Rudolf Steiner, Christiania, Norway, June 9, 1912:
Rudolf Steiner, Christiania, Norway, June 9, 1912:
My Dear Friends,
Yesterday we touched upon one part or aspect of the Mysterium Magnum, and some of you will perhaps have felt a certain difficulty in approaching it from the standpoint that we were obliged to take in order to make the matter clear in detail. But the world is complicated, — let us admit that, once for all! And if we really have the desire to rise to the knowledge of higher truths, there is nothing for it but we must be ready to put up with some difficulties on the way.
Let us once more gather up for our consideration what we have to understand by the Mysterium Magnum. We saw on the one hand how it reveals man in his three members — or rather, reveals him as composed of three men each having seven members — so that we can distinguish an upper man, a middle man, and a lower man. As we go through the world and have our experiences, these three men seem to be closely and intimately united; everyday consciousness does not distinguish one from another. That was one aspect of the Mystery. The other consists in this — that the moment man lifts himself out of his ordinary Earth consciousness and attains a consciousness of a higher kind, he is at once faced with the event that I have described in my book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, where I said how man must then expect his consciousness to be torn into three, his whole being to be rent asunder, so that he is divided into a thinking man, a feeling man, and a willing man. Split up, as it were, into these three soul beings — that is how man feels when he sets out on the path to a higher consciousness. We have thus on the one hand the three-times seven-membered man, and on the other hand, as soon as we take a step beyond ordinary consciousness, we have at once a division of this consciousness into three, which means that every aspirant after occultism who becomes clairvoyant must, as you will know from the book already quoted, strive with all his might to hold together the three members of his consciousness, that he may not fall to pieces in his inner life of soul. It were indeed a tragic destiny for his inner being if that were to happen. While in ordinary life we are continually tempted to bring together the whole nature of man — which is threefold — into a unity and see it as a single and whole human form, for our inner life of soul, on the other hand, the moment we step beyond ordinary consciousness we are immediately made aware that we are in reality a threefold being, and are in imminent danger of being torn into three in our inner life of soul.
We shall best understand how matters really are in this connection if we take our start once again in quite an elementary way from certain facts of everyday life which manifest themselves in full clarity to the occult pupil, but are not at all generally observed. For it is indeed so that already in ordinary life the three soul powers of man — or rather, the several qualities of consciousness that correspond to them and that we are quite accustomed to distinguish one from another — do themselves direct our attention to what we learned to understand yesterday as the three-membered human being.
Look at man as he stands before you in everyday life. What has to take place in him for everyday consciousness to come about? For everyday consciousness to be there — the consciousness that you carry around with you as thinking Earth man — impressions from without must work upon your senses. The senses, in so far as they give us information of Earth life, are principally situated in the head, and the content of consciousness is in the main derived from these senses. Of the three men whom we learned to recognize yesterday in the human being, it is especially the head man, the upper man, that receives the daytime impressions — the impressions of ordinary consciousness. They make themselves felt inasmuch as man is able to bring to meet them the instrument of his brain, indeed of his whole head.
A little reflection will quickly show you that man as Earth man cannot possibly be a head man alone. We saw yesterday that for occult consideration man falls into three parts, quite distinct from one another; and for man to stand before us as Earth man, the head must obviously be maintained in life by substances and forces which are continually being sent up into it from the second (middle) man. By means of the circulation of the blood, nourishment must flow for the sustenance of the brain. Then the brain is able to meet the external sense impressions in such a way that by means of the instrument of the brain thoughts and ideas arise in man as a result of these sense impressions. Man experiences in ordinary consciousness what arises in this way through the instrumentality of the brain. You know also that this ordinary consciousness ceases when man is asleep; the external sense impressions are not there any more, they have no longer any influence upon him. When man is asleep and the external sense impressions no longer work upon the brain that is sustained by the middle man, naturally the influences that work from the middle man upon the upper man, from the second man upon the first — influences, that is, upon the brain — still go on. For in this middle man breathing is maintained, even during sleep, and the other activities of the middle man continue. Blood is carried up into the brain when man is asleep as well as when he is awake — though with a difference; for the way in which the instrument of everyday consciousness is sustained by the middle man is not quite the same in waking and in sleep. The difference finds expression in the fact that during sleep the number of breaths we take is considerably less in proportion than when we are awake, and the quantity of carbonic acid gas in our breath is reduced by about one fourth; the manner and method of nourishment also changes during sleep. When, under certain circumstances, the process of nourishment does continue to work in the same way during sleep, it can have very bad results. This is well known from the fact that after an excellent meal one does not generally sleep well; the brain is disturbed in its rest if a heavy meal is taken immediately before going to sleep. There is, therefore, a difference between the conditions of sleep and waking even in the way the middle man works up into the upper man.
Can we see, in ordinary Earth man, any result of this difference? The fact that man shuts himself off from the external world, and that only inside his body — wholly within what we have described as the form or figure of man — an influence is exerted by the forces of the middle man in the direction of the upper man, has the result that ordinary daytime consciousness is extinguished; so that, although during sleep man still has his brain, he does not perceive the influences that are at work from the middle man upon this brain. The influences go on just the same, but they are only present to what we generally term dream consciousness.
This dream consciousness is very complicated. You will, however, have no difficulty in recognizing that a particular class of dreams is wholly connected with what takes place in the middle man, and owes its origin to the fact that the brain is able not only to perceive the external world when the sense impressions work upon it, but able also in some way to perceive influences proceeding from the middle man, beholding them in the form of dream pictures that make use of all kinds of symbols. If something is wrong with the heart, it can easily happen that one dreams of it in the symbol of a burning hot fire. If all is not in order in the intestines it may happen that one dreams of snakes. The character and condition of man's insides will often determine the dream, which can then be an indication of what is going on there. Whoever will take the trouble to observe this remarkable connection and study it with the help of external science will come to the conclusion that irregularities in the middle man are perceived symbolically in dream pictures.
There are also, as you will know, people who have much more far-reaching experiences with dreams of this kind, people who are able to perceive in definite symbolic pictures the oncoming of certain illnesses. A clear connection can frequently be traced in such cases between dream pictures of a symbolic character recurring with absolute regularity and a disease of the lungs or heart or stomach which makes its appearance later.
As it is possible very often to establish, by means of accurate examination on awaking, that when one has dreamed of a burning stove one's heart is beating more quickly than usual, similarly it is possible for diseases of the lung or disorders of the stomach — in fact, for all manner of illnesses that have not yet shown themselves outwardly — to announce their approach symbolically in dream pictures. The human brain, or rather the human soul, is not sensitive only to external impressions that are communicated through the senses but also to the bodily insides — with this difference, that in the latter case it does not receive correct and true ideas but builds up for itself imaginary and symbolical ideas of what is going forward in the middle man.
The explanation that has been given enables us to recognize the fact that in dreaming man perceives himself. We can truly say: In my dreams I behold myself. We are not, however, aware of this during the dream. We perceive our heart, but we do not know that it is our heart we perceive. We perceive instead a burning hot fire — that is to say, an object outside ourselves. Something that is inside us is projected outward and stands there, outside, for our perception. In dream consciousness, therefore, man has to do with the interior of his own body; this means that in dream consciousness he is divided, he is rent asunder. As you know, in the ordinary run of everyday life we concern ourselves as a rule only with waking and sleeping.
Now, it is not only conditions of the middle man that are perceived in dreams, but also conditions of the upper man, the head man. There are, to begin with, the dreams that owe their origin to some disorder in the head itself. Through what is perceived as a disorder in the head, the brain — or I should rather say the soul — perceives itself by means of the instrument of the brain. The upper man perceives himself. Such dreams are always extraordinarily characteristic. You have a dream and wake up with a pain in your head; the dream is in this case a symbolical and fanciful reflection of the headache. As a rule such dreams will take the form that they lead you out into vast distances, or you find yourself in a great vault or cave. Especially characteristic of these headache dreams is the experience of an immense vault above one. Something is creeping or crawling in the roof of the cave, or perhaps spiders' webs or some dirt or dust is clinging to it. Or you may dream you are in a great arched palace. In such cases you perceive yourself as upper man — but again you transpose what you perceive into the world outside you. You go out of yourself and place outside you what is in you, in your head. So here once more we have a kind of division of the human being; he is, as it were, split asunder, he loses himself, extinguishes himself.
The conditions I have been describing are dream conditions, and they show us quite clearly that in dream consciousness man falls asunder; his ego consciousness, his unity of consciousness, does not remain intact, and his dream is in reality always a reflection, a symbolical reflection, of what is going on inside his bodily nature.
For the disciple of occultism it is by no means merely a question of passing from ordinary waking consciousness to dream consciousness — there would be nothing unusual in that, No, he must make the transition to a totally different condition of consciousness. By practicing the exercises outlined in earlier lectures of this course — through suppression, that is, of the intellect, the will, and the memory — he has to get free of himself and attain to a completely new consciousness.
Although, as I have said, this new consciousness is not a dream consciousness, yet if one has no knowledge of clairvoyant consciousness, dream consciousness can help one to come to a fairly good understanding of it. For we can approach it in the following manner. Suppose we ask ourselves: What is it within him that man perceives in dream? then we must answer: Whatever is painful or out of order. A moment's reflection will show us that ordinary normal conditions are not perceived by dream consciousness, If a man is perfectly healthy in his upper and middle man, if everything is in order there, then he sleeps a normal healthy sleep; one cannot in ordinary circumstances — observe, I say advisedly, in ordinary circumstances — expect that his peaceful sleep will be forcibly interrupted with dreams. Now, the path that has to be taken by clairvoyant consciousness is one that leads through stages and conditions that are similar to those of dream consciousness. Only, these stages are attained instead by occult training, and it is actually the case that in clairvoyance man does not merely come to a knowledge of the ordinary external painful conditions of his insides, but succeeds in perceiving also its normal conditions, which usually disappear from our consciousness in peaceful sleep. The pupil in clairvoyance comes to a knowledge of these conditions. In other words, he learns to know his brain, his head man, by learning to perceive it inwardly. Similarly, he comes to know his middle man. In the same way as in certain dreams man perceives when asleep his head and middle man, so has the pupil in clairvoyance to attain in the course of his training to a knowledge of his middle and upper man.
Let us now give our special attention to this middle man. If you consider a little, you will have to acknowledge that you find nothing in the middle man that can be immediately and specifically referred to the external world. In the head we have the eyes and the other sense organs that are in direct connection with the external world. Through the sense of touch the middle man has of course the possibility of coming into connection with the external world, for the sense of touch is, as we know, extended over the whole skin. The perception of the external world by the middle man is nevertheless slight and insignificant in comparison with the knowledge of the external world that we acquire through the head man. Even the perception the middle man receives of warmth affects in the main only his own inner experience, his inner sense of well-being. The middle man seems therefore to be a self-enclosed entity, with inner processes that are of very great importance for himself but have little bearing on his relationship to the outside world.
If, however, we go on to inquire whether this inner man has not perhaps some connection with the outside world that is not so obvious to ordinary consciousness, we shall discover that this inner, middle man has, after all, a connection of no little importance with the outside world. Everything depends on the fact that the middle man is adapted to Earth conditions. He has to breathe the air of the Earth, he needs for his nourishment the substances that are produced on the Earth. From this point of view the middle man and the Earth belong together. Were the substances that are necessary to maintain his life not present in his earthly surroundings, then this middle man could not be as he is. So you see we are obliged to look upon the middle man as part and parcel of what Earth existence gives to us; we must reckon him as belonging definitely to our existence here on Earth.
Nor is this all. For it is not a question only of what the Earth can give to man. The Earth could be there for a long time, and yet no middle man come into being! If the Sun did not come to the help of the Earth and cause to flourish and ripen upon it what the middle man needs, then the middle man could not exist. This middle man takes the substances he requires for nourishment, and these substances — apart from the air which is of course essential for his sustenance in life — all these substances that nourish him are dependent on the working of the Sun upon the Earth. Whatever man receives into himself as nourishment is produced by the Sun in man's earthly environment. This means, in effect, that when we study the middle man we have to take account not only of a direct influence of the Earth upon man but also of an indirect influence of the Sun. Were it not for the physical sunlight that illumines the Earth, the middle man would not exist. All that is to be found in the middle man has come into him through the influence of the light of the Sun upon the Earth.
This remarkable fact — that the middle man is a product of the light of the Sun — comes to expression in the following way. When the pupil in occultism becomes clairvoyant, when he develops, that is, a clairvoyant consciousness, then, whereas in dreams pictures arise which are the expression of some disorder in man's inner organs, in the case of clairvoyant consciousness the pictures the pupil receives express what the Sun is doing in the middle man, they show the regular normal activity of the Sun in the middle man. When the pupil becomes clairvoyant and a perception arises in him of his own inner being in its healthy normal state, then he has before him the flowing light; all around him he sees the flowing light. As the dreamer is surrounded by pictures of disorders in his inner man, so is the aspirant after occultism surrounded by phenomena of flowing light. He has, to begin with, this perception of the activity of the Sun in his own inner being.
Compare for a moment ordinary external consciousness with this special consciousness that arises in the clairvoyant. When man, as upper man, directs his gaze to some object of Earth, he looks at it — it is, as you know, generally speaking, the sense of sight that predominates in perception — by means of the sunlight that is thrown back from the external Earth. External, everyday consciousness perceives what the external sunlight does to the things of the Earth. But now it is what the sunlight does to him, what it does in making possible his own middle man, how it penetrates the middle man with its activity — this it is that reveals itself to man as flowing light when he becomes a pupil of occultism. He beholds the Sun in himself, in the very same way that he sees the Sun outside him from the time when the day begins for as long as it lasts. And as he sees objects around him through the fact that sunlight is thrown back from them, so now he sees, when he has reached a certain stage of clairvoyance, something that is of the nature of the Sun reflected back from his own inner being. It is the form of the middle man that shows itself thus illuminated. That is, then, one experience.
If you were to go back into olden times and study what was done and experienced in the ancient Mystery schools, you would find that the aspirant after occultism learned to perceive the Sun in its reflection in his own middle man — learned, that is, to perceive the workings of the Sun that continue even when man is asleep, and that escape him during waking consciousness because his attention is entirely claimed by the external consciousness. Man as a Sun being — that was what the pupil came to perceive at a particular stage of initiation in the Mysteries. He learned to recognize the Sun being in himself, in his very own being; he learned how the Sun works not only outwardly in the objects, in the reflected light, but works also within the bodily form of man.
But now the pupil who is beginning to be clairvoyant has to learn something else. He has to discover something that is comparable with the dreams of the brain, those dreams that reflect back disordered conditions of the brain, where, as I told you, in typical cases man always perceives symbols, imagining, for example, that he is in a cave or a palace, having over him a great vaulted roof into which he is gazing. When the pupil in occultism is led on to perceive not only the conditions of his middle man but also the conditions of his upper man (in so far as the latter has form and figure), the conditions of the interior of the head man, then he never has the same experience as he has in his perception of the middle man. Instead he has now before him — I am simply relating the facts — what appears like a perfectly well-ordered and regular extension of the dream that is connected with excitement or irritation of the brain. Only, it is experienced in full consciousness. What man perceives when he has closed all his sense organs and has no external perception, when he directs all his attention in clairvoyant consciousness upon himself inwardly — upon the upper man, the brain man — is in very fact the starry heavens. He beholds the great vault of heaven with the stars.
It was a great moment in the life of the pupil, especially in the more ancient Mysteries — we shall hear later to what extent it underwent change in the later Mysteries — it was a great moment when the pupil perceived his own inner being, in so far as this inner being comes to expression in the human form. When he saw the upper man, it was as though he saw the heavens with all the shining stars; he looked out into the wide world — in spite of the fact that he had no physical senses open. The picture of the starry heavens stood before him. And then came the greatest moment of all, when this pupil of occultism observed not what is, so to speak, on the upper surface of his head, but when he looked down from the upper man, from the head, to the middle man, when he perceived, without opening any of his senses, the lower surface of his brain and from it saw the middle man irradiated with light. Himself in total darkness (for his senses were closed, and to outward appearance he was like a man who is asleep), he perceived, looking downwards inwardly, the Sun in the night, in the midst of the dark surface of the heavens. This is what was called in the ancient Mysteries “Seeing the Sun at Midnight” — seeing, that is, the flowing sunlight within the stars, whose influence in relation to the Sun seems so small. These experiences were important milestones in the life of every aspirant after occultism.
Having come so far, the pupil was then able to apprehend a truth of great significance. He could say: “In the same way as I perceive through the medium of myself, by beholding my middle man, the flowing sunlight, the true and real working of the Sun, so now can I perceive through the medium of the upper man the heavenly spaces with their stars. That I can see the stars, that all is not wrapped in darkness, is due to the fact that the brain is adapted to the stars, as the middle man is adapted to the Sun.” Thus did the pupil come to the knowledge that even as the middle man is sustained by the Sun, even as its whole being depends on the Sun and belongs to the Sun, so does the upper man, the brain man, belong to the whole world and its stars.
When the pupil had had this experience, then he could go to those who possessed only a day consciousness but who, nevertheless, felt an impulse — springing from a deep inner need, from a longing of their soul — to find relationship with a consciousness that should reach out beyond Earth man. In other words, the pupil in occultism could go to men who were religiously inclined, who were able in some way to feel their connection with the great world, and say to them: “Man as he stands on Earth is not merely a being belonging to this Earth; he is a being that belongs in part, namely in breast and trunk, to the Sun —and belongs also, as head man, to the whole of cosmic space.” This was what the pupil could tell the religious man, imparting it to him as information; and in the religious man it turned into prayer, into worship.
The disciples of occultism came in this way among men as founders of religion, and according as was the relation of the people to whom they came to the one or other part of man's nature, so they were able to speak more of the one or the other. To people who were more particularly disposed to experience a certain happiness in the sense of well-being in the inner man — people, that is, who were inclined to make their whole mood in life depend on the bodily well-being of the middle man — to such the pupils in occultism could come as founders of religion and say: “Your sense of well-being depends on the Sun.” These people then became, through the influence of the pupils in occultism, followers of a Sun religion. You may be quite sure that all over the Earth, wherever people lived of the kind I have described, for whom it mattered above all that they should have their attention drawn to the source of their sense of well-being, there a Sun worship arose.
To think that men just happened to become Sun worshippers without any deeper reason for it is a mere flight of imagination on the part of all obstinately materialistic science. When the scholars of our time speak of how this or that section of mankind came to be Sun worshippers, they are really only demonstrating their own powers of imagination and fantasy. The materialists of today are quite mistaken when they accuse theosophists of an inclination to be fantastic, implying that they themselves are the true realists. Taken as a whole, materialism is certainly not lacking in a tendency to be fantastic, as we can see in this case when it sets out to explain how certain peoples became Sun worshippers. For it builds up an imaginary picture and comes to the conclusion that through the working of certain external conditions or circumstances the people, moved by some unaccountable impulse, hit upon the idea of worshipping the Sun; whereas the truth of the matter is that the initiates, the aspirants after occultism, knew in the case of certain peoples: — We have here a people who manifest especially the virtue of courage, a people in whom one can see a striking development of the middle man; we must teach this people how in the supersensible one can behold the fact that this middle man is a product of the working of the Sun. And the initiates in occultism then led such people, in whom the middle man was of greatest importance, away from the mere sense of well-being, the mere living within themselves, to prayer and worship, teaching them to look up in religious devotion to the Being who was the source of this middle man. Thus did they guide these people to a worship of the Sun.
This one example can serve to show the tendency there is in materialism to build up fantastic theories. Other striking examples could be brought forward. We have, for instance, had perforce to read — for they have been thrust under our very eyes — all manner of descriptions of our Munich building. [Note 1] Through an indiscretion it came about that the project found its way into the newspapers, and the materialistic man of today has formed his own idea of what the building is and what its purpose. A profusion of fantastic information has been spread abroad, quite enough to demonstrate that fantasy is a quality of present-day thinking. When it is a matter of speaking or writing about things of which he knows absolutely nothing, the man of today does not hesitate to have recourse to the wildest fancies in order to construct an explanation. This is so in ordinary everyday life, and it is so too in the realm of science. The majority of the explanations put forward by the scholars of today are sheer fantasy; and the attempt to describe or account for Sun worship is certainly no exception.
Other peoples on the Earth had less inclination to develop the middle man and were more disposed to think, to have ideas — that is, to develop the upper man; and to them another kind of appeal had to be made. The occultists who went forth into the world as founders of religion turned the attention of these peoples to seek the source of the instrument whereby they were able to produce thoughts, to live in thoughts and in ideas. The occultists said to them: “If you want to have knowledge of the source of your life of thought, then — since you are not able to gaze into the supersensible worlds of the heavens (of course the initiates did not say this, I am adding it) — you will have an external reflection of this source if you remain awake during the night and look up in prayer to the star-strewn heavens.”
A genuine star worship — a worship, one can also say, of the Night, for the truth was often clothed in such a way that instead of speaking of the starry heavens the night was substituted — such a star or night worship prevailed among peoples who were more given to thought. Peoples of ancient times who were fond of thinking and pondering and delving deep into things — for them religions were founded that pointed them to the source of the instrument of their thinking, the source, that is, of their upper man. And many of the names borne by the most ancient Gods of certain peoples have to be rendered in modern languages by the word “Night.” The Night was the object of worship, the Night in all the mystery of her appearance as the Mother of the Stars, who brings them forth that they may shine in the heavens. For the initiates in occultism knew that the instrument of the brain is really and truly a product of the star-strewn night.
Similarly, we will often find that the people who were Sun worshippers were not only guided to look to the Sun; but as man was led from the stars to Mother Night and many old-time words for the ancient Gods are to be interpreted as meaning Night, so in the case of the Sun man's attention was drawn to the fact that the Sun gave rise to the Day, that the Sun made Day. In consequence, many words used for Sun worship among peoples who specifically worshipped the Sun as the highest divine power are to be translated with the word “Day.”
Speaking generally, we can say that where peoples felt themselves strong and courageous and ready for war, we find them to be in the main Sun worshippers or Day worshippers, because their initiates directed them to the Sun, to the Day, for their object of worship. The more thoughtful and enquiring peoples, on the other hand, are night or star worshippers, because they have been guided that way by their initiates.
We come, finally, to still another kind of people. For there are peoples who do not experience in so characteristic a manner the sharp division between day consciousness and night consciousness. When we go back into olden times, we find many peoples who had preserved middle or in-between conditions of consciousness, who did not merely alternate in their life between day and night, between consciousness and unconsciousness, but who had an old clairvoyant consciousness which came about through the merging of day consciousness with night consciousness into a kind of semi-consciousness. We find therefore this third condition of consciousness.
These people also divined through their condition of consciousness a connection between man and something outside the Earth. How was it they came to have such a feeling? To answer this question we must realize that they were possessed of a peculiar faculty or quality in the very form of their bodily nature. They were, as we have said, endowed, — as in olden times almost all men were endowed, the world over — with an ancient clairvoyance, and they had the peculiar faculty of being able to perceive in certain conditions of consciousness their “symmetry” man, — not, however, as symmetry man, but they could perceive this middle man in its working upon the upper man.
If you want to form a picture of what took place in such a person, then you must imagine a picture of the middle man in the brain. In ordinary normal life on Earth, the sense impressions from without work upon the brain and the brain throws back pictures; it places, that is, its own being in the way and holds up the pictures that come from outside. Our idea of the world comes about in this way as a reflected picture thrown back by the brain. For that is what all ideas of the outside world really are — pictures thrown back, reflected by the brain. When you look at the world, then the outer impressions pass through the eye up to a certain place in the brain and are there caught. That an idea can come into being is due to the fact that the impressions are caught up at a certain point, not allowed to pass through — not, at all events, in their entirety — but reflected back. And when a man becomes clairvoyant, it is no longer external objects alone that make impressions on the brain: impressions are made from the middle man, which can then be reflected back by the brain.
What I have just now described — the impressions made by the middle man upon the brain and the reflection by the latter of these impressions — is still very far from the process I described as taking place in the true aspirant after occultism. The latter has direct and immediate perception of his middle man, he does not merely perceive it through the brain. He looks into himself and sees there what belongs to the Sun, sees too in his brain what belongs to the stars. The clairvoyant state, on the other hand, of which we are now speaking, where the processes inside man, the Sun nature in the middle man, are reflected by the brain — even as the outer impressions that come through the senses are reflected by the brain — is characteristic of the old clairvoyance of men in ancient times. For them, perception took place by way of the middle man. They did not, to begin with, perceive external things at all. They perceived only the Sunlike that was present in themselves and they perceived it in reflection, for it was held up by the brain and they perceived it as an idea of the Sun nature within them.
There have been peoples of this character who in certain naturally clairvoyant states caught hold, as it were, with their brain of the Sun nature within them and made of the perception an idea. How did it then appear to them? It was projected outwards, but was not perceived like the ideas to which we are accustomed, and which have their source in the world outside; it appeared like inner Sunlight — yet as coming from without. And when investigation was made into the source of the appearance, when the aspirants after occultism set out to learn how it was that they found themselves in such conditions, then they were made clearly aware of the Sun nature that is in the middle man. Man has this Sunlike element in him because he is himself a Sun being. That which manifests in the instrument of the brain is connected with the fact that man is a star being, that he is in very truth formed and shaped from out of the whole of cosmic space. What he now perceives, however, has relation to the fact that the Earth has revolving around it the Moon, and that the Moon in her revolution around the Earth has a powerful influence on the being of man.
In those olden times man was so constituted that the Moon had a particularly strong influence on his brain. The consequence was that the ancient clairvoyance was very dependent on the phases of the Moon, and showed itself for the most part in connections that found expression in the phases of the Moon. For a space of fourteen days clairvoyance increased, and then for fourteen days it decreased again. Its influence was thus greatest in the middle of such a Moon period. There were times when men knew: We are Sun beings. They knew it because they could perceive the Sun through the inner idea formed in the brain. But this came about through the influence of the Moon. The old clairvoyance often worked in the way I indicated. Man gave himself up throughout the whole twenty-eight days to the waxing and waning of the Moon. There were days when the influence of the Moon was particularly strong and when in consequence clairvoyance was present in everyone; inner clairvoyant consciousness made itself felt in all men. When initiates in occultism came to people of this kind with the mission of determining for them the character of their religion, then for the same reason that other peoples were made Sun (or Day) worshippers and Star (or Night) worshippers, the initiates made this third kind of people Moon worshippers. Hence the worship of the Moon that is to be found among many ancient peoples.
Moses learned to know this Moon worship in its original form from the Egyptian initiates, and was himself one of the greatest of those who made Moon worship into the religion of a people. For Moses made it the religion of the ancient Hebrew people. The Jahve worship of the ancient Hebrew people is a highly spiritualized Moon worship. And it enabled the Hebrew people to retain into later times the consciousness that man is connected with what is outside and beyond the Earth, that his being is not confined to the Earth.
Now it was so with the Moon worshippers of very olden times, as it was also with the Sun and star worshippers, that there was very little knowledge among the people themselves of how stars, Sun, and Moon appeared to the clairvoyant — spiritualized, that is, and not at all as objects that are seen with external organs. The people of olden times would not have understood if they had been told: “Pray to what is the source and origin of your middle man, but do not imagine it like the picture of the Sun that can be perceived with the senses; think of it as something supersensible that is behind the Sun.” Just as little would the star worshippers have understood if they had been told that the organ of their thinking had its origin in the far cosmic spaces, but that they were not to imagine that this meant in the picture of the starry heavens as it can be perceived with the outer eye; they were to think rather of the invisible that is behind the starry heavens, the multitude of spiritual beings that are in the stars. This was known to the initiates, but it could not be said to the Sun and star worshippers. Similarly it would have been of no use at all to say to the Moon peoples: “Imagine to yourselves an invisible being who has as it were his outer body in the Moon.” It was, however, possible to say something else, and this is what Moses did say to the Hebrew people. It could not have been said to the more ancient Moon worshippers but only to the ancient Hebrew people. For Moses did not direct his people to the visible Moon but to the being in whom lay the origin of the ancient clairvoyance of all peoples. This clairvoyance had been given to man — as a kind of compensation, when he was placed into the condition of having to alternate with his consciousness between day and night; and it brought him a knowledge of the world that resembled what comes to expression in the reflected rays of the Sun. The reflection of the Sun could only be something external for man, could only give him an Earth consciousness — a day consciousness, and a night consciousness that at most was aware only of the external visible world of stars — and so a clairvoyance was given to the man of ancient times as a compensation; it was given him through the possibility of alternation in this day and night consciousness — an old clairvoyance that is derived from the spiritual b of the Moon and has also relation, locally, with the Moon.
When in the course of evolution the time came for this clairvoyant consciousness gradually to grow dim and fade away, a more spiritual substitute was created for the ancient Hebrew folk in the invisible Moon being Jahve or Jehovah of whom Moses taught, and who, he said, must never be confused with anything that can be seen outwardly nor with any picture that is made of Him for outward vision. Therefore did Moses categorically forbid the Hebrew people to regard any picture in the outside world as a picture of Jahve; he forbade them any picture or image whatsoever that might represent something which is not a product of the outside world, forbade them also to make any picture taken from the outside world, of the invisible, supersensible God.
The Jahve religion is thus seen to stand in a remarkable relation to a Moon religion that was given by the old clairvoyance in the very earliest days of mankind. For the sake of those to whom it is of interest, we may here mention that it was H. P. Blavatsky who, on absolutely authentic grounds, pointed out that the Jahve religion was in a certain respect a kind of revival of the old Moon religion. H. P. Blavatsky, however, did not come so far in her research as we are able to do today; consequently the connection that has here been set forth was not fully clear to her. The knowledge that the Jahve religion is a Moon religion rather suggested to H. P. Blavatsky that this old Jahve religion was a little less worthy on that account. This is, however, not the case at all. When one knows that the Jahve religion of the ancient Hebrew people has its origin in the old clairvoyance and preserves, so to speak, the memory of the old clairvoyance, then one is able to perceive and appreciate the sacredness and depth of this Jahve religion.
Our study has brought us to an understanding of certain important experiences of the aspirants after occultism, who in a higher consciousness are able to learn by real experience that man belongs in his being to the entire world, perceiving how the middle man is in reality a Sun man, and the upper man a star man. And we have also seen what occultism is able to recognize in the external religions, namely, that they were in great measure given to mankind as very ancient religions and even as ancient theosophies. For when the man of olden times developed a need for worship and prayer, in that moment something of the old clairvoyance began to stir within him, so that he had no need merely to believe what the old initiates told him but was able to comprehend it even though he could not actually see it. The ancient religions are thus to a great extent theosophies. And the theosophical teachings that were given by the occultists were determined according to the section of the Earth which that particular people was destined to inhabit.
As you will have seen, we have for the moment had to leave out the lower man — the third seven-membered man. We shall return to it, and we shall find in what a remarkable manner the “Great Mystery” was brought before the pupil, and how the pupil undergoes still further development by means of the initiation which alone can lead to an understanding of the true nature of man.
- Note 1:
- It was at first intended to erect a Building for Anthroposophy in Munich. The project had, however, to be abandoned in 1914. (Note by Translator.)
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