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.

Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:25 pm


If you recall what was said in the lecture yesterday, it will be clear to you that, fundamentally speaking, the appearance of materialism — I do not say the materialistic conception of the world, but materialism itself—has its very good sides. The harm occurs when materialism is made the basis of a conception of the world. As a method for investigating the external phenomena of the physical world, materialism is good; it is a good instrument for investigating the mineral world in Earth-evolution. Again it is of importance that man is embodied in this mineral world, for thereby he develops those faculties which can be acquired only in the physical-mineral body. Intelligence and free will must be acquired to a certain degree during the Earth-period. In the Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan periods, man will possess these faculties, but a being of soul such as he is, can acquire them only by being incarnated during the Earth-period in a mineralised body.

A counterbalance to this evolution in mineralised earthly bodies is created by the fact that man passes ever and again, without a mineralised body, through the life of soul between death and a new birth.
It can be said that man must undergo very much on the Earth, on account of the fact that between birth and death he has a mineralised body. But what he undergoes, as it were to his cosmic disadvantage, by being embodied in a mineralised body, is balanced out by what he lives through between death and a new birth, when he is not a corporeal being but entirely a being of soul— using the word in its right sense.

To examine into the mineral element contained in stones, plants, animals and men is the task of materialism and its method; in practising this method in the course of the centuries man acquires that which, fundamentally speaking, he must acquire during the Earth-period. The modes of investigation preceding those of materialism were all still influenced by the clairvoyance inherited by man from his previous evolutionary states. And when, after our fifth post-Atlantean, and the post-Atlantean epoch as a whole, he has passed through his mineral evolution and enters a different form of evolution, the closeness of his relationship to the spiritual world will depend upon whether he has already acquired, during the Earth-period, the intelligence and the measure of free will foreordained for him; otherwise he will not have fulfilled the purpose of his evolution.

Viewed in this light, the method of materialism assumes great significance; but it must remain “method”, a method for investigating the physical, material world. It is there that, even in the higher sense, it has its truly great significance. In that man observes and also investigates the purely mineral world, is active in the mineral world, he gradually unfolds his free will. For while he stands in the mineral world, what really underlies this world is veiled from him.

We have heard during recent weeks what is the outcome if man limits himself to theoretical speculation within the perimeter of physical sense-perceptions. The outcome is atomism, and as we have also heard, atomism is nothing else than a subjective delusion. But if a man who allows himself to be thus deluded were to go out into the world where he looks for the atoms, he would find Ahriman and his beings. For through those spiritual beings of whom I spoke yesterday and whom man encounters when he breaks through the veil of nature, he will be led to develop forces of destruction. These beings, too, it must be remembered, are cosmic beings.

Thus we can understand what has to be said about materialistic methods. They provide man with illusion, maya. But this illusion is actually advantageous to man, for when he sees through it, he enters, to begin with, into the kingdom of Ahriman and his spiritual hosts — beings who are out for destruction and death and who cause him to develop certain subtly destructive forces in his own human nature. Intellect in particular, purely external cleverness, is developed in him by the powers into whose realm he enters, so that he becomes crafty, astute in a subtle way. If his earthly intelligence is not sufficiently developed to see through these things, he becomes unconsciously, but subtly cunning and crafty. It may therefore be said that materialistic philosophy represents a period during which man can mature and thus be able, later on, to enter this realm of Ahriman without danger.

So it is evident that materialistic natural scientists or philosophers follow a certain justifiable instinct. The custodians of the ancient symbols had not dared to make esotericism public and so hand over the secrets to men. The natural scientists said to themselves — not literally, of course, but one can put it in this way — ‘we do great good if we lead men only so far as the veil and not behind it.’ Naturally they do this instinctively, but they do it, nevertheless. Fundamentally speaking, they render humanity good service, for if the natural scientists were to succeed in piercing the veil, they would make man acquainted with the forces of those destructive beings of whom I spoke yesterday, beings who are in the service of Ahriman. And the consequence would be that men still unprepared would come into possession of the forces proceeding from that realm and would be able to bring about very much by their means — but it would all tend towards destruction, towards extermination of the good. Thus even the ignorance in which man is left through the natural scientific view of the world has in a certain sense something good about it. That is one side of the matter. But the other side is this.—

Man has been living, already for a number of centuries, in this world of illusions into which, instinctively, he is placed by the scientists. Yes — but this has not been without its effects on human nature! When a man is living in illusion he is not living in the world of reality. This illusion does not affect his forces of soul as strongly as reality would affect them, and the consequence is that doubt upon doubt heaps up in the soul — doubts which make themselves felt even in the domain of science. Natural scientists of great eminence have declared: Ignorabimus — we shall never know. The second half of the nineteenth century did everything to cause men to be beset by doubt upon doubt. But the truth is that we are facing the approach of an era brought about by the fact that man is living more and more in illusion, while believing he has reality. He steeps himself more and more deeply in the materialistic view of the world, but doubts about its validity constantly increase, and it would not take long for every human being to be living in a condition of unalloyed doubt as the outcome of scientific philosophy. People would then no longer be able to hold fast to anything; doubt would inevitably arise over every problem, every task. Scepticism would become a vast ocean in which the human soul would inevitably be engulfed.

It is the task of Spiritual Science to make men realise that a great ocean of scepticism and doubt threatens to break in and engulf the human soul. And the further task of Spiritual Science is to erect dams which will hold back this flood of scepticism and doubt. We are here facing a vista of something that will inevitably befall man if natural scientific doctrine continues as a view of the world.

What I am now saying is connected with a deep secret: the secret that everything in the outer, material world lives itself out in duality. Two is the number of manifestation; two is the number which governs all material manifestation — but material manifestation only. The world of material manifestation always passes through a certain process of evolution. — Let us think of the evolution of the maya presented by nature — nature-maya. Reaching its zenith in the nineteenth century, this nature-maya gradually emerged together with the natural scientific view of the world. But the consequence of man's living in maya is that underneath this view of the world, something else takes place, namely, the preparation for a different view, the preparation for penetrating into reality. This preparation is going on in the sub-consciousness; but timely care must be taken that the next phase of evolution is steered into reality — otherwise nature-maya will assert itself as scepticism, as the most terrible doubt which will engulf the human soul. Thus we are approaching a time of which it may be said that without Spiritual Science, man will fall more and more deeply into scepticism; but if Spiritual Science is accepted, then in the place of the doubt that would engulf the soul, there will come what men truly need.

There is duality, as you see. Nature-maya continues, but underneath it is the budding life, the preparation for Spiritual Science. In the material world, duality prevails everywhere. Therefore the occultist says: Two is the number of material manifestation. Directly one passes from the material world into another world, the number Two no longer has this significance, and it is entirely erroneous to characterise higher worlds as if duality also prevailed there. It is only the basic law of the material-physical world that can be so characterised. In the higher world, if we are to start from number, we must, for example, start from Three; this governs everything in that world, just as the material world is governed by duality. In the material world, duality prevails; in the spiritual world, threefoldness.

There are circumstances when it is by no means unimportant to understand that if someone says that there is white magic and black magic, this implies duality. But duality can have meaning only in the material world; such a person therefore immediately shows that he has no notion of the fundamental laws of the spiritual world, for in the spiritual world duality can never be a basic principle. True as it is that duality lies at the basis of the physical-material world, it is also true that in the super-sensible world we never have to do with duality.

Now the human being is related to the whole Cosmos; as earthly man he is a microcosm, and in order to understand certain matters it is necessary to learn more about this relationship.

We have heard that when man breaks through the veil of nature and penetrates into the world lying behind nature, he encounters Ahrimanic beings, beings intent upon destruction. In the World Order these beings are bitter enemies of man's earthly nature, so that if, through weakness, he allies himself with them — and this is possible, as I have indicated — he is allying himself with the enemies of man on Earth. That is a fact, and a certain relationship existing between the human being and the Cosmos does much to promote such an alliance.

These beings behind the veil of nature are highly intelligent. I have spoken of human intelligence, but these beings have their own kind of thinking and intelligence; they have feeling, although it is different from human feeling; they also have will, although it, too, is different from human will. They perform certain deeds which come to expression outwardly in manifestations of nature, but the essential substantiality of which lies behind the veil. Now there is a remarkable affinity between something in man and the highest faculties of these beings.
I will make this clear in the following way. When man crosses the Threshold of the spiritual world and approaches these beings, it may seem to him as if he were entering a veritable inferno, or whatever he conceives it to be. What matters is that he shall understand the experience aright. What will strike him most forcibly is the remarkable intelligence of these beings. For they are extraordinarily clever, extraordinarily wise. Their faculties of soul come to expression in this cleverness. But the soul-forces, the higher forces of these beings are all related to the forces of man's lower nature. Sensuous urges in man are, in these beings, the very forces which strike one as so significant. Thus there is a relationship between the lowest forces of man and the highest forces of these spiritual beings. That is why they strive to identify themselves with the lower forces in man. When a man enters this other world, instincts of destruction or hatred, or the like, arise in him, because these beings draw up what constitutes man's lower nature to their own higher nature, and with their higher forces work through man's lower forces. Nobody can ally himself with these beings without debasing his own nature, without greatly enhancing the strength of certain sensuous urges and impulses.

This is a fact of which special account must be taken, for it shows us unambiguously how we must picture our relation to the Cosmos. In our own human nature there are lower urges and impulses. But these lower urges are forces which represent lower impulses only in us, as human beings. These same urges are, in these spiritual beings, higher forces. But these beings are working all the time within us. They are always there within our nature. Our progress in Spiritual Science depends essentially upon our recognising them, knowing that they are there. This enables us to say: we have our higher forces and we have our lower forces, and, in addition, those forces which in us are lower forces but in these spiritual beings are higher forces. — This expands the duality of our higher and lower forces into a triad. We are already at the border of the Threshold of the spiritual world when, instead of the duality of our higher and lower forces, we recognise the triad.

Now as I said, in our age it is impossible to adopt the method employed by Father Antonius in dealing with Paul the Simpleton; it is also impossible to do many things in the way certain Orders have been wont to do them. — It amounts to this: the knowledge in its old form cannot be used. For if it were thus presented to men, it would bring about exactly what I have been speaking about. It would without any doubt arouse lower instincts in them.

For example, there actually exists in the world an Order which leads men to knowledge of these mysterious beings without any preparation. In all such men, instincts of destruction are aroused, so that this Order is actually responsible for sending human beings with destructive instincts out into the world. In a passage in one of his writings Nietzsche hinted at the existence of this Order without knowing the actual circumstances. [note 1]

That is the one side which I have felt it essential to bring to your attention. Here (drawing on the blackboard) is a veil covering the secrets behind nature. The veil represents everything that can be acquired by materialistic methods. The real world lies behind, and to enter this world is verily no simple matter. Let us hold this firmly in our minds.

The other side is that of our life of soul, with its activities of thinking, feeling and willing. But in the form in which this life of soul appears to us inwardly as we actually experience it, it is maya, just as external nature is maya. The true form of our inner life is not that which appears to our own soul as thinking, feeling and willing; the true reality lies behind this thinking, feeling and willing.

Just as the learned scientists today instinctively develop the view that nature herself presents the reality, but ultimately arrive at atomism, so are the representatives of certain religious bodies at pains to indicate that the thinking, feeling and willing of which the soul is aware in the ordinary way are the reality, and continue in human beings after their death. Just as the scientists describe nature-maya, so do the representatives of certain religious bodies describe the maya of the life of soul, and in so doing, again instinctively, bring a certain trend into the evolution of mankind.

You know that already from the early Middle Ages onwards, trichotomy, as it was called — the division of man into body, soul and spirit—began to be a heresy in historical Christianity. As you know, a comparatively early Council abolished the Spirit and decreed that man was to be regarded as a being consisting only of body and soul. And since that time this has become customary in the West. In the Middle Ages it was a most terrible thing to speak of Spirit, of a trichotomy; it was deemed the worst of all heresies, because Spirit had been abolished and body and soul established as a duality. This is evidence of the endeavour to look, even in number as applied to the human being, for what has significance only for this earthly world. The tendency is to keep man within a world that is in truth only maya, because he stops short at the thinking, feeling and willing which are themselves of the same character. Attention is limited to those effects of the present incarnation which last only through the first period between death and a new birth. What is elaborated in man's being in order subsequently to come forth in the next incarnation is left entirely out of account.

I may perhaps indicate this diagrammatically in the following way (see diagram). Here is the body (red) and here what lies behind it — which is not visible and could be perceived only by penetrating through the nerve endings. If atoms were not accepted as forming the basis of the world but one were to go out of the body with vision, one would come to the realm where the beings of destruction seize hold of the whole man. And now, within this, I draw the life of soul unfolded by man in the physical world (blue). Thus the red and the blue represent what man is aware of here, namely, his bodily nature and his life of soul. But while we are living between birth and death, the imperceptible (yellow) develops, and remains wholly imperceptible to us. When we die, our thinking, feeling and willing do not continue; they are exhausted, and in the process the yellow is elaborated (the imperceptible). This increases in power between death and a new birth and in so doing becomes the foundation of the new incarnation. We are reincarnated with new thinking, new feeling, new will, and a new bodily nature. Thus when we speak of what is revealed to our soul here on Earth, we are speaking of something that comes to an end, does not go with us into the next incarnation. Of the soul itself, the representatives of certain religious bodies say: the human being dies, goes either to heaven or to hell, and we concern ourselves no more with him. According to certain representatives of religion, this is enough; what passes on to the next incarnation is not important. The aim is to conceal the fact that the spirit in man passes into the spiritual world and lives on until the next incarnation. It can be said that representatives of certain religious bodies are intent upon not allowing man to become aware of the yellow (diagram) in his nature, upon preventing him from knowing anything of it. Here again, they are really obeying a certain sound instinct, but one which shows even more clearly than the instinct prompting the learned naturalists, that in our time it has really lost its value.

Diagram 9

The efforts of the representatives of various religious communities all tend quite decisively in the direction of concealing the fact that there is a spiritual world to which belongs the inmost core of our being, which is destined to appear in repeated Earth-lives, and in the intervals between them to pass through an entirely spiritual form of existence; they try to conceal this by offering men the consolation that the life of soul which comes to expression in thinking, feeling and willing is, after all, sufficiently immortal.

In their actions and trend of thinking these pastors of souls instinctively prevent men from coming into contact with certain beings. Man can never penetrate into the world of his true and innermost being without coming into contact with certain beings
— just as in the way described he comes into contact with different beings if he desires or is actually able to break through the veil of nature. But the beings with whom he is related in this other world are of a Luciferic order.

If, as the result of certain teachings having been imparted to him without the requisite caution, a man comes into contact with certain destructive beings behind the veil of nature, he will become one who values nothing in the world, and it will soon be apparent that he takes actual pleasure in destruction—which need not necessarily be destruction of external things. Many men to whom this has happened have shown that they take pleasure in tormenting and oppressing other souls. These are the characteristics which come into evidence. But it can never be said that men who have such traits owing to their alliance with Ahrimanic elementary beings, are invariably egotistic. They need not be and indeed usually are not, egotists. They act out of an urge quite different from that of egotism. They act out of a lust for destruction, and they destroy without the slightest benefit accruing to themselves. The beings into whose sphere a man enters are essentially beings of destruction, and they tempt him, lure him, to destroy.

The other beings into whose sphere man comes when he penetrates behind the veil of the life of soul have a quite different character. They have no particular lust for destruction. In point of fact, what we know as destruction does not enter their ken. They have a veritable passion for creating, for bringing something into being — a tremendous urge for activity, for productivity. And they too have certain higher faculties which are less closely related to our thinking than to our feeling, and especially to our will. We enter here into a sphere of beings preeminently related to our will, but — curiously enough — to the noblest sides of our will.

Thus if we enter this world without knowing anything of what the Initiate knows, namely, that behind the world of nature and also behind the world of soul there is a spiritual world, when we fill our will with ideals, when we unfold noble, spiritualised will, this will becomes allied precisely with the lower attributes of these beings into whose sphere we have entered. There is a mysterious bond of attraction between the noble side of our will and the lower urges and desires of these beings.

And now think of it. — If a man's spiritual pastor gives him the consolation of immortality, laying stress on the dignity of the human soul, the majesty of the Divine and the like, it may happen that through some slight incitement, particularly if he was a noble character, he breaks through the membrane of his soul-activity at some point and penetrates behind the secrets of his thinking, feeling and willing. But he then comes into the region of these beings of will, and the consequence is that the idealistic side of his will actually begins to assume a sensuous character. And now, with this in mind, please read the descriptions given by certain mystics of either sex. As you read the biographies of these mystics, notice the sultry, voluptuous atmosphere which pervades them. The most sublime ideals assume a sensuous character. I would remind you of the rapture experienced by mystics in connection with their “soul-bride” or “soul-bridegroom”; in women mystics the mystical union is like a sensuous union with the Saviour, and in male mystics like an actual bond with the bride of the soul, with the Virgin Mary.

It is the endeavour of these beings of will to pour into man's thinking, into his ideals, what he otherwise knows as sensuousness. This is a hard saying. These beings into whose regions a man there enters, strive—and from their own standpoint it is a justified striving — to pour their sensuous instincts into his idealised will. And then the willing that goes out from the head, which otherwise has a certain quality of cool detachment about it, is pervaded by a sultry, voluptuous experience of the spiritual world, which often seems to have the character of fevered mysticism. The representatives of the various religious bodies have an infinite dread of this, and their greatest fear of all is aroused by those among their believers who come forward as mystics.

Verily, we have here Scylla and Charybdis. If we desire to pierce through the veil of nature, we come to Scylla, to the Ahrimanic beings who wish to endow us abundantly with destructive forces of intelligence. If we desire to pierce through the veil of the life of soul, we come to Charybdis, to the Luciferic beings of will, who would fain pervade us with the fumes of spiritual ecstasy, spiritual rapture, spiritual instincts.

Priestly Orders intent upon the cultivation of the religious life were therefore in a certain sense right to take care that when mystics appeared among them, at least the shadow-side of mysticism should not come to the fore. Hence in a certain sense they erected barriers against the entrance into the spiritual worlds.
Just think how certain religious Orders — I am speaking, not of occult but of religious Orders — were associated with manual work, with labour that allows delight in nature, delight in what lives in the world around, to arise in the soul; just think how such Orders, if the right principles were understood, insisted upon outer, manual work. Those who founded such Orders said to themselves: “The worst thing we could do would be to isolate men and allow the mystic life to develop in them as the outcome of inertia and idleness.” Read the monastic rules originating in better times and in the better Orders, and you will everywhere see that full account was taken of what I have just mentioned, how mystic rapture and fevered ecstasy were counteracted by manual labour. — And now you will also understand why Father Antonius caused Paul the Simpleton to work, even if it served no useful purpose. Had he allowed him to cultivate idleness for years, Paul the Simpleton would have become a senuous, ecstatic mystic.

We have, as you see, to do with a duality: with objective occultism which, if it is simply handed over to unprepared men, makes them destroyers; and with subjective mysticism, which if it is cultivated or suddenly appears in idealistic natures, makes men egotists — egotists such as are to be met with in numbers of mystics who have developed merely a subtle form of egotism, a subtle mania for fostering their own souls. If you read the biographies of the mystics, you will often be appalled by the egotism they display.

The region of Scylla is that of the spirits who serve Ahriman. We come into their sphere if we cultivate, not egotism but the will for destruction. If we cultivate the subjective mysticism connected with the Luciferic spirits of will into whose sphere we enter, then Charybdis approaches us from the other side; for these spirits do everything to foster egotism, so that our own inner nature forms the world for us. This is the duality in the material world: objective occultism — subjective mysticism. In both realms there may be aberrations.

Fundamentally speaking, in what has been developing for centuries there is present, on the one side, objective occultism, guarded in the Secret Societies and Orders but no longer effectively protected owing to the insistent trend towards publicity. We have heard of the efforts that were made to find a way out of the dilemma. And on the other side there is subjective mysticism.

It follows from this that when we wanted to lay the foundations of Spiritual Science, it behoved us not to allow ourselves to be enticed either by Scylla or Charybdis, but to steer between them; it behoved us neither to cultivate the old, traditional occultism, nor the old, traditional mysticism. And now you have a deeper conception of what gives our Movement its direction. Both objective occultism and subjective mysticism in the old sense had to be avoided. Our Spiritual Science had to be of a character ensuring that Scylla as well as Charybdis are avoided.

I have still to speak to you about the fundamental character which our Spiritual Science must bear in order that it may steer clear of both these dangers. But it obviously cannot be avoided that at the present time, out of mistaken notions, certain people come to us because some of them are looking for an old, objective occultism, while others are hankering after old, subjective mysticism. It is hardly likely that either the one type or the other will find among us what they are looking for. But they believe they find it by simply interpreting our teaching to suit their own liking. The form which our teaching must take, and what our attitude to it must be if our ship is to be steered between Scylla and Charybdis — of this I must speak again tomorrow.


Dr. Steiner may have been referring to a passage in The Genealogy of Morals, Section XXIV, page 287 in the translation (together with The Birth of Tragedy) by Francis Golffing. (Doubleday Anchor Books, New York). “When the Christian Crusaders in the East happened upon the invincible Society of Assassins, that order of free spirits par excellence, whose lower ranks observed an obedience stricter than that of any monastic order, they must have got some hint of the slogan reserved for the highest ranks, which ran, ‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted.’” See also Dr. Steiner's own work, Friedrich Nietzsche. Ein Kampfer gegen seine Zeit, page 25 in the Gesamtausgabe 1963 volume. (Bibl. No. 5).
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

Postby admin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:26 pm


If we are to enter more deeply into the matters which cannot fail to interest us at the present time, it is necessary to keep clearly in mind a certain aspect of human consciousness as it is today. Let us think of certain characteristics of this consciousness of which we have been speaking during the past weeks. This consciousness holds us within a domain shut off on the one side by the veil placed before us by the phenomena of nature through which, to begin with, our consciousness cannot penetrate, and on the other side, by the veil of our own life of soul, of our thinking, feeling and willing. The nature of our consciousness is such that when we look inwards, we are able to a certain extent to experience our thinking, feeling and willing in their human form, to experience them consciously. But again, we cannot penetrate behind the veil. Hence we can say: As regards the veil of the phenomena of nature on the one side, with the objective reality behind, our consciousness is directed towards a veil which, to begin with, may not be pierced. On the other side, there are the manifestations of the life of soul, behind which lies the subjective reality. We contemplate it but we cannot immediately break through the veil. Within these frontiers, within these two parallel lines, as it were, is our present consciousness, to which, when we look out through the sense-organs, the world of nature presents itself; when we look inwards, there is the world of soul. This is how the consciousness we have as human beings today, is organised.

We know that this consciousness differs from man's earlier consciousness with its heritage of ancient clairvoyance; but we know too that this inherited clairvoyance faded away and that our present consciousness, when functioning normally on the physical plane, is as described above.

The question may be asked: Why is it that our consciousness today is constituted as it is? The reason is that during the present cycle of evolution, as well as everything else that has been described, we have to develop the true relationship that should prevail between one human soul and another. Our present form of consciousness, therefore, has a very definite task.

During the earlier periods of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon we lived in different states of consciousness, and in the future periods of Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan, our consciousness will again be different. We are gradually preparing for these different forms of consciousness. In our present cycle of evolution we have to develop in ourselves, through the way we relate ourselves to the world, the form of consciousness belonging to this cycle; and besides all that must be developed in connection with the moral life, there is also the fact that through this form of consciousness there can unfold the right relationship of one human soul to another, a relationship we had not acquired before the beginning of the Earth-period and without which, if we do not acquire it during the Earth-period, we shall not be able to maintain our existence during the periods of Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan.

In the periods of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon preceding the Earth-period, man had not, in this sense, acquired the right relationship to other men; in a certain sense he was too close to them. During the Old Moon period, conditions were still such that the will of one had a direct effect upon the other; the other felt, was affected by, the will of his fellow-being. Moreover, this process was regulated and guided by the Spirits of the higher Hierarchies.

Had this guidance by the Spirits of the higher Hierarchies continued, man would never have reached complete freedom in cosmic existence. The guidance had at some point to cease. Hence the necessity of a form of consciousness which as it were makes a frontier possible between one man and another.
The fact is that on the one side our vision does not penetrate through nature, and on the other side the world of soul causes the relation of one soul to another to be such that a certain frontier is created between them. That this frontier exists is due to our present form of consciousness, a special characteristic of which is that what we actually experience are reflections, mirror-images. This, of course, applies also to relationships between man and man. Because, when we meet another human being we have in our present form of consciousness a mere reflection, we cannot approach him in so arbitrary a way that we pour the content of our consciousness into his soul. If, therefore, our consciousness is normally developed, this prevents us from coming unduly close to the consciousness of another. I might also put it like this: the forces of our consciousness and intelligence are so organised that we can neither exercise too great an influence upon the other man, nor can he exercise too great an influence upon us — because the fact that our own consciousness is mirrored, separates us from him.

This is a matter of very great importance for the understanding of human evolution. Whenever there is a defect in the normal consciousness, what happens is at once evident. Think of a person whose consciousness is not quite normal, who has a touch of what we have recently encountered in the form of “mystical eccentricity” — to use a rather harsh expression, but one that is often very apt. Suppose such a person is inclined to all sorts of fanciful delusions, based upon certain experiences which are abnormal in our day. You will always find that a person with abnormal consciousness of this kind has a far greater influence upon other souls than one with normal consciousness. To put it rather crudely, a person who is a little mad in one direction or another can have a far stronger influence upon his fellowmen than one who is normal; and by strengthening his consciousness, a normal man must protect himself from the influence of one who is abnormal. An abnormal man, as long as he is not recognised, is always a certain danger to his fellow-men, because they allow themselves to be too strongly influenced by him and because they are too ready to regard him as a rare, out-of-the-common phenomenon. Precisely where there are perforations in the mirror of consciousness, too strong an influence passes over through these perforations to the other person.

Thus in the present epoch of evolution we acquire our particular form of consciousness in order that the right relationship of one human soul to another in the world may be established.

Now, from all that has been said in these lectures, the following is clear: on yonder side of the veil of nature lies the Ahrimanic world with all the beings I have described; on yonder side of the veil of the life of soul lies the Luciferic world with all the characteristic features I have described. Man is, as it were, shut in between the Ahrimanic world and the Luciferic world. If he pierces only a little behind the veil of nature, he cannot help becoming acquainted with the Ahrimanic world. If he pierces a little behind the veil of the life of soul, he will inevitably become acquainted with the Luciferic world.

We have behind us a certain epoch during which man was safeguarded against making too great an advance towards the one side or the other. But we are now living in a time of transition, when human souls needs must advance towards the one side or the other. This must inevitably happen, for again it is demanded by the present phase of man's evolution.

As you know, we are now living in the age of the development of the Consciousness or Spiritual Soul and moving towards that of the development of the Spirit-Self. Such development has a long preparation behind it. When, in the Sixth post-Atlantean epoch of culture, the Spirit-Self is fully developed, man's life of soul will be different in very many respects from what it is today. The human intellect will have a much more objective power than is the case now. Mankind is already approaching this more objective intellectual life. Evidences may be seen on every hand and I have spoken of the matter in many lectures. A life of soul is approaching of which it may be said that the intellect will be outspread as a power to which men must submit — as a power working objectively in a realm outside the souls of men.

We are still living in times when many human beings are safeguarded against this objective power by a strong, assertive individuality. But this protection will be less and less possible the nearer we come to the Sixth post-Atlantean epoch. A time will actually come when phenomena now only in the initial stages will be far, far more strongly in evidence. Even now, one who knows how to assess happenings in the world can form a true judgment in regard to this phenomenon. It is well known, for example, that writers in certain newspapers and periodicals are very far from saying only what springs from their own souls. They represent the intelligence of certain circles, an objective intelligence which rides rough-shod and of which they are only the speaking trumpets. It is extremely important to keep this in mind, for it is a phenomenon which will become more and more prevalent.

Now there is a very definite prospect ahead. When the intelligence of certain people is objectivised — and it has been so objectivised ever since public literature has existed — it becomes more and more possible for Ahriman to take possession of the intelligence of men. That is a prospect which Spiritual Science must place before us, for it is Ahriman's constant and fiercest endeavour to strangle men's individual intelligence and appropriate it for himself, so that it may pass into his power and be used to serve his own purposes. I have told you that there is a mysterious connection between the higher forces of intelligence in the beings who serve Ahriman and the forces of man's lower nature. Ahriman's perpetual endeavour is to appropriate the intelligence of human beings and not allow them to realise what they can achieve through their own intelligence. Think of the last conversation between Benedictus and Ahriman in the Mystery Play The Soul's Awakening. Before Ahriman disappears, he says:

“It is now time for me to haste away
From his environment, for whensoe'er
His sight can think me as I truly am,
He will begin to fashion in his thought
Part of the power which slowly killeth me.”

A profound secret is contained here, a secret of which every student of Spiritual Science should be aware. Men must strive as time goes on to keep their intelligence under their own individual control, to keep unceasing watch over it. This is essential, and it is well that man should know with what enticing and powerful words Ahriman approaches him, trying to wring his intelligence from him.

More and more it will behove men to be alert to such moments. For Ahriman takes full advantage of moments when, in full waking life, a man falls into a state of vertigo or dizziness, into a kind of twilight consciousness, when he feels not quite securely anchored in the physical world and begins to yield himself to the whirl of the universe, when he does not stand firmly and steadily on his own feet as an individuality. These are the moments when it behoves him to be on his guard, for it is then that Ahriman easily gets the upper hand. The best way in which we can protect ourselves is to develop clear, exact thinking, not simply skimming over things in thought as is the general custom today. We should go even farther and try to avoid colloquialisms and current catchwords, for directly we use such words which come, not from thought but from habits of speech, we are not exercising thinking — even if only for a very short time. These are particularly dangerous moments because they are not heeded. We should really be careful to avoid using words behind which there is not sufficient reflection. Such self-training, precisely in these intimate details, should be undertaken by those who are in earnest about the tasks of the age. After all that has been said in these lectures it will not be difficult for you to realise what is necessary.

But Lucifer, too, endeavours by way of the will to bring man into a condition where he does not act out of well-considered impulses, but out of impulses springing merely from temperament and inclination. Here again, Lucifer takes hold and makes us his prey. And it is easiest for him to find his prey when a large number of people give way to such impulses which surge in the dark foundations of the life of soul without rising into the sphere of the individual will. If impulses springing from temperament and vague inclinations bring us into connection with groups of human beings in such a way that we feel ourselves part and parcel of a group, we are at once caught into a whirl in which the judgment of the individual will is wrested from us; and it must not be wrested from us, for if it is, Lucifer gains too great a power over us. We must strive for objectivity in this respect.

Again, when there is some deviation from the sphere of normal consciousness, these are moments favourable for Lucifer. Very radical symptoms may appear, but there are also more intimate phenomena, when, for instance, we allow our actions to be determined by obscure feelings of affiliation and the like. The more flagrant, more radical, deviations of consciousness are those where the will becomes defective or so weak that a man can do no other than surrender himself entirely to his life of soul with what amounts to the exclusion of his will.

Modern psychiatrists have adopted certain technical terms for these particularly radical phenomena. For example, they speak of “imperative” or “insistent” ideas (Zwangsvorstellungen) [note 1]. These ideas arise in people whose consciousness is not adjusted in the way that is right and proper for the physical plane. If due strength of will is lacking, ideas arise which a man cannot expel from his consciousness — imperative or insistent ideas, as they are called.

I will give an example that has actually been observed in clinics. — A man once saw another who had a cancerous tumour in the face; he saw the tumour and as he was a man of very weak will, he has believed ever since that cancer germs are everywhere; he is convinced that these germs are present wherever he goes. In other words, his will is not strong enough to drive down into the subconsciousness the idea once aroused in him. That is a particular instance of an imperative or insistent idea. But the same kind of thing makes its appearance in very diverse forms among people whose will is not sufficiently developed, and then it is easy for Lucifer to get power over them. Another aberration of consciousness has been called by modern psychiatrists “a morbid fear of touch” (Berührungsfurcht). The sign of this condition is that people in whom the will is insufficiently developed shrink from every contact with other human beings or objects; they are frightened of being touched by others or by objects. The “morbid fear of touch” is another technical term used in modern psychiatry.

Many other such aberrations of consciousness could be mentioned. These very aberrations show what the normal state of our consciousness should be on the physical plane. But we are now living at a time when certain beings must inevitably become known to us, on the one side beings who are behind the veil of nature, and on the other, behind the veil of the world of soul. If these beings are not made known, the further evolution of mankind will be endangered. If the connection of Ahriman and Lucifer with human evolution is not perceived, danger lies ahead. For it is just when they are not perceived that they can operate most effectively. As an example of the way in which Ahriman works, I will relate an anecdote which presents the unqualified truth.—

To a village there once came a stranger who was an acquaintance of the burgomaster. He arrived on horseback and rode into the village. This was an interesting event for the villagers and they ran out into the street to watch him. He put his horse in the burgomaster's stable and stayed in his house from the Saturday evening over the Sunday. On the Monday he wanted to take his departure, and asked for his horse. The burgomaster said: “You came here on foot; you had no horse.” — To every protest the burgomaster replied: “You had no horse.” Finally he said: “Very well, then, we will ask the people in the village; they must have seen you when you arrived.” Thereupon he called the people together and asked them whether they had not seen the man arrive on foot, and they all said, “Yes”. When everyone had affirmed this, the burgomaster said: “Now swear to me, all of you, that this man came on foot.” And everyone swore that it was so. The man was therefore obliged to leave the village on foot, without his horse. After a short time the burgomaster rode after him, bringing his horse. At this, the man exclaimed: “What was the purpose of this comedy?” To which the burgomaster replied: “I only wanted to present my community to you!

Naturally, Ahriman was at the bottom of this and he acted effectively as an objective power. The anecdote is “truer than true”, for the same thing is happening among us continually. The whole of human life tends to increase the number of people who swear to the non-existence of the horse.

We must therefore see to it that we have the greatest possible exactitude of consciousness, for that alone is fitting for our present earthly life. If you take all that can be found in my books, Occult Science, The Threshold of the Spiritual World, A Road to Self-Knowledge, in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? as well as in many Lecture-Courses, you will find that the paths have been indicated whereby men may penetrate behind nature and behind the world of soul in the proper way and with the requisite preparation. The paths are described by which men can penetrate behind the scenes of existence in the right way. But the subjective strivings of very many persons do not, in reality, aim at reaching the goal to be desired. In those books it is clearly indicated that one who wishes to penetrate into the other world must transcend the normal form of consciousness. If the indications given are faithfully followed, it will be clear that one must emerge from the normal consciousness into a different form of consciousness.

It is important to know this, for there is a tendency among most people, indeed among many of our friends too, not to leave the normal form of consciousness at any price but to remain in it and to bring the spiritual world into the ordinary consciousness: that is to say, not to let the Ego emerge but to bring the spiritual world into the Ego. It is knowledge of the spiritual world that should be brought into the ordinary consciousness, not the spiritual world itself. If you faithfully practise what is contained in the books mentioned, you will bring yourself into conditions through which you will experience the spiritual world, conditions through which experiences deriving from that world can be brought into the sphere of the normal consciousness. But there are many who do not want this; they want the experience to be actually in the normal consciousness; whereas it ought to originate from consciousness that is different from the normal and passes into the normal. Many of our friends, however, try to have visions in the normal consciousness, not something that is a reminiscence of a different kind of consciousness. If, however, you have visions in the normal consciousness, that is to say, if you do not really wish to develop a different kind of consciousness, but to keep consciousness in its ordinary form and yet look into the spiritual world, this means that you do not seriously wish to go beyond but to remain in the ordinary consciousness, expecting to see forms and figures there which look like those of the physical world. Many people try hard to see spirits or the activities of spirits, but they want to see them just as they see physical things. They want to see a spirit, but this spirit is expected to have the form of a man or a woman or perhaps a poodle, as these are seen in the physical world. In the other world, however, it is not like this. The process itself lies outside the ordinary consciousness and what enters into the consciousness is at most a picture, an image which appears afterwards. In short, we must not expect the spiritual world to be merely a kind of finer sense-world, nor that it will speak in human words, the only difference being that the words come from the spiritual world. Our friends are often only willing to listen in this way to voices which seem to speak to them; these voices are expected to be similar to those of the physical world, merely giving a different, subtler version of things of the physical world. These people would like to enter the spiritual world with the ordinary consciousness which belongs to the physical world only.

Actually, most of the visions or voices of which one is told are of the character just described. At all events, this much is certain: when we have such visions or hear such voices it is always easy for Lucifer and Ahriman to have an easy game with us; they lay hold of these experiences for themselves, for men are always prone to interpret them incorrectly. If such experiences are rightly interpreted, Lucifer and Ahriman gain nothing from them.

As you see, there are distinctions here which must be kept strictly in mind. We must be fully alive to the possibility that as soon as we bring something else into the ordinary consciousness which is in truth suitable only for the physical world, we come to Scylla and Charybdis — to Lucifer and Ahriman. We must learn to recognise Lucifer and Ahriman as real Powers in this connection. It is for this reason that such emphasis has been laid on the relationship between Ahriman and Lucifer, and the statue in the Goetheanum will be a true representation of this.

Now you might ask: If this is how things are, might it not after all be more sensible to act like the scientists who, although Ahriman is within what they say, are nevertheless unwilling to acknowledge his reality? Or might it perhaps be better to act like the Pastors of various religious communities? — for they present things in such a way that Lucifer is everywhere, but they will not admit it. They would regard it as sinful were anyone to realise that the door there is open for Lucifer. But a person who speaks to this effect today is not being very clever. To say that it is more sensible to act like the scientists and the Pastors of various religious communities would be the same as deliberately refraining from warning someone who has to cross a chasm for some distance on a narrow plank, that he is facing danger. It is obvious that he should be warned. Otherwise it would amount to saying: certainly the man may be in danger, but it is more sensible to say nothing to him about it. — Through knowing how things are — and they will have to be known — the danger becomes no greater and no less.

A time is coming when Ahriman will try to take possession of the intelligence and Lucifer of the will of men. This can be thwarted only if these things are recognised; and recognition can be brought about only by a spiritual-scientific Movement. It is remarkable to see what Ahriman and Lucifer do and yet are not observed. From this point of view it is interesting to study modern psychiatry. Modern psychiatry has actually recognised many things that are facts, but that it cannot interpret correctly because it takes no account of the approach of these spiritual Powers behind the veil. Modern psychiatry regards anything that is not absolutely normal in man, anything that deviates in the slightest degree from a certain average norm, as tending towards insanity. In numerous treatises the Maid of Orleans is held to have been merely an hysteric. Indeed, writings are accumulating in which Christ Jesus Himself is regarded as a not quite normal man. There are also writings which ascribe craziness to Goethe, and so on.

Here we have an unmistakable, but false, Ahrimanic science
, a science which is at pains to show that although Goethe was in certain respects a moral genius, this was entirely due to the fact that he had an element of madness in his nature. Socrates, however, knew better; he spoke of his “daimon”, being well aware that his soul bordered on objective spiritual Powers. This was quite clear to him. But the modern psychiatrist sees fit to make out that there was an element of madness or something of the kind in Socrates too. Ahriman must be hidden at all costs — which is exactly what suits him! And the same applies to Lucifer.

The fact of the matter is that if one were simply to cultivate today what purports in certain occult Orders to be secret knowledge, with its accompanying symbolism, it would be very easy to deliver into the hands of Ahriman everything that has been pursued hitherto as occultism. And if the mysticism hitherto pursued were to be encouraged and cultivated in human beings, it would easily be delivered into the hands of Lucifer. The ship of Spiritual Science must be steered between these two dangers. This is extremely important. Spiritual Science must therefore be so constituted that neither mystical nor occult aberrations can take root.

I said yesterday that when man breaks through the veil of nature, he comes into a region where he encounters beings who have a will for destruction, and that this will for destruction is related to the human intellect. I have described what may become of a man who falls prey to these beings. This must not happen. I have also spoken of the fevered, ecstatic condition into which a person may fall in his spiritual life if he indulges in false mystical experiences. This too must be avoided.

I said in an earlier lecture that the esotericists among the occultists tried hard to compel men to apply their intellect to the deciphering of symbols, in order that they should not break through the veil in a wrongful way and become the victim of the Powers encountered in so terrible a form in these border regions. These beings can be held at bay if the intellect is employed in the way it is employed, for example, in deciphering the symbols. This was formerly the practice but it no longer meets the needs of the present time, nor is it a practicable method.

You will find that by the very manner in which Spiritual Science is presented, the aberration leading into the region of Ahriman is avoided in a different way. You must think here about something that is apt to crop up in the life of our own society. When one person or another is beginning to study Spiritual Science, the remark is very frequently to be heard: “I cannot grasp these things until I have seen them myself clairvoyantly, so I take them on trust.” I have emphasised over and over again that, rightly understood, this is not the case. At the present time human beings have sufficient intellectual capacity to understand everything that has been given out. The whole of Spiritual Science in the form it has been presented is within the grasp of the intellectual capacities existing in men at the present time. Spiritual Science cannot, it is true, be discovered by these capacities, but it can be understood. The intellectual capacities are there and can be roused into activity, and those who refuse to admit that it is so are in error. When what has been given in Spiritual Science is really worked upon by the intellect, the intellect is being employed in the right way and it is then impossible to enter into the Ahrimanic realm by an unlawful path. There are two eventualities only.— Either men make strenuous efforts to understand, in which case they are employing the intellect — which could well be misused by the Ahrimanic beings—in order to understand Spiritual Science, and then this intellect cannot be wrung from them. Whatever Ahriman may elect to do, he will never get hold of the intellect which men apply, either in the present age or in the future, to the study of Spiritual Science. Of that you may rest assured. If men make no attempt to understand Spiritual Science, they are not applying their intellect to it — but Spiritual Science cannot be blamed for that! Laziness alone is responsible.

The region of destructive spirits into which a man may come, is disclosed most clearly of all if a soul is observed at the moment of passing through the gate of death. Then these spiritual beings swirl forward in their hosts; nor is this surprising, for they are the spirits of destruction. To work at the destruction of the physical organism is their regular function. It is part of their handiwork — only they must not remain too long.

Men who have attained spiritual understanding keep these beings at bay. But these beings have a great deal of power over souls whose thinking is materialistic, who acquire no understanding of the spiritual world. Souls who disdain any attempt to acquire knowledge of the spiritual world have a great deal to suffer from Ahriman. The Greek myth has depicted this very graphically in the figure of Tantalus. The Gods placed food in front of him but out of his reach and then watched the torments he had to endure.

Many such figures can be seen in the world today. All of them are materialistic souls who have no desire to understand the spiritual world. They are like Tantalus, in the sense that after death, during the period of Kamaloka when they live through their life — for a third of its duration — in backward order, everything is snatched away from them. Again and again they have the feeling: to what purpose did I do this or that? For they see one of the spirits of destruction snatching it away, and then they realise that they really did it to no purpose! That, of course, is an illusion; but such souls suffer the torments of Tantalus because the spirits of destruction are all around them. They do not realise that the whole of earthly life from birth until death would be without purpose or meaning if it were not pervaded by the Spirits of the higher Hierarchies. But these souls cannot see the Spirits of the higher Hierarchies and so everything must seem to them to have been purposeless.

Spiritual Science avoids false occultism in that it applies the ever-increasing intellectual capacity now developing in humanity to the establishment of a science for which more intellect is required than hitherto. The nature of Spiritual Science inevitably demands greater intellectual effort than people have been accustomed to apply. Men like to delude themselves in this respect. Were they really to apply the intellectual capacity at their command today, they would understand Spiritual Science. Through the strong intellectual efforts that are necessary in Spiritual Science, Scylla is avoided and mastered on the one side. The spiritual scientist is well aware why people are disinclined to embark on the study of Spiritual Science. It is because they are too lazy to apply enough intellectual effort. That is why I spoke just now of laziness.

On the other side, the pitfall of false mysticism must be avoided by ceasing to grovel within the purely inner life. This tendency to live and brood continually within one's own soul must be eliminated. The soul must come out of itself and look with eyes of love at the deeper connections manifesting in life outside.

The Mystery Plays were written in order to help people to perceive such connections — which can also be observed externally. Inner processes of the life of soul are portrayed in the Plays. If you learn to understand and perceive what is happening, for example to Capesius, how he passes on from one event to another, the weaving, creative activity there in evidence will help you to release your own inner life, to free it. This is also the essential function of our art. The purpose of our whole Building is that souls shall be set free from themselves and shall not lapse into false mysticism. It is necessary to keep this in mind for we shall thus also avoid the Charybdis of false mysticism.

Every effort we make to explain to ourselves the mysterious connections in the lives of human beings in the world outside protects us from false mysticism. If in this way we follow what happens to Capesius, we live in a weaving life of soul—but we are not huddled up within our own. We attain everything that the mystic attains, but in a different way. So you see, the ship of Spiritual Science must be steered with clear-sighted purpose between the two pitfalls. The teachings given must be of a nature whereby false occultism and false mysticism are both avoided.

It may truly be said that our Spiritual Science is in keeping with the needs and demands of the age. For this reason I have often been obliged to oppose any false simplification or popularisation of Spiritual Science which would do away with the need for strenuous thinking. Equally I have been obliged to oppose everything that tends towards ecstatic, egoistic mysticism, which is always an element of such precepts as: “in your own inmost being you find the reality, the Divine”— and so forth. For in this there is no desire to seek the Divine in outer life by following its phenomena with love and understanding.

I recently said to someone that Spiritual Science may be regarded as of eminently practical usefulness. I did not say this in order to boast about the merits of our Movement but merely in order to show that in it the positive can always be found. I said: even if people accept only what they can recognise, leaving aside what does not interest them, Spiritual Science can nevertheless be of the greatest usefulness. If you think of the way in which we have been working for fifteen years, you will realise that a host of truths belonging to the domains of natural science, art, the history of art and so forth, have been included in the purely spiritual-scientific teachings. Indeed, assuming for a moment that nothing at all of pure Spiritual Science had been given but only truths relating to natural science and art — even this by itself could be of practical use. But whatever is given in this way is given with purpose and deliberation, for thereby the human mind is induced to abandon fanciful speculation. And so in every way we have endeavoured so to form our Movement that it may go forward in the right and healthy way. From the very beginning it was conceived as a kind of organism. And thinking of it as such we may also say that it must grow and develop like an organism, like a human organism which about the seventh year gets its second teeth — and the organism must make use of these second teeth, of the individual teeth it then has at its disposal.

In earlier lectures I have shown why we had to link up with the Theosophical Movement, as we did in the year 1902 by founding the German Section. At the beginning, progress was possible because we developed entirely independently, as I have told you. But then, in the year 1909 (1902 + 7 = 1909) it was also necessary to get second teeth. You will remember that those were the years when the Leadbeater affair threw everything into the melting-pot. The year 1916 is not far off. We shall then have the second seven years behind us. If with this second period of seven years behind us we think of our Movement as an organism, this organism will then have reached maturity; it must steer its own course and be able to achieve something by itself. After all that has been given, it ought to be possible for the work to go on effectively even without the teacher.

I have spoken to this effect on many occasions. Some time ago in Berlin I said that the “Gesellschaft für Theosophische Art and Kunst” [note 2] ought to be an organisation that leads a life of its own, apart from me. This trend will become more and more necessary. The danger that things go well only as long as something comes from me week after week, must be surmounted. We have now reached the years when the Society ought to be able to show that it can quietly continue to cultivate what has been given, to cultivate it as if I were no longer there.

This is an absolutely necessary thought. The teachings which have been given are of such a nature that if they now work in souls, a great deal can be done for which I am no longer needed. I am not saying that I will not remain, but the test will consist in my becoming more and more superfluous. It is absolutely essential to obviate the possibility — which actually exists — of our members not appreciating one another! For you can realise what ill service would be done to our cause if it were always being said: “He is the Director, and he must be followed”, or “He is the Director and he will see that such-and-such is done”. — That simply will not do. What would happen if one day I were no longer there? The Society would at once fall to pieces! We shall only attain what we ought to attain if, after fourteen years, we have really come to the point of having a life of our own which can in turn bring forth new life. This is not an impossibility if only we are mindful of our real aims. Certainly, there are some difficult years now, but we must surmount such difficulties. And a different value can be placed upon much that I myself have to contribute, if what I have now indicated is fulfilled. Difficulties of many kinds exist at the present time. There are certain things which cannot be said indiscriminately and during the last four days I should have liked to call together a small, restricted group of people in order to speak of matters of which I cannot speak before a whole audience. But I was obliged to abandon the idea because we are living in days when such an arrangement is not feasible. In order to see clearly, what I have been trying to present in these lectures must be kept well in mind. We must also try to understand the inner character of Spiritual Science and then it will be clear to us why on the one side we shall inevitably have opponents in the learned scientists who would like to base a view of the world upon their erudition and, on the other side, in those pastors who desire that what lies behind the everyday life of soul shall remain completely hidden.

We must hold faithfully to our teaching and also steep ourselves deeply in its contents. Let us remember, for example, how the Mystery of Golgotha has constituted the very core of our strivings, how it has been stressed that Christ entered into Jesus of Nazareth in the way so often described, coming from other spheres of consciousness into the sphere of consciousness proper for man's physical life on Earth. Christ-Jesus is a Power on Earth, living on in the earthly consciousness of men and in earthly happenings. For this reason the New Testament can be no natural science, for natural science — the science of what lies behind nature — must, if it makes for reality, go beyond our normal consciousness. Neither can the New Testament be Spiritual Science, for there, too, normal consciousness must have been transcended in the other direction. The marvellous greatness and significance of the New Testament lies precisely in the fact that it aspires neither to be Natural Science nor yet Spiritual Science — but for all that it must not be used to support polemics against Spiritual Science.

Here, however, we perceive the reasons why the representatives of one or another religious body will always rise up in arms against Spiritual Science! It is because they will never be willing to allow man to enter the world they so greatly fear. They are afraid that one day human beings will discover the eternal nature of the soul within them. They want people to realise that only what they already know lives eternally within them. I said yesterday that if a materialistic view of the world were to take root, if such a view alone prevailed and no Spiritual Science were to come into being, things would reach the point where men would be engulfed in scepticism and doubt, for something like an ocean would be created in which souls would inevitably drown. But if it is desired to hold men back lest they penetrate behind the veil of the world of soul, then the only thing to do is to keep them in a state of ignorance. Ignorance which would eventually suffocate men must inevitably spread if those who are often the representatives of religious communities today were to gain their ends. If the scientists were to win the day, human souls would be engulfed in an ocean of doubt; if the pastors of religion who think in the way described were to win the day, human souls would suffocate in an atmosphere of ignorance. The task devolving upon Spiritual Science is serious and grave and we must realise its gravity. We must regard ourselves as individuals who through their karma can be led to Spiritual Science in order that what they possess in the way of intellect and intuitive discernment may be placed at the disposal not actually of Spiritual Science, but of the general progress of humanity. And such progress is a dire necessity for the world.

We see, on the one side, how a materialistic view of the world is trying to get a firm foothold, and how nothing that offers resistance is of any avail! And on the other side we see how efforts are made to spread ignorance, how more and more is done to efface the truths relating to the spiritual world! Just think how every communication from the spiritual world is regarded with downright hatred by the representatives of certain religious communities!

I have given these lectures in order to indicate the direction of the path which must be taken by Spiritual Science, and to help you to realise the following. We must oppose the materialistic scientists, although they really cannot help acting as they do, for Ahriman has them in his power and wishes to hide from them the real motives underlying their activity. And we must oppose the others too — although they again cannot act differently, because they are in the hands of Lucifer. The right way to work is to come to grips with what Spiritual Science can give us. Oh, if only there were a number of people who realised the uniqueness of Spiritual Science, that it must not be confused with other things! That in itself would be a great step forward.

One can also learn a great deal from mistakes, and pay attention to them from this point of view. That is more important than merely to criticise them, although criticism is also sometimes necessary. I said that — to put it in plain words — Ahriman is out to destroy man's intellect in the future; but he combines this with something else as well — because the beings who serve him are related, with their higher forces, to the lower forces in man and because he wants to establish an alliance between the higher and the lower forces. In the normal course, Ahriman has under his direction those things in the world which give rise to illnesses; we know that they too are unavoidable for they bring about death in the physical world. All destruction in the physical world is allotted to him. But the connection must be known and understood. If what is in the lower sphere is taken up into the higher, it is united with these beings of destruction and then man himself gives many opportunities to Ahriman and his hosts. And when he does so he will not fail to notice that certain lower parts of his organism begin to function as higher parts of the organism otherwise function.

If a man has a dread of really exact thinking and yet wishes to enter the spiritual world, well, he may succeed in doing so—he crosses the Threshold and lives in the realm of the powers of destruction. When he comes back again into his body, he has entered into an alliance with these destructive beings and knows nothing about it because he has not developed his own intellect in the right way. He will then feel these beings within him — and instead of thinking, instead of his ears hearing and his eyes seeing, all kinds of hidden powers in the lower organism begin to hear and to see. The body is no longer his own in the sense it was before. On coming back again into the body he finds it filled with all sorts of ingredients. It is something new to him.

This entry into one's own body as into something unfamiliar and containing unknown elements is an experience that may befall those who do not keep faithfully to the right path. For Ahriman strives to establish himself in the human body and to transform certain organs into organs of knowledge. Lucifer, however, incites his fiery spirits of will to take certain forces out of us in order to make these forces independent. And so if we cross the Threshold in the direction of Lucifer's realm and then come back into the body, we feel as if certain parts are hollow, as if something has been taken out of us. Ahriman adds something, because as he enters into us he fills the organs. Lucifer takes away organs, makes what was otherwise part of our own organism, independent of us.

This is one of the aims of Lucifer — to make independent what belongs to us. And that is why in the pursuit of unjustifiable mystical experiences it may so easily happen that mystics, by consolidating and brooding over their own inner life, prepare it for Lucifer who can then draw it out of them. It is really so: Lucifer approaches the human being and draws out something from his brain, namely, the intellect. The intellect is drawn out as part of the etheric brain or of the etheric heart, made independent, and then a man feels that part of him has become hollow and empty. This is actually an experience associated with intensely egotistic individuals who have reached a certain high level of development. It can be seen that certain parts of their forces have been detached and are then, as it were, outside them. Lucifer robs man of certain forces with which he then proceeds to work. This state of things must naturally be prevented and it is prevented by faithful adherence to the right path. It is, however, a Luciferic conception to imagine that something can be taken away from man and then utilised as though he has no longer any part in it — for example, if a man's teaching is stolen from him and then utilised in the world. There you have a hint of the domain where such things actually happen. A great deal can be learnt from an error — above all from the error that teaching can be separated from the teacher. By observing these facts one can learn more than by merely criticising them — justifiable though this may well be. It is not difficult to realise what danger there would be were this kind of thing to become more general in the future. And the danger actually exists!

On the other side man is approaching the danger that in the process of the independent development of the Spirit-Self, Ahriman may take possession of it. Already now, those who have an eye for such things perceive how men lose their independence and how Ahriman is actually guiding their hand when they write. That is the one side, and the other is that things are taken and utilised, and it is believed possible to separate them from their originator. But the legitimate and only right way will be for men to accept the guiding principles of Spiritual Science, whereby on the one side the illumination that is shed upon nature safeguards them when they break through its veil. A zoology, a botany, a science of agriculture based on the principles of Spiritual Science must be brought into being; everything, medicine too, must be enriched by these principles. But medicine can be rightly enriched only by those who are not afraid to pierce the veil of nature, to enter right into the Ahrimanic world where they must battle against the spirits of destruction. To discover what is health-bringing for man, one must enter the region of those spirits who destroy all human life, who bring about illness and death; for only in the realm where lie the deeper causes of illness and death can the remedies be found.

Similarly, one who wishes to learn what will be fruitful for the human soul, must not be afraid to battle with the Luciferic beings; he must preserve unshakable moral courage if he wishes to cross the Threshold, he must realise that he is entering a region of spiritual beings where his every thought will tend to produce in him a slight touch of vertigo because it is on the point of being wrested from him, because it is about to flit away and he must swiftly take hold of it lest it escape him. Nobody can penetrate into this region without calmly battling against everything which, when it is out of balance, leads the human being to unhealthy, subjective mysticism.

But Spiritual Science steers us in such a way that, if we understand it, we actually find the strength to combat the Ahrimanic forces of destruction wherever they may be at work. And when, as in the Mystery plays, we apply Spiritual Science to the onflowing development of human life, and to the unfolding life of nature when we portray the forces of nature in the forms of our pillars and architraves, and when we portray the higher secrets of existence by placing Christ over against Lucifer and Ahriman as in our statue, when we approach these things in such a way that the spiritual powers become objective realities to us, then, my dear friends, we find the strength which the mystic does not, as a rule, possess — the strength to battle against the Luciferic powers.

From this you will realise that Spiritual Science was from the outset obliged to take the form in which it has actually been presented, and that what it creates, in addition to its theoretical teachings, is also essentially part of it. Let us try more and more to make our thinking conform with the thinking proper to Spiritual Science, for not until we free ourselves from the prejudices current in the outside world can we have a rightful place in Spiritual Science.



Note 1. Note by translator: According to Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, the more commonly-known term “fixed idea” would not be the correct translation here. The expression “imperative” or “insistent” idea approximates more closely to the example given by Dr. Steiner.

Note 2. This was the name of a project which did not continue.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

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Relevant Literature

List of relevant literature published or distributed by Rudolf Steiner Press.

Occult Science: An Outline

Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved

Cosmic Memory


Christianity as Mystical Fact

Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centres

The Mysteries of the East and of Christianity

The Evolution of Consciousness

True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigations

Spiritual Hierarchies and their Reflection in the Physical World

Theosophy of the Rosicrucian

The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth

Occult History, Personalities and events in World-History in the Light of Spiritual Science

Supersensible Influences in the History of Mankind

Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies (Vols. I to VIII)

Man as a Picture of the Living Spirit

The Work of the Angels in Man's Astral Body

Manifestations of Karma

World History in the Light of Anthroposophy

All the published works of Rudolf Steiner in print in English translation, also works of other authors on Anthroposophy, can be obtained from Rudolf Steiner Press, 35 Park Road, London NWI. Catalogues are available.
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Re: The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century and Its Re

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of the works of Rudolf Steiner in the original German. Published by the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland, by whom all rights are reserved.

General Plan (abbreviated):


Works written between 1883 and 1925

Essays and articles written between 1882 and 1925

Letters, drafts, manuscripts, fragments, verses, inscriptions, meditative sayings, etc.


Public Lectures

Lectures to Members of the Anthroposophical Society on general anthroposophical subjects Lectures to Members on the history of the Anthroposophical Movement and the Anthroposophical Society

Lectures and Courses on special branches of work:
Art: Eurythmy, Speech and Drama, Music, Visual Arts, History of Art
Medicine and Therapy
Sociology and the Threefold Social Order
Lectures given to Workmen at the Goetheanum

The total number of lectures amounts to some six thousand, shorthand reports of which are available in the case of the great majority.


Paintings in water colour, drawings, coloured diagrams, Eurythmy forms, etc.

When the Edition is complete the total number of volumes, each of a considerable size, will amount to several hundreds. A full and detailed Bibliographical Survey, with subjects, dates and places where the lectures were given, is available.

All the volumes can be obtained from the Rudolf Steiner Press in London as well as directly from the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung (address as above).
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