Wonders of the World, Ordeals of the Soul, Revelations of the Spirit. Lecture 3 of 10.
Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 20, 1911:
In this course of lectures I hope to be able to give you a survey of some important truths of spiritual science from one particular aspect. It is perhaps only toward the end of the course that you will be able to see how the threads all hang together. In the two lectures just given I dwelt a good deal upon the Mystery of Eleusis and upon Greek mythology, and I shall still often have occasion to refer to the performances we have seen. But I also have another purpose, which you will recognize at the end of the course. I want this evening to bring home to you from another direction how spiritual science in our day is aspiring toward that mighty archetypal wisdom of which we have caught a glimpse, how it throws light upon those great figures and images and upon the tidings of the Mysteries which have come down to us from ancient Greece. If we are to grasp the whole mission of spiritual science today we shall have to recognize that many concepts and ideas which obtain today have to be changed. Contemporary humanity is often very short-sighted, it scarcely gives a thought to anything beyond the immediate future. To evoke a feeling that we must change our very manner of thinking if we are to enter deeply into the mission of spiritual science — that is why I draw attention to the completely different view of the world and of life, and of the relation of man to the spiritual world, held by the Greeks. For in all this the Greek attitude of heart and soul was very different from that of modern man.
Let me begin today by mentioning just one thing. There is a concept, an idea, very familiar to you all, an idea which not only finds common expression in the vocabulary of all languages, but which has also tended to take on a certain scientific connotation. It is the word NATURE. When the word ‘nature’ is used in any context it at once arouses in modern man a whole number of ideas. We think of nature as the opposite of soul or spirit. Now, what the man of today means by ‘nature’ simply did not exist for Greek thought. You have to eliminate altogether what you mean today by the term ‘nature’ if you wish to enter into the thought of ancient Greece. The contrast between nature and spirit which we today experience was unknown to the Greeks. When the Greek directed his eye to the processes which took place in wood and meadow, in Sun and Moon, in the world of the stars, he did not yet experience a natural existence devoid of spirit, but everything which happened in the world was as much the deed of spiritual beings as for us a movement of our hand is an expression of our own soul-activity. When we move our hand from left to right, we know that a mental activity lies behind this movement, and we do not talk of an opposition between the mere movement of the hand and our will, but we know that the movement of the hand and our will, as an impulse of movement, constitute a unity. We still feel the unity when we make a gesture which our mind directs. But when we direct our gaze upon the course of Sun and Moon, when we become aware of the currents of air in the wind, then we no longer see in these things, as the Greeks did, the outer gestures, the moving hand so to say, of divine-spiritual beings, but we see something outside us which we study according to abstract laws, mathematical-mechanical laws. Such a nature — a nature which is calculated according to purely external mathematical-mechanical laws, a nature which is not simply the physiognomy of divine-spiritual activity — was unknown to the Greeks. We shall hear how the concept ‘nature’ as understood by modern man gradually came to birth.
Thus in those ancient times Spirit and Nature were in full harmony with one another. Consequently what we today call a wonder, a miracle, did not bear its present interpretation. Putting aside all finer shades of difference, today we should call it a miracle if we were to perceive an event in the outer world which could not be explained by natural laws already known or of the same kind as those already known, but which presupposed a direct intervention of the spirit. If a man were to perceive directly a spiritual event which he could not understand and could not explain according to the strict laws of mathematics and mechanics, he would say it was miraculous. The ancient Greek could not use the term ‘miraculous’ in this sense, for to him it was obvious that everything which takes place in Nature is effected by Spirit; he did not discriminate between the daily happenings in the ordering of Nature and rarer events. The one kind occurred only rarely, the other kind was habitual, but for him spiritual creation, divine-spiritual activity, entered into every natural event. You see how these concepts have changed. For the intervention of the spirit in events on the physical plane to be regarded as miraculous is essentially a feature of our own time. It is peculiar to our modern way of looking at things to draw a sharp line between what we believe to be governed by natural law and what we have to recognize as a direct intervention of spiritual worlds.
I have spoken to you of the harmonizing of two streams of culture which I may call the Demeter-Persephone stream and the Agamemnon-Iphigenia stream. It is the mission of spiritual science to unite these two streams. We cannot emphasize too strongly how necessary it is for humanity to learn to feel again that the spiritual is active in everyday events as well as in rarer occurrences. But this requires a clear recognition that there are two currents in human experience. Men must be quite clear that there are things which form part of a system of nature, things which follow the laws accepted today by the physicist, the chemist, the physiologist, the biologist, while on the other hand there are also other occurrences which can be accepted as facts, just as the facts which follow the physical-mathematical-chemical laws, but which cannot be explained unless one recognizes the reality of a spiritual movement and life behind the physical plane.
The whole conflict caused in the human soul by this opposition between Nature and Spirit, and at the same time the longing to resolve it, is discharged in my Rosicrucian Drama The Portal of Initiation in the soul of Strader. There we see how such an event as Theodora's vision, an event outside the ordinary processes of nature, affects someone who is accustomed only to accept as valid phenomena which can be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry. Strader's character and his inner experiences illustrate how such an event acts upon the heart as an ordeal of the soul. This scene epitomizes the sense of conflict which finds expression in countless modern souls. People like Strader are very numerous today. To such people it is a necessity to inquire into the characteristics of the regular, normal course of natural events, events which can be explained by physical, chemical, or biological laws; on the other hand it is also necessary that such souls should be brought to recognize other events, events which also take place on the physical plane, but which are classed as miracles by the purely materialistic mind, and hence brushed aside as impossibilities and not recognized for what they are.
Thus we can say that today there is a longing to reconcile the opposition between nature and spirit, an opposition which did not yet exist in ancient Greece. And the fact that attempts are made, that societies are established, to examine the activity and nature of laws in the physical world other than purely chemical, physiological, biological laws, is proof that the longing to resolve this opposition is very widely felt. It is part of the mission of our own spiritual science to resolve this opposition between spirit and nature. We must set to work out of new sources of spiritual-scientific insight; we must fit ourselves to see again in what is all around us more than meets the eye of the physicist or the chemist or the anatomist or the physiologist. To do this we must start with man himself, who so emphatically demands not only that the chemical and physical laws active in his physical body should be studied, but also that the connection between physical, psychic, and spiritual — which for anyone who will look attentively can become visible in an unobtrusive way even to physical eyes — should be investigated.
The man of today no longer experiences what I have so far only been able to put before you as the working of the Demeter or the Persephone forces in the human organism. He no longer experiences the important fact that what is diffused over the whole universe without is also in us. The Greek did experience this. Even if he could not express it in modern terms, he experienced a truth, for example, of which modern theology will only slowly become convinced again — a truth which I will try to bring home to you in the following way. Today you look upward to the rainbow. So long as it cannot be explained it is as much a wonder of Nature, a wonder of the world, a miracle, as anything else. Amid all that is familiar in everyday life there stands before our eyes the marvelous bow with its seven colors ... we will ignore all the explanations of the physicist, for the physics of the future will have quite different things to say about the rainbow too. We say to ourselves: ‘Our gaze falls upon the rainbow which emerges as if out of the bosom of the surrounding universe; in looking at it we look into the macrocosm, into the great world; the macrocosm gives birth to the rainbow.’ Now let us turn our gaze inward; within ourselves we can observe that out of a vague, unthinking brooding, there emerge specific thoughts relating to something or other — in other words, thought flashes up within our souls. It is an everyday experience; we have only to see it in the right light. Let us take these two things, the macrocosm which gives birth to the rainbow out of the bosom of the universe, and the other thing, that in ourselves thought is born out of the rest of our soul-life. Those are the two facts of which the wise men of ancient Greece already knew something and which men will come to know again through spiritual science. The same forces which cause thoughts to light up in our microcosm call forth the outward rainbow from the bosom of the universe. Just as the Demeter forces from without enter into man and become active within, so outside us in the cosmos those forces are active which form the rainbow out of the ingredients of Nature; there they work spread out in space; within, in the microcosmic world of man, they cause thought to flash up out of the indefinite. Of course ordinary physics has not yet come anywhere near such truths — nevertheless, that is the truth.
Everything that is outside in space is also within us. Today man does not yet recognize the complete harmony which exists between the mysterious forces at work in himself, and the forces active outside in the macrocosm; indeed he probably regards that as a fantastic daydream. The ancient Greek could not say what I say today about these things, because he could not penetrate the matter with intellect; but it lived in his subconscious, he saw it, or felt it clairvoyantly. If today we wish to express in up-to-date phraseology what the Greek felt, we must say that he felt working within him the forces which caused thought to flash up, and felt that they were the same forces which organized the rainbow without. That is what he experienced. And he said to himself: ‘If there are psychic forces within me which cause thought to flash up, what is it that is without? What is the spiritual force in the widths of space, above and below, right and left, before and behind? What is it outspread there in space which causes the rainbow to flash up, causes the sunrise and the sunset, causes the glimmer and the glory of the clouds, just as within me the forces of the soul bring forth thought?’ For the ancient Greek it was a spiritual being who gave birth out of the universal ether to all these phenomena — to the roseate tints of sunrise and sunset, to the rainbow, to the glimmer and the glory of the clouds, to thunder and lightning. And out of this feeling, which, as I said before, had not become intellectual knowledge, but was elemental feeling, there arose the intuitive perception: ‘That is Zeus!’ One does not get any idea, still less any sense of what the Greek soul experienced as Zeus, if one does not approach this experience and this feeling by way of the spiritual-scientific outlook. Zeus was a being with a clearly defined form, but one could not get an idea of him without the feeling that the forces which cause thought to light up in us are also at work in what flashes up externally, such as the rainbow and so on. But today in anthroposophical circles, when we look into the human being and try to learn something of the forces which call forth in us thoughts, ideas — the forces which call forth all that flashes up in our consciousness — we say that all this constitutes what we call the astral body. In this way, having the microcosmic substance, the astral body, we can give an answer in terms of spiritual science to the question we have just put in a more pictorial way, and we can say that as a microcosm we have in us the astral body; we can then ask ourselves what corresponds without in the widths of space to the astral body — what fills all space right and left, behind and before, above and below? Just as the astral body extends throughout our microcosm, so is the universal ether, so are the wide expanses of space, permeated with the macrocosmic counterpart of our astral body, and we can also say that what the ancient Greek pictured to himself as Zeus is the macrocosmic counterpart of our astral body. In us we have the astral body: it causes the phenomena of consciousness to light up; without extends the astrality from which, as from the cosmic womb, is born the rainbow, the sunrise, the sunset, thunder and lightning, clouds and snow. The man of today can find no word to cover what the Greek thought of as Zeus, and which is the cosmic counterpart of our astral body.
To continue: Besides what lights up in us momentarily or for a short time as thought, as idea, as feeling, we have our enduring life of soul, with its emotions and passions, with its fluctuating life of feeling, something which is abiding and subject to habit and memory. It is by their permanent soul-life that we recognize individuals. Here we see a man of wild passions, impetuously laying hold of everything in his path; here another who has no interest in the world. That is something quite different from the momentary thought: that is what constitutes the permanent configuration of our inner life, the basis of our happiness, of our destiny. The man of fiery temperament, of strong passions, sympathies and antipathies, may in certain circumstances commit some action which causes him happiness or unhappiness. The forces in us which represent the more enduring qualities, the qualities which turn into memory and habit, must be distinguished from the forces of the astral body — the former are rooted in our ether bodies. You know that from other lectures.
Now, if we were to put the matter as a Greek would do, we should ask once more whether there is anything outside in the cosmos which has the same forces as we bear in our habits, our passions, our enduring emotive attitudes. And once more the Greek felt the answer, was conscious of the answer without undergoing any intellectual process. He felt that in the ebb and flow of the ocean, in the storms and hurricanes which rage over the Earth, the same forces are active as are active in us when lasting emotions, when passion and habit, pulsate through our memory. When we are speaking microcosmically they are the forces in us which we cover by the term ‘ether body’, and which bring about our lasting emotions. Macrocosmically speaking, they are forces more closely bound up with the Earth than the forces of Zeus in the widths of space: they are the forces which determine wind and weather, storm and calm, untroubled and raging seas. In all these phenomena, in storm and tempest, in tumultuous or untroubled seas, in hurricane or doldrums, the modern man sees merely ‘nature’, and present-day meteorology is a purely physical science. For the Greeks there was as yet no such thing as a purely physical science comparable to what we have today in meteorology. To talk of meteorology in such terms he would have thought as senseless as it would be for us to investigate the physical forces which move our muscles when we laugh, if we did not know that in these movements of our muscles psychic forces are involved. To the Greeks all these things were gestures without and around us, gestures of the same spiritual activity that is revealed in us, in the microcosm, as lasting emotion, passion, memory. The ancient Greek was still conscious of a figure who could be reached by clairvoyance; he was still conscious of the ruler, the center, of all these forces in the macrocosm, and spoke of him as Poseidon.
Today we will go on to speak of the physical body, the densest part of the human being. Microcosmically speaking, we have to look upon the physical body as composed of all those characteristics of the human being which have not been mentioned as belonging to the other two bodies. Everything in the nature of transitory thought and idea, thought which arises in us and then disappears, belongs to the astral body; every habitual, lasting attitude of mind, everything which is not merely thought in the sense that it leads its own isolated thought-existence in the soul, belongs to the ether body. And for everything which is not merely a sentiment, an attitude of mind, but which passes over into the sphere of will, for everything which results in an impulse to do something, man needs in this life between birth and death the physical body. The physical body is what serves to raise the mere thought or the mere sentiment to an impulse of will; it is the prime mover behind the deed in the physical world. The will-impulses, the soul-forces which lie behind the will, find their expression in the whole outward aspect of the physical body. The physical body is the expression of will-impulses as the astral body is the expression of mere thoughts, and the ether body of enduring sentiments and habits. In order that will can act through man here in the physical world, he must have the physical body. In the higher worlds, activity of will is something quite different from what it is in the physical world. Thus, as microcosms, we have in us above all those forces of soul which bring about our will-impulses, impulses which are needed to make good the claim that the ego is the central governing power of the human soul. For without his will man would never attain to an ego-consciousness. Now, when the Greek asked himself what it was, outspread in the macrocosm, that corresponded to the forces in us which call forth the will-impulse — the whole world of will — what did he answer? He gave it the name of Pluto. Pluto, as the central ruling power outspread in macrocosmic space, but closely associated with the solid mass of the planet, was for the Greeks the macrocosmic counterpart of the impulses of will which forced the life of Persephone into the depths of the soul.
Anyone who has clairvoyant consciousness, who can see into the real spiritual world, has a self-knowledge which can properly distinguish this threefold nature of his being into astral, etheric, and physical bodies. The ancient Greek was really not in a position to examine the microcosm with the precision we apply to it today. Actually it was not until the beginning of our fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch that man's attention was turned to the microcosm. The ancient Greek was far more conscious of the Pluto, Poseidon, and Zeus forces outside him and took it for granted that those forces worked into him.
He lived far more in the macrocosm than in the microcosm. Therein lies the difference between ancient and modern times: that the Greek felt mainly the macrocosm and consequently peopled the world with the gods who were for him its central ruling powers, whereas the modern man thinks more about the microcosm, about man himself, the center of our own world, and thus seeks more within his own being for the distinguishing features of this threefold world.
We begin to see how it was that, just at the beginning of our fifth post-Atlantean culture-epoch, there arose in all sorts of ways in Western esotericism an awareness of the inner activity of the soul-forces, so that physical, etheric, and astral bodies were distinguished. Now that occult investigation in this direction is being pursued with greater intensity, many things to which particular individuals in modern times have borne testimony can be confirmed today. For instance, it has been possible recently to confirm experiences which occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as to the ‘clear-tasting’ of one's own being. Just as one can speak of clairvoyance, or clairaudience, so one may speak of clairsipience. This clairsipience can apply to the threefold human being, and I can describe to you the difference between external sensations of taste and the various sensations of taste which a man can have in connection with his own threefold being.
Try to imagine vividly the taste you have when you eat a very tart fruit such as the sloe, which contracts the palate; imagine this wry sensation enhanced so that you are completely permeated by the sensation of bitterness, of astringency, of downright pain; try to imagine yourself from top to bottom, right down to the fingertips and in every limb, permeated by this astringent taste: then you have the self-knowledge which the occultist calls the self-knowledge of the physical body through the occult sense of taste, the spiritual sense of taste. When self-knowledge works in such a way that man feels himself completely permeated by this astringent taste, the occultist knows that he is experiencing knowledge of his own physical body through the occult sense of taste, for he knows that the astral body and the etheric body are bound to taste quite different, if I may so express it. As astral and etheric man, one has a different taste from what one has as physical man. These things are not said out of the blue, but out of concrete knowledge; they are known to occultists in the same way as the laws of the outside world are familiar to physicists and chemists.
Now take — not exactly the taste you get from sugar or from a sweet—but the delicate etheric sensation of taste, which most men do not experience, but which nevertheless can be experienced in physical life when, for example, you enter into an atmosphere which you enjoy very much — let us say into an avenue of trees or into a wood, where you feel, ‘Ah, how delicious it is here, I should like to be one with the scent of the trees!’ Imagine this kind of experience, which can really grow into a kind of taste, a taste which you can have when you can forget yourself in your own inwardness, when you can feel yourself so united with your surroundings that you would like to taste yourself into those surroundings — imagine the experience transferred into the spiritual: then you have the clairsipience which the occultist knows when he seeks the self-knowledge which is possible in respect of the human ether body. It comes if one says ‘I am now eliminating my physical body, I am shutting off everything connected with the will-impulses, I am suppressing the flashing-up of thought, and surrendering myself entirely to my permanent habits, to my sympathies and antipathies.’ When the occultist acquires the taste of this, when as a practicing occultist he feels himself in this etheric body of his, then there comes to him a spiritualized form of taste rather like what I have just described as regards the physical world. Thus there is a clear distinction between self-knowledge in respect of the physical and of the etheric bodies.
The astral body can also be recognized by the occultist who has developed these higher faculties. But in this case one can no longer properly speak of a sense of taste. In the case of the astral body the sense of taste is lacking, just as it is in the case of certain physical substances. Knowledge of one's own astral body has to be described in quite different terms. But it is also possible for the practicing occultist to eliminate his physical body, to eliminate his ether body, and to relate his self-knowledge solely to his astral body — that is to say, to pay attention only to what his astral body is. The normal man does not do that. The normal man experiences the interworking of physical, etheric, and astral. He never has the astral body alone; he cannot experience it because he is incapable of shutting out the physical and etheric bodies. When this does happen to the practicing occultist, he certainly gets at first a very unpleasant sensation: it can only be compared with the sensation which overcomes us in the physical world when there is not enough air, when we have a feeling of breathlessness. When the etheric and physical bodies are suppressed, and self-knowledge is concentrated upon the astral body, there comes a feeling of oppression rather like breathlessness. Hence knowledge of a man's own astral body is first and formost accompanied by fear and anxiety, more so than in the other cases, because it consists basically in being filled through and through with a sense of oppression. It is impossible to perceive the astral body in isolation without becoming filled with dread. That in ordinary life we are not aware of this fear, which is there all the time, arises from the fact that the normal man, when aware of himself, feels a mixture, a harmonious or inharmonious working together, of physical, etheric, and astral, and not the isolated, separate members of the human being.
Now that you have heard what are the main experiences of the soul in self-knowledge as regards the physical body, which represents the Pluto forces in us, as regards the ether body, which represents the Poseidon forces, and as regards the astral body, which represents the Zeus forces, you may want to know how these forces work together; what is the relationship between the three kinds of force? Well, how do we express relationship between things and events in the physical world? It is very simple. If anyone were to give you a dish containing peas and beans and perhaps lentils all jumbled up together, that would be a mixture. If the quantities of each were not equal, you would have to separate peas, beans, and lentils from one another to get the ratio between their quantities. You could say, for example, that their quantities were in the ratio of 1:3:5; in short, when you are dealing with a mixture of things, you have to find out the proportions of the component parts of the mixture. In the same way we can ask what is the ratio of the strength of the forces of the physical body to those of the etheric body, to those of the astral body? How can we express the relative magnitudes of physical, etheric, and astral bodies? Is there a numerical formula, or any other formula, which can express their relative strengths? The question of this relationship will enable us to acquire a profound insight, first into the wonders of the world, and then into the ordeals of the soul, and into the revelations of the spirit. We will begin to speak about it today; we shall be led further and further into the subject.
The proportions can be expressed. There is something which shows quite exactly the quantities and the strengths of our inner forces in physical, etheric, and astral bodies respectively, and the corresponding relationships between them. Let me make a diagram of it for you. For these relationships can only be expressed by means of a geometrical figure. If we ponder deeply this figure we find that it contains — like an occult sign on which we can meditate—all the proportions of size and strength of the forces of physical, etheric, and astral bodies respectively. You see that what I am drawing is a pentagram.
If we look at this pentagram, to begin with, taken at its face value, it is a symbol for the etheric body. But I have already said that the ether body also contains the central forces of both astral and physical bodies; it is from the ether body that all the forces — the aging and the youth-giving forces — emanate. Because the ether body is the center for all these forces it is possible to show, in this diagram, in this sign and seal of the ether body, what in the human body is the ratio between the strength of the forces of the physical body, the strength of the forces of the etheric body, and the strength of the forces of the astral body respectively.
One arrives at the precise magnitude of these relationships in this way; within the pentagram there is an upside-down pentagon. I will fill it in completely with chalk. That gives us to start with one of the component parts of the pentagram. You get another part of the pentagram if you look at the triangles based on the sides of the pentagon. These I am shading with horizontal lines. Thus the pentagram has been reduced to a central pentagon with its point downwards (blocked out in chalk) and five triangles which I have shaded by means of horizontal lines. If you compare the size of the pentagon with the size of the sum of the five triangles, you can say, ‘as the size of this pentagon is to the size of the sum of the five triangles, so are the forces of the physical body in man to the forces of his etheric body.’ Note well that just as one can say in the case of a mixture of peas, beans, and lentils that the quantity of lentils is to the quantity of beans, let us say, as three to five, so we can say ‘The ratio of the strength of the forces in the physical body is to the strength of the forces in the etheric body as the area of the pentagon in the pentagram is to the sum of the areas of the triangles which I have shaded horizontally.’ Now I will draw a pentagon with the point upwards, by circumscribing the pentagram. In this case you must not take only the triangles which complete the figure, but the whole pentagon, including the area of the pentagram — that is to say, including all that I have shaded vertically. Now consider this vertically shaded pentagon around the pentagram.
As is the area of this small downward-pointing pentagon to the area of this vertically shaded upward-pointing pentagon, so is the strength of the forces of the physical body in man to the strength of the forces of his astral body. In short, in this figure you find expressed the reciprocal relationships of the forces of physical, etheric, and astral forces in man. It does not all come into human consciousness. The upward-pointing pentagon comprises all the astral forces in man, including those of which he is not yet aware, and which will be perfected as the ego transforms the astral body more and more into Spirit-Self or Manas.
Now you may wonder how these three sheaths are related to the ego. You see, normally developed man today knows very little of the real ego, which I have called the baby, and which is the least developed of the human members. But all the forces of the ego are already in man. If you want to consider the total forces of the ego in relation to the forces of physical, etheric, and astral bodies, you need only describe a circle around the whole figure. I don't want to make the diagram too confusing, but if I were to shade the whole area of the circle, the ratio of the size of its area to the size of the area of the upward-pointed pentagon, to the sum of the areas of the horizontally-shaded triangles, to the small downward-pointed pentagon which I have filled in with chalk ... would give the ratio of the forces of the entire ego (represented by the area of the circle) to the forces of the astral body (represented by the area of the large pentagon), to the forces of the ether body (represented by the sum of the horizontally shaded triangles around the small pentagon), to the forces of the physical body (represented by the area of the pentagon filled in with chalk). If you give yourself in meditation to this occult sign and acquire a certain feeling for the proportional relationships of these four different areas, you get an impression of the mutual ratios of physical, etheric, astral, and ego. Thus, you must think with the same attentiveness of the large circle and try to grasp it in meditation. Next you must place before you the upward-pointing pentagon, and because it is somewhat smaller than the circle — to the extent of these segments of the circle here — it makes a weaker impression upon you than the circle. And to the extent to which the impression of the pentagon is weaker than the impression of the circle, so are the forces of the astral body weaker than the forces of the ego. And if as a third exercise you place before you the five horizontally shaded triangles (without the middle pentagon) you have a still weaker impression if you are thinking with the same degree of attentiveness. And to the extent to which this impression is weaker than the impression made by the two previous figures, so are the forces of the etheric body weaker than the forces of the astral body or the forces of the ego. And if you place before you the small pentagon, assuming the same degree of attentiveness, you get the weakest impression. If you can acquire a feeling of the relative strengths of these four impressions and can retain them, as we hold together in our thought the notes of a melody — if you can think these four impressions together in proportion to their strengths, then you have the measure of harmony which exists between the forces of ego, astral, ether, and physical bodies respectively.
What I have shown you is an occult sign; one can meditate on such signs; I have described more or less how it is done. By thinking of the relative sizes of these areas with an equal attentiveness, one gains an impression of their difference in strength. Then one receives a corresponding impression of the relative strengths of the forces of the four members of the human being. These things are symbols of the true occult script, emanating from the nature of things. To meditate on this script means to read the signs of the great world-wonders, which guide us into the great world-secrets. Thereby we gradually acquire a complete understanding of what is at work in the cosmos as wonders of the world, an understanding of the fact that the spirit pours itself into matter in accordance with definite ratios. I have at the same time evoked in you something of what was really the most elementary exercise of the old Pythagorean schools. A man begins by meditating on the occult signs, makes them real to himself, and then finds that he has seen the truth of the world with its wonders; then he begins to perceive with his spiritual hearing the harmonies and the melodies of the forces of the world. Tomorrow we will go further into this. My main object today has been to place before your souls this occult sign, which will lead us a step further into the nature of man.
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