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 11:21 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must therefore necessarily regard atavistic clairvoyance, and knowledge that is a residue of atavistic clairvoyance, as out of date and no longer suitable for our times; it must be a Movement which sets no store by anything that stems from atavistic sources.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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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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