Thursday, January 30, 2020

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

No photo description available.

Rudolf Steiner:

We read [in Matthew 5:5]: "Blessed are the gentle in spirit, for they will own the Earth." Two forces are active in the world: on the one hand, egotism; and on the other, love and compassion. If love is to be developed, egotism must diminish. Sensual love must be developed to a higher, spiritual love. The third sentence of Mabel Collins' Light on the Path speaks about the same thing that is meant by "gentle in spirit": "Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power to wound." One should encounter all people with a loving disposition so that the voice no longer wounds; in this way, we are gentle in the way spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount. Love is the goal of the evolution of the Earth; it will own the Earth.

Source: 1/19/1907. From The Christian Mystery, p. 268

Forgiveness from the viewpoint of Anthroposophia

Rudolf Steiner:  "I do not say that we should generally be less critical; for when we divert our adverse judgment from man — though we should no longer be fighting against man himself — we must still be fighting Lucifer and Ahriman. But against man as man, we should be infinitely more tolerant. Now he who lives in the soul life in the time between death and a new birth practices this tolerance both in relation to the beings who are with him in the spiritual world and in relation to those who are still incarnated as men here in the physical life. It is part of the very character of man, when he has passed through the gate of death, that he acquires this tolerance. He always sees through the fact that Lucifer and Ahriman are playing such and such a part in a human being. He does not say ‘That is a bad man, following evil desires,’ but he sees through the fact that Lucifer is playing such and such a part in him. He does not say ‘That is an envious fellow,’ but he says ‘Ahriman is playing such and such a part in him.’"


"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  ~Matthew 25:40

"Touching is separation and connection both at once."  — Novalis

I was once walking in the sub-basement of the Surgery and Brain Research Pavilion of the University of Chicago Medical Center when I turned a corner and there, right in front of me, alone in the hallway, was a rhesus monkey in a torture chamber, totally immobilized, with electrodes on its body everywhere and its head cut open in several places. Our eyes met.

related post:

After we die we fashion the karma of our next life. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #53, #54, #55

Rudolf Steiner:

53. The unfolding of man's life between death and a new birth takes place in successive stages. For a few days after passing through the gate of death the whole of the past earthly life is seen in living pictures. This experience reveals at the same time the gradual severance of the vehicle of the past life from the human soul-and-spirit.

54. In a time that comprises about a third of the past earthly life, the soul discovers in spiritual experiences the effect which this life must have in accordance with an ethically just World-order. During this experience the purpose is begotten in the soul to shape the next earthly life in a corresponding way, and thus to compensate for the past.

55. There follows a purely spiritual epoch of existence. During this epoch, which is of long duration, the soul of man — along with other human souls karmically connected with him, and with the beings of the hierarchies above — fashions the next life on Earth in the sense of karma.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tyger! Tyger!

William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Beatitudes

based on a lecture given by Rudolf Steiner in Stuttgart on January 19, 1907

  1. Blessed are they who are driven to lead their souls more and more to the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are they who take suffering upon themselves, for they will find comfort through their own activity.
  3. Blessed are the gentle in spirit, for they will own the Earth.
  4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be satisfied through their own activity.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will achieve mercy through their own activity.
  6. Blessed are they who are pure in heart, for they will see God through their own activity.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will become children of God through their own activity.
  8. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is for them.
  9. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad and full of comfort, for your reward is great in heaven; for so the prophets were also persecuted.

Source: The Christian Mystery, pp. 267-269

Destiny and Karma. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #50, #51, #52

Rudolf Steiner:

50. It is most important to point out how the study of the historic life of mankind is called to life when we show that it is the souls of men themselves, passing from epoch to epoch in their repeated lives on Earth, who carry over the results of one historic age into another.

51. It may easily be objected that such a line of thought robs history of its naïve and elemental force. But this objection is untrue. On the contrary, our vision of historic life is deepened when we can trace it thus into man's inmost being. History becomes more real and more abundant, not poorer and more abstract. In describing these things we must, however, unfold true sympathy and insight into the living soul of man, for we gaze deep into the soul along these lines of thought.

52. The epochs in the life between death and a new birth should be treated in relation to the forming of karma. Further Leading Thoughts will indicate the way in which this can be done.


Light on the Path

An Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner
Stuttgart, January 20, 1907:

In a retrospect let's place ourselves into what was experienced in such a way that we rightly feel the difference between the soul experience and the real experience in the outer world. The relation between the memory of a landscape and the direct perception of the same with open eyes is the same relation as between memory and retrospect.
Memory gradually disappears in an initiate and is replaced by direct perception of what one wants to remember. One must place a picture of the day's experiences before one, quite exactly and clearly of all details, blouse, face, etc., and so look at the happenings in a picture, how people spoke, what was done, etc. It's very important to recall the little experiences that didn't interest one so much, that are hard for one to remember, because this generates inner forces. Imaginative force is created via the ability to imagine pictures. The clarity of the pictures is the important thing and not the completeness of the experiences. No muscle must be tensed in all of this work. Just as light first created the outer eyes, and the body was stimulated from outside to form other organs, so the astral body's organs are formed through the imagining of pictures.
In the subsidiary exercises we must begin with thinking, and persist until the proper feeling sets in; we must then pour this into our body and do this exercise for a month or more before passing on to the second one, etc. The pouring in gives the astral body consistency, a firm shape, backbone. The more uninteresting the object the better it is for the exercise, for then it's hard to stay focused on it for five minutes. The second is initiative in actions. It must be an action that one must force oneself to do. Thirdly the overcoming of pleasure and displeasure, that is, one should feel joy or sorrow but not let oneself by controlled by them. Fourthly, look for positivity in everything. Fifthly, open-mindedness with regard to all experiences. Sixthly, repeat all five exercises rhythmically. Do each of the subsidiary exercises until one can pour the feeling arising from it into the body and experience it. Only then go on to the next month.
The meditation that was given to you as your first morning work was intended to be an awakener of forces.
A lily is the visible expression of a word that was once spoken by the Creator. Much depends on which words and vowels one speaks, which thoughts and feelings one sends out, because they will become visible during the Jupiter, Venus, etc., earth conditions. The mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms here on earth are likewise the expression of what Moon dwellers once said and thought. That's why mantras and the words of meditations have the letter sequence and the word sounds that they do, because they only have their effect in that particular sequence. What we do and create will be visible on Jupiter, for instance Cologne Cathedral will be visible as a larger formation, Raphael's paintings will surround Jupiter like clouds or a mirage. Our music will resound as music of the spheres over there on Jupiter.
In our exercises we must think that the Gods have something like this in mind for us; that's the purpose of the exercises, and the formula “In the spirit lay the germ of my body ...” explains this to us. The old adepts expressed this briefly in the sacred word AUMA is the past that sounds loud and clear. U is a dull vowel and represents the present. It has something of the clarity of the past and of the freedom of action of the present in it. M is the indefiniteness of the future, to which every vowel or this or that action can still add something. A correct retrospect awakens a great force in the soul, that a man needs once he can ascend to the astral plane. Thought control is supposed to lead to mastery of thoughts. Initiative in actions is supposed to give rise to an urge for activity and work that that one hadn't felt otherwise. Meditation should be the first work of the day in the morning.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

                                — Emily Dickinson

The Third Beatitude: "Blessed are the gentle in spirit, for they will own the Earth"

No photo description available.

Rudolf Steiner:

We read [in Matthew 5:5]: "Blessed are the gentle in spirit, for they will own the Earth." Two forces are active in the world: on the one hand, egotism; and on the other, love and compassion. If love is to be developed, egotism must diminish. Sensual love must be developed to a higher, spiritual love. The third sentence of Mabel Collins' Light on the Path speaks about the same thing that is meant by "gentle in spirit": "Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power to wound." One should encounter all people with a loving disposition so that the voice no longer wounds; in this way, we are gentle in the way spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount. Love is the goal of the evolution of the Earth; it will own the Earth.

Source: 1/19/1907. From The Christian Mystery, p. 268

Spirited Away

Rudolf Steiner:  "First of all, in the spiritual supersensible world, all weight, all gravity, ceases. When really within the spiritual world, one is never in anything that can be weighed, but in the imponderable. The first conscious experience there is like the feeling we might have in the physical world if the ground were falling away under our feet, and we had to hold firm through our own inner forces. So you must imagine how, if we wish really to enter the spiritual world, we are bound to have this feeling of the ground being spirited away from under us, and how with no gravity to rely on, we have to maintain ourselves in free space by the strength within us."

The eternal masculine draws us on high

Rudolf Steiner:

If we are lovingly devoted to our God, we can be sure that God inclines to us also in love. Reverence is the feeling we develop for whatever we call God out there in the universe. Since the reaction to reverence cannot itself be called reverence, we may not speak of a divine reverence toward humans. What, then, is precisely the opposite of reverence in this context? What is it that flows out to meet reverence when reverence seeks the Divine? It is might, the almighty power of the Divine. Reverence that we learn to feel in youth returns to us as strength for living in old age, and if we turn in reverence to the Divine, our reverence flows back to us as an experience of the Almighty. That is what we feel, whether we look up to the starry heavens in their endless glory and reverence goes out to all that lies around us, beyond our compass, or whether we look up to our invisible God, in whatever form, who pervades and animates the cosmos.

Source: "The Mission of Reverence" —  lecture of October 28, 1909; from Love and Its Meaning in the World, p. 57

The inner connections of destiny. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #47, #48, #49

Rudolf  Steiner:
47. Of all that is latent in the forming of man's destiny, only the very smallest part enters the everyday consciousness. Yet the unveiling of our destiny teaches us, most of all, how the unconscious can indeed be brought to consciousness. They in effect are wrong who speak of what is, for the time being, the unconscious, as though it must remain absolutely in the realm of the unknown, thus constituting a barrier of knowledge. With every fragment of his destiny that is unveiled to him, man lifts into the realm of consciousness something that was hitherto unconscious.

48. In so doing man becomes aware that the things of destiny are not woven within the life between birth and death. Thus the question of destiny impels him most of all to the contemplation of the life between death and a new birth.

49. Conscious human experience is thus impelled by the question of destiny to look beyond itself. Moreover, as we dwell upon this fact, we shall develop a true feeling for the relation of the Natural and the Spiritual. He who beholds the living sway of destiny in the human being stands already in the midst of spiritual things. For the inner connections of destiny have nothing of the character of outer Nature.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Reincarnation and Karma

Rudolf Steiner: The Threshold of the Spiritual World

Chapter 5

It is especially difficult for the soul to recognize that there is something prevailing within its life which is environment to the soul in the same way as the so-called outer world is environment to the ordinary senses. The soul unconsciously resists this, because it imagines its independent existence imperilled by such a fact; and therefore instinctively turns away from it. For though more modern science theoretically admits the existence of the fact, this does not mean that it is as yet fully realized, with all the consequences of inwardly grasping it and becoming permeated with it. If, however, our consciousness can attain to realizing it as a vital fact, we learn to discern in the soul's nature an inner nucleus, which exists independently of everything that may be developed in the sphere of the soul's conscious life between birth and death. We learn to know in our own depths a being of which we feel our own self to be the creation, and by which we also feel that our body, the vehicle of consciousness, has been created, with all its powers and attributes.
In the course of this experience the soul learns to feel that a spiritual entity within it is growing to maturity, and that this entity withdraws itself from the influence of conscious life. It begins to feel that this inner entity becomes more and more vigorous, and also more independent, in the course of the life between birth and death. It learns to realize that the entity bears the same relation to the rest of experience between birth and death as the developing germ in the being of a plant bears to the sum-total of the plant in which it is developing: with the difference that the germ of the plant is of a physical nature, whereas the germ of the soul is of a spiritual nature.
The course of such an experience leads one to admit the idea of repeated earthly lives. In the nucleus of the soul, which is to a certain degree independent of the soul, the latter is able to feel the germ of a new human life. Into that life the germ will carry over the results of the present one, when it has experienced in a spiritual world after death, in a purely spiritual way, those conditions of life in which it cannot share as long as it is enveloped in a physical earthly body between birth and death.
From this thought there necessarily results another, namely, that the present physical life between birth and death is the product of other lives long past, in which the soul developed a germ which continued to live on in a purely spiritual world after death, till it was ripe for entering upon a new earthly life through a new birth; just as the germ of the plant becomes a new plant when, after having been detached from the old plant in which it was formed, it has been for a while in other conditions of life.
When the soul has been adequately prepared, clairvoyant consciousness learns to immerse itself in the process of the development in one human life of a germ, in a certain way independent, which carries over the results of that life into later earthly lives. In the form of a picture, yet essentially real, as though it were about to reveal itself as an individual entity, there emerges from the waves of the life of the soul a second self, which appears independent of and set over the being which we have previously looked upon as ourself. It seems like an inspirer of that self. And we, as this latter self, then flow into one with our inspiring, superior self.
Now our ordinary consciousness lives in this state of things, which is thus beheld by clairvoyant consciousness, without being aware of the fact. Once again it is necessary for the soul to be strengthened, in order that one may hold one's own not only as regards a spiritual outer world with which one blends, but even as regards a spiritual entity which in a higher sense is one's own self, and which nevertheless stands outside that which is necessarily felt to be the self in the physical world. The way in which the second self rises out of the waves of the soul's life, in the form of a picture, yet essentially real, is quite different in different human individualities. I have tried in the following plays picturing the soul's life, “The Portal of Initiation,” “The Soul's Probation,” “The Guardian of the Threshold,” and “The Awakening of the Soul,” to portray how various human individualities work their way through to the experience of this “other self.”
Now even if the soul in ordinary consciousness knows nothing about its being inspired by its other self, yet that inspiration is nevertheless there, in the depths of the soul. It is, however, not expressed in thoughts or inner words, but takes effect through deeds, through events or through something that happens. It is the other self that guides the soul to the details of its life's destiny, and calls forth capacities, inclinations, aptitudes, and so forth within it. This other self lives in the sum-total or aggregate of the destiny of a human life. It moves alongside of the self which is conditioned by birth and death, and shapes human life, with all that it contains of joy and sorrow. When clairvoyant consciousness joins that other self, it learns to say “ I ” to the total aggregate of the life-destiny, just as physical man says “ I ” to his individual being. That which is called by an Eastern word, karma, grows together in the way that has been indicated with the other self, or the spiritual ego. The life of a human being is seen to be inspired by his own permanent entity, which lives on from one life to another; and the inspiration operates in such a way that the life-destiny of one earthly existence is the direct consequence of previous ones.
Thus man learns to know himself as another being, different from his physical personality, which indeed only comes to expression in physical existence through the working of this being. When the consciousness enters the world of that other being, it is in a region which, as compared with the elemental world, may be called the world of the spirit.
As long as we feel ourselves to be in that world, we find ourselves completely outside the sphere in which all the experiences and events of the physical world are enacted. We look from another world back upon the one which we have in a certain sense left behind. But we also arrive at the knowledge that, as human beings, we belong to both worlds. We feel the physical world to be a kind of reflected image of the world of the spirit. Yet this image, although reflecting the events and beings of the spiritual world, does not merely do this, but also leads an independent life of its own, although it is only an image. It is as though a person were to look into a mirror, and as though his reflected image were to come to independent life while he was looking at it.
Moreover, we learn to know spiritual beings who bring about this independent life of the reflected image of the spiritual world. We feel them to be beings who belong to the world of the spirit with regard to their origin, but who have left the arena of that world, and sought their field of action in the physical world. We thus find ourselves confronting two worlds which act one upon the other. We will call the spiritual world the higher, and the physical world the lower.
We learn to know these spiritual beings in the lower world through having to a certain extent transferred our point of view to the higher world. One class of these spiritual beings presents itself in such a way that through them we discover the reason why man experiences the physical world as substantial and material. We discover that everything material is in reality spiritual, and that the spiritual activity of these beings consolidates and hardens the spiritual element of the physical world into matter. However unpopular certain names are in the present day, they are needed for that which is seen as reality in the world of spirit. And so we will call the beings who bring about materialization the Ahrimanic beings. It appears that their original sphere is the mineral kingdom. In that kingdom they reign in such a way that there they can bring fully into manifestation what is their real nature. In the vegetable kingdom and in the higher kingdoms of nature they accomplish something else, which only becomes intelligible when the sphere of the elemental world is taken into account. Seen from the world of the spirit, the elemental world also appears like a reflection of that world. But the reflected image in the elemental world has not so much independence as that in the physical world. In the former, the spiritual beings of the Ahrimanic class are less dominant than in the latter. From the elemental world, however, they do develop, among other things, the kind of activity which comes to expression in annihilation and death. We may even say that in the higher kingdoms of nature the part of the Ahrimanic beings is to introduce death. So far as death is part of the necessary order of existence, the mission of the Ahrimanic beings is legitimate.
But when we view the activity of the Ahrimanic beings from the world of the spirit, we find that something else is connected with their work in the lower world. Inasmuch as their sphere of action is there, they do not feel bound to respect the limits which would restrain their activity if they were operating in the higher world from which they originate. In the lower world they struggle for an independence which they could never have in the higher sphere. This is especially evident in the influence of the Ahrimanic beings on man, inasmuch as man forms the highest kingdom of nature in the physical world. As far as the human life of the soul is bound up with physical existence, they strive to give that life independence, to wrench it free from the higher world, and to incorporate it entirely in the lower. Man as a thinking soul originates from the higher world. The thinking soul which has become clairvoyant also enters that higher world. But the thinking which is evolved in, and bound up with, the physical world has in it that which must be called the influence of the Ahrimanic beings. These beings desire to give, as it were, a kind of permanent existence to a sense-bound thinking within the physical world. At the same time as their forces bring death, they desire to hold back the thinking soul from death, and only to allow the other principles of man to be carried away by the stream of annihilation. Their intention is that the human power of thought shall remain behind in the physical world and adopt a kind of existence approximating ever more and more to the Ahrimanic nature.
In the lower world what has just been described is only expressed through its effects. Man may strive to saturate himself in his thinking soul with the forces which recognize the spiritual world, and know themselves to live and have their being within it. But he may also turn away with his thinking soul from those forces, and only make use of his thought for laying hold of the physical world. Temptations to the latter course of action come from the Ahrimanic powers.

Sunday, January 26, 2020


Mark Twain: "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction."

A Lesson in Prosody

"Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater"
Is trochaic tetrameter.

Eurythmy: Dances with Vowels

Learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven will not know what to do with you.
— Saint Augustine

Cheerless Technology: The Devil Take the Hindmost

Rudolf Steiner, December 3, 1911:  “We have wireless installations — undreamt of by our ancestors — to transmit our thoughts all over the Earth, and what good does it do us? The most trivial, unproductive thoughts are sent hither and thither, and human ingenuity has to be strained to the utmost to enable us to transport from some far-distant region, by means of all kinds of perfected appliances, something for us to eat; or to travel at high speeds around the globe. But in our heads there is nothing worth sending from place to place, for our thoughts are cheerless; moreover, since we have had our present means of communication they have become even more cheerless than when they were conveyed in the old snail-like fashion.” 

Faith, Love, Hope: The future Maitreya Buddha

“We have wireless installations — undreamt of by our ancestors — to transmit our thoughts all over the Earth, and what good does it do us? The most trivial, unproductive thoughts are sent hither and thither, and human ingenuity has to be strained to the utmost to enable us to transport from some far distant region, by means of all kinds of perfected appliances, something for us to eat; or to travel at high speeds around the globe. But in our heads there is nothing worth sending from place to place, for our thoughts are cheerless; moreover, since we have had our present means of communication, they have become even more cheerless than when they were conveyed in the old snail-like fashion.” 

Rudolf Steiner, December 3, 1911:

Yesterday we tried to gain a conception of the importance in human life of what may be termed the supersensible revelation of our age. We indicated that this was to be reckoned the third revelation in the most recent cycle of mankind, and should, in a certain sense, be regarded as in sequence to the Sinai revelation and the revelation at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. We ought not to look upon this feature of our age as something affecting us merely theoretically or scientifically; as Anthroposophists we must rise to an ever fuller realization that men, in their evolution, are neglecting something essential if they hold aloof from all that is being announced to us now and will be announced in the future. It is quite appropriate that at first the external world should pass this by, or even treat it as sheer fantasy; and quite natural also that, to begin with, many people should not pay attention to the harmful consequences of disregarding what is here in question. But Anthroposophists should be clear that the souls in human bodies today, irrespective of what they absorb at present, are approaching an ineluctable future. What I shall have to say concerns every soul, for it is part of the whole trend of change in our time.

The souls incorporated today have only recently advanced to the stage of that genuine ego-consciousness which has been in preparation during the course of evolution ever since the old Atlantean period. But for the people of those ancient days, up to the time when the great change was intimated by the Mystery of Golgotha, this ego-consciousness was gradually freeing itself from a consciousness of which present-day people no longer have any real knowledge. Today modern men generally distinguish only between our ordinary condition of being awake and the state of sleep, when consciousness is in complete abeyance. Between these states they recognize also the intermediate one of dreaming, but from the present-day standpoint they can regard it only as a kind of aberration, a departure from the normal. Through dream-pictures certain events from the depths of the soul-life rise into consciousness; but in ordinary dreaming they emerge in such an obscure form that the dreamer is scarcely ever able to interpret rightly their very real bearing on deep supersensible processes in his life of soul.

In order to grasp one characteristic feature of this intermediate state — a state well understood in earlier times — let us take an ordinary dream of which a scientific modern investigator of dreams, able to interpret it only superficially and in a materialistic way, has made a regular conundrum. A highly significant dream! You see, I am taking my example from the science of dreams, which — as I have mentioned before — has today been given a place, little understood though it is, among sciences such as chemistry and physics. The following dream, a characteristic one, has been recorded. I might easily have taken my example from similar, unpublished, dreams; but I would like to deal with one which raises certain problems for present-day commentators, who have no key to such matters.

Now the case is this. A married couple had a much beloved son, who was growing up to the joy of his parents. One day he fell ill, and his condition worsened in a few hours to such a degree that, at the end of this one day, he passed through the gate of death. Thus for the ordinary experience of this couple, their son was abruptly snatched from them, and the son himself torn from a life full of promise. The parents, naturally, mourned their son. During the months following there was a great deal in the dreams of both husband and wife to remind them of him. But, quite a long time — many, many months — after his death, there came a night when his father and mother had exactly the same dream. They dreamed that their son appeared to them saying he had been buried alive, having only been in a trance, and that they merely had to look into the matter to be convinced that this was true.

The parents told each other what they had thus dreamed on the same night, and such was their attitude to life that they immediately asked the authorities for permission to have their son's body disinterred. In such matters, however — conditions being as they are — authorities are not easily persuaded; the request was refused. The parents had this further cause for grieving.

Now the investigator who gave his account of the dream, and could think of it only in a materialistic way, was faced with great difficulties. To begin with it is very easy to say: Yes, this is quite intelligible. The parents were thinking so much about their son that it is obvious they would both have dreamt of him. But the puzzling thing was that they should have had the same dream on the same night. The investigator finally explained it in a remarkable way which is bound to seem very forced to anyone reading it. He said: We can only assume that one parent had the dream, and the other, hearing it when awake, got the idea that he (or she) had dreamt it also. To present-day consciousness this interpretation at first seems fairly obvious, but it doesn't go very deep. I have expressly mentioned that for anyone well-versed in dream-experiences there is nothing unusual in several people having the same dream at the same time.

Let us try now to look into this dream-experience from the point of view of Spiritual Science. The results of spiritual investigation show how a man who has gone through the gate of death lives on as an individuality in the spiritual world. We know, too, that there are definite connections between every thing and every being in the world, and that this is evident in the link that unites those who have departed with people still on Earth, when the latter lovingly concentrate thoughts on their dead. There is no question of there not being a connection between those on the physical plane and those who have left it for the supersensible world. There is always a connection when thoughts are turned at all to the dead by those left on the physical plane — a connection that may continue even when their thoughts are directed elsewhere. But the point is that human beings, organized as they are now for life on the physical plane, are unable when awake to become conscious of these bonds. Having no knowledge of a thing, however, does not justify denying its existence; that would be a very superficial conclusion. On that basis, those now sitting in this room and not seeing Nuremberg could easily prove there is no such place. So we must be clear that it is only because of their present-day organization that men know nothing of their connection with the dead; it exists all the same.

However, knowledge of what is going on in the depths of the soul can occasionally be conjured up into consciousness, and this happens in dreams. It is one thing we have to reckon with when considering dream-experiences. Another thing is the knowledge that passing through death is not the sudden leap imagined by those knowing nothing about it; it is a gradual transition. What occupies a soul here on Earth does not then vanish in a moment. What a man loves, he continues to love after his death. But there is no possibility of satisfying a feeling which depends for its satisfaction on a physical body. The wishes and desires of the soul, its joys, sorrows, the particular tendencies it has during incorporation in a physical body — these naturally continue even when the gate of death has been passed. We can therefore understand how strong was the feeling in this young man, meeting with death when quite unprepared, that he would like to be still on Earth, and how keen was his longing to be in a physical body. This desire, working as a force in the soul, lasted on for a long, long time during his Kamaloka.

Now picture to yourselves vividly the parents, with their thoughts engrossed by this beloved dead son. Even in sleep the connecting links were there. Just at the moment when both father and mother began to dream, the son, in accordance with the state of his soul, had a particularly keen desire that we may perhaps clothe in these words: “Oh! If only I were still on Earth in a physical body!” This thought on the part of the dead son sank deep into his parents' soul, but they had no special faculty for understanding what lay behind the dream. Thus the imprint of the thought on their life of soul was transformed into familiar images. Whereas, if they could have clearly perceived what the son was pouring into their souls, their interpretation would have been: “Our son is longing just now for a physical body.” In fact, the dream-image clothed itself in words they understood — “He has been buried alive!” — which hid the truth from them.

Thus, in dream-pictures of this kind we should not look for an exact replica of what is real in the spiritual worlds; we must expect the actual objective occurrence to be veiled in accordance with the dreamer's degree of understanding. Today it is the peculiar feature of the dream-world that — if we are unable to go into these matters more deeply — we can no longer regard its pictures as faithful copies of what underlies them. We are obliged to say: Something is always living in our soul behind the dream-picture, and this picture can be looked upon only as a still greater illusion than the external world confronting us when we are awake.

It is only in our time that dreams are appearing to people in this guise; strictly speaking only since the events in Palestine, when ego-consciousness took on the form it has now. Before then, the pictures appeared while men were in a state different from either waking or sleeping — a third state, more like the one prevailing in the supersensible world. Human beings lived with the dead in spirit far more than is feasible nowadays. There is no need to look back many centuries before the Christian era to realize what a countless number of people were then able to say: “The dead are certainly not dead; they are living in the supersensible world. I can perceive what they are feeling and seeing, what they now actually are. This holds good also for the other Beings in the supersensible world; those, for instance, whom we know as the Hierarchies.”

Thus, for human beings in certain states between waking and sleeping, these were experiences of which the last degenerate echoes linger on in dreams. Hence it was very important that men should then feel this disappearance of something they once possessed. In that traditional epoch of human evolution, when the great events were taking place in Palestine, there was indeed cause for saying: “Change your mood of soul; quite different times are coming for mankind.” And among the changes was this — that the old possibility of seeing into the spiritual world, of personally experiencing how matters stood with the dead and with all other spiritual beings, was going to pass away.

The history of those olden days offers ample evidence of this living with the dead — notably in the religious veneration arising everywhere in the form of ancestor-worship. This was founded on belief in the reality and activity of those who had died. And whereas it continued almost everywhere during the transitional period, men's experience was this, though perhaps not put clearly into words: “Formerly our souls could rise to the world we call that of the spirit, and we were able to dwell among the higher Beings and with the dead. But now our dead leave us in quite another sense; they disappear from our consciousness and the old vivid contact is no more.”

We come here to something exceptionally difficult to grasp, but the intelligent mind, the intelligent soul, can learn to do so. It was the early Christians who felt most vividly the loss of direct psychical contact with the dead, and it was this that made their worship of God so full of meaning, so infinitely deep and holy. They compensated for what was lost by the reverent feeling they brought to their religious ceremonies; when, for instance, they sacrificed at the graves of their dead or celebrated the Mass, or observed any other religious rite. In fact, it was during this period of transition, when consciousness of the dead was seen to be wanting, that altars took the shape of coffins. Thus it was with a feeling for mortal remains of this kind — unlike that of the ancient Egyptians — that the service of God, the service of the spirit, was reverently performed. As I have said, this is something not easy to understand. We need, however, only observe the form of an altar, and allow our hearts to respond to this gradual change in men's whole outlook, and feeling and understanding will then arise for the change and its consequences.

* * *

We see, therefore, that slowly, gradually, the present state of the human soul was brought about. From indications given yesterday it can be gathered that what has thus come into being will again be succeeded by a different state, for which people are already developing faculties. The example I gave you yesterday of how a man will see, in a kind of dream picture, his future karmic compensation for some deed, means the re-awakening of faculties that will lead the soul once more to the spiritual worlds. In relation to earthly evolution as a whole, the intermediate state when the soul has been cut off from the supersensible world will prove to be comparatively short. It had to come about for men to be able to acquire the strongest possible forces for their freedom. But something else of which I have spoken was bound up with the whole progress of human evolution — that only in this way was a man able to acquire a feeling of the ego within him; to have, that is, the right ego-consciousness. The farther men advance into the future, the more firmly will this ego-consciousness establish itself within them, always increasing in significance. In other words, the force and self-sufficiency of men's individuality will be increasingly accentuated, so that it becomes necessary for them to find in themselves their own effective support.

Thus we see that the ego-consciousness men have today does not go back as far as is usually imagined. Only a few incarnations ago, men had no ego-feeling such as is characteristic of them today. And as the ego-feeling is intimately connected with memory, we need not be surprised that many people should not have begun, as yet, to look back on their previous incarnations. Because of the undeveloped state of this feeling for his ego during early childhood, a man does not even remember what happened to him then; so it seems quite comprehensible that, for the same reason, he is unable yet to remember his earlier incarnations. But now we have come to the point when man has developed a feeling for his ego, and the forces are unfolding which will make it necessary in our coming incarnations to remember those that have gone before. The days are drawing near when people will feel bound to admit: “We have strange glimpses into the past, when we were already on the Earth but living in another bodily form. We look back and have to say that we were already then on Rarth.” And among the faculties appearing more and more in human beings will be one which arouses the feeling: It can only be that I am looking back on earlier incarnations of my own.

Just think how in the human souls now on Earth the inner force is already arising which will enable them, in their next incarnations, to look back and to recognize themselves. But for those who have not become familiar with the idea of reincarnation this looking back will be a veritable torment. Ignorance of the mysteries of repeated earthly lives will be actually painful for these human beings; forces in them are striving to rise and bear witness to earlier times, but this cannot happen because all knowledge of these forces is refused. Not to learn of the truths now being proclaimed through Spiritual Science does not mean neglecting — let us say — mere theories; it is on the way to making a torment of life in future incarnations. In these times of transition, accordingly, something is happening; the slow preparation for it can be gathered from our second Mystery Play, “The Soul's Probation,” where we are shown earlier incarnations of the characters portrayed — incarnations of only a few centuries before. The event was then already in preparation; and now, thanks to the wisdom of cosmic guidance, human beings will be given positive opportunities of making themselves familiar with the truths of the Mysteries.

At present comparatively few find their way to Spiritual Science; their number is modest compared with that of the rest of mankind. It may be said that interest in Anthroposophy is not yet very widespread. But, in our age, the law of reincarnation is such that those now going through the world apathetically, ignoring what experience can tell about the need for exploring the riddles of life, will incarnate again in a relatively short time, and thus have ample opportunity for absorbing the truths of Spiritual Science. That is how it stands. So that when perhaps we see around us people we esteem, people we love, who will have nothing to do with Anthroposophy, are even hostile towards it, we ought not to take it too much to heart. It is perfectly true, and should be realized by Anthroposophists, that refusing to look into Spiritual Science, or Anthroposophy, means preparing a life of torment for future incarnations on Earth. That is true, and should not be treated lightly. On the other hand, those who see friends and acquaintances they care for showing no inclination toward Anthroposophy can say: “If I become a good Anthroposophist myself, I shall find an early opportunity, with the forces remaining to me after death, to prove helpful to these souls” — provided the living link we have spoken of is there. And because the interval between death and rebirth is becoming shorter, these souls, too, will have the opportunity of absorbing the Mystery-truths that must be absorbed if torment is to be avoided in men's coming incarnations. All is not yet lost.

We have, therefore, to look upon Anthroposophy as a real power; while on the other hand we must not be unduly grieved or pessimistic about the matter. It would be mistaken optimism to say: “If that is how things are, I need not accept the truths of Spiritual Science till my next incarnation” If everyone were to say that, when gradually the next incarnations come, there would be too few opportunities for effective aid to be given. Even if those wishing for Anthroposophy can now receive its truths from only quite a few people, the situation will be different for the countless hosts of those who, in a comparatively short time, will be eagerly turning to Anthroposophy. A countless number of Anthroposophists will then be needed to make these truths known, either here on the physical plane, or — if they are not incarnated — from higher planes.

That is one thing we must learn from the whole character of the great change now taking place. The other is that all this has to be experienced by the ego so that it should rely increasingly upon itself, becoming more and more independent. The self-reliance of the ego must come for all souls; but it will mean disaster for those who make no effort to learn about the great spiritual truths, for the increasing individualism will be felt by them as isolation. On the other hand, those who have made themselves familiar with the deep mysteries of the spiritual world will thereby find a way to forge ever stronger spiritual bands between souls. Old bonds will be loosened, new ones formed. All this is imminent, but it will be gradual.

* * *

We are living at present in the fifth post-Atlantean period, which will be followed by a sixth and then by a seventh, when a catastrophe will come upon us, just as one came between the Atlantean and post-Atlantean periods. When the lectures on the Apocalypse were given here in Nuremberg, you heard a description of this coming catastrophe, of how it will resemble and how it will differ from the one in old Atlantis.

If we observe life around us, we might express the particular feature of our age in this way: The most active element in human beings today is their intellectualism, their intellectual conception of the world. We are living altogether in an age of intellectualism. It has been brought about through quite special circumstances, and we shall come to understand these if we look back to the time before our present fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch, the Graeco-Latin, as it is called. That was the remarkable period when human beings had not reached their present state of detachment from the outer manifestations of nature and knowledge of the world. But at the same time it was the epoch in which the ego descended among men. The Christ-event had also to happen in that epoch, because, with Him, the ego made its descent in a special way.

What then is our present experience? It is not just of the entering-in of the ego; we now experience how one of our sheaths casts a kind of reflection upon the soul. The sheath to which yesterday we gave the name of “faith-body” throws its reflection on to the human soul, in this fifth epoch. Thus it is a feature of present-day man that he has something in his soul which is, as it were, a reflection of the nature of faith of the astral body. In the sixth post-Atlantean epoch there will be a reflection within man of the love-nature of the etheric body, and in the seventh, before the great catastrophe, the reflection of the nature of hope of the physical body.

For those who have heard lectures I am giving in various places just now, I would note that these gradual happenings have been described from a different point of view both in Munich and in Stuttgart; the theme, however, is always the same. What is now being portrayed in connection with the three great human forces, Faith, Love, Hope, was there represented in direct relation to the elements in a man's life of soul; but it is all the same thing. I have done this intentionally, so that Anthroposophists may grow accustomed to get the gist of a matter without strict adherence to special words. When we realize that things can be described from many different sides, we shall no longer pin so much faith on words but focus our efforts on the matter itself, knowing that any description amounts only to an approximation of the whole truth. This adherence to the original words is the last thing that can help us to get to the heart of a matter. The one helpful means is to harmonize what has been said in successive lectures, just as we learn about a tree by studying it not from one direction only but from many different aspects.

Thus at present it is essentially the force of faith of the astral body which, shining into the soul, is characteristic of our time. Someone might say: “That is rather strange. You are telling us now that the ruling force of the age is faith. We might admit this in the case of those who hold to old beliefs, but today so many people are too mature for that, and they look down on such old beliefs as belonging to the childish stage of human evolution.” It may well be that people who say they are monists believe they do not believe, but actually they are more ready to do so than those calling themselves believers. For, though monists are not conscious of it, all that we see in the various forms of monism is belief of the blindest kind, believed by the monists to be knowledge. We cannot describe their doings at all without mentioning belief. And, apart from the belief of those who believe they do not believe, we find that, strictly speaking, an endless amount of what is most important today is connected with the reflection the astral body throws into the soul, giving it thereby the character of ardent faith. We have only to call to mind lives of the great men of our age, Richard Wagner's for example, and how even as an artist he was rising all his life to a definite faith; it is fascinating to watch this in the development of his personality. Everywhere we look today, the lights and shadows can be interpreted as the reflection of faith in what we may call the ego-soul of man.

* * *

Our age will be followed by one in which the need for love will cast its light. Love in the sixth culture-epoch will show itself in a very different form — different even from that which can be called Christian love. Slowly we draw nearer to that epoch; and by making those in the Anthroposophical Movement familiar with the mysteries of the cosmos, with the nature of the various individualities both on the physical plane and on the higher planes, we try to kindle love for everything in existence. This is not done so much by talking of love, as by feeling that what is able to kindle love in the soul is prepared for the sixth epoch by Anthroposophy. Through Anthroposophy the forces of love are specially aroused in the whole human soul, and that is prepared which a man needs for gradually acquiring a true understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. For it is indeed true that the Mystery of Golgotha came to pass; and the Gospels have evoked something which yesterday was likened to how children learn to speak. But the deepest lesson — the mission of earthly love in its connection with the Mystery of Golgotha — has not yet been grasped. Full understanding of this will be possible only in the sixth post-Atlantean culture-epoch, when people grow to realize more and more that the foundations for it are actually within them, and out of their innermost being — in other words, out of love — do what should be done. Then the guidance of the Commandments will have been outlived and the stage reached that is described in Goethe's words: “Duty — when one loves the commands one gives to oneself.” When forces wake in our souls which impel us to do what we should through love alone, we then discover in us something that must gradually become widespread in the sixth culture-epoch. Then in a man's nature quite special forces of the etheric body will make themselves known.

To understand what it is that must come about increasingly in this way, we have to consider it from two sides. One side has certainly not come yet and is only dreamt of by the most advanced in spirit; it is a well-defined relation between custom, morals, ethics, and the understanding, intellectuality. Today a man may be to a certain extent a rascal, yet at the same time intelligent and clever. He may even use his very cleverness to further his knavery. At present it is not required of people to combine their intelligence with an equal degree of morality. To all that we have been anticipating for the future this must be added — that as we advance, it will no longer be possible for these two qualities of the human soul to be kept apart, or to exist in unequal measure. A man who, according to the reckoning-up of his previous incarnation, has become particularly intelligent without being moral, will in his new incarnation possess only a stunted intelligence. Thus, to have equal amounts of intelligence and morality in future incarnations he will be obliged, as a consequence of universal cosmic law, to enter his new incarnation with an intelligence that is crippled, so that immorality and stupidity coincide. For immorality has a crippling effect upon intelligence. In other words, we are approaching the age when morality and what has now been described for the sixth post-Atlantean epoch as the shining into the ego-soul of the love-forces of the etheric body point essentially to forces having to do with harmonizing those of intelligence and morality. That is the one side to be considered.

The other side is this — that it is solely through harmony of this kind, between morality, custom, and intelligence, that the whole depth of the Mystery of Golgotha is to be grasped. This will come about only through the individuality who before Christ-Jesus came to Earth prepared men for that Mystery, developing in his successive incarnations ever greater powers as teacher of the greatest of all earthly events This individuality, whom in his rank as Bodhisatva we call the successor of Gautama Buddha, was incarnated in the personality living about a hundred years before Christ under the name of Jeshu ben Pandira. Among his many students was one who had at that time already, in a certain sense, written down a prophetic version of the Matthew Gospel, and this, after the Mystery of Golgotha had been enacted, needed only to be given a new form.

There have been, and will continue to be, frequent incorporations of the individuality who appeared as Jeshu ben Pandira, until he rises from the rank of Bodhisatva to that of Buddha. According to our reckoning of time this will be in about 3,000 years, when a sufficient number of people will possess the above-mentioned faculties, and when, in the course of a remarkable incarnation of the individual who was once Jeshu ben Pandira, this great teacher of mankind will have become able to act as interpreter of the Mystery of Golgotha in a very different way from what is possible today. It is true that even today a seer into the supersensible worlds can gain some idea of what is to happen then; but the ordinary earthly organization of man cannot yet provide a physical body capable of doing what that teacher will be able to do approximately 3,000 years hence. There is, as yet, no human language through which verbal teaching could exert the magical effects that will spring from the words of that great teacher of humanity. His words will flow directly to men's hearts, into their souls, like a healing medicine; nothing in those words will be merely theoretical. At the same time the teaching will contain — to an extent far greater than it is possible to conceive today — a magical moral force carrying to hearts and souls a full conviction of the eternal, deeply significant brotherhood of intellect and morality.

This great teacher, who will be able to give to men ripe for it the profoundest instruction concerning the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha, will fulfill what Oriental prophets have always said — that the true successor of Buddha would be, for all mankind, the greatest teacher of the good. For that reason he has been called in Oriental tradition the Maitreya Buddha. His task will be to enlighten human beings concerning the Mystery of Golgotha, and for this he will draw ideas and words of the deepest significance from the very language he will use. No human language today can evoke any conception of it. His words will imprint into men's souls directly, magically, the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha. Hence in this connection also we are approaching what we may call the future moral age of man; in a certain sense we could designate it as a coming Golden Age.

Even today, however, speaking from the ground of Anthroposophy, we point in full consciousness to what is destined to come about — how the Christ will gradually reveal Himself to ever-higher powers in human beings, and how the teachers, who up to now have taught only individual peoples and individual men, will become the interpreters of the great Christ-event for all who are willing to listen. And we can point out how, through the dawning of the age of love, conditions for the age of morality are prepared.

Then will come the last epoch, during which human souls will receive the reflection of what we call hope; when, strengthened through the force flowing from the Mystery of Golgotha and from the age of morality, men will take into themselves forces of hope. This is the most important gift they need in order to face the next catastrophe and to begin a new life, just as was done in this present post-Atlantean age.

When in the final post-Atlantean epoch our external culture, with its tendency to calculation, will have come to a climax, bringing no feeling of satisfaction but leaving those who have not developed the spiritual within them to confront their culture in utter desolation — then out of spirituality the seed of hope will be sown, and in the next period of human evolution this will grow to maturity. If the spirit is denied all possibility of imparting to men's souls what it can give, and what the Anthroposophical Movement has the will to convey, this external culture might for a short while be able to hold its own. Ultimately, however, people would ask themselves what they had gained and say:

“We have wireless installations — undreamt of by our ancestors — to transmit our thoughts all over the Earth, and what good does it do us? The most trivial, unproductive thoughts are sent hither and thither, and human ingenuity has to be strained to the utmost to enable us to transport from some far distant region, by means of all kinds of perfected appliances, something for us to eat; or to travel at high speeds round the globe. But in our heads there is nothing worth sending from place to place, for our thoughts are cheerless; moreover, since we have had our present means of communication, they have become even more cheerless than when they were conveyed in the old snail-like fashion.”

In short, despair and desolation are all that our civilization can spread over the Earth. But, in the last culture-epoch, souls who have accepted the spiritual in life will have become enriched, as if on the ruins of the external life of culture. Their surety that this acceptance of the spiritual has not been in vain will be the strong force of hope within them — hope that after a great catastrophe a new age will come for human beings, when there will appear in external life, in a new culture, what has already been prepared spiritually within the soul.

Thus, if we permeate our whole being with Spiritual Science, we advance step by step, in full consciousness, from our age of faith, through the age of love, and that of hope, to what we can see approaching us as the highest, truest, most beautiful, of all human souls.