Wednesday, March 31, 2021

13 Ways of Looking at My Guru. #9: Uncle Duke


The red-shanked douc is a species of Old World monkey, among the most colorful of all primates. Is is an arboreal and diurnal monkey that eats and sleeps in the trees of the forest. It is available for consultation by appointment.

Related post:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

13 ways of looking at my guru. #8: Uncle Ernie


A man is complaining to a friend about Uncle Ernie, who has just moved into a spare room in his house as a member of the family: "He's absolutely insane. He thinks he's a chicken. I'm not kidding: he really does fully believe that he's an actual chicken!"

"Well then why live with such an insane person? Why not simply kick him out of your house?"

"We would, but we need the eggs."

13 ways of looking at my guru. #2: The Prophet


Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner:  "Some people are destined by karma to announce prophetically what all of humanity will gradually, bit by bit, accept as the meaning of an epoch."

Rudolf Steiner:  "Whoever does not believe in all humility that his wisdom is the sum of all wisdom – that his judgement represents the highest judgment – will soon be able to observe that there are people apart from himself who have more wisdom and judgment [than himself], and he will listen to these beings and allow himself to be instructed by them. He will, when he gains some insight, become aware that he still has a path to follow that others have gone long before him. The more understanding a person obtains, the humbler he becomes. The clearer the realization how much he still has to learn, the more he will be inclined to find those he can still learn from. Anyone who thinks that he has nothing to learn from others only proves thereby that he or she has still not advanced very far. The more advanced a person is, the more he comes to recognize that human beings are on different levels of development and that there have always been those who were more advanced than their brethren – the spiritual leaders of humanity who are more advanced in their development, the highly developed, the most advanced individualities of humankind."

This is what reading Rudolf Steiner is like

 Rudolf Steiner: The Wokest of the Woke  

The Gospel of Thomas, Saying 8: 

And he said, "The one is like a wise fisher who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisher discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish back into the sea, and with no hesitation picked the great good fish. Whoever has ears, listen!"

* * * * *

Here's a thought experiment: If you could send a message to your 12-year-old self, and you were limited to 2 words, what would your message be?

For me the answer's easy: "Rudolf Steiner"

Steiner! Steiner! and more Steiner! always more Steiner!

The name of him whom Providence has chosen

That wondrous things on Earth he should achieve,
Whom I may often praise, though ne'er sufficing,
Whose destiny we scarcely can believe,
His name — it is Humanus, Saint and wise one,
The best of men whom I did e'er perceive:

                --from "The Mysteries" by Goethe

Monday, March 29, 2021

In the whole sphere of maya, death is the only reality


Inner Experiences of Evolution.
Lecture 5 of 5. "Earth: The Planet of Death"
Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, December 5, 1911:

Thus the fact has now been brought home to us in a series of lectures that behind all that we call Maya or the great illusion, there is the Spiritual. Let us once again ask ourselves in what way it has been made evident that the spiritual is to be discerned behind everything perceptible to our senses and our physically limited grasp of the world.

In order to describe this spiritual element we were obliged in the course of the last lectures to sweep the nearest external phenomena away from our field of vision and pierce through to such qualities of reality as those described as the willingness to sacrifice, and the virtue of bestowal or renunciation, in fact, to those virtues with which we can only become acquainted by looking into our own souls, and which we can only fully comprehend by means of our own souls. Now if we are really to attribute such virtues as these to what we have to think of as the reality — we might almost say the “true” — behind the world of illusion, we must admit that in this world of true existence, in this world of reality, there lives that which fundamentally, as regards its qualities, can only be compared with the qualities we primarily perceive in our souls. For instance if we have to characterise that which is outwardly expressed in the phenomena of heat, presenting it in its true character of sacrificial service, as the flowing sacrifice in the world, it means precisely that we must reduce the element of heat back to the spiritual, to the incorporeal, doing away, as it were, with the outer veil of existence, showing that which in the external world is similar to what we recognise as the spiritual in ourselves.

Now before we carry these observations further, another idea is necessary. That is the following. Does all that we have in this world of Maya or illusion really vanish into a sort of nothingness? Is everything around us in this world of sense, the world of our external comprehension which to us appears as the real or part of the real — is all this actually nothing?

It would indeed be quite a good comparison if we were to say that the world of truth, the world of reality, is at first concealed, as the inner forces of a lake or even of the ocean are concealed in the body of water, and that the world of Maya might be compared with the rippling play of the waves on the surface. That would be a good comparison; for it shows exactly that there is in the depths of the ocean something that causes the rippling of the waves above, something that is the substantiality of the water and the configuration of its force. So that whether we select this example or any other is a matter of indifference, we may very well put the question: — Is there in the wide realms of our Maya or illusion, anything that is real? To-day we shall follow the same system as in the last lectures. We shall slowly approach what we wish to bring before our mind, by starting with inner experiences of our soul; and indeed, as we have moved forward spiritually through the Saturn-, Sun- and Moon-existence, and have now approached that of the Earth, we shall start from more intimate, we might almost say more common soul-experiences than those referred to in our last lecture. We then started from the hidden depths of the soul-life, from what arises in what we call the “astral body.” There we felt longing arising within it, and we saw how the longing works in the nature of man, actually leading the life of the soul to find satisfaction only in meeting that picture-world which we have been able to grasp as the inner movement of that life. We thus found the way from the microcosmic soul to that cosmic creating which we ascribed to the Spirits of Movement. To-day we shall begin with a still more intimate experience of the soul, one indeed to which attention was already drawn in ancient Greece, which in its reality is even to-day of profound significance. It is indicated in the words: all philosophy, and all striving for a certain kind of human knowledge, proceeds from Wonder. This is really the case. Any man who has devoted a little reflection and thought to the whole process in experience in his own soul, as to how he was brought to any particular learning, will come to know that a sound way to learning is always to start from wonder, from amazement at something. This wonder, this amazement, from which every form of learning must proceed belongs precisely to those experiences of the soul which we described as bringing sublimity and life into anything, however dry. What kind of learning would it be which found a place in our soul, without proceeding from wonder! It would truly be a learning swamped in prosiness and pedantry. That process in the soul which leads from wonder to the bliss we feel when our riddles are solved, which has raised itself above wonder, that alone constitutes the sublimity and vital power of the process of acquiring knowledge. We really ought to be able to feel the dryness and withering of any knowledge not originating in these two movements of the mind. Sound knowledge is framed in wonder and the bliss of solved riddles; any other kind of knowledge may be acquired externally and established by man through some kind of reasoning. But a knowledge not framed by these two feelings, does not spring from the soul of man in real earnest. All the fragrance of knowledge that is created by the atmosphere of the life element in knowledge, proceeds from these two, from wonder and the bliss of its satisfaction. But what is the origin of wonder itself? Why is it that wonder, amazement at anything external, arises in our souls? It arises, because, when we first meet with a being, a thing or a fact, it appears strange to us. This strangeness is the first element leading to wonder and amazement. But we do not feel this for everything that is strange to us; but only for that to which we feel ourselves in a sense related, so related that we say: “In this being or thing there is something that is not as yet in me, but which may pass over into me.” So that we can feel related to a thing yet strange, which at first we must grasp through wonder and astonishment, our inner “wondering” is our perception of the quality of an outer “wonder” to which a man at first as far as his own perception goes, considers himself in no wise related. That, however, depends on himself; or at least it need only do so. And he would not adopt a challenging attitude towards what appears to him as “a wonder” unless he were in a certain way to demand that it should disclose itself to him because it is related to him. Why else should people who start from purely materialistic or purely intellectual concepts deny what others designate as a “wonder,” when they have no direct proof that a fabrication, a falsehood, is brought forward? Even philosophers to-day are obliged to admit that it can never be proved by any of the phenomena known to man, that the Christ incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth did not rise again. Proof can be brought against this assertion; but what is the manner of these proofs? Logically they are not tenable! Even enlightened philosophers now admit that. For all the reasons brought against it from the materialistic side — as for instance, the statement that no man has yet been seen to have risen like Christ — all these reasons are on the same level as the argument of a man who had never seen anything but fish and therefore wished to prove the non-existence of birds. It is impossible logically to prove by the existence of one class of beings, that others do not exist. Just as little is it possible through the experiences one may have of men on the physical plane to deduce something — which in the first place is described as a “miracle,” concerning the event of Golgotha. But if something is communicated to a person, which although it may be true, he must call a miracle and he says that he cannot understand it, he does not thereby contradict what we have said about the idea of wondering; for his attitude shows clearly that this starting point of all knowledge is already established for him. He demands, in fact, that what he has been told should find an echo in himself. He wishes it to become its own property intellectually and as he believes that he cannot have that, and it is not related to him, he challenges it. Even if we ourselves arrive at the concept of the miraculous, we should see that amazement or marvel, upon which is based all philosophy in the sense of ancient Greece, is aroused by a man finding himself confronted with something strange to him, but to which at the same time he recognises a relationship. Let us try to create a connecting link between these ideas and those brought before our minds in the last lecture.

We have shown that a particular advance in evolution was brought about through the willingness of certain Beings to sacrifice, but that their sacrifices were rejected and thrown back, and we learnt to recognise in the rejected sacrifice one of the principal factors in the ancient Moon-evolution. One of the most important points in that evolution is the fact that during that period sacrifice was to be offered by certain Beings to Beings even more exalted, and that it was renounced by them; so that, as it were, the smoke of the sacrifice offered by the ancient Moon-Beings pressed up to the higher Beings but was not accepted by them; and that this was sent back as substance into the Beings who had desired to offer it up. We also saw that much of the peculiar character of the Beings belonging to ancient Moon consisted in their feeling within themselves what they had wished to send up to the higher Beings as sacrificial substance. We saw, indeed, that this, which aspired, but was unable to ascend to the higher Beings, remained behind within the Beings themselves — and that thereby was developed in certain Beings, in the Beings of the rejected, the force of Longing. We have still, in all that we experience in our own souls as longing, a legacy from the bygone events on ancient Moon when those Beings found their sacrifice rejected. In a spiritual sense the whole character of the ancient Moon-evolution, its whole spiritual atmosphere, may be described in many respects by saying that Beings were present there who desired to offer sacrifice, but found that this sacrifice was not accepted because the higher Beings resigned it. The peculiar feature of the spiritual atmosphere of ancient Moon was: the rejected sacrifice. And the rejection of the sacrifice offered by Cain, which symbolically represents one of the starting points of the evolution of earthly humanity, appears as a kind of recapitulation of this peculiar feature of the ancient Moon evolution taking place in the soul of Cain, who sees that his sacrifice is not accepted. This is something which reveals to us a sorrow, a pain which gives birth to longing, just as was the case with the beings belonging to the old Moon-existence. We saw in the last lecture, that between this rejected sacrifice and the longing arising in these beings through its rejection, an adjustment was produced through the appearance on the old Moon of the Spirits of Movement. They created a possible way by which the longing arising in the Beings of the rejected sacrifice, could in a sense be satisfied. You must picture the position very clearly in your minds. You have the exalted Beings to whom sacrifice is about to be made; the substance offered in sacrifice to them rejected; and the longing thereby arising within the Beings who desired to offer and now feel: “Had I been able to accomplish my sacrifice, the best part of my own being would be living in those exalted ones; but now I am shut out from them, I am here while they are yonder!” The Spirits of Movement, however, and this can be taken almost literally, bring the Beings in whom the rejected sacrifice glows as a longing for the higher Beings, into such positions that they can approach them from many different sides. That which remains in them as the sacrifice which could not be offered, can at any rate now be adjusted, through the wealth of impressions received from the higher Beings, who are as it were, encircled by the Beings of the rejected sacrifice. So is adjusted what could not be harmonised, because of the rejection of the sacrifice, inasmuch as in the position of these Beings to the higher Beings a relation is established between them which conveys the impression of a presented sacrifice. We can form a clear idea of what this implies, if we think symbolically of the more exalted Beings united as a Sun, and then, in one position, as a planet, the less exalted gathered together. Now suppose that the Beings of the lesser planet wished to make sacrifice to the greater planet — to the Sun, and that the Sun refused to accept it; the substance of the sacrifice must remain in the Beings whose sacrifice was not accepted. Then in their loneliness, their isolation fills their being with longing. Now the Spirits of Movement bring them into the periphery of the more exalted Beings; this makes it first possible for them, in place of the direct upward flow of their sacrificial substance, to set that substance itself in motion and thereby to bring it into connection with the higher Beings. This is exactly like a man who cannot be contented within himself by means of a single great satisfaction, but experiences a number of partial satisfactions; the result of these different experiences being to set all his feelings in motion. This was gone into more minutely in the last lecture. We saw that as the Beings were unable to feel an inner connection with the higher Beings through the sacrifice, impressions came to them outside in the place of this, by which we saw that they were still able to obtain a certain satisfaction.

But it is an undeniable fact that that which was to have been offered up would have continued its existence within the higher Beings in a different fashion from its state within the lower Beings. The actual conditions necessary to that existence are in those higher Beings. It became necessary, therefore, for different conditions of existence to arise in the lower Beings. This again can be symbolically expressed. If the whole substance of a planet could flow into the Sun and it were not rejected, the Beings of that planet would find different conditions of existence within the Sun from those they would have met with in the planet outside if the Sun throws them back: an estrangement of what we must call the “contents of the sacrifice” takes place, it is alienated from its origin.

Now bear in mind the thought that certain Beings are compelled to retain within them something which they would gladly have offered up in sacrifice, and concerning which they both feel and perceive that it could only attain its real meaning, if it could be offered up.

If you can picture the feelings of such Beings, you will have an idea of what may be called: “The exclusion of a certain number of Cosmic Beings from their actual meaning, their great cosmic purpose.” Certain Beings have within them something, which, speaking symbolically, could only fulfil its purpose elsewhere. The consequence of this is that the “displacement” — if we may once more speak symbolically — of the rejected incense, of the rejected sacrificial substance, excludes it at first from the rest of the cosmic process.

If you grasp these thoughts with your feeling — not with your reason, for that does not extend to matters such as these — you will perceive that this represents something like a rending away from the universal cosmic process. To the Beings who rejected the sacrifice it is only something they put away from them; to the other Beings, those within whom the sacrificial substance is retained, this is a something on which an alien character is imprinted. Thus there are Beings in whose substance this estrangement from its origin is imprinted. If we can present these things to our soul through inner feelings, we are reminded of something in which an alien character is inherent: that is Death! Death is none other than that which necessarily enters the universe with the rejection of the sacrificial substance of those Beings who then had to retain it within themselves. Thus we advance from the resignation, the renunciation of what has been rejected by the higher Beings — which we encounter at the third stage of evolution — to Death.

In its true significance death is neither more nor less than the nature of essential contents, contents which are shut out and not in their proper place. Even when death comes to a man in concrete form it is fundamentally the same thing. For when we look at the corpse left behind in the world of Maya, we know that it consists of nothing but matter which at the moment of death was shut out from the Ego, astral body, and etheric body, alienated from that within which alone it had a meaning. The physical human body without the etheric body, astral body, and Ego has no meaning, it is purposeless; at that moment it is excluded from its purpose. That which we can no longer perceive when a man dies, is then for us in the macrocosm. On account of the Cosmic Beings who belong to higher spheres having rejected what was to have been brought to them in sacrifice, the rejected sacrificial substance within the Beings to whom it was thrown back lapses into death, for death signifies the exclusion of any cosmic substance or cosmic being from its actual purpose.

We have now come to a spiritual characteristic of what we call the fourth element in the Universe. If fire represents the purest sacrifice — and wherever we encounter fire or heat, behind it there is its spiritual counterpart: Sacrifice — if behind all the air spread out around our earth there really lies the virtue of giving, a really flowing virtue; if we may describe flowing water or the element of fluidity as spiritual resignation or renunciation, so must we describe the element of Earth, which alone can be the bearer of death — for death would not exist without it — as that which has been severed from its purpose by renunciation. Now we have something in a concrete form, showing how the solid is formed from the fluidic. For this too reflects a spiritual process, in a certain sense. Suppose ice forms in a pond; the water then becomes solid. The real reason of this is that the water in becoming ice is cut off from its purpose. This gives us the spiritual process of solidification, the spiritual process of the Earth's becoming; for as far as the distinguishing marks of the four elements are concerned, ice too is earth, and fluid alone is water. Earth is the element in which death appears and may be experienced.

We began by putting the question as to whether anything real could be found in our world of illusion and Maya, whether there is anything in it corresponding to a reality. I want you to hold clearly to the idea we have just been considering. At the beginning of this course I told you that the concepts to be considered were somewhat complicated. It will therefore be necessary that we should not only try to understand them, but also to meditate upon them; for only then will they be clear to us. Now let us take this conception of death, that is, of the earthly; for it presents a truly remarkable aspect. Whereas concerning all our other concepts we could say that there was nothing real in all the world of Maya around us, but that the reality must be looked for in the spiritual behind it — we have now ascertained that within the world of Maya there is that, which, precisely because it is divided from its purpose, because it ought to be in the spiritual world, may be called death. Thus something is cut off in Maya, which actually ought not to be there. In the whole wide realm of Maya, or the great illusion, we have nothing but deception and illusion before us. Yet there is something there which corresponds to a reality, because it is cut off from its true meaning in the spiritual; and as soon as it enters Maya it encounters annihilation and death. That declares to us nothing less significant than the great occult truth: “In the whole world of Maya one thing only shows itself in its reality — Death! All other phenomena must be traced back to their reality; all other phenomena entering into Maya have reality behind them; death is the single reality in Maya for it consists in the fact that something was cut off from reality and taken into Maya, That is why death is the one and only reality in Maya. And now if we turn from the universal Maya to the great principles of the world, a very important and essential consequence of this statement, that in our world of Maya, Death is the only reality, presents itself to occult science.

We can approach what I want to say from yet another side. We can begin by considering the beings of the other kingdoms surrounding us. We may ask: do minerals die? To the occultist there could be no sense in saying that minerals die. It would be just the same as saying that our finger-nails die when we cut them. The finger-nail is nothing which as complete being has claim to existence; but it is part of us, and when we cut it off we separate it from ourselves, tear it away from the life it has in connection with us. In reality it dies only when we ourselves die. In the same sense, according to occult science, the minerals do not die. They are merely members of one great organism, just as a finger-nail is a member of our own, and although a mineral may appear to perish, it is in reality only severed from this great organism, just as the piece of finger-nail is severed from our organism when we cut it off. The destruction of a mineral is no death; for the mineral has no life in itself, but only in the great organism of which it is a member. The plant as such is not independent; it is a member — not of one great organism, like the mineral — but of the whole organism of the earth. To occult observation there would be no sense in speaking of individual plant-organisms, only of the organism of the earth of which the plants everywhere form part. And when we bring them to their “death” it is just as when we cut away one of our finger-nails. We cannot say that the fingernail has died. Just as little can we say that of the plants; for they belong to a great organism that is identical with the whole earth, an organism which falls asleep in spring, sending forth the plants as its organs towards the Sun; and in autumn it takes them back into itself when it gathers their seeds into itself. There is no sense in considering the plants as independent, for the whole earth organism does not die when its separate plants fade — just as we ourselves do not die when our hair goes grey, although we cannot restore its colour by natural means.

We are, however, in a different position from the plants. But the earth may in this respect be compared to a man who could restore his grey hair to its natural colour. The earth does not die; what is observed in the fading of the plants is a process that takes place on the surface. So we can never say that the plants really die. And even of the animals we cannot actually say that they die, as we die. For in reality a separate animal does not exist; what really exists is its group-soul, which is in the super-sensible world. The reality of the animals is only to be found on the astral plane as group-soul, and the individual animal is condensed out of that. The death of an animal means the casting off a member of the group-soul, which replaces it by another.

Thus what we encounter at death in the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms is only apparent death, only in the world of Maya is that “death.” In reality man alone dies, for he has developed his individuality so far that it descends into his physical body, in which during the earth-existence he must become real. In reality death has only meaning for the Earth-existence of man.

If we grasp this we must say: Man alone can truly experience death. Thus for man there is, as we learn through occult research, a real overcoming of death, a real victory over death. For every other being death is only apparent, and does not in reality exist. If again we were to ascend higher — from man to the Beings of the Hierarchies — we should find that they do not know death in the human sense; so that in reality actual death, that is death on the physical plane, comes only to those beings who have to acquire something on that plane. Now man has to acquire his ego-consciousness there. Without death he could never find it. Neither with respect to the beings below man in rank, nor to those higher than man is there any meaning in speaking of actual death. But on the other hand as regards the Being whom we call the “Christ-Being it must clearly be impossible to obliterate his most significant earth deed. For indeed we have seen that the most essential event to be considered in connection with the Christ-Being is the Mystery of Golgotha; that is, the conquest of death by life. But where can this conquest of death alone be accomplished? Can it be accomplished in the higher worlds? No! For even as regards the lower beings referred to as the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms — as they have their true being in the higher, super-sensible worlds — we cannot speak of death. And in the course of our studies this winter we shall further show that neither among the Higher Beings can there be a question of death; only of change, metamorphosis, transformation. Only with regard to man can we speak of the incision into life that we call “death.” Man can only experience this death on the physical plane. If man had never descended to the physical plane, he would know nothing of death; for no being who has not trodden the physical plane knows anything of death. In other worlds there is no such thing as that which we call death, nothing but transformation, metamorphosis. Would Christ undergo death He must descend to the physical plane! There alone could He experience it.

Thus we see that even in the historical development of man, the reality of the higher worlds plays its part in Maya, in a remarkable way. Whereas concerning every other historical event we can only interpret it correctly by saying: “This historical event took place here on the physical plane, but the cause of it is up above in the spiritual world, we must look for it there”; we cannot say of the event of Golgotha, “this event is here below on the physical plane and something corresponding to it exists in the higher worlds.” Christ Himself belongs to the higher worlds and came down to the physical plane. But there is no prototype above of what was accomplished on Golgotha, such as we must look for with respect to other historical events. That was enacted on the physical plane alone! Among the many proofs of this fact which occult science is able to provide, is the following: That the event of Damascus will, in the course of the next three thousand years, as we have often said, be renewed for a sufficiently great number of mankind. This means, that capacities will be developed in man which will enable him to perceive the Christ as an etheric figure on the astral plane, as Paul saw Him on the road to Damascus. The event of man's gradually becoming able to perceive the Christ by means of the higher faculties which will be developed in the next three thousand years, has its beginnings in our twentieth century. From now on these capacities will gradually arise, and in the course of that span of time a vast number of persons will know, by personal vision into the higher worlds, that Christ is a reality; that He lives; they will learn to know Him in the life He lives now. And not only will they know the nature of His present life, but they will also be convinced just as Paul was — that He died, and rose again. But the foundation for this cannot be laid in the higher worlds: it must be laid on the physical plane. Thus if anyone comes to have an understanding of these things, if even at the present time he understands that the development of Christ Himself is progressing — and that at the same time certain human capacities are also developing, if his understanding of modern Anthroposophy has taught him this, then there is nothing to prevent him, when he has passed through the portal of death, from taking part in this event when it actually appears as a first shining forth of Christ in the world of man. So that a man who prepares himself in his physical body to-day for this event, maybe able to experience it in the intermediate life, between death and re-birth. But those who do not prepare for it, who acquire no understanding in this incarnation, will, in the life immediately following this — the life between death and re-birth — know nothing of what is taking place with respect to the Christ for the next three thousand years from our present century. They will have to wait until they are again incarnated and then make necessary preparations on the earth. The death at Golgotha, which is enacted on earth as the origin of all the subsequent Christ development can only be understood in the physical body. Of all the facts important to our higher life, this alone is comprehensible in the physical body. It is then further developed and perfected in the higher worlds, but we must first have understood it while in the physical body. Just as the Mystery of Golgotha could never have taken place in the higher worlds and has no prototype there, but is an event which — since it includes death — is confined to the physical plane, so, too must the comprehension of it be acquired on this plane. Indeed, it is one of the tasks of man on earth to acquire this understanding in some one of his incarnations.

So that we must say: we have found pre-eminently on the physical plane something which displays an undeniable reality, a direct truth. What then is real on the physical plane On the physical plane, so that we can recognise it as real, we have a reality, death — death in the world of man, not in the other kingdoms of nature. When we wish to study the historical events that occur in the course of the earth's development, we must look for a spiritual prototype for each one of them — but not for the Mystery of Golgotha! There we have something which in itself directly belongs to the world of Reality!

Now it is extremely interesting that another aspect of what has just been said, can also be seen. It is really remarkably significant to observe that this event of Golgotha as a real event is to-day denied, and that people say — speaking of external history — that it cannot be proved by any historical connection. Among vital historical facts there is hardly one so difficult to prove on external realistic, historical grounds, as the Mystery of Golgotha. Just think how easy it is in comparison with this to work on historical ground if we wish to prove the existence of a Socrates, a Plato, or any of the Greek heroes, in so far as they were of significance to the progress of man in the external world, and how up to a certain point it is perfectly justifiable to say that “no history can assert that there ever was a Jesus of Nazareth!” This statement cannot be contradicted historically! This cannot be dealt with like other historical facts. It is very remarkable that this Event, which occurred on the external physical plane has this in common with all super-sensible facts: they cannot be “proved.” Much the same people who deny the existence of a super-sensible world lack the capacity for grasping this fact, which is not super-sensible. Its existence can be surmised by its effects. But, these people think that effects such as these might also appear, even without the real event having occurred in history; and they attribute these effects to sociological relations. To one who knows the inner course of the world's development, the idea that effects such as those produced by Christianity could be brought about without having a power behind them, is just as wise as it would be to say cabbages could grow in a field without having been sown there! Indeed we might go yet further, and admit that it was not possible for those who took part in the final shaping of the Gospels to prove the historical event of the Mystery of Golgotha — as historical event — on historical grounds! For it went by leaving hardly any trace perceptible to outer observation. Do you know how those who took part in the later compiling of the Gospels convinced themselves as to these events, with the exception of the writer of the John-Gospel, who was an immediate contemporary? They could not above all convince themselves by historical documents, for they had nothing but oral traditions and the Mystery-Books (as is set forth in Christianity as Mystical Fact). They were able to convince themselves of the actual existence of Christ Jesus by the star-constellation, for they were then still very learned as to the connection between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. They knew how to set up a map of the heavens for that point of the world's history (as can still be done to-day); and they concluded: if the stars were in such and such a position, then He whom they call the Christ must have lived on earth at that time. In this very way the writers of the Gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke convinced themselves of the historical event; they obtained the rest clairvoyantly. But first they convinced themselves in the same way as we can make sure to-day that any particular event can happen on the earth; through the constellations in the Macrocosm. Anyone who knows anything of this cannot but believe in them. It is a fruitless task to prove the inaccuracy of what is brought against the historical status of the Gospels. Rather should we, as anthroposophists, understand that we must take a very different stand: one which is only possible through an insight into occult science.

With reference to this I should just like to mention a point I already endeavoured to establish elsewhere. That is, that the realities of which Anthroposophy speaks cannot be injured by any objections, however correct these may be in themselves. No matter how correctly people may argue from the knowledge they themselves may possess, that does not disprove Anthroposophy. In the lecture I gave entitled: “How can Theosophy be established?” [Not published in English.] I made use of the example of the little boy in a village whose duty it was to fetch rolls for the family breakfast. Now in that village each roll cost two kreuzers and he was always given ten kreuzers. The baker gave him a number of rolls, and being no great arithmetician, he did not trouble to count them, but brought them home. But a foster-son entered the family and was sent for the rolls instead of the other boy. This lad was a good reckoner and he said to himself: “I have been given ten kreuzers, each roll costs two kreuzers, therefore I must bring home five rolls;” off he went, bringing back six rolls. He said to himself: “This must be wrong, I ought not to have so many, and as my reckoning is correct, to-morrow I must only bring back five rolls.” The next day he took the ten kreuzers, and again he received six rolls. The reckoning was correct — only it did not correspond with the reality; for that was a different matter. The reality was that it was the custom in that place to give six rolls instead of five to anyone who spent ten kreuzers. The boy's argument was quite correct; but did not accord with reality.

In like manner the cleverest thought-out objections to Anthroposophy may all agree with each other, yet need have nothing to do with the reality; for “reality” may be based on very different foundations. The example quoted is quite practical, and serves to explain, even scientifically, what is correctly calculated, and what is actual fact.

We have tried to trace the world of Maya back to reality and in doing so we have shown that all Fire is sacrifice, everything of the nature of Air is the generous flowing virtue of giving, and Fluid the result of renunciation and resignation. To these three truths we have to-day added the fact that the true nature of the Earth or solid matter is death, the cutting off of any substance from its cosmic purpose. Because this severing has entered, death itself enters the world of Maya or illusion as a reality. Even the Gods themselves could not taste death at all without descent into the physical world in order to comprehend death in the physical world, the world of Maya, or illusion. This is what I wished to add to-day to the concepts we have already formed. But once more let it be said that if we wish to arrive at a clear understanding of these concepts which are so necessary, and if we are thoroughly to enter into the various ideas in St. Mark's Gospel, the only possible way of doing so is by careful meditation and by bringing these things again and again before the soul. The Gospel of St. Mark can only be understood if based on the greatest and most significant cosmic conceptions.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Inner Aspect of the Second Embodiment of the Earth: The Sun

Inner Realities of Evolution, Lecture 2 of 5

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, November 7, 1911:

You will have gathered from our last lecture how extremely difficult it is to describe the early condition of our evolution before our own Earth came into being. For we have seen that we must first of all build up concepts and ideas through which we may reach those strange and distant conditions of the evolution of our world. I have already called attention to the fact that the description in my Occult Science of the period of ancient Saturn, as well as that of the following embodiments of our Earth is not only not exhaustive, but that, in a sense, we had to be satisfied (in order not to startle the public, to whom the book is accessible) with clothing the subject in pictures taken from what is near at hand and familiar. The description given there is naturally in no respect incorrect, but it is very deeply immersed in Maya and Illusion; and we must first work our way through the illusion in order to penetrate further into the truth of the matter. For instance, the old Saturn period is described (and this is quite correct within certain limits) as a heavenly body whose essential parts did not consist of what we know as earth, water and air, but of “heat.” So, too, in first speaking of “space,” that also is merely a pictorial description; for, as we saw in the last lecture, “time” itself did not even exist. When we speak of “space” we are speaking pictorially. Of space there was none in our sense on ancient Saturn. And time first came into being there. When we carry our thought back to ancient Saturn we are absolutely in the realm of spaceless eternity. When, therefore, something is said to call up a picture before our minds, we must be clear that it is only a picture. If we could have observed the space of ancient Saturn we should have found no substance dense enough to be called gas, nothing but heat and cold.

In reality we could not speak of coming from one part of space into another, but only the sensation of passing through warmer and colder conditions; so that even the clairvoyant, when he transports himself back to the time of Saturn, receives the impression of being in spaceless ebb and flow of warmth. That is only the outer veil of the Saturn condition. For this “heat” or “fire” as it is called in occultism, is concealed from us in the fundamental depths of its being; and we have seen that spiritual achievements formed in truth the very existence of ancient Saturn; and we have formed a picture of the spiritual deeds then existing. We have said that the Spirits of Will or Thrones achieved sacrificial acts; so that when we look back to the concrete occurrences on Saturn, we have the Cherubim and the sacrifice flowing forth from the Thrones. Sacrifice streams from the Thrones to the Cherubim. And it is these sacrificial deeds seen from without, as it were, which appear as “heat.” Conditions of heat are the external expression — speaking in a general sense — the external physical expression of sacrifice, and throughout the world, wherever heat is perceptible it is the outer expression of what lies behind it. Conditions of heat are the sacrificial acts of beings. Thus in describing heat we must say “Cosmic heat is the manifestation of Cosmic sacrifice, or of Cosmic sacrificial deeds.”

Then we have seen that from this sacrificial deed offered by the Thrones to the Cherubim is brought to birth that which we call time: though I have already called attention to the fact that “time” is a modern term and does not quite apply. For time was not then that abstraction man now accepts as time, but a totality of beings, the Spirits of Personality, whom we have therefore come to recognise as “Time-Spirits.” The Time-Spirits are the true ancient time — and they are the children of the Thrones and the Cherubim. The condition by means of which the Beings of Time originated on ancient Saturn was sacrifice. Thus, in order to obtain an actual comprehension of what lies behind, when it is said: Ancient Saturn consists of “heat,” we do not merely require external, physical concepts (for “heat” is a physical concept), but we must acquire concepts which can only be derived from the soul-life itself, from the ethical wisdom-laden life of the soul. No man can know what warmth is who is not able to form a conception of what it means to be ready to sacrifice what he has, everything he possesses, indeed, not only everything he possesses, but also what he himself is. The sacrifice of the individual being, the soul's determination to renounce individual being, so regarding it as to be ready to devote its best to the welfare of the world, wishing to keep back nothing of the best for itself; but gladly to offer it in sacrifice on the altar of the universe; if this becomes a living idea permeating our soul, it will gradually lead to the understanding of what lies behind the phenomenon of heat. Try to picture what in our modern life — even to-day — is bound up with the conception of sacrifice; one can hardly think that anyone sacrificing himself with understanding ever does so against his will. A sacrifice offered against the will argues some compelling motive; there must be compulsion. But this would not apply to what we are now discussing. The sacrifice that flows forth from a being as a matter of course is what is meant here. And if a man should make a sacrifice, not because he is forced to do so by any external motive, nor because he hopes to gain something by so doing, but because he feels within him the impulse to sacrifice, it is then unthinkable that he should feel anything but inner warmth of bliss. If we feel ourselves glowing with this inner warmth of bliss, it is an expression of what can be described in no other way than by saying that the one making the sacrifice feels himself warmed through and through, glowing with bliss. In this way it is possible for us to feel how the glow of sacrifice can come to meet us in the outer cosmic heat. He alone understands what warmth really is who can grasp the thought: Whenever warmth appears in the world there is always in some way underlying it something of a soul-spiritual nature which is behind the warmth and brings about the warmth through the special bliss. He who can feel all this about warmth will gradually arrive at the reality of what is concealed behind the illusion of warmth, behind the phenomenon of heat.

Now if we wish to penetrate further, from the existence of ancient Saturn to that of the Sun, we must again first form an idea by which we can imagine the substance of the ancient Sun — not our present Sun. For when we read in Occult Science that ancient Sun reorganised heat by adding to it air and light, that again is depicted merely by an external phenomenon. Just as behind the heat we must seek for the glow of sacrifice of the Spirits of Will, so must we look behind “air and “light” for something moral if we wish to understand the air and the light which are added to the heat on ancient Sun. Now we can only obtain a feeling of this substance of the ancient Sun through something of a spiritual psychic nature which we may experience in our souls.

We can describe it in the following way as a soul-experience. Let us imagine that a man were to see a real, genuine act of sacrifice, or that he were to picture to himself what we described in the last lecture as the sacrificial act of the Thrones, the Thrones offering up their sacrifice to the Cherubim — so that he is moved by the picture of the beatific sacrifice which he contemplates and which awakens the life in the soul. What would our souls feel through either the vision of the sacrificing Beings themselves, or by the picture we make truly living in our souls. If the feelings of this man are vivid, if the beatific sacrifice does not leave him unaffected, he will feel a profound feeling of bliss at the vision of the sacrifice; he will feel in his soul that it is the most beautiful deed, the most beautiful experience that can be called forth in our souls, the vision of the beatitude of sacrifice! We should be soulless lumps if this experience did not arouse in the soul a passionate desire to understand inwardly with intensest reverence, what the beatitude of sacrifice is — if we did not learn from it the spirit of utter devotion. Sacrifice is devotion transformed into activity. The contemplation of active practical devotion may call forth the attuning of the soul's being to self-surrender, to the casting off of self, to self-effacement. Imagine this spirit of disinterested casting off of self wholly flooding the soul through the vision; then we have with this spirit that which can come nearer to us for our understanding, inasmuch as without such a spirit — without at least a hint, a foretaste of such a spirit — never could we really attain to what the higher knowledge gives. He who is unable to feel this spirit of self-surrender can never attain to higher knowledge. For what would be the opposite of this spirit? It would be self-will, assertion of individual will. These are, as it were, the two opposite cosmic poles; devoted absorption in that which is contemplated, and self-willed assertion of individuality. These are two great opposites. Personal will fatally opposes the permeation of the higher Self with wisdom. In ordinary life we only know self-will in the form of prejudice, and prejudices always destroy the higher insight. But we must imagine what is here called self-surrender as intensified; for this can only be conceived when a man works his way up to higher worlds. There he must be able to experience this casting off of self — at least as a frame of mind. Therefore it must always be emphasised that we can never attain higher knowledge so long as we work after the fashion of ordinary science and trivial thought. Let us be clear; ordinary science and everyday thought work from whatever self-will has created by means of the ordinary will of man, through the inherited or educated sensations and feelings. We can deceive ourselves greatly as to this. For instance, people may say: “Suppose one takes up any science, such as that set forth in Spiritual Science; I will not accept anything that does not agree with my thought, I will accept nothing unproved.” Certainly we should not accept anything unproved. But neither do we advance a single step further if we only accept what is proved. And a man who wishes to be clairvoyant will never say that he can only accept what he has first proved. He must be completely free of all self-seeking and must await what comes to him from the Cosmos, and which can only be designated by the word “grace.” From the grace which illuminates he expects everything. For how do we acquire clairvoyant knowledge Only by eliminating everything we have ever learnt. As a rule a man says: I have my own opinion. But what he ought to say is: This only comes because I have revived what my ancestors have thought, or what my desires have aroused in me, etc. For there can never be any question of these being his own opinions; and those who attach most value to their own opinions are not in the least aware that they are being led by the leading-strings of their prejudices. All this must be done away with when we wish to attain to higher knowledge. The soul must be empty and able to wait quietly for what may enter into it from the concealed secret world free from space and time, free from things and deeds. And we must never believe that we can acquire any conception of clairvoyant knowledge except by creating a suitable frame of mind through which we may receive what may be offered to us as revelation or illumination, so that we can never expect anything to come to us except from the grace which approaches and brings gifts.

How then does such knowledge reveal itself? How is that which comes to us revealed when we have prepared ourselves sufficiently? It reveals itself as the feeling of being endowed with grace through the gifts that come to meet us from the spiritual world. If we wish to describe what thus approaches us in order to bring us grace and pour knowledge into us, we can only make use of the expression: that which comes to meet us is an active inspiring with grace; a bestowing, a giving. Let us grasp the nature of a being chiefly characterised by what I have just described, so as to say of him: he is a bestower, a giver, an offerer of gifts, such a being whose chief characteristic is the showering of grace around him, the shedding forth of grace from himself. Let our conception of this being show us that in order to attain this possibility of giving forth grace there must be the vision of the sacrifice made by the Thrones to the Cherubim; let us imagine: he would draw near to what happened when the sacrifice was being offered by the Thrones to the Cherubim. Let us clearly imagine a being such as this, who, through having had this vision, is stimulated to shower the gifts of his grace around him. Suppose we were to see a rose and were charmed by it, experiencing the feeling of one enraptured by what we call “beautiful.” Suppose another being through the vision of what we have described as the sacrifice by the Thrones to the Cherubim, were inspired to pour forth into the world, to offer to the world as a gift, everything he possessed — we should thus be describing those beings spoken of in Occult Science as Spirits of Wisdom who on the Sun were added to the beings with whom we become acquainted on ancient Saturn. If now we were to put the question, what is the character of these Spirits who appeared on the Sun in addition to the Saturn Spirits? We must reply: The principal characteristic of these spirits is the virtue of giving, of pouring forth grace. If we wish to find a title for them, we must say: These are the Spirits of Wisdom, the great Bestowers, the great Givers of the Universe. Just as we have called the Thrones” The great Sacrificers,” so we must say of the Spirits of Wisdom, they are “the great Givers” who so devote their gift that it weaves and lives in the universe, flowing out into it and first bringing about its order.

That is the activity of the Spirits of Wisdom on the Sun, they endow their environment with their own being. And what is presented to the external view when we look up and wish to have a higher sense-perception of what takes place on the Sun?

When we look at it, it is as described in Occult Science. Besides heat, the Sun consists of air and of light. But when we say this, it is as though someone were to say: “In the distance I see a grey cloud.” And if we were a painter he would paint the impression; but if he were to come nearer he might perhaps see, instead of the grey cloud, a swarm of midges. Thus in reality, what he took for a grey cloud is nothing but a number of living beings. In like manner do we confront the ancient Sun-existence. Seen from afar it appears as the illusion of a body consisting of light and air; but if we approach nearer, we have no longer a body of light and air but it appears as the great bestowing virtue of the Spirits of Wisdom. And no one learns the real nature of air who only describes it according to its external physical properties. That is only maya and illusion, only outer manifestation. For wherever there is air in the world, the deeds of the Spirits of Wisdom lie behind it. Weaving, active air means the manifestation of the bestowing virtue of the macrocosm, and only he looks rightly upon air who says: “Here I perceive ‘air.’ But in reality within it something is bestowed by the Spirits of Wisdom, something streams out into their environment.”

And now we know what was actually meant by describing ancient Sun as consisting of air. We now know that what appears outwardly as air is a gift which the Spirits of Wisdom allow to flow forth from their own being. But now something wonderful is seen by the clairvoyant. We must clearly understand how we can obtain from our own soul-life a still more accurate idea of this virtue of giving. Let us bring home to our mind the feeling we may ourselves have if through the above-described mode of devotion we are able to permeate ourselves with a perception, with an idea. Such an idea will always produce in us a distinct feeling. One has the best impression of such an idea if one thinks of Art, where the idea has an urge to master colour or form in some way or other, to send it forth into the world, thus to give to the world something having an independent existence. We may describe the nature of such a capacity of giving by saying that productivity and creative activity is connected with it; for this giving is self-creative. Anyone who has an idea and feels that he can give it forth for the good of the world, and can represent it in a work of art, has the right conception of this productivity of the virtue of giving. This it is which as air weaves through the Sun. When we think of this creative idea in the mind of the artist, and how it imprints itself into matter (besides everything else), this is the spiritual being of air. Wherever there is air we are concerned with something of this sort. But from the living productivity having been on the Sun, proceeds the following.

Let us hold firmly in mind that on ancient Saturn the Spirits of Time had been born, therefore “time” could be present on the Sun; for it came over from Saturn. Thus on ancient Sun there was the possibility of giving, which could not have been found on ancient Saturn. For just imagine — how could there have been any giving if there had been no time It would not have been possible, for giving must include acceptance, the one is not to be thought of without the other. This giving must consist of two actions, giving and accepting, otherwise giving has no object. On the Sun, however, giving and accepting occupied a peculiar relation to one another, for — as time was already there — the gift offered to the environment on ancient Sun had been, as it were, stored up in time: as it were, guarded in time so that the Spirits of Wisdom pour forth their gift — and it endures. But now something must enter to accept this. This occurs comparatively speaking at a later time than the gift of the Spirits of Wisdom. They give at an earlier moment, and that which is necessarily connected with it as receiving appears later. We can only obtain a correct conception of this if here too we use our own soul-experience as a foundation.

Suppose you are trying very hard to understand something, or to form some sort of thought. Suppose you have formed the thought. The next day you will make your mind as clear as possible so that the thought you formed yesterday may come back into it. What you formed yesterday is received by you today. Thus it was on ancient Sun; what was given at an earlier time was guarded till a later moment and was then received. What then was this acceptance? It was a deed, an occurrence only distinguished from the other occurrence in that it occurred later. The giving comes from the Spirits of Wisdom. Who then accepts? If there is to be an acceptance there must be someone to accept! In the same way as the Spirits of Time arose from the sacrifice of the Thrones to the Cherubim on ancient Saturn — through an act of nativity — so through “an act of giving” to the world by the Spirits of Wisdom on the Sun, the Spirits we call Archangels or Archangeloi, came into being. They are these who accept on ancient Sun. But they receive in a very special way, for they do not retain for themselves the gift received from the Spirits of Wisdom, but reflect it, just as a mirror reflects an image Thus the task of the Archangels on the Sun was to collect at a later epoch what had been given earlier, what was still there and could be reflected by the Archangels. Thus we have on the Sun an earlier act of giving and a subsequent accepting, but this accepting is a reflection back of an earlier time. Just suppose that the earth were not as it is now, but that what occurred at an earlier age could be reflected again at the present time. We actually know that something of the sort does take place. We are now living in the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilisation, when the events of the third, the ancient Egyptian-Chaldean age are being reflected. What formerly was there is now reflected. Everything that formerly existed is recapitulated. So that we have to think of the Archangels on the one side as the recipients, on the other the Spirits of Wisdom who in the earlier Sun-periods were the bestowers. From this something quite special arises, which can only be properly conceived by thinking of a globe complete in itself and radiating forth from its centre that which is given. It radiates out to the periphery — whence it is radiated back to the centre. Thus we have to think of what comes from the Spirits of Wisdom as proceeding from the centre; this radiates forth in all directions, is collected by the Archangels and reflected back. What is thus reflected back into space is the gift from the Spirits of Wisdom. It is light that leads back the radiations of the Spirits of Wisdom, and the Archangels are at the same time creators of light. “Light” is not in the least the external illusion presented to us; but wherever light appears we have the gifts of the Spirits of Wisdom radiated back to us. And the beings whose existence must be presumed behind all light are the Archangels. Hence we must say: Wherever light appears to us, behind it are the Archangels; but they are only able to ray forth light to us because they reflect back what has streamed out to them — namely, the bestowing virtue of the Spirits of Wisdom.

In this way we obtain a picture of ancient Sun: We think of a centre in which is focused what came over from ancient Saturn; the sacrificial acts of the Thrones to the Cherubim. Absorbed in contemplation of these acts of sacrifice are the Spirits of Wisdom. This vision causes them to radiate forth from themselves that which is their real being: streaming, flowing wisdom as bestowing virtue. However, as this is radiated through by “time” it is sent forth and sent back again, so that we have a globe, inwardly illuminated by the virtue returning to it; for we must not think of the ancient Sun as outwardly but as inwardly luminous, because the Spirits of Wisdom radiate outwards. Thus something new is created which we may describe as follows: Let us imagine the Spirits of Wisdom situated at the centre of the Sun absorbed in contemplation of the vision of the sacrificing Thrones; and by reason of this vision, radiating forth their own being; and receiving back their radiating being which they sent forth, receiving it reflected back from the surface, so that they receive it back as light. Everything is illuminated. What then do they receive back? Their own being surrendered by them became a gift to the Macrocosm, it was their inner being. Now it rays back to them; their own being meets them coming back from outside. They see their own inner being outspread in the Cosmos — and reflected back as light, as the reflection of their own being.

The inner and the outer are the two opposites which we now meet. The earlier and the later are transformed into the inner and the outer; and “Space” is born! Space comes into existence through the bestowing virtue of the Spirits of Wisdom on ancient Sun. Before that, space could only have an allegorical significance. Now we have space — but consisting at first of only two dimensions. There was as yet no above and below, no right or left, nothing but an outer and an inner. — In reality these opposites appear at the end of ancient Saturn; but they repeat themselves as space-creative on ancient Sun. And if we wish to obtain a conception of all these occurrences, as we did of the last when the picture appeared before our soul of the sacrificing Thrones, giving birth to the Spirits of Time, we must not even picture a body consisting of light, for the light within it is only an inner reflection. We must think of it as a globe of inner space, in the centre of which the picture of Saturn is recapitulated: the Thrones as Spirits as though kneeling before the Cherubim, those winged beings, sacrificing their own being, and, in addition to these, the Spirits of Wisdom, absorbed in the vision of the sacrifice. And now it is also possible to have the vision of the heat of the sacrifice being so transmuted that we may think of it objectively as the incense of sacrifice, as air ascending from the sacrifice as incense. We obtain a complete picture if we imagine: the sacrificing Thrones kneeling before the Cherubim, and as though participating, the Spirits of Wisdom, absorbed in the contemplation of what they perceive in the centre of the Sun as the sacrifice of the Thrones, and thereby ascending in their mood to the picture of the sacrificial incense pouring forth and spreading out on all sides, and finally condensing, while from its clouds proceed the figures of the Archangels — who reflect back the incense from the periphery as light, illuminating the interior of the Sun, returning the gift of the Spirits of Wisdom, and in this way creating the sphere of the Sun. This sphere consists of the outpoured gift of glowing heat and sacrificial incense. At the outer periphery are the Archangels, the creators of the light, who later depict what was first on the Sun; it then returns as light. What then, do these Archangels preserve? They guard the beginnings, what was formerly there, the earlier. The gifts they receive they reflect. That which was there in the beginning they radiate forth at a later time, and inasmuch as they do this, they are the Angels of the Beginning, because they bring into activity in later times what was previously there. “Archangeloi” “Messengers of the Beginning”!

It is very wonderful when such a word arises from the depths of true occult knowledge and we remember that this word comes across to us from primeval traditions, along the path of the School of Dionysius the Areopagite, who was the pupil of Paul. It is wonderful to see that this word is so deeply stamped that when we evolve it again, independently of what is written, what stands there arises before us. And we then feel ourselves united with the ancient holy schools of Initiation-Wisdom, of the science of Initiation, so that we feel as though this ancient time were streaming into us, we picture it with understanding after having ourselves created the possibility of accepting it independently of what we have heard. Anyone feeling even a little of the spirit of these old expressions which have descended to us without our having paid attention to them, will feel himself within the current of the mighty power of the Spirits of Time passing through humanity. What is thus felt in contemplation of these things is in marvellous connection with the whole human evolution, it makes us feel one with it. The Archangels preserve the memorial of the primordial beginnings; but whatever takes place on any one planet is always recapitulated later, only when it occurs later there is always something added to it. So that we meet with the being of the Sun again in what we find on our own earth.

The whole conception, the whole feeling that we are thus able to acquire — which gives us a picture of the sacrifice of the Thrones, of the Cherubim receiving the sacrifice, of the glow given forth by the sacrifice, of the sacrificial incense spreading out as air, of the light radiated back by the Archangels who preserve for later ages what took place at the beginning — this feeling is something that can call up in us a true understanding of everything connected with the creation of such a feeling, with sacrifices which proceed from such a feeling.

We have now conceived in a more spiritual sense, what we have previously considered from a more physical aspect. And we shall now see that out of this milieu was born the Being who appeared on earth as the Christ-Being. And we shall only understand what was brought to earth through the Christ-Being when we grasp the idea of the bestowing virtue, the grace-bestowing virtue in its reflection in the light of the universe in the inner substance of the Sun-body, which was permeated and illuminated through and through by this light. If we can exalt our conception of what has just been described and transform that into an imagination, bearing in mind that something of all that was brought to the earth by the Christ-Being is on the earth, fulfils its life on the earth, we can then go still more deeply into the actual spiritual nature of the Christ-impulse. We are then able to understand the dim idea that can stir in a human soul on hearing such an account, when it dawns on the soul that what has been described may in a certain sense again come to life on earth. Just imagine all that has been described of the Sun as absolutely concentrated in the soul of one Being, suppose all this gathered up and taken away to reappear at a later period and so to reappear and work, that He would bring with Him an extract of what came into existence through the ancient primordial sacrificial deed and the smoke of sacrifice through the light-creating time and the bestowing Virtue and would reflect it out of the universe of radiant light. Imagine all this concentrated in one soul, think of that soul as giving all this to the Earth-existence; around Him are assembled those who now as earth-beings are destined to radiate this back again and preserve it for the remainder of the earth-existence. In the centre is the One Who bestows out of sacrifice and through sacrifice, and around Him are gathered those who are to receive it — on the one side all that the sacrifice is and everything belonging to it, as it were translated into earthly life; on the other hand the possibility of destroying the sacrifice, for everything that can be given to the human being in the way of Divine grace may be either accepted or rejected. If we think of all this as embodied in an intuition, we can, on looking at the “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, have somewhat the following feeling. The entire Sun with the sacrificial Beings, the Beings of Bestowing Virtue, the Beings of warmth-giving bliss, of the radiant light, spiritually grasped, radiated back by those selected to preserve into later ages what belongs to the earlier, and so ordained for the earth that it may also be rejected by the traitor. We may feel that this is the Earth-Being, inasmuch as the Sun-Being reappears on the Earth. If this is felt — not in an external intellectual manner, but in true artistic way; then something of the actual driving-force of such a great work of art can be felt, a work which reflects, as it were, the extract of the Earth existence. When we see this picture again, and see how the Christ grows forth from the Sun-Sphere, we shall better understand what I have often said: If a spirit were to come down to the Earth from Mars, while he would not be able to understand everything that he saw here, he would understand the actual mission of the Earth if he allowed the “Last Supper” of Leonardo da Vinci to work upon him. The inhabitant of Mars would then see that the Sun-existence must lie concealed within that of the Earth; and thereby everything he might be told concerning the meaning of the Earth would become clear to him. He would understand that the Earth had a meaning, and he would know what was involved. He would say to himself: “Something may take place on the Earth of which only a part is important for the Earth: but could the deed really be represented which radiates to me from the colouring of this picture? When I concentrate on the central Figure with those other around Him, I feel what the Spirits of Wisdom felt on the Sun, and what is re-echoed here in the words: ‘This do in remembrance of me.’” — The earlier preserved in the later: this saying will only be comprehensible to us when we grasp it in its whole cosmic connection, as we have just learnt to do.

In the next lecture it will be our task to study the Christ-Being in the spiritual nature of the Sun, in order to pass on from that to the spiritual nature of the Moon.