|"My kingdom is not of this world." — John 18:36|
Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha.
Lecture 6 of 17.
Lecture 6 of 17.
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, March 13, 1917:
Let us dwell again today a little on the considerations already referred to as the so-called Three Meetings. We have said that the two alternate states of sleeping and waking, in which man lives in the short course of twenty-four hours, are not only what they seem to external physical life, but that during every one of these two-fold periods man has a meeting with the Spiritual world. We explained this by saying that the ego and the astral bodies, which are separated from the physical and etheric bodies during sleep — being breathed forth as it were, on going to sleep and breathed in again on waking — that these during the hours of sleep meet with the world we reckon as belonging to the Hierarchy of the Angeloi. To this world our own human soul will also belong when it has formed the Spirit-Self; in this rules as highest directing principle, that which in the life of religion we are accustomed to call the Holy Spirit. We have gone somewhat minutely into the meeting which man has with the Holy Spirit in the Spiritual world, during each one of his normal periods of sleep.
Now, we must very clearly understand that in the course of the development of the human race, during the evolution of the earth, changes have taken place with regard to these things. What then actually takes place while man is asleep? Well, I think I made that clear in the last lecture, from the standpoint of what takes place within man. Considered in his relation to the universe, man in a certain sense, imitates that rhythm in the world-order, which is established in any one part of the earth by the fact that one half of the twenty-four hour period is day and the other half night. Of course, it is always day in some part of the earth, but a man only lives in one part of it, and in respect to this the rule given holds good: wherever he lives, he imitates the rhythm between day and night in his own rhythm of sleeping and waking. The fact that this rhythm is broken through in modern life, that man is no longer compelled to be awake at day and asleep at night, is connected with his progress in evolution, in the course of which he raises himself above the objective course of the world, and now only has within him the one rhythm of day and night, — no longer the two rhythms working together. These rhythms work in a certain sense at one time for the universe, for the Macrocosm, and at another for man, for the Microcosm; but they are no longer in unison. In this way man has, in a certain respect, become a being independent of the Macrocosm.
Now, in those olden times, when, as we know, there was a certain atavistic clairvoyance in man, he was then more in harmony with the great course of the world-order, with respect to this rhythm. In olden times people slept all night, and were awake all day. For this reason the whole circle of man's experience was different from what it is now. But man has had in a sense to be lifted out of this parallel with the Macrocosm, and being thus torn away he has been compelled to stimulate an inner independent life of his own. It cannot be said that the main point was, that as in those days man slept at night he did not then observe the stars; for he did observe them, notwithstanding the fables of external science with respect to worship of the stars. The essential thing was that man was then differently organised into the whole world-order; for, while the sun was at the other side of the earth and consequently did not exercise its immediate activity on the part of the earth on which he lived, a man was then able in his ego and astral bodies — which were outside his physical and etheric bodies — to devote himself to the stars. He thus observed not merely the physical stars, but perceived the Spiritual part of the physical stars. He did not actually see the physical stars with external eyes; but he saw the Spiritual part of the physical stars. Hence we must not look upon what is related of the ancient star-worship, as though the ancients looked up to the stars and then made all sorts of beautiful symbols and images. It is very easy to say, according to modern science: In those olden times the imagination was very active; men imagined gods behind Saturn, Sun and Moon; they pictured animal forms in the signs of the Zodiac. But it is only the imagination of the learned scientists that works in this way, inventing such ideas True it is, however, that in the state of consciousness of the egos and astral bodies of the ancients, this did seem to them to be as we have described, so that they really saw and perceived those things. In this way man had direct vision of the spirit which is the soul of the universe; he lived with it. In reality it is only as regards our physical and etheric body that we are suited for the earth; the ego and astral body in their present condition are suited to the spirit that ensouls the universe, in the manner described. We may say that they belong to that region of the universe; but man must develop so far as really to be able to experience the innermost being of his ego and astral body, and to have experiences within them. For this purpose the external experience which was present in olden times, had to disappear for a while, it had to be blurred. The consciousness of communication with the stars had to recede; it had to be dimmed, so that the inner being of man could become powerful enough to enable him, at a definite time in the future, to learn so to strengthen it that he may be able to find the spirit, as spirit. Just as the ancients were united every night, when asleep, with the spirit of the stellar-world, so was man once connected with that spirit in the course of every year; but as time went on, in the course of the year he came in touch with a Higher Spirit of the world of the stars, and also in a sense with what went on in that world. While asleep at night the forms of the stars in their calm repose worked upon him; in the course of the year he was affected by the changes connected with the sun's course through the year; connected, as one might say, through the sun's course with the destiny of the earth for the year, caused by her passage through the seasons, and especially through the summer and winter.
You see, although some traditions are still extant relating to the experiences man formerly went through when asleep at night, there are but few remaining of those yet more distant times (or rather few traced back to their origin), when men took part in the secrets of the year's course. The echoes of these experiences still persist, but they are little understood. If you seek among the myths of the different peoples you will constantly come across that which proves that man then knew something of a conflict between winter and summer, summer and winter. Here again external erudition sees nothing but the symbolic creative imagination of the ancients; it says, we in our advanced times have gone much further than that! These were, however, real experiences which man went through, and they played a significant and profound part in the whole Spiritual civilisation of the ancient past. There were mysteries in which the knowledge of the secrets of the year were taught. Let us just consider the significance of such mysteries. These were not the same in the very ancient times as they became later, in the times when the history of ancient Egypt and of ancient Greece and to some extent even the earlier Roman history was enacted. We will, therefore, consider those mysteries which passed away with the older civilisations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
In these mysteries there was still a consciousness of the connection of the earth with the whole universe. At that time it was customary for suitable persons to be subjected to a definite Psychical process — but this could no longer be done today. They could then, during a certain number of days — in winter — be sent to certain definite localities, there to serve in a sense as receiving stations for the universe, the supra-earthly universe, and to receive what it is able to communicate to the earth at such times, if the times could provide a sufficiently receptive receiving-station. Our present Christmas time was then not precisely the most important time, though approximately so but the exact time does not signify for the moment. Let us assume the time to be between the 24th December, and the early days of January. This season is one in which, through the special position of the sun to the earth, the universe conveys something to the earth that it does not at other times. At this season the universe speaks in a more intimate way to the earth than at other times. This is because the sun does not unfold its summer-force at this time; the summer-force has in a certain respect, withdrawn. Now, the leaders of the ancient mysteries took advantage of that time to make it possible in certain organised places with the help of specially prepared persons, to receive the inner secrets of the universe, which came down to the earth during this intimate duologue. This may be compared today with something certainly much more trivial, yet the two can be compared. You know that what is known as ‘wireless telegraphy’ rests upon the fact that electric waves are set in motion, which are then further transmitted without wires, and that in certain places an instrument called a coherer is installed, which, by its peculiar arrangement makes it possible for the electric waves to be received and the coherer is then set in action. The whole thing depends entirely on the arrangement and formation of the metal filings in the coherer which are then shaken back into place when the waves have passed through it. Now, if we assume that the secrets of the universe, of the supra-earthly universe, pass through the earth at the special time alluded to, it would be necessary to have an instrument for receiving them; for the electric waves would pass by the receiving-station to no purpose, unless the right instrument attuned to receive them were there! Such an instrument is needed to receive what comes from the universe. The ancient Greeks used their Pythia, their priestesses for this purpose; they were trained for the purpose and were very specially sensitive to what came down from the universe, and were able to communicate its secrets. These secrets were then later on taught by those who perhaps, had long been unable themselves to act as receivers. Still the secrets of the universe were given out. This, of course, took place under the sign of the holy mysteries, a sign of which the present age, which has -no longer any feeling for what is holy, has no conception. In our age the first thing would obviously be to ‘interview’ the priests of the mysteries!
Now, what was above all demanded of these priests? It was necessary in a certain sense that they should know that if they made themselves acquainted with what streamed down from the universe for the fructification of earth-life, and especially if they used it in their social knowledge, they must be capable, having thereby become much cleverer, of establishing the principal laws and other rules for government during the coming year.
It would at one time have been impossible to establish laws or social ordinances, without first seeking guidance from those who were able to receive the secrets of the Macrocosm. Later ages have retained dim and dubious echoes of this greatness in their superstitious fancies. When on New Year's Eve people pour melted lead into water to learn the future of the coming year, that is but the superstitious remains of that great matter of which I have described. Therein the endeavour was made so to fructify the spirit of man that he might carry over into the earth what could only spring from the universe; for it was desired that man should so live on the earth that his life should not merely consist of what can be experienced here, but also of what can be drawn from the universe. In the same way, it was known that during the summer time of the earth we are in a quite different relation to the universe, and that during that season the earth cannot receive any intimate communications from thence. The summer mysteries were based upon this knowledge, and were intended for a quite different purpose, which I need not go into today.
Now, as I have said, even less has come down to us in tradition concerning the secrets of the course of the year, than of those things relating to the rhythm between day and night, and between sleeping and waking. But in those olden times, when man still had a high degree of atavistic clairvoyance, through which he was able to experience in the course of the year the intimate relations between the universe and the earth, he was still conscious that what he thus experienced came from that meeting with the Spiritual world, which he cannot now have every time he sleeps. It came from the meeting with the Spiritual world in which dwell those Spiritual beings we reckon as belonging to the world of the Archangels — where man will some day dwell with his innermost being, after he has developed his Life-Spirit, during the Venus period. That is the world in which we must think of Christ, the Son, as the directing and guiding principle. (Man had this meeting in all ages, of course, but it was formerly perceived by means of atavistic clairvoyance.) We have, therefore, called this meeting, which in the course of the year man has in any part of the earth where he makes Christmas in his winter: the meeting with the Son. Thus in the course of a year, a man really goes through a rhythm which imitates that of the seasons of the year, in which he has a meeting and a union with the world of the Son.
Now we know that through the Mystery of Golgotha, that Being whom we designate as the Christ has united Himself with the course of the Earth. At the very time this union took place, the direct vision into the Spiritual world had become blurred, as I have just explained.
We see the objective fact: that the Event of Golgotha is directly connected with the alteration in the evolution of mankind on the earth itself. Yet we may say that there were times in the earth's development when, in the sense of the old atavistic clairvoyance, man entered into relation with Christ, through becoming aware of the intimate duologue held between the earth and the Macrocosm. Upon this rests the belief held by certain modern learned men, students of religion, with some justification: — the belief that an original primal revelation had once been given to the earth. It came about in the manner described. It was an old primeval revelation. All the different religions on the face of the earth are fragments of that original revelation, fragments fallen into decadence. In what position then are those who accepted the Mystery of Golgotha? They are able to express an intense inner recognition of the Spiritual content of the universe, by saying: That which in olden times could only be perceived through the duologue of the earth with the cosmos, has now descended; it dwelt within a human being, it appeared in the Man, Jesus of Nazareth, in the course of the Mystery of Golgotha. Recognition of the Christ who dwelt in Jesus of Nazareth, recognition of that Being who was formerly perceptible to the atavistic clairvoyance of man at certain seasons of the year, must be increasingly emphasised as necessary for the Spiritual development of humanity. For the two elements of Christianity will be then united as they really should and must be, if on the one hand Christianity, and on the other humanity, are each to develop further in the right way. The fact that in the old Christian traditions the Legend of Christ Jesus was part of the yearly celebration of the Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide Festivals, is connected with this; and, as I stated in a former lecture, the fact that the Festival of Christmas is kept at a fixed date, while Easter is regulated according to the heavenly constellations, is also connected with this. Christmas is celebrated in accordance with the earth-conditions, it is kept in what is always the very depth of winter and this hangs together with the meeting with Christ, with the Son, which meeting really takes place at that season. Christ, however, is a Being belonging to the Macrocosm. He descended from thence, yet is One with it; and this is expressed in the fixing of Easter by the heavens in spring, according to the constellations of sun and moon; — for the Easter Festival is intended to show that Christ belongs to the whole universe, just as Christmas should point to the descent of Christ to the earth. So it was right that what belongs to the seasons of the year through their rhythm in human life, should be inserted into the course of the year as has been done. For this is so profound a thing, as regards the inner being of man, that it is really right that these Festivals relating to the Mystery of Golgotha, should continue to be held in harmony with the rhythm of the great universe, and not be subject to the alteration which in modern cities has taken place in the hours of sleeping and waking.
Here we have something in which man should not as yet exercise his freewill, something in which each year the consciousness should come to him, that, though he can no longer come into touch with the great universe through atavistic clairvoyance, there is still something living within him which belongs to the universe and expresses itself in the course of the year.
Now, among the things which are perhaps the most found fault with in Spiritual Science by certain religious sects, is, that according to Spiritual Science the Christ-Impulse must once again be bound up with the whole universe. I have often emphatically stated that Spiritual Science takes nothing away from the traditions of religion with respect to the mystery of Christ Jesus; but rather adds to them the connection which surrounds that mystery extending, as it does, from the earth to the whole universe. Spiritual Science does not seek Christ on the earth alone, but in the whole universe.
It is indeed not easy to understand why certain religious confessions so strongly condemn this connecting of the Christ-Impulse with Cosmic Events. This attitude would be comprehensible if Spiritual Science wished to do away with the traditions of Christianity; but as it only adds to them, that should not be a reason for censure. So it is, however; and the reason is that people do not wish anything to be added to certain traditions.
There is, however, something very serious behind all this, something of very great importance to our age. I have often drawn your attention to the fact, which is also mentioned in the first of my Mystery Plays, that we are approaching a time in which we can speak of a Spiritual return of Christ. I need not go more fully into this today, it is well known to all our friends. This Christ Event will, however, not merely be an event satisfying the transcendental curiosity of man, but it will above all bring to their minds a demand for a new understanding of the Christ-Impulse. Certain basic words of the Christian faith, which ought to surge through the whole world as holy impulses — at any rate through the world of those who wish to take up the Christ-Impulse — are not understood deeply enough. I will now only call to your remembrance the significant and incisive words: ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ These words will take on a new meaning when Christ appears in a world which is truly not of this world, not of the world of sense. It must be a profound attribute of the Christian conception of the world to cultivate an understanding of other human views and conceptions, with the sole exception of rough and crude materialism. Once we know that all the religions on the earth are the remnants of ancient vision, it will then only be a question of taking seriously enough what was thus perceived; for later on, because mankind was no longer organised for vision, the results of the former vision only filtered through in fragmentary form into the different religious creeds. This can once again be recognised through Christianity. Through Christianity a profound understanding can be gained, not only of the great religions, but of every form of religious creed on the earth. It is certainly easy to say this; though at the same time very difficult to make men really adopt these views. Yet they must become part of their convictions, all the wide world over. For Christianity, in so far as it has spread over the earth up to the present time, is but one religion among many, one creed among a number of others. That is not the purpose for which it was founded; it was founded that it might spread understanding over the whole earth. Christ did not suffer death for a limited number of people, nor was He born for a few; but for all. In a certain sense there is a contradiction between the demand that Christianity should be for all men and the fact that it has become one of many creeds. It is not intended to be a separate creed, and it can only be that, because it is not understood in its full and deep meaning. To grasp this deep meaning a cosmic understanding is necessary.
One is compelled today to wrestle for words wherewith to express certain truths, which are now so far removed from man that we lack the words to express them. One is often obliged to express the great truths by means of comparisons. You will recollect that I have often said that Christ may be called the Sun-Spirit. From what I have said today about the yearly course of the sun, you will see that there is some justification for calling Him the Sun-Spirit. But we can form no idea of this, we cannot picture it, unless we keep the cosmic relation of Christ in view, unless we consider the Mystery of Golgotha as a real Christ-Mystery, as something that certainly took place on this earth, and yet is of significance for the whole universe and took place for the whole universe.
Now, men are in conflict with one another about many things on the earth, and they are at variance on many questions; they are at variance in their religious beliefs, and believe themselves to be at variance as regards their nationality and many other things. This lack of unity brings about times such as those in which we are living now. Men are not of one mind even with regard to the Mystery of Golgotha. For no China-man or Indian will straightway accept what a European missionary says about the Mystery of Golgotha. To those who look at things as they are, this fact is not without significance. There is, however, one thing concerning which men are still of one mind. It seems hardly credible, but it is a commonplace truth and one we cannot help admitting, that when we reflect how people live together on the earth, we cannot help wondering that there should be anything left upon which they are not at variance; yet there still are things about which people are of one mind, and one such example is the view people hold about the sun. The Japanese, Chinese, and even the English and Americans, do not believe that one sun rises and sets for them and another for the Germans. They still believe in the sun being the common property of all; indeed they still believe that what is supra-earthly is the common property of all. They do not even dispute that, they do not go to war about these things. And that can be taken as a sort of comparison. As has been said, these things can only be expressed by comparisons. When once people realise the connection of Christ with these things which men do not dispute, they will not dispute about Him, but will learn to see Him in the Kingdom which is not of this world, but which belongs to Him. But until men recognise the cosmic significance of Christ, they will not be of one mind with respect to the things concerning which unity should prevail. For we shall then be able to speak of Christ to the Jews, to the Chinese, to the Japanese, and to the Indians, — just as we speak to Christian Europeans. This will open up an immensely significant perspective for the further development of Christianity on the earth, as well as for the development of mankind on the earth. For ways must be found of arousing in the souls of men, sentiments which all people shall be able to understand equally.
That will be one thing demanded of us in the time that shall bring the return, the Spiritual return, of the Christ. Especially with respect to the words: ‘My Kingdom is not of this world,’ a deeper understanding will come about in that time; a deeper understanding of the fact that there is in the human being not only what pertains to the earth, but something supra-earthly, which lives in the annual course of the sun. We must grow to feel that as in the individual human life the soul rules the body, so in everything that goes on outside, in the rising and setting stars, in the bright sunlight, and fading twilight, there dwells something Spiritual; and just as we belong to the air with our lungs, so do we belong to the Spiritual part of the universe with our souls. We do not belong to the abstract Spiritual life of an outgrown Pantheism, but to that concrete Spirituality which lives in each individual being. Thus we shall find that there is something Spiritual which belongs to the human soul, which indeed is the human soul; and that this is in inner connection with what lives in the course of the year as does the breath in a man; and that the course of the year with its secrets belongs to the Christ-Being, who went through the Mystery of Golgotha. We must soar high enough to be able to connect what took place historically on the earth in the Mystery of Golgotha, with the great secrets of the world — with the Macrocosmic secrets. From such an understanding will proceed something extremely important: a knowledge of the social needs of man. A great deal of social science is practised in our day, and all sorts of social ideals mooted. Certainly nothing can be said against that, but all these things will have to be fructified by that which will spring up in man, through realising the course of the year as a Spiritual impulse. For only by vividly experiencing each year the image of the Mystery of Golgotha, parallel with the course of the year, can we become inspired with real social knowledge and feeling.
What I am now saying must certainly seem absolutely strange to people of the present day, yet it is true. When the year's course is again generally felt by humanity as in inner connection with the Mystery of Golgotha, then, by attuning the feelings of the soul with both the course of the year and the secret of the Mystery of Golgotha, a true social ruling will be the true solution, or at any rate the true continuation of what is today so foolishly called (in reference to what is really in view) the social question. Precisely through Spiritual Science people will have to acquire a knowledge of the connections of man with the universe. This will certainly lead them to see more in this universe than does the materialism of today.
Just those very things to which least importance is attributed today, are really the most important. The materialistic biology, the materialistic Natural Science of today compares man with the animal; though it certainly does admit a certain difference, — in degree. In its own domain it is of course right; but what it completely leaves out of account is the relation of man to the directions of the universe. The animal spine — and in this respect the exceptions prove the rule — the animal spine is parallel with the surface of the earth, its direction is out into the universe. The human spine is directed towards the earth. For this reason man is quite different from the animal, above and below. The ‘above and below’ in man determine his whole being. In the animal the spine is directed to the infinite distances of the Macrocosm; in man the upper part of the head, the brain, and man himself are inserted into the whole Macrocosm. This is of enormous significance. This brings about what establishes a relation between the Spiritual and bodily in man, and through this his Spiritual and bodily parts are made subject to the conditions of above and below. I shall have more to say on this subject, but today I will merely just allude to it in a sketchy way. This ‘above and below’ characterises what we may call ‘the going out of the ego and astral body during sleep.’ For man with his physical body and etheric body is really inserted into and forms part of the earth while he is awake. During the night time he, with his ego and astral body is in a certain sense, inserted into that which is above.
Now we may ask: well, how is it then with other opposites to be found in the Macrocosm? There is also the opposite which in man can be described as ‘before and behind.’ In respect to these, too, man is inserted in a different way into the whole universe than is the animal or, indeed the plant. Man is inserted in such a way that he corresponds both before and behind to the course of the sun. This ‘before and behind’ is the direction which corresponds to the rhythm in which man takes part in living and dying. Just as man expresses in a sense a living relation of the ‘above and below’ in his sleeping and waking, so in his living and dying does he also express the relation of ‘before and behind.’ This ‘before and behind’ is in correspondence with the course of the sun; so that for man, ‘before’ signifies towards the east, and ‘behind’ towards the west. East and west form the second direction of space, that direction of which we really speak when we say that the human soul forsakes the human body not in sleep, but at death. For the soul on leaving the body goes towards the east. This is only still to be found in those traditions in which, when a man dies it is said: he has ‘entered the eternal east.’ Such old traditional sayings will some day, as indeed they are even now, be looked upon by learned men as merely symbolic. Some such platitudes as the following will be uttered: ‘The sun rises in the east,’ and is a beautiful sight; therefore, when it was desired to speak of eternity, the ancients spoke of the east! Yet this corresponded to a reality, and indeed one more closely connected with the yearly course of the sun than with the course of the day.
The third difference is that between the inner and the outer. Above and below, east and west, inner and outer. We live an inner life and we live an outer life. The day after tomorrow (15 March, 1917) I shall give a public lecture on this inner and outer life, entitled: ‘The human soul and the human body.’ We live an inner and an outer life. These form just as great opposites in man as above and below, east and west. Whereas in the course of the year man has more to do with what I might call a representative delineation of the whole course of life, we may say that when we speak of an inner and outer life in connection with the life and death of man, we refer to the whole course of his life, especially in so far as it has an ascending and a descending development. We know that up to a certain age a man goes through an ascending development. His collective growth then ceases, it remains at a standstill for a while, and then retrogrades. Now it hangs together with the collective course of a man's life, that at its early stages his whole body is then more connected in a natural, elemental way, with the Spiritual. I might say that at the beginning of his life a man is constituted in the very opposite way from what he is at the middle of his life, when he attains the zenith of his ascending development. In the first part of his life a man grows, thrives, and increases; afterwards his descending development begins. This is connected with the fact that the physical forces of man are then no longer in themselves forces of growth, for with the forces of growth are also intermingled the forces of decay. The inner nature of man is then connected in a similar way with the universe, as at his birth, at the beginning of his life, his outer bodily nature is connected with the universe. A complete turning round takes place. That is why at the present day a man goes through in a state of unconsciousness, in the middle of his life, the meeting with the Father-Principle, with that Spiritual Being whom we reckon as belonging to the Hierarchy of the Archai. He then meets with that Spiritual world in which he will dwell when he has completely developed his Spirit-Man.
Now, one might ask: Is this too in any way connected with the whole universe? Is there anything in the life of the universe connected in a similar way with the meeting that occurs in the middle of a man's life with the Father-Principle, as the meeting with the Spirit is connected with the rhythm of day and night, and the meeting with the Son with the rhythm of the year? That question might be asked. Well, now, my dear friends, we must bear in mind and hold firmly to the fact that, as regards the meeting with the Father-Principle, and also as regards that with the Spirit-Principle, man is lifted above rhythm, rhythm does not run quite parallel with man. For men are not all born at the same time, but at different times, therefore, the course of their lives cannot be parallel; but they can inwardly reflect some Spiritual Cosmic happening.
Do they do this?
Well, you see, if we recall what is stated in the little book: Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy, and in other books and courses of lectures, we shall know, that in the first seven years man more particularly builds up his physical body, in the next seven years his etheric body, in the next seven years his astral body. Then for seven years he forms the sentient soul; from twenty-eight to thirty-five he forms the intellectual or reasoning soul; and during this period he has the meeting with the Father-Principle. It takes place during that time; — not that it extends over the whole period, but it occurs during those years; — so that we may say: a man prepares for it in his twenty-eight, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth years. In the case of most people the meeting takes place in the deepest subconscious regions of the human soul. Now, we must assume that this corresponds to something that takes place in the universe; that is, we must find in the universe something representing a course, a rhythm. Just as the rhythm of day and night is one of twenty-four hours, and the course of the year one of three hundred and sixty-five days, so we ought to be able to find something of a like nature in the universe, only that would have to be more comprehensive. AR this is connected with the sun, or at least with the solar system. Just as the twenty-eighth twenty-ninth, and thirtieth years are more comprehensive than the period of twenty-four hours; and the three hundred and sixty-five days than any other period, so something yet greater must be connected with the sun, something corresponding with this third meeting. Now, the ancients rightly considered Saturn as the most distant planet from our solar system; it is the furthest away. From the standpoint of materialistic astronomy it was quite justifiable to add Uranus and Neptune to our system; but they have a different origin and do not belong to the solar system; so that we may speak of Saturn as the outermost Planet of our system. Now let us consider this. If Saturn forms the boundary of the solar system, we may say that in its circuit round the sun, it travels round the outermost boundaries of the solar system. When Saturn travels round this and returns to the point from which he started, he describes the extreme limits of the solar system. When he has traveled round the Sun and returned to his starting point, he then occupies the same relation to the sun as he did at first. Now Saturn, (as may be said, according to the Copernican Cosmic System) takes from twenty-nine to thirty years to complete his course, which is thus of about that duration. Here then, in the circuit of Saturn round the sun, which is not yet understood today — (the facts are really quite different, but the Copernican Cosmic System has not yet gone far enough to understand these) in this course of Saturn we have a connection, extending to the furthest limits of the solar system, with the course of a human life, which is thus an image of the Saturnian circuit in so far as the life-course of man leads to the meeting with the Father. That also leads us out into the Macrocosm. In this way, my dear friends, I think I have shown you that the innermost being of man can only be understood when considered in its connection to the supra-earthly. The supra-earthly, being Spiritual, is organised into that which in a sense it turns towards us visibly. But that which it manifests visibly is also merely an expression of the Spiritual. The raising of man above materialism will only take place when knowledge has progressed far enough to raise itself above the mere comprehension of earthly connections, and ascends once more to the grasp of the world of the stars and the sun.
I have already pointed out on a former occasion, that many things of which the present scholastic wisdom does not allow itself to dream, are connected with these things. Today men believe they will some day be able to generate living beings in their laboratories from inorganic matter. Materialism makes the most of this today. But it is not necessary to be a materialist to believe that a living being can be created out of inorganic matter, in the laboratory; for the alchemists, who certainly were not materialists, testified that they could make Homunculi; but today this is taken in a materialistic sense. The time will come, however, when it will be realised and inwardly felt, on approaching a man at work in his laboratory — (for living beings will indeed be produced in the laboratory from that which has no life) — on approaching such a man we shall feel ourselves compelled to say: ‘Welcome to the star of the hour!’ For this cannot be brought about at any hour; it will depend on the constellations. Whether life arises from the lifeless, will depend on the forces that do not belong to the earth, but come from the universe. Much is connected with these secrets. We shall speak of these things again in the near future, for it is now possible to say somewhat on these subjects, concerning which de Saint-Martin, who was called ‘The unknown philosopher’ says in many passages of his book on Truth and Error, that he thanks God that they are shrouded in secrecy. They cannot remain shrouded in secrecy however, for man will need them for his further development; but one thing is necessary, my dear friends, it is necessary that men should once more acquire that earnestness and feeling for the holiness of all these things, without which the world will not make the right use of such knowledge.
We will speak of these things again in the next lecture.
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