of this working together of Gabriel, Raphae,l and Uriel, and of how the healing forces in the human organism lie between the thoughts and the nutritive forces. This was the source from which an ancient instinctive wisdom drew those wonderful old remedies which in fact are always being renewed. Today they are found among so-called primitive folk, and people cannot imagine how they have been come by. All this is connected with the fact that a primeval wisdom was once possessed by humankind.
But now there must really be a problem left in your minds. It is this: If you take everything I have put before you — how for example the Raphael forces are active in spring, and in autumn are carried over by Raphael into the inwardness of the breathing system — you must have been led to suppose that man is entirely bound up with the working of the forces of the cosmos through the course of the year. Originally, indeed, that is how it was. But because man is a being who remembers, so that an outer experience is preserved in memory and after days or years can be relived as an inner experience, so these truths remain entirely valid for the cosmos — but a man does not inwardly experience the Raphael force in his breathing system only in the autumn, but on through the winter, summer and spring. A kind of memory of it, more substantial than ordinary memory, remains.
So while things are arranged in the way I have described, their effects are active in human beings throughout the year. As an experience remains fixed in the memory, so these effects continue all through the year; otherwise man could not be a uniformly developing being all the year 'round. In physical life, one person forgets more readily, or less readily, than another. But the influence Raphael has implanted in our breathing system during the autumn would disappear by the following autumn when Raphael came again. Until then this nature-memory in the breathing organ remains active, but then it has to be renewed.
So is man placed in the course of nature; he is not excluded from the way the world goes, but planted in the midst of it. But he is placed there in yet another way. It is true that man, standing here on Earth, enclosed within his skin, with his organs embedded in his body, feels himself somewhat isolated in the cosmos, for the connections I have described are indeed full of mystery. But this is not so when man is a being only of spirit and soul — in his pre-earthly existence, for example. Between death and a new birth he lives in a realm of spirit; his soul gazes down not at an individual human body — it chooses this in the course of time — but at the whole Earth, and indeed at the Earth in connection with the whole planetary system, and with all the interwoven activities of Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel, Michael. In that realm, one is looking at oneself from outside.
It is there that the door opens for the entry of souls who are returning from pre-earthly to earthly life. It opens only during the period from the end of December to the beginning of spring, when Gabriel hovers above as cosmic Archangel, while below at man's side is Uriel, carrying cosmic forces into the human head. In the course of these three months the souls who are to be embodied during the whole year come down from the cosmos toward the Earth. They remain waiting there until an opportunity occurs in the Earth's planetary sphere: even the souls who will be born in October, let us say, are already within the Earth sphere, awaiting their birth. Much, very much, depends on whether a soul, after it has entered the Earth sphere and is already in touch with it, has to wait for its earthly embodiment. One soul has a longer wait; another, a shorter one.
The particular secret here is that — just as, for example, the fructifying seed enters the ovum at only one spot — the heavenly seeds enters into the whole yearly being of the Earth only when Gabriel rules above as the cosmic Angel, with his mild, loving look and gesture of benediction, while below is Uriel, with judicial gaze and warning gesture. That is the time when the Earth is impregnated with souls. It is the time when the Earth has its mantle of snow and surrenders to its crystallizing forces; then man can be united with the Earth as the thinking earth-body in the cosmos. Then the souls pass out of the cosmos and assemble, as it were, in the Earth sphere. That is the annual impregnation of the Earth's seasonal being.
To all these things we come, if we have insight not only into the physical aspect of the cosmos, but into the activities of those cosmic beings I have described for you in the four pictures. And if we have arrived at that, we can find in many a poem some indications of the cosmic creative activity, for it is there in the world:
Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt
Eins in dem andem wirkt und lebt!
Wie Himmelskräfte auf- und niedersteigen
Und sich die goldnen Eimer reichen,
Mit segenduftenden Schwingen
Von Himmel durch die Erde dringen,
Harmonisch all das All durchklingen!
In these very words we can discern something of that wonderful working together of the four Archangel beings who, in conjunction with the forces of nature, permeate and animate the bodily nature, the soul and the spirit in human beings — working in one another, working with one another.