Monday, August 31, 2015

Katrina — Lest We Forget


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.

—Revelation 3:14-22


"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." — John 7:37-38

"Love one another"

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." —John 13:34-35

Our Self-Consciousness During Life and After Death

Theosophy and Rosicrucianism, lecture 3 of 14
Rudolf Steiner, June 18, 1907:

There is a “holiest of holies” in man which we may designate as his self-consciousness. Those who see this in the right way have no difficulty in perceiving that this word “self-consciousness” expresses at the same time the true meaning of human life. Self-consciousness is the capacity for transmitting the knowledge that one is an EGO.

You may clearly obtain an idea of this if you bear in mind that there is one name in the whole language which fundamentally differs from all the others: it is the word “I”. Anyone can designate the table, but “I” is a designation which can only be applied individually to one's own self. To every other person one is a “you”. Never can the word “I” resound from outside, if it is to designate my own being. Spiritual science has always experienced this.

In the Jewish religion, for instance, when speaking of man's inner being, it was referred to as the unspeakable name of God. For the Hebrews said: When the “I” is to be pronounced, it must resound from the central point of our being. No being outside can utter this name: A kind of shudder therefore passed through the whole congregation when the priest uttered the word JAHVE, “I am the I am”. The God within man begins to speak — this is the pure, original, meaning of the Jewish name of God. You will also learn to know other names, but they all stand in some kind of relationship to this one name. With this word “I” we designate the fourth member of man's being. Through the ego, and from this center, man works upon the other members of his being, upon his astral body, etheric body, and physical body. No matter how far we go back into the history of human development, we find that man always possessed these four members, and it is this which distinguishes him from the animals.

Let us now form an idea of the relationship between developed and undeveloped men in regard to these four members. Consider under this aspect one of the most savage men, who eats up his fellow-men, and compare him with an average European, and the latter again with a highly developed individual — Goethe, for example, or Schiller, or Francis of Assisi. The savage blindly follows the instincts and passions contained in his astral body. He has an ego, but this ego still lives completely under the sway of the astral body. An average man of the present time is already able to distinguish good and evil, and this is due to the fact that he has worked upon his astral body. He has worked upon it and even transformed certain instincts into so-called ideals. Man reaches an ever higher stage of development the more he transforms his astral body through his ego. The modern average European has transformed a good part of this astral body. An individuality such as Schiller or Goethe has already transformed the greater part of the astral body. But a human being who has subjugated all his passions through his will, as for instance Francis of Assisi, has an astral body which is entirely transformed by his ego; there is nothing left in this astral body which is not completely under the sway of the ego.

That part of the astral body which man has been able to transform we designate as “Manas” or “Spirit-Self”. This is the fifth member of his being. We may the say: The ego contains the seed for the transformation of the astral body into Manas, Spirit-Self.

Now, man has the possibility to transform not only his astral body but also his etheric body, so that the ego also becomes the sovereign of the etheric body. But you must realize that this is a far more difficult and slower work. The difference between the transformation of the astral body and of the etheric body is the following: —

Consider what you knew when you were eight years old, and what you have learned since your youth. The bearer of all these transformations is the astral body. Consequently it changes essentially every day through the external impressions which you take in. But this is not the case with the etheric body. If you wish to have an idea of this, imagine the following: — If you were a choleric child at the age of eight, you will probably still lose your temper even today. Only a few people succeed in transforming themselves to such an extent as to change also their habits, inclinations, temperament, and character. This does not in any way contradict what I have explained above. The astral body is indeed connected with pleasure and pain and the other sensations, but when these have become habitual and so-called character traits, then they are rooted in the etheric body; and if we wish to transform these habits, then the etheric body must be transformed, for it is the bearer of every habit and character trait.

I have frequently compared the transformations of astral body and etheric body with the progress of the minute and second hands of the clock.

Later on we shall speak of the development of the more advanced pupil. He is not a pupil in the meaning of ordinary life, not only one who learns something. Undoubtedly such a pupil must also learn a lot, but far more important than learning is the above-mentioned work upon the etheric body: He must succeed, for instance, in transforming a choleric disposition into gentleness of character. Spiritual science in particular gives him indications for this.

He who succeeds in transforming from one day to the other at least one of his habits — that is to say, some quality of his etheric body — has attained a high stage of development. Such a transformation of the etheric body should go hand in hand with the other things which the disciple of occult science learns. But even if a man knows nothing of such a training, he nevertheless transforms his etheric body of his own accord — though slowly and gradually, and throughout many incarnations. And that part of his etheric body which he has been able to transform we designate as Buddhi, or Life-Spirit, which constitutes the sixth member of human nature.

Then there is the stage lying far, far above the others, upon which man learns to work upon his physical body and to transform it. That part of his physical body which he has learned to control we designate as Atman, or Spirit-Man. It is the seventh member of his being. Atman is connected with the German word atmen, "to breathe," for the process of transformation goes out from the breathing process.

We can only form an idea of what it means to control one's physical body consciously, through the ego, if we bear in mind how little we really know of our physical body. This knowledge has nothing to do with the assertions of modern anatomy concerning man's physical body. Long before modern anatomy existed, there were ancient teachings, which of course were not known publicly but which contained a knowledge concerning man's inner being. This knowledge enabled the wise men of ancient times to follow, for instance, the currents of life and of the blood, and they were thus able to observe themselves inwardly, to observe the physical body and all its organs. When we shall have reached this stage of development, not one portion of our body will move without the conscious participation of our will. This is the transformation into Atman, the Spirit-Man.

Now, someone might object: The physical body is the lowest member of human nature; how is it possible that its transformation should constitute the highest member? Just because the physical body is the lowest member, man's highest effort is needed in order to gain control over this body. The transformation of the physical body is intimately connected with the acquisition of power over forces which permeate the whole cosmos. And the sway over these cosmic forces is what we designate as magic.

Man's true inner nature thus consists of seven parts. But those seven parts are completely intermingled. A true idea of this intermingling can only be obtained if we compare it with the seven colors of the rainbow, which are all contained in the light of the Sun. Even as the light consists of these seven colors, so man consists of his seven members.

Let us now consider the significance of this structure of man's being in connection with the knowledge of man's whole life-path. Yesterday we learned to know the nature of sleep. The physical body and the etheric body lie in the bed; respiration and blood-circulation remain, as life-expression of the etheric body, but — together with the ego — everything pertaining to the astral body is lifted out of the physical body and the etheric body.

When death arises, something else appears, in contrast to this. Whereas the physical body and the etheric body remain united throughout the life between birth and death, death separates the etheric body also, and not only the astral body, as in sleep, from the physical body. But the physical body is so complicated (let us bear in mind yesterday's explanations) that it must decay if obliged to rely upon its own forces.

Let us now observe clairvoyantly the human being after death: Before us lies only the physical body, and above it soar the astral body and the etheric body ... Immediately after death, the deceased human being experiences a peculiar manifestation: At the moment of death, the course of his whole life appears in the field of human memory, like a spread-out picture. Every event, even the most insignificant, passes before him in the form of an image. This is the natural result of the fact that the etheric body, besides having the above-mentioned quality of preventing the decay of the physical body, is also the bearer of memory. As soon as it loses its first task, it devotes itself intensely to this second task. Since every event in life, whether pleasure or suffering, is connected with joy or pain, owing to the permeation of the etheric body with the astral body, now that the astral body is also severed from him man experiences those memory pictures — that is to say, he experiences his whole past life, without any sensations or feelings, as if it were a great panorama.

As long as the etheric body remains connected with the physical body, the instrument which it must use, the brain renders our memories incomplete; we only retain fragments of life impressions in our memory. The deficiency of the physical brain is responsible for this; but as soon as the etheric body becomes emancipated from the physical brain, it can remember everything.

An analWellspringogy may even bo found in ordinary life, during the shock which one experiences, for instance, at the moment of drowning, or crashing, etc. This is simply due to the fact that at such a moment the etheric body becomes forcefully severed from the physical body, which also takes place, for example, in a slight degree when an extremity falls asleep (pins and needles), or in hypnosis. In the case of a hypnotized person, the clairvoyant can see his etheric body hanging out at both sides of the head. Materialistic physiology objects that in hypnosis there is a physical change in the blood, but people simply mix up cause and effect.

Man's first experience after death is therefore this retrospection of his past life, which differs in length, but averages about three and a half days.

Then comes a second kind of death, when the etheric body completely severs itself also from the astral body, so that a kind of etheric corpse remains behind. But this corpse soon dissolves, more or less quickly in each individual case, and becomes part of the universal cosmic ether. Yet it does not dissolve altogether; a kind of essence remains from the past life. The ego takes this essence along with it as an imperishable treasure, which remains for all the subsequent incarnations. After every incarnation a new leaf is added, so to speak, to the preceding one. In Theosophy this essence of the etheric body is called the Causal Body, and the quality of the causal body determines the way in which the future incarnations take place.

Now the astral body remains alone ... What is the difference between this condition, in which it is severed from the other members, from the physical body and the etheric body, and that of sleep, in which it also remains alone? The forces which it had to use during sleep in order to elaborate and improve the physical body have now become emancipated, through the fact that the physical body has definitely been laid aside. The astral body now uses those forces for its own self, and is conscious of this. In this state of self-consciousness the astral body now passes through a time which can be understood best of all if we consider the following: —

Imagine that you are enjoying a specially tasty dish — you eat it and enjoy its taste. This pleasure is not rooted in the physical body but in the astral body, but it can only arise because it has the required organ, namely a tongue and a palate. Thus the physical body supplies the instrument for the gratifications of the astral body.

Now, what takes place after death, when the physical body has been discarded? The instrument is lacking, the transmitter of enjoyment, but the astral body has not lost the longing and desire for some special pleasure. Now imagine this state as vividly as possible. It resembles the condition of a man who is thirsting in the midst of a desert. After death the astral body still feels the desire for certain enjoyments, in the same measure in which it was accustomed to feel this during the past life on Earth, and for this reason the time after death is for so many people a time of unsatisfied desires.

This condition is named Kamaloka (Kama means desire, and locus place). It is the same condition which we find described in many myths — for instance, the tortures of Tantalus, or purgatory. Of course, this condition is not only a torturing one; it tortures us until the astral body has lost the habit of desiring enjoyments. The more needs the astral body feels during physical life the longer does this condition of Kamaloka last.

But you may gather from the above that, according to the quality of these needs experienced by a human being during his past life on Earth, the astral body may encounter in Kamaloka experiences which are not only torturing, but under circumstances very good and pleasant. The astral body will, for instance, feel pleasure in every moment of joy given to him by Nature and its beauty. In order to experience this enjoyment of Nature and its beauty we must indeed have eyes to see, but beauty is something that transcends the physical, and therefore this condition is in Kamaloka the source of increased enjoyment. These things produce great joys and wonderful experiences even during the Kamaloka period.

Thus we may render this Kamaloka time more beautiful by emancipating ourselves from purely physical enjoyments. If you consider this, you will be able to understand several things in life, for instance, everything which constitutes art. The more ideal art is, the more the ideal essence manifests itself through art, the stronger and the more uplifting will be the influence of the work of art, an influence transcending physical life. The Spirit is the real element of art. The materialistic short-sightedness alone has led to naturalism in art.

After passing through this Kamaloka period, we therefore reach the stage where we have lost the habit of physical enjoyments, and this means that we must now pass through an entirely different condition. The soul now discards all those parts of the astral body which man — that is to say, the ego — has not yet transformed. The discarded astral sheath now constitutes the third corpse which we leave behind.

Now that the ego has united itself with that which it has gained from the other bodies — viz., with the above-mentioned essence of the etheric body and with that of the astral body — it passes on to the Spirit-realm. There it lives until the time of a new birth.

We shall speak of this tomorrow. Today I only wish to emphasize once more that all these spiritual worlds exist continually 'round about us, and not in a “Beyond” which is spatially separated from us. One who can look into the spiritual worlds can at any time perceive the above-mentioned corpses, as shadows or spectres. It is these corpses which so frequently intrude themselves in spiritistic seances. But if such an astral corpse is mistaken for the individuality in question it is just as foolish a mistake as that of taking the physical corpse for the living human being. Thus the astral corpse frequently reveals very ridiculous traits, for it possesses the very qualities which the ego has discarded.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Courage, the greatest of all virtues

"Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other." —Samuel Johnson 

Joan of Arc

"To have courage for whatever comes in life — everything lies in that."  — Saint Teresa of Avila

Spirit Triumphant! Flame through the weakness of faltering, fainthearted souls! Burn up egoism, kindle compassion, so that selflessness, the lifestream of humanity, may flow as the wellspring of spiritual rebirth!  — Rudolf Steiner

Frederick Douglass
"It is not light that is needed, but fire."

Rudolf Steiner: "There will have to be a festival in honor of human courage, of the human manifestation of the courage of Michael. For what is it that holds man back today from spirit-knowledge? — Lack of soul courage, not to say soul cowardice. Man wants to receive everything passively, wants to set himself down in front of the world as if it were a movie, and wants to let the microscope and the telescope tell him everything. He does not want to temper the instrument of his own spirit, of his own soul, by activity. He does not care to be a follower of Michael. This requires inner courage. This inner courage must have its festival in Michaelmas. Then from the Festival of Courage, from the festival of the inwardly courageous human soul, there will ray out what will give the other festivals of the year also the right content." 

I bear within me peace;
Within myself I bear forces to make me strong.
With the warmth of these forces I shall be imbued.
With the power of my will I shall be filled.
And then I shall feel
How peacefulness pours through all my being
As I strengthen myself
To find peace as strength within myself
Through steadfast inner striving.

— Rudolf Steiner, Verse for the Esoteric School

The physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego

Theosophy and Rosicrucianism. Lecture 2 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, June 17, 1907:

Yesterday we spoke in an introductory way of the aim and essence of the spiritual-scientific movement; today we shall penetrate more directly into the essence of this science. It has the disadvantage that it may shock those who are not familiar with these things, but we must have patience and realize that many things which seem almost nonsensical at first will in the course of time appear well-founded and comprehensible.

Of the subject which lies before us, we shall first of all consider the nature of the human being.

Let us place this human being before our soul. He is a most complicated being, the most complicated being of all which we encounter in the known world. Those who possessed a deeper insight have therefore always called man a microcosm, in contrast to the macrocosm, the universe. Paracelsus used a very fine comparison expressing man's being in the form of an image. He said: Contemplate Nature around you, and imagine every being in Nature, every plant, animal, and stone, as the letter of an alphabet, and if you imagine a word written with these letters, you obtain man.

We find, in this connection, the confirmation of Goethe's words, that we must understand the whole of Nature in order to understand man.

To begin with, my explanations will only be a kind of sketch of man's nature. This will be related to the explanations of the following days in the same way in which a charcoal sketch is related to the finished picture.

If we contemplate man with our physical senses, when he stands before us as an earthly being, if our eyes perceive him and our hands can touch him, we look upon him, from the materialistic standpoint, as complete, as a whole being. Yet a deeper — that is to say, a spiritual — contemplation of the world sees in that which is perceptible to our physical senses only a small part of the human being, that part which the anatomist dismembers and dissects, The anatomist endeavors to understand the human being through the intellect, by dissecting the visible part into cells which can only be perceived through the microscope, and he thinks that he thus obtains an idea of the structure and activity of the single organs.

Ordinary science thinks that all this constitutes the physical body of man. But at the present time man's physical body is frequently looked upon in the wrong way, for people think that the human being standing before them consists only of a physical body. This is not the case at all, for higher members of human nature are intimately connected with the physical body, are active through it, and it is through these members that this body becomes manifest in the form in which one human being confronts another. The physical body would present an altogether different aspect were we to separate it from the higher members of human nature. Man has this physical body in common with the whole mineral world. All the substances and forces which are active in mineral substances, such as iron, arsenic, carbon, etc, are also active in the substances of the human body and in the physical body of animals and plants.

Our attention is immediately drawn to the higher members of human nature if we once realize the tremendous difference which exists between man's physical body and the other physical substances which surround us in the mineral world. You will know that this wonderful structure of the physical body bears within it what we call inner life, consciousness, desires, joy and pain, love and hate; this physical body does not only contain substances pertaining to the mineral world, but also thoughts. You may indeed perceive the glow upon the countenance, or the color of the hair, but you do not perceive what takes place within the physical body in the form of inclinations and dislikes, joy and suffering, etc, All this we do not see; nevertheless it takes place within the covering (sheath) of the skin. This is the most evident and irrefutable proof that there is something in addition to the physical body, something besides mere physical substances.

When you watch a tear falling, this tear is but the physical expression of sorrow, which is an inner process, Now look upon the mineral world: these minerals are dumb! You cannot perceive in them any joy or sorrow, nor any other inner life. The stone has no feelings and no consciousness such as we have. To a spiritual scientist this stone appears like the nails upon our fingers, or like the teeth. Observe one of your fingernails: it has no feeling, no consciousness; nevertheless the nail forms part of your being. There must be something within us which brings about the formation of nails and teeth, and in the same way there must be something in the world outside which produces minerals. The nails themselves have no consciousness, but they form part of something which is endowed with consciousness. If a small beetle creeps over one of our nails, this nail perhaps appears to it as a mineral. This is the case when we creep over the Earth, without being aware that behind this mineral Earth there is consciousness, even as there is consciousness behind our nails. Later on we shall see what kind of consciousness lies at the foundation of the mineral world. This ego-consciousness of the mineral world lies high above us, even as, for instance, the consciousness of the small beetle creeping over our nail is surpassed by our own consciousness behind the nails.

The Rosicrucian philosophy ascribes this consciousness of the mineral kingdom to a world which it calls the WORLD OF INTELLIGENCE; there lies the consciousness of minerals, and there lies also the foundation of human intelligence, enabling us to form thoughts. Yet the thoughts which live in us are very deceptive, for human thoughts are related to the beings of the Intelligent World in the same way in which our shadow is related to our real self. Even as the shadow upon the wall is not I, but only my own shadow, so man's thoughts are only shadow-pictures in the world of the spirit. But here on Earth we are able to grasp a thought because in the Intelligent World there is a real being who produces this thought. This is a world in which our thoughts are real beings, whom we encounter in the same way in which we here meet other human beings. This Intelligent World of the Rosicrucians is for an initiate the higher Devachan World, the Arupa Devachan of the Hindus, or the higher Mental World. When an initiate passes through the physical world, every portion of the Earth speaks to him of life, and he experiences everywhere the manifestations of another world. Since in our physical body we are nothing but portions of the physical world, we also have a subordinate physical consciousness, reaching as far as the Intelligent World, that is to say, as far as the consciousness of the mineral world.

Our physical body is therefore, in its substances, of mineral nature, and the consciousness of the physical body lies there where the consciousness of the mineral world is to be found.

What is, however, the difference between our physical body and a mineral — for instance, a rock crystal? If we compare our body with a crystal, we find upon comparison that our body is a most complicated thing, Let us picture to ourselves the difference between a mineral and a living being.

In regard to the substances, there is no difference at all, for exactly the same substances can be found in living beings as in minerals, except that the structure is far more complicated.

If you have before you the mineral and its form, you will find that it remains the same if it only depends upon itself. But this is not the case in a living being, in a plant, an animal, or a human being. As soon as a substance takes on so complicated a form that it can no longer be held together through its own forces — in other words, that it would decay if left to itself — there is something in this substance which prevents if from decaying, and in that case we have before us what we call a LIVING BEING.

Spiritual science therefore says: A living being would decay into the component parts of its substances if it were left to itself, if within it there did not exist something which prevents this decay. That which every moment prevents this living being from decaying, the preventing factor of such a decay, is what we call the etheric or the vital body. This is of an entirely different nature from the substances which constitute the physical body in every living being, and it has the capacity to produce the most complicated physical substances, to maintain them, and to prevent their decay. What a living organism thus reveals in a purely external form is what we call LIFE. This etheric or vital body, or this body of formative forces, cannot be perceived by physical eyes, but it can be perceived through the first degree of clairvoyant vision, and it is the task of a clairvoyant to develop himself so as to be able to perceive this etheric body. Modern natural science does indeed try to discover the etheric body, but it tries to form a conception of it in a purely speculative way, by speaking, for instance of vital force, or vital energy.

How does the etheric body appear to a clairvoyant eye, that is to say, to the clairvoyant?

If you contemplate an object of the mineral world — for instance, a rock crystal — through the eye of a clairvoyant, eliminating for this purpose the physical substance by deviating, as it were, your attention from it, you would see nothing in the space occupied by the physical crystal. This space is void. But if you contemplate in the same way a living being — a plant, an animal, or a human being — this space occupied by the physical body will not be empty, for it will be filled up by a kind of shape of light, and this is the above-mentioned etheric body.

The etheric body is not of the same kind in every living being; on the contrary, it takes on very different forms, even as regards shape and size in relation to the physical body of the living being in question; this varies according to the stage of development of the different beings. The etheric body of plants has quite a different shape from the plants themselves; the etheric body of animals has a greater resemblance to the external shape, and the etheric body of man appears as a shape of light which corresponds almost exactly to the form of the physical body. If we contemplate, for instance, a horse from this standpoint, we see its etheric body protruding rather far from the head as a shape of light, but it more or less resembles the shape of the horse's head. But in the case of an average man of today we can see his etheric body protruding only slightly above the head and its sides. In regard to the substance of the etheric body, one generally has quite wrong ideas. Even in theosophy people write and talk a lot of confusing nonsense on the etheric body; but this forms part of the “childhood illnesses” of the Theosophical Society, and they must be overcome. To obtain a correct idea of the substantiality of the etheric body, please try to follow my thoughts in this comparison: —

Imagine that you have one hundred dollars and that you spend more and more: Your property will grow smaller and smaller and finally you will have nothing at all. This would be the least possible substantial state of your property. But there is one still less substantial: when you diminish still more the zero-stage of your property by making debts and acquiring a “negative” property. You can therefore reduce your property still more, for you have less than nothing if you borrow, for instance, ten dollars.

Or imagine this applied to something else. Imagine a battle with its tremendous noise; if you go further away from it the noise will grow weaker and weaker; the silence will grow until you finally hear nothing more. If you reduce still further this stage of hearing nothing at all, then it will be more than silent around you, more than soundless ... Such a silence actually exists, and it is in the highest degree blissful, though an ordinary person will not so easily be able to imagine it.

Now imagine these examples applied to the density of substance. At first you will have the three generally known aggregate conditions: the solid, liquid, and gaseous conditions; but in accordance with the above-mentioned example of the property, you should not remain by these three conditions. Even as it is possible to dilute the property into a “negative” property, so the substance can also become thinner and thinner, more and more diluted, beyond the gaseous stage. Imagine therefore a kind of substance opposed to the physical substance; this will give you a kind of idea of that which constitutes the etheric body.

A “negative” property has the opposite qualities of a positive one, for a “plus” property makes us rich, and a “minus” property poor; the more money I have, the more I can buy; the less money I have, the less I can buy. In the same way, the cosmic ether, of which the etheric body of every living being is a part, has the opposite qualities of physical substances.

Even as physical substance has the inclination to fall asunder, to decay, so the etheric body has the inclination to hold everything together, preventing the physical body which it permeates from decaying. As soon as the etheric body abandons the physical body — in other words, when physical death arises — the decomposition into the elemental parts immediately sets in. We have thus traced matter into a world where it has the opposite effect of our physical matter.

When I say that man's etheric body resembles his physical body, I mention a fact which must be borne in mind and which must be mentioned here, for it will give rise to important conclusions in the following lectures. This statement must be subjected to an important limitation, for in reality the etheric body differs greatly from the physical body and resembles it only in its upper part, in the head; but it differs from it greatly in regard to the fact that it is of opposite sex: man's etheric body is feminine, and woman's etheric body is masculine. Every human being is therefore bisexual; the sex of the physical body is only an external expression, having its opposite pole in the etheric body. Even as a magnet has a north pole and a south pole, even as a magnet cannot have only a north pole, so we also find two poles in man: the pole and the counter-pole.

The etheric or vital body, also called the body of formative forces, therefore constitutes the second member of man's being, and from birth to death it remains intimately connected with man's physical body, and when the etheric body severs itself from the physical body, this signifies death.

The physical body is first built up by the etheric body; the etheric body is, so to speak, the architect of the physical body. If you wish to have a picture for this, take that of water and ice: When the water cools down, it takes on another shape, it becomes ice. Even as ice is formed out of water through condensation, so the physical body is formed out of the etheric body.

Ice — water : physical body — etheric body; this means, that the forces of the etheric body have become tangible, physically perceptible in the physical body. Even as the water already contained the forces which then manifest themselves in the solid ice, so the etheric body already contains all the forces needed for the structure of the physical body. The etheric body thus already contains a force producing, for example, the heart, or the stomach, or the brain, and so forth. For each organ of our physical body there is a predisposition in the etheric body; these predispositions are not substances, but currents of forces.

Man has the etheric body in common with every plant and animal, that is to say, with every physical being manifesting LIFE,

Now we may ask: Do the plants have a kind of consciousness such as we have found for the world of the minerals? We have already seen that spiritual research discovers the consciousness of minerals in the higher Intelligent World, the origin of our thoughts.

Even as our fingers do not have a consciousness of their own, for the consciousness of the finger forms part of man's consciousness, so the plants form part of a state of consciousness lying on the lower Intelligent World, in the heavenly world (Rupa Devachan). When the spiritual investigator enters this world, he encounters in it the souls of the plants. There, the souls of the plants are beings, such as we are beings here on Earth; and these beings are related to the plants in the same way in which man is related to his fingers.

The consciousness of plants is therefore rooted in this lower Devachan World. In it are rooted the forces which lie at the foundation of every growth and of every organic structure; in it are also rooted the forces which build up our physical body, that is to say, the forces of our etheric body, which we have already designated as the architect of our physical body. This consciousness of the vegetable world is far higher and wiser than the consciousness of man.

You will realize this at once if you bear in mind the wise structure not only of man's physical body but of every being permeated by an etheric body, that is to say, of every living being. What enormous wisdom is needed to build up the simplest physical body of any living being; not to mention the most wonderful structure all living beings on Earth: the human body!

Observe, for instance, man's upper thigh bone; how wonderfully and in accordance with every rule of architecture the single little osseous joists and beams are put together! In its upper part, the upper thigh bone is far more complicated than it appears to us externally; for it is composed of a trestle of beams whose angles are arranged so skillfully that the weight of the whole body is borne by the least quantity of matter; truly a far greater work of art than the most complicated bridge construction; no engineering skill in the world could imitate it!

Or contemplate the structure of the heart: it is built so wisely that man with all his wisdom is but a child in comparison to that wisdom which reveals itself in the structure of the heart. How many things does the human heart withstand, though man's foolish attempts to ruin it every day, for instance, through our so-called stimulants — coffee, alcohol, nicotine.

Forces reaching as far as the astral world are needed for the construction of such a wonderful edifice as our physical body; only the beings of this astral world are, trivially speaking, clever enough to build up such a physical body.

And now we come to the third member of man's being. Plants have a physical body and an etheric body; but they lack something which both man and the animals have: they have no pain, no desires, no sufferings, and no sensations whatever. This is the difference between man and animal on the one side, and the plants on the other. The difference consists therein that inner processes take place in the animals and in man. From processes observed in plants, modern science even seeks to ascribe sensations to plants. It is a shame to see how concepts are being misused! These are no inner processes, as in the case of a sensation — such sensations might just as well be ascribed to a blue litmus paper. Such mistakes arise if sensations are looked for in the physical world; no sensation can be found in the physical world in a phenomenon of the kind which may be observed in certain plants, for we must rise up to heavenly worlds if we wish to find sensations in plants. To prevent misunderstandings, let me add that in the case of so-called reacting plants, for instance, in the mimosa, the sensitive process of reaction does not reflect itself in the physical world as a sensation, but only in the lower Intelligent World, the seat of the plant's consciousness. Here, in the physical world, only man and animals have instincts and passions, joys and pains. Why? — Because they have, in addition to the physical and etheric body, also the astral body, the third member of human nature.

To a clairvoyant seer, the astral body appears in such a way as to envelop the whole human being in an egg-shaped cloud, and within this cloud every sensation comes to expression, every instinct and every passion. The astral body is therefore the carrier of desire, pain, suffering, and joy. This third member presents a different aspect from the etheric body and the physical body. When man is asleep, only the physical and the etheric body lie upon the bed, whereas the astral body and the ego are lifted out; but when the astral body and the etheric body go out of the physical body, then death arises, and with it the decay of the physical body.

Why is this third member called astral body? — No more appropriate name could be found for it! Why? — Because this member has an important task which we must bear in mind. At night, this astral body is not inactive, for then it works upon the physical and etheric body, and the clairvoyant seer can observe this. During the day, we use up our physical and etheric body, for everything we do uses up the physical body, and the expression of this is fatigue. Now the astral body repairs what we use up during the day. The astral body really eliminates fatigue while we are asleep. This shows the importance and necessity of sleep. The clairvoyant seer can do this repair-work consciously. The refreshing element of sleep depends on the fact that the astral body has worked in the right way upon the physical and astral bodies. But since the astral body must first return into the physical and etheric bodies, the refreshment of sleep arises gradually, that is to say, about one hour after waking up.

Something else, something important, is also connected with the fact that the astral body goes out during sleep. When the astral body enters in connection with the external world during the waking life of daytime, it must live together with the physical and etheric body; but when it extricates itself from the body, that is to say, during sleep, it is freed from these fetters of the physical and etheric body. Then something wonderful arises; the forces of the astral body then reach as far as the starry world, where the soul-beings of the plants are to be found, and it draws its strength from that world. The astral body reposes in a world where the stars are embedded. This is the world of the Harmony of the Spheres, according to the Pythagoreans. It is a reality and not a mere fancy. If we live consciously in this world, we can hear the harmonies of the spheres, we can hear the stars resounding in their reciprocal forces and relations. In this sense, Goethe was an initiate, and in this meaning we should read the beginning of the Prologue in Heaven of Faust: —

“Die Sonne tönt nach alter Weise
In Bruderspharen Wettgesang,
Und ihre vorgeschriebene Reise
Vollendet sie mit Donnergang.
Ihr Anblick gibt den Engeln Stärke,
Wenn keiner sie ergründen mag;
Die unbegreiflich hohen Werke
Sind herrlich, wie am ersten Tag.”

(Translation after Latham)

“The sun, with many a sister-sphere,
Still sings the rival psalm of wonder,
And still his fore-ordained career
Accomplishes with tread of thunder.
The sight sustains the angels' prime,
Though none may spell the mystic story;
Thy Works, unspeakably sublime,
Live on, in all their primal glory.”

People do not know Goethe, and as a rule they are not aware that he was an initiate, for they simply say: A poet needs images ... . Yet Goethe knew that the Sun stands in the midst of a choir and that it resounds as Spirit of the Sun! Goethe therefore remains by this image and continues: —

“Horchet! Horcht dem Sturm der Horen!
Tönend wird für Geistesehren
Schon der neue Tag geboren.
Felsentore knarren rasselnd,
Phöbus' Räder rollen prasselnd;
Welch Getöse bringt das Licht!
Es drommetet, es posaunet,
Auge blinzt and Ohr erstaunet,
Unerhörtes hört sich nicht.”

(Translation after Latham)

“Hark! The Hours in storm are winging,
And to spirit ears loud-ringing,
Now the new-born day is springing.
Rocky portals clang asunder,
Phoebus' wheels roll forth in thunder,
What a tumult brings the light!
Loud the trump of dawn hath sounded,
Eye is dazzled, ear astounded,
The Unheard no ear may smite.”

During the night, the astral body lives in this world of stars. During the day it comes into a kind of disharmony of wordly things, whereas at night, during sleep, it is once more embedded in the world of the stars. And in the morning it returns with the forces which it brings along from this world. From the astral world we bring with us the harmony of the spheres, when we awake from sleep! The real home of the astral body is the world of the stars, the astral world, and that why it is called astral body.

Now we have learned to know three parts of human nature: the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body.

The fourth part, the ego, we shall learn to know next time. The ego is that member which raises man above the animal and makes of him the crown of creation.

The animal does not have man's consciousness, although it has a certain kind of consciousness, just as we have seen it in the case of the plant and of the mineral; but the consciousness of animals lies in the astral world. Man's fourth member, the ego, constitutes with the other three members the “holy fourfold essence” of man, of which all the ancient Schools speak.

Man therefore has the physical body in common with the mineral, the etheric body in common with the plants, and the astral body in common with the animal. He alone has an ego, and this raises him above the others. In man we find, as it were, the essence of everything which we see spread out 'round about us. In fact, a microcosm! We must therefore first learn to know our environment, if we wish to know man.

We should therefore think of these three members, of these three bodies, as sheaths, woven in different regions, and we live — that is to say, our ego lives — in these sheaths, together with the higher members of human nature, together with our immortal part.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Disciples of Christ

"The appearance and sacrifice of the Logos on the physical Earth is all about bringing the impulse to selfhood in human beings to the highest perfection. And because we today may call ourselves inner Christians — with this is not meant the belief in some form or other of institutional religious group — because we today can become His disciples by freely committing ourselves to Him, we are already participating with this decision in His revelation as well as in His path of sacrifice, which is the prerequisite for the revelation of his Mystery. We have opened our hearts to what this beloved Being underwent in a human body of flesh."
  — Judith von Halle, And If He Has Not Been Raised..., pp. 94-95

Do not pray for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person.

Rudolf Steiner

We are not granted
A rest on any step;
The active man
Must live and strive
From life to life;
As plants renew themselves
From Spring to Spring,
So man must rise
Through error to Truth,
From fetters into Freedom,
Through sickness and through death
To Beauty, Health, and Life.

                   Rudolf Steiner

Theosophy and Rusicrucianism

Theosophy and Rosicrucianism. Lecture 1 of 14.
Rudolf Steiner, June 16, 1907 — from the notes of a member of the audience:

The aim of these lectures is to give a survey of what we are accustomed to call theosophy. Theosophy must become a new impulse of culture in an encompassing way. For a long time humanity has been yearning for it, and from many aspects it is called upon to give an answer to the burning questions now advanced by men. At the present time, however, theosophy is to a great extent something which people not only wish to oppose, but something which they look upon as questionable, even as mad, like the dreams of certain fantastic brains.

Of course, if they were to ask these dreamers what THEY seek through theosophy and what they expect from it, their answer would be a rather wide one. Those who have recognized the vital essence of theosophy, which modern people take to be mere dreams, look upon theosophy as something which in a few decades will have an immense significance for human thought and feeling, and for man's will and actions.

There is nothing into which theosophy cannot shed its light as an impulse, nothing into which it is not called upon to shine.

It is a well-known fact that at the present time there are many problems — hygienic, social, or pedagogical problems, or women's suffrage — and even greater is the number of answers supplied to these questions. But if we investigate all these questions and answers in an objective way, we come to the conclusion that modern civilization puts the questions rightly — for they are determined by the conditions of our time — but that our modern epoch is not able to supply the answers to these questions without further ado. One who shuts his eyes and ears to the problems of our time will continually encounter obstacles along his path. A time will come when men will realize that they must face many other problems too: these problems arise out of the inner and outer strife of humanity, out of all the pains and sufferings and out of the shattered hopes in every field. But only theosophy is able to supply an answer.

Ever greater grows the number of people who despondently bow their heads, who fulfill their duty but do not know the reason for their work, and whose nervous state of mind often culminates in despair, and even affects their physical health, ending in neurasthenic conditions.

Let us only allude to these things, for the fundamental idea which should rise up before us is that theosophy is not something which takes hold of the minds of a few lazy people who have nothing better to do, but theosophy must penetrate into practical life.

During the thirty years of its existence, the Theosophical Society of course had to pass through many things and many an illness of childhood, which made people question its significance. But it will extricate itself from these illnesses and show what it is capable of. Spiritual science must become an all-encompassing concern, a universal task, because it must supply the answer to questions which are, after all, the fundamental questions of all existence, and it must point out the way in which modern men should grasp these questions and why religions and sciences exist at all. Whatever we do, and if art, science, and practical activities are to exist at all, we must go back to certain fundamental questions, and these must in some way or other be solved. All religions were attempts to give an answer to such questions, an answer which was always in keeping with the intellectual and cultural stage of different peoples.

Theosophy does not wish to be a religion; it has nothing to do with sects and it does not agitate.

Religion, as you know, is as old as human endeavor. If we gain an insight into the different religions of different nations, we come to the conclusion that all these religions endeavored to supply an answer to the questions: What is, in the first place, man's essential being? Secondly, what is his task and goal? and thirdly, what reaches beyond physical existence?

In regard to these questions a strange epoch lies behind modern humanity, one which called into life many a doubt in religion. Let us ask: How many people are there today who need religion but who are not able to have it? Some of us can look back into times when religion was still a truly experienced life, when it still counted far more, indeed in a much higher measure, than is the case today with single religiously disposed natures. These natures still possess something of that warm feeling which existed throughout thousands of years. The longing, the need, for what we call the spiritual world, or the longing for religion still exists today; indeed, among the most truth-loving natures this longing has even grown. Such a person may say to himself: When I was a child, I still had true faith. But then things changed: I become acquainted with so-called science and with its facts, and since science speaks in quite a different way, for instance, concerning the origin of the world, I seriously began to doubt that which I once believed in my childhood. And there followed a deeply sad mood in life; the soul felt as if it were torn and devastated, and when it looked out into the world, no light was shed upon the inner contrasts. This explains the torn state of mind swaying between religious longing and satisfaction of the soul, and it also explains the tragedy of modern man, But the strife of such souls is perhaps better than the other condition: namely, to ask nothing at all, to lose the habit of asking questions, to become superficial and just allow oneself to be driven along by ordinary life.

Is it the fault of religion that things have come to such a pass? No! It is plainly evident that this is not so, for every religion, even the ancient myths and legends, have means and ways to lead the heart once more toward the spiritual world to reanimate the soul, if the soul is willing.

Who would have thought that such mighty impulses from the ancient myths, which had apparently died out thousands of years ago, leading an almost hidden, unknown existence, could rise to new life, as is the case in Richard Wagner's dramas?

It is not necessary to found a new religion; the time for this has past. What is needed now is a new attitude toward religion, a new understanding of religion! What has changed is the human spirit, the human soul, the human heart!

If we immerse ourselves in the development of human souls, we shall find in the course of these lectures that human souls have already lived many times upon the physical plane, and that they gradually developed, until they reached the present stage, At first this may sound strange, yet during past lives our souls have frequently heard the deep truths which will be explained in today's lecture.

The teaching of reincarnation will, for instance, be advanced; but your souls have listened, as they are listening to me now, to the Druids who lived and taught particularly in this region. These druidic teachers of ancient times already taught the truth of reincarnation to a smaller circle; they cultivated this primordial wisdom concerning the riddles of life. They went out to those whose souls thirsted for a deeper knowledge. But if these teachers of ancient times had spoken as I am speaking to you now, your souls could not then have understood them, for at that time the human spirit had not yet reached the present stage of development. Logical thought did not as yet exist in the human spirit. Man possessed instead the possibility of grasping truths in the form of images. These teachers therefore spoke in the form of images, and these images are known to us today in the form of legends and myths. If in the past our souls had not heard these teachings, we could not understand the spiritual truths today, when they are taught to us in a new form.

The soul thus makes enormous progress through thousands of years; it continually takes on a new shape, and therefore truth must be presented in a constantly new form; it must ever again be proclaimed anew. Let me give you a second example.

Let us go back into the evolution of humanity as far as the ancient Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians. When these peoples were the bearers of culture they did not look upon the Sun and the stars as mere physical bodies. Today, when a materialistic astronomer contemplates the heavenly bodies he only sees in them physical bodies, and nothing besides. Even the Earth is to him a physical body in the world's spaces, and man crawls about upon it, like the gnat upon our hand.

But it was otherwise among the ancient Egyptian astronomers. When the ancient Egyptian astrologer looked upon a star, he did not think of a purely physical body, for the star meant to him something quite different than it does to modern men. When he pronounced, for instance, the name of Mercury, he uttered it with veneration. It never passed through his mind to address the physical heavenly body, just as you would not dream of addressing a body made of cardboard. Everything which the eye perceived was at that time the expression of something spiritual. For the ancient astronomer, the physical star Mercury was therefore the expression of the Spirit of Mercury. You must not grasp this intellectually, but with your feeling, for otherwise you cannot understand what lived in the soul of such an astronomer. Everything in the world was to him the expression of something spiritual. He said: Everything is Spirit, and I, as a spirit, am a part of this Spirit.

You should bear in mind this feeling of the sages of ancient times; we should endeavor to understand them, and grasp what they knew concerning the processes which took place in the spiritual spaces. Those who immerse themselves in this feeling know how immensely superior is this conception to our modern materialistic one! It is necessary to understand the sages of olden times; we should find out what they knew concerning that which took place in the spiritual spaces of the universe, for then we begin to notice the tremendous difference between their conception and our modern one, and the enormous significance of those ancient teachings of wisdom! This may seem ridiculous to the materialistic sense of our time, which is only acquainted with the purely physical conception of astronomy — yet it is so.

How did it come about that man has now lost the understanding for the spiritual life which lies at the foundation of all physical existence? Why had this to occur?

Let us turn our gaze to our immediate surroundings. Were you able to compare man's present environment with that which once surrounded him at every step, you would find that at that time man only possessed the most necessary means of subsistence; but he had, on the other hand, more comprehension for spiritual things. This comprehension for the spiritual world had to withdraw in order to give man the possibility to acquire his present dominion over the Earth. Every technical and industrial progress of the present time could only be achieved through a world-conception which had become materialistic, through the fact that the spirit, the supersensible world, withdrew. At the cost of spiritual contemplation man gained, in the course of the last centuries, his rule over the physical world. It is a primordial, eternal law of humanity that capacities acquired in one sphere can only be gained by the withdrawal of others upon another sphere. For instance, man could never have called into life the possibilities of travel and communication had other capacities not withdrawn. The sense for spiritual things had to withdraw, in order that everything which now surrounds us might arise. All that once filled the human soul had to withdraw, to render possible the conquest of the physical world.

Thus we see that around the 16th century men lost the vision of the spiritual world, and we see how the materialistic conception took hold of humanity. Those who believe that they themselves do not live in the very midst of such materialism are greatly mistaken.

It is not the task of spiritual science to deny or renounce things; it does not intend to criticize the bad world of today; but it wishes to indicate the necessity of man's descent into matter. The great horizon of spiritual life had to withdraw from humanity while this descent took place, and this explains why man lost the old way of comprehending spiritual things. The truths exist in their old, earlier forms. Spiritual science can show how those truths can be rendered accessible to modern men. This is its chief aim. Consequently theosophy is merely the instrument whereby the deepest truths can be rendered accessible to the modern human spirit, in order that they may be grasped in their full depth.

Today it is once more necessary to draw attention to the Spirit. We should not content ourselves with pointing out the “magnificent progress” of modern times! Spiritual truth is always accessible to us, and we must comprehend it in different ways.

If we turn back to ancient India and Egypt, and to ancient Greece at the time when Christianity arose, we always come across the same ancient truths, in different forms. There were always leaders of humanity who took care that the truths which had paled with the decay of civilizations should, at given times, be communicated anew. All the great founders of religion can be found among such leaders.

Before the dawn of our modern epoch, before the time of Copernicus and the 16th century, care was taken also in Europe to establish the foundation for a new way of proclaiming spiritual truths. Around the 16th century lived certain people who were able to interpret the signs of the times. As early as 1459 a higher spiritual individuality, known in the external world as Christian Rosenkreutz, founded, with quite a small number of men, an occult school for the cultivation of wisdom, of ancient wisdom, but in a form suited to modern men. This is the wisdom of the Rosicrucians, cultivated for the first time around 1459. As stated, this wisdom is nothing new; it is the ancient primeval wisdom, but in a form suited to modern men.

What is the connection between this Rosicrucian wisdom and Christianity? There is no difference between the genuine Christian teachings and those of the Rosicrucians. If we grasp Christianity in its essence, we obtain the theosophy of the Rosicrucians. It is not necessary to found a new religion, but Christianity should be grasped in the way in which the early Christians grasped it. Only a few people still know something concerning the mysteries of the early Christian development. Even official theology has not the slightest idea of this. We come across St.Paul, as a man who had a deep knowledge of the Christian mysteries, who taught those mighty truths which were to guide humanity throughout thousands of years. At Athens, St. Paul had founded a school, whose leader was Dionysios thc Areopagite. Dionysios was a genuine disciple of St. Paul.

The teachings of Dionysios have always remained alive, and they have always been taught, particularly to those who had to bring Christ's living word out into the world. Had men stopped at Dionysios' standpoint, no new form would have been required. But the new era dawned, and with it arose the necessity of proclaiming these truths in such a way that no science could raise any objection against them. This is the aim of the Rosicrucian theosophy. Rosicrucian theosophy is therefore that form of religion which is suited to our time.

Only those who understand Christianity in the right way can have an idea of its living content.

If we were in the position to hear from every side that which Rosicrucian theosophy had to say in connection with true Christianity, we would discover that scientific facts do not contradict these descriptions. The chief thing to bear in mind is that there should be no contradiction between religion and scientific facts, and that these scientific facts should harmonize with religion.

What does the Rosicrucian theosophy wish to give us? The knowledge of higher worlds — that is to say, of the worlds to which man will belong when his physical body shall have decayed. It gives him the knowledge of life, the knowledge of the true nature of death and of human development. In this way, it can give him new strength in regard to religious truths and religious life.

No one should say: I stand firmly upon the foundation of the ancient teachings, and these suffice for me ... What do I care for those who doubt! — No opinion can be more selfish or un-Christian that this! It is still possible today for a certain number of men to live upon the foundation of old religions, but in a not too distant future this will no longer be possible. Those who have an insight into that which great social upheavals throw up to the surface cannot judge in this way. They will realize that it is not possible to quarrel over the fact that theosophy must be proclaimed.

Thinking men know that spiritual science exists in order to supply an answer to the most burning questions, and that it is actually able to reply to all these questions. After all, one can prove or disprove anything, but this is not the essential point: It is impossible to quarrel over a remedy — the essential point is the success which we achieve with it. It is exactly the same with spiritual science. Humanity needs spirituality as a remedy, and it can only recover from its illnesses if this remedy streams into it. It is an evolutionary factor of our civilization, and a giver of life.

Our modern way of living does not suffice, for it is directed exclusively toward physical-bodily things. The aim of theosophy is the health and recovery of Soul and Spirit. Spiritual science is nothing arbitrary; our present time and its problems call for it. All that it tells us constitutes the teaching of those men who were able to make investigations in this sphere.

Spiritual science leads us into higher worlds, into which no physical eye can look, and which contain the causes of the effects to be found in the physical world. It will bring us knowledge of the external part of human nature, of every individual's essential being, the knowledge of the spiritual worlds and their hierarchies.

As we learn to know these, we also learn to know man's mission and significance. What we should endeavor to grasp is the true essence of human nature. We shall learn to know worlds which exist but which cannot be perceived through our ordinary physical senses. Some might say: What you are telling us is very fine, but we cannot really know anything about it. — Fichte has already supplied an answer to this objection. Imagine that you were to enter a world of blind-born men, as the only one endowed with sight, and that you were to describe colors to these blind men ... These men will say: You are telling us nonsense; colors do not exist. But if the blind could be operated on, so as to give them the power of sight, they would be able to experience this world of colors and of light.

The same argument applies to the above objection. Those who raise it adopt the same standpoint of the blind. No one should therefore say: Such things do not exist ... For no man has the right to speak of “limits of knowledge”, as did Du Bois-Reymond. As many worlds exist as there are organs able to perceive them, and this is an infinite number of worlds! We are unable to perceive them today because we still lack the organs of perception. The world is not only spatially infinite, but also intensively infinite: There is a world for every organ of sense. These worlds are still inaccessible to us, yet they exist — they exist where we ourselves exist. The only thing needed is that our eyes should be opened, for these worlds are in our very midst.

The words of Christ: “Do not seek the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom of God is in your midst” should be taken literally. Also spiritual science speaks in this sense of the spiritual worlds. There have always been initiates who knew how to enter these kingdoms of heaven. Every religion speaks of these kingdoms. Spiritual science is but the means of disclosing anew this fundamental truth contained in every religion: Whatever we see and perceive 'round about us is but the result and the effect of what takes place in the spiritual worlds. Whatever manifests itself upon the Earth is but the development of that which works and lives in the spiritual worlds.

Official Christianity has long ago lost the capacity of understanding the depths of religious documents. Spiritual science therefore had to take over the task of supplying the key to the forgotten treasures of knowledge, thus offering humanity, which is standing at the parting of the roads, the remedy which it needs. Yet spiritual science does not know fanaticism; it simply relates and clearly sets forth man's being; it indicates his destiny after death, and how his soul develops outside the physical body. It describes that which takes place in the higher worlds; it speaks of the evolutionary stages of the Earth and of the other planets, and it throws light upon the life-path trodden by man so far, and upon his future path. It points to that which man must still pass through in order that he may reach his goal.

We shall try to grasp man's being and the nature of the worlds from which he comes. This is the sphere of knowledge to which spiritual science leads us.

Now, we might object that all this only exists for the so-called clairvoyant seer, who is able to look into the spiritual worlds. Of what use is it to us, for these worlds are not accessible to us!

To this objection we can reply: There are, to be sure, certain methods of training which are only suited to the spiritual investigator, which make the above objection seem justified. But the path of Rosicrucian training is a different one. The clairvoyant eye and the ear of an initiate are of course needed if we wish to penetrate into the spiritual worlds, but our ordinary logic suffices to understand them. All that the spiritual investigator describes to us is accessible to our logical reason; our sound common sense suffices for the comprehension of such things. Those who cannot grasp them simply lack logical power. For the discovery of spiritual mysteries the clairvoyant eye of the spiritual investigator is of course needed, but our ordinary logic suffices in order to understand the things described in Rosicrucianism.

Those who cannot understand these things should not ascribe their lack of understanding to the Rosicrucian training. Their failure does not depend upon the fact that they are not clairvoyant, but because their understanding is not sound and their thought is not consistent. Many people have no idea of logic. There is a modern musician, for instance, who even said that it is a mistake to think over things ... Even our scientists do not think beyond a certain limit. But if we use our understanding in the right way, we are able to grasp spiritual truths and spiritual wisdom, and they can become alive within us. If you keep on asking: Of what use are these things to us? I can give you the following reply: — Nothing can be given to us which is of greater importance than the knowledge of spiritual science! This alone transforms us into real human beings and gives us, even at the present time, a contented heart and a soul that has reached harmony.

With mere words we do not proceed far in this field, for the striving after knowledge is an earnest matter and we must immerse ourselves in the necessities and problems of life. We must endeavor to pass on courageously from one sphere of spiritual life to the other, for this will give us an insight into the whole evolution of the universe and of man, The overwhelming greatness of these events will not only take hold of our hearts but awaken new capacities within us, which render us more capable to face the tasks of everyday life. Direct forces stream out of spiritual science, and these become a treasure which cannot be lost and which transforms us into creative human beings.

You will understand the physical world only if you learn to know the spiritual world. Spiritual science is not meant for cranks, but for the most practical of the practical!

Every form of life is spiritual. Even as ice is condensed water, so matter is condensed spirit. Mineral, plant, animal, or man — each is a condensed form of the spirit.

In this sense, the Rosicrucian theosophy will lead us to understand the spiritual foundations of the world. It does not change us into brooding egotists, but into lovers of life, for it does not despise ordinary life, nor estrange us from our earthly tasks, but it unites us with them. It stimulates us to diligent activity, for it knows that every action, as well as every being, is an expression of the Spirit.