The Mission of Folk-Souls (In Connection With Germanic Scand

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 Mission of Folk-Souls (In Connection With Germanic S

Postby admin » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:59 pm


14th June, 1910.

If we wish to study the development of Germanic Scandinavian history and the spiritual impulses therein described, it will be necessary first of all to keep in mind the fundamental character of its mythology; and your attention was drawn in the last Lecture to the fact that this Germanic Scandinavian mythology, notwithstanding its many points of similarity to other mythologies and concepts of the gods, is nevertheless something quite unique. It is true that a very far-reaching fundamental kernel of mythological ideas extends over all the Germanic peoples and tribes in Europe so that, even far to the South, a uniform view of mythology, and on the whole a similar understanding of those relationships is possible. There must at one time have been a similar understanding of the unique character of the Germanic Scandinavian mythology throughout all the countries in which this mythology, in one form or another, was outspread. That which the mythologies of the Germanic Scandinavian peoples have in common, is very different from the essentials of the Greek mythology, to say nothing of the Egyptian; so that all that is similar in the Germanic mythology is interrelated, and is at the same time widely divided from what is the essential in the Greek and Roman mythology. But it is not at the present day easy to understand this essential element, because — on account of certain preconceived ideas, (to, speak of which here would lead us too far) — there is to-day a certain longing, a certain desire, simply to compare the religions of the various peoples with one another. There is at the present time great enthusiasm for comparative religion and comparative mythology, but it is a domain in which it is possible to do most foolish things. What happens as a rule when a person compares the mythologies and religions of the various peoples with one another? He compares the external details in the stories of the gods and tries to prove that the figure of one particular god appears in one mythology, and it appears in a like manner in another, and so on. To one who really knows the facts under consideration this comparing of religions is a most disquieting tendency in our present-day science, because everywhere only the mere externals are compared. The impression made by such comparisons of religions on one who knows the facts is somewhat as though someone said: ‘Thirty years ago I made the acquaintance of a man; he wore a uniform made in such and such a way, blue trousers, a red coat and such or such a covering on his head, and so on.’ And then he quickly goes on to say: ‘Then twenty years ago I became acquainted with a man who wore the same uniform, and ten years ago I met another who also wore the same uniform.’ Now if the person in question were to believe that because the men with whom he became acquainted thirty, twenty, and ten years ago wore the same uniform, they could be compared with one another as regards their essential nature, he might make a great mistake, for a person of quite different character might be wearing that uniform at those different times; and the essential thing is to know what sort of man is in the uniform. This comparison may seem far-fetched, and yet it is the same when in comparative religion one takes Adonis and compares him with Christ. That is comparing merely the outer uniform. The apparel and the qualities of the Beings in the various legends may be very similar, or even alike, but the point is to know what divine spiritual Beings are clothed in them; and if completely different Beings are in Adonis and in Christ, then the comparison has only the value of a comparing of the uniform. Nevertheless this comparison is extremely popular at the present day. Therefore in many cases it is not of the least consequence what the science of comparative religion, with its entirely external methods, can at the present time bring to light. The point is rather, that one should learn to know to some extent, from the differentiation of the Folk-spirits, the manner in which this or the other people arrived at its mythology or other teachings regarding the Gods, or even at its philosophy.

We can scarcely understand the fundamental character of the Germanic Scandinavian mythology, unless we touch once more upon the five successive ages of civilization in the post-Atlantean epoch. These five ages of civilization were brought about by the migrations which took place from the West to the East, so that after this migration was finished, the most mature, so to speak, the most advanced human beings passed into Indian territory and there founded the sacred primeval Indian civilization. Later, nearer our own age, the Persian civilization was founded, then the Egyptian-Chaldæan-Babylonian, then the Græco-Latin civilization, after which followed our own.

The essential nature of these five civilizations can only be understood when one knows, that the men who played a part in them, the Angels, the Folk-souls or Archangels, and Spirits of the Age were all quite different from one another in the ages that are past. To-day we shall pay special attention to the way in which the human beings who took part in these civilizations differed from one another. For instance, the men who in old India founded the ancient Indian civilization — which then acquired a literary form in the Vedas and the later Indian literature — were fundamentally different from the Græco-Latin peoples, they were even different from the Persian, from the Egyptian-Chaldæan, and most of all from those peoples who were growing up in Europe in preparation for the fifth age of civilization of the post-Atlantean epoch. In what way did they differ? The entire structure of the human beings who belonged to the ancient Indian peoples was absolutely different from that of the inhabitants of all the countries lying further West. If we wish to form an idea of what this difference consisted in we must realize that the peoples of ancient India had advanced very far in human evolution before they received the ‘ I ’. As regards everything else in human evolution they had made very great progress. A long, long human development lay behind them, but they had passed through it in a sort of twilight. Then the ‘ I ’ entered in, — the consciousness of the ‘ I ’. Among the Indians this came comparatively late, at a time when the Indian people was already to a certain extent mature, when it had already gone through what the Germanic Scandinavian peoples still had to go through when they already possessed their ‘ I ’. You must keep that well in mind.* The Germanic Scandinavian peoples had to experience, with their fully-developed ‘ I ’, what the inhabitants of ancient India had passed through in a dull state of consciousness, without the ‘ I ’ being present.

[* EDITORIAL NOTE: The Ego of the West awoke earlier and in a lower state of evolution. The old Indian took longer to develop the Ego, and remained longer in a state of dim clairvoyance, during which time he developed a richer soul life, and therefore awoke at a higher state than the Westerner, but this fact prevented the Easterner from interesting himself at the time of Christ in the Angels and individual Spirit, the Christ. The Indian obtained the subjective Ego long before the objective Ego. See further elucidation in Lecture 9.]

Now what was the nature of the development which humanity could undergo in the post-Atlantean epoch? In the old Atlantean epoch human beings were still endowed with a high degree of dim clairvoyance. With this old dim clairvoyance they saw into the divine spiritual world, they saw the events which took place in that world. Now transfer yourselves for a little while into the ancient land of Atlantis before the migrations towards the East had begun. The air was still permeated with water-vapor and clouds of mist. But the soul of man was different too. He could not yet even distinguish the various external sense-perceptions from one another; at that time it was as though he found the spiritual contents of the world spread out around him like a spiritual aroma, a spiritual aura. Thus there was a certain clairvoyance, and man had to get away from this clairvoyance. This was brought about by the action of the forces into whose domain the human beings came when they migrated from the West to the East. In the course of these migrations many different soul-developments took place. There were peoples who, during their wandering towards the East, at first slept as it were through the stepping-forth out of the old clairvoyance, and had already reached a higher stage of development while their ‘ I ’ was still in a dull state. They went through various stages of development, and yet their ‘ I ’ was still in a dull, dreamy condition. The Indians were the farthest evolved when their ‘ I ’ awoke to full self-consciousness. They were already so advanced that they possessed a very rich inner soul-life, which no longer showed any of those conditions that were still experienced for a long time by the peoples of Europe. The Indians had gone through those conditions a long time before. They awoke to self-consciousness when they were already furnished with spiritual forces and spiritual capacities by means of which they could penetrate to a high degree into the spiritual worlds. Hence all the work and activity of the various Angels and Archangels upon the human souls, and their exertions to lift them out of their old dim states of clairvoyance, had become a matter of complete indifference to those among the Indian people who had advanced. They had not directly observed the work of the Archangels and Angels and of all those spiritual Beings who worked particularly in the Folk-spirit. All that had been accomplished in their souls, their astral and etheric bodies, at a time when they were not consciously present. They awoke when their souls already possessed a very high degree of maturity; they awoke when the most advanced among them could, by going through a slight development, already read again in the Akashic Record all that had formerly taken place in the evolution of humanity; so that they gazed out into their surroundings, into the world, and could read in the Akashic Record what was taking place in the spiritual world, and what they had gone through in a dull, dim state of consciousness. They were unconsciously guided into higher domains; they had, before their ‘ I ’-consciousness awoke, acquired spiritual capacities that were much richer than the soul-capacities of the Western peoples.

Thus the spiritual world could be directly observed by these men. The most advanced among those who led the Indian people had arrived so far that, at the time when their ‘ I ’ awoke, they actually no longer needed to observe how human development sprang forth, so to speak, from the Spirits of Form or Powers, but they were more intimate with the Beings we call the Spirits of Motion or Principalities, and those above them, the Spirits of Wisdom. They were especially interested in these. The spiritual Beings beneath these were on the other hand Beings in whose domain they had already been formerly, and who were therefore no longer of such particular importance to them. Thus they looked up to what later on they called the sum-total of all the Spirits of Motion and of all the Spirits of Wisdom, to that which was later described by the Greek expressions: Dynamis and Kyriotetes. They looked up to these and called them ‘Mula-Prakriti’, i.e., the sum-total of the Spirits of Motion; and ‘Maha-Purusha’, the sum-total of the Spirits of Wisdom, that which lives as if in a spiritual Unity. They could attain to this vision because those who belonged to this people awoke to the consciousness of their ‘ I ’ at such a late stage of development. They had already gone through what the later peoples still had to look at with their ‘ I ’.

The peoples belonging to the Persian civilization were less highly developed. Through their peculiar capacity of cognition, and because their ‘ I ’ awoke at a lower stage, they were able to occupy themselves particularly with the Beings of the Powers or Spirits of Form. With these they were especially familiar; they could in a certain respect understand them, and they were pre-eminently interested in them. The peoples belonging to the Persian communities awoke one stage lower than did the Indians, but it was a stage which the peoples of the West had still to reach, still had to work up to. Hence the Persians were acquainted with the Powers or Spirits of Form, whom they thought of collectively as ‘Amshaspands’. They were the radiations which we know as Spirits of Form or Powers, and which, from their point of view, the peoples of the Persian civilization were specially well able to observe.

We then come to the Chaldean peoples. They already possessed a consciousness of what we know as Primal Forces, as directing Spirits of the Age. They were aware of the Beings who should be understood as Primal Forces, as Spirits of Personality.

In another way again the peoples of the Græco-Latin age also had a certain consciousness of these Primal Forces or Spirits of Personality, but in their case there was also something else, and that was what may lead us a little further in our studies. The Greeks were a little nearer to the Germanic peoples. But still in them the ‘ I ’ awoke at a higher stage than it did in the Germanic Scandinavian peoples. That which in the Northern peoples was still experienced as being the work of the Angels or Archangels, was not experienced directly by the Græco-Latin peoples; but they still possessed a distinct recollection of it. You must therefore think of it thus, that the difference between the Germanic and the Græco-Latin peoples is, that the latter still had a recollection of how the Angels and Archangels had taken part in their soul-life which they had developed within them. On the whole they had not experienced this very clearly; they had gone through it while still in a state of dim consciousness. But now it came up within them as a remembrance. The creation of the whole world, the way in which the Angels and Archangels, both normal and abnormal, played a part in the human soul was known to the Greeks. What they had gone through was in their souls as a mighty memory-picture. Now memory is much clearer, it has more distinct outlines than what one is still living through. It is no longer so fresh, no longer so young; but what appears as memory, as remembrance, has sharper contours; sharper outlines. The influence or impulse of the Angels and Archangels on the human soul was among the Greeks awakened in the memory in firm, sharp outlines. That is the Greek mythology. If we do not look at it thus, if we only compare one name with other names that appear elsewhere, if we do not take the special forces into consideration and realize what the figures are that appear as Apollo and Minerva and so on, then we are only making a superficial study of comparative religion, we are merely comparing the uniforms. The important point is, the way in which they saw in those days.

After we have realized this, we shall admit that the Greeks built up their mythology from memories. The Egyptians and Chaldeans had only a dark, dim recollection of the action of the world of the Angels and Archangels, but they could look into the world of Primal Forces. It was just as though the Egyptians and Chaldeans were beginning to forget something. In the Persian mythology or sacred teachings we find a complete forgetting of the world of the Angels and Archangels, but on the other hand they could look into the world of the Powers or Spirits of Form. That which is to be found in Greek mythology had been forgotten by the Persians and completely forgotten by the Indians. They saw the whole process over again in Akashic Records and created pictures of the earlier occurrences out of their own knowledge, which, however, was a divine knowledge, obtained by more highly developed spiritual powers. From this you will also recognize that just for those very peoples of the East it would be particularly difficult to understand the Western spiritual life. It is for this reason that the peoples of the East closed themselves to Western spiritual life. They will certainly accept the Western material civilization, but the spiritual culture of the West — unless they come to it indirectly through Spiritual Science — remains more or less closed to them. They were already at a high stage at a time when there was as yet no Christ Jesus upon earth. He only came in the fourth post-Atlantean age of civilization. That is an event which could no longer be grasped by means of the forces which had developed out of the Indian people. For that one also required forces which were connected with a rather lower position of the ‘ I ’, in which it was in more subordinate soul-forces.

In the Germanic and Scandinavian countries the action of the Angels and Archangels in the human souls did not exist as a recollection, but in such a way that, even at the time when Christ Jesus walked upon earth, the people could still see that this work was going on, they could perceive that they participated in the affairs of the Angels and the Archangels who were still working in their souls.

The Græco-Latin peoples could in these experiences of the soul, remember something they had gone through formerly. This the German peoples lived within, it was their own direct personal concern. Their ‘ I ’ had wakened at the stage of existence when the Folk-spirits and those spiritual Beings who even yet are under the Folk-spirits, were still at work in their souls. Hence these peoples were nearest to that which we know as the events that took place in old Atlantis.

In old Atlantis man looked up to the spiritual Powers and spoke of a sort of Unity of the Godhead, because he really looked up with direct perception into the old primal states of development of humanity. At that time one could still see, as it were, the ruling of the Spirits of Wisdom and the ruling of the Spirits of Motion, and this again was observed later by the old Indians in the Akashic Records. These peoples of the West had raised themselves about one stage higher than this standpoint, so that they experienced in the immediate present the transition from the old vision to the new. They looked into a weaving and life of real spiritual Powers, at a time when the ‘ I ’ was not yet awake. But at the same time they saw the ‘ I ’ gradually awaking and Angels and Archangels setting to work in the soul. They perceived this direct transition. They had a remembrance of an earlier weaving and an earlier life, of a time when they saw everything in an ocean of mist, as it were, and when out of this sea of mist there came forth to them what we have learnt to know as the divine spiritual Beings immediately above man. The old gods, those who were active before the gods intervened in the life of the human soul, who could then be seen, and with whom men felt themselves united, those Divine Beings who were active in a very far-distant past, in the time of old Atlantis, were called Vanas.

Man then passed on further from the old Atlantean epoch, and saw the weaving of the Angels and Archangels, whom they called the Asa. Those were the Beings who as Angels and Archangels busied themselves with the ‘ I ’ of man, which then awoke at its lowest stage; those Beings were placed at the head of these peoples. What the other peoples of the East slept through, — viz., seeing how the soul worked its way up by means of the various forces which were bestowed upon it by the normal and abnormal Angels and Archangels, — had to be gone through by the peoples of Europe beginning from the lowest stage; they had to be consciously present, in order that these soul-forces might gradually develop.

Thus, therefore, the figures of the gods, which placed themselves before the souls of the Germanic Scandinavian peoples, were the figures of the gods who worked directly upon his soul, and that which he could observe by direct perception, as the development of the human soul out of the cosmos, that was something which he directly experienced. He did not look back in remembrance at the manner in which the souls worked themselves into the bodies, he saw this more as though it were just happening then. It is his own evolution and he with his ‘ I ’ is present in it. He understood this down to the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries after Christ. He had preserved a comprehension of how the soul-forces gradually formed themselves, crystallized themselves into the body. At first he gazed upon the Archangel Beings who worked in his soul by giving him what were to become his soul forces, and he found there as the most predominant of these Archangels, Wotan or Odin, and he saw him at work upon his soul, he saw how he worked into his soul. What did he see there? How did he perceive Wotan or Odin? What did he recognize him to be? As what did he learn to love him, and above all to understand him? He learned to recognize him as being one of those Archangels who once upon a time reached the point of renouncing the ascent to higher stages. He learned to know Odin as one of the abnormal Archangels, as one of the great Renouncers of antiquity, who had assumed the office of an Archangel when undertaking the important mission of working into the souls of men. The Germanic Scandinavian experienced Odin in his activity at a time when he still went about the work of inoculating speech into the souls. The manner in which Odin himself worked upon his peoples in order to make speech possible to them has been preserved in a wonderful way It was described as a divine initiation. The way in which Odin gained the power to endow the souls of the Germanic and Northern peoples with languages is thus described Odin, before he had acquired this capacity, had gone through what is represented to us as the initiation by means of the Potion of the Gods, that divine Potion which once upon a time in the primeval past belonged to the giants. This Potion contained not merely abstract wisdom, but it represents to us the wisdom which expresses itself directly in sound. Odin at his initiation obtained power over the wisdom which expresses itself in sound, he learned how to use it when he went through a long initiation which lasted nine days, from which he was then released by Mimir, the ancient bearer of Wisdom. Thus Odin became Lord of the power of Speech. It was for this reason that the later sagas trace the language of the poets, the language of the skalds, back to Odin. The art of reading runes, which in olden times was thought of as being much more closely related to speech than the later kind of writing, was also traced back to Odin. Hence the way in which the soul — indirectly, through the etheric body, whilst making itself at home in the physical body — acquired speech through the corresponding Archangel, is expressed in the wonderful stories related about Odin.

In the companions of Odin we have similar Archangels: Hœnir who gave the imaginative faculty, and Lœdur who gave that which still touches the race most closely, the color of the skin, and the character of the blood. In these two Beings we have Archangels, belonging more to the normal side, so to speak. To the abnormal side belong the Beings appearing as Villy and Ve. These are Beings who work still more intimately, within the soul, as I explained in the preceding lecture. But the ‘ I ’ which is itself at an abnormal stage of evolution, where it is present even when the subordinate soul-powers are being developed, feels itself to be intimately related to an abnormal Archangel. Odin is not perceived as an abnormal Archangel, but rather as one whose remaining behind is somewhat like the way the Western souls remained behind, who experience more consciously in their ‘ I ’ that which remained behind when the migration through those countries took place, — whereas the Eastern souls passed beyond certain stages of soul-life, before they decided to awake. Hence there lived above all in the souls of the Germanic Scandinavians all that is bound up with those agitating and working Archangel-forces of Odin, which are at work in the primitive depths of the soul-life.

Whereas we have said that it is the Angels who carry down into the individual human beings that which the Archangels bring about, so also an ‘ I ’ which awakes at such an early elementary stage of soul-life, is above all interested in having the affairs of the Archangels carried into it, as it were. Hence the Germanic Scandinavians have an interest in an angelic figure who possesses special power, but who at the same time is closely related to the separate human being and his individuality. That angelic figure is Thor. Thor can only be recognized by knowing that in him one must recognize a Being who might indeed have been very advanced if he had evolved himself normally further, but who made the renunciation comparatively early, and remained behind at the stage of the Angel, in order that at the time when in the course of the soul's evolution the ‘ I ’ should awake, he might become Guide in the soul-world of the Germanic Scandinavian countries. What one feels so directly in Thor as being related to the individual human ‘ I ’ is, that that which was to be carried into every single ‘ I ’ from the spiritual world, could actually be so carried in. If we bear this in mind we shall also better understand many things that have been handed down. For us it is a question of being able to understand these individual Gods correctly. The Germanic Scandinavian man perceived and experienced this imprinting of the soul into the body. He was present when the ‘ I ’ membered itself into the body and took possession of each single human being.

Now we know that the ‘ I ’ pulsates in the blood of the physical body and that everything within corresponds to something without, everything microcosmic to something macrocosmic. The work of Odin who gave speech and Runic Wisdom, who worked indirectly through the breathing, corresponds to the movements of the wind outside in the macrocosm. The regular penetration of the air through our respiratory organs, which then transforms the air into word and speech, corresponds in the macrocosm outside to the movements and the currents of the wind. Just as it is true that we must feel the ruling of Odin within ourselves in the transforming of air into words, so it is true also that we must see him ruling and working in the wind outside. But one who still possessed the old Germanic Scandinavian capacities, to which especially belonged a certain degree of clairvoyance, really saw this. He could see Odin everywhere ruling in the wind, he saw how he formed speech by means of his breath. This the Northern man perceived as unity. Just as that which lives in us and organizes our speech, — that is to say, in the way speech existed among the Scandinavians, — just as that presses through into the ‘ I ’ and produces the pulsation of the blood, so does that which organizes itself into speech correspond outside in the macrocosm to thunder and lightning. Speech is there before the’ I ’ is born. Hence the ‘ I ’ is everywhere felt to be the son of that Being who gives speech. In the imprinting of the separate ‘ I ’ Thor is specially concerned, and that which in the microcosm corresponds to the event in the macrocosm, is the pulsation of the blood. That therefore which outside in the macrocosm corresponds to the pulsation of the blood in man, is what as thunder and lightning goes through the sighing winds and weaving clouds. That again is seen by the Germanic Scandinavian in his clairvoyance as unity, and he sees that the movement of the wind, the flashing of the lightning outside is inwardly connected with the weaving of the air he breathes in. He sees how that passes over into the blood and then causes the ‘ I ’ to pulsate. That is looked upon as a material occurrence at the present day, but it was still an astral one to the Germanic Norseman. He saw the inner relationship of fire and lightning, with that which goes through the blood. He felt the pulse-beat in his blood and he knew that it was the beating of the ‘ I ’; he knew: ‘That which thus beats I am able to perceive, and I shall be able to perceive it again in a little while;’ but he did not notice the outer material event. All that was clothed in clairvoyant perception. He perceived that which caused his pulse to beat and made him return again and again to the same places, as being the act of Thor. He felt the Thor-force in his ‘ I ’ as the constant returning of the hammer of Thor into the hand of Thor, he felt the force of one of the most powerful Angels that had ever been known and revered, because he was a mighty Being who was seen to have remained behind at the Angel stage.

The way in which the spiritual force holds the physical body together, is expressed in the Germanic Scandinavian mythology where it says, that the ‘ I ’ is that which, when the soul and body are woven, holds them both together. The Germanic Scandinavian man sees the weaving of the body and soul, from within; and later on he still understands the way in which, coming from the astral, his inner being unites itself with him; he understands how the inner answers, so to say, to the outer. He could also understand when Initiates told him how the world forms itself into man.

Then he understood how to go back to the earlier stages, to that which was told him about the events which represent the relation of the Angels to the Archangels, to the earlier stages when man was born out of the macrocosm in a physical-spiritual way. He was able to see how the individual human being was built up out of the macrocosm and how he rests in it.

He sought in the macrocosm for those occurrences which take place microcosmically in such a way, that out of the human North, out of the cool domain of the spirit, are woven the thoughts of man, and that from thence the human body is supplied with the twelve brain-nerves in the head. He sees this process which microcosmically have become the twelve brain nerves. He sees the weaving Spirit in what he calls ‘Nebelheim’ or ‘Niflheim’ (Home of Mist), he sees the twelve brain-nerves of man; he sees how that which comes from the human South, from the heart, works towards that which comes down from above; he seeks for it outside in the macrocosm and understands when he is told that it is called ‘Muspelheim’.

Thus even in the Christian centuries he still understood how to comprehend the microcosm from the whole macrocosm; and one can go back still further for him, by showing how man gradually originated out of the macrocosm as an extract of the whole world. He is able to look back into that time and he can understand that these events have a past, which he himself can still see as a working of Angels and Archangels into his soul. He can perceive that these events have a past, and the conceptions which he thus acquires are what we meet with in what is known as the old Germanic Scandinavian Genesis, as the origin of humanity from the entire macrocosm.

Where the Germanic Scandinavian Chaos begins, in Ginnungagap, is about the time when the earth begins to form itself anew after it has gone through the three earlier states, Saturn, Sun and Moon, when it emerges again from pralaya, when the kingdoms of nature are not yet differentiated, and men are as yet quite spiritual beings. Then the man of the North understands how the later conditions formed themselves out of that one.

Now it is interesting to see how in the Germanic Scandinavia mythology events which took place in those times, are depicted in pictures of imaginative form, events for which we, in our anthroposophical teachings, only make use of riper expressions, viz., concepts instead of those former pictures. The events which took place when the sun and moon were still united, are described to us. The going forth of the moon is described, and how evolution then passes over into what later becomes ‘Riesenheim’ (Home of Giants). Everything which existed during the Atlantean epoch is described to us as a continuation of what had happened formerly and which were the affairs of the Germanic Scandinavian people themselves.

I only wanted to-day to give an idea of how the Northern ‘ I ’ awoke while it was still at a lower stage of evolution, and how the Northern man looked into the Folk-soul, into the soul of Thor and so on. I wanted to call forth a feeling of how the ‘ I ’ was then present, of how it was able to acquire a direct interest in the inweaving of still higher Beings, who, however, came from quite another quarter than those we find among Eastern peoples. We shall to-morrow try to find access to the more remote parts of the Germanic mythology. We shall recognize how those remote parts are precursors of that which dwells in the Folk-souls, and we shall see what is the nature of our Western Folk-souls.
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Re: The Mission of Folk-Souls (In Connection With Germanic S

Postby admin » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:01 pm


15th June, 1910.

If among my hearers there are some who wished to analyze yesterday's lecture philosophically they might perhaps meet with difficulties, apparent difficulties, and indeed for the reason that they will have heard from former presentations given on similar themes, that the whole of our post-Atlantean epoch, and in fact even the later ages of Atlantean evolution existed for the purpose of gradually developing the human ‘ I ’ as such, and bringing it more and more to consciousness. In connection with this it has been said, that in some respects those belonging to the ancient Indian civilization were the very first who, after they had been able in old Atlantis to look into a spiritual world by means of the old clairvoyance then still to be found in humanity, were transposed straight out of this clairvoyant state into the physical world. They saw this physical world in such a way that over the whole of the first post-Atlantean age of civilization there came the feeling, that what lay behind them in the spiritual world was the true reality; that which was outside in the world was merely maya or illusion.

Now it was explained in our last lecture, quite in accordance with the facts, that the people belonging to this ancient Indian civilization had to some extent gone through a rich soul development, and it was said that they had gained this while their ‘ I ’ was more or less asleep, that is to say, that the ‘ I ’ only awoke after this mature soul development had already been acquired.

Now you might possibly ask: What then happened to these Indian peoples in the interval? For the Indian peoples must, so to say, have passed through the whole of this soul development in a completely different manner from the European, and especially the Germanic peoples, who were present with their ‘ I ’ whilst they were gradually evolving capacities, and who looked on and saw how the divine spiritual powers worked into their souls. You might possibly find it difficult to make this agree with what was said, if you were to think philosophically about yesterday's lecture. For those who wish to analyze the lecture not altogether impartially, but out of a philosophical way of thinking such as this, I must add something in parenthesis, by way of explanation.

The apparent contradiction will at once disappear if you reflect that, as regards the ‘ I ’ and the possibility of knowing it, man is in a totally different position from what he is with regard to every other object. If you ‘know’ any other object, or any other being than the ‘ I ’, you are then, in the act of cognition, always really dealing with two things, with the knower, the power of knowing, and that which is known. Whether that which is known is a man, an animal, a tree or a stone, makes no difference to the purely formal act of cognition. But it is a different matter as regards the ‘ I ’. There that which knows and that which is known is one and the same. The important thing is, that in human evolution, in human development these two things are separate. Those who had developed the mature Indian culture in the post-Atlantean epoch, developed the ‘ I ’ subjectively as a knower, and this subjective raising of the ‘ I ’ to a certain height within the human soul-power may exist for a long time before man also acquires the power to see the ‘ I ’ objectively as an entity. On the other hand the peoples of Europe developed comparatively early, whilst still in their old clairvoyance, the power to see the objective ‘ I ’; that is to say, they perceived within that which they surveyed clairvoyantly, the ‘ I ’ as an entity among other entities. If you distinguish carefully between these things you will be able to understand it philosophically also, as you will all the things of Spiritual Science, if you only do it properly. If you like philosophical formulas, we might express it thus: The Indian culture represents a soul which reached a high degree of the subjective ‘ I ’, long before it was able to see the objective ‘ I ’. The Germanic peoples of Europe developed the vision of the ‘ I ’ long before they became conscious of the real inner striving towards the ‘ I ’. Clairvoyantly they saw the dawning of their own ‘ I ’, the imaginative picture of it. In the astral world which was around them they had for a long time seen the ‘ I ’ objectively, among the other beings whom they perceived clairvoyantly. Thus we must conceive of this antithesis in a purely formal manner, then we shall also comprehend why Europe was the ground destined to bring this ‘ I ’ of man into relation with the other beings, the Angels and Archangels, in the way I pointed out yesterday in connection with mythology. If you bear this in mind you will understand why Europe was destined to bring the ‘ I ’ into relation in many different ways, as well as to the world which appeared to man as the sense-world, and also that the ‘ I ’, the real kernel of the human being, can enter into the most varied relations to the outer world. Formerly, before man saw his ‘ I ’, before he perceived it, these relations were regulated for him by the higher Beings, and he himself could do nothing in the matter. The relation in which he stood to the external world was an instinctive one. The essential thing in the development of the ‘ I ’ is, that it takes more and more into its own hands the task of regulating its own relation to the outer world.

It was essentially the task of the European nations to bring about in some way or other this relation of the ‘ I ’ to the whole world; and the Guiding Folk-soul had, and still has, the task of directing the European how to bring his ‘ I ’ into relation with the outer world, with other men, and with the Divine Spiritual Beings; so that on the whole it was within European civilization that one first began to speak of the relation of the ‘ I ’-man to the whole universe.

Hence the completely different fundamental tone in the old Indian cosmology from that prevailing in the European mythological culture. Over there in the East everything is impersonal, and above all one is required to become impersonal in one's knowledge, to suppress the ‘ I ’, so to say, in order to merge into Brahma and to find Atma within oneself. The chief requirement there is to be impersonal.

Here in Europe this human ‘ I ’ is everywhere placed in the centre of human life, according to its tendencies from the beginning and as it has gradually developed in the course of evolution. Therefore here in Europe special attention is given to considering everything in its relation to the ‘ I ‘, to explaining clairvoyantly with relation to the ‘ I ’ everything that had taken part in this development of the ‘ I ’ in earthly existence.

Now you all know that two forces coming from different directions have taken part in the development of the earthly man, who was destined gradually to acquire his ‘ I ’. Ever since the Lemurian epoch those forces we call Luciferic have imprinted themselves in the inner being of man, in his astral body. Regarding these forces you know that they made their chief attack on man by slipping into his desires, impulses and passions. Through this man gained two things: he gained the capacity to become an independent free being to glow with enthusiasm for what he thinks, feels and wills; whereas as regards his own concerns he was guided by divine spiritual Beings. But on the other hand, through the Luciferic powers man had to take into the bargain the possibility of falling into evil through his passions, emotions and desires. Lucifer's activity, therefore, in our earth-existence is such, that his point of attack is within man, where the human astral plays; and where the astral nature has affected the ‘ I ’ this too has been permeated by the Luciferic power. When, therefore, we speak of Lucifer, we are speaking of that which has caused man to sink deeper down into material sense-existence than he would have done without that influence.

Thus we have to thank the Luciferic powers for something which is most valuable to man, viz., freedom, and something which is very clangorous, the possibility of evil. But now we also know, that in consequence of these Luciferic powers having intervened in the whole constitution of human nature, later on other powers were able to enter which could not have done so, had not Lucifer first settled himself in the human organism. Man would see the world differently if he had not fallen under the influence of Lucifer and of those who were his followers, if he had not been obliged to allow another power to approach him after he had made it possible for the Luciferic power to enter into him. Ahriman approached from outside and stole into the great world of Nature surrounding man; so that the Ahrimanic influence is therefore a consequence of the Luciferic influence. Man is, as it were, attacked by Lucifer from within, and in consequence of that he is attacked by that which works from outside, by Ahriman. The spiritual science of all ages, that really knows the facts, speaks of both Luciferic and of Ahrimanic powers.

It will seem very remarkable to you that in the views of the various peoples, where these views are expressed in the form of mythology, there is not always to be found an equally clear consciousness of Lucifer on the one side and of Ahriman on the other. There is, for instance, no clear consciousness of this in the religious conception built up out of the whole Semitic tradition as set forth in the Old Testament. Only a certain consciousness of the Luciferic influence appears there; you may gather that from the account given in the Old Testament of the Serpent, which is nothing else than a picture of Lucifer. From this you can see that there was a distinct consciousness of Lucifer having played a part in evolution. This consciousness is clearly traceable in all the traditions which are connected with the Bible. But the consciousness of the Ahrimanic influence is not to be found there in the same way; that is only to be found where spiritual science has been taught. Therefore those who wrote the Gospels have also taken note of this. You will find, — for at the time of the writers of the Gospels the word ‘devil’ (dämon) was taken from the Greek, — that in St. Mark's Gospel, where the temptation is spoken of, a ‘devil’ is spoken of; but whenever Ahriman is in question, the word ‘Satan’ is used. But who notices the important difference between the Gospel of St. Mark and that of St. Matthew? Exoterically these fine distinctions are not noticed at all. In external tradition this difference does not exist.

This difference is very noticeable in the contrast between India and Persia. There at a certain period it is expressed in a very remarkable manner. Persia knew little of the Luciferic influence; the Ahrimanic was more to be seen there. There in particular is the battle with the Powers which give us an external, false picture of the world, and which leads us into gloom and darkness regarding the relation of man to the outer world. Ahriman is preferably called an opponent of the Good and an enemy of the Light. How does that come about? It comes about because in the second post-Atlantean age of civilization the human capacities of perception developed as regards the vision of the outer world. Bear in mind that Zoroaster made it his task to understand and make known the Sun-Spirit, the Spirit of Light. He had therefore to begin by pointing out that into this world is mingled, in addition to the Spirit of Light, the Spirit of Darkness, who dims our knowledge of the outer world. The Persian directs his chief attention to the conquest of Ahriman and to uniting himself to the Spirits who in this country are the great Powers, the Luminous Ones. He is organized for becoming active in the domain which lies outside. Hence he has his Ahuras or Asuras. It is, on the other hand, dangerous for the followers of the Persian religion to descend into that world to which a man can attain by plunging into his own inner being; there, where the Luciferic powers lie hidden, he will have nothing to do even with the possible presence of good powers. There he perceives danger; he directs his gaze outwards and pictures the Asuras of Light as opposing the Asuras of Darkness.

The Indians at this time pursued exactly the opposite course. They were at a period in which they endeavored to raise themselves by inner contemplation, in order to come into the higher spheres. To them salvation lay in uniting themselves with the forces that are to be found in the sphere of inner vision. They therefore considered it dangerous to look out into the external world in which they had to fight with Ahriman. They feared the outer world, they considered it dangerous. Whereas the Devas were avoided by the Persians, the Indians sought for them and wanted to be at work in their domain. But the Persians turned away, and avoided the region in which the battle against Lucifer had above all to be fought.

You may search as you will through the many different mythologies and concepts of the world, but in none of them will you come across such a clear and profound knowledge of the fact that there are two influences at work on man, as in the Germanic Scandinavian mythology. As the Germanic Scandinavian could still see clairvoyantly, he was really able to see these two powers, and he placed himself between the two. He said to himself: ‘In the course of his evolution man has seen the approach of certain powers which entered his inner being, entered his astral body;’ and because he was destined to develop the ‘ I ’, the independence of man, he felt not merely the possibility of evil, but above all he felt, in these powers which approached the astral body in order to bring it to freedom and independence, the element of freedom; he felt, one might say, the rebellious element revealing itself in these forces. The Luciferic element was felt in that power which was even then still participating in the formation of the races in Germanic Scandinavian countries, inasmuch as it gave the external form and coloring to man and made him an independent, active being in the world. With his clairvoyant vision the Germanic Scandinavian felt Lucifer primarily as that which makes a man free, one who does not merely yield himself to some external power, but who possesses within himself the firm kernel of existence and wishes to act out of himself.

This Luciferic influence was felt by the Germanic Scandinavian to be beneficial. But he became aware that something else proceeded also from this influence. Lucifer conceals himself behind the figure of Loki, who possesses a remarkably iridescent form. Because the Northman could then see the reality, he saw that the thoughts of the freedom and independence of man can be traced back to Loki; but through the old clairvoyance he was aware also that that which again and again drags man down through his desires and actions, and brings his whole being into a lower position than he would have held if he had only devoted himself to Odin and the Asa, is also to be traced back to the influence of Loki. And so one felt above all the awful grandeur of this Germanic Scandinavian mythology, one felt with compelling accuracy that which will only gradually return to the consciousness of man through spiritual science.

How then does the Luciferic influence act? It encloses itself in the astral body and thence works upon all the three members of man, upon the astral body as well as upon the etheric and physical bodies. Outside the Anthroposophical Society one can at the present day only give hints as to this Luciferic influence. What you will understand more and more clearly is, that the Luciferic influence makes itself felt in three different ways: in the astral body, in the etheric body and in the physical body of man. In the etheric body is produced that in man which urges him to untruthfulness and to lying. Lies and untruthfulness extend beyond the inner part of man. In the astral body, the purely inner part of man, the self is permeated with the Luciferic influence and this appears as selfishness. The etheric body is inwardly permeated by the impulse to be untruthful and thus it is given the possibility of lying. In the physical body sickness and death are produced. That will easily be understood by those who were present at my last series of lectures. [Manifestations of Karma] I shall once more point out that everything that appears in the physical body as sickness and death is karmically connected with what we call the Luciferic influence. Let us again recapitulate briefly: Lucifer brings about in the astral body selfishness, in the etheric body lying and untruthfulness, and in the physical body sickness and death. Naturally all persons of the present day whose thoughts are materialistic will be greatly surprised that Spiritual Science should trace back sickness and death to a Luciferic influence. But this too is connected with karma. Sickness and death would never have come to man if the Lucifer influence had not come in. The karmic working out of the Luciferic influence has brought about the deeper descent of man into the physical; and that on the other hand is compensated for by sickness and death.

Hence we may say: that through the entrance of the Luciferic influence into man, the physical, etheric and astral bodies have been seized by sickness and death, lying and untruthfulness, and selfishness. I should like to draw your attention to the fact that the material scientists of the present day give the same explanation of death in animal and plant bodies as it does in that of man. These persons cannot comprehend that one external phenomenon may look like another, and yet come from quite different causes. External facts may proceed from entirely different grounds. The death of an animal does not proceed from the same original causes as the death of a man, although externally it has the same appearance.

It would require a great deal too much time to prove these things in accordance with the theory of knowledge. I only wished to state here that what science calls causality is often very wrongly interpreted. Mistakes such as these, which rise from want of clearness, are made at almost every step. Imagine the case of a man who climbs up on to a roof, falls down, receives a mortal injury, and is picked up dead. What would be more natural than to say: the man fell down, was mortally injured and died from his injuries? But the case might have been quite different. The man might have had a stroke whilst on the roof and fallen down when already dead; the injuries might have been caused by the fall, so that outwardly the case may have been as described, and yet death would have come about from an entirely different cause. This is a very crude example, but scientists frequently make this kind of mistake.

The outer facts of the case may often be exactly the same, and yet the inner causes may be entirely different. We simply make the statement, as being the result of scientific spiritual research, that the result of Luciferic influence in the astral body is selfishness, in the etheric body lying and untruthfulness, and in the physical body illness and death. Now what would the Germanic Scandinavian mythology have had to say if it had had to ascribe this threefold activity to Loki, to Lucifer? It had to say that Loki has three offspring. The first is the one who brings about selfishness. That is the Midgard Serpent, by which is expressed the influence of the Luciferic spirit upon the astral body. The second is that which mingles into human knowledge as error. In man on the physical plane, this consists in those things which are in his mind and are not in agreement with the outer world. There it is that which is not true. To the Scandinavians, who still dwelt more upon the astral plane, that which to us is an abstract lie, expressed itself at once as an astral being and lived as such upon the astral plane.

The expression for everything that was dimness of vision, that was not correct seeing, was some animal; and here in the North it was principally the Fenris Wolf. This second animal is Loki's influence on the etheric body, which causes man to have the inclination (coming from within) to deceive himself, to think incorrectly about things; that is to say, the objects in the external world do not appear to him in the right way. This was generally expressed in the old Germanic Scandinavian mythology as the figure of a Wolf. That is the astral shape for lying and all untruthfulness proceeding from inner impulse. Where man comes into relation with the external world, Lucifer meets Ahriman, so that all the errors which insinuate themselves into his knowledge, even into his clairvoyant knowledge, all illusion and all maya, is the consequence of the tendency to untruthfulness which is active there. In the Fenris Wolf we must therefore see the shape surrounding man, through his not seeing things in their true form. Whenever any part of the external light, i.e., the truth, appeared darkened to the old Northman, he then spoke of a wolf. That goes through the whole Northern consciousness, and you will find this image made use of in this sense, even to the external facts.

When the old Scandinavian wished to explain what he saw during an eclipse of the sun, (of course a man at the time of that old clairvoyance saw very differently from a man of the present day, who sees with the aid of a telescope), he chose the picture of a wolf pursuing the sun, and who the moment he reaches it brings about the eclipse. That is in perfect harmony with the facts. This terminology belongs to what is grandest, yea, even to that grandeur which positively awes one in the Scandinavian Mythology. I can only give indications here; but if it were possible to speak for weeks at a time upon this mythology, you would then see how it carried this out all through. That is because Scandinavian mythology is a result of the old clairvoyance, into which, however, the ‘ I ’ plays everywhere.

Materialistic people of to-day will say that this is a mere superstition; that there is no wolf pursuing the sun. The old imaginative Scandinavian sees these facts in pictures; and perhaps I could enumerate many so-called scientific truths which contain more of the influence of Ahriman, i.e., greater error than does the corresponding astral vision, which says that the wolf is pursuing the sun. To the occultist there is something which is still greater superstition. That is, an eclipse which occurs because the moon places itself in front of the sun. From the external point of view that is quite correct, just as the case of the wolf is quite correct to astral perception. In fact the astral view is more correct than the one you will find in modern books, for the latter is even more subject to error. If a man were to perceive the true state of affairs instead of this external one, he would find that the Scandinavian myth is right. I know that I am saying something that is utterly absurd to the present-day point of view, but I know also that in anthroposophical centers one is sufficiently advanced to make it possible to indicate wherein our physical view of the world is most influenced by maya, deception or illusion.

Now we proceed to the influence of Loki on the physical body, in which he brings about sickness and death. His third off-spring is, therefore, that which produces sickness and death. That is Hela. Thus you have, in fact, expressed in a wonderful way — in the figures: Hela, the Fenris Wolf, and the Midgard Serpent — the influence of Loki or Lucifer, in the form in which the old clairvoyance, which we may describe as a dreamy clairvoyance, perceived it. If we were to go through the whole history of Loki, we should everywhere find that these things throw light upon the matter, down to the smallest details. But we must clearly understand therein that what the clairvoyant sees is not merely an allegorical symbolical description, but he sees real entities, Beings.

Diagram 5

Now the Germanic Scandinavian did not know merely of Loki, of the Luciferic influence; he was also aware of the influence of Ahriman which came from another direction; and he knew more, he knew that the exposure to the Ahrimanic influence is the consequence of the Loki influence. You must now transpose yourselves back to the time when man did not look at the world with external physical vision, but contemplated it with the old clairvoyance, and you will then find that this myth is formed for that clairvoyance. What does the myth say? Loki's influence has come upon man, and this is expressed in the action of the Midgard Serpent, the Fenris Wolf and Hela. Man has become such that his view, his clear luminous vision into the spiritual world has become dimmed by the increasing pressure of the Luciferic influence. At the time when this view developed, man alternated between seeing into the spiritual world and living on the physical plane, just as one now alternates between waking and sleeping. When he gazed into the spiritual world, he looked into the world out of which he was born. The essential point is, that the myth originated from the clairvoyant consciousness. But human consciousness consisted in this alternating state of seeing into and not being able to see into the spiritual world. When the condition of dream-consciousness was there, one saw into the spiritual world; when the condition of waking day consciousness was there, one was blind to it. Thus the conditions of blindness and of being able to gaze into the spiritual world alternated. The consciousness alternated, just as a certain cosmic being alternated between the blind Hœnir and the clairvoyant Balder, who could see into the spiritual world. Thus man had the tendency to receive Balder's influence, and he would have developed in accordance with this influence if he had not received Loki's influence. Loki, however, brought it about that the Hœnir nature overcame the Balder nature. That is expressed by Loki bringing the mistletoe with which blind Hœnir kills Balder, the one who sees.

Loki is therefore the death-bringing power, like Lucifer who has driven man to Ahriman. When man is devoted to the blind Hœnir, the old clairvoyant vision is extinguished. That is the slaying of Balder. This is felt by the Northman as the gradual loss of the Balder-powers, the vision into the Northern Germanic world. Thus the Northman felt the disappearance of his clairvoyance as though it were Loki having killed the clairvoyant power in Balder, and all that remains to him is his impotence as regards this clairvoyance. Thus one of the greatest historical events, the gradual disappearance of the old unclouded knowledge, is expressed in the myth of Balder, Hœnir and Loki. On the one side we have Loki with his kinsmen, the three Beings, and on the other the tragic act of the slaying of Balder.

Thus, reflected in the Scandinavian mythology we have that which we can draw from spiritual science: the twofold influence, the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic. That it is which spiritual science always tries to place before you as a presentation of the clairvoyant knowledge of ancient times, and as a working out of the myths from the old clairvoyance, which then began gradually to disappear.

It would carry us too far if we were to pursue this theme further; but even in the broad outline I have laid before you, you can feel that which is so thrillingly grand in this myth, the like of which cannot be found, because no other mythology adheres so closely to the old clairvoyant condition. Greek mythology is only a memory of something experienced in former times, expressed in plastic form. In Greek mythology there is no longer a direct connection with the facts such as there is in the Germanic Scandinavian mythology. The Greek is more clarified, the figures appear with much more rounded outlines and therefore in a very plastic manner, and thus the elemental nature of the original impressions has been lost. The old clairvoyance had for a long time vanished in the rest of Europe, while it was still preserved in the North. Only very gradually, slowly and by degrees has the outlook of man become limited to the picture of the physical world. Thus at the time when Christianity began to spread abroad, that which is expressed in the Balder myth, in the death of Balder, had become true for the majority of men. There were, however, still a few who were able to see directly that which the Scandinavian experienced clairvoyantly.

Thus for a long time there still existed a direct vision of this spiritual world, and because it was still so elemental and came so directly from clairvoyant experience, when Christianity began to be spread abroad, that consciousness also remained which could in no other people be as strong as it was in the old Germanic Scandinavians. They then felt: ‘Everything we formerly experienced in connection with our divine spiritual home is now vanishing.’ This only disappeared from the North when the Germanic-Scandinavian received the comfort of Christianity. — But that did not contain for him any direct vision; he had felt the fate of Balder much too deeply to be able to comfort himself by having a God offered him, who had descended to the physical plane in order that those human beings, who could only perceive the physical plane, might also be able to ascend to divine co-consciousness. It was not possible in Northern lands to feel, as did the men in Asia Minor, the words, ‘Change your attitude, repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is come nigh unto you.’ Over there, where Christ had appeared, one could only find old memories of the fact that there was once upon a time an old clairvoyance. In the East the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, had already lasted for three thousand years, during which men could no longer see into the spiritual world; but they always longed for it, and they have ever told of a world which men were once able to see spiritually, but it was a world which had now vanished from their sight. Hence they had experienced the spiritual world in a much more distant past than had the men of the North, and they only knew from memory that the spiritual world had once been accessible. Hence in Asia Minor one could well understand the words: ‘Change your view, for the kingdom of Heaven is come nigh unto you.’ One could understand when it was said:. ‘The kingdom of the heavens has descended even here to the physical plane, look ye therefore upon the unique Figure Who will appear in the land of Palestine, look ye upon the Messiah, who contains God within Him, through Whom ye will be able to find the connection with the Divine, even if ye are not able to rise above the physical plane; understand ye that Figure in Palestine, understand ye the figure of Christ.’ That is the profound utterance of John the Baptist.

The Scandinavian necessarily felt this differently, for he had for a much longer time experienced considerably more than merely the account from memory of a vision into the spiritual world. Hence there came to him a thought of very great and far-reaching importance, viz., ‘This stepping out on to the physical plane, into the physical world, this incapacity to see into the divine spiritual world, can only be an intermediate state. Man must pass through it as through a school and must see what he can acquire in the physical world. This transition is necessary for him and he must therefore step out of the spiritual world; he must go through the experience of the physical world as a training. But just by going through this as a training, he will return again into that world from which he came forth. Balder's vision will be able to ensoul him again.’ In other words, the great idea which originates in the course of the Germanic Scandinavian evolution, — that the world which vanished away and withdrew from clairvoyant vision, will again become visible, — brought about the feeling that the time spent on the physical plane was a time of transition.

The Initiates of the Northmen made them understand that in the divine spiritual world, during the time in which they could not see into it, something was taking place through which it would one day appear different from what they were formerly accustomed to see. They explained it to them in somewhat the following words: ‘Formerly you looked into the divine spiritual world, and there you saw the Archangel of Speech, the Archangel of the Runes, the Archangel of Respiration, Odin; and Thor, the Angel of the ‘ I ’-hood. You were connected with these, and he who is sufficiently prepared will acquire the possibility of re-entering this spiritual world. But it will then appear different; other powers will have been added to it, and the spheres of power and the conditions of power of those old spiritual leaders of the human race will have changed. You will, it is true, see into this world, but you will see something different from what you have hitherto experienced.’

That which man will then see, they describe to him as vision of the future, that vision which will one day appear before the human soul when man is again able to see into the spiritual world, when he will see what the destiny of the old figures of the Gods has been, and how they entered into relation with other powers. This vision of the future as seen by the Initiates, arose from Lucifer having come into conflict with that which comes from the Gods and which will also produce its effects. This vision of the future was painted for man by the Initiates in the picture of the ‘Twilight of the gods.’ Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods (Götterdämmerung), is therefore the picture placed before the Germanic Scandinavians by the Initiates as a vision of the future. And again we shall see that all the events thus presented as future events could not, even down to the smallest details, be given better, could not be more terminologically correct or more to the point, than in the wonderful picture of the Twilight of the Gods. That is the occult background of the Saga of the Twilight of the Gods.

How then should man regard himself? He should regard himself as receiving all that comes from former ages as the origin and cause of his evolution, and should thoughtfully accept what he received from Odin as a gift, but he should regard himself as having gone through the evolution following after that. He should receive into himself the teachings implanted in him by Odin, who came to him as an Archangel. He should make himself a son of Odin. He should take part in the battle and that right soon. The Initiate, the leader of the Esoteric School, makes that clear, particularly to the Northman, by indicating the divine spiritual Being Who appears to us so mysteriously, Who really plays a definite part only in the ‘Twilight of the Gods’ because he overcomes even that power by which Odin himself is overcome. The avenger of Odin is given a special rôle and he plays it in the Twilight of the Gods. When we understand this rôle we shall then see the wonderful connection between the capacities of the Germanic Scandinavians and that which we can conceive as the Vision of the Future. All this is expressed in a wonderful way, down to the very smallest details, in the great vision of ‘The Twilight of the Gods.’
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Re: The Mission of Folk-Souls (In Connection With Germanic S

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


16th June, 1910.

Before we can develop all that can be extracted from the significant picture of the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, it will be well to form a foundation, a basis, to work from. For we shall deal with the nature of the Germanic Scandinavian Folk-soul, and from the results of our investigation describe it more minutely. We must see how in Europe the whole collective spiritual life worked in co-operation, how through the activity of the various Folkspirits progress was brought about in mankind, beginning from the earliest ages and proceeding through our present age on into the future.

Each individual people, yea, even all the smaller subdivisions of peoples have their special task in this great collective picture; and you will perceive from what has been said, that in a certain respect it was just to the pre-Christian and post-Christian cultures of Europe that the task, the mission was given to educate the ‘ I ’ through the different stages of the human being, to form it and gradually to develop it. As we have shown to be the case in the Germanic Scandinavian people, the ‘ I ’ was in primal ages still clairvoyantly shown to man from the spiritual world. It was shown that this ‘ I ’ was bestowed upon man by an Angelic Being, who stands between man and the Folk-soul, by Donar or Thor. We have seen that each single individual felt himself to be ‘ I ’-less, impersonal; to him the ‘ I ’ was a gift, presented to him from the spiritual world. Naturally in the East, when the ‘ I ’ actually awoke, they did not find it in that way. There man had already evolved subjectively to such a high stage of human perfection, that he did not feel the ‘ I ’ as something foreign to him, but as his own. When in the East man awoke to the ‘ I ’, Eastern culture had already proceeded so far, that it was capable of gradually developing that delicately spun speculation, logic and wisdom, which we have before us in the Eastern Wisdom.

Therefore the East did not experience the whole process of receiving the ‘ I ’ as though coming from a higher spiritual world, with the assistance of a divine spiritual individuality such as Thor. This was experienced in Europe, and hence the European felt this gradual ascent to the individual ‘ I ’ as the emerging from a kind of group-soul. The Germanic Scandinavian still felt himself attached to a group-soul, belonging to a whole community, as if he were a part in the great body of his people. Thus only could it come about that nearly 100 years after the Christ-impulse had been given to the earth, Tacitus could describe the Germans of Central Europe as appearing to belong to separate tribes, and yet as members of one organism and belonging to the unity of the organism. At that time each individual still felt himself to be a member of the tribal ‘ I ’. He felt his individual ‘ I ’ being gradually born out of the tribal ‘ I ’, and in the God Thor he recognized the giver, the bestower of the ‘ I ’, the God who really presented him with the individual ‘ I ’. But he felt this God to be still united with the collective spirit of the tribe, with that which dwelt in the group-soul. To this group-soul was given the name Sif. That is the name of the spouse of Thor. Sif must linguistically be connected with the word Sippe-tribal relationship, — and this connection really exists, although veiled and hidden. Occultly, however, Sif signifies the group-soul of the individual community from which the single individual grows forth. Sif is the being who unites herself with the God of the individual ‘ I ’, with the giver of the individual ‘ I ’, with Thor. The individual man recognized Sif and Thor as the Beings who gave him his ‘ I ’. The Northman still felt thus about them, at a time when to the peoples in other parts of Europe other tasks had already been given in the educating of man up to the ‘ I ’.

Every single people has its particular task. There above all we find that people, that collection of peoples, that community of peoples whom we know by the name of Celts. The Folk-spirit of the Celts — of whom from former lectures we know that later he received quite different tasks — then had the task of educating the still youthful ‘ I ’ of the peoples of Europe. For this it was necessary that the Celts should receive an education and instruction which was communicated directly from the higher world. Hence it is perfectly true that through their Initiates, the Druid Priests, the Celts did receive instruction from the higher worlds which they could not have acquired by their own strength, and which they then had to hand on further to the other nations.

The collective culture of Europe is a gift of the European Mysteries. The progressive Folk-souls are, as they progress, always the leaders of the collective culture of humanity. But at the time when these Folk-spirits of Europe had to direct men to work from out of themselves, it became necessary that the Mysteries should begin to withdraw. Hence with the withdrawal of the Celtic element there took place a kind of withdrawal of the Mysteries into much more secret depths. At the time of the old Celts there was, through the Mysteries, a much more direct intercourse between the spiritual Beings and the people, because the ‘ I ’ was still united to the group-soul nature, and yet the Celtic element was to be the donor of the ‘ I ’ to the other part of the population. We might therefore say, that before the actual Germanic Scandinavian evolution began, the mystery-education could only be given to European civilization by the old Celtic Mysteries. This mystery-education allowed just so much to come to the surface as was necessary to form a foundation for the whole culture of Europe. Now out of this old culture, through intermingling with the many different races, peoples and subdivisions of peoples, the most varied Folk-souls and Folkspirits were able to fertilize themselves, and they brought the ‘ I ’ into ever different conditions in order to educate it, the ‘ I ’ which has worked its way up out of the foundations of all that lies below the ‘ I ’ of man.

Diagram 6

After the old Greek culture had to a certain extent reached a culminating point in the fulfillment of its special mission, we see quite a different aspect of this same mission in the Roman Empire and its various stages of culture. We have already mentioned that the several post-Atlantean civilizations follow one another in certain order. If we wish to obtain a survey over these successive stages of post-Atlantean civilization, we may say that the old Indian culture worked upon the human etheric body. Hence the wonderfully wise, clairvoyant character of the old Indian culture, because — after the development of the special human capacities — it was a culture that was in the human etheric body; so that we may say, the ancient Indian culture is to be understood somewhat as follows (see diagram).

From the Atlantean down to the later post-Atlantean epoch the Indian Folk-spirit went through the whole of the development of the inner soul forces, without his ‘ I ’ being wakened. He then returned to his work in the human etheric body. The essential thing in the old Indian culture is that the Indian, with completely developed soul-forces, with soul-forces refined to the highest point, goes back again into the etheric body, and within that he perfects those wonderfully delicate powers, the later reflection of which we see in the Vedas and in a still more refined condition in the Vedantic philosophy. All this was only possible because the Indian Folk-soul had evolved to high degree before the ‘ I ’ was seen and realized, and this again occurred at a time when man could perceive by means of the forces of the etheric body itself.

The Persian Folk-soul had not progressed so far as this, only so far as to perception in the sentient body or astral body. It was again different at the time of the Egyptian-Babylonian-Chaldæan culture. That part of man which we describe as the Sentient Soul was then able to perceive, and we must therefore describe this Egyptian-Chaldæan culture as working in the Sentient Soul. The Græco-Latin Folk-spirit was directed to the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings, and worked in that. He himself was only able to work upon this Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings because it had a sort of expression of its nature in the etheric body. But this form of world-conception which now appeared in Greece was less real, as it were, less objective, it bore less of the stamp of reality. Whereas in the old Indian culture there was a more direct activity in the etheric body, there was a more blurred, a fainter image of the reality, which, as I have said, was like a memory of what these peoples had once experienced, a memory reflected in their etheric body.

In the other peoples which then follow upon the Greek people we have to deal principally with the use of the physical body for the development, stage by stage, of the Spiritual Soul. Hence the Greek culture was one which we can only understand if we try to do so from within, if we realize that in this culture what is important in external experience is that which pours forth from the inner nature of the Greeks. On the other hand the peoples lying more towards the West and the North have the task, under the guidance of their Folk-souls, of directing their gaze out into the world, and of seeing what is there to be seen on the physical plane, and of perfecting that which has to play a part on that plane. The Germanic Scandinavian peoples had also the special task of perfecting this as they alone could, because they still enjoyed the blessing of being able to see into the spiritual world with the old clairvoyance, and to carry the primeval experiences which they perceived so vividly, into that which had to be arranged on the physical plane.

One people there was, which, at its later stage no longer possessed this blessing; which in the first place had not gone through such a previous evolution, but had been placed on the physical plane at one bound, as it were, before the birth of the human ‘ I ’ and therefore was only able under the guidance of its Folk-soul, of its Archangel, to look after that which helped this human ‘ I ’ on the physical plane, that which was necessary for its well-being there. This was the Roman people. Everything that the Roman people had, under the guidance of its Folk-spirit, to accomplish for the collective mission of Europe, was for the purpose of giving importance to the ‘ I ’ of man as such. Hence the Roman people was able to develop that which places the ego among other egos. It was able to found the whole system of the rights of the individual. Hence it was the creator of jurisprudence, which is built up purely on the ‘ I ’. The relation of one ‘ I ’ to another was the great question in the mission of the Roman people. The other peoples, which grew out of the Roman civilization, already possessed more of what — coming so to say from the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings and from the Spiritual Soul itself — in some way or other fertilizes the ‘ I ’ and drives it out into the world. Therefore all the mixtures of races of which external history relates, which occurred on the Italian and Pyrenean Peninsula, in present-day France and in present-day Great Britain, were necessary in order to develop the ‘ I ’ in the different shades of the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings, and the Spiritual Soul on the physical plane. That was the great mission of those peoples which gradually developed in various ways in Western Europe.

All the several shades of culture and the missions of the peoples of Western Europe can finally be explained by the fact that there had to be developed in the direction of the Italian and Pyrenean peninsulas that which could be formed in the ‘ I ’ through the impulse of the Sentient Soul. If you study the several folk-characters in their light and shadow sides, you will find that in the peoples of the Italian and Pyrenean peninsulas there is a peculiar mingling of the ‘ I ’ with the Sentient Soul.

Then you will be able to understand the peculiar nature of those peoples who till now have lived in the land of France, if you consider the growth and mingling of the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings, with the ‘ I ’.

The great world-historical effects, however, which we may consider as represented by Great Britain, are to be traced back to the impulse of the Spiritual Soul penetrating into the human ‘ I ’. With the world-historical mission that proceeded from Great Britain is also connected that which proceeded from the founding of the external constitutional form. The union of the Spiritual Soul with the ‘ I ’ did not exist as yet inwardly. If, however, you recognize how this union came about between the Spiritual Soul and the ‘ I ’ that had been driven outwards, you will find that the great historical conquests made by the inhabitants of that island proceed from that impulse. You will also find that what took place there in the founding of the parliamentary forms of government at once becomes comprehensible, if you know that an impulse of the Spiritual Soul was to be placed on the plane of the world's history.

Thus many shades were necessary, for the several peoples had to be guided through many stages of the ‘ I ’. If we had sufficient time to follow these things on further we should find pictures in history which would show us how the basic forces branch and work out in the most various ways. Thus did the peculiar constitution of the soul work among the western peoples, who had not preserved in themselves the direct elementary remembrance of the clairvoyantly experienced things of the spiritual world of former times.

In later times, in the Germanic Scandinavian domains, that which proceeded directly from a gradual, successive evolution of primeval clairvoyance and which had already been poured into the Sentient Soul, had to develop in quite a different way. Hence that current of inwardness, which indeed is only the after-effect of a more inward clairvoyant experience gone through in a former age. The Southern Germanic peoples had in the first place their task in the domain of the Spiritual Soul.

The Græco-Latin age had to develop the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings. But it had not merely to give the impulse with this soul, it had to work also with a wonderful premature development that was endowed with clairvoyant experience. All this was poured into the Spiritual Souls of the Central European and Northern Germanic peoples. It worked among these souls as an inner capacity, and the Germanic peoples living more to the South had first of all to develop what pertains to the inward preparation of the Spiritual Soul, to fill it inwardly with the consciousness resulting from the old clairvoyance, but transposed on to the physical plane.

The philosophies of Central Europe, those philosophies which were represented by Fichte, Schelling and Hegel as late as in the nineteenth century, are apparently far removed from the sphere of mythology, but they are nevertheless nothing but the result of the most penetrating old clairvoyance, acquired by man when he worked in co-operation with the divine spiritual Beings. It would otherwise have been impossible for a Hegel to have looked upon his ideas as realities, it would have been impossible for him to make the strange statement so characteristic of him, when, in answer to the question, ‘what is the abstract?’, he replied, ‘The abstract is for instance an individual man who performs his daily duties, let us say a carpenter.’ That, therefore, which to the abstract scientist is concrete, was abstract to Hegel. That which to the abstract scientist are mere thoughts, to him were the great, mighty architects of the world. Hegel's world of ideas is the final, the most highly sublimated expression of the Spiritual Soul, and contains in pure concepts that which the Northman still saw as sensible-super-sensible, divine spiritual powers in connection with the ‘ I ’. And when the ‘ I ’ was expressed in Fichte, it was nothing but a precipitation of what the God Thor had given to the human soul, now viewed from the Spiritual Soul in what seems to be the simplest of thoughts, the thought ‘I am,’ which is the starting-point of Fichte's philosophy. A straight line of evolution goes from the presentation of the ‘ I ’ by the God Thor or Donar to the old Northern peoples from the spiritual world, down to this philosophy. This God had to prepare all this for the Spiritual Soul in order that the latter might receive its fitting contents, for its task is to look out into the outer world and to work within that world. But this philosophy does not discover merely the external, crude, materialistic experience, it discovers in the external world the contents of the Spiritual Soul itself, and looks upon Nature merely as the other side of idea. Take this on-working impulse, and in it you have the mission of the Northern Germanic peoples in Central Europe.

Now, as all evolution has to progress, we must inquire: How does this evolution advance? When we look back into the ancient times we can see something remarkable. As we have said, in old India the first culture took place in the etheric body, after the necessary perfecting of the spiritual forces had been accomplished. But there are other civilizations besides, which have preserved the old Atlantean culture and carried it over into the people of the post-Atlantean epoch. Whereas on the one hand we have the Indian, coming thus to his etheric body, and from this and its forces creating his mighty civilization and his magnificent spiritual life, we have coming from the other side a culture which originated in Atlantis and continued to work on in the post-Atlantean epoch; a culture which for its foundation and development works out the other side, as it were, of the consciousness of the etheric body. That is the Chinese culture. If you bear this connection in mind, and remember that the Atlantean culture was directly related to what in our earlier lectures we called ‘The Great Spirit,’ you will understand the details of the Chinese culture. This culture was directly connected with the highest stages of the evolution of the world. But it still works into modern human bodies, and from a completely different side. It will therefore seem quite comprehensible that the two great opposites of the post-Atlantean epoch will one day clash in these two civilizations: the Indian, which, within certain limits, is capable of development; and the Chinese, that shuts itself off and remains rigid, repeating what existed in the old Atlantean epoch.

You really obtain an occult, scientific, poetic impression of this Chinese Empire if you observe it in its evolution, and think of the Great Wall of China, which was intended to enclose on all sides that which came from the primal ages and developed in the post-Atlantean epoch. I say that something like an occult poetic feeling steals over one, if one compares the Wall of China with something which existed in former times. I can only indicate these things. If you compare this with the results that have been obtained by science, you will find how extraordinarily illuminating these things are.

Let us clairvoyantly observe the old continent of Atlantis, which must be sought where the Atlantic Ocean now lies, between Africa and Europe on the one side, and America on the other. This continent was encircled by a sort of warm stream, a stream about which clairvoyant consciousness reveals that, strange as it may sound, it flowed upwards from the South, through Baffins Bay, towards the north of Greenland, encircling it and then, flowing over to the East, gradually cooled down; then, at a time when Siberia and Russia had not yet risen to the surface, it flowed down near the Ural mountains, turned, touched the Eastern Carpathians, flowed into the region occupied by the present Sahara, and finally streamed towards the Atlantic Ocean near the Bay of Biscay; so that it flowed in a perfectly unbroken stream. You will understand that only the remnants of this stream still remain. This is the Gulf Stream, which at that time encircled the Atlantean Continent. You will now also understand that, with the Greeks, the life of the soul is remembrance. The picture of Oceanos arose in them, which is a memory of that Atlantean epoch. Their picture of the world is not so very incorrect, because it was drawn from the old Atlantean epoch. The stream that came down by Spitzbergen as a warm current, and gradually cooled and so on, — the region encircled by this stream the Chinese have literally reproduced by enclosing within their Great Wall the culture which they rescued from the Atlantean epoch. There was as yet no history in the Atlantean civilization, hence the Chinese civilization is also in some ways lacking in history. Thus we have there something pre-Indian, something coming from Atlantis.

Let us now turn, in the further progress of the Germanic Scandinavian Folk-spirit, to the description of what follows it. What happens first of all, when a Folk-spirit so leads his people that the Spirit-Self can specially develop? Let us recollect that the Etheric Body was evolved during the Indian civilization, the Sentient Body in the Persian, the Sentient Soul in the Egyptian-Chaldæan, the Intellectual Soul or Soul of the Higher Feelings in the Græco-Latin, the Spiritual Soul in our own, which is not yet completed. Then comes the laying hold of the Spirit-Self by the Spiritual Soul, so that the Spirit-Self shines into the Spiritual Soul, which, as that is the task of the sixth stage of civilization, must be prepared for gradually. That civilization, which must be pre-eminently a receptive one, for it must reverently await the penetrating of the Spirit-Self into the Spiritual Soul, is being prepared by the peoples of Western Asia and the Slav peoples of Eastern Europe. These latter were pushed forward with their Folk-souls, for the very good reason that everything which is to happen in the future, must in a certain way be prepared beforehand, must already push itself in, in order to provide the elements for what is to follow.

It is extremely interesting to study these advance guards of a Folk-soul who is preparing himself for later epochs. This accounts for the peculiar nature of the Slav peoples at present living to the East of us. Their whole culture gives the Western European the impression of being in a preparatory stage, and they put forward in quite a curious way, through the medium of their advance guards, that which in spirit is quite different from any mythology.

It would be misunderstanding what is being pushed forward from the East as a civilization of the future, it would be misunderstanding this culture if we were to compare it with that which the Western European peoples possess, viz., an impulse that continues in a straight line, which is still rooted in and has its source in the old clairvoyance. The peculiarity attaching to the souls of these Eastern European peoples is expressed in the whole attitude they have always shown when their relations to the higher worlds have come into question. This relation, if we compare it with what appears in our mythology in Western Europe and the strange divine figures worked out even down to the individual character, is quite different. That which it offers appears to us in such a way that we may compare what it gives us as a direct out-pouring of the Folk-spirit, with our various planes or worlds, through which we prepare ourselves to understand a spiritual, a higher culture. For instance, we find there in the East the following conception: The West has received a series of successive worlds, lying side by side. In the East we find in the first place a distinct consciousness of a world of the Cosmic Father. Everything that is creatively active in air and fire, in all the elements in and above the earth, meets us as one great, all-embracing idea, which is at the same time an all-embracing feeling, the concept of the Heavenly Father. In somewhat the same way as we think of the Devachanic world as fertilizing our earth, so do we find this heavenly world, the world of the Father, coming towards us from the East, and it fertilizes that which is felt to be the Mother, the Spirit of the Earth. We have no other expression and can think of no other way of picturing the whole Spirit of the Earth than in the picture of the fertilization of Mother Earth.

Two worlds, then, confront one another there, instead of single individual Divine Figures. And what is felt to be the Blessed Child of these two worlds, stands in front of them as a third world. That is not an individual being, not a feeling in the soul, but something which is the product of the Heavenly Father and the Earth-Mother. In this way the relation of Devachan to the Earth is felt from the spiritual world. There, that which blossoms in the material body is felt as something altogether spiritual; and that which grows and blossoms in the soul, is perceived as the world which is at the same time felt to be the Blessed Child of the Heavenly Father and the Earth-Mother. Universal as these conceptions are we find them among the Slav peoples which have been pushed forward towards the West. In no Western European mythology do we find this conception so universal. We find in them clearly defined Divine Figures, but not that which we present in our Anthroposophy as the different worlds; these we find more in the Heavenly Father, the Earth-Mother, and the Blessed Child of the East.

In the Blessed Child there is again a world which permeates another one. It is a world which is, however, conceived of as being individual, because it is connected with the physical sun and its light. The Slav element also has this Being, — although in a differently developed form of conception and feeling, — which we have so often found in the Persian mythology; it has the Sun-being who so pours his blessings into the other three worlds that the destiny of man is woven into the creation, into the Earth, through the fertilization of the Earth-Mother by the Heavenly Father, and through that which the Sun-spirit weaves into both these worlds.

A fifth world is that which comprises everything spiritual. The Eastern European element feels the spiritual world as underlying all the forces of Nature and their creations. But this we must think of in quite a different shade of feeling, connected more with the facts, creations and beings of Nature. We must conceive of this Eastern soul as being in a position to see an entity in an occurrence of Nature, of seeing not only the physically-sensible, but the astrally-spiritual. Hence the ideas of an immense number of beings in this unique spiritual world, which we may at the most compare with the world of the Elves of Light. It is that spiritual world, which is looked upon in Anthroposophy as the fifth world, which dawns more or less in the feelings of the peoples of the East. Whether they call it by this name or that, does not signify; what does signify is that the feelings are colored and shaded, that the concepts which characterize this fifth plane or spiritual world are to be found in the world of the East. By means of these feelings this world of the East is preparing for that Spirit which is to bring the Spirit-Self into man, in readiness for that epoch when the Spiritual-Soul shall ascend to Spirit-Self, in the sixth age of post-Atlantean civilization, which is to succeed our own. We meet with this in a very unique manner not only in the creations of the Folk-Souls, which are as I have just described, but also in a wonderful preparatory fashion, in the various externalities of Eastern Europe and its culture.

It is very remarkable and extremely interesting to see how the Eastern European expresses his tendency of receptivity towards the pure Spirit by receiving with great devotion Western European culture, thus indicating prophetically that he will be able to unite something still greater with his being. Hence also the little interest he has in the details of this Western European culture. He receives what is presented to him more in broad outlines and less in details, because he is preparing himself to take up that which as Spirit-Self is to enter into mankind. It is particularly interesting to see how, under this influence, a much more advanced conception of Christ has been able to come in the East than in Western Europe, excepting where it has come about through Anthroposophy. Of all non-Anthroposophists the most advanced conception of Christ is that held by the Russian philosopher, Solovioff. It is so advanced that it can only be understood by Anthroposophists, because he develops it higher and higher and gives it an endless perspective, showing that what man is able to recognize in Christ to-day is only the beginning, because the Christ-impulse has as yet only been able to reveal to man a small degree of what it contains within it. But as regards the conception of Christ, if we look for instance at the way in which Hegel understood Him, we shall find that one may say: Hegel understood Him as only the most refined, most sublimated Spiritual Soul could.

But in Solovioff the concept of Christ is a very different one. He fully recognizes the two parts in this conception, and everything which has been expressed in the many theological disputes, and which in reality rest upon great misunderstandings, is put aside, because the ordinary conceptions do not suffice to make the idea of Christ in His twofold nature comprehensible; they do not suffice to make one understand that therein the human and the spiritual must be clearly distinguished. The concept of Christ rests upon clearly grasping what took place when the Christ entered into the Man Jesus of Nazareth, who had developed all the necessary qualities. There were, then, two natures which must first of all be comprehended as such, although at a higher stage they again form unity. As long as one has not grasped this duality, one has not realized Christ in His complete form. This can, however, only be done by the philosophical comprehension which has a premonition that man himself will reach a culture in which his Spiritual Soul will attain to a state into which the Spirit-Self can come; so that man will in the sixth age of civilization feel himself to be a duality in whom the higher nature will hold the lower nature under complete control.

Solovioff carries this duality into his conception of Christ and brings emphatically into notice that there can be no meaning in it unless one accepts the facts of a divine and a human nature, both really working together, so that they do not merely form an abstract but an organic unity, that thus only can this be understood. Solovioff recognizes that two Will-centers must be thought of in this Being. If you take the teachings of Spiritual Science as to the true significance of the Christ-Being, which proceed from the existence of, not an imaginary, but a spiritually real Indian influence, you then have to think of Christ as having developed within His three bodies the capacities of feeling, thought and will. There you have a human feeling, thinking and willing into which the divine Feeling, Thinking and Willing has immersed itself. The European will only thoroughly assimilate this when he has risen to the sixth stage of culture. This has been prophetically expressed in a wonderful way in Solovioff's conception of Christ, which like a rosy dawn announces a later civilization. Hence this philosophy of Eastern Europe strides with giant steps beyond that of Hegel and Kant, and when one enters the atmosphere of this philosophy, one suddenly feels as it were the germ for a future unfolding. It goes so much further because this conception of Christ is felt to be a fore-shining, the morning dawn of the sixth post-Atlantean civilization. By means of this the whole Christ-Being and the whole significance of Christ becomes the central point of philosophy, and it thus becomes a very different thing from what the Western European conceptions are able to offer concerning it. The conception of Christ, — so far as it has been worked out in non-Anthroposophical circles, in which it is comprehended as living substance which, as a spiritual personality, is to work into the social life and the life of the States, which is felt as a Personality in Whose service man finds himself as ‘man with the Spirit-Self,’ — this Christ-Personality is worked out in a wonderful, plastic manner in the various expositions Solovioff gives of St. John's Gospel and its opening words. Again it is only on the ground of Spiritual Science that a comprehension can be found of what is so profoundly understood by Solovioff in the sentence, ‘In the beginning was the Word, or the Logos,’ and so on, of how differently St. John's Gospel is understood by a philosophy, which can be felt as a germinating philosophy which points in a remarkable manner to the future. Although on the one hand it must be admitted that in the domain of philosophy Hegel's work represents a most mature fruit, something that is born from the Spiritual Soul as a very ripe philosophical fruit, on the other hand this philosophy of Solovioff is the germ in the Spiritual Soul for the philosophy of the Spirit-Self, which will be added in the sixth age of culture.

There is perhaps no greater contrast than that eminently Christian conception of the State which hovers as a great ideal before Solovioff as a dream of the future, that Christian idea of the State and the people, which takes everything it finds in order to offer it to the down-streaming Spirit-Self to hold it towards the future so that it may be Christianized by the powers of the future: — there is really no greater contrast than this conception by Solovioff of a Christian community in which the Christ-idea is still a future one, — and the conception of the divine State held by St. Augustine, who accepted, it is true, the Christ-idea, but constructed the State in such a way that it was still the Roman State; he took up Christ into the idea of the State given him by the Roman State. The essential point is, that which provides the knowledge for the Christianity which is growing on into the future. In Solovioff's State Christ is the blood which runs through all social life, and the essential point is that the State is thought of in all the concreteness of personality, so that it acts indeed as a spiritual being, but it will fulfill its mission with all the characteristic peculiarities of a personality. No other philosophy is so permeated by the Christ-idea, — the Christ-idea which shines forth to us from still greater heights in Anthroposophy, — and yet remaining only at the germinal stage.

Everything that we find in the East, from the general feeling of the people up to its philosophy, comes to us as something that bears only the germ of a future evolution within it, and that therefore had to submit to the special education of that Spirit of the Age whom we already know; for we have said that the Spirit of the Age of the ancient Greeks was given as an impulse to Christianity, and was entrusted with the mission of becoming later on the active Spirit of the Age for Europe. The national temperament which will have to develop the germs for the sixth age of civilization had not only to be educated but to be taken care of, from the first stages of its existence, by that Spirit of the Age. So that we may literally say, — whereby the ideas of Father and Mother lose their separate sense, — that the Russian temperament, which is gradually to evolve into the Folk-soul, was not only brought up, but was suckled and fed by that which, as we have seen, was formed out of the old Greek Spirit of the Age and then acquired another rank, outwardly.

Thus are the missions divided between Western, Central, Northern and Eastern Europe. I wished to give you an indication of these things. We shall work further on the foundations of these indications, and show what will distinguish the future of Europe, and also show that we must form our ideals from such knowledge. We shall show how through this influence the Germanic Scandinavian Folk-spirit gradually transforms himself into a Spirit of the Age.
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Re: The Mission of Folk-Souls (In Connection With Germanic S

Postby admin » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:04 pm


17th June, 1910.

In beginning this our last lecture I may truly say that there is a great deal more to be discussed, and that on the whole we have only been able in this course of lectures to deal with the very smallest part of what belongs to this rich subject. I may, however, hope that it will not be the last time we shall speak together here on similar matters, and it must suffice as a beginning, if only indications have been given on this theme, the further discussion of which would not be without its difficulties at the present time.

As a golden thread running through the last few lectures, was the idea that something is contained in the Germanic Scandinavian mythology or teaching of the gods, which in an imaginative form is wonderfully connected with everything we can extract in the shape of knowledge from the spiritual research of our own time. Now that is also one of the reasons why we may hope that the Folk-spirit, the Archangel who extends his educative and directing activity over this country, will permeate with the capacities he has developed in the course of centuries, that which may be called modern philosophy, modern spiritual research, and that from then on, this modern spiritual research will be fertilized in a popular sense.

The further we penetrate into the details of the Germanic Scandinavian mythology, the more we shall see how wonderfully the great occult truths are expressed in its pictures such as really is the case in no other mythology. Thus perhaps some of you who have read my Occult Science, or have heard other lectures which I was able to give here, will remember that once upon a time in the evolution of the earth an event occurred which we may describe as the descent of those human souls who, in primeval times, before the old Lemurian epoch, for particular reasons had ascended to the various planets of our system, and who at the end of the Lemurian and during the whole of the Atlantean epochs endeavored to unite themselves with that which the human body had little by little developed and perfected in the way of capacities, and which had been made possible by the separation of the moon from the earth. These Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury souls then descended; as one may still find to-day in the Akashic Records. In the course of the Atlantean epoch the air of Atlantis was permeated with water in the form of clouds; that was the condition when the descent of those souls could be perceived by the old clairvoyance of the Atlantean epoch. Every time new beings were born in the soft, plastic, flexible, pliable bodies of that time, when they descended so to say from spiritual heights, that was considered to be the external expression of souls descending out of the spiritual surroundings, out of the atmosphere, out of planetary life, to unite themselves with the bodies being formed upon earth.

The event of these earth-bodies being fertilized, as it were, by that which poured down from spiritual heights, is preserved in a conception implanted in the Scandinavian Germanic mythology. The consciousness of this was preserved so long that even Tacitus himself still found it among the South Germanic peoples at the time when he made the observations which he described in his Germania. No one who does not know that this event really did occur, will understand what Tacitus relates about the goddess Nerthus. The chariot of the goddess Nerthus was driven over the waters. That later on was preserved as a rite, a ceremony; formerly it was a matter of observation. This goddess represented that which can be presented to the human bodies by the human souls coming down from the planetary spheres.

That is the mysterious occurrence underlying the Nerthus myth and it has been preserved in all that has come down to us in the older Sagas and legends which indicate the development of physical man. Njordr, who is inwardly related to the goddess Nerthus, is her masculine counterpart. He represents to us the primal memory of the descent of the psychic-spiritual human beings, who had once upon a time ascended to planetary heights, and who during the Atlantean epoch, descended again to unite themselves with physical human bodies.

From my pamphlet, Occult Significance of Blood, you will see what a significant rôle the interminglings and relationships of peoples have played at certain periods. Now not only the interminglings and relationships which were expressed in the mixture of blood, but also the psychic and spiritual requirements of the Folk-spirits have played a great rôle. The vision of that descent has been preserved in the greatest purity in the Sagas which in former times developed in these Northern parts. Hence in the Sagas of the Vanen you can still find one of the very oldest recollections of it. Especially here in the North, in the Finnish traditions, was the memory kept alive of this union of the spiritual soul-nature which descended from planetary heights with that which proceeded from the earthly body itself, and which Northern tradition knows as Riesenheim (Home of Giants). That which developed out of the earthly body belonged to Riesenheim.

We understand, therefore, that the Germanic Scandinavian always felt the impulse coming from this side; that he felt within his gradually evolving soul the workings of this old divine vision, which was still ‘at home’ here in those old days when the mists of Atlantis still extended to this neighborhood. The Germanic Scandinavian felt in his soul something of the arrival of a god who was directly descended from those divine spiritual Beings, those Archangels who directed the union of the psychic-spiritual with the earthly-physical. Freyr the god, and Freya his sister, who here in the North were once upon a time specially beloved gods, were thought of and felt as having originally been those angelic Beings who had poured into the human souls all that those souls required to enable them to develop further, upon the physical plane, those old forces which they had received by means of their clairvoyant capacities. In the physical world, that world limited by the outer senses, Freyr was the one who continued all that had been formerly received in clairvoyance. He was the living continuation of the clairvoyantly received forces. He had therefore to unite himself with the physical instruments existing in the human body itself for the use of these soul-forces, which then can carry into the physical plane what had been perceived in primal clairvoyance. That is reflected in the marriage of Freyr with Gerda, the giantess; she is taken from the physical forces of earthly evolution. These pictures represent the descent of the divine-spiritual into the physical.

In this figure of Freyr is expressed in quite a wonderful way, the manner in which Freyr makes use of that which makes it possible for man to manifest on the physical plane that for which he has been educated by his preceding clairvoyant perceptions. Bluthuf (Blood Hoof) is the name of the horse placed at the disposal of Freyr, to indicate that blood is the essential thing in the development of his ‘ I ’. A remarkable, wonderful ship is also placed at his disposal. It can be expanded into the immeasurable and can be folded together so that it can be contained in the smallest box. Now what is this miraculous ship? If Freyr is the power which carries clairvoyant forces into the spheres which express themselves on the physical plane, then it must be something quite particularly belonging to him; it is the alternation between day-waking and night-sleeping. Just as the human soul during sleep and until the moment of waking is spread out in the macrocosm, so does the miraculous ship expand and is then folded up again into the folds of the brain; so that during the day-time it can be stowed away in the smallest of boxes — the human skull. You will find all this wonderfully expressed in the pictures of this Germanic Scandinavian mythology.

Those of you who will go more deeply into these things, will be gradually convinced that this is no fantasy; but that what has been implanted, inoculated into the thoughts and feelings of this northern people by means of these pictures, really comes from the schools of the Initiates. Thus a very great deal remained in the guiding Archangel or Folk-spirit of the North, of the old education through clairvoyant perception of that which may grow up in a soul which, in its development on the physical plane, connects itself on to a clairvoyant development.

Although outwardly it may seem different at the present day, yet the Archangel of the Germanic North has within him this tendency, and this enables him to understand modern Spiritual Science especially well and to transform it in the manner corresponding to its national character. Hence also you will see why I have said that in the Germanic North the best conditions are to be found for the comprehension of that which I could only indicate briefly in my open lecture on the Second Coming of Christ. Spiritual research at the present time shows us that after Kali Yuga had run its course, which lasted for five thousand years (from about 3100 B.C. to 1899 A.D.), new capacities begin to develop in man. These will at first appear in single individuals, in a few especially gifted ones only. It will come about, for instance, that persons will be able, through the natural evolution of their capacities, to see something of what is announced only by Anthroposophy, by spiritual research.

We are told that in future persons in whom the organs of the etheric body are developed will be found in increasing numbers, and will attain to clairvoyance, which can to-day be acquired only by training. And why will this be so? What will the etheric body possess for the perception of those few? There will be people who will receive impressions of which I should like to describe one to you. A man will do something in the external world and will then feel himself impelled to observe something. A sort of dream-picture will come before his eyes which at first he will not understand. But if he has heard something about Karma, of how everything in the world takes place in accordance with law, he will then learn to understand, little by little, that what he has seen is the karmic counterpart of his actions in the etheric world. Thus gradually the first elements of future capacities are being formed.

Those persons who receive a stimulus from Anthroposophy will, (from the middle of the twentieth century on), gradually experience a renewal of that which St. Paul saw in etheric clairvoyance as a mystery to come, the ‘Mystery of the Living Christ’. There will be a new manifestation of Christ, a manifestation which must come when human capacities so develop in the natural course, that the Christ can be seen in that world in which He always was, and in which since the Mystery of Golgotha He is to be found by Initiates. Humanity is growing into that world in order to be able to perceive from the physical plane that which could formerly only be seen from higher planes in the Mystery Schools.

The Mystery-training will nevertheless not become superfluous. It always presents things in a different way from what they are presented to the untrained soul. But that which is given in the Mystery-training will, by the transformation of the physical human body, show the Mystery of the Living Christ in a new way, as it can be seen perceptively from the physical plane, as it will be seen in the etheric, at first by a few and afterwards by more and more persons, in the course of the next three thousand years. That which St. Paul saw as the living Christ Who is to be found in the etheric world since the event of Golgotha, will be seen by an ever increasing number of people.

The manifestations of Christ will be ever higher and higher. That is the mystery of the evolution of Christ. At the time when the Mystery of Golgotha took place men were to comprehend everything from the physical plane; it was therefore necessary that they should also be able to see Christ on the physical plane, to have news of Him there, and to testify to His power on that plane. But mankind is intended to progress, it is organized for the development of higher powers, and anyone who can believe that the manifestation of Christ will be repeated in the same form which was necessary nineteen hundred years ago, knows nothing of the progress of humanity. It took place on the physical plane because at that time the forces of man were adjusted to the physical plane. But those forces will evolve, and hence, in the course of the next three thousand years, Christ will be able to speak more and more to the more highly developed human forces.

What I have just said is a truth which has for a long time been communicated to a few individuals from within the esoteric schools, a truth which to-day must be found especially in the domain of Anthroposophy, because Anthroposophy is to be the preparatory school for that which is to come. Humanity is now organized for liberty, for the personal recognition of that which is developing within it, and it might occur that those persons who will come forward as the first pioneers of the Christ-vision, will be shouted down as fools, that what they have to offer to mankind will not be listened to, and humanity might sink still further into materialism than it has already done and trample under foot that which could become the most wonderful manifestation for mankind. Everything that may happen in the future is to a certain extent subject to the will of humanity, so that men may also miss what is for their salvation. That is extremely important: Anthroposophy is a preparation for what is to be the new Christ-revelation.

Materialism may make a mistake in two different ways. One — which will probably be made by reason of the Western traditions — consists in considering as mere folly, as wild fantasy, everything that the first pioneers of the new Christ-revelation will announce in the twentieth century as the result of their own vision. Materialism has now invaded all domains. It is not only at home in the West but it has also taken hold of the East; there, however, it assumes another form. It may happen that oriental materialism may cause men to fail to recognize what is higher in a manifestation of Christ at a higher stage, and then will occur that which has so often been spoken of here, and will again and again be repeated, that materialistic thinking will transform the appearance of Christ into a materialistic view.

It might occur at that time, under the influence of scientific spiritual knowledge, that persons may, it is true, speak of Christ manifesting Himself, but will at the same time believe that He will appear in a material body. The result would then be another form of materialism. It would only be a continuation of what has happened for centuries. Certain people have always profited by this false materialism, and indeed, there have always been individuals representing themselves as the re-appeared Christ. The last important case of such an one was in the seventeenth century, when a man called Sabbatai Zevi, of Smyrna, represented himself as the re-appeared Christ. He made a great stir. Pilgrimages were made to him not only by those in his immediate neighborhood, but also by people from Hungary, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, and northern Africa. All these looked upon Sabbatai as the physical incarnation of a Messiah. I should not care to relate the human tragedy connected with the personality of Sabbatai. In the seventeenth century the tragedy was certainly not so great, for man was not then so entirely in possession of his free will, although by means of his perception — which was a spiritual feeling — he could recognize what was the truth; but in the twentieth century it would be a great misfortune if, under the pressure of materialism, the teaching that Christ will manifest Himself were to be taken in a materialistic sense, as though He would return in a physical body. That would only prove that humanity has not acquired any perception or insight as regards the real progress of the human development of higher spiritual forces. False Messiahs will certainly appear, and on account of the materialism of our day they will be believed, just as was Sabbatai in the seventeenth century. It will be a trial, a severe test for those prepared by Anthroposophy to recognize where the truth lies, a test as to whether a spiritual, vital feeling really fills the spiritual theories, or whether they only contain a hidden materialism. It will be a proof as to the further development of Anthroposophy, whether by its means a sufficient number of persons will be developed enough to understand that they have to see the spirit in the spirit, that they have to look up into the etheric world for a new manifestation of Christ; or whether they will remain at a standstill on the physical plane, determined to look for a manifestation of Christ in a physical body. The Anthroposophical Movement will yet have to undergo this test. But this we may say, that nowhere has the ground been better prepared to recognize the truth on this very subject, than here, where the Germanic Scandinavian mythology developed.

In that which has come down to us as the ‘Twilight of the Gods’ there is contained a significant vision of the future, and herewith I come to a chapter the starting-point of which I have already indicated. I have told you that when a community of people have so lately left their clairvoyant past behind them, that then a clairvoyant sense is also developed in their guiding Folk-spirit, by means of which the things we now find clairvoyantly can again be understood. Now if a people experiences the new age with new human capacities, on the very ground on which bloomed the Germanic Scandinavian mythology, it ought then to understand that what was formerly the old clairvoyance must take a different form after man has gone through his development on the physical plane. Here, for a while, that which spoke out of the old clairvoyance remained silent; then the world of Odin and Thor, of Balder and Hoeder, of Freyr and Freya withdrew for a while into the background, away from human vision. But that world will return after a period when other forces have meanwhile been at work upon the human soul.

When this human soul gazes out into the new world, with the new clairvoyance which begins with etheric clairvoyance, it will see that it can no longer retain the old forms of the forces which educated the soul. If it were able to do so, all the opposing forces would come into play against that force which in olden times had to educate the powers of man up to a certain height. Odin and Thor will again be visible to the eyes of man, but that will then be because the human soul will have gone through a new development. All the forces that are opposed to Odin and Thor will appear to the human soul. Everything which has developed in the way of opposing force will be once again visible in a mighty tableau. But the human soul would not progress, it would not be able to defend itself against injurious influences it were only to be subject to the forces seen by the old clairvoyance. Thor once upon a time gave man his ‘ I ’; that ‘ I ’ has been educated on the physical plane, has evolved out of what Loki, the Luciferic power, left behind in the astral body, viz., the Midgard Serpent. That which Thor was once able to give, and which the human soul is growing away from, is in conflict with what proceeds from the Midgard Serpent. In Scandinavian mythology that appears as Thor fighting the Midgard Serpent. They balance each other, that is to say, they slay each other. In the same way Odin wrestles with the Fenris Wolf, whereby they annihilate each other. Freyr, that which for a while developed the human soul-forces, had to be subdued by that which had been given from the earth-forces themselves to the ‘ I ’, which had in the meanwhile been educated on the physical plane. Freyr was overcome by the flaming sword of Surtur, who sprang from the earth.

All these details which are set forth in the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, correspond with that which is to appear to mankind in a newer etheric vision, which in reality refers to the future. The Fenris Wolf will still remain. Oh, there is a deep, deep truth concealed in this account of the Fenris Wolf remaining behind in conflict with Odin. In the near future of mankind there will be no danger so great as the tendency to remain satisfied with the old clairvoyance, — instead of developing the new by means of new forces — the danger that man might be tempted to remain satisfied with what the old astral clairvoyance of primal ages could give, namely, soul-pictures such as that of the Fenris Wolf. It would also be a severe trial for that which has to grow up in the domain of Anthroposophy, if in that, the tendency towards all sorts of confused, chaotic clairvoyance should arise, and an inclination to value the clairvoyance illuminated by reason and science less highly than the old chaotic one which does not possess this prerogative.

These remains of the old clairvoyance would wreak a fearful vengeance, by confusing the vision of men with all sorts of chaotic pictures. Such clairvoyance cannot be met by that which itself proceeded from old clairvoyant power, but only by that which during the Kali Yuga has been developed as a healthy force into a new clairvoyance. The power given by the old Archangel Odin, the old clairvoyant powers, cannot save man; something very different must come in. And what that is, is, however, known to Germanic Norse mythology, — it is well aware of its existence. It knows, that there exists the etheric form in which will embody that which we shall once again see as the etheric form of Christ. And this alone will succeed in driving out the confused clairvoyant power which would bewilder mankind, if Odin did not overcome the Fenris Wolf, which represents nothing but the backward clairvoyance. Vidar, who has kept silence all the time, will overcome the Fenris Wolf. That also is told us in the ‘Twilight of the Gods’.

Anyone who recognizes the importance of Vidar and feels him in his soul, will find that in the twentieth century the capacity can again be given to man with which to see Christ. Vidar, who belongs to us all in Northern and Central Europe, will again stand before him. He was kept secret in the Mysteries and secret Schools as a god who would receive his mission only in the future. Only indefinite statements are made even regarding his picture. This may be seen from the fact that a picture has been found in the vicinity of Cologne, of which no one knows whom it represents, but which is none other than a likeness of Vidar.

All through the Kali Yuga the powers were acquired which will make the new men capable of seeing the new manifestation of Christ. Those who are destined to point out from the signs of the times that which is to come, know that the new spiritual investigation will re-establish the power of Vidar, who will drive out of the minds of men all the remnants of the old chaotic clairvoyant power which might act in a confusing way, and who will arouse the new gradually evolving clairvoyance in the human breast, in the human soul.

Thus we see, when the wonderful figure of Vidar shines forth to us out of the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, that a hope for the future shines towards us as it were out of the Germanic Norse mythology. When we feel ourselves to be related to this figure of Vidar, of whom we are now trying to understand the deeper side, we hope that that which must be the central nerve and the vital essence of all Anthroposophy, will result from those forces which the Archangel of the Germanic Scandinavian world can contribute to the evolution of modern times. One part only of a greater whole has been accomplished for the fifth post-Atlantean civilization in the way of development of humanity and the spirit; another part has still to be accomplished. Those Northern Germanic peoples will best be able to contribute to this who feel that they have within them fresh elemental nation-forces. But this will to a certain extent be put into the souls of men. They themselves will have to make up their minds to work. One can go astray in the twentieth century because what has to be attained is to a certain extent subject to man's free will and must not be compulsory. It is therefore a question of having a proper understanding of that which is to come.

So you see, that when our Anthroposophy of to-day announces the knowledge of the Christ-Being, and when our hopes for the future are connected with that true knowledge of this Being which we look for in the substance of the European people themselves, that there is then no question of any sort of predilection or temperamental predisposition.

It has sometimes been said that one might call what we may describe as the greatest Being in the evolution of humanity, by any name one likes. (Never will one who recognizes the Christ-Being insist upon retaining the name Christ.) But if we understand the Christ-Impulse in the right way, we shall not say as follows: A Being lives in human evolution, in the humanity of the West and that of the East, and it must be such an one as to correspond to the sympathies of mankind for this or the other truth. That is not ‘occultistic’. What is ‘occultistic’ is, that the moment one recognizes that this Being must be called by the name Buddha, that should unreservedly be done, quite regardless of whether this is sympathetic to one or not; it is not a question of sympathy or antipathy, but of the truth, of the facts.

The moment the facts should teach us otherwise, we should be ready to act differently. The facts and the facts alone must be decisive for us. We shall bring neither Orientalism nor Occidentalism into that which we look upon as the real life-blood of Anthroposophy, and if we are to find in the world of Northern Germanic Archangels that which may yield a fertile seed for true Anthroposophy, that seed would not be given on this ground to one particular people or tribe, but to humanity as a whole. What is given to all mankind, and must be given, can only spring up at a certain place; but it must be given to the whole of humanity. We recognize no difference between the East and the West; we accept with great love that which we recognize as the overwhelming greatness of the primal culture of the Holy Rishis in its true form; we lovingly accept the Persian culture, and that which we know as the Egyptian-Chaldæan and the Græco-Latin cultures, and with just the same objectivity we also accept what has grown up for us from the soil of Europe. The necessity of the facts alone compels us to speak on these matters in the way we have done in these lectures.

If we accept from the whole of mankind all that each religion has contributed towards the civilizing process of mankind, and carry that into what we recognize and know to-day as the common possession of humanity, then, the more we do this, the more are we really active in the sense of the Christ-Principle. As this is capable of development, we must therefore overcome that which it had to go through during its early centuries and millennia, when the Christ-Principle was only understood in its most imperfect beginnings. We do not look into that past, nor are we guided by it. We lay no store by this tradition; the chief thing for us is, that which can be discovered and examined in the spiritual world. Hence the most important thing about the Christ-Principle to us is not what has been — however often tradition may affirm that — but what is yet to come. We do not depend so much upon historical tradition, but we endeavor to know what is to come. That is the essential thing in the Christ-Impulse, which came at the beginning of the Christian era, and we do not attach much importance to the external and historical. After Christianity has passed through its childish ailments, it will develop further. It has also gone out into foreign lands and wished to convert people to that which consisted of the several Christian dogmas of a particular age. But we have before our souls a Christianity of which we know that Christ was active in all the ages, and that we shall find Him in all places, whither-so-ever we go; that the Christ-Principle is the most anthroposophical principle there is. And if Buddhism only counts those persons as Buddhists who swear by Buddha, then Christianity will be that which swears by no prophet, because it is not under the influence of a founder of religion belonging to one particular people, but it recognizes the god of humanity.

He who is acquainted with Christianity knows that it refers to a Mystery, which at Golgotha became manifest on the physical plane. It is the vision of this Mystery which leads us in the direction I have described. We may also know that the spiritual life at that time was such, that this Mystery had then to be experienced in the way it actually was experienced by humanity. We allow no dogmas to be forced upon us, not even those of a Christian past, and if a dogma should be thrust upon us from one quarter or another, we should in accordance with the rightly understood Christ-Principle reject it. However many people may come and force a denominational acknowledgment of the historical Christ upon us, or say that what we see as the future Christ is wrong, we shall not allow ourselves to be led astray by being told that He must be like this or like that, even if it is said by those who ought to understand Who Christ is. In the same way the Christ-Being must not be limited and narrowed by Eastern traditions, nor be colored by the dogmas of Eastern dogmatism. That which is drawn from the sources of occultism will appear before mankind free and independent of every tradition and of all authority, in what it has to say about this evolution of the future.

It is wonderful to me how well people understand each other here. Friends who have journeyed here have said to me again and again in these last few days how free they feel with the people of the Scandinavian North. Many have expressed that feeling. It is a proof that we shall be able, though some may not be conscious of it, to understand each other in the deepest essence of our Anthroposophical knowledge; it is proof of how we shall understand each other, especially in that which I mentioned at the last Theosophical Congress at Budapest, and which I repeated during our own General Meeting in Berlin, when we had the great pleasure of seeing friends also from the North among us. It would be a bad thing for Anthroposophy if one who cannot yet see into the spiritual world were obliged to accept in blind faith what is being said. I beg of you now, as I did in Berlin, to accept nothing I have ever said or ever shall say, on authority or in blind faith. It is possible, even before a man has reached the stage of clairvoyance, to test what is obtained through clairvoyant observation. Whatever I have said about Zarathustra and Jesus of Nazareth, about Hermes and Moses, about Odin and Thor, about Christ Jesus Himself, I beg of you not to believe it or accept my words on authority. I beseech you to dis-accustom yourselves from the principle of authority, for that principle would be an evil one for us.

I know very well, however, that when with an unprejudiced sense for truth you begin to reflect, when you say, ‘We have been told so and so; let us search the records accessible to us, the religious and mythological documents, let us ascertain what natural science can tell us,’ that then you will perceive the correctness of what has been said. Make use of all the means you can bring to your assistance, the more the better. I am not afraid. That which comes from the sources of Rosicrucianism may be tested in every way. Test by the most materialistic criticism of the Gospels what I have said about Christ Jesus, test by means of all the sources at your disposal what I have said about history, test it as minutely as possible by all the means at your disposal on the physical plane; I am convinced that the more minutely you test it, the more you will find, that what has been said out of the sources of the Rosicrucian Mystery will be found to correspond to the truth.

I count upon the communications made from Rosicrucianism not being believed, but proved, not superficially by the superficial methods of present-day science, but ever more and more conscientiously. Take all that the most modern science with the newest methods can offer you, take everything which the historical or religious investigations have yielded; the more you test it, the more you will find confirmation from this source. You must take nothing on authority. The best Anthroposophists are those who take what is said as a stimulus in the first place, and then place it at the service of life, so as to prove it by life itself. For in life also, at every stage of it, you can test that which has been said out of the sources of Rosicrucianism. It is far from the intention underlying these lectures to set up a dogma and say: This or that is so and so, and must be believed. Test it by the healthy and mentally vigorous people whom you know, and you will yourselves find confirmed what has been said as a prophetic indication of the future manifestation of Christ. You need only open your eyes and without prejudice test it; we make no appeal to belief in authority. The test is a sort of basic attitude, which should, like a golden thread, run through the whole.

So now I should like you to lay this to heart: that it is not ‘anthroposophical to accept a statement as dogma because this or that person made it, but it is anthroposophical to let oneself be stimulated by, Spiritual Science, and to test what one receives by life itself. Then what ever might color our anthroposophical view from one quarter or another, will vanish away. Neither Eastern nor Western shades should color our views. One who speaks in the sense of Rosicrucianism knows neither Orientalism nor Occidentalism; both are equally sympathetic to him; he only states the truth according to the inner nature of the facts.

That it is which we must bear in mind, particularly at such an important moment as this, when we have indicated the Folk-spirit who rules over all the Northern lands. In these lands lives the Germanic Scandinavian mythological Spirit; and although at the present day he still lives below the surface, yet he is spread out much more widely in Europe than one might suppose. If a conflict were to arise between the peoples of the North, it could not consist in one people disputing with another about what is to be given, but in each people practicing self-knowledge and inquiring, ‘What is the best that I can give?’ Then to the common altar will flow that which leads to the common progress, to the common welfare of mankind. The sources of what we are able to contribute lie in the individuality. The Germanic Scandinavian Archangel will bring to the collective human culture of the future, just what he is most fitted for according to the capacities he has acquired, as we have sufficiently described. He is, however, specially capable of bringing about that which could not yet be given in the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilization but which may still play its part in the second, viz., the spiritual element which we pointed out as being prophetically germinal in the Slav philosophy and national sentiment. While this was in a state of preparation the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilization had to be passed through. All that could be attained then to begin with was a very sublimated spiritual perception in the form of philosophy. This must then be grasped and permeated by the forces of the people, so that it may become the common possession of mankind, and become comprehensible in all parts of our earth-life.

Let us endeavor to understand one another on this subject, and then this otherwise somewhat dangerous theme will not have borne evil fruit, if all who have assembled here from the North, South, East, West and Centre of Europe become aware that it is important for the whole of humanity that we should feel that the great peoples as well as the smaller subdivisions of peoples all have their mission, and have to contribute their part to the whole. Sometimes the smaller peoples that have been separated off, because they were to preserve either the old or the new characteristics of soul, have to contribute something most important. Thus, although we have made this dangerous question the subject of our lectures, nothing else can come of it than the basic sentiment of a community of soul among all those who are united in the sign of anthroposophical thought and feeling and of anthroposophical ideals.

Then, only if we are still guided by our sympathies and antipathies, if we have not clearly grasped the kernel of our anthroposophical world-movement, could misunderstandings arise from what has been said. But if we have grasped the spirit presiding in these lectures, then the things we have heard may also help us to make the firm resolution and hold the high ideal, — each one from his own standpoint and his own ground, — to contribute to the common goal that which lies in our own mission. This we can best do with that which originates in ourselves, with that to which we are predisposed. We can best serve mankind as a whole if we develop that, so as to embody it in the whole of humanity as a sacrifice which we bring to the progressive stream of culture. We must learn to understand this. We must learn to understand that it would be a bad thing if Anthroposophy did not contribute to the evolution of man, Angel and Archangel, but were to contribute to the overcoming of the convictions of one people by those of another. Anthroposophy is not here to assist one form of religion which rules in one part of the earth to prevail over another. If the West were ever to be conquered by the East, or vice versa, that would absolutely not be in accordance with anthroposophical sentiment. That alone is anthroposophical, that we should give of our best, that which is purely human, to the whole of humanity. And if we live entirely within ourselves, not, however, for ourselves but for all men, then that is true anthroposophical tolerance. These words I had to add to our somewhat dangerous subject.

By means of Anthroposophy — as we shall see more and more clearly — all splitting-up will cease. Therefore it is now just the right time to know the Folk-souls, because Anthroposophy is here to teach us not to place them in opposition to one another, but to call upon them to work in harmonious co-operation. The better we understand this, the better Anthroposophists we shall be. This should be the note on which, for the present, these lectures close. For finally the knowledge we gather must really work in our feelings and our thinking, and in our anthroposophical idea. The more we live up to this the better Anthroposophists we are.

I have found that many of those who have accompanied us to the North have received the best possible impression, which was expressed in the words, ‘how much they liked being here in the North.’ And if exalted forces are to be aroused in mankind in the future, if we would speak with the words of Vidar, the silent Asa, whom we shall most certainly see before us, he will then become the active friend of co-operative work, of cooperative industry, for which purpose we have all been assembled here. Let us in this sense part from one another in space, after having been together for a few days, but let us in this sense always be together in spirit. Wherever we Anthroposophists go, whether far or near, may we always find ourselves together in harmony, even when we have to discuss the special nature of the peoples inhabiting the various countries of the earth. We know that they are only individual sacrificial flames which do not separate from one another, but which will unite in the mighty sacrificial fire that must unite for the good of mankind through the anthroposophical view of life which is so dear to our hearts and is so deeply rooted within our souls.
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