Monday, November 30, 2020

bull lion eagle man dove : the yoga of the baptism of Jesus; the astral yoga of the human halo; the egoic yoga of the human heart

Wonders of the World, Ordeals of the Soul, Revelations of the Spirit. Lecture 9 of 10.
Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 26, 1911:

Yesterday I had to point out how a kind of reversal of the forces which led to a densification of the body is taking place in the human organization. As an example of this I drew attention to a kind of etherization of the coarser physical substance of the blood which emanates all the time from our system of heart-and-blood circulation, with the result that the finest elements of the blood are passing over all the time into the same substance as that of which the human ether body consists. And we have seen that these etheric elements stream upward from the heart in quite distinct currents and permeate the brain; we have seen further that it is in fact because this newly formed element of our etheric body streams through the brain that we are able to develop knowledge which goes beyond the completely egotistic knowledge of what takes place within our own organization. I tried to make it clear that unless these etheric streams were to rise up from the heart to the brain, only ideas, concepts, feelings connected with our own bodily organization could find expression through the instrument of the brain.
The whole future evolution of mankind is involved in this process of which I have just told you. Let me remind you once more that Earth evolution was preceded by the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions, and that these preceding evolutions had resulted in the formation of an etheric man in the period of Earth-development prior to Lemuria. Before man entered upon his Lemurian development he was, even as regards his physical forces, a purely etheric form. A physically solid man such as we have today, with his thick physical blood, his system of nerves and bones and so on, did not exist before Lemuria. All the forces which we also have in the physical body today were at that time still in etheric form. This etheric human form was shadowy and phantom-like in comparison with the later man, it barely hinted at what was to crystallize out later as the denser man; and it has taken the Lemurian, the Atlantean, and the post-Atlantean epochs to complete the densification.
Now, in order to understand fully what is meant by ‘Wonders of the World, Ordeals of the Soul, Revelations of the Spirit’ we must look somewhat closely into this formation of man, we must see just how man gradually solidified out of that original shadow-form. Today let us try to picture to ourselves what the human being was like in this pre-Lemurian era. At that time man had only a kind of shadowy form, merely hinting at what came later. Into this Phantom [ 1 ] there entered the most diverse currents; the beings of the higher hierarchies were working within it. At that time man did not walk upon the earth with his feet, he hovered as a Phantom in the periphery; it was only later that he so to say stepped down upon the Earth.
The Earth itself was as yet in a more rarefied condition. All that the higher hierarchies wrought upon man poured into him in all kinds of currents, but while man lived upon the Earth in this way in phantom-form, the Earth too continued to develop, since it was by no means the solid lump of matter described by the geologists or the mineralogists or the physicists. To describe the Earth as the physicists and the mineralogists do is as if in describing man one were to confine oneself to the skeleton. What physical science describes is only a part of the Earth, it is its skeleton. There are yet other forces, quite other substantial things connected with the Earth, and these constitute it as an organism in which we are embedded.
Thus the Earth too has pursued its evolution, and during the course of the Lemurian, Atlantean, and post-Atlantean evolutions other forces have streamed continuously toward man out of the Earth itself. We will now examine these forces more closely. First we must pay attention to certain forces which through the spiritual beings of the higher hierarchies belong to the sub-earthly current to which I referred yesterday. These forces actually stream into man from below, they are directed upon man (if we are to express it spatially) from the Earth upward. During the course of Earth evolution the forces of the higher hierarchies penetrated into man from below; these forces — which particularly during the Lemurian epoch but continuing also afterwards, streamed into man and cooperated in his formation — these forces are recognized by ordinary science as well as by spiritual science as in their nature working through the Earth. Everywhere on the Earth's surface, wherever one goes, these forces are present. They had another task in Earth evolution as well, but let us begin by trying to throw light on them in relation to beings of another kingdom, in the formation of which they were conspicuously active.
The zoologists and the naturalists will one day be very astonished to find how complicated has really been the formation out of the spiritual world of all that they represent by their abstract and tidy genealogical trees, from a certain aspect quite correctly. The relationships which they quite rightly recognize have been brought about as the result of very complicated currents arising from widely different spiritual directions. Actually it is quite wrong to describe the animals which are known in zoology as mammals as the Darwinists do. It is quite wrong to believe that one can draw a straight line from the very simplest mammals to the most complicated. In two different species of mammal very different formative forces are at work. The mammals which we have around us and which belong to the category of the ruminants — mainly domestic animals, as you know — have in the course of their development been subjected to quite different spiritual conditions from, for example, the feline, the lion-like animals. We have to think of the spiritual forces as working specifically upon the group-souls of the animals and through the group-souls upon their physical forms. The influences which resulted in the lion species did not begin to work upon the Earth until the approach of the Atlantean time, and during that time, and these influences reached the Earth as if driven outward from its center toward its surface. But the influences which worked during the Lemurian time — and which also worked upon the human being — are connected with what worked as formative force upon our ruminants, influences which esotericism summarizes under the symbol of the bull. All this began at that time to exercise an influence upon man himself, working into his formation as if from the depths of the Earth toward its surface.
You must not be shocked if I say that if nothing else had worked upon man he would in his external form have resembled the bull. If these forces alone had worked upon man, their effect would have been to make him like a bull. But little by little other forces working from within the Earth outward laid hold of the human organization. They are the same forces which exercised the main influence upon the other order of mammals. In esotericism these influences are summarised under the name lion. These forces enter into Earth evolution somewhat later. If the earlier forces had not been there, if these forces alone had worked upon man, his appearance would have resembled that of the lion, with all the characteristics of the leonine organization. The complex human form has come into existence because it has been influenced not only by one current, but by several currents one after another.
You can now form some idea of why the animals resembling the bull remained bull-like, and those resembling the lion became lion-like: it is because the shadowy forms which underlay them were not organized in the same way as the pre-Lemurian Phantoms of human beings had been. As a result of their preceding Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions the human Phantoms were so organized that they always waited for the right moment, that they allowed a variety of successive streams to work upon them one after another, in order that one stream should neutralize the other and thereby bring about a higher harmony. A bull would not remain a bull were the lion nature to work upon it and to modify its structure. The human being approached the Earth in such a way as to enable all these influences to work upon him.
It was not until Atlantis that something else happened, which will throw a flood of light upon zoology when once it is recognized and made fruitful for external science. During the course of the Atlantean epoch quite other conditions came about. I have already said that these bull forces and these lion forces worked as if from the depths of the Earth toward its surface. The forces which were now to unite with these came from without, came from the periphery. During Atlantis we have to think of forces entering into man and fashioning him from below upward, and other forces from cosmic space flowing into him in the downward direction. Thus the human Phantom again became exposed to fresh forces which now worked upon man from another, and an opposite, direction.
To get an idea of what these forces are like which stream upon the Earth from cosmic space we must ask ourselves which are the creatures upon whom they worked with especial intensity, unhampered by other forces. We can point to certain creatures in our environment upon which the bull forces and the lion forces coming from within the Earth have little influence, upon which on the contrary the forces working into the substance of the Earth from cosmic space are almost exclusively active. They are the creatures belonging to the bird kingdom. Our abstract zoology will one day be very much astonished to have to admit that the forces at work in the mammals are quite different from those which work mainly on the bird kingdom, and, in a broader field upon all things that propagate themselves by laying eggs outside their own bodies. In the case of all creatures in which reproduction takes place in this way, but especially in members of the bird kingdom, forces streaming in from cosmic space are predominantly at work. In esotericism these forces are comprised under the name eagle.
Now, if we think of these forces, which come to expression pre-eminently in the formation of the bird world, as harmonized in man with the lion forces and the bull forces, so that they all become part of the original Phantom, then this harmony results in the present-day human form. If you consider the totally different world of the birds, you will not long be in any doubt that the whole structure of the bird is completely different from that of the mammal. Today I will not go into the structure of the other members of the animal kingdom. In the structure of the bird there is something very striking, even to clairvoyant sight. Whereas in the case of the mammals, wherever we turn our clairvoyant gaze we find the astral body very strongly developed, in the case of the birds the most outstanding feature which meets the clairvoyant eye is the etheric body. For example, it is the etheric body, stimulated by cosmic forces coming in from space, which brings to expression the feathers, the plumage. The plumage is formed from without, and a feather can only come into being because the forces which work down upon the Earth from cosmic space are stronger than the forces coming from the Earth. The framework of the feather, what one may call its quill or spine, is of course subject to certain forces coming from the Earth, but it is the cosmic forces which contribute what is attached to the quill and constitute the bird's plumage.
It is quite different as regards creatures covered with hair. Forces working upward from the Earth, forces working in the opposite direction from those in the feathers of the birds, are predominantly at work in hair, and hair cannot become feather, because in the case of animals and men forces coming from cosmic space affect their hair but little. This seeming paradox fully expresses the reality, and if one cared to elaborate it one could say that every feather has the tendency to become a hair, but is not a hair because the forces of cosmic space work inward on the feather from all sides; and every hair has the tendency to become a feather, but does not become a feather because the forces which work from the Earth upward are stronger than the forces which work from without inward. If one takes such paradoxes seriously one discovers certain fundamental secrets in the constitution of our world.
Let us suppose that a man endowed with the ancient clairvoyance wanted not simply to describe man — who really distorts the several streams which flow into him by harmonizing them — but precisely to make manifest these different currents: he would have to say: ‘Something forms the foundation of the human being which cannot be seen physically: the archetypal Phantom, which today only appears in physical form because man has harmonized the eagle, bull, and lion influences.’ Anyone who wants to study the evolution of man must study man's archetypal Phantom as a supersensible form. But in order to do this he would have to separate out again what has flowed together in man. He would have to realize that an etheric shadow-form lies behind the whole of human development, and that into this there enters and intermingles a bull-influence, a lion-influence, and a bird-influence, in such a way that in the finished man of today they are no longer to be distinguished.
Suppose a culture-epoch — for instance, that of ancient Egypt — were trying to represent human evolution, were trying to put before man the immense riddle of human evolution: then the real man, the archetypal Phantom, which arose as the result of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions, would have to remain invisible; but, as if out of the invisible, a composite figure would have to be formed, put together out of the forms of bull and lion, with wings such as an eagle has, such as birds in general have. If you recall the all-embracing significance of the figure of the Sphinx, which was intended to represent the great riddle of human evolution, then you have in fact what a clairvoyant culture, which was inwardly aware of the truth about humanity, put before this humanity. The features which stand out separately in the Sphinx are in human nature inwardly interwoven. For clairvoyant sight the human form has a very strange appearance. If one allows such a sphinx, made up of a lion-form and a bull-form, together with the wings of a bird, to work upon the clairvoyant vision, and if one completes it by adding the human Phantom which underlies it, if one weaves these elements together, then the human form as we have it today comes into being before us. The clairvoyant consciousness cannot then look upon a sphinx — which to begin with does not resemble a man at all — without saying to himself: ‘Thou art I myself!’
Now, it should be noted that in the course of this study we have also thrown light upon the four members of man from another standpoint. A Phantom, a shadow-form, designated in esotericism as Man, came over as the product of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. In the process of the densification of this Phantom the influences named in esotericism lionbull, and eagle are at work. And here we have the four esoteric symbols which together make up the human being and which have a profound meaning for human evolution.
We have said that in the course of humanity's evolution on the Earth, forces from without, cosmic forces, were at work, both upon the human being himself and upon other creatures, especially the bird creation. That in fact came about during the Atlantean time; so that one can say that an influence from cosmic space came down into those parts of the human organization to which normal human consciousness no longer reaches. This influence was at work in Atlantis, and of course it has also continued in the post-Atlantean time. This was the current coming from what I called yesterday the upper gods, the gods who were in a sense the representations of the sub-earthly, the Chthonic gods. They are beings who were encountered by the pupils of the Greek Mysteries, who had to wrestle with  the great riddle of the Sphinx. They had to behold the unconscious part of the human being in such a way that through self-knowledge they also arrived at the four-foldness of humanity.
What since the time of Atlantis had streamed into the subconscious from cosmic space, even into its baser elements, now at the Baptism by John in the Jordan began to flow into man's higher, more purified parts. That is a most significant event. These forces from cosmic space, which since the time of Atlantis have worked continuously upon the formation of the Earth and of humanity, begin to stream in the purest way not only into the unconscious part of the human being, but in such a way that they can influence consciousness. That is why a pictorial image, one of the great symbols which have come down to us through occult and religious scriptures — the symbol of the dove, which we find in the Gospels — had to make its appearance.
How was it possible to describe this instreaming in its purest form from above? We know of course what took place in the Baptism in the Jordan. We know that at that time the threefold body of Jesus of Nazareth, which had been prepared through the two Jesus children, as is described in my little book The Spiritual Guidance of Man and of Mankind, was abandoned by its ego, which was the ego of Zarathustra, and on its departure there entered into this body the purest part of that stream which had been pouring in all the time from cosmic space, but hitherto only into that part of man which is today unconscious. Hence it was correctly symbolized in the form of a bird, the figure of the pure white dove, which represents as it were the purest extract of what in the ancient figure of the Sphinx was the eagle or cherubic element. That this cosmic stream should flow into the conscious part of the human being is essential to the perfection of humanity upon the Earth. In the picture of Jesus of Nazareth on the banks of the Jordan with the dove hovering over him we have in fact the expression of the Mystery which had now been brought to a certain conclusion.
Yesterday we were able to follow a little the cosmic history of this inward streaming from cosmic space. Why was this cosmic instreaming able to transmute itself into that Christ Power, that Christ Impulse, which, as it continues to work further upon the Earth, will permeate the human being completely? As man inwardly receives this Impulse he will more and more feel the truth of St. Paul's words ‘Not I, but Christ in me!’ As contrasted with the other three currents which were there as the outcome of earlier evolution, this new influence, which is the purest stream from above, will take hold of the human being, will encompass him to a greater and greater extent, will also liberate him ever more and more from what binds him to the Earth. Yesterday we spoke of the historical development of this stream and said that it was only able to be what it has in fact become because it had been prepared for upon the Old Sun.
Whereas the upper gods, those who, in the sense we explained yesterday, were the representations of the others, only wished to live in the finer elements — in the warmth, light, chemical, and life elements — this being, who later through the Baptism by John in the Jordan descended to Earth, out of the most profound wisdom took with Him the forces to which our Earth evolution had already advanced on the Old Sun. We know from spiritual science that the condensation of the warmth element to air (warmth being the essential feature of the Saturn evolution) had already taken place during the Sun evolution. Whereas the other beings among the upper gods refused to take the air element with them when they withdrew from development as a whole into cosmic space, this being did take the air-element with Him, so that He remained related to the Earth. Thus through this being there was outside in cosmic space all the time for all future evolution an element akin to the Earth — the element which had already on the Old Sun condensed to air or gas. If we gaze up into space, gaze up to the Sun, as though with the eye of Zarathustra of old, we have to see it primarily as a survival of the ancient Sun, so to say as the ancient Sun planet come to life again, repeating in the present what existed during the Sun evolution.
Thus, expressed in terms of spiritual science, we have in the first place to see in the Sun the dwelling place — or part of it at any rate, for this dwelling-place extends to the other planets as well — the most essential part of the dwelling-place of the upper gods, whom we designated yesterday as one stream of the divine world. But if you look at this whole Sun with the clairvoyant eye, you see that everything in it which is those upper gods is there only in etheric form, from the warmth ether upward to the light ether, the chemical ether, and the life ether. But the Sun as it moves in space today is not only there for clairvoyant sight as an etheric structure, it is also a globe of gas, it is condensed to the state of air. The Sun would never have condensed to the state of air had not the being of whom I spoke yesterday, the being who descended to Earth with the dove in the Baptism by John in the Jordan, during the Sun evolution detached Himself from the Sun in a body of air and not merely in an etheric body. Thus when we look up at the Sun we have to say: ‘The warmth, light, and chemical impulses in the Sun are connected with the other beings, those who are only the ideas or representations of the lower gods; but the gaseous element in the Sun is actually the body of Christ.’
Our modern materialistic science will one day come to learn once more the ancient doctrine of Zarathustra, will one day have to say to itself: ‘The Sun as a globe of vapor outside in space is not merely what our astro-chemistry makes of it, not merely what our spectral-analysis reveals, but the Sun as a globe of air or vapor there outside in the heavens is the pristine body of Christ, who was associated with the other upper gods, but was also connected with the being of the Earth.’ — That is what Zarathustra perceived when he expressed the Mystery of the Christ in the Sun by the word Aura Mazdao or Ahura Mazdao — the great wisdom-filled Spirit, the great wisdom, the great aura. And then what up to that time had existed solely in the Sun, and yet was akin to the nature of the Earth, did in fact take possession, in the mysterious moment of the Baptism by John in the Jordan, of the physical, etheric, and astral bodies of Jesus of Nazareth. In the body of Jesus of Nazareth, for the first time upon our Earth, the purified stream from cosmic space united with the newly arising etheric body streaming from the human heart to the brain. During the Baptism by John in the Jordan there took place a union between what was indeed a real stream that came from without, from cosmic space — being moreover permeated with airy substance — and the stream which rises upward continuously as the finest etheric constituents of the heart-blood toward the head. This is what first gave to every human soul the possibility of permeating itself with that element out of cosmic space which is represented to us in the sign of the dove at the Baptism by John in the Jordan. In fact, through that event an intercourse was created between the entire universe, so far as it is accessible to us, and its purest extract, which previously — provisionally, we might say — had cooperated in what is called esoterically the eagle-stream. It was a communication, an interaction, between all that streamed from the Earth and formed the human body from below upward and what as macrocosmic stream worked into man from without. From this you see how we can enter ever more deeply into the Mystery which took place in Palestine. The more we ourselves advance in knowledge of what the world is, the better we come to understand the Mystery of Palestine.
Now, we are bound to ask why the human being no longer sees or feels anything at all of this etheric stream which flows upward from his heart to his brain. Modern science is superficial, hence its attitude to history is also superficial, and it often takes age-old truths to be age-old errors. If you studied the Greek philosopher Aristotle you would find in his writings a remarkable teaching about the nature of man, a remarkable description of that ‘wonder of the world’, the human being. You would find a description of how extremely fine etheric elements flow from the heart to the head and there, as they contact the brain, cool down. Modern science of course says ‘Aristotle was certainly very intelligent for a Greek, but today every schoolboy knows that this is not so.’ But it is those who speak in this way of Aristotle who are in the wrong. The truth is that though Aristotle had not himself the clairvoyant consciousness which enabled him to know it for himself, he knew from old traditions what in still earlier times it had been possible to observe through an original, natural clairvoyance. This consciousness of etheric currents rising from the heart to the head was certainly to be found until far on into the Middle Ages, right on into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We find a certain awareness of it even in the works of Descartes. But according to historians of philosophy ‘Descartes has some fantastic tale about the vital spirits which flow from the heart to the brain, but that is just an old-wives' tale. Happily we know better than that.’
But it is not an old-wives' tale, it is the truth, a truth which originated in the time when such things could be perceived by a natural clairvoyance. How then must we put the matter from the point of view of modern clairvoyance, modern occult science? We may perhaps feel somewhat uneasy with the way in which Aristotle puts it, since of necessity he only drew upon tradition, the old clairvoyant forces being no longer at his disposal. But if by means of the esotericism which has been available since the thirteenth century one undertakes an investigation of the whole human being, then one perceives that in fact there is such an etheric current from the heart to the head.
One observes also something else. Not only does an etheric current go from the heart to the head, but astral currents are also present in this stream. If one looks closely at these currents it becomes clear that they contain both etheric elements — substances of the human etheric body — and substances of man's astral body. A substance streams from heart to head in which substantial elements both of the etheric and of the astral body of man are present. Now, the brain is a most remarkable instrument of human nature. Owing to the way it has been formed since the last third of the Atlantean epoch, it has acquired one very peculiar quality. It arrests the astrality which rises up, prevents the astral current from passing through it, while it does allow the etheric current to pass. I repeat — the brain as physical instrument is an organ in which part of the current which comes from the heart is dammed up. The brain is permeable for the etheric current, but not for the astral one. The astral current is arrested in our brain; in the region of the head the seer perceives that astral currents rising upward from the body spread out in the brain but are held up there, are allowed to pass through the brain not at all, or only to a very small extent. These upward astral currents which are arrested by the brain have a certain power of attraction for the external astral substantialities which are always around us in the astral substance of the Earth. Hence the astral body of man in the region of the head is as though knit together out of two astralities: out of the astrality which continually streams toward us from the cosmos, and the astrality in the human body which comes up from below and is attracted by the outer astrality.
Thus the astral body around the head, quite near the skin of the head, has a thickening, something like a cap — to put it rather grotesquely — made of astral substance — a cap which we wear all the time. We have in the region of the head an astral covering consisting of the thickening which arises through the knitting together of the inner and the outer astralities. The rays of the etheric body pass through this astral hood or cap, since they are not arrested by the brain, and the purer they are — that is, the less they still contain of the instincts, desires, passions, and emotions of human nature — the lighter and more brilliant they appear. Thus the human aura, when seen from the front, acquires a kind of coronet, a wreath of astrality, through which the rays of the etheric body pass. That is the halo which those gifted with the ancient clairvoyance perceived in those whose etheric aura shone brightly because of the purity of their being. This is what we see depicted in pictures. That is what is meant by the halo, that is what becomes visible to the clairvoyant who clearly sees the aura round the head. The inner astral aura, the inner astral substance, through a peculiar characteristic of the brain, is retained and disposed around the head.
Please try to grasp this process very clearly. Etheric-astral substance in man flows from below upward. This etheric-astral substance expands in the brain in such a way as to fill it, but is held back there, just as a ray of light which falls upon a mirror is arrested and thrown back. Here we have the true mirroring-process. Because the astral stuff of the brain is held back, it reflects itself, and what in this way enters into you and is reflected is your thought, your conscious feeling, what you normally experience as your soul-life. And it is only because this astral part is so to speak tied together or sewn together by the etheric currents streaming through the brain, which thus effect a union between the inner astrality and the outer, that knowledge of the outer world comes about. Everything that we know of the outer world we know because the outer astrality unites with the inner astrality by virtue of the strange astral cap or hood which everyone has.
Yes, my dear friends, even the history of civilization will still be greatly enriched by means of occultism. Let me draw your attention to the fact that in ancient times men actually saw such things, and that the aura which was in olden times still visible was copied in men's clothing. Men adopted helmets because they were shaped like the astral cap or hood which crowns every man. All clothing originated in this way, through man's imitating in his dress the etheric or the astral element which he had around him. If we want to understand ancient garments, priestly robes in particular, if we want to know why this or that originated, we only need to be able to look clairvoyantly upon what surounds men as their etheric or astral auras. For the form of these auras was reproduced in ancient garments, and is still represented in the vestments connected with religious cults or rituals. Nowadays — I say this by the way — we have become so corrupted by materialism that we ignore the aura and will have nothing to do with the kind of clothing which represents what man bears within him. The craze for nudism has emerged in our time because the materialistic mind is no longer aware of those higher etheric and astral auras which men bear around them, and from which they have derived the shape of their garments. In olden times, though not so very long ago, the colors of these auras were reproduced in human clothing. If you look at pictures by the old masters, the color of the garments still bears witness to a vestigial consciousness of the aura. Notice how Mary is usually depicted with undergarment and cloak of specific colors. The painter could not give to Mary the yellow robe of the Magdalene! Why not? Because the aura of a Magdalene is quite different from that of a Mary! The painter of old brought very clearly to expression that the raiment represented what the human being carries around him supersensibly as a kind of clothing. And if you look at what the figures of the Greek gods wear, you see that not only their clothing, but also their helmet-shaped headdresses and the like — as apparent for example in the case of Pallas Athene — are due to the way the Greek sculptors were conditioned to think of the auras of their gods.
Thus you see that the man who has progressed to real spiritual knowledge of human nature has to admit: ‘All that you see around you is only a very superficial expression of your true being.’ When a man feels his consciousness strong within him he is driven to say: ‘This consciousness of mine only grasps a very small part indeed of human nature; there is something else working in me all the time.’
Now we are in a position to carry to completion what we have already said about the brain. If we go farther and consider the human being clairvoyantly in respect of other regions of his being, we find something most remarkable. Whereas the etheric and astral elements mount upward as far as his brain, where the astral part is arrested and the etheric part protrudes beyond as a kind of corona, we see that the ego-part of man has been arrested earlier as a kind of inner aura in the region of the heart. The true inner ego-aura is already arrested in the region of the heart, it only presses upward as far as the heart, and there unites with a part of the outer aura, unites with the corresponding part of the macrocosmic aura. Two elements in fact are entwined in the heart: the element which enters from the cosmos, and the ego-aura which mounts up from below, but is dammed back in the heart. Just as the astral aura is arrested in the brain, so is the ego-aura held back in the heart, where it makes contact with an element of ego-aura coming from without. Hence the fact is that the real ego-consciousness of man does not take place in the brain. What I have said about the man of Atlantis, that his ego was drawn into him, must be thought of more explicitly as an incoming of the external cosmic ego, which since the time of Atlantis has advanced as far as the heart, where it has united with another stream which comes up from below and reaches the heart. Thus the heart is organically the place where through the instrument of the blood the real ego of man as it manifests in our consciousness comes into being.
Everything that I have just been telling you shows the place man holds in the macrocosmic world.  We are all that; all that is in us. All that is taking place in us; and the normal consciousness of present-day man grasps only so much of it as everybody of course knows, that is to say, only what lies on the surface. When you realize that the world-wonder — man — contains such immensities, you can well imagine how complex and manifold is the world that lies about us and how our conscious knowledge merely skims the surface of the three kingdoms of Nature which are our environment. Yes; we must face the fact that our ordinary life of soul, our consciousness, stays on the surface and gives us knowledge of only the tiniest important part of the human being.
A time comes when what I have just been saying in such a matter of fact way penetrates and oppresses the man who is striving for higher knowledge, for supersensible knowledge. He suddenly becomes aware: ‘The knowledge you have had hitherto has tended rather to conceal than to reveal.’ There he stands in all his human weakness before the wonders of the world. It is the very essence of what we must call the ordeals of the soul that this consciousness should not render him faint-hearted, impotent, that he should find that confidence to persevere of which I spoke yesterday. Strong, forceful energy, hope, and confidence bring the soul through each trial, for these qualities enable it to face all that we have called the world-wonders—the riddles of the world. And the world displays ever more ‘wonders’ the further we penetrate into the supersensible. But since each fresh marvel presents us with a fresh unknown, we are perpetually faced with new challenges. In everyday life, for example, it would be a test if, after having known a man for some time, believing him to be what he seemed to be, we were suddenly to discover him to be something quite different. We could then either break with him or rise above this difficulty and remain true to him. In that case we should have stood the test of friendship. Trials of this kind exist too as regards the world-wonders. We face them with all the ideas and feelings which our soul has acquired about them, but we are progressing and — not that the world is changing, but because we are penetrating further and further into it — fresh things are continually meeting us, and again and again we have to say ‘What you have perceived hitherto is maya.’ Then we can be assailed by doubt. Above all we can begin to feel that we have pressed on too fast — as Johannes Thomasius does in the last scene but one of The Soul's Probation. Hitherto he has made a certain picture of Lucifer which accorded with his soul's development, but it is only an image, a shadow. As he progresses further a deeper, more significant Lucifer appears to him, and he has to retrace his steps in order to get to know him in his fullness, and no longer as a shadow.
In the same way a man who has advanced to what for him is the next higher stage of clairvoyance  can advance still further and say to himself, ‘What I have reached so far is nevertheless still only shadow, image; it must become more solid.’ Because we are all the time advancing we are faced by ever new configurations of the world. We can enter into these new configurations with stout souls: then we shall withstand the challenge and be able to derive from it ever fresh spiritual revelations. Every time a fresh spiritual revelation comes to us there will be a fresh test to surmount. At every stage of progress new ordeals arise, and we have to see it as the impulse for all higher development that our souls never need give up, but can undertake ever higher and perhaps severer tests. But if the soul withstands the test, spiritual revelations are never lacking; though it may be only after a long time that spiritual revelation gives to the soul what it has to go through ordeals to attain.
Thus we see that such ordeals are the goad which drives us upward, and moreover that spiritual revelations coming from above are always the reward of effort. For this reason we must never rashly regard what can be attained at any one stage as the final goal. For example, we should be quite wrong to look upon what was expressed in our first Rosicrucian Mystery Play as our end. A man can be very expert in seeing images in the higher worlds and yet realize one day that he has only seen images and not realities. Then he is faced by the severe trial which Johannes Thomasius has yet to face when the second Mystery Play comes to an end. He then becomes aware that what he has seen is image, that he has not come to know reality sufficiently even on the physical plane to fill out his picture with reality. Then the soul is assailed by trials in which it has to learn how to develop the strength to impart content to what is at first merely image. We have to realize that we must not shrink from such trials, for every new configuration of the world which is presented to us furnishes us with new ordeals to be overcome; to come to an end of these trials would mean the death of true spiritual life. We have to recognize that we should not shrink from the trials, because they make us strong, strong to rise up into the spiritual world.

1. In the Cycle From Jesus to Christ, given at Carlsruhe a few weeks later, Dr. Steiner repeatedly used the word ‘Phantom’ when speaking of this shadow-form.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Watch and Pray


Luke 21:25-36

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Thank you, Hazel!

Ordeals of the Soul; the Heart and the Pineal Gland; Jehovah-Christ


Diagram 4

Wonders of the World, Ordeals of the Soul, Revelations of the Spirit.
Lecture 8 of 10.
Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 25, 1911:

In the course of yesterday's lecture we saw how manifold cosmic forces play into human nature, and we also saw how the Greeks experienced these forces and gave them pictorial expression in a mythology most of which is still extant. My frequent references to Greek mythology have not at all been made with the object of interpreting it, but rather to throw the light which it affords upon certain pristine truths. Pictures, together with what we gather from history, are a better help in this respect than our abstract ideas, which are too impoverished to be able to bring to adequate expression the great wonders of the world. Then too in the figure of Dionysos our attention was drawn to something which is associated with the deepest forces of our souls, with what we can call the challenges or ordeals of the soul. What then is meant by the expression ‘ordeals of the soul’? Ordeals are what come upon a man whenever he tries to enter upon the paths leading to the spiritual worlds. I made some reference yesterday to the lightest, the gentlest of them. In general they consist of the experiences a man can have on his way into the higher worlds, experiences to which his soul is not equal without having undergone a certain preparation. The ordeal thus lies in the fact that a man has to make great efforts to endure certain pieces of knowledge, to meet calmly certain experiences. A soul-experience of this nature is indicated toward the end of the second of my Rosicrucian dramas, The Soul's Probation, and this will perhaps help to make clear what such an inner ordeal actually is.
Let us call to mind the figure there described, the figure we know as Capesius. We know from both these two plays of mine the experiences which he has undergone. We have seen how little by little he draws near to the spiritual life, how to begin with the sound instinct, which has alienated him from the kind of scholarship he had hitherto pursued, gives him premonitions of it but no more. He begins to suspect that there is a higher reality behind the world of the mind. It is mainly because he gives rein to these premonitions, it is because he allows them full play, that he inevitably becomes impressed by the exoteric teachings of spiritual science. The communications of spiritual science differ fundamentally from those of other scientific or literary discourse. Whereas the other simply appeals to our intellect, and perhaps indirectly through our intellect to our feeling, a man is only allowing spiritual science, or occult science, to work upon him rightly if he is stirred to the inmost depths of his soul, if his soul is turned inside out, so to say, if it is completely changed by what flows therefrom, not as abstract content, but as life itself. Something like that is what Capesius is depicted as feeling in the first scene of the second play, after he has wrestled with himself as a result of his premonitions, and then plunged deeply into the writings of Benedictus, into the ‘Book of Life’. And that not only causes him to ponder, to rack his brains to try to get at the meaning of what he reads, as he would do whatever he was reading, but he feels the spiritual world break in upon him in a way he does not understand. It has yet another effect upon him. It would be easy to compare the mood which prevails in the first scene of the second play with the mood at the opening of Goethe's Faust; it is however essentially different. The mood of Faust merely shows that, having arrived at a certain scepticism, a certain doubt, as to all knowledge, a man then has an inner urge to find other ways of obtaining knowledge than the usual ones. In Capesius's case something else happens. To begin with he is torn in two, because it makes him recognize doubt, persistence in ignorance, as man's greatest sin. He learns to acknowledge that something lies in the depths of the human soul of which the normal consciousness is quite unaware. A treasure slumbers in the deepest strata of our souls; we are harboring something in depths of soul which the normal consciousness is at first incapable of recognizing.
When we enter fully into the meaning and the true significance of spiritual science we realize that it is no mere selfish yearning, but deep-seated duty toward the macrocosmic forces not to allow the buried treasure in our souls to be wasted. We come to realize that deep down in every man there lies something which once upon a time the gods implanted in him out of their own body, their own substance. We come to feel: ‘The gods have sacrificed a piece of their own existence, they have as it were torn away a fragment of their own flesh, and have deposited it within human souls.’ We men can do one of two things with this treasure, this divine heritage. We can out of a certain indolence say: ‘What do I want with knowledge? The gods will soon direct me to my goal!’ But they do not do so, for they have buried this treasure within us in order that we may bring it to the light of day out of our own freedom. Thus we can let this treasure go to waste. That is one of the courses which the soul can take. The alternative is that, recognizing our highest duty toward the heavenly powers, we should say to ourselves: ‘We must raise up this treasure, we must lift it out of the hidden depths into our consciousness.’ What are we doing when we bring up this treasure out of the unconscious? We give it a different form from the one it had earlier in the body of the gods, but in a mysterious way we give it back again to the gods in the form which it has acquired through us. We are not cultivating in our knowledge any private concern of our own, we are not doing anything merely in the interests of our own egotism, we are simply carrying back into the higher worlds, in the changed form which it has acquired through us, the noble heritage which the gods have given us, so that they may share it with us. But if we neglect this treasure, if we allow it to deteriorate, then we are in a very real sense being egotistic, for then this treasure in our souls is irrevocably lost to the world-process. We are allowing our divine heritage to go to waste, if we are reluctant to recognize its presence in us.
The mood of Capesius springs from this. In the first scene of the second play he feels it his duty not to stick fast in doubt, not to persist in the feeling that one can know nothing; he feels that it would be a violation of his duty to the cosmic powers to allow the treasure in his soul to go to waste. Only he feels to begin with incapable of using the apparatus of his body to draw out these riches, and that is what causes the conflict in his soul. There is nothing of the Faustian attitude here. On the contrary, Capesius says to himself: ‘You must acknowledge that you cannot persist in your ignorance; you may not surrender to the feeling which overtakes you when you think how little strength our customary life has placed at our disposal for drawing out this treasure.’ Then there is only one resource left to us — confidence in our own soul. If the soul patiently develops what lies within it, little by little, then the strength which it feels as yet to be inadequate is bound to become ever greater, until it will at length really be able to fulfill its obligations toward the cosmic powers. This trust in the soul's powers of endurance and its fruitfulness must uphold us when, as often, because we only bring with us strength drawn from the past, we feel afraid, not knowing what to do; when it seems: ‘You must, and at this moment you cannot.’ All the soul's ordeals are like this. From this fear, this feeling of impotence, we at first shrink back, and it is only when we find the strength which arises from this confidence in ourselves, from this trust which grows in us gradually through our deepening in spiritual science, that we are able to pass safely through such trials.
You will already have recognized from the whole trend of these lectures that two cosmic influences play their part in man, in his whole nature and being. And to bring these two currents into harmony great strength of soul is needed, strength to confront them both with fortitude and courage. This is clearly expressed at the end of my second play, The Soul's Probation. There we see how Capesius has undergone important occult experiences, how he has been permitted a glimpse into his previous incarnation, how he has been allowed to know what he was centuries ago on Earth. Then we come to a sentence which is really not to be taken lightly. We come to the saying that knowledge of one life lays obligations upon us for many lives, not simply for one. When we look back into our former incarnation, when we see how we have behaved to this or that person, when we see the debt we have incurred toward them, we feel that we have a heavy burden of debt to repay. And then there comes to us a thought which might well rob us of all courage; we recognize: ‘It is quite impossible for you to make good in your present incarnation the debt which you have brought upon yourself.’ Many men have a great longing to make all the reparation possible, but that springs from egotism. Most men in their egotism find it intolerable to have to carry through the gate of death so very much of their debit account, unbearable to have to say to themselves: ‘You must die and must take your debt of guilt in respect of this or the other matter with you into your next incarnation.’ But courage to admit freely and frankly ‘You have wickedness upon your soul’ calls for a high degree of disinterestedness, whereas usually the human being wants to think himself as good as is his idea of a good man.
Anyone who has had occult experiences of the kind we have been speaking of has to recognize his evil propensities frankly — and he must go further: he must accept the impossibility of making everything good in this life. Romanus expresses this in The Soul's Probation [scene 13] in a speech which may serve to illustrate this point. He says that guilt from the preceding life has to be carried through the gate of death, and that we must have the courage to face the moment when the Guardian stands before us and presents us with our debit account. This situation has to be taken seriously. It brings us face to face with the other current, which may be described in the following way. When the human being cultivates self-knowledge — not just superficial self-knowledge, but true self-knowledge — when he really learns something of his inmost being, then as a rule he discovers something in himself which he finds it very difficult to accept, something which is in the highest degree repugnant to him, something which, when it really dawns upon him, is absolutely shattering. Contrast this crushing feeling in the depths of the soul with the sentiment which prevails in so many people, even in those who have some acquaintance with spiritual science. How often do we hear it said: ‘I do that with no thought of myself; I don't want anything for myself,’ and so on. It may be that just when one is most self-seeking one puts on a mask, one hides this fact from oneself by saying ‘I want nothing for myself.’ That is a common experience. But it is better to acknowledge to oneself the truth, that at bottom even the most unselfish actions are performed for our own sakes, for by recognizing this we lay a foundation which will enable us gradually to bear the true picture with which the Guardian of the Threshold confronts us.
Now let us consider the question at a higher level. Why is it that we find so much in ourselves which is inharmonious? That is connected with the whole of evolution. We shall have to undertake a deeper study of human evolution if we want to understand why it is just when the human being plunges more deeply into his own nature and his own being that he finds so much that is inharmonious. Let us assume for a moment that there is a treasure hidden in the depths of our soul of which the normal consciousness today is quite unaware, and that when in the course of our soul's trials we discover it, we find so much to shock us that we probably shrink back in terror, feeling completely shattered. What is it that we carry within us? We all know that humanity underwent a very complicated evolution before man reached his present stage. We know that in order to reach his present form he had to go through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions and that only after having done this did he enter upon Earth evolution. One day the complexity of the facts of life will be recognized in wider circles and people will realize that it is impossible to understand man or his environment without taking into consideration the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions; people will then see how very naive, how superficial, is the contribution of the abstract science of today. Thus what we have today as the fourfold human being has been slowly prepared and formed through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. By the time the Moon evolution came to an end, the human being had developed up to a certain point. The time between Moon and Earth evolutions was occupied in working upon the spiritual element which had been present in man during the Moon evolution, elaborating it into a new germ for Earth evolution.
What, then, was man like — man, the product of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions — when he arrived on Earth? We have already dealt with this question from very many aspects. Today we will look at it from yet another side. We cannot come to know occult facts by pinning ourselves down to a few abstract concepts; we have to approach the truth by throwing light on the facts from all sides. The paths of higher truth are complex, and only he can walk them who is willing patiently to trace their labyrinth.
What was man like when, bringing with him the fruits of his Moon evolution, he arrived on Earth? Nothing of what we are familiar with today as the physical body of man was present at the commencement of Earth evolution. Although the first rudiments of this physical body were present in the Saturn evolution, were further developed on the Sun, and had already reached a high stage of development on the Moon, we must nevertheless understand that in the intervening periods between Saturn and Sun, and again between the Sun and Moon evolutions, all that had evolved of the physical and other bodies had reverted to spirit. Everything again passed over into imperceptible substantiality at the end of the Moon evolution. The physical which had evolved on Saturn and subsequently been further fashioned was no longer physical, everything had been taken up into the spirit again; the physical was as it were in solution, was present only as forces — forces with the capacity to call forth physical forms, but with the physical element not actually present. When Earth evolution began, what we call the physical was not there in a physical form, but only in a spiritual form, a spiritual form which was capable of condensing little by little to the physical. That has to be borne in mind.
We can go further. We know that we are now in the post-Atlantean age, and that this was preceded by the Atlantean and the Lemurian ages. Beyond the Lemurian age we come to still earlier periods of Earth evolution. But at the beginning of Lemuria man was still not to be found in his present form as physical body. What today is physical was at that time, even where it was densest, still only in etheric form; that is to say, the forces of our present physical body were at that time in solution, as it were, within the ether body, but the forces of this ether body were such that when they condensed in accordance with their own nature they were then able to bring about our physical body. Thus these etheric forces were in a way the forces of the physical body but they were not present in a physical condition. Thus when man entered upon his Lemurian development, his densest body was still an etheric one. Condensation to the physical body only began from the Lemurian time onwards. It was brought about in a very complicated manner. Thus for spiritual vision man was there at the outset in an etheric body, and this etheric body contained those physical forces which had been acquired through the course of Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. These forces had the tendency to condense, so that little by little the physical body could come into existence, but they were not yet in physical form. But had the forces of the physical body condensed in the way they tended to do at that time, even in his physical appearance man today would have looked very different.
We must be quite clear that, in fact, man's appearance today is quite different from what he was by predisposition in the time which preceded ancient Lemuria. During the course of the Lemurian, Atlantean, and post-Atlantean epochs there have been at work in human nature not only the forces which were already present in man in rudimentary form, but other forces as well. If we wish to form an idea of what the further working of the forces of the etheric body has been, it can best be illustrated in a particular organic system of the human physical body. Let us consider what a part of the human being originating from the ether body has become since the time of Lemuria; let this diagram represent the human ether body as it was at the beginning of Earth evolution, before the Lemurian epoch. In it we find numerous currents, manifold directions of force, which are the outcome of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions; from among these we pick out a certain number the purpose of which was to bring into being in man's physical organism his blood circulation with its centralization in the heart. Thus there are forces which were acquired under Saturn, Sun, and Moon conditions which were anchored in the etheric body before Lemuria, and which then condensed in such a way as to bring about the blood-system with its center in the heart. We have been describing a particular organic system which from the time of Lemuria onwards, out of specific etheric forces in our ether body, has little by little reached physical densification. Just as, given the right treatment, you can see salt-crystals crystallize out from a solution of common salt in water, just as a crystalline form becomes visible in the solution, so in a higher sense something of the same kind happens to the blood-system and the heart. They crystallize out of special forces in the human etheric body which have an inherent tendency to condense to this physical organic system. It has only been during the course of Earth evolution that they have been able to develop into the physical heart.

Diagram 4

We have yet to see why that took place in the course of Earth evolution, and not for instance in the Moon evolution. What really do the blood circulation and the heart mean to us? They are the ether-world condensed, they are the densified forces of the etheric world! Now, from the moment these forces reached the degree of density manifested today by the physical heart, by the blood and the whole circulatory system, they would have come to an end as far as Earth evolution is concerned, a kind of death would have set in. The important and mysterious feature of Earth evolution is not only that this densification took place, not only that the forces which had come over from Saturn, Sun, and Moon condensed to such an organic system, not only that what was in the etheric body became physical, but that as regards each of our systems of organs in Earth evolution an impulse entered whereby what was once etheric, and had become physical, is once more dissolved, is changed back again into the ether. That this is so, that after the etheric forces have condensed to a system of organs they are not allowed to rest at this as their goal, but that other forces then intervene which dissolve them again, is one of the most momentous impulses of our Earth evolution. In the very moment when our human organs have reached the point of greatest densification in earthly evolution, certain macrocosmic powers re-dissolve the substantiality of the organic system, so that what was there before, and had gradually lapsed into this organic condition, now emerges from it again, again becomes visible.
This process can be most closely followed by the occultist in the case of the heart and the blood streaming through it; it is possible to see how this dissolution comes about, how the Earth-impulses enter into the substance of such an organic system. For clairvoyant sight something streams continuously out of our heart — our heart, the outcome of our blood circulation. If you see clairvoyantly the blood pulsating through the human body, then you also see how this blood becomes rarefied again in the heart, how in its finest elements—not in its coarser, but in its finer parts — it is dissolved and returns to the etheric form. Just as the blood has gradually been formed in the ether, so in the human body of the present day we have the reverse process. The blood becomes etherized, and streams of ether flow continuously from the heart toward the head, so that we see the etheric body built up in an opposite direction by way of the blood. Thus what crystallized out from the etheric during the early part of Lemuria to form the human blood circulation and the heart we now see returning to the etheric form and streaming in the human etheric body toward the brain. And unless these streams of ether were to flow continuously from the heart toward the head, however much we tried to think about the world and to know about it, we should be quite unable to make use of our brain as the instrument for thought. As an instrument for knowledge the brain would be completely useless if it were only to function as physical brain. We have to resort to occultism to learn how the brain would work today if it were left to itself. The human being would only be able to think thoughts connected with the inner needs of his body. For example he would be able to think ‘Now I am hungry, now I am thirsty, now I will satisfy this or that instinct.’ If he were entirely dependent upon his physical brain man would only be able to think thoughts connected with his own bodily needs, he would be the perfect egoist. But currents of a fine etheric substance coming from the heart stream continuously through the brain. These etheric currents are indirectly related to a delicate and important part of the human brain called the pineal gland. They continuously lave the pineal gland, which becomes luminous, and its movements as physical brain-organ respond in harmony with these etheric currents emanating from the heart. Thereby these etheric currents are brought again into connection with the physical brain and give it an impress which enables us to know, in addition to egotistic knowledge, something of the outside world, something that is not ourselves. Thus by way of  the pineal gland our etherized blood reacts upon our brain. You will find an even more detailed description of this from a certain standpoint in the lectures which are about to be published under the title Occult Physiology, lectures originally held in Prague. There I have pointed out from another aspect something of the function of the pineal gland. So you see we have not only a process within the Earth which leads to solidification, but also a reverse process of rarefaction. When we grasp this we are driven to the conclusion that we bear in us forces which will cause us to revert to the form we had during the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions.
In his normal consciousness today, man knows nothing of the marvelous play of forces in his ether body; he knows nothing of this communication between heart and brain. Anyone who is made aware of it through occult development becomes aware of something peculiar about these etheric currents — and here self-knowledge yields something very striking, something of the highest significance. One comes to know how these forces stream upward from the heart to the brain, to form the brain in such a way that the human being may be able to make use of it as the instrument of his soul-life. But at the same time one learns that these forces have not passed through the human organization unscathed, that they do not leave the heart in the same state in which they entered it. All that man has meanwhile developed out of the unconscious by way of lower instincts and appetites, all  his natural propensities, are carried along in the etheric stream which is borne upwards from the heart. Thus we received this current in ancient Lemuria as a pure etheric stream which had no other craving, no other will, so to say, than to condense to form the wondrous structure of our heart. Since that time we have gone on living as physical men with this heart and this blood circulation: we have passed through a number of incarnations without knowing anything of this solidification of our original ether bodies into the physical parts of heart and blood circulation. And we have become permeated with desires, longings, sympathies and antipathies, emotions and passions, habits and mistakes, and the reborn ether body which now streams upward to the brain is darkened, is filled with all this. We send all this upwards from our heart — and now, in real self-knowledge, we become aware of it. We become aware that what we received from the gods themselves in the depths of our life-body we are unable to give back to the gods again in the same state in which we received it, but that it has become sullied by our own being.
Little by little we must come to know more closely what it is that I have just described as a kind of impurity of our own being. If we would understand the matter we have to bear in mind the following considerations. At the beginning of the Saturn evolution, or rather before it had begun, there was one single etheric stream for the whole of mankind and for the whole of Earth evolution. At the very moment when the Saturn evolution started, a split occurred in the cosmic powers. We shall learn later why that happened; now I only want just to mention it. This duality in the whole of cosmic activity only started from the moment when Saturn began to develop. Greek mythology indicates it by making ancient Saturn — or Cronos, as the Greeks called him — the opponent of his father, Uranus. This shows that they were aware of the original unity of all the macrocosmic forces. But when Saturn, or Cronos, began to crystallize, at once something hidden in the nature of Cronos put him in opposition to the general evolution. To repeat what has been said before, we can put it in this way: The totality of the divine-spiritual beings who held sway in evolution when the development of the planet Saturn began, split in two; so that we now have one evolutionary stream which is directly involved in everything which takes place through Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions down to our Earth, and another stream side by side with this main one.
You can form a rough idea of this secondary stream if you think of the air, the atmosphere surrounding our Earth, as a finer substance, and compare it with the denser parts of the Earth, with water and with the solid elements. We could likewise imagine that a denser development went on in Saturn, Sun, and Moon, but that this denser evolution was all the time sheathed in a more rarefied evolution. We could imagine that there were divine-spiritual beings working directly on Saturn, Sun, and Moon in their own substance, but that there were always other divine-spiritual beings in the periphery, who surrounded the spiritual beings working directly in Saturn, Sun, and Moon, just as air surrounds the Earth. Thus we have indicated two realms of gods, two spiritual realms, one of which plays a direct part in all that takes place successively in the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolution, the other holding itself aloof, so to say, and only intervening indirectly. Now we must try to form an idea of how the one category of gods is related to the other. Please take careful note of the relationship of those gods whose range is properly speaking more comprehensive — I mean those who take part directly in the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions — to those others who encircle this cosmic globe in its successive stages.
You will get a better idea of this if you first have a look at man himself. Take the human soul: it thinks. What does it mean, to think? It means to bring about thoughts. Thinking is a process which goes on in us, and while on the one hand it makes real soul-beings of us, on the other hand it draws us upward and causes our thoughts all the time to envelop our souls. Now, man with his thoughts, even as a being of soul, is still at a relatively subordinate stage of world-organization; but the beings whom we have just referred to as gods, dividing them into two streams, are at a far higher stage. Imagine for a moment that man was capable not only of grasping his thought purely as thought, but that the human soul was so strong that what it thought immediately became a being. Imagine that we were to give birth to our thoughts as beings, that whenever we grasped a thought it straightaway existed. (In a certain way it does remain in the Akasha Chronicle, but it does not become so dense that we are confronted by it as a reality.) Imagine that we were not just to think thoughts, but that with each thought we were to bring forth a being! Then you would have grasped what takes place within the divine-spiritual world. The gods who were living in the complete harmony, the perfect unity, which existed among them before Saturn, represented themselves; they thought. But their thoughts were not like human thoughts, which we have to pronounce unreal: their thoughts were beings, they were other gods. Thus we have generations of gods whose reality is original, and others who are merely the representations — the real ideas — of the gods directly associated with the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. They are the gods who surround the world-sphere in the course of its development through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions.
Thus we have two categories of gods; one of them is the thought-world of the other, is in fact related to the other as our thoughts are related to our real soul-existence. What have we so far usually called the gods who are merely the thoughts of the others? Because of certain characteristics of theirs we have called them Luciferic beings, and henceforth we must assign to the category of Luciferic beings all those of whom we can say that ‘the original gods had need to present themselves to themselves in self-knowledge.’ Therefore they confronted themselves with the Luciferic beings as cosmic thoughts, or cosmic thought-beings, just as the human being is confronted by his thoughts. And just as man actually first comes to know himself in his thoughts, so the original gods learned to know themselves in Lucifer and his hosts. We could express that in another way: we could say that these beings, who are really only the ideas of the others, always lagged behind the others in their development. The advanced gods have, so to say, left something of themselves behind, so that they could look back and see themselves in this mirror thrown off from their own substance — just as we in everyday life can only see ourselves in a mirror. Thus in fact the Luciferic beings are backward beings, entities thrown off by the original gods, entities who are there to form a mirror of self-knowledge for the progressive gods.
In a certain sense what goes on in our own souls is a complete picture of this macrocosm. Only the pattern prefigured in the macrocosm occurs in us reversed. We bear in our microcosm a copy of this division between the ranks of the gods, of whom one class is original and the other born out of this original class and existing in order that the original gods may present themselves to themselves. From this you can well see that there must be a great difference between these two categories of gods.
The difference is quite obvious. It is shown in the fact that our entire self, including all that is unconscious in us, the whole comprehensive self — from which our bodily organization has also sprung — derives from the original generation of gods. But what we experience, what we can span with our everyday consciousness, comes from the generation of gods who are only the thoughts of the original gods. Our being comes to us from two sides. Our organization as a whole, with all that is unconscious in us, comes from the original generation of gods. What we are conscious of comes from the other side, from the generation of gods who only hover around the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. Hence when we examine closely our own life of ideation we feel that the idea or mental representation is, in a higher sense, only the youngest daughter, so to say, of a line of gods; we feel the unreality, the merely notional transience, the elusiveness, of our life of consciousness. That is something which also dawned upon the pupils of the Greek Mysteries, in that it was made clear to them: ‘There are divine streams running through the whole of evolution which are all-embracing, all-inclusive, which pour their entire being into us, streams of which we are quite unconscious; and there are other streams which are only taken into the ordinary normal consciousness.’ Then the Greek pupil became clear that he must disregard his formal consciousness and turn to the ancient gods, who were also called the gods of the underworld, gods in whose nature Dionysos shared, for only so would he be able to acquire knowledge of the true being of man.
There is only one being in Earth evolution through whom something quite new can enter into us — a new element of clairvoyance, but also a new element of feeling and activity, steeped in occult forces.
The fact is that of the divine stream which hovered over the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions, up  to a certain point of time only what I have just described could enter into human life. It streamed into human consciousness from outside, so to say, without man's descending into his inmost being, into the region of the lower gods. And what flowed in in this way was something incapable of ever reaching true world-reality. It was not possible to reach the true world-reality through external knowledge. In order to reach that, it would have been necessary for something to be instilled into what through the long ages of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions had entered our normal consciousness from without — something which was not just the thought-life of the sub-earthly, the Chthonic deities, but something which was itself a reality, something which would cause our mere life of thought — all that seems to us to have been exuded from our soul as our unreal thoughtlife — suddenly for a moment to be so laid hold of by a substantial reality that a particularly precious thought should stand fast and abide with us, close to us as our very soul, as a reality. Something like this would have to happen if the gods moving in the periphery were to work in the way that the other gods have acted throughout the ages — the gods who through the more extended self have worked right into our bodily organization. Something would have to stream into us from without, which would signify a kind of renewal from the spiritual world, a resurrection, a revivification of what had first organized us and then withdrawn into the depths of our consciousness.
What entered into these peripheral gods at a certain moment was in fact the Christ, who at the Baptism by John in the Jordan took possession of the body of Jesus of Nazareth. In Christ a divine being entered into physical life by the same path which had been taken by those gods who earlier had only been the thought-life of other gods. But now for the first time a real Being enters, a Being who is not just the thought of the other gods, but who is substantial and autonomous. Out of the world-space, in which hitherto only the thoughts of other gods had lived, there comes a divine thought which is real. What had made that possible? It was possible because this significant event of the Baptism by John in the Jordan had been preceded by a long preparation lasting through the whole of evolution through Saturn, Sun, and Moon. What happened on the banks of the Jordan, and later in the Mystery of Golgotha, echoes another momentous event that took place in the far-distant past, as far back as the time of the Sun evolution.
We know that prior to Earth evolution there were the Saturn, Sun, and Moon evolutions. On Earth we experience the Mystery of Golgotha and the Baptism by John in the Jordan. It can be elicited from the Akasha Chronicle that during the Sun evolution another important event took place. You could describe it as the culmination of a long process. The upper gods were the thoughts of the lower gods, and these upper gods found that it suited them better (putting it colloquially) to live in the rarefied element of the upper world rather than in the denser element of which the Earth was composed. It was during the Sun evolution that this separation took place between the two different generations of gods, of whom one elected to continue to live, as the real ancient gods, with the elements of earth, water, and air, whereas the other found it too difficult to enter into these dense elements, and continued to live only in what we call the etheric elements, first with warmth, then with light ether, chemical ether, and life ether. We can also designate these two generations of gods working side by side by saying that the one chose the more difficult path, that took them through the denser elements, while the other chose the easy way, flitting around the first generation in the chemical and life-ether, out of which they formed their bodies. Everything which lives in the finer etheric elements was developed in this way: forces were developed which in the long run were only able to live in these finer elements. This took place in the main during the Sun evolution.
But toward the middle of the Sun evolution something stupendous happened. A Being developed forces not in accordance with the finer, rarer etheric elements. Side by side with the Mystery of Golgotha, which we call the great Earth-sacrifice, we can speak of a Sun-sacrifice, in that a Being who had chosen to dwell among the gods who only wanted to live in the finer elements nevertheless developed powers of densification adequate to the Earth elements. And so, since the Sun evolution we have had in the ranks of the beings equipped only with forces adapted to the etheric spheres, a Being who, within the cosmic ether, has an inner relationship with the earthly element. From the time of the Sun evolution this Being waited for the right moment to introduce the forces He had developed into the Earth itself. It was Zarathustra's great merit to recognize: ‘In the Sun in the heavens above us something remains from the old Sun evolution. For the present this Being is in the Sun. But the moment is drawing near when He will also bring down to Earth his form that is suited to the earthly elements.’ Then came the time when humanity, though still not mature enough to recognize this Being who had become part of the etheric world in Himself, was nevertheless able to recognize Him in reflection; that was a stage on the way.
Thus in the course of evolution, for reasons which we shall speak of tomorrow, this Being showed  Himself to humanity to begin with not directly, but in a reflected form, which we can describe as related to reality as moonlight, which is reflected sunlight, is related to the direct light of the Sun. That Being, who began to prepare Himself for His great deed on Golgotha during the old Sun evolution, was first shown to humanity in mirrored form. And this reflected form was called by the ancient Hebrew people Jahve. Jahve, or Jehovah, is the reflection of Christ; he is really the same as Christ, only seen in a mirror, so to say, seen aforetime, prophetically — prefigured until the time was ripe for Him to show Himself not merely in reflection but in His own form, His pristine form.
Thus we see the most important event for the Earth was prepared in the old Sun; we see humanity  prepared for the Christ through the ancient Hebrew civilzsation. We see the Being who once separated Himself from the Earth and went to the Sun return to the Earth again; but we see too that He first revealed Himself to man in a mirrored image, so to say in a representation. Jahve or Jehovah is related to the real Christ just as the upper gods are related to the lower ones: he is the representation of the real Christ, and to those who see through things, resembles Him completely. Hence in a certain way we can speak of Jehovah-Christ, and in doing so light upon the true sense of the Gospels, which relate that the Christ Himself said: ‘If you would come to know Me, then you must know how Moses and the Prophets have spoken of Me.’ Christ knew well that when, of old, people spoke of Jehovah or Jahve, they were speaking of Him, and that all that was said of Jahve applied to Himself, as the mirror-image is related to its archetype.