The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Relati

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Relati

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:56 pm

The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Relation to Modern Culture
Ten lectures given in Dornach, 10th to 25th October, 1915
by Rudolf Steiner
Translated by D. S. Osmond
First English Edition 1973
© 1973 by Rudolf Steiner Press, London




Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer. In the Complete Edition of the works of Rudolf Steiner the volume containing the German texts of the following ten lectures is entitled: Die okkulte Bewegung im neunzehnten Jahrhundert und ihre Beziehung zur Weltkultur. (No. 254 in the
Bibliographical Survey, 1961.)


Publisher's Note

Lecture One October 10, 1915
Seership and Thinking. Symbolism of the schools of Initiation. The opposition between esotericists and exotericists about the publicising of esoteric knowledge. Compromise achieved through the introduction of mediumship and spiritualism. Failure of the attempt. Spiritual Science and the principle followed by the exotericists from the middle of the nineteenth century.

Lecture Two October 11, 1915
Mediumistic methods of investigation in the Theosophical Society. The path of knowledge in Spiritual Science. Aims of certain secret Orders. The fiasco of Spiritualism. The unique personality of H. P. Blavatsky. The founding of the Theosophical Society. Antecedents of the founding of the German Section of the Theosophical Society and the development of the spiritual-scientific Movement.

Lecture Three October 16, 1915
Materialism of the nineteenth century. Reflexion about thinking indispensable for recognition of the barrenness of the materialistic picture of the world. The true origin of atomism.

Lecture Four October 17, 1915
The attempt made by the occultists to avert the lapse into materialism. Materialism in the world of thought during the nineteenth century. The fallacies of mediumship. Distortion of the teaching concerning the Eighth Sphere through Sinnett and Blavatsky and the backgrounds of this distortion.

Lecture Five October 18, 1915
The Eighth Sphere. The influence of the Spirits of Form and the battle waged by Lucifer and Ahriman. The activity of esotericists connected with the High Church party in Christianity. On the "mineralisation" of the Moon. Complexity of the subject of the Eighth Sphere.

Lecture Six October 19, 1915
The dangers of aberration along the path into the spiritual worlds. Clairvoyance in ancient and modern times. The revitalisation of the etheric body in connection with the new revelation of Christ. Ancient knowledge still present in the era of emergent materialism, for example in Heinroth and Goethe (Makaria in Wilhelm Meister).

Lecture Seven October 22, 1915
Investigation of the life between death and a new birth. The transformation of unused physical forces into spiritual forces after death. In the Kamaloka period after death man lives through in backward order the experiences undergone during sleep. The boundaries set up by science and religion in order to hinder penetration into the spiritual worlds.

Lecture Eight October 23, 1915
The purpose of the use of symbols in the so-called secret Societies or Orders. The problem of the publicising of knowledge hitherto kept secret. The transformation of forces in world-history, exemplified by Dante's Divine Comedy and the story of Father Antonius. Forces inimical to nature and to man behind natural phenomena and the experiences of souls.

Lecture Nine October 24, 1915
Investigation of the mineral world is important for man's earthly evolution. Duality in the world of sense; threefoldness in the super-sensible world. Ahrimanic intelligence and Luciferic will. The dangers of objective Occultism (Scylla) and subjective Mysticism (Charybdis) can be avoided through the study of Spiritual Science.

Lecture Ten October 25, 1915
Human consciousness between objective and subjective reality, between the Ahrimanic and Luciferic world. Aberrations of consciousness and their correction. The Tantalus myth. The guiding principles of Spiritual Science.

List of Relevant Publications
Summarized plan of the Complete Editioni of Rudolf Steiner's works in the original German
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

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Publisher's Note

The following lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner to audiences familiar with the general background of his anthroposophical teachings. He constantly emphasised the distinction between his written works and reports of lectures which were given as oral communications and were not originally intended for print. It should be remembered that certain premises were taken for granted when the words were spoken. “These premises”, Rudolf Steiner writes in his autobiography, “include at the very least the anthroposophical knowledge of Man and of the Cosmos in its spiritual essence; also of what may be called ‘anthroposophical history’, told as an outcome of research into the spiritual world.”

A list of publications in English translation relevant to the theme of the following lectures, and a summarised plan of the Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works in the original German will be found at the end of the present volume.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:00 pm

October 10, 1915

You will have realised from lectures given recently that in our times a materialistic view of the world, a materialistic way of thinking, is not the outcome of man's arbitrary volition but of a certain historical necessity.

Those who have some understanding of the spiritual process of human evolution know that, fundamentally speaking, in all earlier centuries and millennia man participated in spiritual life to a greater extent than has been the case during the last four or five hundred years. We know with what widespread phenomena this is connected. At the very beginning of Earth-evolution, the heritage of the Old Moon clairvoyance was working in mankind. We can envisage that in the earliest ages of Earth-evolution this faculty of ancient clairvoyance was very potent, very active, with the result that the range of man's spiritual vision in those times was exceedingly wide and comprehensive. This ancient clairvoyance then gradually diminished until times were reached when the great majority of human beings had lost the faculty of looking into the spiritual world, and the Mystery of Golgotha came in substitution. But a certain vestige of the old faculties of soul remained, and evidence of this is to be found, for example, in the nature-knowledge which was in existence until the fourteenth and fifteenth, and indeed until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This nature-knowledge was very different in character from modern natural science. It was a nature-knowledge able to some extent still to rely, not upon clear, Imaginative clairvoyance but nevertheless upon vestiges of the Inspirations and Intuitions which were then applied and elaborated by the so-called alchemists. If an alchemist of those times was honourable in his aims and not out for egotistic gain, he still worked, in a certain respect, with the old Inspirations and Intuitions. While he was engaged in his outer activities, vestiges of the old clairvoyance were still astir within him, although no longer accompanied by any reliable knowledge. But the number of people in whom these vestiges of ancient clairvoyance survived, steadily decreased. I have often said that these vestiges can very easily be drawn out of the human soul today in states of atavistic, visionary clairvoyance. We have shown in many different ways how this atavistic clairvoyance can manifest in our own time.

From all this you will realise that the nearer we come to our own period in evolution, the more we have to do with a decline of old soul-forces and a growth of tendencies in the human soul towards observation of the outer, material world. After slow and gradual preparation, this reached its peak in the nineteenth century, actually in the middle of that century. Little as this is realised today by those who do not concern themselves with such matters, it will be clear to men of the future that the materialistic tendencies of the second half of the nineteenth century had reached their peak in the middle of the century; it was then that these tendencies developed their greatest strength. But the consequence of every tendency is that certain talents develop and the really impressive greatness of the methods evolved by materialistic science stems from these tendencies of the soul to hold fast to the outer, material world of sense.

Now we must think of this phase in the evolution of humanity as being accompanied by another phenomenon. If we carry ourselves back in imagination to the primeval ages of humanity's spiritual development, we shall find that in respect of spiritual knowledge, men were in a comparatively fortunate position. Most human beings, in fact all of them, knew of the spiritual world through direct vision. Just as men of the modern age perceive minerals, plants and animals and are aware of tones and colours, so were the men of old aware of the spiritual world; it was concrete reality to them. So that in those olden times, when full waking consciousness of the outer, material world was dimmed during sleep or dream, there was really nobody who would not have been connected with the dead who had been near him during life. In the waking state a man could have intercourse with the living; during sleep or dream, with the dead. Teaching about the immortality of the soul would have been as superfluous in those primeval times as it would be nowadays to set out to prove that plants exist. Just imagine what would happen at the present time if anyone set out to prove that plants exist! Exactly the same attitude would have been adopted in primeval times if anyone had thought it necessary to prove that the soul also lives after death.

Humanity gradually lost this faculty of living in communion with the spiritual world. There were, of course, always individuals who used whatever opportunity was still available to develop seership. But even that became more and more difficult. How did men in olden times develop a particular gift of seership? If with insight today we study the philosophy of Plato, or what exists of that of Heraclitus, we must realise — and this applies especially to the still earlier Greek philosophies — that they are altogether different from later philosophies. Read the first chapter of my book Riddles of Philosophy, where I have shown how these ancient philosophers, Thales and Parmenides, Anaximenes and Heraclitus, are still influenced by their particular temperaments. This has not hitherto been pointed out; the first mention of it is in my book. Inevitably, therefore, some time must elapse before it is accepted — but that does not matter. Of Plato, we can still feel: this philosophy still lays hold of the whole man. When we come to Aristotle however, the feeling is that we have to do with an academic, learned philosophy. Therefore to understand Plato requires more insight than a modern philosopher usually has at his command. For the same reason there is a gulf between Plato and Aristotle. Aristotle is already a scholar in the modern sense. Plato is the last philosopher in the old Greek sense; he is a philosopher whose concepts are still imbued to some extent with life. As long as a philosophy of this kind exists, the link with the spiritual world is not broken, and indeed it continued for a long time, actually into the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages did not develop philosophy to further stages but simply took over Aristotelian philosophy; and up to a certain point of time this was all to the good. Platonic philosophy too was taken over in the same way.

Now in days of antiquity, as long as at least the aptitude for clairvoyance of a certain kind was present, something very significant took place when men allowed this philosophy to work upon them. Today, philosophy works only upon the head, only upon the thinking. The reason why so many people avoid philosophy is because they do not like thinking. And especially because philosophy offers nothing in the way of sensationalism they have no desire to study it. Ancient philosophy, however, when received into the human soul, was still able, because of its greater life-giving power, to quicken still existing gifts of seership. Platonic philosophy, nay, even Aristotelian philosophy, still had this effect. Being less abstract than the philosophies of modern times, they were still able to quicken faculties of seership inherent in the human soul. And so it came to pass that in men who devoted themselves to philosophy, faculties that were otherwise sinking below the surface were quickened to life. That is how seers came into existence. But because what had now to be learnt about the physical world — and this also applies to philosophy — was of importance for the physical plane alone, and became increasingly important, man alienated himself more and more from the remnants of the old clairvoyance. He could no longer penetrate to the inner depths of existence and it was increasingly difficult to become a seer. Nor will this again be possible until the new methods indicated as a beginning in the book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? are accepted by mankind as plausible.

We have heard that a period of materialism reached its peak — one could also say, its deepest point — in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is certain that conditions will become more and more difficult but the threads of connection with the earlier impulses in the evolution of humanity must nevertheless not be broken. The following diagram indicates how seership has developed:

Diagram 1

Here (yellow) seership is still present in full flower; it vanishes more and more completely until the lowest point is reached in the middle of the nineteenth century, and then there is again an ascent. But understanding of the spiritual world is not the same as seership. Just as in regard to the world, science is not the same thing as mere sensory perception, clairvoyance itself is a different matter from understanding what is seen. In the earliest epochs men were content, for the most part, with vision; they did not get to the point of thinking to any great extent about what was seen, for their seership sufficed. But now, thinking too came to the fore. The line a–b, therefore, indicates seership, vision; line c–d indicates thought or reflection about the spiritual worlds.

In ancient times man was occupied with his visions and thinking lay, as it were, in the subconscious region of the soul. The seers of old did not think, did not reflect; everything came to them directly through their vision. Thinking first began to affect seership about three or four thousand years B.C. There was a golden age in the old Indian, Persian, Egypto-Chaldean and also in very ancient Greek culture when thinking, still youthful and fresh, was wedded with vision in the human soul. In those times, thinking was not the laboured process it is in our day. Men had certain great, all-embracing notions, and, in addition, they had vision (e in diagram). Something of the kind, although already in a weaker form, was present to a marked degree in the seers who founded the Samothracian Mysteries and there gave the monumental teaching of the four gods: Axieros, Axiokersos, Axiokersa and Kadmillos. In this great teaching which once had its home in the island of Samos, certain lofty concepts were imparted to those who were initiated in the Mysteries and they were able to unite with these concepts the still surviving fruits of ancient seership. It may be possible on some other occasion to speak of these things too in greater detail. [note 1]

But then seership gradually sank below the threshold of consciousness and to call it up from the depths of the soul became more and more difficult. It was, of course, possible to retain some of the concepts, even to develop them further; and so finally a time came when there were initiates who were not necessarily seers — mark well, initiates who were not necessarily seers.

In different places where there were assemblies of these initiates, they simply adopted what was in part preserved from olden times, of which it could be affirmed that ancient seers revealed it — or what could be drawn forth from men who still possessed the faculties of atavistic clairvoyance. Conviction came partly through historical traditions, partly through experiments. Men convinced themselves that what their intellects thought was true. But as time went on the number of individuals in these assemblies who were still able to see into the spiritual world, steadily diminished, while the number of those who had theories about the spiritual world and expressed them in symbols and the like, steadily increased.

And now think of what inevitably resulted from this about the middle of the nineteenth century, when the materialistic tendencies of men had reached their deepest point. Naturally, there were people who knew that there is a spiritual world and also knew what is to be found in the spiritual world, but they had never seen that world. Indeed, the most outstanding savants in the nineteenth century were men who, although they had seen nothing whatever of the spiritual world, knew that it exists, could reflect about it, could even discover new truths with the help of certain methods and a certain symbolism that had been preserved in ancient tradition. To take one example only. — Nothing special is to be gained by looking at a drawing of a human being. But if a human form is drawn with a lion's head, or another with a bull's head, those who have learnt how these things are to be interpreted can glean a great deal from symbolical presentations of this kind—similarly, if a bull is depicted with the head of a man or a lion with the head of a man. Such symbols were in frequent use, and there were earnest assemblies in which the language of symbols could be learnt. I shall say no more about the matter than this, for the schools of Initiation guarded these symbols very strictly, communicating them to nobody who had not pledged himself to keep silence about them. To be a genuine knower a man needed only to have mastered this symbolic language — that is to say, a certain symbolic script.

And so the situation in the middle of the nineteenth century was that mankind in general, especially civilised mankind, possessed the faculty of spiritual vision deep down in the subconsciousness, yet had materialistic tendencies. There were, however, a great many people who knew that there is a spiritual world, who knew that just as we are surrounded by air, so we are surrounded by a spiritual world. But at the same time these men were burdened with a certain feeling of responsibility. They had no recourse to any actual faculties whereby the existence of a spiritual world could have been demonstrated, yet they were not willing to see the world outside succumbing altogether to materialism. And so in the nineteenth century a difficult situation confronted those who were initiated, a situation in face of which the question forced itself upon them: Ought we to continue to keep within restricted circles the knowledge that has come over to us from ancient times and merely look on while the whole of mankind, together with culture and philosophy, sinks down into materialism? Dare we simply look on while this is taking place? They dared not do so, especially those who were in real earnest about these things.

And so it came about that in the middle of the nineteenth century the words “esotericist” and “exotericist” which were used by the initiates among themselves, acquired a meaning deviating from what it had previously been. The occultists divided into exotericists and esotericists. If for purposes of analogy, expressions connected with modern parliaments are adopted — although naturally they are unsuitable here — the exotericists could be compared with the left-wing parties and the esotericists with the right-wing parties. The esotericists were those who wanted to continue to abide firmly by the principle of allowing nothing of what was sacred, traditional knowledge, nothing that might enable thinking men to gain insight into the symbolic language, to reach the public. The esotericists were, so to speak, the Conservatives among the occultists. Who, then — we may ask — were the exotericists? They were and are those who want to make public some part of the esoteric knowledge. Fundamentally, the exotericists were not different from the esotericists, except that the former were inclined to follow the promptings of their feeling of responsibility, and to make part of the esoteric knowledge public.

There was widespread discussion at that time of which the outside world knows nothing but which was particularly heated in the middle of the nineteenth century. Indeed the clashes and discussions between the esotericists and the exotericists were far more heated than those between the Conservatives and Liberals in modern parliaments. The esotericists took the stand that only to those who had pledged themselves to strictest silence and were willing to belong to some particular society should anything be told concerning the spiritual world or any knowledge of it communicated. The exotericists said: If this principle is followed, people who do not attach themselves to some such society or league will sink altogether into materialism.

And now the exotericists proposed a way. I can tell you this today: the way proposed by the exotericists at that time is the way we ourselves are taking. Their proposal was that a certain part of the esoteric knowledge should be popularised. You see, too, how we ourselves have worked with the help of popular writings, in order that men may gradually be led to knowledge of the spiritual worlds.

WHAT I shall here convey is wisdom rooted in the ages.

The few in every generation who had the faculty of comprehending it have kept that knowledge secret since the dawn of time.

Only on a few, exceptional occasions was it possible in earlier days to tell the world of this most ancient wisdom, and even then it had to be disguised in dark, symbolic language.

But now the time has come to speak of it more plainly, given that distorted fragments of this knowledge have been, and continue to be, spread throughout the world by minds who have no calling to disclose it.

And so it was decided, in the Spirit’s inner East, to open for the nations of the West the sacred shrine that had so long been carefully protected from the gaze of the profane.

That shrine is here unlocked by one who has been authorized.

-- The Book on the Living God, by Bo Yin Ra (Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken)

In the middle of the nineteenth century things had not reached the point at which anyone would have ventured to admit that this was their conviction. In such circles there is, of course, no voting, and to say the following is to speak in metaphor. Nevertheless it can be stated that at the first ballot the esotericists won the day and the exotericists were obliged to submit. The society or league was not opposed, because of the good old precept of holding together. Not until more modern times has the point been reached when members are expelled or resign. Such things used not to happen because people understood that they must hold together in brotherhood. So the exotericists could do no other than submit. But their responsibility to the whole of mankind weighed upon them. They felt themselves, so to speak, to be guardians of evolution. This weighed upon them, with the result that the first ballot — if I may again use this word — was not adhered to, and — once again I will use a word which as it is drawn from ordinary parlance must be taken metaphorically — a kind of compromise was reached. This led to the following situation.

It was said, and this was also admitted by the esotericists: it is urgently necessary for humanity in general to realise that the surrounding world is not devoid of the spiritual, does not consist only of matter nor is subject to purely material laws; humanity must come to know that just as we are surrounded by matter, so too we are surrounded by the spiritual, and that man is not only that being who confronts us when we look at him in the material sense, but also has within him something that is of the nature of spirit and soul. The possibility of knowing this must be saved for humanity. On this, agreement was reached—and that was the compromise.

But the esotericists of the nineteenth century were not prepared to surrender the esoteric knowledge, and a different method had therefore to be countenanced. How it came into being is a complicated story. Particularly on occasions of the founding of Groups I have often spoken of what happened then. The esotericists said: We do not wish the esoteric knowledge to be made public, but we realise that the materialism of the age must be tackled. — In a certain respect the esotericists were basing themselves on a well-founded principle, for when we see repeatedly the kind of attitude that is adopted today towards esoteric knowledge we can understand and sympathise with those who said at that time that they would not hear of it being made public. We must realise, however, that over and over again it can be seen that open communication of esoteric knowledge leads to calamity, and that those who get hold of such knowledge are themselves the cause of obstacles and hindrances in the way of its propagation. In recent weeks we have often spoken of the fact that far too little heed is paid to these obstacles and hindrances. Most unfortunate experiences are encountered when it is a matter of making esoteric knowledge public. Help rendered with the best will in the world to individuals — even there the most elementary matters lead to calamity! You would find it hard to believe how often it happens that advice is given to some individual — but it does not please him. When the outer world says that an occultist who works as we work here, exercises great authority — that is just a catchword. As long as the advice given is acceptable, the occultist, as a rule, is not grumbled at; but when the advice is not liked, it is not accepted. People even browbeat one by declaring: “If you do not give me different advice, I simply cannot get on.” This may come to the point of actual threats, yet it had simply been a matter of advising the person in question for his good. But as he wants something different, he says: “I have waited long enough; now tell me exactly what I ought to do.” He was told this long ago, but it went against the grain. Finally things come to the point where those who were once the most credulous believers in authority become the bitterest enemies. They expect to get the advice they themselves want and when it is not to their liking they become bitter enemies. In our own time, therefore, experience teaches us that we cannot simply condemn the esotericists who refused to have anything to do with popularising the esoteric truths.

And so in the middle of the nineteenth century this popularising did not take place; an attempt was, however, made to deal in some way with the materialistic tendencies of the age. It is difficult to express what has to be said and I can only put it in words which, as such, were never actually uttered but none the less give a true picture. At that time the esotericists said: What can be done about this humanity? We may talk at length about the esoteric teaching but people will simply laugh at us and at you. At most you will win over a few credulous people, a few credulous women, but you will not win over those who cling to the strictly scientific attitude, and you will be forced to reckon with the tendencies of the age.

The consequence was that endeavours were made to find a method by means of which attention could be drawn to the spiritual world, and indeed in exactly the same way as in the material world attention is called to the fact that in a criminal the occipital lobe does not or does not entirely cover the corresponding part of his brain. — And so it came about that mediumship was deliberately brought on the scene. In a sense, the mediums were the agents of those who wished, by this means, to convince men of the existence of a spiritual world, because through the mediums people could see with physical eyes that which originates in the spiritual world; the mediums produced phenomena that could be demonstrated on the physical plane. Mediumship was a means of demonstrating to humanity that there is a spiritual world. The exotericists and the esotericists had united in supporting mediumship, in order to deal with the tendency of the times.

Think only of men such as Zöllner, Wallace, du Prel, Crookes, Butlerow, Rochas, Oliver Lodge, Flammarion, Morselli, Schiaparelli, Ochorowicz, James, and others — how did they become convinced of the existence of a spiritual world? It was because they had witnessed manifestations from the spiritual world.
But everything that can be done by the spiritual world and by the initiates must, to begin with, be in the nature of attempts in the world of men. The maturity of humanity must always be tested. This support of mediumship, of spiritualism, was therefore also, in a certain sense, an attempt. All that the exotericists and esotericists who had agreed to the compromise could say was: What will come of it remains to be seen. — And what did, in fact, come of it?

Most of the mediums gave accounts of a world in which the dead are living. Just read the literature on the subject! For those who were initiated, the result was distressing in the utmost degree, the very worst there could possibly have been.
For you see, there were two possibilities. One was this. — Mediums were used and they made certain communications. They were only able to relate what they communicated to the ordinary environment — in the material elements of which spirit is, of course, present. It was expected, however, that the mediums would bring to light all kinds of hidden laws of nature, hidden laws of elemental nature. But what actually happened was inevitable, and for the following reason.—

Man, as we know, consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego. From the time of going to sleep to waking, therefore, the real man is in his ego and astral body; but then he is at the same time in the realm of the dead. The medium sitting there, however, is not an ego and an astral body. The ego-consciousness and also the astral consciousness have been suppressed and as a result the physical and etheric bodies become particularly active. In this condition the medium may come into contact with a hypnotist, or an inspirer — that is to say, with some other human being. The ego of another human being, or also the environment, can then have an effect upon the medium. It is impossible for the medium to enter the realm of the dead because the very members of his being which belong to that realm have been made inoperative. The mediums went astray; they gave accounts allegedly of the realm of the dead. And so it was obvious that this attempt had achieved nothing except to promulgate a great fallacy. One fine day, therefore, it had to be admitted that a path had been followed which was leading men into fallacy — to purely Luciferic teachings bound up with purely Ahrimanic observations. Fallacy from which nothing good could result had been spread abroad. This was realised as time went on.

You see, therefore, how an attempt was made to deal with the materialistic tendencies of the age and yet to bring home to men's consciousness that there is a spiritual world around us. To begin with, this path led to fallacy, as we have heard. But you can gather from this how necessary it is to take the other path, namely, actually to begin to make public part of the esoteric knowledge. This is the path that must be taken even if it brings one calamity after another. The very fact that we pursue Spiritual Science is, so to say, an acknowledgment of the need to carry into effect the principle of the exotericists in the middle of the nineteenth century. And the aim of the Spiritual Science we wish to cultivate is nothing else than to carry this principle into effect, to carry it into effect honourably and sincerely.

From all this it will be clear to you that materialism is something about which we cannot merely speculate; we must understand the necessity of its appearance, especially of the peak — or lowest point — it reached about the middle of the nineteenth century. The whole trend had of course begun a long time before then — certainly three, four or five centuries before. Man's leanings to the spiritual passed more and more into his subconsciousness, and this state of things reached its climax in the middle of the nineteenth century. But that too was necessary, in order that the purely materialistic talents of men might develop unhindered by occult faculties. A materialistic philosopher such as Kant, a materialistic philosopher from the standpoint of the Idealists of the nineteenth century — you can easily read about this in my book Riddles of Philosophy — could not have appeared if the occult faculties had not drawn into the background. Certain faculties develop in man when others withdraw, but while the one kind of faculties and talents develops outwardly, the other kind takes its own inner path. These three, four or five centuries were not, therefore, a total loss for the spiritual evolution of mankind. The spiritual forces have continued to develop below the threshold of consciousness, and if you think about what I have indicated in connection with von Wrangell's pamphlet [note 2] on the subject of what he there calls the “dreamlike”, you will be able to recognise the existence of occult faculties which are merely waiting to unfold. They are present in abundance in the souls of men; it is only a matter of drawing them out in the right way.

It was necessary to say these things by way of introduction, and tomorrow we will pass on to the question of the relation between the Living and the Dead, bearing in mind that in one respect the wrong path resulting from the compromise between the exotericists and the esotericists has actually been instructive. To understand the nature of this compromise we must study the questions of birth and death and then show what effect the materialistic methods have had in this connection.



Note 1. See Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centres, Lecture XII. Fourteen lectures given in Dornach, 23rd November to 21st December, 1923. (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973)

Note 2. Published in Leipzig in 1914, with the title, Wissenschaft and Theosophie.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:03 pm

October 11, 1915

On this occasion I should like to be allowed to include certain personal references among matters of objective history, because what must be added to the subject dealt with in the lecture yesterday is necessary for our study today and after careful consideration I believe it is right to include more details.

I want, first of all, to speak of a particular experience connected with our Movement. You know that outwardly we began by linking ourselves — but outwardly only — with the Theosophical Society and that we founded the so-called German Section of that Society in the autumn of 1902, in Berlin. In the course of the year 1904 we were visited in various towns of Germany by prominent members of the Theosophical Society, and the episode from which I want to start occurred during one of these visits. The first edition of my book Theosophy had just been published — in the spring of 1904 — and the periodical Lucifer-Gnosis was appearing. In that periodical I had published articles dealing with the problem of Atlantis and the character of the Atlantean epoch. These articles were afterwards published as a separate volume entitled Unsere atlantischen Vorfahren (Our Atlantean Forefathers). [note 1] The articles contained a number of communications about the Atlantean world and the earlier, so-called Lemurian epoch. Several articles of this kind had therefore already appeared, and just at the time when the members of the Theosophical Society were visiting us a number of the periodical containing important communications was ready, and had been sent to subscribers. A member highly respected in the Theosophical Society had read these articles dealing with Atlantis, and asked me a question. And it is this question which I want to mention as a noteworthy experience in connection with what was said in the lecture yesterday.

This member of the Theosophical Society, who at the time of its founding by Blavatsky had taken part in most vital proceedings, a member, therefore, who had shared to the full in the activities of the Society, put the question: “By what means was this information about the world of Atlantis obtained?” — The question was very significant because until then this member was acquainted only with the methods by which such information was obtained in the Theosophical Society, namely, by means of a certain kind of mediumistic investigation.
Information already published in the Theosophical Society at that time was based upon investigations connected in a certain respect with mediumship. That is to say, someone was put into a kind of mediumistic state—it could not be called a trance but was a mediumistic state — and conditions were established which made it possible for the person, although not in the state of ordinary consciousness, to communicate certain information; about matters beyond the reach of ordinary consciousness. That is how the communications had been made at that time and the member of the Theosophical Society in question who thought that information about prehistoric events could be gained only in this way, enquired what personality we had among us whom we could use as a medium for such investigations.

As I had naturally refused to adopt this method of research and had insisted from the outset upon strictly individual investigation, and as what I had discovered at that time was the result entirely of my own, personal research, the questioner did not understand me at all, did not understand that it was quite a different matter from anything that had been done hitherto in the Theosophical Society. The path I had appointed for myself, however, was this: To reject all earlier ways of investigation and — admittedly by means of super-sensible perception — to investigate by making use only of what can be revealed to the one who is himself the investigator.

In accordance with the position I have to take in the spiritual Movement, no other course is possible for me than to carry into strict effect those methods of investigation which are suitable for the modern world and for modern humanity. There is a very significant difference, you see, between the methods of investigation practised in Spiritual Science and those that were practised in the Theosophical Society. All communications received by that Society from the spiritual world — including for example, those given in Scott-Elliot's book on Atlantis — came entirely in the way described, because that alone was considered authoritative and objective. In this connection, the introduction of our spiritual-scientific direction of work was, from the very beginning something entirely new in the Theosophical Society. It took thorough account of modern scientific methods which needed to be elaborated and developed to make ascent to the spiritual realms possible.

This discussion was significant. It took place in the year 1904, and showed how great the difference was between what is pursued in Spiritual Science and what was being pursued by the rest of the Theosophical Society; it showed that what we have in Spiritual Science was unknown in the Theosophical Society at that time and that the Theosophical Society was continuing the methods which had been adopted as a compromise between the exotericists and the esotericists. Such was the inevitable result of the developments I described in the lecture yesterday. I said that seership gradually died away and that there remained only a few isolated seers in whom mediumistic states could be induced and from whom some information might be obtained. In this way, “Occult Orders”, as they were called, came into being, Orders in which there were, it is true, many who had been initiated, but no seers. Among the prevailing materialism these Orders were faced with the necessity of having to cultivate and elaborate methods which had long been in vogue, and instruments for research had to be sought among persons in whom mediumistic faculties — that is to say, atavistic clairvoyance — could still be developed and produce some result. In these circles there were far-reaching teachings and, in addition, symbols. Those, however, who wished to engage in actual research were obliged to rely on the help of persons possessed of atavistic clairvoyance. These methods were then continued in a certain way in the Theosophical Society, and the compromise of which I spoke yesterday really amounted to nothing else than that in the Lodges and Orders experiments were made whereby spiritual influences might be projected into the world. The desire was to demonstrate that influences from the spiritual world are exercised upon man.

Bissell related the president's order: "Get rid of Castro."

Halpern wanted clarification. "What do the words 'get rid of' mean?" he asked Bissell.

"Use your imagination," Bissell responded. "No holds barred."

In the year ahead the Agency did indeed use its imagination. There was even a short-lived plan to convince the Cuban people of Christ's Second Coming, complete with aerial starbursts. "Elimination by illumination," the scheme was dubbed by one senior officer.

-- The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives, by Ted Gup

Procedures adopted in esoteric schools had therefore been brought into action. This attempt was a fiasco, for whereas it had been expected that through the mediums genuine spiritual laws prevailing in the surrounding world would be brought to light, the only result was that nearly all the mediums fell into the error of supposing that everything emanated from the dead, and they embellished it into communications alleged to have been made to them by the dead. This led to a very definite consequence. — If the older members among you will think back to the earliest period of the Theosophical Society and study the literature produced under its aegis, you will find that the astral world — that is to say, the life immediately after death — was described in books by Mrs. Besant which merely reproduced what is contained in Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine or was to be read in books by Leadbeater. This was also the origin of everything that was given out concerning man's life between death and a new birth.

If you compare what is said in my book Theosophy about the Soul-world and the Spirit-world — to begin with, people were always trying to refute it but I think that today a sufficient number are able to think objectively on the subject — you will find very considerable differences, precisely because in regard to these domains too the methods of investigation were different. For all the methods of research employed in the Theosophical Society, even including those used for investigating the life of the dead, originated from the procedures of which I have spoken.

So you see, what the Theosophical Society had to offer the world to begin with was in a certain respect a continuation of the attempt made by the occultists previously. In what other respect this was not the case we shall hear in a moment. Taken as a whole, however, it was a continuation of the attempt which, since the middle of the nineteenth century, had been the outcome of the compromise made between the exotericists and the esotericists, except that later on things were made rather more esoteric by the Theosophical Society. Whereas the previous attempt had been to present the mediums to the world, the members of the Theosophical Society preferred to work in their inner circle only and to give out merely the results. That was an important difference, for there people were going back to a method of investigation established as a universal custom by the various Orders before the middle of the nineteenth century. I bring this forward because I must sharply emphasise the fact that with the advent of our Spiritual Science an entirely new method, one which takes full account of the work and attitude of modern science, was introduced into the occult Movement.

Now as I told you, the compromise reached between the exotericists and the esotericists to convince the materialistic world through mediums of all types that a spiritual world exists, had been a fiasco, a fiasco inasmuch as the mediums always spoke of a world which under the existing conditions simply could not be accessible to them, namely, the world of the dead. The mediums spoke of inspirations alleged to have been received from a world in which the dead are living. The situation was that the attempt made by the exotericists and the esotericists had not achieved the result they had really desired.

How had such a state of affairs come about? What was the outcome of the remarkable attempt that had been made as a result of the compromise? The outcome was that initiates of a certain kind had wrested the power from the hands of those who had made the compromise. The initiates of the extreme left-wing had taken possession of the proceedings which had been countenanced in the way described. They acquired great influence, because what was obtained through the mediums did not spring from the realm of the dead at all, but from the realm of the living—from initiates who had put themselves either in distant or close rapport with the mediums. Because everything was brought about through these initiates and through the mediums, it was coloured by the theories of those who wished to get the mediums under their control. The desire of those among the exotericists and esotericists who had made the compromise was to bring home to men that there is indeed a spiritual world. That is what they wanted to impress. But when those who thought themselves capable of holding the guiding reins let them slip, the occultists of the extreme left-wing took possession of them and endeavoured by means of the mediums — if I may use this tautology — to communicate their theories and their views to the world.

For those who had made the compromise for the good of humanity, the position was disastrous, because they felt more and more strongly that false teachings about the super-sensible were being brought into the world. — Such was the position in the development of occultism in the forties, fifties and even in the sixties of the nineteenth century.

As long as deliberation still continued in the circles of honest occultists, the situation was sinister. For the further the occultists inclined to the left, the less were they concerned to promote that which alone is justifiable, namely, the universal-human. In occultism a man belongs to the “left” when he tries to achieve some ultimate goal with the help of what he knows in the way of occult teaching. A man belongs to the “right” in occultism when he desires that goal purely for its own sake. The middle party were in favour of making exoteric the esoteric knowledge needed in our time to promote the interests of humanity universal. But those who belong to the extreme “left” are those who combine special aims of their own with what they promulgate as occult teaching. A man is on the “left” to the extent to which he pursues special aims, leads people to the spiritual world, gives them all kinds of demonstrations of it, and instils into them in an illicit way, promptings that simply help to bring these special aims to fulfilment. The leading circle of modern initiates was faced with this situation. It was realised that the control had fallen into the hands of people who were pursuing their own special aims. — Such was the state of affairs confronting the esotericists and the exotericists who had made the compromise referred to.

Then it was “heard”— the expression may not be quite exact but absolutely exact words cannot be found because one is dependent on external language and intercourse among occultists is different from anything that external language is capable of describing — it was “heard” that an event of importance for the further continuation of spiritual development on the Earth must be at hand. I can describe this event only in the following way. — In the research carried on by the individual Orders, they had preferred for a long time to make less use of female mediums. In the strict Orders, where it was desired to take the right standpoint, no female mediums were ever used for obtaining revelations from the spiritual worlds.

Now the female organism is adapted by nature to preserve atavistic clairvoyance longer than the male organism. Whereas male mediums were becoming almost unknown, female mediums were still to be found and a great number were used while the compromise still held. But now there came into the occultists' field of observation a personality who possessed mediumistic faculties in the very highest degree. This was Madame H. P. Blavatsky, a personality very specially adapted through certain subconscious parts of her organism to draw a great deal, a very great deal, from the spiritual world. And now think of what possibilities this opened up for the world! At one of the most crucial points in the development of occultism, a personality appeared who through the peculiar nature of her organism was able to draw many, many things from the spiritual world by means of her subconscious faculties.

An occultist who at that time was alert to the signs of the times could not but say to himself: Now, at the right moment, a personality has appeared who through her peculiar organic constitution can produce the very strongest evidence of ancient, traditional teaching existing among us in the form of symbols only. It was emphatically the case that here was a personality who simply because of her organic make-up afforded the possibility of again demonstrating many things which for a long time had been known only through tradition. This was the fact confronting the occultists just after the fiasco which had led to a veritable impasse. Let us be quite clear on the point: Blavatsky was regarded as a personality from whom, as out of an electrically-charged Leyden jar, the electric sparks — occult truths — could be produced.

It would lead too far if I were to tell you of all the intermediate links, but certain matters of importance must be mentioned. A really crucial moment had arrived which I can indicate in the following way; although expressed somewhat symbolically, it is in strict accordance with the facts. — The occultists of the right-wing, who in conjunction with the middle party had agreed to the compromise, could say to themselves: It may well be that something very significant can be forthcoming from this personality. But those belonging to the left-wing could also say with assurance: It is possible to achieve something extremely effective in the world with the help of this personality! — And now a veritable battle was waged around her, on the one side with the honest purpose of having much of what the initiates knew, substantiated; on the other side, for the sake of far-reaching, special aims.

I have often referred to the early periods in the life of H. P. Blavatsky, and have shown that, to begin with, attempts were made to get a great deal of knowledge from her. But in a comparatively short time the situation rapidly changed, owing to the fact that she soon came into the sphere of those who belonged, as it were, to the left. And although H. P. Blavatsky was very well aware of what she herself was able to see — for she was especially significant in that she was not simply a passive medium, but had a colossal memory for everything that revealed itself to her from the higher worlds — nevertheless she was inevitably under the influence of certain personalities when she wanted to evoke manifestations from the spiritual world. And so she always made reference to what ought really to have been left aside—she always referred to the “Mahatmas”. They may be there in the background but this is not a factor when it is a question of furthering the interests of humanity.

And so it was not long before H. P. Blavatsky was having to face a decision. A hint came to her from a quarter belonging to the side of the left that she was a personality of key importance. She knew very well what it was that she saw, but she was not aware of how significant she was as a personality. This was first disclosed to her by the left-wing. But she was fundamentally honest by nature and after this hint had been given her from a quarter of which, at the beginning, she could hardly have approved, because of her fundamental honesty, she tried on her side to reach a kind of compromise with an occult Brotherhood in Europe. Something very fine might have resulted from this, because through her great gift of mediumship she would have been able to furnish confirmations of really phenomenal importance in connection with what was known to the initiates from theories and symbolism. But she was not only thoroughly honest, she was also what is called in German a “Frechdachs” — a “cheeky creature”. And that she certainly was! She had in her nature a certain trait that is particularly common in those inclined to mediumship, namely, a lack of consistency in external behaviour. Thus there were moments when she could be very audacious and in one of these fits of audacity she imposed on the occult Brotherhood which had decided to make the experiment with her, terms which could not be fulfilled. But as she knew that a great deal could be achieved through her instrumentality, she decided to take up the matter with other Brotherhoods. And so she approached an American Brotherhood. This American Brotherhood was one where the majority had always wavered between the right and the left, but at all events had the prospect of discovering things of tremendous significance concerning the spiritual worlds.

Now this was the period when intense interest was being taken in H. P. Blavatsky by other Brothers of the left. Already at that time these left-wing Brothers had their own special interests. At the moment I do not propose to speak about these interests. If it were necessary, I could do so at some future time. For the present it is enough to say that they were Brothers who had their special interests, above all, interests of a strongly political character; they envisaged the possibility of achieving something of a political nature in America by means of persons who had first been put through an occult preparation. The consequence was that at a moment when H. P. Blavatsky had already acquired an untold amount of occult knowledge through having worked with the American Lodge, she had to be expelled from it, because it was discovered that there was something political in the background. So things couldn't continue.

The situation was now extremely difficult, tremendously difficult.
For what had been undertaken in order to call the world's attention to the existence of a spiritual world, had in a certain respect to be withdrawn by the serious occultists because it had been a fiasco. It was necessary to show that no reliance could be placed on what was being presented by Spiritualism, in spite of the fact that it had many adherents. It was only materialistic, it was sheer dilettantism. The only scholarly persons who concerned themselves with it were those who wanted to get information in an external, materialistic way about a spiritual world. In addition, H. P. Blavatsky had made it clear to the American Lodge on her departure that she had no intention whatever of withholding from the world what she knew. And she knew a great deal, for she was able to remember afterwards what had been conveyed through her. She had any amount of audacity!

Good advice is costly, as the saying goes. What was to be done? And now something happened to which I have referred on various occasions, for parts of what I am saying today in this connection I have said in other places. Something that is called in occultism “Occult imprisonment” was brought about. [note 2] H. P. Blavatsky was put into occult imprisonment. Through acts of a kind that can be performed only by certain Brothers — and are performed, moreover, only by Brotherhoods who allow themselves to engage in illicit arts — through certain acts and machinations they succeeded in compelling H. P. Blavatsky to live for a time in a world in which all her occult knowledge was driven inwards. Think of it in this way. — The occult knowledge was in her aura; as the result of certain processes that were set in operation, it came about that for a long time everything in this aura was thrown back into her soul. That is to say, all the occult knowledge she possessed was to be imprisoned; she was to be isolated as far as the outer world and her occultism were concerned.

This happened at the time when H. P. Blavatsky might have become really dangerous through the spreading of teachings which are among the most interesting of all within the horizon of the Occult Movement.
Certain Indian occultists now came to know of the affair, occultists who on their part tended strongly towards the left, and whose prime interest it was to turn the occultism which could be given to the world through H. P. Blavatsky in a direction where it could influence the world in line with their special aims. Through the efforts of these Indian occultists who were versed in the appropriate practices, she was released from this imprisonment within her aura; she was free once again and could now use her spiritual faculties in the right way.

From this you can get an idea of what had taken place in this soul, and of what combination of factors all that came into the world through H. P. Blavatsky, was composed. But because certain Indian occultists had gained the merit of freeing her from her imprisonment, they had her in their power in a certain respect. And there was simply no possibility of preventing them from using her to send out into the world that part of occultism which suited their purposes. And so something very remarkable was “arranged”— if I may use a clumsy word. What was arranged can be expressed approximately as follows. — The Indian occultists wanted to assert their own special aims in opposition to those of the others, and for this purpose they made use of H. P. Blavatsky. She was given instructions to place herself under a certain influence, for in her case the mediumistic state had always to be induced from outside — and this also made it possible to bring all kinds of things into the world through her.

About this time she came to be associated with a person who from the beginning had really no directly theosophical interests but a splendid talent for organisation, namely, Colonel Olcott. I cannot say for certain, but I surmise that there had already been some kind of association at the time when Blavatsky belonged to the American Lodge. Then, under the mask, as it were, of an earlier individuality, there appeared in the field of Blavatsky's spiritual vision a personality who was essentially the vehicle of what it was desired from India to launch into the world. Some of you may know that in his book People from the Other World, Colonel Olcott has written a great deal about this individuality who now appeared in H. P. B.'s field of vision under the mask of an earlier individuality designated as Mahatma Kut-Humi. You know, perhaps, that Colonel Olcott has written a very great deal about this Mahatma Kut-Humi, among other things that in the year 1874 this Mahatma Kut-Humi had declared what individuality was living in him. He had indicated that this individuality was John King by name, a powerful sea-pirate of the seventeenth century.
This is to be read in Olcott's book People from the Other World.

In the Mahatma Kut-Humi, therefore, we have to do with the spirit of a bold sea-pirate of the seventeenth century who then, in the nineteenth century, was involved in significant manifestations made with the help of H. P. Blavatsky and others too. He brought tea-cups from some distance away, he let all kinds of records be produced from the coffin of H. P. B.'s father, [note 3] and so forth. From Colonel Olcott's account, therefore, it must be assumed that these were deeds of the bold pirate of the seventeenth century.

Now Colonel Olcott speaks in a remarkable way about this John King. He says that perhaps here one had to do, not with the spirit of this pirate but possibly with the creation of an Order which, while depending for its results upon unseen agents, has its existence among physical men. According to this account, Kut-Humi might have been a member of an Order which engaged in practices such as I have described and the results of which were to be communicated to the world through H. P. Blavatsky but bound up with all kinds of special interests. These were that a specifically Indian teaching should be spread in the world.

This was approximately the situation in the seventies of the nineteenth century. We therefore have evidence of very significant happenings which must be seen in a single framework when we are considering the whole course of events in the Occult Movement. It was this same John King who, by means of “precipitation”, produced Sinnett's books, the first one, Letters about the Occult World and, especially, Esoteric Buddhism.

This book Esoteric Buddhism came into my hands very shortly after publication — a few weeks in fact — and I could see from it that efforts were being made, especially from a certain quarter, to give an entirely materialistic form to the spiritual teachings.
If you were to study Esoteric Buddhism with the insight you have acquired in the course of time, you would be astonished at the materialistic forms in which facts are there presented. It is materialism in its very worst forms. The spiritual world is presented in an entirely materialistic way. No one who gets hold of this book can shake himself free from materialism. The subject-matter is very subtle but in Sinnett's book one cannot get away from materialism, however lofty the heights to which it purports to carry one. And so those who were now H.P. B.'s spiritual “bread-givers” — forgive the materialistic analogy — not only had special aims connected with Indian interests, but they also made trenchant concessions to the materialistic spirit of the age. And the influence which Sinnett's book had upon very large numbers of people shows how correctly they had speculated. [note 4] I have met scientists who were delighted with this book because everything fitted in with their stock-in-trade and yet they were able to conceive of the existence of a spiritual world. The book satisfied all the demands of materialism and yet made it possible to meet the need for a spiritual world and to acknowledge its existence.

Now you know that in the further development of these happenings, H. P. Blavatsky wrote The Secret Doctrine in the eighties of the nineteenth century, and in 1891 she died. The Secret Doctrine is written in the same style as Esoteric Buddhism, except that it puts right certain gross errors which any occultist could at once have corrected. I have often spoken about the peculiar features of Blavatsky's book and need not go into the matter again now. Then, on the basis of what had come about in this way, the Theosophical Society was founded and, fundamentally speaking, retained its Indian trend. Although no longer with the intensity that had prevailed under the influence of John King, the Indian trend persisted. What I have now described to you was, as it were, a new path which made great concessions to the materialism of the age, but was nevertheless intended to show humanity that a spiritual world as well as the outer, material world must be taken into account.

Many details would have to be added to what I have now said, but time is too short. I will go on at once to show you how our spiritual-scientific Movement took its place in the Movement which was already in existence.

You know that we founded the German Section of the Theosophical Society in October, 1902. In the winters of both 1900 and 1901 I had already given lectures in Berlin which may be called “theosophical” lectures, for they were held in the circle and at the invitation of the Berlin Theosophists. The first lectures were those which ultimately became the book entitled, Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens (translated into English with the title, Mysticism and Modern Thought). These lectures were given to a circle of Members of the Theosophical Society, of which I myself was not then a member. It must be borne in mind at the outset that one had to do with teaching that was already widespread and had led numbers of people to turn their minds to the spiritual world. Thus all over the world there were people who to a certain extent were prepared and who wanted to know something about the spiritual world. Of the things I have told you today they knew nothing, had not the slightest inkling of them. But they had a genuine longing for the spiritual world, and for that reason had attached themselves to the Movement in which this longing could be satisfied. And so in this Movement there were to be found persons whose hearts were longing for knowledge of the spiritual world.

You know that in a grotesque and ludicrous way I was taxed with having made a sudden turn-about from an entirely different world-view which had been presented in my book Welt- and Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten Jahrhundert. [note 5] The first part had appeared in February 1900, and the second part in the following October. I was taxed with having suddenly changed sides and having gone over to Theosophy. Now I have often told you that not only had Sinnett's book, for example, come into my hands immediately after its publication, but that I had also had close associations with the young Theosophical Society in Vienna. It is right that you should understand what the circumstances were at the time, and I want also to give you a very brief, objective view of the antecedents of the German Section. There were people in the Theosophical Society who longed to know of the spiritual world, and I had given lectures in their circle. These were the lectures on Mysticism and the Mystics which I gave in a small room in the house of Count Brockdorff. At that time I was not myself a member. The preface to the printed volume containing these lectures is dated September 1901. In the summer of 1901 I had collected the lectures given the previous winter, into the book published in September 1901 under the title Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichin Geistlebens. [note 6]

I will read the first lines of the preface to this book:

“What is stated in this work formed the content of lectures given by me last winter in the Theosophical Library in Berlin. I was invited by Count and Countess Brockdorff to speak on mysticism to an audience seriously interested in the subject. Ten years earlier I should not have ventured to comply with such a request. Not that the world of ideas which I am now bringing to expression was not already within me. This world of ideas is presented in my The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, published by Emil Felber, Berlin, 1894. — But to express this world of ideas as I am doing today and so to make it the basis of study as in this present book, requires something quite different from a mere firm conviction of its intellectual truth. It requires intimate communion with this world of ideas such as can be achieved only after many years. Only now, after this intimate communion has been vouchsafed to me, do I venture to speak in the way that will be apparent in this book.”

Now you can conceive why I had allowed the contents of lectures given in very different circles to find a place in an occult movement. In the first edition of the book Welt-and Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten Jahrhundert, the following is contained in the chapter about Schelling I quote from the first edition, which was dedicated to Ernst Haeckel and was published in February, 1900. I will read a few passages from the book of which people have said that it sprang from a world-view quite different from that presented in the book on Mysticism.—

“Now there are two possible ways of describing a being which is at the same time Spirit and Nature. The one is: I exhibit the laws of nature which are active in Reality. Or, I show how the spirit acts in order to come to these natural laws. One and the same thing guides me in both cases. The one shows me conformity to law as it is active in nature; the other shows me what the spirit does in order to represent to itself this same conformity to law. In the one case I pursue natural science, in the other spiritual science. How these two are connected, Schelling describes in an interesting way. He says: ‘The necessary tendency of all natural science is to ascend from nature to intelligence. This and nothing else underlies the endeavour to bring theory into natural phenomena. The highest perfection of natural science would be the complete spiritualisation of all natural laws into laws of observation and thought. Phenomena (the material) must completely vanish, and laws alone (the formal) remain. Hence it happens that the more conformity to law is brought into nature herself the more the veils vanish, phenomena themselves become more spiritual and finally disappear altogether. Optical phenomena are nothing more than a geometry whose lines are drawn by light, and the light itself is already an ambiguous materiality. In the phenomena of magnetism all traces of matter are lost, and in those of gravity, which even the natural scientist is only able to accept as a direct spiritual operation — an effect at a distance — nothing remains but its laws, whose transactions are in the vastness of the mechanism of the celestial movements. The perfect theory of nature would be that by virtue of which nature as a whole is resolved into an intelligence. The lifeless and unconscious products of nature are only nature's abortive attempts to reflect herself; so-called lifeless nature is, however, an unripe intelligence, hence in its phenomena the intelligent character still peeps through, but without consciousness. Nature only reaches her highest aim — to become herself wholly object — in her highest and final reflection, which is none other than Man, or more generally, what we call Reason, through which nature first completely returns into herself, and by which it becomes manifest that she, nature, is originally identical with what is known in us as intelligence and consciousness.’”

And referring further to Schelling, I say a little later:

To Schelling, with his progressive thought, the study of the world was the study of God, or Theosophy. He already stood completely on this ground when, in 1809, he brought out his Philosophic Enquiries into the Nature of Human Freedom and allied Matters. All questions concerning conceptions of the world now come to him in a new light. If all things are divine, how comes it that there is evil in the world, since God can only be perfect Goodness? If the soul of man is in God, how comes it that she follows her own self-seeking interests? And if it is God who acts in me, how can I, who therefore in no wise act as an independent being, yet be called free?”

This view of the world is not put aside. — And I say further:

“With such views, Schelling proved himself to be the boldest, most courageous of those philosophers who allowed themselves to be stimulated by Kant into adopting an idealistic view of the world. Under the influence of this stimulus, man has relinquished philosophising about things lying beyond what the human senses alone and the thought concerning such observations, utter. Men try to rest content with what lies within the field of observation and thought. But whereas Kant drew from this the inevitable conclusion that man can know nothing of things ‘beyond’, his successors declared: As observation and thought indicate nothing divine in that ‘beyond’, they are themselves the divine. Among those who declared this, Schelling was the most forceful. Fichte gathered everything into selfhood; Schelling extended selfhood over everything. He did not, like Fichte, wish to show that selfhood is everything, but, on the contrary, that everything is selfhood. And Schelling had the courage to declare not only the ego's content of ideas to be divine, but the whole human spirit-personality. He not only made the human Reason divine, but the content of human life a divine, personal entity. One calls an explanation of the world Anthropomorphism which, starting from man, imagines that underlying the whole course of the world there is a being who guides that course as man guides his own actions. Those, too, who postulate a general cosmic Intelligence as the basis of events, they too explain the world in the anthropomorphic sense. For this cosmic Intelligence is none other than the human Reason which has been made general and universal. When Goethe says: ‘Man never realises how anthropomorphic he is’, his mind is engrossed with the thought that concealed anthropomorphisms are contained in the simplest utterances we make about nature. When we say, ‘a body rolls further because another has struck it’, we form such an idea from out of our ego. We strike a body and it rolls on. If we see that a ball moves towards another and this other rolls on further, we think of the striking of the second by the first as analogous to the striking effect which we ourselves exercise. Ernst Haeckel spoke the anthropomorphic dogma: ‘divine world-creation and divine world-government resemble the mechanical productions of an ingenious technician or engineer and the State-administration of a wise ruler. The Lord God as Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of the Cosmos is here conceived as thoroughly human in his thinking and acting.’ Schelling had the courage to lead anthropomorphism to its ultimate consequences. He declared man and his whole life-content to be divine; and as not only the rational belongs to this life-content, but also the irrational, he was able also to explain the existence of irrationality in the world. To this end he had to extend the rational views of the reasoning mind by adding another, whose origin does not lie in thinking. This — in his opinion — higher view, he calls ‘Positive Philosophy’. ‘This’, he says, ‘is the really free philosophy; anyone who does not desire it may leave it alone; I leave everyone free; I say only that if anyone desires, for instance, to ascertain the actual course of things, to have a free world-creation and so forth, he can succeed only along the path of a philosophy such as this. If rationalistic philosophy satisfies him and he desires nothing further, let him content himself with that, but he must give up trying to find in rationalistic philosophy what unfortunately it cannot have within it, namely, the real God and the reality underlying the course of things, and a free relationship of God to the world.’ Negative philosophy will ‘remain pre-eminently the philosophy for the schools, Positive philosophy, the philosophy for life. Only through both together will there come the consecration that man may expect from philosophy. It is well known that the Eleusinian Initiates distinguished the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries; the Lesser were a preparation for the Greater. ... Positive philosophy is the necessary consequence of Negative philosophy when this is rightly understood. It may therefore be said: In Negative philosophy the Lesser Mysteries are celebrated, in Positive philosophy the Greater.’

This chapter of my book closed with the passage:

“If the inner life is declared to be divine, it seems inconsistent to confine ourselves to one part of it. Schelling did not fall into this inconsistency. When he said that to explain nature is to create nature, he indicated the direction of his own view of life. If the reflective study of nature is a repetition of her creation, the basic character of his creation must correspond to that of human action; it must be an act of free spiritual activity, not one like a geometrical necessity. But we cannot recognise a free creation through laws of Reason; it must reveal itself through different means.”

I was writing a history of world-views held in the nineteenth century. I could not go any further than this, for what prevailed at the time in advancing evolution were purely dilettante attempts which had no influence upon the progress of philosophical research. Such matters could not form part of this book. But Theosophy, in so far as it is carried into earnest thinking — that you find in the chapter on Schelling.

The second part of the book, which deals, firstly, with Hegel, is dated October, two. It was then that I had just begun to give the lectures referred to, and in September, 1901, the book on Mysticism had already been published. Truly it is not for the sake of emphasising personal matters but in order to help you to make an unprejudiced judgment that I should like to refer you to a criticism of the book Welt- und Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten Jahrhundert which appeared on 15th December, 1901 in the journal of the German Freethinkers' Alliance, The Free-Thinker. Here, after an introduction and a remark to the effect that there had been no readable presentation of the development of thought in the nineteenth century, it continues:

“Especially in the domain of philosophy in which disputes can be carried on in appropriate words, many sins are committed in popular writings. The ‘Watchers of Zion’ and organisations of every kind, with their learned cliques to which unfortunately so many university tutors belong, are much to blame.”

Quotation of the folllowing extract is made only in order to point out the good-will with which the book was received at the time:

“So much the more must we welcome the fact that Dr. Rudolf Steiner, an author well known as a modern thinker and protagonist, has undertaken the task of giving the German public an objective presentation of the spiritual conflicts waged in Germany in the nineteenth century concerning views and conceptions of the world.”

Then, after an extract from the book, a remarkable statement follows and I must read it to you in full. The writer of this review regrets the absence of something in the book, and expresses this in the following words:

“Although the spiritualism of Du Prel and the anchoretic original Christianity of Tolstoi are useless for cultural activity based on the thought of evolution, yet symptomatically they have a value not to be overlooked. The same may be said of Neo-Buddhism (Theosophy), which has developed a terminology of its own, a sort of mystic jargon. A psychology of the modern belief in spirits by a man of the mental calibre of Steiner would be decidedly welcome. The language of his book is easy to comprehend. None of the yard-long passages of the academic philosopher disturbs the enjoyment of the reader.”

This was written in November 1901, shortly after I had begun to give the theosophical lectures in Berlin. It can truly be said that there was then a demand, a public demand, that I should speak about the aim and purpose of Theosophy. It was not a matter of arbitrary choice but, as the saying goes, a clear call of karma.

In the winter of 1900-1901, I gave the lectures on Mysticism, and in that of 1901-1902 those dealing with the Greek and Egyptian Mysteries in rather greater detail. These lectures were subsequently printed in the book Christianity as Mystical Fact [note 7] (published in the summer of 1902).

The greater part of Mysticism and Modern Thought was at once translated into English, still before I was a member of the Theosophical Society. I could tell you a great deal of importance, but time does not permit of it now; it may be told another time. One thing, however, I must add.

You see clearly that nowhere in the course of things was there any kind of sudden jump; one thing led to the other quite naturally. At the beginning of the course of lectures on the Greek and Egyptian Mysteries — again held in Count Brockdorff's library — and indeed also at the time of the second series I had some opportunity of hearing about matters which were not so very serious at that time, but which eventually led to things which have been spoken of here as “mystical eccentricities”.

So in the year 1901-1902, I spoke on the Greek and Egyptian Mysteries and these lectures were attended by the present Frau Dr. Steiner. She had also heard the lecture I had given in the Theosophical Society during the winter of 1900 on Gustav Theodor Fechner. It was a special lecture, not forming part of the other series. Frau Dr. Steiner had therefore already been present at some of the lectures I gave during that time. It would be interesting to relate a few details here — but these may be omitted; they merely add a little colour to the incident. If necessary, they can be told on another occasion.

After having been away for a time, Frau Dr. Steiner returned to Berlin from Russia in the autumn, and with an acquaintance of Countess Brockdorff was present at the second course of lectures given in the winter of 1901–1902. After one of the lectures on the Greek Mysteries, this acquaintance came to me and said — well, something of the kind just alluded to! This lady subsequently became a more and more fanatical adherent of the Theosophical Society and was later given a high position in the Order founded to wait for the Second Coming of Christ. At the time of which I am speaking, she came to me after the lecture on the Greek Mysteries and, adopting the air of a really profound initiate of the Theosophical Society about to give evidence of her initiation, said: “You have spoken of Mysteries; but they are still in existence. There are still secret societies. Are you aware of that?”

After a subsequent lecture on the same subject, she came to me again and said: “One sees that you still remember quite well what you were taught when you were in the Greek Mysteries!”
That is something which, carried a little farther, borders on the chapter deserving the title of “mystical eccentricities”.

In the autumn of 1901, this lady organised a tea-party. Frau Dr. Steiner always speaks of it as the “chrysanthemum tea” because there were so many of these flowers in the room. The invitation came from this acquaintance of Countess Brockdorff and I often thought that she wanted — well, I don't quite know what it was! The day chosen for the founding of the Theosophical Society was one of special importance for this lady. She may have wanted to enlist me as a co-worker on her own lines, for she put out feelers and was often very persistent — but nothing of any account came of it. I should like, however, just to relate a conversation that took place in the autumn of 1901 between the present Frau Dr. Steiner and myself on the occasion of that “chrysanthemum tea”, when she asked whether it was not urgently necessary to call to life a spiritual-scientific Movement in Europe. In the course of the conversation I said in unambiguous terms: “Certainly it is necessary to call such a Movement to life. But I will ally myself only with a Movement that is connected exclusively with Western occultism and cultivates its development.” And I also said that such a Movement must link on to Plato, to Goethe, and so forth. I indicated the whole programme which was then actually carried out.

In this programme there was no place for unhealthy activities, but naturally a few people with such tendencies came; they were people who were influenced by the Movement of which I have spoken. But from the conversation quoted at the beginning of this lecture, which I had with a member of the English Theosophical Society, you will see that a complete rejection of everything in the nature of mediumship and atavism was implicit in this programme.

The path we have been following for long years was adopted with full consciousness. Although elements of mediumistic and atavistic clairvoyance have not been absent, there has been no deviation from this path, and it has led to our present position.

I had, of course, to rely on finding within the Theosophical Movement people who desired and were able to recognise thoroughly healthy methods of work. The invariable procedure of those who did not desire a Movement in which a healthy and strict sense of scientific responsibility prevails, has been to misrepresent the aim we have been pursuing, in order to suit their own ends. The very history of our Movement affords abundant evidence that there has been no drawing back from penetrating into the highest spiritual worlds, to the extent to which they can now, by grace, be revealed to mankind; but that on the other hand, whatever cannot be attained along a healthy path, through the right methods for entering the spiritual worlds, has been strictly rejected. Those who recognise this and who follow the history of the Movement do not need to take it as a mere assurance, for it is evident from the whole nature of the work that has been going on for years. We have been able to go very, very much further in genuine investigation of the spiritual world than has ever been possible to the Theosophical Society. But we take the sure, not the unsure, paths. This may be said candidly and freely.

I have always refused to have anything to do with forms of antiquated occultism, with any Brotherhoods or Communities of that kind in the domain of esotericism. And it was only under the guarantee of complete independence that I worked for a time in a certain connection with the Theosophical Society and its esoteric procedures, but never in the direction towards which it was heading. Already by the year 1907 everything really esoteric had completely vanished from the Theosophical Society, and later happenings are sufficiently well known to you. It has also happened that Occult Brotherhoods made proposals to me of one kind or another. A certain highly-respected Occult Brotherhood suggested to me that I should participate in the spreading of a kind of occultism calling itself ‘Rosicrucian’, but I left the proposal unanswered, although it came from a much-respected Occult Movement. I say this in order to show that we ourselves are following an independent path, suited to the needs of the present age, and that unhealthy elements are inevitably regarded by us as being undesirable in the extreme.



Note 1. Dr. Steiner's articles in Lucifer-Gnosis are collected in the book entitled Aus der Akasha-Kronik. The book was published in English translation by Rudolf Steiner Publications Inc., New York, 1959, with the title Cosmic Memory.

Note 2. See inter alia: Man in the Light of Occultism, Theosophy and Philosophy, lecture 7 and lecture 10; Earthly and Cosmic Man, lecture 1; Earthly and Cosmic Man, lecture 1; The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, lecture 4; Things of the present and past in the Spirit of Man, lecture 5. (The last two lecture-courses are not yet printed but are available in translation as typescripts.) See also Notes at end of Lecture Five.

Note 3. Note by translator. Presumably by means of the process known in spiritualism as “precipitation”.

Note 4. See notes at the end of Lecture Five.

Note 5. The content of this book is included in Die Rätsel der Philosophie.

Note 6. Translated with the title, Mysticism and Modern Thought. (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., London and Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1925.)

Note 7. Second English edition (revised) 1972. (Rudolf Steiner Press, London)
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:05 pm


Because other matters have still to be discussed, I will add only a brief episode today to the subjects of which we have been hearing during the last few days. Still more specific details will have to be given tomorrow in connection with the Occult Movement in the nineteenth century and its relation to civilisation and culture. I must, however, insert into the course of our studies a subject that is very important. You will remember certain things I have said in connection with von Wrangell's brochure, Science and Theosophy, and when I repeat them you will realise that from the point of view of Spiritual Science great significance must be attached to the advent of materialism and the materialistic world-conception in the nineteenth century; simply to adopt an attitude of criticism would be quite wrong.

A critical attitude is always the easiest when something confronts one. It is therefore essential to realise that the current in the evolution of humanity which may be called the materialistic view of the world arose in the nineteenth century quite inevitably.
It has already been amply characterised, but two aspects may be described which will make its whole significance doubly clear to us.

In the form in which it appeared in the nineteenth century, as an actual view of the world, materialism had never hitherto existed. True, there had been individual materialistic philosophers such as Democritus and others — you can read about them in my book Riddles of Philosophy — who were, so to speak, the forerunners of theoretical materialism. But if we compare the view of the world they actually held with what comes to expression in the materialism of the nineteenth century, it will be quite evident that materialism had never previously existed in that form. Least of all could it have existed, let us say, in the Middle Ages, or in the centuries immediately preceding the dawn of modern thought, because in those days the souls of men were still too closely connected with the impulses of the spiritual world. To conceive that the whole universe is nothing more than a sum-total of self-moving atoms in space and that these atoms, conglomerating into molecules, give rise to all the phenomena of life and of the spirit — such a conception was reserved for the nineteenth century.

Now it can be said that there is, and always will be, something that can be detected like a scarlet thread, even in the most baleful conceptions of the world. And if we follow this scarlet thread which runs through the evolution of humanity, we shall be bound to recognise at very least the inconsistency of the materialistic view of the world. This scarlet thread consists in the simple fact that human beings think. Without thinking, man could not possibly arrive even at a materialistic view of the world. After all, he has thought out such a view, only he has forgotten to practise this one particle of self-knowledge: You yourself think, and the atoms cannot think! If only this one particle of self-knowledge is practised, there is something to hold to; and by holding to it one will always find that it is not compatible with materialism.

But to discover the truth of this, materialism must be recognised as what it really is. As long as man had, as it were, a counterfeit idea of materialism, an idea in which spiritual impulses were still included, he could hold fast to the fragment of spirit he still sought to find in the phenomena of nature, and so forth. Not until he had cast out all spirit through the spirit — for thinking is possible only for the spirit — not until through the spirit he had cast out spirit from the structure of the universe could the materialistic view of the world confront him in all its barrenness. It was necessary that at some time man should be faced with the whole barrenness of materialism. But what is also essential here is to reflect about thinking. That is absolutely indispensable. As soon as we do so, we shall realise that the barren vista presented by materialism had necessarily to appear at some point in evolution in order that men might become aware of what actually confronts them there.

That is one aspect of the matter, but it cannot be rightly understood unless its other aspect is presented. Materialistic picture of the world — space — in space atoms, which are in movement — and this is the All. Fundamentally, it is an outer consequence, a mirage of one side of space and the atoms moving within it, that is to say, those minute particles of which, as we have shown in earlier lectures, genuine thinking will not admit the existence. But ever and again men come to these atoms. How are they found? How does man come to assume their existence?

Nobody can ever have seen atoms, for they are conjectures, inventions of the mind. Apart from the reality, therefore, there must be some instigation which prompts man to think out an atomistic world. Something must instigate the proclivity in him to think out an atomistic world—nature herself most assuredly does not lead him to form an atomistic picture of her! With a trained physicist — and I am not speaking hypothetically here for I have actually discussed such matters with physicists — with a trained physicist one can speak about these things because he has knowledge of external physics. He could never have hit upon atomism! He would have to say — as indeed was the conclusion reached by shrewder physicists in the eighties of last century: Atomism is an assumption, a working hypothesis which affords a basis for calculation; but let us be quite clear that we are not dealing with any reality. — Thoughtful physicists would prefer to keep to what they perceive with the senses, but again and again, like a cat falling on its feet, they come back to atomism.

Mention has often been made of these things since I gave the lectures on the Theosophy of the Rosicrucian in Munich [note 1], and if you have studied what has been elaborated through the years, you will know that the rudiments of the physical body were imparted to man on Old Saturn, that he then passed through the Old Sun and Old Moon evolutions, and then, during the Old Moon period received into his organism, into what existed of his physical organism at that time, his nerve-system.

It would, however, be quite erroneous to imagine that during the Old Moon epoch the nerve-system was similar to what presents itself today to an anatomist or physiologist. In the Old Moon epoch the nerve-system was present as archetype only, as Imagination. It did not become physical, or better said, mineral in the chemical sense, until the Earth-period. The whole ramified nerve-system we now have in our body, is a product of the Earth. During the Earth's development, mineral matter was incorporated into the imaginative archetypes of our nerve-system, as well as into the other archetypes. That is how our present nerve-system came into being.

The materialist says: With this nerve-system I think, or I perceive. We know that this is nonsense.
To get a correct idea of the process, let us picture the course of some nerve in the organism (see diagram). But now let us follow different nerves which run through the organism and send out ramifications, like branches. A nerve has, as it were, a stem from which branches spread out; these branches come into the neighbourhood of others and then still another filament continues on its way. (The diagram is, of course, only a very rough sketch.)

Diagram 2

Now how does man's life of soul take its course within this nerve-system? That is the question of primary importance. We can form no true conception here if we consider the day-waking consciousness only; but if a man thinks of the moment when, together with his ego and astral body, he slips out of the body and therefore also out of the nerve-system, and especially of the moment when he slips into the body again on waking, he will have a peculiar experience. During sleep, in his ego and astral body he has been outside his nerves; he slips into the nerves again and is actually within them during his waking life; in the act of waking he feels himself streaming, as it were, from outside into the nerves.

The process of waking is much more complicated than can be conveyed in a diagram. — Through the day, together with his soul, man is within his body, filling it to the uttermost limits of the nerves. It is not as though the physical body were filled with a kind of undifferentiated mist; the organs and various organic structures are pervaded individually. As he passes into the different organs, man also slips into the sensory nerve-filaments, right to the very outermost ramifications of the nerves.

Let us try to picture it vividly. — Again I will make a sketch but can draw it only as a kind of mirrored reflection. I can draw it only from the outside, whereas in reality it ought to be drawn from within. Suppose here (diagram, p. 56) is the astral body and here the sensory “antennae” extending from it. — What I am drawing is all astral body.—It sketches certain antennae into the nerve fibres.

Now suppose the sleeves of my coat were sewn up and I were to slip my arm into the coat—suppose I had a hundred arms and were to slip them in this way into what would amount to sacks. With these hundred arms I should come up against the places where the sleeves are sewn up. In the same way I slip into the physical body, right to the ends of the nerve-fibres. As long as I am in the act of slipping in, I feel nothing; it is only when I reach the point where the sleeves are sewn up that I feel anything. It is the same with the nerves; we feel the nerve only at the point where it ends. Throughout the day we are within the nerve-substance, touching our nerve-ends all the time. Man does not realise this consciously but it expresses itself in his consciousness willy nilly. Now man thinks with his ego and astral body and we may therefore say: Thinking is an activity that is carried over by the ego and astral body to the etheric body. Something from the etheric body also plays a part—its movement at any rate. The cause of consciousness is that in acts of thinking I continually come to a point where an impact occurs. I make an impact at an infinite number of points but I am not conscious of this. It comes into consciousness only in the case of one who consciously experiences the process of waking; when he passes consciously into the mantle of his nerves he feels as if he were being pricked all over.

I once knew an interesting man who had become conscious of this in an abnormal way. He was a distinguished mathematician, conversant with the whole range of higher mathematics at that time. He was also, of course, much occupied with the differential and integral calculus. The “differential” in mathematics is the atomic, the very smallest unit that can be conceived — I cannot say more about it today. Although it was not a fully conscious experience, this man had the sensation of being pricked all over when he was engrossed in the study of the differential calculus. Now if this experience is not lifted into consciousness in the proper way, by such exercises as are given in the book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? — very strange things may occur. This man believed that he was feeling the differentials all over him. “I am crammed full of differentials”, he said. “I have nothing integral in me.” And moreover he demonstrated in a very ingenious way that he was full of differentials!

Now try to envisage these “pricks” vividly. What does a man do with them if they do not reach his consciousness?

Diagram 3

He projects them into space, fills space with them — and they are then the atoms. That, in truth, is the origin of atomism. If there is a mirror in front of you and you have no idea that it is a mirror, you will certainly believe that there, outside, is another collection of people. In the same way man conceives that the whole of space is filled with what he himself projects into it. This entire nerve-process is reflected back into man owing to the fact that he comes up against it (as a kind of barrier). But he is not conscious of this and so he conceives of the whole of surrounding space as being filled with atoms: the atoms are ostensibly the pricks made by his nerve-endings. Nature herself nowhere obliges us to assume the existence of atoms, but the human constitution does. At the moment of waking man dives down into his own being and becomes inwardly aware of an infinite number of spatial points within him. At this moment he is in exactly the same position as when he walks up to a mirror, knocks up against it — and realises then that he cannot get behind it. Similarly, at the moment of waking a man comes up against his nerve-endings and knows that he cannot get beyond them. The whole atomic picture is like a reflecting-screen. The moment a man realises that he cannot get behind it, he knows how things are.

And now think of a saying of Saint-Martin which I have quoted on previous occasions. What does a natural scientist say? He says: Analyse the phenomena of nature and you find the atomic world! We, however, know that the atomic world is simply not there; the truth is that our nerve-ends alone are there. What then, is there where the atomic world is conjectured to be? Nothing is there! We must remain at the mirror, at the nerve-ends. Man is there; and man is a reflecting apparatus. When this is not recognised, all kinds of things are conjectured to lie behind him. The materialistic view of the world arises, whereas in reality, it is man who must be discovered. But this cannot happen as long as it is said: Analyse the phenomena of nature — for this results in atomism. It should rather be said: Try to get beyond what is mere semblance, try to see through semblance! And then it will not be said: ... and you find the atomic world, but rather, and you find man! And now call to mind what Saint-Martin said as a kind of prophecy without fully understanding it himself: “Dissipez vos ténèbres materiels et vous trouverez l'homme.” [Google translate: Dissipate your material darkness and you will find the man] This is exactly the same thing, but it can only be understood with the help of what we have here been considering.

Through the way in which we are bringing Spiritual Science into connection both with Natural Science and also with its errors, we are fulfilling a longing that has existed ever since there were men who had some inkling of the fallaciousness of the modern materialistic view of the world. — When we think of the intrinsic character of our own conception of the world, the fact of untold significance that strikes us is this: Spiritual Science is there because it has been longed for by those who have had a feeling for the True, for the Truth which alone can bring that of which modern humanity stands in need.

In the lecture tomorrow I shall show you why error was bound to arise when the attempt with Spiritualism was made in the nineteenth century. I have indicated to you in many ways that it was a matter of suggestions exercised by living men, whereas it was believed that influences were coming from the dead. The dead can be reached only by withdrawing into those members of man's psychic being which can be lifted out of the physical body. The life of the human being between death and a new birth can be known only through what can be experienced outside the physical body; therefore mediums — using the word in its real meaning — cannot be used for this purpose. More about this tomorrow, when what is said will also be connected with the subject of the life after death.



Note 1. In 1907.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:09 pm


I want to add certain things today in continuation of what has been said in these lectures about the development of spiritual life in the nineteenth century.

We must turn our attention, on the one hand, to the role of the materialistic view of the world, and to the attempt that was made to counter the inevitable penetration of this materialistic outlook by means of the spiritual Movement of the nineteenth century; and further, how an attempt was made from different sides among occultists to save men from succumbing altogether to materialism. On the other hand, it will be well to connect with this subject a study of matters with which we ourselves are particularly concerned just now. This will help us to understand the character of those powers and forces which take effect outwardly on the physical plane in the way that has already cost us many discussions and will — at least so I imagine — have caused you much brain-racking. [note 1]

Most important, the central doctrine of nazism, that the Jew was evil and had to be exterminated, had its origin in the Gnostic position that there were two worlds, one good and one evil, one dark and one light, one materialistic and one spiritual.... The mystical teachings of Guido von List, Lanz von Liebenfels, and Rudolf von Sebottendorff were modern restatements of Gnosticism.

When the apocalyptic promise of Christ's resurrection was broken, the Gnostics sought to return men to God by another route, more Oriental than Hellenist. They devised a dualistic cosmology to set against the teachings of the early Christian Church, which, they claimed, were only common deceptions, unsuited for the wise. The truth was esoteric. Only the properly initiated could appreciate it. It belonged to a secret tradition which had come down through certain mystery schools. The truth was, God could never become man. There were two separate realms -- one spiritual, the other material. The spiritual realm, created by God, was all good; the material realm, created by the demiurge, all evil. Man needed to be saved, not from Original Sin, but from enslavement to matter. For this, he had to learn the mystical arts. Thus Gnosticism became a source for the occult tradition.

A famous medieval Gnostic sect, the Cathars, came to identify the Old Testament god, Jehovah, with the demiurge, the creator of the material world and therefore the equivalent of Satan. Within Gnosticism, then, existed the idea that the Jewish god was really the devil, responsible for all the evil in the world. He was opposed to the New Testament God. The Cathars tried to eliminate the Old Testament from Church theology and condemned Judaism as a work of Satan's, whose aim was to tempt men away from the spirit. Jehovah, they said, was the god of an earth "waste and void," with darkness "upon the face of the deep." Was he not cruel and capricious? They quoted Scripture to prove it. The New Testament God, on the other hand, was light. He declared that "there is neither male nor female," for everyone was united in Christ. These two gods, obviously, had nothing in common.

The synagogue was regarded as profane by Christians. The Cathars -- themselves considered heretical by the Church -- castigated Catholics for refusing to purge themselves of Jewish sources; Church members often blamed the [Cathar] Christian heresy on Jewish mysticism, which was considered an inspiration for Gnostic sorcery.

But Gnostic cosmology, though officially branded "false," pervaded the thinking of the Church. The Jews were widely thought to be magicians. It was believed that they could cause rain, and when there was a drought, they were encouraged to do so. Despite the displeasure of the Roman Popes, Christians, when they were in straitened circumstances, practiced Jewish customs, even frequenting synagogues.

This sheds light on an otherwise incomprehensible recurring theme within Nazi literature, as, for example, "The Earth-Centered Jew Lacks a Soul," by one of the chief architects of Nazi dogma, Alfred Rosenberg, who held that whereas other people believe in a Hereafter and in immortality, the Jew affirms the world and will not allow it to perish. The Gnostic secret is that the spirit is trapped in matter, and to free it, the world must be rejected. Thus, in his total lack of world-denial, the Jew is snuffing out the inner light, and preventing the millennium:

Where the idea of the immortal dwells, the longing for the journey or the withdrawal from temporality must always emerge again; hence, a denial of the world will always reappear. And this is the meaning of the non-Jewish peoples: they are the custodians of world-negation, of the idea of the Hereafter, even if they maintain it in the poorest way. Hence, one or another of them can quietly go under, but what really matters lives on in their descendants. If, however, the Jewish people were to perish, no nation would be left which would hold world-affirmation in high esteem -- the end of all time would be here.

... the Jew, the only consistent and consequently the only viable yea-sayer to the world, must be found wherever other men bear in themselves ... a compulsion to overcome the world.... On the other hand, if the Jew were continually to stifle us, we would never be able to fulfill our mission, which is the salvation of the world, but would, to be frank, succumb to insanity, for pure world-affirmation, the unrestrained will for a vain existence, leads to no other goal. It would literally lead to a void, to the destruction not only of the illusory earthly world but also of the truly existent, the spiritual. Considered in himself the Jew represents nothing else but this blind will for destruction, the insanity of mankind. It is known that Jewish people are especially prone to mental disease. "Dominated by delusions," said Schopenhauer about the Jew.

... To strip the world of its soul, that and nothing else is what Judaism wants. This, however, would be tantamount to the world's destruction.

This remarkable statement, seemingly the rantings of a lunatic, expresses the Gnostic theme that the spirit of man, essentially divine, is imprisoned in an evil world. The way out of this world is through rejection of it. But the Jew alone stands in the way. Behind all the talk about "the earth-centered Jew" who "lacks a soul"; about the demonic Jew who will despoil the Aryan maiden; about the cabalistic work of the devil in Jewish finance; about the sinister revolutionary Jewish plot to take over the world and cause the decline of civilization, there is the shadow of ancient Gnosticism.

-- Gods & Beasts: The Nazis & the Occult, by Dusty Sklar

A connecting line exists from certain far-reaching factors in the spiritual development of the nineteenth century to the matters with which we ourselves are now concerned. I shall be obliged today to make a wide sweep and I ask you to treat the various communications I shall make with a certain discretion from the outset, for the simple reason that they relate to subjects which, as you will realise, can be known only to very few at the present time. Later on, they will be found to be fully confirmed.

We will take as our starting-point the fact that the nineteenth century was the epoch when materialism as a Weltanschauung arose in the natural course of progress and that the middle of that century was the time when the whole of mankind was, as it were, to be put to the test through the advent of materialism. Materialism was to stand on the horizon like a Circe, a temptress, and men's proclivities and feelings were to result in their becoming literally enamoured of it. For it may truly be said that the men of the nineteenth century were enamoured of materialism.

On the other side we have seen how greatly materialism deserves praise. As a method, materialism has made possible the great achievements of natural science which with all their technical, economic and social consequences, would not have been possible if the faculties of soul necessary for materialistic observation of the world had not been developed. There was a combination of two factors. On the one hand, the evolution of humanity had to take its course to the point where materialistic interpretations were inevitable when the study of nature was carried to a further stage. Honest thinkers could not but arrive at materialism if they adopted certain methods of investigation established by natural science; for materialism was good as a method for investigating and observing the secrets of the material world. — That was the one aspect that emerged. The other was that the hearts and souls of men were so attuned as to make them love materialism. Everything tended towards it. All the factors combined to put men to the test, as it were, through a materialistic view of the world.

Now I have already told you that those among the occultists who, so to speak, had the responsibility of seeing that humanity should not completely sink into materialism, an attempt was made with mediumship, and I showed you that mediumship led to aberrations. I have already indicated one of the most significant of these aberrations. It was remarkable that mediums everywhere professed to be able to give information, revelations, from the realm of the dead, the realm in which men live after death. The most remarkable thing of all, in addition to what I have already told you, was that these communications which came through mediums — allegedly from the realm of the dead — everywhere disclosed a strongly tendentious character. — You can examine all these proclamations made by the mediums and you will find that they invariably have a strongly tendentious character precisely where the life of the soul after death is concerned.

In important circles where mediums were used, declarations were made which to the old esotericists — that is to say, those who did not wish certain occult truths to be made public — were the cause of great consternation. I can indicate the reason for their consternation in the following way.

In order to be quite clear about the matter, please read the course of lectures I gave in Vienna in the year 1914, entitled The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and a new Birth. The lectures contain very important facts which emerge when one approaches the realm of the dead in the right way by putting oneself into the condition where they are able to speak to one.

But in very many circles where mediums were used, revelations of a quite different kind were made. If you peruse the mass of literature compiled from the communications of different mediums, you will discover — especially when these mediums were guided by the souls of living persons — that everything has a strongly tendentious character. Descriptions of the life after death were given which, if you compare them with what was said in the Vienna lectures, are entirely false. You will perceive, too, the tendency in the different mediums to allow nothing concerning repeated lives on Earth to come to light. Wherever the mediums alleged that the dead had spoken to them, they described the life after death in such a way that the conclusion was: there can be no repeated Earth-lives! In the development of mediumship there was the tendency to make false assertions precisely about the most important aspects of the life between death and a new birth — especially to make assertions which preclude the fact of reincarnation. It was desired to speak to this effect through mediums. That is to say, certain people who exploited this tendency in pursuance of their special aims, desired that revelations indicating that there are no repeated Earth-lives should be proclaimed through the mediums. The desire, therefore, was to use the mediums in order to oppose the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.

That was a very striking fact, a fact which caused the right-wing occultists the greatest consternation of all, for they themselves had been a party to the use of mediumship and what it produced — and this was being made to serve tendentious interests instead of the unbiased truth.

All these things were possible because the leaning towards materialism was so strong in men. Now what is said in the Vienna lectures about the life between death and a new birth is irreconcilable with any form of materialism as a view of the world. But a man can be a materialist in his way of thinking and give credence to what different mediums have said about the life after death, for that is really only a kind of embellished materialism that is ashamed of being materialism and therefore has recourse to mediums in order to glean something about the spiritual world. Materialism was therefore a factor to be reckoned with, and those who did reckon with it fared the best.

In addition to all this there was something else. Even among those who knew something about the spiritual worlds great confusion had arisen in the course of the nineteenth century in regard to a matter about which, if a spiritual Movement is to make any real progress, it is absolutely essential to be clear. The confusion was due to the fact that Ahriman and Lucifer were continually being intermixed. People were no longer able to distinguish between them. A principle of evil and the representative of the evil — that they understood, but they saw no need for any sharper distinction. Even Goethe was unable to distinguish Ahriman — whom he called Mephistopheles — from Lucifer. In Goethe's presentation they are indistinguishable, for Mephistopheles is a mixture, a cross between Ahriman and Lucifer. In the nineteenth century men had no faculty for making a distinction between the representatives of the two spiritual streams—between Ahriman and Lucifer. I can only make certain statements on this subject today, but later on I shall be able to elaborate them and then confirmation will be possible.

Now when it is a matter of clarity concerning the spiritual world, very much depends upon being able to distinguish between Ahriman and Lucifer. That is why a strict distinction between the figures of Ahriman and Lucifer will be made in the representations in our Building. [note 2] Lack of clear distinction between these two Powers leads to a particular kind of confusion in spiritual understanding. If Ahriman and Lucifer are intermixed as they are in Goethe's figure of Mephistopheles, the danger is that Ahriman will constantly appear in the form of Lucifer. There is no knowing whether one has to do with Ahriman himself or with Lucifer in the form of Ahriman. Ahriman wishes to convey untruths by way of the materialistic view of the world. But the materialistic view of the world would not lead to the consequence mentioned yesterday if people would only hold fast to the thread of thinking. Without this far-reaching thinking, materialism cannot be surmounted. But if Ahriman and Lucifer are intermixed, man is induced to accept the Ahrimanic picture of the world that is presented to him because Lucifer comes to the help of Ahriman and a certain longing arises in him to weave certain fallacies in the guise of truths into his conception of the world.

A remarkable trend has developed, namely, to harbour fallacies which indeed could flourish only in the age of materialism — one might say in the age of Ahrimanic deception — because Lucifer helps from within. Ahriman insinuates himself into the concepts formed of outer phenomena and deceives man about them. But man would see through these wiles if Lucifer did not incite him to lend force to certain materialistic facts in his view of the world.

That was the situation in which men were involved in the course of the nineteenth century and those who so desired were able to take advantage of it. A person able to see through such matters might set out to strengthen some tendency with a bias towards the left. This would not have been such a simple matter if in the nineteenth century men had not been in a position where they could easily be misled as a result of the intermixture of Ahriman and Lucifer.

And so it could happen that certain entirely materialistic natures had enough of the Luciferic element in them not to believe in materialism, but to attempt to find in materialism itself a spiritual conception of the world. Just think of it — the nineteenth century could produce a type of person whose head produced a thoroughly materialistic kind of thinking but whose heart was longing for the spiritual! When that is the case, such a man will endeavour to find the spiritual in materiality itself and will endeavour to give to the spiritual a materialistic form.

Now if behind a personality of this type there happens to stand some individuality who sees to the root of such matters, the latter has a very easy game to play. For if it is in the interests of this individuality, he can induce such a man to mislead others into envisaging the spiritual in a material form, and procedures calculated to trick these others can then take effect.
These measures succeed best when they are carried out at just the right place, when truths are imparted to men and the door is opened for them to the things for which they long. In this way certain spiritual truths could be brought to mankind and a one-sided tendency steered in a certain direction; on the one hand a number of truths — with a materialistic colouring but truths for all that — were communicated, and on the other hand, at a certain place, something was introduced that would quite inevitably lead to fallacy but could not easily be detected.

This was what happened in the case of Sinnett's book Esoteric Buddhism. Sinnett wrote it — but behind him was the one he calls his “inspirer”, and whom we know as the later mask of a Mahatma-Individuality. Sinnett was a journalist and was therefore steeped in the materialistic tendencies of the nineteenth century; here, then, was a personality whose brain tended entirely to materialism, but the longing for a spiritual world was also present in him. He therefore had every aptitude for seeking the spiritual world in a materialistic form, and so it was easy for the above-mentioned individuality, in whose interests it was to make use of materialism in this way for special aims of his own, to develop in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism an ostensibly spiritual teaching with an eminently materialistic colouring.

Now you may say: “But Sinnett's book certainly does not contain materialistic teaching!” The fact that this is not perceived — there you have the gist of the whole matter! Everything is embellished and disguised and can be understood only when one knows the antecedents of which I have just spoken.

Of course, the teaching about the members of man's being, the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, are truths. But materialism has here been woven into all these truths. In Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism a genuinely spiritual outlook is combined with an eminently materialistic tendency — a combination that it was not easy to detect because there was scarcely anyone who could discern that something entirely materialistic had insinuated itself into a spiritual teaching — something that was materialistic not merely in the intellectual sense but materialistic as opposed to a spiritual view of the world. — I refer to what is said in Esoteric Buddhism about the “Eighth Sphere”. [note 3]

Here, then, are teachings which contain a great deal that is correct and into which this utterly materialistic and misleading statement about the Eighth Sphere has been woven. This culminates in the assertion made in Esoteric Buddhism that the Eighth Sphere is the Moon. Owing to its journalistic qualities and the good style in which it is written, the book was a tremendous draw and captivated many hearts. Consequently these readers imbibed, not the true teaching concerning the Eighth Sphere, but the strange assertion made by Sinnett that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere.

So there was Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The book was written at the time when Blavatsky, after all the happenings of which I have told you, had already been driven into the one-sided sphere of influence of those Indian occultists who belonged to the left and had special aims of their own. Hence teachings relating to the constitution of man and to reincarnation and karma are given in Esoteric Buddhism. It is therefore written in opposition to those who wanted the knowledge of reincarnation to be allowed to disappear. This will also show you how vehemently the conflict was being waged.

Blavatsky was connected with American spiritualists who wanted to let the teaching of reincarnation disappear. Mediumship was a means to this end and so that method was adopted.
As Blavatsky revolted, she was expelled and came more and more under the sway of the Indian occultists; she was driven into their hands. This led to a conflict between American and Indian views in the sphere of occultism. On the one side there was the strong tendency to let the teaching of reincarnation vanish from the scene, and on the other, the urge to bring this teaching into the world but in a form that took advantage of the materialistic leanings of the nineteenth century.

This was a possibility if the teaching about the Eighth Sphere was presented as Sinnett presented it in the book Esoteric Buddhism.
There are a certain number of other facts which are perhaps of sufficient importance to be at least indicated — because I do not want to shock you by what I am saying but to explain the spiritual principle upon which our own standpoint is based.

Two difficulties had arisen as a result of the way in which the teaching about the Eighth Sphere had been presented in Sinnett's book. One of the difficulties had been created by Blavatsky herself. She knew that what Sinnett had written on this subject was false [note 4] but on the other hand she was in the hands of those who desired that the false teaching should be inculcated into humanity. Therefore she tried — as you can read in The Secret Doctrineshe tried to correct in a certain way this conception of the Eighth Sphere and matters relevant to it. But she did this in such a way as to cause confusion. Hence there is a certain discrepancy between Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine. Blavatsky corrected in a way that actually reinforced the bias of the left-wing Indian occultists. She tried by very peculiar means, as we shall presently see, to let more of the truth come to light in order to overshadow the error. She was therefore obliged, in turn, to create a counterweight, for from the standpoint of the Indian occultists it would have been very dangerous to allow the truth to be revealed in this way.

She set out to create this counterweight — we shall gradually understand it — by pursuing a definite course. She came nearer to the truth about the Eighth Sphere than Sinnett had done but she created the counterweight by giving vent in The Secret Doctrine to a volley of abuse on the subjects of Judaism and Christianity, interwoven with certain teaching about the nature of Jehovah. In this way, what she had put right on the one side she tried to balance out on the other, so that too much harm should not be done to the stream of Indian occultism. She knew that such truths do not remain theory or without effect as do other theories relating to the physical plane. Theories such as those of which we are speaking penetrate into the life of soul and colour the perceptions and feelings of men; indeed they were calculated to turn souls in a certain direction. — The whole affair is an inextricable jumble of fallacies.

H. P. Blavatsky did not, of course, know that the driving forces behind both tendencies were directed towards a special aim, namely, to foster this particular kind of error instead of the truth, to foster errors of a type that would be advantageous to the materialism of the nineteenth century — errors such as could be possible only at the high tide of materialism. — There you have one side of the situation.

On the other side, Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and, in a certain respect, Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine too, had made a great impression, especially upon those who were really intent upon seeking the spiritual world. And that again naturally alarmed those who had cause to be alarmed at the possibility that an Occult Movement with such an oriental trend would appear.

Now a number of senseless polemics have been levelled against Blavatsky, against Sinnett, against the Theosophical Movement, and so forth. But among the different attacks made upon the Theosophical Movement in the course of time there have been some which emanated from well-informed but biased quarters. The tendency of Anglican spiritual life was that as little as possible of oriental teaching, as little as possible of any teaching concerning repeated Earth-lives, should be allowed to come to the knowledge of the public.

There is no doubt that among those who, from the standpoint that here lay a danger to Christianity in Europe, set themselves in opposition to the oriental teachings, were people who may be called “Christian esotericists”. Christian esotericists connected with the High Church party set themselves in opposition with this in mind. [note 5] And from that quarter came declarations calculated to stem the current of oriental thought proceeding from Blavatsky and Sinnett, but on the other hand to foster in the outside world esotericism of a kind calculated to conceal the teaching of repeated Earth-lives. To amalgamate a certain trend of thought with the form of Christianity customary in Europe — such was the aim of this group.
It desired that the teaching of repeated Earth-lives — which it was essential to make known — should be left out of account. And a method similar to that used in the case of Sinnett was put into operation.

I must emphasise once again that those who made the corresponding preparations were probably not fully aware that they were tools of the individuality who stood behind them. Just as Sinnett knew nothing of the real tendency of those who stood behind him, neither did those who were connected with the High Church party know much of what lay behind the whole affair. But they realised that what they were doing could not fail to make a great impression upon the occultists and that determined them to lend force to the trend of those who were intent upon eliminating the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.

If after these preliminary indications we turn to consider the particular fallacy contained in Sinnett's book, we find that it is the teaching that the Eighth Sphere makes itself manifest paramountly in the Moon; that the Moon with its influences and effects upon man is, in fact, the Eighth Sphere. Expressed in this form, this is a fallacy. — Here is the essential point. If in investigating the influences of the Moon we were to start from Sinnett's assumption, we should be trapped in a grave error arising from materialistic thinking and not easily fathomed. — What, then, was necessary if the truth were to be fostered? It was necessary to point out the true state of things in regard to the Moon as opposed to the erroneous presentation in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism.

Read Chapter IV dealing with this subject in the book Occult Science: an Outline. It was my purpose there to describe how the Moon left the Earth. I attached particular importance to the fact that the exit of the Moon should be described with the utmost clarity. It was essential to indicate the truth here as opposed to the fallacy. Thus in order to counter the Indian influence it was necessary to describe in all clarity the function of the Moon in the evolution of the Earth. That was one of the things that had to be done in my book Occult Science: an Outline.

The other thing that was necessary will be clear to you if you think of the people of whom I have just spoken, people who were also under a certain leadership and who did not wish the teaching of repeated Earth-lives to be spread among men as a truth because they considered that it would alter the form of Christianity customary in Europe and America. They went to work in a particular way, a way which we can clearly discern if we picture how these occultists set about refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The occultists who were connected with the High Church party took upon themselves the task of refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine.

In point of fact a great deal of good was done in regard to Sinnett's statement about the Eighth Sphere, for the falsity of the indications about the Eighth Sphere and the Moon was emphasised very poignantly from that side. But at the same time this was combined with another teaching. It was stated from that quarter that man is not connected with the Moon in the way described by Sinnett, but in a different way. True, this different way was not specifically described, but it could be perceived that these people had realised something about the process of the Moon's departure from the Earth as I have presented it in the book Occult Science. But now they laid great stress on the following. — They said: The Earth — and above all, man — was never connected with the other planets of the solar system ... therefore man could never have lived on Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter. From that side, therefore, it was sharply emphasised that there is no connection between man and the other planets of the solar system. But this is the best way to instil yet another fallacy into the world, and to spread the greatest possible obscurity over the teaching of reincarnation. The other fallacy, Sinnett's fallacy, actually furthers the teaching of reincarnation in a sense, but in a materialistic form. The fallacy which consists in the assertion that during his Earth-evolution man has never had any connection with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and so forth — this fallacy was not actually spread abroad by those who gave it publicity, but by those who stood behind them. It was they who worked upon the souls of men in such a way that these souls could never seriously believe in reincarnation. What, therefore, was strongly emphasised from this quarter was that man had never been connected with any planet other than the Earth nor had ever had anything to do with the other planets of the solar system.

If we think about man as he is between birth and death, we can envisage that in regard to his evolution he stands under the workings of the Spirits of Form. This too is set forth in Occult Science. But if we then think of his life from death until the next birth, an essential fact must be taken into consideration, namely, that the spheres of activity of these Spirits of Form fall as it were into seven categories, only one of which is allotted to Jehovah, namely, that concerned primarily with the life between birth and death. The six other categories of the Spirits of Form guide the life between death and a new birth.

Diagram 4

This can be discovered only if we investigate the life between death and a new birth. Just as Jehovah has to do with the Earth and actually made the sacrifice of going to the Moon in order from there to neutralise certain things in Earth-evolution, so have the other Spirits of Form to do with the other planets. But this fact must be cloaked, must be kept secret if it is desired that the conception of repeated Earth-lives shall be withheld from men; and moreover the concealment must be really effective, it must be brought about in such a way that men do not become alive to the secret of which I have just spoken. For if they are diverted from a true vista of the life between death and a new birth, their attention will be riveted, without this secret, upon the life between birth and death and they will allow mediums to talk them into believing that the life after death is simply a continuation of the life on Earth.

In all the things that happen in this domain a tremendous amount of scheming goes on. For naturally, an occultist who undertakes anything of this nature knows, if he belongs to the left, into which direction he must turn the thoughts in order to bring the feelings too into line and thus divert men's attention from certain secrets in order that these shall not come to light.

That is what actually happened, and you can read about it in the relevant literature. You will often find the statement that man has nothing to do with the other planets of our solar system — but the implication behind this is: Nothing to do with the Guiding Spirits of these planets of our solar system. This was sharply accentuated in order that men should never evolve such concepts as would lead them to realise the credibility of the teaching of reincarnation. And now the other task was to present the truth as opposed to the fallacy. If you read Occult Science you will again find emphasis laid upon the fact that it is necessary for men to go away from the Earth in order that part of his life shall be spent on other planets. The book Occult Science deals in detail on the one side with man's relation to the Moon, and on the other, with his relation to the planets.

What these people set out to achieve can be indicated briefly by saying: they too availed themselves of the materialistic outlook of the time. For if you present the matter as I have done in Occult Science, you will show what has to be accomplished in the evolution of our Earth through its connection with the planets. The other planets, too, belong to the evolution of the Earth. To the materialist, the planets move around in space as mere clods of matter. And so, in describing their functions in the spiritual evolution of humanity, one had to go back to their spiritual realities of being, to the Spirits of the planets.

You see by this how the spiritual Movement was wedged as it were between two set purposes, one intent upon distorting the truth concerning the Moon, the other upon distorting the truth concerning the planets. — That was the situation at the end of the nineteenth century. H. P Blavatsky and Sinnett were to distort the truth about the Moon; the others set out to distort the truth about the connection of the planets with the evolution of the Earth.
Do not imagine that it is an easy position to be wedged between two such currents; for here we have to do with occultism, and where occultism is involved a stronger force is necessary for grasping its truths than for grasping the ordinary truths of the physical plane. But consequently there is also at work a far stronger force of deception which it is essential to see through. This is not easy, because of the strong force required to counter it. On the one side, the truth about the Moon is veiled by the distortion, and on the other, the truth about the planets. One was therefore wedged between two fallacies committed in the interests of materialism. First, it was a matter of reckoning with the materialism emanating from the oriental side, which was responsible for promoting the fallacy about the Moon in order to introduce the oriental teaching of reincarnation. The teaching of the fact of reincarnation was of course correct, but we shall soon see what a strong concession had been made to materialism in Esoteric Buddhism — as the book was called. On the other side there was the desire that a certain form of Catholic Esotericism should be protected from the assault of the Indian influence, and there, more than ever, the tendency was at work to allow all spiritual reality connected with the evolution of the planetary system as a whole to be submerged in materialism. The mission of Spiritual Science was wedged between these two currents. This was the situation with which one was confronted. Everywhere there were strong forces at work, intent upon making the one or the other influence effective.

And now it is a matter of showing in what respect this distorted teaching about the Moon is a very special concession to materialism, and how the way in which it was then corrected by H. P. Blavatsky actually made matters even worse, because on the one side, with a great talent for occultism — which Sinnett did not possess — she amended his statements but on the other side made use of particular methods whereby the error could be preserved with even greater certainty.

The first essential is to discern how far Sinnett's teaching about the Eighth Sphere is a fallacy. Here you must keep firmly in mind the teaching regarding the whole process of the evolution of the Earth, namely, the teaching that the planet Earth passed through the Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon periods of evolution before entering its present stage. You must remind yourselves that the composition of the Old Moon was essentially different from that of the Earth. The mineral kingdom was added for the first time during the Earth period, and what constitutes the material world of the physical plane is entirely impregnated with the mineral element. All that you perceive in the plant, animal and human kingdoms is the mineral element that has been impregnated into them. Your body is “mineralised” through and through. That which is not mineral — the Moon-nature, the Sun-nature — is only occultly present there. We see only the mineral, the earthly. This must be firmly borne in mind if starting from what man now actually is on the Earth, we are to find the answer to the question: What is it in man that is the heritage of the Old Moon?

As you see, the preparation for our present study was made already a long time ago. — Within man as he now is, the Old Moon-man is present, but in a form that must be pictured as containing nothing mineral whatever. If you envisage earthly man in such a way that you see his mineral constituents only, you must picture the Moon-man within him. (A sketch was made on the blackboard.) But there is nothing mineral in this Moon-man, hence he cannot be seen with physical eyes but only with spiritual sight. A Moon-form underlies certain members of physical man, is contained within them, but can be perceived only with the eye of clairvoyance. Needless to say, what is there within was present on the Old Moon. But just remember how it was seen on the Old Moon. It was seen through Imaginative Cognition — in surging, undulating pictures. These are still present today, but to behold them, atavistic clairvoyance, at that time at least, was necessary. The Old Moon-man could be perceived only by atavistic clairvoyance, which in that era was the normal faculty of vision. Consequently everything that is connected with this Old Moon evolution can also be seen only in Imaginations, with the ancient visionary clairvoyance. It must never be thought that the Moon-man could be formed out of the mineral Earth; he was the product of the Old Moon as it can be seen in Imaginative clairvoyance. And so in connection with the Old Moon we must picture to ourselves that the whole environment was visible to the Imaginative clairvoyance of the Moon-men just as our own environment, with plants, animals, rivers, mountains, is visible to physical eyes.

Now we know that the forces contained in the Old Moon inevitably appear again in the Earth's evolutionary process but that Earth-evolution would have been doomed to perish, as I have shown in Occult Science, if these Moon-forces had not subsequently taken their departure. They could not have maintained their existence within the Earth-forces. And why not? Remember that the whole planet Earth had to receive into itself the mineral kingdom, to be mineralised, as it were. While the Moon formed part of the Earth, the Moon-forces were still within the Earth. But these forces had to be expelled, hence the Moon itself was obliged to separate from the Earth, because it could not have existed in the mineralised Earth; hence men would not have been able to evolve as they have actually evolved. I have spoken of all this in the book Occult Science. But now recall exactly what I have said to you today — that this Moon can be perceived only through Imaginative clairvoyance. If, therefore, you picture how man developed as earthly man, with a constitution organised for perception with physical senses, you will understand that he could never have beheld the departure of the Moon. The departure of the Moon and also its position out there in the Cosmos could only have been apprehended clairvoyantly. Man was so organised that the whole process of the departure of the Moon could have been seen only with clairvoyant sight, and the influences then proceeding from the Moon could only have been those of the Old Moon — that is to say, influences which worked in such a way upon man that among other things, Imaginative clairvoyance would have been evoked in him.

Try to imagine the situation in that ancient time! The situation was that “man” could come into being, that the souls could come down from the planets, and so forth — but the Moon would have worked as Moon, and in such a way that the forces in the human being as he descended would have been the same forces as had been present in the Old Moon which preceded the Earth. Nobody except one endowed with visionary clairvoyance could have beheld this Moon.

Then, as a material phenomenon accompanying this process of the departure of the Moon-forces, something else came about. — I have already told you how Jahve is related to the Moon. What happened was that through the connection of Jahve with the Moon, the Moon too was made material, was mineralised, but with a materiality much denser than that of the Earth. Therefore what can be seen today as physical Moon and of which it can be assumed that the Moon contains a mineral element, is to be traced back to the deed of Jahve whereby certain elements were added to the Old Moon.

Thereby, however, the Old Moon forces were crippled, and now work in a quite different way. Had the Moon remained unmineralised, its forces would have worked in such a way that its rays would always have evoked the old atavistic clairvoyance in men, and the effects of the Moon upon the will would have made men somnambulists in the most marked form. This was neutralised through the mineralisation of the Moon. The old forces can now no longer develop in such a way.

This is a truth of tremendous importance, for now you will realise that it was necessary for the Moon to be mineralised in order that it might not work in the old way.
And so when speaking of the Moon as a recapitulation of the Old Moon, we must speak of a celestial body that is not visible with physical eyes, that is a concern of the spiritual world, albeit only the subconscious spiritual world that is perceptible to visionary clairvoyance. We must therefore speak of something spiritual if we are speaking of the recapitulation of the Old Moon; what is mineral in the present Moon has been added to the spiritual and does not belong to the Moon when the Moon is referred to in the old sense.

How was the materialism of the nineteenth century to be grappled with? Its adherents would certainly not believe that behind the material Moon there lies the very important remainder of the old, non-mineralised Moon; they would never believe such a thing. So a concession was made to materialism by speaking only of the physical, materialised Moon. Hence when Sinnett spoke of the Moon, he left out the spirit. In Esoteric Buddhism he merely says that the materiality of the Moon is far denser than that of the Earth. That is so, indeed must be so, but that the occult reality which I have indicated lies behind—that fact he omits altogether. He therefore made the concession in that he speaks only of the materiality of the Moon. But the spirituality behind the Moon does not there come into consideration; it does not belong essentially to the Earth but is connected much more closely with the Old Moon than with the Earth. This fact was completely veiled, and the consequence was of tremendous import; for Sinnett had thereby brought a true fact — namely, that the Moon has something to do with the Eighth Sphere — into an utterly false light and distorted it with great subtlety. He omits all mention of the spiritual aspect of the Eighth Sphere, namely that the Eighth Sphere, the representative of which is alleged to be the Moon, is that which lies behind the Moon, and he calls what was actually placed there to neutralise, to counter the effects of the Eighth Sphere, the Eighth Sphere itself. As we have heard, the materiality of the Moon is there in order to neutralise the Eighth Sphere, to render it ineffectual.

People do not realise what the effect of the Eighth Sphere would be if materiality were taken away from the Moon. The whole nature of the human soul would have become quite different on the Earth and that this has not happened is due to the fact that materiality of a greater density was incorporated into the Moon. That which actually makes the Eighth Sphere ineffectual, namely, its materiality, Sinnett calls the Eighth Sphere, and what is actually the Eighth Sphere, namely the Old Moon forces, he obscures. A trick frequently used in occultism is to say something that is true fundamentally but to put it in such a way that it is absolutely false — forgive the paradox! It is false to say that the material Moon is the Eighth Sphere, because actually it is the neutraliser of the Eighth Sphere. But it is quite correct that the “Moon” is the Eighth Sphere, because the Eighth Sphere is centred in the Moon, is actually present up there.

And now we have reached the point where we can say more specifically than has hitherto been possible, what the Eighth Sphere is in reality.—This is a matter most intimately connected with the spiritual aspect of evolution in the nineteenth century.



Note 1. A reference to discussions that were taking place at the time in connection with certain internal affairs of the Society.

Note 2. The first Goetheanum, later destroyed by fire. The statue now stands in a special room in the second Goetheanum.

Note 3. See notes at end of Lecture Five.

Note 4. See notes at end of Lecture Five.

Note 5. Compare C. J. Harrison in The Transcendental Universe, London, 1893. See also Notes at end of Lecture Five.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:13 pm


It is very difficult indeed to speak about the so-called “Eighth Sphere” which was referred to openly for the first time by Mr. Sinnett — one cannot say that he gave “information” about it for what he said was a fallacy. [note 1] You can certainly realise why it is difficult to speak about this subject, for again it must be emphasised that our language has been coined for the outer, material world, and the Eighth Sphere was regarded as a secret matter until it was mentioned by Sinnett.

Consequently there are not many words that can be used for characterising the Eighth Sphere. The fact that all mention was avoided for so long will also enable you to realise what is involved when one speaks of it. You will therefore have to take the aphoristic remarks I shall make today as a kind of introductory exposition, given with the object of throwing out certain indications which, to begin with, can be only a small contribution to the subject. It is to be hoped, however, that there will be opportunities for saying more at some later time. On the basis of what was said in the last lecture and also, to some extent, on earlier occasions, I shall try to characterise what is called the “Eighth Sphere” in order that we may have a foundation for describing the development of the spiritual Movement in the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth.

You will have realised from the lecture yesterday that the Eighth Sphere cannot be anything that belongs to the material world, for I have shown you that the greatest fallacy in Sinnett's statement is that the physical Moon is directly connected with the Eighth Sphere; and I tried to make it comprehensible that the actual foundation of the error consists in the fact that this pointed to something material and physical.

From this you will be able to conjecture, even if not fully to understand, that what is called the Eighth Sphere can have nothing directly to do with anything within the material world — that is to say, what can be perceived by man's senses and thought out on the basis of sensory perception has no part in the Eighth Sphere. So it will be useless to look for the Eighth Sphere anywhere in the material world.

You now have indications by means of which some approach can be made in thought to a conception of the Eighth Sphere. I have said that the Eighth Sphere has something to do with the residue left from the Old Moon and its evolution. So much you can gather from the studies we have pursued in the course of time. I tried to make it clear in the lecture yesterday that on the Old Moon, man's natural mode of perception was visionary and imaginative in character, so that any substantiality to be discerned in the Eighth Sphere must be found with this kind of vision. That is to say: it must be presumed at the outset that the Eighth Sphere is found by way of visionary Imaginations.

Diagram 5

How was it that the expression “Eighth Sphere” came to be used? — You know that human evolution takes its course through the seven spheres of Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan. We will conceive that besides these seven spheres there is still something else which lies outside them and yet is in some way related to the Earth. Here, then, we have a sphere, visible only to visionary-imaginative clairvoyance, which stands there as an Eighth Sphere over and above the seven which constitute the domain of the ordered and regular evolution of mankind. All such sketches are, of course, purely diagrammatic; one is obliged to draw separately spheres which can only be observed each within the others. For you will certainly have realised from our studies that as long as a man is within the material world, makes his observations through the senses and thinks with the intellect, he is standing in the Fourth Sphere, the Earth Sphere. If he develops his faculties of soul sufficiently to be able to see the Third Sphere, the Moon Sphere, then he takes a far flight—but not in the spatial sense. He observes, not from another place, but physically speaking, spatially speaking, from the same place. These seven spheres ought therefore in reality to be drawn within one another. They are successive stages and states of evolution and, fundamentally, such a diagram is of no other value than as if one were to say: human beings develop from birth to the seventh year in a first stage, from the seventh to the fourteenth year in a second stage, and so on. The being who has developed from the first to the seventh year cannot be thought of as separate from the being who is developing from the seventh until the fourteenth year. Neither is it correct to think of the seven successive spheres or stages of the Earth's evolution as separate from each other.

This will give you an inkling that the Eighth Sphere is to be observed within the Earth Sphere.
It cannot properly be drawn either above or below; to depict the reality it would have to be sketched into the Earth Sphere. I have often given a crude example to express what is here meant. Just as the physical air is around us, so is the Spiritual around us; we have to look for the Spiritual within what is actually physical in our environment. Hence it must be presumed that just as the spiritual is round about us, so we must also look for the Eighth Sphere in our environment. This means that an organ enabling man to perceive the Eighth Sphere would have to be developed, just as his physical senses enable him to perceive the material Earth. He could then experience the Eighth Sphere quite consciously; but unconsciously he is always within it just as we are always within the air, even if we are not aware of it. And if we have developed an organ for experiencing the Eighth Sphere, we are conscious of it around us. So that if the Eighth Sphere is to be described, it must obviously be described as a realm in which we are living all the time.

Now, as I said, all that I can do in these introductory studies is to give some general information—the rest will emerge as we proceed. First of all, you can understand that what is around us as the Eighth Sphere is accessible to Imaginative-visionary clairvoyance. To develop Imaginative clairvoyance without perceiving something of the Eighth Sphere is impossible. The reason why it is so difficult to speak of matters such as the Eighth Sphere is because really clear and discriminative clairvoyance is possessed by so very few. In the Eighth Sphere we have to do with Imaginations, and what constitutes the essential nature of Earth-evolution — that is to say, the Fourth Sphere — is not present in the Eighth Sphere. The essential nature of the Fourth Sphere is constituted, as I indicated yesterday, by the mineral impregnation of this world-body. That we are able to live on the Earth is due to the fact that this Fourth Sphere has been mineralised: we live in a mineralised environment; what is perceived through the physical senses can be co-ordinated by the intellect. But we must conceive that the mineral element is totally absent from the Eighth Sphere.

When we eliminate the mineral element in thought, all that remains is a later stage of the Old Moon evolution
, for whence could anything else originate ? But evolution proceeds; something that is perceptible through Imaginative, visionary clairvoyance but could be nothing else than a residue of the Old Moon—that would be no Eighth Sphere. All that could be said would be that something has been left behind by the Third Sphere.

In order to have some inkling of facts relating to the Eighth Sphere, let us keep the following in mind. In the course of its regular evolution, the Third Sphere became the Fourth Sphere; that is to say, a transition of the third elemental kingdom — for that is what we must call it — to the mineral kingdom took place. The mineral element was added. Otherwise we should have to conceive of the Old Moon as a sum-total of substantiality, imaginatively perceptible! It must therefore be assumed that the regular progression from the Old Moon to the Earth, from the Third Sphere to the Fourth Sphere, consists in what was formerly only imaginatively perceptible becoming materially perceptible, that is to say becoming mineralised. As the Eighth Sphere there remains, to begin with, the Old Moon element, but owing to a particular happening this Old Moon element undergoes a change. What took place in order that the Fourth Sphere might be able to arise from the Third is clearly described in the book Occult Science, where it is said that to the activities of the Spirits of Movement are added those of the Spirits of Form under whose guidance the whole process of the transformation takes place. [note 2] We can therefore say that the Fourth Sphere arises out of the Third through the fact that the Spirits of Form add their activities to those of the Spirits of Movement.

If the Spirits of Form had achieved everything that their own nature desires and moreover is able to achieve, when the mission of Sphere Three was fulfilled in the Cosmos, Sphere Four would have arisen quite naturally from Sphere Three. That is obvious. But we know that Luciferic and Ahrimanic spirits are at work — and they hold back for themselves something of the Old Moon substantiality, wrest it away, as it were, from the Spirits of Form. The fact that Lucifer and Ahriman do so is indicative of their essential nature. Thus as Sphere Three is advancing to a further stage, something is wrested from the Spirits of Form by Lucifer and Ahriman; into this part that is wrested away, Lucifer and Ahriman penetrate, instead of the Spirits of Form. The activities of Lucifer and Ahriman are added to those of the Spirits of Movement and, as a result, Eight arises out of Three. (Note by translator: The Eighth Sphere out of the Third Sphere.)

Something else, then, must be there, not merely the Old Moon, and this “something else” which comes into being as well as Sphere Four is constituted by the fact that mineral substantiality, as it comes into being, is wrested away at the moment of the birth of the Fourth Sphere. Thus when the mineral comes into existence out of the Imaginative substantiality, it is snatched by Lucifer and Ahriman and made into Imagination. Instead of an Earth arising from the remaining Old Moon substantiality, a cosmic body takes shape whose birth is due to the fact that the substantiality wrested from the Earth is made into what has come over from the Old Moon.

Now recall how I have described the conditions pertaining to the Old Moon, in the book Occult Science. In the Old Moon there was as yet nothing mineral. Had mineral substance been present, that world-body would have been an Earth, not Moon. Sphere Four comes into being through the birth of the mineral element. In that Lucifer and Ahriman approach, snatch mineral substantiality out of Sphere Four and infuse it into Sphere Three, the Old Moon is recapitulated, but now with materiality that belongs properly to the Earth.

Mark this well: instead of pure Imaginations being there, the Imaginations are densified by the infusion of a mineral element that has been wrested from the Earth. Densified Imaginations are thus created. We are therefore drawn into a world of densified Imaginations which are not lunar in character because they have been densified by materiality belonging to the Earth. They are ghosts, spectres — that is to say, behind our world there is a world of spectres created by Lucifer and Ahriman.

Let me express it schematically, as follows: On the Old Moon certain pictures were present. These should have passed over to the Earth as something everywhere perceptible. But Lucifer and Ahriman retained them for themselves. Lucifer and Ahriman wrested from the Earth certain of its constituents and made them into Imaginations, so that these Earth-substances became, not Earthly formations, but Moon formations. Into our Fourth Sphere, therefore, there has been instilled a sphere that is really a Moon-sphere, but is filled with Earthly substantiality and is therefore a bogus creation in the Universe. To the seven Spheres, an Eighth, created in opposition to the progressive Spirits, has been added. The necessary consequence of this is that the Spirits of Form must do battle on the Earth for every morsel of substantiality capable of mineralisation, lest it should be wrested from them by Lucifer and Ahriman and borne into the Eighth Sphere.

In truth, therefore, our Earth —the Fourth Sphere — is simply not what it appears outwardly to be. Were it really to consist of atoms, all these atoms would still be impregnated by formations belonging to the Eighth Sphere — which are perceptible only to visionary clairvoyance. These formations are present everywhere; so too is the spectre-like content of the Eighth Sphere which can therefore be perceived just as actual spectres are perceived. All earthly being and existence are involved here. Lucifer and Ahriman strive unceasingly to draw from the Earth's substances whatever they can snatch, in order to form their Eighth Sphere which then, when it is sufficiently advanced, will be detached from the Earth and go its own way in the Cosmos together with Lucifer and Ahriman. Needless to say, the Earth would then pass over to Jupiter as a mere torso. But man, as you realise, has his established place in the whole of Earth-evolution, for he is mineralised through and through. We are permeated by the mineralising process which is itself drawn into this battle, so that morsels of this substance can be continually wrested from it. Therefore we ourselves are involved in the battle. Lucifer and Ahriman battle against the Spirits of Form, with the aim of wresting mineral substance from us everywhere.

But the strength of the process varies in the different regions of our organism. We are diversely constituted; some of our organs are more perfect than others. The most perfect of all is our organ of thinking, the brain and the skull, and there the battle of which I have spoken is the most vehement, precisely because this human head, this human brain, is fashioned as it is; and it is so fashioned because at this place in our body, Lucifer, and Ahriman too, have been the most successful in wresting mineral substance from us. Physical substance there is more spiritualised than anywhere else. The formation of our skull is due to the fact that it is there that most has been wrested from us. Hence it is precisely through the head that we can emancipate ourselves from our organism to the greatest extent. We can soar upwards in thoughts, we can distinguish between the good and the evil. And for that very reason, Lucifer and Ahriman have there been the most successful in wresting away substantiality; in the so-called noblest organ of man they have been able to wrest away the greatest amount of mineralised substantiality. This alchemy by which mineral substance is sent over into the Eighth Sphere is taking place all the time behind the scenes of our existence.
— To begin with, I am simply communicating information; corroborations will emerge more and more clearly as our studies proceed.

If everything were to run without a hitch for Lucifer and Ahriman, if they were everywhere able to wrest as much as they wrest from the organ of the head, Earth-evolution would soon reach a point where Lucifer and Ahriman could succeed in destroying our Earth and in leading over all evolution of worlds into the Eighth Sphere, so that Earth-evolution as a whole would take a different course. Hence Lucifer endeavours to unfold his greatest strength of all at the place where man is the most vulnerable, namely, in his head. The stronghold which it is easiest for Lucifer to capture is the human head; and everything that is similar to the head in respect of the distribution of the mineral element, so that it can be drawn out in the same way, is equally exposed to the danger of being despatched into the Eighth Sphere. No less a prospect looms as a consequence of this intention of Lucifer and Ahriman than that the whole evolution of humanity may be allowed to disappear into the Eighth Sphere, so that this evolution would take a different course.

Diagram 6

That, you see, was the intention of Lucifer and Ahriman from the beginning of Earth-evolution — to let the whole of this evolution disappear into the Eighth Sphere. It was therefore necessary that a counterweight should be created by those Spirits who belong to the Hierarchy of the Spirits of Form. The outer counterweight they created consists in this: into the “space”, as it were, of the Eighth Sphere something was inserted which works against this Eighth Sphere. To present this correctly, we must show the Earth here, and the Eighth Sphere here (see diagram). The Eighth Sphere belongs to our physical Earth in the sense indicated. We are surrounded everywhere by the Imaginations into which the aim is that mineral materiality shall continually be drawn. There lies the reason for the sacrifice made by Jahve or Jehovah — the precipitation of substance far denser than the other mineralised substance. This was established by Jahve as Moon, as the counteracting agent. It was substance of extreme density — and this density was described by Sinnett as substance of a far denser physical-mineral character than exists anywhere on the Earth. Hence Lucifer and Ahriman cannot dissolve it away into their world of Imaginations. And so this Moon circles around as a globe of dense matter, solid, dense, indestructible. If you read carefully enough you will find that even the descriptions of the Moon given by physicists tally with this. Everything that was available on the Earth was drawn out and placed there in order that there should be enough physical matter incapable of being wrested away. When we look at the Moon, we see there in the Universe a substance far more intensely mineralised, far physically denser, than exists anywhere on the Earth. Jahve or Jehovah, then, must be regarded as that Being who even in the physical domain has ensured that not all materiality can be drawn away by Lucifer and Ahriman. And then, at the right time, equal care will be taken by the same Spirit that the Moon shall re-enter the Earth when the Earth is strong enough to receive it, when the danger is averted by the development that has meanwhile taken place. [note 3]

This applies to the external, physical-mineral domain. But in the human domain too it was necessary that a counterweight should be created to the intention aimed at the human head. Just as in the outside world materiality had to be densified so that Lucifer and Ahriman cannot dissolve it by their alchemy, so in the human being something had to be set over against the organ that can most easily be attacked by Lucifer and Ahriman. Jahve had therefore to take care, just as he had done in respect of the mineral domain, that not everything can succumb to the attacks of Lucifer and Ahriman.

Care had to be taken that not everything in man proceeding from the head can become the prey of Lucifer and Ahriman; that not everything shall depend upon head-activity and the activity of the outward-turned senses, for then Lucifer and Ahriman would have been victors. It was necessary that a counterweight should be created in the domain of earthly life, that there should be in the human being something entirely independent of the head. And this was achieved through the work of the good Spirits of Form, who implanted the principle of Love into the principle of heredity on Earth. That is to say, there is now operative in the human race something that is independent of the head, that passes from generation to generation and has its deepest foundations in the physical nature of man.

Everything that is connected with propagation and with heredity, everything that is independent of man in the sense that he cannot penetrate it with his thinking, everything that is the gift of the Moon in the celestial firmament—that, in man, is what has proceeded from the principle of Love permeating the process of propagation and heredity. Hence the violent battle which persists through history, the battle waged by Lucifer and Ahriman against everything that comes from this domain. Lucifer and Ahriman want to force on man the exclusive sovereignty of the head, and they launch their attacks by way of the head against everything that is purely natural affinity. For whatever is hereditary substance on the Earth cannot be wrested away by them. What the Moon is in the heavens, heredity is in men on the Earth below. Everything that is grounded in heredity, everything that is not charged with thought, that is connected intrinsically with physical nature — that is the Jahve-principle. The Jahve-principle unfolds its greatest activity where nature is working as nature; it is there that Jahve has outpoured in greatest measure the Love that is his natural attribute, in order to create a counterweight to the lovelessness, the mere wisdom, of Lucifer and Ahriman.

It would be necessary to go very thoroughly into matters recently presented from quite different points of view, in order to show how in the Moon and in the process of human heredity, barricades have been created against Lucifer and Ahriman by the Spirits of Form. If you think more deeply about these matters, you will find that something of immense importance is contained in the indications given.

Now in order to reach at least some measure of understanding, the subject must also be approached from a rather different standpoint. If you remember what is said in the book Occult Science about the evolution of man through the Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon stages, you will realise that in these stages there can be no question of freedom. In those other stages man is enclosed in a web of necessity. In order that he might be ripe for freedom, the mineral nature had to be incorporated into him; he had to become a being permeated with the mineral element. Hence man can be educated for freedom only within the earthly-material world.

This by itself indicates the tremendous significance of the earthly-material world. That which must be acquired by mankind — freedom of the will — can be acquired only during Earth-evolution. In the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan stages men will need this freedom of will. Therefore when we consider the question of freedom, we are in a realm of great importance; for we know that the Earth is the begetter of freedom precisely because it is the Earth that impregnates man with the physical-mineral element.

From this you will understand that what stems from the free will must be kept within the realm of Earth.
To Spheres Three, Two and One, it is impossible to apply anything that stems from the principle of freedom. But the endeavour of Lucifer and Ahriman is to drag the free will of man, and whatever stems from it, into the Eighth Sphere. This means that man is perpetually exposed to the danger of having his free will wrested from him and dragged by Lucifer and Ahriman into the Eighth Sphere.

This happens if the element of free will is transformed, for example, into visionary clairvoyance. When this is the case, a man is already in the Eighth Sphere. This is a matter of which occultists are so reluctant to speak, because it is an awful, terrible truth. The moment the free will is transformed into visionary clairvoyance, what unfolds in the human being becomes the booty of Lucifer and Ahriman. It is immediately captured by them and thereby spirited away from the Earth. You can see from this how, through the shackling of free will, the spectres of the Eighth Sphere are created. Lucifer and Ahriman are engaged perpetually in shackling man's free will and in conjuring all sorts of things before him in order to tear away what he makes out of these things and let it disappear in the Eighth Sphere.

When clairvoyance in all kinds of different forms develops in naive, credulous, superstitious people, it is often the case that their free will has been sacrificed. Then Lucifer instantly seizes hold of it, and whereas these people imagine they have had an experience of immortality, the truth is that in their visions they see a part, or a product, of their souls being wrested away and prepared for the Eighth Sphere.

You can imagine from this how deep was the concern of those who, having compromised by agreeing that by way of mediumship all kinds of truths relating to the spiritual world should be given to the public, then found the mediums believing that the dead were speaking to them. But the occultists then knew that what takes place between mediums and living men is that the stream of free will is passing into the Eighth Sphere. Instead of a link being formed with the Eternal, the mediums were testifying precisely to what was continually disappearing into the Eighth Sphere.

From this you will realise that Lucifer and Ahriman have an avid desire to bring as much as possible into the Eighth Sphere. Although Goethe mixed Lucifer and Ahriman together, he has nevertheless correctly described how a soul is wrested away from the clutches of Mephistopheles-Ahriman! It would be the richest prize for Lucifer and Ahriman if they could ever succeed in capturing a whole soul for themselves; for thereby such a soul would disappear into the Eighth Sphere and be lost from Earth-evolution. The greatest victory for Lucifer and Ahriman would be if one day they could claim that countless numbers of the dead had passed into their sphere. That would be their greatest victory. Moreover there is a way of achieving it. Lucifer and Ahriman may say: human beings long to know something about the life between death and a new birth. If, therefore, we tell them that they are learning something from the dead, they will be satisfied and will direct their feelings towards the realm from which announcements are made to them as coming from the dead. If therefore we desire that the hearts and minds of men shall be guided towards the Eighth Sphere, let us say to them: we are telling you something that comes from the dead. We shall capture men by alleging that the dead are in our domain.

This devilish plan — for here we have indeed to do with the devil — was put into effect by Lucifer and Ahriman when it had occurred to occultists to endeavour to accomplish something through mediumship. Lucifer and Ahriman inspired the mediums through whom they arranged the whole business, in order that people might be guided to the realm whence the dead were alleged to be speaking. Lucifer and Ahriman could then lay hold of their souls. The occultists were alarmed when they saw what course things were taking and they took counsel among themselves as to how to steer away from it.
Even those who belonged to the left wing realised what was happening, and they said: we will do something different! An opportunity then presented itself through the appearance of a remarkable personality, namely H. P. Blavatsky. Now, after the plan had been seen through and the occultists on the Earth no longer lent their hands to it, Lucifer and Ahriman were obliged to pursue their aim in a different way.

Materialism had come upon the scene in the natural course of the Earth's evolution. Therefore in order to reckon with the mineralised process of evolution, it was necessary that men's attention should be focussed entirely on material things. That is materialism pure and simple! The occultists who had special aims of their own, said: Well and good, we will rely upon materialism. If, however, we take materialism in its purely earthly form, man will inevitably discover one day through his thinking that atoms do not exist — so that will not be very fertile soil. But human thinking can certainly be perverted if materialism is made occult. The best way of doing this is to present the Sphere that had to be created as a counterweight to the Eighth Sphere as the Eighth Sphere itself! If people can be led to believe that the materiality created as a counterweight to the Eighth Sphere is the Eighth Sphere itself, that will outstrip every conceivable earthly materialism! And earthly materialism was indeed outstripped in the assertion made by Sinnett. Materialism is there imported into the realm of occultism; occultism there becomes materialism. But sooner or later men would have been bound to discover this. H. P. Blavatsky, who had deep insight into this phase of the Earth's evolution, divined something of what was happening, after she had seen through the tricks of that strange individuality of whom I spoke in the last lecture, and she said to herself: This cannot go on as it is; it must be changed! But she said that under the influence of the Indian occultists who belonged to the left wing. She realised that things must change but that something not easily detectable must be created. In order to create something herself that would outstrip Sinnett's assertion, she acceded to the proposals of the Indian occultists who were inspiring her. These occultists, being adherents of the left path, had no other aim than the promotion of their own special interests — Indian interests. They had in mind to establish all over the Earth a system of wisdom from which Christ, and Jahve too, were excluded. Therefore something whereby Christ and Jahve were eliminated would have to be interpolated.

The following method was then adopted. It was said: Lucifer is in truth the great benefactor of mankind. (Of Ahriman there was no mention; so little was known of him that one name was used for both.) Lucifer brings to men everything they have gained through the head: science, art, in short, all progress. He is the true Spirit of Light; it is to him that men must adhere. And Jahve — what has he done, in reality ? He has established in men the principle of physical heredity! He is a Moon God who has introduced elements pertaining to the Moon. Hence the statement in The Secret Doctrine that men should not adhere to Jahve, for he is only the Lord of materiality, of all the lower, earthly impulses; the true benefactor of mankind is Lucifer. This shimmers through the whole of The Secret Doctrine, and is, moreover, clearly stated there. And so for occult reasons H. P. Blavatsky was prepared in such a way as to become a hater of Christ and Jahve. For in the occult domain such an utterance signifies exactly the same as Sinnett's statement that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere.

It is through knowledge alone that an approach can be made to these things — verily through knowledge alone. Therefore when we began the periodical Lucifer-Gnosis, the first article was necessarily on the subject of Lucifer, in order that he should be rightly understood, in order that it should be realised that inasmuch as he brings about head-activity, he is a benefactor of mankind. But the counterweight must also be there: Love must be there as the counterweight. This was stated in the very first article of the periodical, because at this point it was essential to intervene.

As you see, things were complicated. Fundamentally, what it was desired to achieve through H. P. Blavatsky was that men should be misled into believing in the Eighth Sphere. They could most easily be misled into this belief by something false being presented to them as the Eighth Sphere. Naturally, people were led to the spiritual world, for Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine has this great merit, that through it men's minds were directed to the spiritual world. But the path followed was in pursuance of special interests, not the interests of the evolution of humanity in general. All these things must be kept strictly in mind if we are to be quite clear as to which is the healthy path. We must not accept empty words without verification if we desire to have genuine occultism; we must resolve to see things clearly. Particularly at the present point of time in our development it has been necessary for me to give certain indications about these things, indications which can be supplemented at some other time by matters of even greater significance. I had to give these indications because, if you keep them rightly in your minds, you will see how our ship has been steered from the beginning of our Movement — steered in such a way that account has been taken of all the false paths that can be pursued and of all those things that were a menace to the spiritual development of humanity.

Indications of a path into the spiritual world must not be given blindly, above all not as the result of rapturous fanaticism. That is why the exhortation has again and again had to be made among you, my dear friends, that it is urgently necessary not to allow yourselves to be duped by what leads to the Eighth Sphere. And if again and again it has been said that more caution should be exercised in the domain of visionary clairvoyance, that validity should be ascribed only to that clairvoyance which, in leading into the higher worlds, excludes Lucifer and Ahriman — then it will be seen that everything capable of bringing the soul into connection with the Eighth Sphere must be rejected. If the tendency to shackle the free will and remain in the domain of visionary clairvoyance comes into evidence time and again, this is a sign that opposition is being put in the way of the clear-cut endeavour of our Movement, owing to the propensity to fetter the free will in visionary clairvoyance.

How happy some people would have been if only they could have shackled the free will! This was a symptom of how many of the traits prevailing in the other Movements spoken of here were being imported into our own Movement. It was not from Blavatsky, nor was it from outside, but by our Members themselves that breaches were constantly being made in what it is our aim to achieve. Such breaches were and are being made because announcements of visionary clairvoyants are greeted with rapturous wonder! This was an expression of perverse love for the Eighth Sphere. When one or another person has insisted: Dr. Steiner has said that such and such ought to be done, then this means that such and such a person wants to deliver up the free will to foreign influence, to let this will be determined, not by himself, but by someone else; he wants to make someone else responsible for instilling into the physical world a willingness to allow the free will to be fettered. Whenever people give way to fatalism instead of making decisions through their own power of judgment, they show their inclination to the Eighth Sphere. And everything that passes in this way into the Eighth Sphere disappears from Earth evolution, does not go forward in the right way with Earth evolution.

We have come to a point where it behoves us to pay heed to these things — that is why they have been brought forward. We have come to a point where we must pay attention to the needle in the scales which oscillates all the time between the exoteric and the esoteric. The principle in esotericism observed among us is that, fundamentally speaking, the occult life in its reality cannot be expressed by means of words. Things are said sometimes in an esoteric, sometimes in an exoteric form, and these are, as it were, two different dialects of one inexpressible language. And if in his arrogance a man wants to substitute the exoteric for the esoteric, he forgets that they are two dialects of an inexpressible language and that everything depends upon how he is able to hold the balance between the two. But what still remains between the two must be regarded as an inexpressible language—there is always something that cannot be directly expressed.

If, as in the book Occult Science, certain exoteric (sic) matters are publicised, care must be taken that in such a publication everything is put in such a way that it is within the grasp of the contemporary culture prevailing in the non-occult world outside. When it is said that something should remain esoteric, this simply means that it should remain within the circle of those who participate in everything that is presented in the sphere of esotericism. If things go wrong here, the esoteric is carried into the exoteric and then one is always facing a danger. This happens whenever anything that should be kept within a limited circle is carried out into the world so that there is no possibility of keeping up with it. ... During the years we have been pursuing our studies of Spiritual Science I have endeavoured to develop things in such a way that it can be clear to everyone who really goes into them that they are intelligible even before clairvoyance is attained. I have been at pains to make public nothing that cannot be comprehensible in its own domain. It follows therefore that only those who are willing to see human beings pass into the Eighth Sphere can have any valid objection to this spiritual-scientific Movement. When I made public the most delicate facts of all about the two Jesus children, opposition arose from a quarter which understood nothing at all and still places its faith in mediumship; whereas one who studies the Bible deeply enough today can grasp the circumstances which confirm the statement about the two Jesus children. We must therefore take our stand on the principle of following attentively what is brought forward, but not allowing it to be said that it is accepted among us out of belief in authority. Never should the phrase be heard that truths are accepted simply because I have voiced them! We should sin against the truth were we to say any such thing. One thing or another may be grounded on confidence; but that can never be made into a principle. Someone else may perhaps be better able to tread the path; but the rule to which every individual should adhere is this: not to accept things on authority, but to put them to the test.

It is by testing that confirmation will be found. Whenever the word “confidence” has been used among us it has been a danger signal; it has been a sign that we have entered a period when dangers threaten us. The attitude hitherto prevailing among us must cease, for Spiritual Science is grounded, not upon authority, but upon knowledge. The time for being easy-going about presenting Spiritual Science is over. Enemies will be on the look-out everywhere and we shall have much to combat; we shall have to make ourselves equal to the battle, and whenever confused minds feel compelled to throw themselves into the combat this will make it especially possible for the forces working against our spiritual-scientific Movement to develop.

These things must be regarded as resulting from the nature of the subject itself. We shall have to resolve to take account of all of them. For Movements with a particular bias find acceptance and adherents simply because there are always groups of human beings here and there whose interests are suited by one-sidedness. Humanity consists, does it not, of groups of human beings. If, now, an occultist attaches himself to a group, he finds it a means of support, he has a foothold from which he can start, because this group helps him. Therefore everyone who starts from a one-sided, biassed outlook may expect some measure of agreement and good-will. But he who starts from truth itself has, to begin with, all humanity against him. Truth has to conquer its domain with complete disinterestedness. That is why, at bottom, nothing is more hated than the truth, the unvarnished truth. And so there may be many adherents here and there who actually cherish hatred deep down within them. No wonder that this hatred sometimes cuts through the force that builds a wall against it — cuts through this force because the hatred has been accumulating for so long. Such hatred is far more widespread than is imagined and it is a factor that must be reckoned with. Wherever truth is trying to assert itself endeavours are made to transform and re-cast it in such a way that it can somehow serve the opposing Powers. And various endeavours cropping up among us at the present time must be regarded as an effort to distort truth as presented here and apply it in a different sense. The craftiest way of doing this is to declare: the teaching itself is good, the teacher—worthless. The teaching is stolen from the teacher and efforts are made to apply it to some other aims. — What Lucifer and Ahriman would love to do is to be able to take the wisdom of the Gods lock, stock and barrel and transfer it to the Eighth Sphere.

Endeavours such as those I have mentioned are directed to changing a Society in which freedom can prevail into a Society of slaves. That is the method which can serve Ahriman, for he sets out to make such activities useful to himself. — That is the more esoteric side of the matter, which we must now also consider with the necessary earnestness from the exoteric aspect—in the other dialect.

I would beg you not to lose sight of the fact that we are standing at a crucial point in the development of our Spiritual Science.



1. See notes at end of this lecture.

2. See pp. 128-9 et seq in the 1962-3 edition.

3. See Lecture by Rudolf Steiner: “From the Departure of the Moon to the Return of the Moon,” given in Dornach, 13th May, 1921. Printed in The Golden Blade, 1960.


As the literature which contains much direct confirmation of what is said by Dr. Steiner is not always readily available and may be unfamiliar to readers of these lectures, the following notes and quotations may be helpful.

(1) The very wide circulation of Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism is indicated by the fact that by the year 1884 (that is, only a year after publication) it was already in its third edition. There have been eight editions in all.

(2) The “Eighth Sphere”: In The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 186, Sinnett's statement that the Eighth Sphere is the Moon is criticised by Madame Blavatsky who says, however, that it is to be hoped that the “mistaken” notions of which this is one may be corrected in later editions of the book. She was obviously referring to the first edition, as was C. J. Harrison in his statement contained in The Transcendental Universe (see note below). In the third edition of Esoteric Buddhism, however, the corresponding passage is identical with that in the eighth edition, and while not specifically mentioning the Moon, implies it so specifically that nothing has really been done in the way of correction.

The passage in Esoteric Buddhism is as follows (Pages 104 and 105, third edition, also eighth edition, pages 117 and 118):

“Kama loca may be permanently inhabited by astral beings, by elementals, but can only be an antechamber to some other state for human beings. In the case imagined, the surviving personality is promptly drawn into the current of its future destinies, and these have nothing to do with this earth's atmosphere or with Devachan, but with that ‘Eighth Sphere’ of which occasional mention will be found in older occult writings. It will have been unintelligible to ordinary readers hitherto why it was called the ‘Eighth Sphere’ but since the explanation, now given out for the first time, of the sevenfold constitution of our planetary system, the meaning will be clear enough. ... It will readily be guessed that the only sphere connected with our planetary chain, which is lower than our own in the scale, having spirit at the top and matter at the bottom, must itself be no less visible to the eye and to optical instruments than the earth itself, and as the duties which this sphere has to perform in our planetary system are immediately associated with this earth, there is not much mystery left now in the riddle of the Eighth Sphere, nor as to the place in the sky where it may be sought. ...”

Most interesting references are to be found in C. J. Harrison's The Transcendental Universe (a book containing lectures given by him in the year 1893 before the “Berean Society” which was “an association of students of theoretical occultism”.) The following extracts are taken from pages 1o8, 109:

“... It will be my duty to explain, to the best of my ability, certain facts in connection with a mystery known as the Mystery of the Eighth Sphere. ... Now I am well aware that there are many occultists who say the subject ought not to be brought before the public at all, and object to the very name being mentioned, ... In reply to such persons it is due to myself to say I am breaking no oath, and violating no confidence. These lectures were advertised in the public journals, and all who choose to attend them are welcome. I regret to be obliged to differ from many persons, whom I hold in the highest respect, as to whether or not the times are ripe for mentioning these subjects. They have been mentioned — prudently or imprudently — and are familiar to all who have taken an interest in the Theosophical Movement ... The first person, however, to profane the mysteries (albeit unconsciously) was Mr. Sinnett, the author of Esoteric Buddhism, a book which made considerable sensation when it came out, but which contains nothing new that is true, and nothing true that is new. As he was the first to make public the information that there is an “eighth sphere” and a mystery connected with it of which he is ignorant, it may be as well to say that both these statements are true. But when he proceeds to say that the Eighth Sphere is the Moon, he gives utterance to one of those half-truths that are more misleading than falsehoods ...

Readers of Esoteric Buddhism will remember that man is said therein to evolve on seven planets; three of which (including the Earth) are visible, and the other four composed of matter too attenuated to be visible. Also that there is an eighth planet, the moon, in which matter “asserts itself” yet more strongly than on the earth. Anything more utterly misleading it is impossible to conceive. Madame Blavatsky, who knew very well that this kind of thing was sure to be exposed sooner or later, has in her Secret Doctrine corrected some of the errors, but as she has not chosen to elucidate any portion of the mystery except such as suit her purpose, and as she is destitute, moreover, of the literary gifts of her disciple, her teaching in respect to the Seven Planets and the Eighth Sphere will be “caviare to the General”, who will continue to regard Mr. Sinnett's explanation as the genuine “Esoteric Buddhism” ...”

(3) In Lecture II, Dr. Steiner refers to the ”occult imprisonment” to which H. P. Blavatsky was subjected. He also refers to this in Lecture V of the Course Things of the Present and Past in the Spirit of Man.

The following is quoted from Harrison's The Transcendental Universe, page 36:

“... What is occult ‘imprisonment’, and why was it inflicted on Madame Blavatsky?

There is a certain operation of ceremonial magic by means of which a wall of psychic influences may be built up around an individual who has become dangerous, which has the effect of paralysing the higher activities, and producing what is called the ‘repercussion of effort’, and the result is a kind of spiritual sleep characterised by fantastic visions. It is an operation seldom resorted to even by Brothers of the Left, and in the case of Madame Blavatsky was disapproved of by almost all European occultists. On the American brotherhoods alone rests the responsibility for what has since happened. ...”
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:19 pm


If in a broad sense, without going into details, you review what I ventured to put before you in the foregoing lectures, you will realise that the path of development which the spiritual-scientific current of thought was bound to take, imposes definite and earnest responsibilities upon those who feel themselves its sponsors. For you will certainly have realised from our recent studies that when man tries to find his bearings along the right path, great difficulties spring up for him, difficulties of a kind different from those otherwise encountered in life.

Now in life on the physical plane we are in many respects protected from aberrations in one direction or another. Many years ago I drew attention to this protection when, in connection with the problem of the Guardian of the Threshold, I gave certain indications which have been added to in the course of time. [note 1] Even in the early articles now incorporated in the book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? it was shown how man on the physical plane is protected from deviating too readily in one direction or another in intellectual and moral life. We enter into existence in such a way that certain guiding forces for life are with us during our childhood. We know well that only in later years do we reach the stage of being able to exercise our power of free judgment.

If you observe a child and compare his soul-life with that of a grown-up person you will detect a certain difference. For you can justly say: instead of a kind of dreamlike life which he leads in childhood, the human being begins in later years to exercise his own faculty of free judgment. It is very important to be aware of these variations.

If in thinking of the whole course of human life from birth until death we keep childhood too much in mind, we may perhaps pay insufficient attention to this metamorphosis of the inner life of soul. But it is important to understand it because it is during the period when our power of judgment is not yet fully awake that guiding impulses for later life can be received. For the sake of our power of free judgment we must, as it were, be swathed in dream during the early years of our life in order that certain forces of guidance may find their way into our intellect and into our moral impulses, in order that we shall not prematurely crystallise the forces bestowed upon us for the purposes of our life and which are “breathed” — I will not say “incorporated” — into our being. Thereby we have something for the whole of our life; we direct ourselves throughout life in accordance with the intellectual and moral impulses that have been breathed into our soul.

When we approach concepts of the spiritual worlds, we become in a certain sense freer. It has often been said and must again and again be repeated, that the approach to the spiritual worlds is also a kind of awakening from the ordinary conditions and circumstances of life; again, therefore, this is a variation in the metamorphoses of life similar to the metamorphosis leading from childhood to the capacity of free judgment in later life.

But this means that when we adopt the spiritual-scientific view of life it can very easily happen that the steady direction of life we formerly knew, begins to waver. So that when we begin to grasp the reality of the spiritual worlds, it is a matter of mustering the forces of the whole man within us — because we need the “life-capital” breathed into us during childhood in order rightly to approach the things now to be revealed from the world on yonder side of the Threshold. And I showed you how easy it is, under influences which proceed as a matter of course from the different currents of the time, to go astray in one direction or another. An aberration such as occurs in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism is due to the fact that the strong impulse of materialism can have an effect upon the souls of men — I say, can have an effect. Just because oriental influences were at work, a deviation was possible in the direction which led to a defamation of the whole nature of the present Moon, and on the other side aberration was possible because it was in the interests of certain persons not to allow the truth of repeated lives on Earth to come into the open. The one who had an interest — in this case it was not Sinnett himself but the one who was behind him — in helping materialism in human life to be, as it were, “ultra-materialised”, introduced into an otherwise true system, teaching such as that concerning the Moon, thereby giving a twist in a particular direction.

Now we know that especially in recent centuries Western civilisation and its American offshoot have been subject to a strongly Christian impulse. I myself have been at pains to show that the significance of Christianity does not depend upon what can actually be understood of it — for a great deal will become intelligible only in the future, and we ourselves are only just beginning to grasp certain facts connected with the Mystery of Golgotha. But the impulses of Christianity are real; they take effect even when men do not yet understand them. In earlier centuries, however, certain cosmic truths were excluded from these impulses. These truths are entirely compatible with Christianity although insight has not succeeded in making this evident. Truths relating to repeated lives on Earth were withdrawn from Christianity, and so a Western culture with an American offshoot arose with a form of Christianity from which the teaching of repeated lives on Earth was excluded.

Now I have shown you how certain occultists made efforts to preserve this view of Christianity — the view which rejected the truth of repeated earthly lives. I spoke of trends in occultism that were connected, for example, with the High Church party. Those concerned were people of knowledge, they were well-informed. It can be said that they knew much more about occultism than did the leading members of the Theosophical Society. But their whole object was to ensure that the teaching of repeated earthly lives should be eliminated even more decisively; hence their denial that man, as I have shown in Occult Science, enters in the course of his earthly evolution into relationship with the other planets of our solar system.

The forces here implanted into the human soul have mainly to do with man's participation in the extra-terrestrial Cosmos; and it was desired from this quarter that men should be left in obscurity about this participation. The object was to divert them from the realisation that the soul is connected, not only with the Earth and its happenings, but also with what is out there in the Cosmos, shining down to us, for example, from the other planets of our solar system.

Now in that they work upon the human being, the impulses proceeding from the other planets of our solar system have the power to wrest the soul, as living soul, away from physical death. That is their essential function, as you can realise from the descriptions of the life between death and a new birth which I have given in various connections and from various points of view.

But if you look back over the evolution of humanity, you will find that precisely in the times when atavistic knowledge, clairvoyant knowledge, was present as an ancient heritage, men directed their gaze to the other celestial bodies of our solar system, and Astrology — which in our day has become such a questionable science — played a part of tremendous importance in those olden times.

Why, we may ask ourselves, has Astrology ceased to play this important part? It is because the gaze of human souls had to be diverted in order that Christianity should have time to take root in earthly existence.
Just as the gaze of clairvoyance had to be diverted from the Imaginative world, so too had the gaze to be diverted from the impulses proceeding from the planets of our solar system. All that has remained of Astrology consists of old traditions. I have often spoken of this. In a sense, we may say: the old clairvoyance and also the old vision of the impulses proceeding from the planets of our solar system, were circumscribed. Man was relegated to the physically perceptible world, to the senses by means of which he was to perceive only that which takes place on the Earth. This was in order that the impulses of the Mystery of Golgotha might wax in strength and take root in the souls of men, in the feelings of the believers, so that men might be inwardly deepened.

In ancient times, clairvoyance was, after all, an external faculty. It was not a question of having to acquire it by effort, for it was a heritage. Just as a man today has eyes and ears, so in those times he had the faculty of clairvoyance. But the times are approaching when clairvoyance will increasingly be regained. This made it necessary that in one phase of his existence man should be shut off from the spiritual world and confined to the outer, mineral world, in order that everything may be built up again from within; what was once seen from without must now be built up again from within.
I will sketch it for you like this (drawing on the blackboard).

Diagram 7

Picture a man with the old clairvoyant vision. (I will take the eye as representing the clairvoyant gaze, although this is not exclusively a function of the eye.) He directed his gaze to the starry heavens and beheld the different spiritual impulses streaming from there.

Then, in the course of the ages this clairvoyance faded away and man's gaze was restricted to the phenomena of earthly existence. Something else had to arise in place of the earlier clairvoyance, something that can be indicated by saying: What formerly came from without must now go out from within. Man had to learn to project outwards what the Heavens had implanted in him in order that he might again find his links with the phenomena of the Heavens.

Diagram 8

The direction that had now to be followed was exactly the opposite of that of the earlier path. It is an actual fact that human nature is at this present point of time involved in a process of re-organisation. It has passed through the point of deepest darkness — one expression of which was what I called the full flood of materialism in the middle of the nineteenth century. But humanity is emerging from this condition. Describing this in terms of occultism, we may say: In earlier times men did not perceive, did not think with the physical body only, but they perceived and thought with the etheric body. What was perceived with the etheric body was experienced consciously in the astral body as Astrology. But in modern Astronomy everything is a matter of calculation. The etheric body must be revitalised, and this is connected with the new revelation of Christ. When the etheric body is re-vitalised, man finds Christ. But, as you see, it is essential that this vitalising of the etheric body shall take place.

Noteworthy discoveries can be made if one goes deeply into these matters. The whole feeling that man has an etheric body has disappeared and the feeling that he has only a physical body predominates. But it would be entirely false to believe that this opinion about man having a physical body only, is very old. By no means is it so. If this restriction to the physical body was actually brought about by the full flood of materialism in the nineteenth century, then men must previously have had some inkling of the etheric body which was then suppressed but is now emerging again. I could give you many proofs that previously something was known about the etheric body, the existence of which began gradually to be ignored. I could quote many passages from earlier works, but I will read one from a book published in 1827. On page 208, a remarkable passage occurs. I will read it very slowly so that you may be able to judge how differently these things are written about today under the influence of views that have become wholly materialistic.

“The concept of nourishment is connected erroneously with the mere imbibing of food and drink and their elaboration in the organs of digestion. The organism is nourished, and organic life sustained, not by food and drink, but by the blood (the neutralised earthly and etheric life-principle)” — here the writer shows that he is not speaking of the physical blood but of what underlies the blood as etheric life-principle — “and indeed not until in the plastic membranes the blood has been enhanced and as it were sublimated into the vitalising, formative exhalation (Aura vitalis).”

What does the writer want to express here? He wants to indicate that external nourishment is not the fact of primary importance but that while external nourishment is taking place, extracts stream from the foodstuffs into the blood, so that a process is going on in that which underlies the blood as an etheric life-principle. — This was written in the year 1827. The writer has put brackets round the words “Aura vitalis”. “Plastic” here is a synonym of “imaginative”. I might equally well read the lines thus: “Not until in the imaginative membranes the blood has been enhanced and sublimated as it were into the vitalising, formative exhalation (Aura vitalis)” ... the two last words are in brackets. “Aura vitalis” can only be translated as “etheric body.”

The man who wrote this was Professor of Psychiatric Therapy at the University of Leipzig and Physician at the Hospital of St. George there. He was Johann Christian August Heinroth, of whom I once spoke in connection with Goethe.

Hundreds of such examples could be given and they will indicate to you how utterly different the attitude of mind once was, how the knowledge that was still in evidence by no means such a very long time ago, has degenerated into the materialistic view of the world.

One can say: A stream of knowledge oozes away and the materialistic view of the world rises to the surface, but beneath the stream a sub-stream develops in human nature. The connection with the Cosmos is established again, this time from within. You may still say: Prove to us that there have been people who had an inkling of the fact that whereas, on the one side, knowledge of the activities of the etheric body passed away, on the other, the etheric body was being revitalised again from within.—

Here I will read you a passage from a book published even earlier, from which you can see that there were indeed people who drew attention to a change that would take place in the organisation of humanity in the future. Admittedly, the story is told in a very veiled form, but at all events it is told. The story is about a female character. When I read the passage, most of you will know where it occurs.

We read that there is a soul in the body of a woman who no longer leads the earthly life but the solar life, that in the course of her life she circles around wider and wider spheres — it can therefore be assumed that beings, in so far as they are corporeal, strive towards the centre, and in so far as they are spiritual, towards the periphery. A soul who lives with the Cosmos is here described. [note 2]

Makaria is in our solar system in a relation which we may scarcely dare to express. In spirit, soul, imagination, she keeps within herself; she does not only look, but at the same time she makes a part of it; she sees herself carried away in those heavenly circles, but in a quite special manner. From her childhood she wanders around the sun, and indeed, as is now discovered, in a spiral, withdrawing always more from the centre and circling towards the outer regions.

If we may accept that creatures, so far as they are bodily, strive towards the centre, so far as they are spiritual to the periphery, so does our friend belong to the most spiritual. She appears to be born only to free herself from what is earthly, so as to pierce through to the nearest and most remote spaces of existence. This quality, splendid as it is, was, however, lent to her from her earliest years as a difficult task. She remembers from childhood her innermost self as penetrated by illuminating beings, brightened by a light which even the brightest light of the sun could get no hold on.

She therefore bears sources of light within herself and the external light can “get no hold” on her.

Often she saw two suns, one inward, another in the sky; two moons, of which the outer one, in its size, remained the same in all phases; the inner always diminished more and more.

This gift drew her interest away from ordinary things, but her excellent parents directed everything towards her culture. All faculties were alive in her, all activities operative, so that she understood how to satisfy all outward relationships, and while her heart, her spirit, was entirely filled with otherworldly visions, her actions and dealings remained always suited to the noblest decorum. As she grew up, everywhere helpful, incessant in great and small services, she wandered like an angel of God upon the earth, while her entire spiritual being moved indeed around the sun of this world, but in continually increasing circles towards what is beyond this world.

The exuberance of this condition was in some measure modified, that it also seemed to her to dawn and to grow dark, while with quenched inner light she strove most loyally to fulfil external duties; with the fresh shining of the inner light she gave herself up to the most blessed tranquility. Yes, she will have observed that some kind of clouds hovered over her from time to time, and for some time obscured for her the look of the heavenly companions — a period which she understood how to make use of continually for the well-being and delight of her surroundings.

So long as she kept her views secret, it required much to support them. What she revealed of them was not recognised, or misinterpreted; therefore in her long life she let it appear outwardly as an illness, and in the family they still always speak of it so; but at last good fortune introduced to her the man whom you see with us, as doctor, mathematician and astronomer equally valuable; a thoroughly noble man who, however, first actually approached her out of curiosity. But when she gained confidence towards him, described by degrees to him her circumstances, joined the present to the past and had brought a connection into the events, he became so fascinated by the phenomenon that he could no more separate himself from her, but day by day endeavoured continually to penetrate more deeply into the secret.

At first, as lie gave it to be understood not obscurely, he considered it to be deception, for she did not deny that from earliest youth she had diligently busied herself about knowledge of the stars and sky, that she had been well instructed in them, and had missed no opportunity of getting a clear idea for herself of the structure of the world by means of machines and books. He did not, therefore, have his say out; it was learnt by heart, the effect of an imagination regulated in a high degree, the influence of the memory was to be conjectured, a co-operation of the power of judgment, but especially of a hidden calculation.

He is a mathematician and therefore obstinate, a clear mind and therefore unbelieving. For a long time he resisted, observed however what she mentioned, exactly, endeavoured to get near to the sequel of different years, kept himself especially to the newest with the opposite position of the lights of heaven and their tasks in accordance, and at last exclaimed: “Now why should not God and Nature be a living ‘Armillarsphere’, an intellectual clockwork movement, so that just as the clocks perform it for us daily and hourly, it would be in the position of itself in a special way to follow the course of the stars!”

But here we dare not proceed further, for the incredible loses its value when we wish to look at it more nearly in detail. We say so much, however: that which served as the basis of the reckonings to be instituted, was as follows. For her, the seeress, our sun appeared in the vision much smaller than she beheld it as such by day; also an unusual position of this high light of heaven in the zodiac gave rise to inferences.

On the other hand, doubts and errors arose because she who looked indicated one and the other star as appearing alike in the zodiac, but of which in the sky one was not aware. They might be the small planets at that time still undiscovered, for from other accounts it could be concluded that she, long since over the orbit of Mars, drew near to the orbit of Jupiter. Openly, for a long time, she had considered these planets, at what distance it would be difficult to say, with astonishment in their mighty splendour, and looked at the play of its moons around it, but had seen it in the most marvellous manner as waning moon, and indeed, without being turned round, as the waxing moon appears to us. From this it would be concluded that she saw it from the side, and was really on the point of moving outside its orbit, and in the infinite space coming in opposition to Saturn. Thither no imagination follows her, but we hope that such an entelechy does not withdraw itself entirely from our solar system; but if it has arrived at the border of it, it will yearn to be back again, so as to work again in favour of our great grandchildren for earthly life and beneficence.

Here, in a very significant way, the vista is presented to us of how the soul, how the human being, will from within take the path of return to the world of the stars. I have been reading to you the description of Makaria from Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, and he has expressly added that he has not said everything. He indicates that this was an ethereal poem, in the words: “While we now here close this ethereal poetry, hoping for forgiveness, let us turn again to that terrestrial story, of which we have given above a transient indication.”

Before Goethe describes Makaria he writes:

But arrived at this point, we cannot resist the temptation of communicating from our archives [note 3] a paper which concerns Makaria, and the special quality which was imparted to her mind. Unfortunately, this composition was written from memory not till a long time after the contents were communicated, and cannot be looked upon as altogether authentic, as in so remarkable a case would be desirable. But however this may be, here already is so much communicated as to arouse reflection and recommend attention as to whether already something similar or approximating to it has been remarked and noted down.

I wanted to call your attention to this passage in Wilhelm Meister's Travels because it will show you that with Spiritual Science we are really meeting the demands of our age. Human nature is changing in such a way that it will bring forth from itself that ancient heritage from the pre-earthly world which it has lost. And men must be aware of what is approaching them — otherwise they will fall into utter confusion. Spiritual Science must establish its place in the cultural life of our time.

But the moment men become attentive to what has been indicated here they inevitably come across the teaching of reincarnation, because they say to themselves that an entelechy from the spiritual world, from the spheres of Jupiter, Saturn, and so on, may well have something to do with the Earth and might return among us. Therefore those occultists who wish the teaching of reincarnation to be suppressed, say that barricades must be erected against the advent of this view of life, and these barricades are erected by diverting men's minds as far as possible from the connection with the celestial bodies of the solar system.
So we see that in that quarter there is intense interest in not allowing certain things to come to light. I said yesterday that if interest is present for a biased, one-sided cause, it always finds support. But truth is generally contested and everything possible is done to prevent the truth itself from coming to light. And whether we take the right stand in our spiritual Movement depends upon our being fully conscious that the truth for which we seek will be attacked from many, many sides. Nothing is more essential than that in order to be armed, we shall endeavour to develop clarity of thought in every domain. You must bear in mind that the antagonisms that arise, above all the hostile personalities, are really, for the most part, puppets of the opposing Powers. For we are here in the field of activity of super-sensible Powers. These super-sensible Powers, to which Lucifer and Ahriman belong, naturally work in human life through human souls, which are simply their instruments.

Hence it is necessary to know exactly what is at issue in the one case or the other; but what is far and away the most necessary of all is that the acquisition of the faculty of clear, exact thinking shall never be neglected. You know that life itself has its contradictions, and Hegel built up his whole philosophy on this. It is not a question of avoiding the contradictions in life, for they are there. The essential thing is to recognise and be alert to them.

Ahriman and Lucifer can accomplish something only when a contradiction remains unnoticed, when we have neither the strength nor the will to lay it bare. Whenever we get entangled in a contradiction that we do not recognise as such but simply regard it as a natural part of life, this makes it possible for Lucifer and Ahriman to take possession of our soul.

Let us take a strange contradiction with which we have been just recently confronted here. The circumstances have obliged me to read a passage in a letter from a lady who states that what is wanted is “not the teaching and not the teacher, but the man”. The teaching was therefore taken as a kind of adjunct and the chief value attached to the man. Then came another assertion — the very opposite! The man was completely rejected and it was stated that the teaching must be acknowledged as correct. Just think of it: on the one hand it is asserted that the quest should not be for the teaching or the teacher, but for the man; and on the other: “I hate the man and reject him; he makes promises and does not keep them — but the teaching is good, I accept it.”

To what does this really amount? In effect it amounts to this: For a time I had a certain relationship with an individual; he himself interested me, the teaching only very little. Then I turn from the individual and lay stress on what did not really interest me at all. I now lay the stress upon what I formerly put aside; I did not assimilate the teaching and now say: it is good. I stand for something which I refused to accept, something I cannot possibly have acquired because previously I refused to accept it! — There you have a literal example of the kind of contradictions to be found in the world. Can you possibly imagine that where such contradictions prevail there can be any real, inner connection with our spiritual-scientific Movement? There can obviously be none.

It is important to be aware of contradictions such as these, for if we fail to notice such phenomena among us we shall never find the right path to knowledge of the spiritual world. Needless to say, many things may escape us, but we must have the will to take note of such contradictions. On the other side, however, it must be remembered that contradictions of this kind are used with the intent of shaking the truth to its foundations. Suppose, for example, someone were to say: a man is giving teaching but he himself is full of contradictions, even of immoral tendencies, indeed he is dominated by the power of evil; but the teaching itself is good — that is certainly to be admitted. Very well — but if it is part and parcel of the teaching that the one who represents it and the Movement connected with it establishes the relationship between himself and the others precisely through the teaching, wishing to be nothing more than the bearer of the teaching — then such an attitude demands him to be something else! All kinds of demands are made upon the man, and although at bottom the teaching is rejected, it is said: the teaching is good, but for all that the man is evil! In this way, someone who feels utterly incapable of grasping the teaching can work against it through those who believe in it. This is the best way for a person to undermine teaching which he cannot disprove, for as I indicated yesterday, it is then delivered into the hands of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Powers.

It has been said so often that our teaching must not be mere theory, but actual life. If it is made into mere theory, it is killed, delivered into the hands of Ahriman, the God of Death. That is the best method for ensuring that what is taught is given over to Ahriman and thus exterminated from the world; moreover, it is a method very similar to that employed by certain individualities who were standing behind Mr. Sinnett, for example. They inspired him to take a certain direction in order to steer him into fallacy which culminated in the true facts being violated. The Moon, which as physical Moon is an agent for paralysing the Eighth Sphere, is declared to be the Eighth Sphere itself. The reality concerning the Eighth Sphere is obscured, effaced. And later on H. P. Blavatsky corrects this by alleging that Jahve has created the lower sphere of man's life only, the sphere of his senses — whereas the truth is that Jahve has created a counteracting agent for the Eighth Sphere. This method therefore consists in spreading over some matter a fog whereby it is presented in a false light. If you examine these things carefully, you will see that what has happened among us is essentially of the same pattern, only on a smaller scale. It is an attempt to shed calumny on the truth that would fain come into the world. Someone feels incapable of refuting the teaching and so levels imputations against the one who has to present it. This of course shows that such a person is unable to grasp the essence of the teaching.

This is a problem well worth the notice of people of standing and sincerity among us, for these things must be viewed from a higher vantage-point. I am quoting these examples because they are near at hand and because they show us whither our attention should be directed. In our Movement the strongest possible emphasis must be laid — and this has been done ever since I have been connected with it—upon a right attitude being adopted towards atavistic clairvoyance, so that there may be no delusions about it. An example of what has been invented in order to distort what we do or desire to do, is that it has been said: One can see that this is a Movement which applies itself to the cultivation of clairvoyance — and then efforts have been made to imply that everyone in the Movement is urged to develop clairvoyance. This kind of thing spreads a fog over the Movement. The truth is reversed — although it is a fact that clairvoyance must be developed — but a good means is furnished for provoking hatred against the Movement.

Again, it is said: A Movement that comes into being in the modern age ought not to cultivate the old, atavistic clairvoyance, but that is precisely what this particular Movement is doing. — On the subject of cultivating atavistic clairvoyance the Movement says exactly the same, but here the direction of the arrow is turned round and the Movement is censured. This is happening, for example, in our immediate vicinity, where in sermons and addresses it is alleged that those who have gathered here in Dornach are urged, above all by me, to develop clairvoyance, and it is imputed at the same time that this is pathological, atavistic clairvoyance.

Needless to say, the one who voices these things has no inkling of what he is really saying; he is only a puppet. But we ourselves must look more deeply into the connections, realising that we are living at a time when such impulses will assert themselves strongly against us. And it would be particularly grotesque if our teaching itself were to be used as a weapon for confuting us. Even this has already happened. In one of the antagonistic criticisms published during recent weeks, an attack was formulated by using quotations from the Mystery Plays and from the book Occult Science. So the Powers that do not want the truth to come to light are everywhere at work.

About the truth itself we need have no anxiety. ... Truth makes its way in the world by laying emphasis only on what is positive.

But the moment statements that simply do not remotely come near the truth go out into the world, we must be armed and know how to judge them. We must not adopt the stand merely of studying what is to be found in the literature; we must translate into very life the life-principle contained in our teaching. That is to say, we must judge life according to the principles of our teaching; we must not think about one or another attack from outside as we should be bound to think if we had accepted our teaching merely as a theory. The need for polemics does not begin until we are attacked. But then we must realise that ours is a teaching very easily distorted into its opposite and that we have therefore to watch over and protect it. Especially must we be on guard against all one-sidedness.

For example, undertones could be heard in connection with certain things that have been said here and there — undertones coming from an attitude that very easily runs to opposite extremes. And then it is easy to be refuted. You will remember that it was necessary to say a great deal on the subject of illusions about particular incarnations. If this were carried to the extreme of laughing all such matters to scorn, our opponents might well say: “These people teach something. But let one of them touch the very fringe of it and they at once proceed to ridicule him!”

We have no ground for rejecting clairvoyant experiences — obviously not. Our only duty is to get to the bottom of such experiences when they are being used to bolster up the aims of personal vanity, or certainly when the outer course of events proves these experiences to have been incorrect. We must not, to use a trivial expression, pour away the child with the bath-water. Our Society must certainly not transform itself into a body of scientific theory. There too you can see that this danger may easily arise.

An essay sent to us during the last few days is astutely written, for there is no more plausible way of attacking our Movement than by saying: “Those people behave as if they rejected all connection between the world of the senses and the spiritual world!” This is actually stated in the essay. In an appendix, strangely enough, the question is raised : “Why should not the Mother of God also reincarnate?” — Of course, one can ask, why should she not reincarnate? There is no reason why it cannot be so. But of this you may be sure: the exoteric life of this Mother of God in such a reincarnation would not be in the form in which it is claimed to have taken place!

Truly, in these matters it is a question of something that I have been emphasising for many years and found it necessary to include in my fundamental philosophical work. If you read other philosophies you will find in their theories and forms of expression, also in still earlier writings, much that appears again in my The Philosophy of Freedom. But one thing is contained in it which, at least in the way it is there expressed and interwoven as an ethical principle, a moral impulse, is entirely original. — For the first time, “moral tact” is introduced as something that cannot be grasped through the mere power of judgment, but only through the whole mind and life of feelings, so that when something has to be handled delicately one shall not immediately fall into extremes and try to sweep away one error by means of another. That is “moral tact”. I have tried to define it as clearly as possible in the Philosophy of Freedom. It is truly necessary to emphasise at the present time that — because here we have to do with a very tricky matter — we must avoid the danger of falling into the other extreme.

I indicated various dangers yesterday but have felt it necessary to add something today, in order to emphasise that we must not fall into the other extreme. The whole of our activity, the whole nature of our Movement, must be based upon making the spiritual world a reality, upon feeling and experiencing our own life as connected with the spiritual world.

But if we hold this principle sacred, we must tactfully refuse to allow directly personal affairs, the subjective-personal life, to be drawn in. This again does not imply that we should never try to discover whether we ourselves are the reincarnation of someone. But simply to look from one personality in search of the other is of no account. It is the easy-going way. But the right way is to endeavour to reach the point where we begin to discover certain secrets of our own life. Then we shall certainly make progress. In this connection we are standing at a point of great significance, namely that we must pay heed to the saying: do not pour the child away with the bath water!

At the same time we must work with all intensity to prevent what would be utterly disastrous to an occult Movement, namely, a gradual lapse into haziness and lack of clarity. There are certain things which need to be treated with a certain harshness. That is another matter. But we must always be mindful of the ground on which we stand — the ground of an earnest and worthy spiritual Movement.

These are some of the points of view which can help us to realise the conditions that are essential to the life of our Movement. When it is said that outer reality is maya, then this maya too must be thoroughly studied. Nor must we keep emphasising the theoretical saying, “outer reality is maya”, and then act as if the outer reality itself is of supreme importance when we encounter it concretely in the world.



Note 1. See inter alia, Macrocosm and Microcosm, lecture 4. (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968).

Note 2. The translation of the passage is by R. O. Moon, M.A., M.D.(Oxon.), from Vol. II of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. Published by G. T. Foulis & Co., London.

Note 3. (Goethe means “spiritual” archives.)
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:21 pm


In a recent lecture I said something to which I want to return today, because in its logical conclusion it forms a kind of foundation for what I still have to say. I said that a spiritual-scientific Movement such as ours must be one which takes full account of the demands of the present cycle of the evolution of humanity and of the necessary consequences of this evolution. Such a Movement must therefore necessarily regard atavistic clairvoyance, and knowledge that is a residue of atavistic clairvoyance, as out of date and no longer suitable for our times; it must be a Movement which sets no store by anything that stems from atavistic sources.

This meant that a great deal of the knowledge given out in the so-called Theosophical Society had simply to be rejected or ignored in the form in which it was there presented, and in certain cases built up entirely anew.
Hence from the beginning onwards, strenuous efforts were made by the old representatives of that Society to oppose us. I will give only one example.

You can compare what I said in the year 1904 in the first edition of my book Theosophy about the soul-world and the spirit-land with what had formerly been stated. You must bear especially in mind the distinctions made by me in connection with the soul-world and in the inner soul-life of man and you will see that great stress was laid upon the distinction to be made between the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual or Mind-Soul, and the Consciousness Soul (Spiritual Soul). This threefold distinction had never been made in the literature of the Theosophical Society, but among us it was emphasised from the very beginning.

The other side were at pains to eliminate this distinction, not to allow it to gain ground. I remember vividly what efforts were made to win back our friend the late Ludwig Lindemann, when he was trying to make our Movement known in Italy. It was asserted: You are simply saying in other words what has already been said in our teaching. — Briefly, these people did not wish it to be realised that this threefold distinction was something entirely new and it was necessary to indicate it again and again. And the same kind of thing happened in many, many instances.

From the very beginning we ourselves set out in the direction demanded by the needs of the present age, taking into consideration all the matters of which I have been telling you briefly during recent weeks. But in order to follow this course strictly, it was necessary to give a different form to the way of working adopted everywhere in the Theosophical Society. This naturally entailed effort, really strenuous effort. There was also the difficult question of how my own work could find a place in the literature. During the first years I was obliged to present certain things with great reserve, for the simple reason that years of testing and strict verification were needed in connection with certain subjects and because from the outset I had resolved never to publish or to say anything except that for which I could be answerable, having submitted it all to thorough testing.

Now as you will have realised after what I have been saying, confusion had arisen because investigation of the life between death and rebirth had been brought into an entirely false channel. I spoke about this in the foregoing lectures. But it has not always been easy to test these things as they should be tested. If one resolves to work conscientiously and with a sense of full responsibility, every opportunity that offers itself for stringent testing must be seized, but these opportunities must never be forced. In spiritual investigation it is a matter of waiting. Opportunities must never in the slightest degree be forced.

Most obvious of all was the inaccuracy of the statements purporting to give information about the life between death and a new birth. But whereas on the physical plane, false results of investigation can be rectified by testing them with physical means which make their inaccuracy immediately evident, it is of course quite another matter when things of the spiritual worlds are involved. In the spiritual worlds, the existence of a false, erroneous conception of the real facts is confusing for investigation itself. If, then, through mediums, statements had been made which were not communications from the dead at all, but deliberately inspired by living persons with every kind of bias, these results of what purported to be investigation were in existence. They confront one, and if one is trying to verify things in this domain one has to battle with these results of investigation as actual powers. Anything that is said on the physical plane can be refuted; one sits down at the writing-table and refutes it. But a false result of investigation in the spiritual world is a living reality: it is there and one has to battle with it, do away with it.

Just as thoughts are living realities, false results of investigation are real powers which are there directly one crosses the Threshold of the spiritual world. One enters the spiritual world with the endeavour to bring to light knowledge of the life between death and a new birth; but now the false thoughts that have been produced stand there as living beings before one. To begin with, they give the appearance of truth, of reality. Hence one has first to battle with them, to test them, in order to discover whether they have the attributes of untrue thoughts, or the attributes of true and really living thoughts.

This process of testing and verification often takes a very long time. In the nature of things, therefore, when one had resolved that the testing should be thorough and exact, it was difficult to investigate this realm of the life between death and a new birth, because so many false conclusions had been drawn. Hence in these matters particularly it was necessary to exercise great reserve, speaking of them only when they could be presented as absolutely and strictly true. A great deal of work had therefore to be done before it was possible to give, for example, the course of lectures now available under the title The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and a new Birth. [note 1]

In a general way it is easy to describe the life between death and a new birth. It begins when, after completing the backward review arising in the process of the separation of the etheric body from the physical body, the human being passes into the sphere which in theosophical literature was usually called Kamaloka. But if you compare what was called Kamaloka in that literature with what has been made known among us during the course of the years, you cannot fail to perceive the considerable differences. Now please do not misunderstand me here. — I do not assert that at the present time it is the task of each individual to put everything to the test. The task of one is not that of the other. I regard it as my task to say nothing which I cannot guarantee to have been tested and proven. That is what I consider to be my particular, entirely individual task.

I want now to speak of something that it is important to remember when speaking of the first years of the life between death and a new birth. A really positive and faithful picture of these first years or decades can be gained only by using certain parallels. Only so is it possible, by adding many details, to fill out the general picture given in the book Theosophy. Our whole development depends upon this being done. In that book a broad ground-plan is given, and our work should consist in filling out each of the various sections outlined in the general plan. It is a matter, therefore, of gathering together many things that have been said, and if, starting from what is contained in the book Theosophy, you go on to the many more intimate details given in the lecture-courses which have now been printed, you will see that real progress has been made in acquiring more and more intimate knowledge.

To have an accurate picture of the first years or decades of the life after death, it is necessary to compare what is to be perceived in the case of human beings who died very young, let us say in earliest infancy, with what is to be perceived in the cases of those who died in middle age and again at an advanced age. There are very great differences here. The life after death differs enormously according to whether the human being has died in early or advanced years; and a really reliable picture can be gained only from what is experienced in connection with human beings whose deaths occurred at different ages.

So, for example, an essential foundation for discovering certain matters was to become fully aware of the conditions of those who died in very early infancy and again of those who died at the ages of 11, 12 or 13. A very great difference in the conditions of life after death is to be observed according to whether death took place before the age of 8 or 9, or before the age of 16 or 17. This is clearly disclosed by certain experiences one can have with the dead. It can be observed that human beings who died during the tenderest years of infancy are very much occupied with the tasks devolving upon mankind during the period immediately following these deaths.

Now the outer representatives of religious communities do nothing to prevent certain ideas that are at variance with the truth from taking root among men. You will know from your own experience that little is done by these representatives of religion to refute the idea that when an old man or an infant dies, the old man lives on as an old man and the child as a child. But the mode of life of souls on the Earth has nothing directly to do with the mode of their life in yonder world. If a child dies at the age of three or six months, all its earthly lives come into consideration, and it may enter the spiritual world as a very mature soul. It is therefore entirely false to imagine that an infant lives on as an infant. We find that souls who died in early infancy have tasks connected with what the Earth needs in order that the necessary store of spiritual strength may be acquired for further activities. Human beings cannot work adequately on the Earth unless impulses come to them from the spiritual worlds. These impulses, however, do not come in the vague, nebulous way imagined by Pantheism; they come from actual beings, among whom are also to be found the souls of children who died in early infancy.

As a concrete example, let us think of how Goethe developed. Naturally, some part of Goethe's genius was due to the help he received from the spiritual world. If we investigate this, we come to the souls of children who died in early age. The spirituality there present in the universe is connected with the souls of children who died in infancy. On the other hand, children who died at the ages of 9 or 10 but before they are 16 or 17 are found very soon after death in the company of spiritual beings — but these spiritual beings are human souls. Many of these children are found in the company of human souls, and indeed of those souls who must shortly come down to the Earth, who are awaiting their next incarnation. And so those who die in early infancy, say up to the ages of 7 or 8, are found to be much occupied with human beings here below on the Earth; but those who died between the ages from about to to 15 or 16 are found to be occupied with souls whose endeavour is to incarnate soon. They are vital supporters and helpers, important messengers for what these souls need in order to prepare for their earthly existence. It is important to know this if we want to avoid generalities and are intent upon penetrating into these spiritual worlds.

It is not easy to investigate these matters. — One can make an approach by asking, for example: What is the best way to find the dead? It then proves to be the case that those who died years or decades ago, or quite recently, are most easily found when consciousness of the spiritual world awakens in sleep.

I have often told you that awakening can be of two kinds. An awakening can take place in sleep itself, and then a man knows that now he is not asleep in the ordinary way but is in the spiritual world. Indications on this subject are to be found in the book A Road to Self-Knowledge: Eight Meditations. Or an awakening can take place in waking life itself. But investigation into the life of the dead is best pursued when the awakening takes place during actual sleep, because then one's own activity is most closely related with that of the dead.

A remarkable discovery is then made. — Here, in physical life between waking and sleeping, man always remembers the periods of his waking life. In what does his life really consist? Waking, daily life, sleeping; waking, daily life, sleeping and so on. During the life of day his remembrances are always of what happened during a former life of day. Our everyday waking life is full of such remembrances. But it is different when the life of our Ego is interrupted by the periods of sleep. The curious thing is, however, that during sleep we remember only the preceding sleep-conditions, only we are unconscious of this. In most cases there is no such remembrance. But during sleep a subconscious process of remembrance continues through the whole of life.

If we consider the life that embraces both sleeping and waking, night-life and day-life, we can say: the night-life is interrupted by the day-life, just as the day-life is interrupted by the night-life. Nevertheless the stream of life is continuous. The remarkable thing, however, is that whereas in remembrances during the life of day we are passive—for they rise up and it is only in exceptional cases, when we want to remind ourselves of something in the past, that we have to make efforts—during sleep, when we want to remember something for a particular purpose, efforts are essential. As a rule, however, man lacks the strength to become conscious of this activity and that is why he has no remembrances during sleep. In his soul, however, he is much more active during sleep than during waking life. Dreaming does not cut across this activity. Dreaming corresponds to what goes on in our waking life when we make great efforts to remember; but if during sleep, we exert ourselves only slightly, this corresponds to the ordinary process of remembering during the day, when we make no efforts because the remembrances come of themselves. After death, the remembrances we have of the waking life now ended are soon over. Then in the period of Kamaloka man lives through all the experiences of the nights in backward order.

In our life here on Earth we are occupied with what the days brought to us and also — although without being aware of it—with what we experienced during the nights. After death, however, everything we lived through during the nights comes into our consciousness. Night by night — everything comes back to us. And it is important to realise that, to begin with, the dead lives through his nights. This is by no means easy to realise and can only gradually be discovered. Naturally a man lives through his life, but he lives through it by way of his experiences during the nights.

I have often said that the time spent in Kamaloka is approximately one third of the lifetime on Earth. If you reflect that a man who does not die in childhood spends about a third of his life asleep, you will understand why the time in Kamaloka amounts approximately to a third of the time of the earthly life; the Kamaloka period lasts for as long as the time spent in sleep — about one third of the whole lifetime on earth.

It is very necessary to gather together carefully the items of concrete knowledge that have been given and to correlate them. And that is why — how shall I put it? — that is why it has such a jarring effect (although that does not quite express what I mean) when one who is trying to speak about the spiritual world with full responsibility, is asked all kinds of questions about this or that point after the lectures. These people want to know everything, but on the other hand one has been endeavouring to speak only of what has actually been thought through to the end. One is forced, then, to speak about a whole number of matters into which there has not yet been opportunity for thorough investigation. It is, of course, possible to give some reply, for the science of occultism is there; but when one has laid it down as a fundamental principle to speak only of what one has actually tested and verified, this kind of talking goes against the grain.

And now recall that I said: when we cross the Threshold of the spiritual world, we find that comparatively soon after his death a human being who died at the age of 11, 12, 13 or 14 years, is living among those who are shortly to return to the Earth and discharge their tasks there. This soul helps them to find the right paths to incarnation. It may seem strange to say this, but it is the case nevertheless.

Now these things are in turn connected with certain secrets of life, with very definite secrets of life. The fact of the matter is that we discover certain things in the real sense only when we can put the right questions. Not every question is rightly put; we have to wait until we become worthy, as it were, of putting the question in the right way.

[Priest 2] O Deep Thought, are you not a greater computer than the Milliard Gargantubrain, which can count all the atoms in a star?
[Computer] A Milliard Gargantubrain? A mere abacus! Mention it not!
[Priest 1] Are you not a greater analyst than the Googleplex Star Thinker in the 7th Galaxy of Light and Ingenuity?
[Computer] The Googleplex Star Thinker? Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff!
[Priest 2] But are you not a more fiendish disputant than the Great Hyperlobic Omnicognate Neutron Wrangler on Ciceronicus 12?!
[Computer] The Great Omnicognate Neutron Wrangler could talk all four legs off an Arcturan megadonkey, but only I could persuade it to go for a walk afterwards!
[Priest 2] Then ... what is the problem?
[Computer] There is no problem! I speak of none but the computer that is to come after me!
[Priest 1] [To Priest 2] I think this is getting needlessly messianic.
[Computer] A computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate, but which it will be my destiny eventually to design!
[Priest 1] [To Priest 2] Can we get on and ask the question?
[Priest 2] Oh, all right.
[Priest 1] O Great Computer, the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us the answer.
[Computer] The answer? The answer to what?
[Priest 1] Life!
[Priest 2] The Universe!
[Priest 1] Everything!
[Computer] Tricky.
[Priest 2] But ... can you do it?
[Computer] Yes, I can do it.
[Priest 1] You mean ... there IS an answer?
[Priest1] A simple answer?
[Computer] Yes. Life, the Universe and Everything. There is an answer.
[Priest 1] There is an answer! At last!
[Computer] But I'll have to think about it.


[Priest 2] O ... Deep Thought ... do you have ... Have you ...?
[Deep Thought] An answer for you? Yes, I have.
[Priest 1] There really is one?
[Deep Thought] There really is one.
[Priest 2] To everything? The secret of the Universe?
[Priest 1] The great questions of Life and Everything?
[Deep Thought] Yes.
[Priest 2] Are you ready to give it to us?
[Deep Thought] I am.
[Priest 2] Now?
[Deep Thought] Now!
[Priest 1] Wow!
[Deep Thought] Though I don't think you're going to like it.
[Priest 2] Doesn't matter! We must know it!
[Deep Thought] Now?
[Priest 1] Yes ... now.
[Deep Thought] All right.
[Priest 2] Well?
[Deep Thought] You're really not going to like it.
[Priest 1] Tell us!
[Deep Thought] The answer to the great question ...
[Priest 2] Yes?
[Deep Thought] ... of Life, the Universe and Everything ...
[Priest 1] Yes?
[Deep Thought] ... is ...
[Both] Yes?!
[Deep Thought] ... 42! It was a tough assignment.
[Both] 42?! [Priest 2] Is that all you've got to show for 7.5 million years' work?!
[Deep Thought] I think the problem is that you've never known what the question is.
[Priest 2] But it was the GREAT question, the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything!
[Deep Thought] Yes, but what actually is it?
[Priest 1] Well ... just everything! You know ... everything!
[Deep Thought] Exactly. You have to know what the question actually is in order to know what the answer means.
[Priest 1] Well, can you please tell us the question?
[Deep Thought] The Ultimate Question?
[Priest 2] Yes!
[Deep Thought] Of Life, the Universe and Everything?
[Priest 1] Yes!
[Deep Thought] Tricky.
[Priest 2] But can you do it?
[Deep Thought] No. But I'll tell you who can.
[Priest 2] Tell us!
[Deep Thought] I speak of none but the computer that is to come after me. A computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate! Yet I will design it for you! A computer which can calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question, a computer of such infinite and subtle complexity that organic life itself shall form part of its operational matrix. You yourselves shall take on new forms, and go down into the computer to navigate its 10-million-year program! Yes, I shall design this computer for you and I shall name it also unto you, and it shall be called the Earth!
[Priest 2] Oh, what a dull name.

-- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, directed by Douglas Adams

I shall now say something that may seem strange, although it is correct. The human being gets two sets of teeth: first he gets the teeth which fall out about the seventh year, and then he gets the second teeth. I do not believe that it occurs to many people to ask anything about the coming of these second teeth, for I have always found that when the subject is under discussion among specialists, they speak as though there were no difference between the first and second dentition. To an occultist, however, the first dentition is an entirely different matter from the development of the second teeth. I once had to give what seemed a grotesque answer to a point raised to me by a medical expert. The answer amused him, but from the standpoint of occultism it was quite correct. He said that children with milk-teeth ought to be taught to bite as soon as possible, because the sole purpose of the teeth is to enable human beings to bite. This line of thought, however, is not correct — from the occult standpoint, at least, it is only half correct, and the matter must in any case be gone into more exactly. There is no question that man has the second teeth for the purpose of biting; but as regards the first teeth there is a question. The first teeth come through heredity. The human being has them because the parents and grandparents have had them. Only when he has shed these first, inherited teeth does he develop the second teeth. These are then an individual acquisition; the first teeth have been inherited. This is a matter which comes into consideration only if we pay attention to subtle differences. It is not a matter of outstanding importance, nor would particularly grave errors be incurred if the question were not raised. But it is important to know that the first teeth are related to heredity in quite a different way from the second. The second teeth will be found to be connected with the general health of the human being, with his whole constitution, whereas the first teeth, especially as regards their healthiness are far more closely connected with the health of the parents and grandparents. Here there is already a difference which can be followed up empirically. These distinctions are subtle, but when attention is directed in this way to how matters stand with the teeth, something else comes to light, and this is the point that may strike you as strange, although it is quite true.

Suppose a child dies before he has cut all his second teeth, or very shortly afterwards. Strangely enough, occult investigation discovers that whether the child has not yet or had already cut the second teeth has an actual effect in the spiritual world. Assuming that the child died at the age of 8 or 9, we discover that some of the impulses which otherwise penetrate into the physical world are working there; we discover that these are the forces which should have penetrated into the teeth, but are now at the disposal of the child. Especially in the case of a child who died early, who had lost the first teeth but had not yet, or had only just, cut the second teeth, it can be observed, strangely enough, that this child has certain forces and that these forces are of exactly the same kind as those which, on the physical plane, promote the growth of the teeth out of the organism as a whole.

When a human being is in the physical world he must unfold certain physical forces in order that the teeth may develop out of the organism. If he dies before the teeth have developed or have only just developed, these forces are free for him in the spiritual world and he can work with them into the earthly world; if he is living in the physical world these forces build up the teeth which he then uses in the physical world.

Here we have a vista of a wonderful connection with the Cosmos, and can recognise the profound truth of what is described in the first scene of the second Mystery Play, The Soul's Probation: how the spiritual worlds work by means of their Beings to bring Man into existence, and how when this knowledge goes to his head, Capesius is filled with arrogance on learning that Man is the goal of all the activities of the Gods. — But this great truth is hardly noticed.

I said further that human beings who died between the ages of 8 or 9, and 9 to 16 or 17, are found among souls who are trying to incarnate as soon as may be. These souls of human beings who died in youth again have special forces which are also the result of metamorphosis. At the age of 14, 15 or 16, the human being reaches puberty: if puberty had not been reached or had only just been reached, the forces leading to it are transformed in the spiritual world into forces by means of which such a soul can work among those souls who are awaiting their next incarnation on Earth, helping them to prepare for this incarnation.

Think of the infinitely profound connection here. — The forces of reproduction are transformed in the spiritual world into forces of help for the souls who are trying to come down as soon as may be into the physical world. These are connections which show us how the spiritual on yonder side of the Threshold works on in the physical world in individual, concrete realities. Moreover, we do not learn to know the physical world truly until we realise that forces are unfolded as a result of the fact that the human being discards certain teeth and develops others. Puberty again is brought about by the unfolding of forces. When the human being has actually reached puberty the forces have quite different functions.

All this leads to the question: Why is man prevented in his ordinary life from looking into the spiritual world? The spiritual world is barred on two sides. On the one side, it is barred by outer nature. We see outer nature as a veil covering what lies behind it. If a man can pierce the veil, he is in the spiritual world. Materialism endeavours in every way to prevent men from recognising that spirit is behind that veil. I have often said, even in public lectures, that an unconscious fear underlies this — but it is the same with regard to the inner life. Man is aware of his thinking, his feeling and his will; but behind these there is something else, namely, the being of soul who passes from incarnation to incarnation. And in that domain the religious communities of the present day do not want it to be discovered that behind thinking, feeling and willing there lies the other reality.

For this reason the book Riddles of Philosophy will be very unwelcome, because I have dealt with this point in the last chapter. The path to the world of spirit is barred on two sides. Whereas natural scientists on the one side are at pains to produce nothing that might lead into the world lying behind nature, the representatives of the religious communities are at pains to prevent anything coming to the knowledge of souls that can enlighten them on what it is that passes beyond death and then on to the next incarnation.

Why, on the one side, do the natural scientists hinder man from penetrating behind nature, and, on the other, why do the priests hinder him from penetrating behind the secrets of the life of soul? This question is important and worth consideration, for you will find these things coming more and more to a head. Those who build up a view of the world on the basis of natural science will be our opponents because they do not wish the spiritual world behind nature to come into evidence. And the priests will be our opponents because they do not wish to allow the reality of the being who lies behind thinking, feeling and willing and passes from incarnation to incarnation, to be grasped. On the one side the natural scientist says: here are the boundaries of knowledge. And on the other side the representatives of religion say: to go further is sinful, it is presumption on the part of man. Tomorrow we will consider the reasons on which the contentions of these two categories of opponents are based, and then pass on to other matters.



Note 1. Six lectures given in Vienna, 9th to 14th April, 1914. Anthroposophical Publishing Co. (Rudolf Steiner Press) 1959.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:22 pm


At the end of the lecture yesterday I said that opponents of the spiritual-scientific Movement arise, naturally in a way, from two sides. They arise, on the one side, from the domain of natural science because its whole make-up and stamp at the present time are up to a certain point bound to be such that anyone who undergoes a scientific training and thinks that on this basis he can, or may, or must, develop a view of the world, feels compelled to adopt one which, on account of its materialistic trend, must inevitably be antagonistic to Spiritual Science. Right thinking is essential here. It must be realised that many individuals into whom the methods of modern materialistic science — which we recognise to be a necessity—have been instilled, simply cannot help becoming opponents on account of the thoughts that have been kindled in them. This of course cannot absolve anyone from the obligation to combat this opposition when it arises. But it will be combatted in the right way only when what I have just said is taken into consideration.

On the other side, in a similar way, opposition comes from the representatives of the various religious bodies. Just as in the domain of modern science there is an interest in concealing the spiritual behind nature, so have the representatives of modern religious bodies an interest in concealing the spiritual behind the soul. We may therefore say: Spiritual Science is obstructed from the side of natural science because of the desire to keep concealed the spiritual behind nature; and it is obstructed from the side of the religious bodies because it is held that the spiritual behind the manifestations of the life of soul should be kept hidden. Religious bodies, as they now are, will always be prone to oppose what Spiritual Science brings into the open, because they have no interest in pointing to the spirit behind the expressions of the life of soul, but consider that the spirit should be kept hidden. This must be realised, although again it does not imply that the opposition should be left out of account; it is a question of adopting the right attitude to it.

[Who are we? The answer to this question involves an account (logos) of the nature of the soul (psukhê or psyche); and the attempt to provide an answer has accordingly been dubbed the science or practice of “psychology”—an account of the soul or mind (psukhê, in ancient Greek, denoted both soul, as the principle of life, and mind, as the principle of intellect). Carl Jung, drawing upon Gnostic mythical schemas, identified the objectively oriented consciousness with the material or “fleshly” part of humankind—that is, with the part of the human being that is, according to the Gnostics, bound up in the cosmic cycle of generation and decay, and subject to the bonds of fate and time (cf. Apocryphon of John [Codex II] 28:30). The human being who identifies him/herself with the objectively existing world comes to construct a personality, a sense of self, that is, at base, fully dependent upon the ever-changing structures of temporal existence. The resulting lack of any sense of of permanence, of autonomy, leads such an individual to experience anxieties of all kinds, and eventually to shun the mysterious and collectively meaningful patterns of human existence in favor of a private and stifling subjective context, in the confines of which life plays itself out in the absence of any reference to a greater plan or scheme. Hopelessness, atheism, despair, are the results of such an existence. This is not the natural end of the human being, though; for, according to Jung (and the Gnostics) the temporally constructed self is not the true self. The true self is the supreme consciousness existing and persisting beyond all space and time. Jung calls this the pure consciousness or Self, in contradistinction to the “ego consciousness” which is the temporally constructed and maintained form of a discrete existent (cf. C.G. Jung, “Gnostic Symbols of the Self,” in The Gnostic Jung 1992, pp. 55-92). This latter form of “worldly” consciousness the Gnostics identified with soul (psukhê), while the pure or true Self they identified with spirit (pneuma)—that is, mind relieved of its temporal contacts and context. This distinction had an important career in Gnostic thought, and was adopted by St. Paul, most notably in his doctrine of the spiritual resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:44). The psychological or empirical basis of this view, which soon turns into a metaphysical or onto-theological attitude, is the recognized inability of the human mind to achieve its grandest designs while remaining subject to the rigid law and order of a disinterested and aloof cosmos. The spirit-soul distinction (which of course translates into, or perhaps presupposes, the more fundamental mind-body distinction) marks the beginning of a transcendentalist and soteriological attitude toward the cosmos and temporal existence in general.

-- Gnosticism, by Edward Moore

This is a chapter of which it is extraordinarily difficult to speak, for here we touch upon things which everyone must inevitably realise through what he reads between the lines in the literature of Spiritual Science and who feels something of what is contained in its communications. At the basis of the matters to which I have referred there lies something of great profundity, something very significant. For certain reasons it is actually dangerous simply to point from nature herself—that is to say, from the surface manifestations of nature—to what lies behind nature. And because of this danger there comes about what I have indicated, more or less metaphorically, by saying: In the so-called Secret Societies or Orders there is invariably a kind of “right wing”, composed of those esotericists who wish to adhere strictly to the principle of silence in regard to everything connected with the higher secrets. All such Orders — but, as I said, the expressions are to be taken metaphorically — all such Orders have a kind of “right wing”, a kind of “middle party”, and a kind of “left wing”. The inclination of those belonging to the left wing is always to make public certain esoteric matters; but those belonging to the right wing are wholly against making public anything whatever of what they believe should be in the guardianship of the Secret Orders and Societies. They consider that such knowledge is dangerous if it falls into the hands of incompetent people, if it were to be represented in public by persons insufficiently prepared.

The reason why it is so difficult to speak about this subject is that the moment one does so, one is obliged to give certain indications which in a way do bring things into the open. The Secret Orders, believing, rightly or wrongly, that they are custodians of certain higher knowledge, necessarily choose a method whereby they provide certain precautionary measures in connection with their real or alleged knowledge reaching the public.

In such Orders there are usually degrees — three lower and three higher degrees. The knowledge considered by those in the higher degrees to be dangerous in the hands of unprepared people is not, as a rule, imparted in the three lower degrees; in the three lower degrees, efforts are made to clothe the real or alleged knowledge in all kinds of symbols.

Of these symbols one may perhaps say the following: If they have been faithfully preserved since ancient times and have not been adulterated through the machinations of those who did not understand them, they constitute a kind of language which can gradually be mastered by those who really penetrate to the gist of them. And when this language is mastered, it conveys certain knowledge. These symbols could also be said to be vehicles of information brought upon the scene with extreme caution. The egoistic standpoint of restricting the store of knowledge to the innermost circle is not adopted. The knowledge is given in a certain way to those who are received into the outer circle. But it is hidden in symbolism, so that only one who is able to unravel the symbols can penetrate to the underlying truths. There are, indeed, Orders which keep a strict watch against theoretical explanations of the symbols ever being given, insisting that the symbols shall simply be presented or demonstrated by exercises; so that anyone who wants to read the symbols, when he takes them to be a language, must achieve this by his own efforts.

It might be asked: Is that really a protection? Is not the knowledge still apt to fall into wrong hands?
— Now at any rate until the fourteenth and on into the fifteenth or sixteenth century, it can be said that the Orders working with symbolism did not, by such practices, allow the knowledge to fall into wrong hands. Since then, however, things have become essentially different. — I will at once tell you why. Please, therefore, bear this in mind. In occult Orders established before the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, those in the three lower degrees to whom, as the outer circle, the knowledge was imparted in symbols, could not make any fundamental misuse of it because the symbols were simply presented and everything else was left to those who had now to get at their meaning. This was in itself a protection, because to discover the meaning of the symbols entailed a certain spiritual effort.

Suppose someone entered one of the lower degrees of an occult Order. Symbols were either presented or demonstrated to him. He was given only the symbols and was instructed to let them work upon him as if they were phenomena of nature. If he wished to go further, to discover the secret meaning of the symbols, he was obliged to investigate, to exert spiritual energy. Had he received help, it would not have been necessary to apply this spiritual energy. But he received no help and was therefore obliged to make efforts to decipher the symbols.

And now the question is: What spiritual force was used for deciphering these symbols? It was the same force which — if not employed for this purpose but for penetrating the phenomena of nature — would have helped to make a man cunning and induce him to apply certain faculties to a purpose to which he ought not to apply them. It was therefore a task of symbolism to ensure that the forces which might become dangerous were diverted to the deciphering of the symbols. In this way the forces were deflected from causing harm.

A second point to be remembered in connection with these symbols is that human nature is intrinsically constituted to view such symbols in their moral aspect. It must also be stressed that these symbols were contrived in such a way that their moral aspect was necessarily obvious. But in the case of phenomena of nature, the moral aspect does not come into consideration. A lily, because it blooms, cannot be judged on the basis of moral principles; there one must go to work objectively and with complete detachment. Symbols are a different matter, for they arouse moral feelings. And these moral feelings which study of the symbols aroused in the soul were able to combat unhealthy mystical tendencies. So unhealthy mysticism, too, was turned aside by the inner effects of the impression made by the symbols. This symbolism had therefore very valid grounds.

Since the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, these grounds have lost their validity; they can no longer be advocated. Hence since that time, occult Orders have long lost the significance once attaching to them. In many respects they have become Societies where all sorts of special aims are pursued; they are Societies for fostering particular vanities and the like. In many cases they are no longer repositories of any special knowledge but at most of an empty formalism.

The development of natural science since the time of Galileo, Copernicus and others has played an essential part here. For the appearance and cultivation of these methods of natural science has caused the human soul gradually to lose the possibility of cleaving to symbolism with the old devotion.
In reality, all symbols conduce towards bringing to light the Spiritual behind Nature. But natural science with its materialistic methods which reached their zenith in the nineteenth century, has affected the human soul in such a way that it loses interest in the reality to which symbolism is a pointer. Practical evidence of this is that anyone who believes himself able to construct a view of the world out of the findings of natural science has no longer any inclination to concern himself with symbolism with any real earnestness or seriousness. And so a symptom has appeared the significance of which is fully in evidence today.

The symbols of the secret Societies which until the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were presented to the lower degrees, were expressions of very deep truths. But expression was given to these truths in the manner that was customary at that time. Under the influence of the natural scientific way of thinking, and especially of the proclivities consequent upon it, no efforts were made to carry these symbols to a further stage. Since the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, symbolism ought to have been developed with greater freedom. The symbols ought to have been kept abreast of what humanity was actually experiencing in the world. But this did not happen, and so to those whose mental horizon has been created by modern culture, the symbols seem antiquated and out of date — as indeed by far most of them are. But precisely among those who want to make some approach to occultism, a propensity has developed which I have often deplored — the propensity to unearth as many very ancient symbols as possible. And if these people can say of some symbol that it has the hallmark of great antiquity, their delight is unbounded. They do not value the symbolism as such but the fact that it originated somewhere and somehow in the distant past. Very often no attempts are made to understand it; these people are satisfied if the symbols unearthed are of great antiquity. During recent centuries, very little has been done to develop symbolism to a further stage. The result is that when it is presented today in Orders that can only be called “stragglers” of the old occult Orders — for such indeed they are — this symbolism is for the most part antiquated, and no efforts are made to develop it in accordance with the progress made by humanity.

The general outlook and attitude of people have changed. To keep some matter secret today in the way in which this could formerly be done, is no longer possible. Let anyone try to delve into earlier, perfectly authentic symbolism, and he will soon find how little difficulty there is in doing so. Our age is the age of publicity and will not tolerate artificial secrecy, artificial mystery. Our age wants everything to come immediately into the open. Moreover, it can also be said that for those acquainted with the literature that has been published about symbolism scarcely anything is still unavailable! Practically everything has found its way into books, and some Orders today work on the principle of diverting their members' attention from literature where one thing or another is to be read. Hence a great deal that has long been accessible in books is thought by the members of such Orders to be a secret of which only their superiors may justifiably have knowledge. In no domain is humbug more rife than in that of occult Orders!

As I have said, it is really no longer possible to maintain the principle of secrecy and of erecting barricades by means of symbolism. But these things can only be rightly understood when one tries to discover the reasons why in earlier times certain things were kept secret. As I have already said, it is difficult to speak about these matters, because in doing so a great deal that cannot lightly be discussed would have to be said. Therefore today and tomorrow I shall choose a different way. I shall tell you certain things which if you follow them up consistently will help you to glimpse what it is really not advisable to express in plain words at the present time. I shall tell you certain things which can be followed up in your own thinking and experience, and also in your own inner life. If you do this, it will carry you far. Because it is timely to speak of these things, I shall do so — as far as is possible.

I will take one example. — In one of his addresses, the famous English writer Carlyle made a certain reference to Dante, the author of The Divine Comedy. In other respects the address is not particularly significant; it was on the subject of Dante and Shakespeare, but one passage is notable. Those who read this address in the way that ordinary readers are wont to read — and for most people today there is no difference between reading an address by Carlyle and a newspaper article — will find nothing particularly striking. But the attention of one who has absorbed something of Spiritual Science not only into his brain as theory but also into his feeling, may well be struck by this passage. Carlyle points out how remarkable it is that from happenings which outwardly seem like chance, or also from something that has not turned out at all as people would have wished, things of tremendous import have come to pass. Carlyle illustrates this by speaking of Dante's destiny. Dante was banished from his native city on account of his political views and was obliged to become a wanderer. It was owing to this that he became what he is for the world today. Being an outcast from his native city he was led to write The Divine Comedy. Now, says Carlyle, Dante certainly had no wish to be thus exiled! But had he remained in Florence he would probably have become something like a Lord Mayor in the city; he would have had a great deal to do as one of the leading figures in Florence, and The Divine Comedy would not have been written. So Dante was obliged to suffer something highly unwelcome in order that mankind might possess The Divine Comedy. Mankind owes this to a fate which Dante would certainly not have chosen for himself — and here Carlyle is assuredly right. There is genius in this utterance. It does not seem so very significant to one who reads the address in the ordinary way, but it may well strike an attentive reader. He may perhaps not understand why his feelings should be particularly arrested by this passage. Indeed, Carlyle himself was not aware of its significance. He made the utterance because he was a man of great insight, but he felt nothing of what I mean here. — I must make my meaning clear to you in a roundabout way.

Suppose that Dante had not been exiled, but had become something like a councillor or an official in Florence; he would have attained everything for which his talents fitted him. He might even have become a prior, and if he had he would have been a very distinguished one. Much would have come about through Dante — but there would have been no Divine Comedy.

The matter is, however, not as simple as this. Let us assume that Dante had achieved his goal, had not been exiled from Florence but had become one of the chiefs of the State or of the Church — posts which are somewhat akin as far as public influence is concerned. As you will admit from what is contained in The Divine Comedy, Dante possessed talents of no mean order and he would have been a most distinguished Lord Mayor, a figure of tremendous importance. In these circumstances, history would have assumed a totally different aspect. Florence would have had a very important civic official and statesman — yes, and not only that! Imagine a Florence administered by councillors possessing the talents which flowed into The Divine Comedy! This able administration would have meant that many, many other forces present would have been obstructed in their hidden working.

It is utter stupidity to maintain that there are no men of genius in the world. There are very many—only they go under because they are not awakened. If Dante had become a leader of the State, he would have had a successor also of great importance — and there would have been seven such successors. Exactly seven people — we shall one day see the reasons for this — seven people of importance would have succeeded one another as governors of Florence. Something really magnificent would have come into being — but there would be no Divine Comedy. Dante was born in the year 1265. We are living now in an age when, if all these seven men had worked in Florence at that time, we should still be feeling the after-effects, for they would have lasted for seven centuries! Seven centuries would have taken a course quite different from the one they have actually taken. But these things did not happen — the Catholic Church is still there, but so too is The Divine Comedy.

I have given you an example of how forces are transformed in the ordering of world-history, an example of what is really involved in the great process of the transformation of world-history. Viewed in this light, matters of immense significance open out before us, matters of vast, far-reaching significance.

I have used this example because I want to draw your attention to the fact that it is sometimes necessary in the evolution of humanity for forces to be transformed, turned into a channel quite other than that into which, according to outward appearance, they would seem to want to flow. This example has, apparently, nothing to do with what I really want to say, and yet it has everything to do with it. For if you follow to its ultimate consequences what is implied in this example, you will realise why it is difficult to hand over freely to the public certain truths connected with what lies behind outer nature. It is necessary to present many things in such a way as to keep rein on forces, in order that certain of them may not become dangerous.

With this example I have pointed to those forces which will unfold in human nature if a man penetrates behind the veil of the phenomena of outer nature. But there are also certain dangers when men do not only pierce through the veil of the phenomena of outer nature but try to pierce through the veil of the soul's experiences, endeavouring to plumb the depths of the life of soul. There are dangers here too. And again by means of a story I will make it possible for you to realise certain things which otherwise could not be expounded. I will take a story that is familiar to you but is not generally recognised as giving expression to such deep truths as those in question.

A man, by name Paul, came one day to Father Antonius, whose pupil he desired to become. He gave the appearance of being a very simple-minded man. Antonius, however, accepted this man as a pupil — we will call him Paul the Simpleton — and caused him year after year to carry out certain tasks. I do not think many of you would have enjoyed carrying out the tasks which Father Antonius set his pupil! The latter had to carry water, but in perforated vessels, so that when he reached his destination there was no water left in them; and this he had to do year after year. He had to stitch clothes, and when they were finished, unpick them; again, year after year, he had to carry stones up mountains and on reaching the top to let them roll down to their original places. The outcome was that Paul the Simpleton underwent a tremendous deepening of soul and he became aware that forces arising out of his subconsciousness were gradually making him into a man of wisdom. Paul the Simpleton became Paul the Wise.

I am not recommending that this example of what Father Antonius did with Paul the Simpleton should be imitated! I am merely telling the story. Suppose Antonius had not chosen this method but had made things easier for Paul the Simpleton. What would have happened ? One day Paul the Simpleton would have said: “Yes, Antonius, your teaching is very good, but you are really a very evil man. I must now take your teaching with me out into the world. I must fight you with your own teaching, for I recognise that you are evil. Moreover, you do nothing for me that I am entitled to demand. You promised that from a certain stage onwards you would declare that, although when I first came to you I appeared to be a simpleton, already then I was at a much higher level. And then you promised to declare that all your teaching is really inspired by me.” The pupil might have come to this, but he was protected by the methods employed by Antonius, methods which are now no longer practicable — although this is not to say that in certain cases they would not be very fruitful!

If you think through these two examples to their ultimate conclusions, you will perceive certain dangers which threaten a man if he enters into the field of operation of the spiritual forces which lie behind outer nature. From the example I gave you in connection with Dante, you can realise with what momentous issues one is confronted here.

The question might be raised: Why does not science, with its praiseworthy and really brilliant methods, arrive at certain things that lie behind nature? This can be answered very simply. — Science lacks the requisite forces of knowledge, nor does it work at developing them, owing — as I have often said — to a certain fear of what lies behind the phenomena of nature.

But on the other side it might be asked: why is it that those who know something of the spiritual in nature are not willing to bring to light more adequately than is the case at present, the methods and ways whereby man can develop the forces of knowledge which lead him behind nature, which enable him to cross the Threshold and to penetrate to what lies behind nature?

Now as soon as a man passes the Threshold leading to the spiritual beings behind nature, he comes into actual contact with those beings. So much you will have realised from all that has been presented in recent lectures. Passive phenomena of nature, such as are studied by natural science today, are to be found only in the physical world. As soon as we cross the Threshold we enter a world of living spiritual beings. The remarkable thing is that the beings first encountered in yonder world make us more capable of clear thinking and the like than we previously were. It is indeed so: if we regard all the phenomena of nature studied by materialistic natural science today as a “screen” on which the laws of nature are inscribed—then behind that screen lies a vortex of spiritual beings. This screen must be pierced. But it cannot be pierced by men with the faculties at their command for the study of natural science. If this were possible, the screen would be pierced today. But with these faculties it is not possible.

There are, to be sure, individuals who through a true interpretation of symbols could bring people to the stage of being able to pierce the veil. These people would then inevitably come into contact with spiritual beings, and indeed with beings pre-eminently interested in making them very astute, very cunning, very subtle thinkers. These are certain elemental beings whose whole endeavour is to impart to man certain faculties of knowledge which make him really different from what he was before he had pierced the veil. Man is connected with these beings. They have, however, still another trait: they make a man astute, endow him with certain faculties of knowledge — but they are inimical to man, inimical in the highest degree to man and animal. Hence in piercing the veil a person forfeits the very generally prevailing friendliness to man and animal. It is not easy for anyone who is unprepared to break through without forfeiting this natural friendliness. He tends immediately to do all sorts of things that are unfriendly to man and even acquires a certain skill in the doing of them.

You will see from this that it is not advisable to allow men to break through the veil without proper preparation. It is fraught with danger, because the beings first encountered are inimical to man.
But one who broke through on the path that would make this possible if the methods of modern natural science were to be carried further, would inevitably encounter these beings who are inimical not only to man but to nature herself — and he would come into possession of a great mass of powerfully destructive forces.

It is therefore not desirable to allow those persons to break through the veil who still have the slightest inclination to apply these destructive forces—many of which would thereby be delivered into the hands of mankind. The endeavour must be to allow only those individuals to break through whose training has brought them to the stage where they will make no use of such forces when these beings present themselves. In this direction the deciphering of the symbols was extraordinarily effective. For in deciphering the symbols, the forces which these beings would have been able to apply in order to make men into agents of destruction, are used up. And the train of thought in those who were in favour of keeping secret a large part of esoteric knowledge was as follows. — They said: If we make our knowledge and the kind of knowledge existing in the secret Orders accessible to men unconditionally, so that they are spared the exertion of themselves penetrating to the meaning of the symbols, we shall make them rebels against nature, we shall make them bearers of forces of destruction. They said: We possess knowledge which would unquestionably bring this about, therefore we cannot make this knowledge exoteric. We must adhere undeviatingly to the rule that those who approach us shall first of all be trained to develop an invincible love for plant, animal and man; we must therefore first subject them to careful training and discipline.

Well and good — but today people do not take kindly to discipline; they resist it, fight against it. Humanity has advanced! — Suppose one were to enforce this discipline, were to put people into the Orders in question and strictly apply what in most cases might be prescribed with great benefit! What would be the outcome?
Within three months, the women, especially, would all have departed; they would certainly not have taken kindly to it! Certain Orders, therefore, in order to be able to continue in existence, have abandoned this discipline. Hence what was once profound knowledge has degenerated into mere straw, lacking all real substance. On the other hand, however, the practice of discipline continued among those who really knew something about how to keep the knowledge secret.

As you will have seen, the subject is widened by what I have said, namely, that when materialism was in full flood, the method of mediumship was adopted. It was thought that what would otherwise be gained from theoretical explanations of the symbols would be actually perceptible in the methods used by mediumship.

From all this you will realise that those who possess some knowledge in this domain have, after all, certain grounds for not allowing the veil over the secrets of nature to be easily pierced. But it will be clear to you, too, that our Movement cannot consist in taking secrets of some Order as there preserved, and making them exoteric. If that were to be done — and it would amount to my taking some ancient secrets of an Order and teaching them in public — then we should be involved in all kinds of questionable magic of which nothing good could come. This means that the making public of any secrets of ancient Orders is precluded in our Movement. We cannot use such preserves of ancient Orders for unravelling the secrets of nature. Tomorrow I will show you that neither can we so easily adopt religious truths because thereby another and different danger would be set on foot. So it will be clear to us why we could not adopt either of these methods and were obliged to take a particular path. It is precisely this path that brings us opposition from both sides—from natural science and from religion. I shall speak further of this tomorrow.
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