Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

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.

Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 5:57 am

Theosophy of the Rosicrucian
by Rudolf Steiner
Copyright © 1966
The Rudolf Steiner Press




This volume provides an overview of Steiner's views on the nature and constitution of the human being, life after death and before birth, the laws of karma, the epochs of evolution, and the future of humanity. This was part of Steiner's early work of building up the content of anthroposophy and is an excellent complement to his basic books.

Translated by M. Cotterell and D. S. Osmond from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer. The volume in the Complete Centenary Edition of the works of Rudolf Steiner in the original German in which the text of this lecture-course is contained, is entitled: Die Theosophie des Rosenkreuzers (No. 99 in the Bibliographical Survey, 1961)

Table of Contents:

Title Notes

I: The New Form of Wisdom May 22, 1907
II: The Ninefold Constitution of Man May 25, 1907
III: The Elemental World and the Heaven World. Waking Life, Sleep and Death. May 26, 1907
IV: The Descent to a New Birth May 28, 1907
V: Mans Communal Life Between Death and a New Birth. Birth into the Physical World. May 29, 1907
VI: The Law of Destiny May 30, 1907
VII: The Technique of Karma May 31, 1907
VIII: Human Consciousness in the Seven Planetary Conditions June 01, 1907
IX: Planetary Evolution I June 02, 1907
X: Planetary Evolution II June 03, 1907
XI: Evolution of Mankind on the Earth. I June 04, 1907
XII: Evolution of Mankind on the Earth. II June 04, 1907
XIII: The Future of Man June 05, 1907
XIV: The Nature of Initiation June 06, 1907
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:02 am


AT first glance the title of this book may be somewhat misleading for the British reader. It may suggest to him associations with Anglo-Indian Theosophy and the Theosophical Society founded by H. P. Blavatsky.

Rudolf Steiner, however, uses the term independently and with different and much wider connotation. In earlier centuries, particularly in Central Europe, “Theosophy” was a recognised section of Philosophy and even of Theology. Jacob Boehme was known as the great “theosopher”. In English the term goes back to the seventeenth century.

Ultimately it leads us back to St. Paul who says (I Cor. ii, 6-7): “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world ... But we speak the wisdom of God (Greek ‘Theosophia’) in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”

All “theosophy” implies a knowledge of the spiritual world, and such knowledge has been attained in different ways at different epochs of man's history. The Rosicrucian way referred to in the title is the way suited to modern man in this age of world knowledge and individual freedom.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:02 am


THE TITLE of this course of lectures has been announced as “Theosophy according to the Rosicrucian Method.” By this is meant the wisdom that is primeval, yet ever new, expressed in a form suitable for the present age. The mode of thought we are about to study has existed since the fourteenth century, A.D. in these lectures; however, it is not my intention to speak of the history of Rosicrucianism. As you know, a certain kind of geometry, which includes, for instance, the Pythagorean Theorem, is taught in elementary schools of the present day. The rudiments of geometry are learnt quite independently of how geometry itself actually came into being, for what does the pupil who is learning the rudiments of geometry today know about Euclid? Nevertheless it is Euclid's geometry that is being taught. Only much later, when the substance has been mastered, do students discover, perhaps from a history of the sciences, something about the form in which the teaching that is accessible even in elementary schools today originally found its way into the evolution of humanity. As little as the pupil who learns elementary geometry today is concerned with the form in which it was originally given to mankind by Euclid, as little need we concern ourselves with the question of how Rosicrucianism developed in the course of history. Just as the pupil learns geometry from its actual tenets, so shall we learn to know the nature of this Rosicrucian wisdom from its intrinsic principles.

Those who are acquainted merely with the outer history of Rosicrucianism as recorded in literature know very little about the real content of Rosicrucian Theosophy. Rosicrucian Theosophy has existed since the fourteenth century as something that is true, quite apart from its history, just as geometrical truths exist independently of history. Only a fleeting reference, therefore, will here be made to certain matters connected with the history of Rosicrucianism.

In the year 1459, a lofty, spiritual Individuality, incarnate in the human personality who bears in the world the name of Christian Rosenkreuz, appeared as the teacher, to begin with of a small circle of initiated pupils. In the year 1459, within a strictly secluded spiritual Brotherhood, the Fraternitas Roseae Crucis, Christian Rosenkreuz was raised to the rank of Eques lapidis aurei, Knight of the Golden Stone. What this means will become clearer to us in the course of these lectures. The exalted Individuality who lived on the physical plane in the personality of Christian Rosenkreuz worked as leader and teacher of the Rosicrucian stream again and again in the same body, as occultism puts it. The meaning of the expression “again and again in the same body” will also be explained when we come to speak of the destiny of the human being after death.

Until far into the eighteenth century, the wisdom of which we are here speaking was preserved within a strictly secret Brotherhood, bound by inviolate rules which separated its members from the exoteric world.

In the eighteenth century it was the mission of this Brotherhood to allow certain esoteric truths to flow, by spiritual ways, into the culture of Middle Europe; and thus we see flashing up in an exoteric culture many things that are clothed, it is true, in an exoteric form, but which are, in reality, nothing else than outer expressions of esoteric wisdom.

In the course of the centuries many people have endeavoured, in one way or another, to discover the Rosicrucian wisdom, but they did not succeed. Leibnitz tried in vain to get at the source of Rosicrucian wisdom. But this Rosicrucian wisdom lit up like a flash of lightning in an exoteric work which appeared when Lessing was approaching the close of his life. I refer to Lessing's Education of the Human Race. If we do but read it between the lines, then (but only if we are esotericists) we shall recognise in its unusual utterances that it is an external expression of Rosicrucian wisdom. This wisdom lit up in outstanding grandeur in the man in whom European culture and, indeed international culture, was reflected at the turn of the eighteenth century — in Goethe. In comparatively early years Goethe had come into contact with a source of Rosicrucianism and he then experienced, in some degree, a very remarkable and lofty Initiation. To speak of Initiation in connection with Goethe may easily be misleading; at this point therefore it will be well to indicate something of what happened to Goethe during the period after he had left the Leipzig University and before he went to Strassburg. He passed through an experience which penetrated very deeply into his soul and expressed itself outwardly in the fact that during the last period of his stay in Leipzig, he came very near to death.

As he lay desperately ill, he had a momentous experience, passing through a kind of Initiation. To begin with, he was not actually conscious of it but it worked in his soul as a kind of poetic inspiration and the process by which it flowed into his various creations was most remarkable. It flashes up in his poem entitled “The Mysteries,” which his closest friends have considered to be one of his most profound creations. And indeed this fragment is so profound that Goethe was never able to recapture the power to formulate its conclusion. The culture of the day was incapable of giving external form to the depths of life pulsating in this poem. It must be regarded as issuing from one of the deepest founts of Goethe's soul and is a book with seven seals for all his commentators. Then, however, the Initiation took increasing effect in him and finally, as he grew more conscious of it, he was able to produce that remarkable prose-poem known as “The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily”; — one of the most profound writings in all literature. Those who are able to interpret it rightly know a great deal of the Rosicrucian wisdom.

At the time when Rosicrucian wisdom was intended to flow gradually into the general life of culture, it happened, in a manner of which I need not speak further now, that a kind of betrayal took place. Certain Rosicrucian conceptions found their way into the world at large. This betrayal on the one hand, and on the other the fact that it was necessary for Western culture during the nineteenth century to remain for a time on the physical plane uninfluenced by esotericism — these two facts made it imperative that the sources of Rosicrucian wisdom, and above all its great Founder, who since its inception had been constantly on the physical plane, should, to all appearances, withdraw. Thus during the first half and also during a large part of the second half of the nineteenth century, little of the Rosicrucian wisdom could be discovered. Only now, in our own time, has it become possible again to make the Rosicrucian wisdom accessible and allow it to flow into general culture. And if we think about this culture we shall discover the reasons why this had to be.

I will now speak of two characteristics of the Rosicrucian wisdom, which are important in connection with its mission in the world. One has to, do with the attitude of the human being towards this Rosicrucian wisdom-which must not be identified with the occult form of Christian-Gnostic wisdom. We must touch briefly upon two facts appertaining to the spiritual life if we are to be clear about the fundamental character of Rosicrucian wisdom. The first of these is the relationship of the pupil to the teacher; and here again there are two aspects to consider. We shall speak, first, of “Clairvoyance,” and secondly, of what is sometimes called “Belief in Authority.” “Clairvoyance” — the term is really inadequate-comprises not only spiritual seeing but also spiritual hearing. These two faculties are the source of all knowledge of the world's hidden wisdom and true knowledge of the spiritual worlds can come from no other source.

In Rosicrucianism there is an essential difference between the actual discovery of spiritual truths and the understanding of them. Only those who have developed spiritual faculties in a fairly high degree can themselves discover a spiritual truth in the higher worlds. Clairvoyance is the necessary pre-requisite for the discovery of a spiritual truth, but only for its discovery. For a long time to come, nothing will be taught exoterically by any genuine Rosicrucianism that cannot be grasped by the ordinary logical intellect. That is the essential point. The objection that clairvoyance is necessary for understanding the Rosicrucian form of Theosophy is not valid. Understanding does not depend upon the faculty of seership. Those who are incapable of grasping the Rosicrucian wisdom with their thinking have simply not developed their logical reasoning powers to a sufficient extent — that is all. Anyone who has absorbed all that modern culture is able to give; who is not too lazy to learn and has patience and perseverance can understand what a Rosicrucian teacher has to impart. Those who have doubts about Rosicrucian wisdom and who say that they cannot grasp it must not cast the blame on the fact that they are incapable of rising to the higher planes. The fault lies in their unwillingness either to exert their reasoning powers sufficiently or to put the experiences gained from general culture to adequate use. Just think of the tremendous popularisation of wisdom that has taken place since the appearance of Christianity down to the present day, and then try to picture Christian Rosicrucianism as it was in the fourteenth century. Think of the relation of a human being then living in the world, with his teachers. It was only possible in those days to work by means of the spoken word. People do not, as a rule, rightly appraise what tremendous development has taken place since that time. Think only of what has been achieved by the art of printing. Think of the thousands and thousands of channels through which, thanks to this discovery, the highest achievements of Culture have been able to flow into civilisation. From books down to the latest newspaper article, you can perceive the innumerable channels through which countless ideas flow into life. These channels have only been open for mankind since that time and they have had the effect of making the Western intellect assume quite different forms. The Western mind has worked quite differently since then and the new form of wisdom had necessarily to reckon with this fact. A form had to be created which would be able to hold its ground in face of all that flows into life along these thousands of channels. Rosicrucian wisdom can hold its own against any objection that might be raised by either popular or technical science. Rosicrucian wisdom contains within itself the sources which enable it to counter every objection made by science. A true understanding of modern science, not the dilettante understanding to be found even in University Professors, but understanding that is free from abstract theorising and materialistic conjectures, standing firmly upon the basis of facts and not going beyond them, can find from science itself the proofs of the spiritual truths of Rosicrucianism.

A second point concerning the relationship between teacher and pupil in Rosicrucianism is that the relationship of the pupil to the “Guru” (as the teacher is called in the East) is fundamentally different from that prevailing in other methods of Initiation. In Rosicrucianism this relationship cannot in any way be said to be based upon belief in authority. Let me make this clear to you by an example drawn from everyday life. The Rosicrucian teacher desires to stand in no different relation to his pupil than does a teacher of mathematics to his students. Can it be said that the student of mathematics depends upon his teacher simply out of belief in authority? No! And can it be said that the student of mathematics does not need the teacher? Some people may argue that he does not, because he may have discovered how to teach himself from good books. But this is simply a different situation from the one where student and teacher are sitting in front of each other. In principle, of course, self-instruction is possible. Equally, every human being, provided he reaches a certain stage of clairvoyance, can discover the spiritual truths for himself but this would be a much lengthier path. It would be senseless to say: My own inner being must be the sole source of all spiritual truths. If the teacher knows the mathematical truths and imparts them to his pupil, the pupil is no longer called upon to have “belief in authority” for he grasps these truths through their own inherent correctness and all he needs is to understand them. So is it with all occult development in the Rosicrucian sense. The teacher is the friend, the counselor, one who has already lived through the occult experiences and helps the pupil to do so himself. Once a man has had these experiences he need as little accept them on authority as in mathematics he need accept on authority the statement that the three angles of a triangle are equal to 180º. In Rosicrucianism there is no “authority” in the ordinary sense. It is far rather a matter of what is required for shortening the path to the highest truths.

That is the one side of the question; the other is the relation of the spiritual wisdom to culture in general.

These lectures will show you that it is possible for truth to flow directly into practical life. We are not setting up a system that is applicable in theory only; we are speaking of teachings which can be put to use in practical life by anyone who desires to know the foundations of the science of worlds and to allow the spiritual truths to flow into everyday life. Rosicrucian wisdom must not stream only into the head, nor only into the heart, but also into the hand, into our manual capacities, into our daily actions. It does not take effect as sentimental sympathy; it is the acquisition, by strenuous effort, of faculties enabling us to work for the well-being of humanity. Suppose some society was to proclaim human brotherhood as its aim and was to do no more than preach brotherhood. That would not be Rosicrucianism. For the Rosicrucian says: Suppose a man is lying in the road with a broken leg. If fourteen people stand around him pityingly but not one of them is able to help, the whole fourteen together are of less importance than a fifteenth who comes, perhaps, without any sentimentality at all, but is able to and actually does deal with the broken leg. The attitude of the Rosicrucian is that what counts is knowledge able to take hold of and intervene effectively in life. Rosicrucian wisdom considers that repeated talk about pity and sympathy has an element of danger in it for continual emphasis upon sympathy denotes a kind of astral sensuality. Sensuality on the physical plane is of the same nature on the astral plane. It is the attitude that is always only willing to feel and not to know. Knowledge that is capable of taking effect in practical life — not, of course in the materialistic sense but because it is brought down from the spiritual worlds — this is what enables us to work efficaciously. Harmony flows of itself from knowledge that the world must progress; and it flows all the more surely because it arises quite naturally out of knowledge. Of a man who knows how to deal with a broken leg, people might say: If he is no friend of humanity, he may just let the sufferer lie. Such a thing would be possible in the case of knowledge pertaining only to the physical plane. But it would not be possible for spiritual knowledge. There is no spiritual knowledge that would refrain from entering into practical life.

This, then, is the second aspect of Rosicrucian wisdom, namely, that it can be discovered only through the powers of clairvoyance but can be understood by normal human reason. It may seem strange to say that in order to have experiences in the spiritual world you must become clairvoyant, but that in order to understand what the clairvoyant sees, this is not necessary. A seer who descends from the spiritual worlds and tells of what comes to pass there, bringing to the knowledge of men something that is necessary for humanity at the present time, can be understood if those who listen are willing to understand. For the constitution of the human being is such that it can be intelligible to him.

First of all we shall study the seven-fold nature of man according to the Rosicrucian teaching. We shall consider the whole nature of man as he confronts us; we shall learn to understand the nature of the physical body, which everyone thinks he knows all about but in reality knows nothing. As little as we can see the oxygen in water but must separate it from the hydrogen in order to recognise it, as little do we see the real physical human being when we look at another man standing before us. Man is a combination of physical body, etheric body, astral body and the other higher members of his being, as water is a combination of oxygen and hydrogen. The being who stands before us is the sum total of all these members! If we are to see the physical body alone, the astral body must have separated from it: this is the condition in dreamless sleep. Sleep is a kind of higher chemical separation of the astral body with the higher members of man's nature, from the etheric and physical bodies. But even then it cannot be said that we have the real physical body before us. The physical body is alone only at death, when the etheric body too has left it.

This has a direct and concrete bearing. I will make it clear to you by means of an example. Think of some particular part of the astral body. In the remote past, the pictures which the human being perceived in dim, shadowy clairvoyance, worked very differently than do mental images today. These pictures were impressed, first of all, into the astral body. Let us suppose that at one time pictures of the three dimensions of space — length, breadth, and depth — were impressed into the astral body. This picture of three-dimensional space which was once impressed into the astral body through the old, dim clairvoyance was carried over into the etheric body. Just as a seal is pressed into liquid sealing wax, so did the astral picture impress itself into the etheric body and this in turn moulded the forms of the physical body. Thus the picture of three-dimensional space built an organ in a particular area of the physical body. Originally there was a picture in the astral body of the three perpendicular directions of space; this picture impressed itself, like a seal into wax, into the etheric body and a certain part of the etheric body moulded an organ in the interior of the human ear, namely, the three semi-circular canals. You all have them within you; if they are in any way impaired you cannot orientate yourself within the three directions of space; you get giddy and cannot stand upright. Thus are the pictures of the astral body connected with the forces of the etheric body and the organs of the physical body.

The whole physical body of man in its plastic forms is nothing else than a product of the pictures of the astral body and the forces of the etheric body. Hence those who have no knowledge of the astral and etheric bodies cannot understand the physical body. The astral body is the predecessor of the etheric body and the etheric body is the predecessor of the physical body. Thus the matter is complicated. The three semi-circular canals are a physical organ, just as is the nose. All noses differ from one another although there may be resemblance between the noses of parents and children. If you were able to study the three semicircular canals in the ears of human beings, you would find difference and resemblance just as in the case of noses, for these canals may resemble those of the mother or father. What is not inherited is the innermost spiritual core of being, the Eternal in man which passes through the successive incarnations. Individual talents and faculties are not determined by the brain. Logic is the same in mathematics, in philosophy, or in practical life. The difference in the quality of the faculties becomes apparent only when logic is applied in domains where knowledge depends, for instance, upon the functioning of the semi-circular organs in the ear. Mathematical talent will be particularly marked when these organs are highly developed. An example of this is the Bernoulli family, which produced a succession of fine mathematicians. An individual may possess great incipient talent for music or some other art, but if he is not born into a human body that has inherited the requisite organic structures, he cannot bring these talents to expression.

So you see, the physical world cannot be understood without knowledge of how it is constituted. The Rosicrucian does not consider it his task to withdraw in any way from the physical world. Certainly not! For what he has to do is to spiritualise the physical world. He must rise to the highest regions of spiritual life and with the knowledge there obtained labour actively in the physical world, especially in the world of men.

This is the Rosicrucian attitude-the direct outcome of Rosicrucian wisdom. We are about to study a system of wisdom which will enable us to understand even the smallest things; and we shall not forget that the smallest thing in the world can be of importance to the greatest, that the smallest thing, in its rightful place, can lead to the highest of goals!
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:03 am


IN THE last lecture yesterday we spoke of the kind of relationship which Rosicrucianism adopts to the human being and to culture in general. Although the actual data of knowledge concerning the higher worlds can be discovered only by the seer, by more highly developed spiritual faculties, nevertheless the Rosicrucian method is such that the wisdom it imparts can be understood by the logical intellect. The knowledge itself is discovered by the seer with higher faculties, but normal human reason is capable of comprehending it. Let it not be imagined, however, that what it is possible to say in a single lecture can hold its ground against all criticism; this could only be so if the statements were put to the test by all the means accessible to the human mind. In the last lecture we spoke of yet another characteristic of Rosicrucianism, namely, that this method aims at carrying Spiritual Science into practical life. That is why things are put forward in such a way that they can be made an integral part of life. Here too you must have patience; at the beginning it will seem as though many things are inapplicable in practical life. But when you are able to survey the whole, you will realise that what I have said is true. The Rosicrucian method of investigation is able to impart wisdom that can take effect in life.

First of all we will consider the several members of man's constitution. Only by advancing step by step and omitting nothing shall we be able to get a view of the organic whole. We shall also study the destiny of the human soul after death and the human being in his waking consciousness, in sleep and in death. We shall have to consider what is accomplished by man between death and a new birth. It is a widespread view that man is inactive after death but this is not the case. He has far rather to be intensely active, to create, to perform work that is of significance in the cosmos. We shall also have to speak of reincarnation and karma, of destiny in the evolution of man, of how humanity developed in days of yore and of evolution in the future. It will be my task today to give a brief description of the constitution and nature of the human being.

We must realise that the nature and being of man appear far more complex to spiritual perception than to ordinary sense-perception which is permeated by intellect and can only observe a very small portion of human nature as a whole. From the point of view of occultism, the physical body as we see it in front of us is actually permeated by the etheric body and the astral body. These three bodies are united and only when the etheric and the astral bodies are removed have we the real physical body of man before us. The physical body is that member which the human being has in common with the whole of physical Nature around him, in common with minerals, plants and animals.

The only correct view of the physical human body is to say that it corresponds with the extent of man's kinship with the mineral kingdom around him. But you must realise that this member of man's being is the one that can least of all be conceived of as separate from the cosmos. The forces working in the physical body pour in from the cosmos. Think of a rainbow. If a rainbow is to appear, there must be a particular combination of sunlight and rain clouds. The rainbow cannot be absent if this combination between sunlight and rain clouds actually exists. The rainbow is therefore a consequence; a phenomenon brought into being from without. The physical body too, is, in a way, a pure phenomenon. You must look in the whole surrounding universe for the forces which hold the physical body together. Where, then, are we to find, in their true form, these forces which cause the physical body to have the appearance it has? Here we are led into higher worlds, for in the physical world we see the physical body as a phenomenon only. The forces which give rise to this phenomenon lie in a very lofty spiritual world. We must therefore give some study to worlds which exist as truly as the physical world exists.

When the occultist speaks of higher worlds, he means worlds that are around us all the time, only the senses for perceiving them must be opened just as the eyes must be opened for the perception of colours. When certain senses of the soul, senses which lie higher than the physical senses, are opened, the world around us is pervaded by a new revelation known as the astral world. Rosicrucian Theosophy calls this world the Imaginative World — but “Imaginative” here denotes something much more real than the ordinary implication of the word. There is a constant flowing and ebbing of pictures; the colours that are otherwise chained to objects are involved in myriad transformations within the astral world. In the movement that has linked itself with Rosicrucianism this world is also called the “Elemental World.” These three expressions therefore: Imaginative world, Astral world, Elemental world, are interchangeable.

A still loftier world, revealed to yet higher senses, is that of the “Harmonies of the Spheres.” This higher world penetrates into the world of pictures and colours. It is called “Devachan”, “Rupa Devachan”, or also the “Mental world”; in Rosicrucian terminology it is known as the world of the “Harmonies of the Spheres” or the world of Inspiration, because sound or tone is the medium of the Inspiration when the corresponding senses have been opened. In the movement that has linked itself with Rosicrucianism, this world has been called the “Heaven world.” Lower or Rupa-Devachanic world, Devachan, the world of Inspiration, the Heaven world — these again are one and the same.

Still another world, revealed by even higher senses, is known in Rosicrucianism as the world of true Intuition, but “Intuition” here has a much higher reality than is contained in the word as used in everyday life. True Intuition is a “merging into” other beings, so that they are known from within themselves. In the movement that has linked itself with Rosicrucianism, this world of Intuition has been called the “world of Reason” (Vernunftwelt); it is so far above the ordinary world that it casts a shadow-image only into the world of men. Intellectual concepts are faint and feeble shadow-images of the realities in this higher world. In addition to the physical world, therefore, there are three other worlds. Behind the forces which hold the physical world together there are forces which are to be found in the highest world, the world of Intuition. In comparison with the “nature-forces” in this highest world, everything that the physicist discovers in the physical world is like so many faint shadow-images. For every concept you have, say of a crystal, or of the human eye, you would find, in this highest world, living Beings. A concept in the physical world is the shadow-image of Beings in this highest world. Thus the physical world is built up by forces which manifest, in their true form in Arupa-Devachan — to use the theosophical mode of expression.

We can form a still clearer conception if we think about the mineral kingdom from this point of view.

The human being has ego-consciousness, “ I ”-consciousness. We say that a mineral is without consciousness, but this is true only in the physical plane. In the higher worlds the mineral is not without consciousness. You will not, however, find the ego of the mineral world in the Elemental world; the ego-consciousness of the mineral lies in the highest of the worlds of which we have spoken. Just as your finger has no consciousness of its own, for its consciousness lies in your “I”, in your ego, so the mineral is connected with its ego by streams that lead into the very highest realm of world-existence. A fingernail is part of the human organism as a whole; its consciousness is in the “I”. A nail is related to the organism as the mineral is related to the highest spiritual world. There is one “I” belonging to the whole living organism and the nails, like the mineral, are an outermost manifestation of what has hardened within this life. The human physical body has this in common with the minerals: that the physical body, in so far as it is purely physical — has a consciousness belonging to it in the spiritual world above. Inasmuch as the human being is endowed with purely physical consciousness (although he does not know it), inasmuch as he has a physical body with its consciousness in a higher world, his constitution is such that the physical body is worked upon from above. What fashions the physical body is not under your control. Just as it is the “ I ,” the ego, which moves your hand, so is your physical body worked upon from a higher world, and the ego-consciousness belonging to the physical body gives rise to the physical processes of the body. The Initiate who attains to Intuition — he alone has such power over his physical body that no current passes through his nerves without his knowledge; not until man reaches this stage can he be a citizen of those spiritual worlds which govern and direct his physical body.

Man has his second member, the etheric or life-body, in common with the plants and the animals. It is visible to the seer and has approximately the same form as the physical body. It is a body of forces. If you could think away the physical body, the etheric body would be left as a body of forces, a body permeated with streams of forces which have built up the physical body. The human heart could never have assumed the form it actually bears if there were not in the etheric body an etheric heart; this etheric heart contains certain forces and currents and these are the builders, the architects, the moulders of the physical, heart. Suppose you have a vessel containing water and you cool the water until hardening, ice-formations appear in it. The ice is water, only the water has hardened and the forms of the ice-blocks were within the water as lines of force. Thus is the physical heart formed out of the etheric heart; it is simply a hardened etheric heart and the streams of force in the etheric heart have given the physical heart its form. If you could think away the physical body, you would see that the etheric body, especially in the upper parts, is almost similar to the physical body. This similarity, however, continues only as far as the middle of the body for there is great differentiation within the etheric body; you will realise that this is so when I tell you that the etheric body in the male is female and in the female, male. Without this knowledge much will remain incomprehensible in practical life. The etheric body appears like a form of light extending everywhere, but only slightly, beyond the form of the physical body. The human being has the etheric body in common with the plants. It is the same with the etheric as with the physical body: the forces which hold the etheric body together are found in the world of Inspiration, the world of Rupa-Devachan, the Heaven-world. All the forces, which hold the etheric body together, lie one stage lower than those which hold the physical body together. The ego-consciousness of the plants is therefore to be found in this world of Inspiration, of Lower Devachan, of the Harmonies of the Spheres. In this same world too, lies the ego-consciousness that pervades the human etheric body and lives within you without your being aware of it.

We come now to the third member of man's being, to the astral body — the “Soul Body” in Rosicrucian terminology. Man has the astral body in common only with the animals. The astral body is the bearer of feeling, of happiness and suffering, joy and pain, emotions and passions; wishes and desires, too, are anchored in the astral body. The astral body must be characterised by saying that there is within it that which is also present in the animal world. The animal world, too, has consciousness. The astral being of man and of the animal is held together by forces which have their seat in the Imaginative world or the “Elemental” world in Rosicrucian parlance. The forces which hold the astral body together and give it the form it has, are to be perceived in their true form, in the astral world. The ego-consciousness of the animal is also within this astral world. Just as in the case of a human being we speak of an individual soul, in the case of an animal we speak of a group-soul which is to be found on the astral plane. We must not think here of the single animal living on the physical plane but a whole species of animals — all lions, all tigers — have an ego in common, a group-soul to be found on the astral plane. So that the animal is really only comprehensible when it can be followed upwards to the astral plane. “Strands,” as it were, go forth from the lions, for example, and in the astral world unite into the group-soul that is common to the individual lions living on the earth. Just as the human being has an individual ego, so in every astral body there lives something of a group-ego; this animal-ego lives in the human astral body and the human being does not become independent of this animal-ego until he develops astral sight and becomes a companion of astral beings, when the group-souls of the animals confront him on the astral plane as individual animals confront him here. In the astral world there are beings who can only come down in fragments, as it were, to the physical plane as so-and-so many animals. When the life of these animals comes to an end they unite in the astral world with the rest of this astral being. A whole species of animals is a being on the astral plane, a being with whom converse can be held as with an individual here on earth. Although there is not exact similarity the group-souls are not incorrectly characterised in the second seal of the Apocalypse where they are divided into four classes: Lion, Eagle, Bull, Man (i.e., man who has not yet descended to the physical plane). These four Apocalyptic animals are the four classes of the group-souls which live in the astral world by the side of the human being with his individual soul.

And now we will think of that which man no longer has in common with the world around him; we will think of the “ I ”, the ego. By virtue of this fourth member of his being, man is the crown of physical creation; he has consciousness on the physical plane. Just as the mineral consciousness is in the world of Arupa-Devachan, the plant consciousness in Rupa-Devachan, the animal consciousness on the astral plane, so the ego-consciousness of the human being is in the physical world. In his “ I ,” man has something into which no other being or centre of consciousness intrudes.

Thus we have the fourfold human being: physical man, etheric man, astral man, ego or “ I .”

This does not, however, comprise the whole of man's nature. Man had these four members in his very first incarnation on the earth and as he passes through successive incarnations, higher development takes place. He works, from the ego, upon the three other members. In the remote past, during his first incarnation on the earth, man was entirely under the sway of every emotion and desire; true, he also had an ego, but he behaved like an animal. If we compare this wild man with one who is a high idealist; the difference lies in the fact that the former has not yet worked from his ego upon his astral body. The next step in evolution is that man works upon his astral body. The result of such work is that certain fundamental properties of the astral body are brought under his own control. The average European allows himself to follow certain impulses and forbids himself to yield to others. As much of the astral body as a man has brought under the sway of the ego-that we call Spirit-Self (Manas). Manas is a product of the transformation of the astral body by the ego. In its substantiality, Spirit-Self is identical with the astral body; there is merely a different ordering of what was originally in the astral body but has been transformed into Spirit-Self.

A man whose development progresses acquires the faculty not only of working upon his astral body but also of working from the ego upon his etheric body. Let us be clear about the difference between working upon the astral body and working upon the etheric body. Think of what we knew at the age, say, of eight, and of what we have learnt since then. Obviously we have learnt a great deal. Everyone has assimilated a vast number of concepts and ideas which cause him no longer to follow his emotions and passions blindly. But if one remembers having had a violent temper as a child and then thinks of how far this violent temper has been conquered, it will be found that it is still apt to break out. Again, it is seldom that a man who once had a bad memory succeeds in fundamentally improving it or in enhancing the strength or getting rid of the weakness of his conscience. I have often compared the changes that a man brings about in his temperament and the like, with the slow progress of the hour hand of a clock. The essential characteristic of the pupil's Initiation is this: Learning is regarded as a mere preparation; much more is done for Initiation when the temperament itself is transformed. If a feeble memory has been changed into a strong one, if violence has been changed into gentleness, a melancholic temperament into serenity, more has been accomplished than the acquisition of great learning. Here lies the source of inner, occult powers, for this indicates that the ego is working upon the etheric body, not only upon the astral body.

In so far as they express themselves, these qualities are to be found in the astral body but if they are to be transformed, this must happen in the etheric body. What the ego has transformed in the etheric body is present in a man as Life-Spirit, in contrast to Life-Body. In theosophical literature, Life-Spirit is called “Budhi.” The substantiality of Budhi is nothing else than that part of the etheric body which has been transformed by the ego.

When the ego becomes so strong that it is able not only to transform the etheric body, but also the physical body — the densest of the principles in man and the forces of which extend into the very highest world — we say that a man is developing the very highest member of his being: Spirit-Man, or Atma. The forces for the transformation of the physical body lie in the highest world of all. The transformation of the physical body begins with the transformation of the breathing process, for Atma is Atmen — breath. This transformation causes changes in the constitution of the blood which works upon the physical body; man is here functioning in the very highest worlds.

Transformation can proceed in two ways and to be precise we must speak of an unconscious and a conscious transformation. In reality, every European, from out of his ego, has unconsciously transformed the lower members of his being. In the present phase of evolution he works consciously only in respect of the development of Spirit-Self (Manas) and he must be an initiate if he is to learn to work consciously at the transformation of his etheric body.

Thus even the most primitive human being in the very earliest stage of evolution has the three original members and within them the ego. Then begins the process of transformation. For long ages it proceeded unconsciously; humanity is now beginning consciously to transform the astral body. The Initiates are now consciously transforming the etheric body and in the future all human beings will consciously transform the etheric body and the physical body.

The three primeval members of man's nature are: physical body, etheric body, astral body — and then the “ I ,” the ego. The ego first transforms these three members. The process which has caused Manas, Budhi and Atma (Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, Spirit-Man) to arise as unconscious, germinal realities of being, lies in the past so far as present-day humanity is concerned.

Rosicrucian Theosophy makes the following differentiation: Sentient Soul, Intellectual or Mind Soul, Consciousness Soul (Spiritual Soul). The conscious process of transformation lights up for the first time in the Consciousness or Spiritual Soul. Here the ego begins consciously to work at the transformation. Spirit-Self is developed in the Consciousness Soul, Life-Spirit in the Mind Soul, Spirit-Man in the Sentient Soul. Thus we have, in all, nine members of man's nature.

Outwardly regarded, two of these members — Sentient Soul and Soul-Body interpenetrate, like a sword in its sheath; the Sentient Soul is within the Soul-Body, so that they appear as one. So is it too with Spirit-Self and Consciousness Soul. These nine members are thus reduced to seven:

1. Physical body.

2. Etheric (or Life-) body.

3. Astral body within which is the Sentient Soul.

4. Ego.

Higher members:

5. Spirit-Self (Manas) together with the Consciousness — or Spiritual Soul.

6. Life-Spirit (Budhi).

7. Spirit-Man (Atma).

Such is the inner constitution of man's nature which has, in reality, nine members, two and two of which coincide. Therefore the Rosicrucian method speaks of three times three members = nine, which is reduced to seven. We must, however, recognise the nine within the seven; otherwise we shall reach only a theoretical conception.

The transition from theory to reality can only be made by a study of man's essential nature.

9. Spirit-Man

8. Life-Spirit

7. Spirit-Self

6. Consciousness Soul

5. Mind Soul

4. Sentient Soul

3. Astral body

2. Etheric body

1. Physical body

The “ I ” lights up in the souls and then begins the work on the bodies.

The indications given today will be a guide to us to-morrow when we shall study the human being in sleep, in waking consciousness and in death.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:04 am


WE shall now study man in the state of waking life in the physical world, in the state of sleep and in so-called death. Everyone is familiar, from his own experience, with the waking state.

When the human being sinks into sleep, his astral body and ego, together with what has been worked upon in the astral body by the ego, withdraw from the physical and etheric bodies. When you observe the sleeping human being clairvoyantly, physical body and etheric body lie there in the bed. These two members remain connected whereas the astral body emerges together with the higher members; with clairvoyance we can see how, when sleep begins, the astral body, bathed in a kind of light, draws out of the other two bodies. To describe this condition with greater exactitude we must say that the astral body of modern man appears as if it consisted in many streams and sparkles of light and the whole appears like two intertwining spirals, as if there were two 6-figures, one of which vanishes into the physical body, while the other extends far out into the cosmos like the trail of a comet. Both these trails of the astral body very soon become invisible in their further extensions, so that the phenomenon then has an ovoid shape. When the human being wakes, the trail no longer extends into the cosmos and everything draws again into the etheric and physical bodies.

Dreaming is an intermediate condition between waking and sleeping. Sleep that is filled with dreams is a condition where the astral body has, it is true, loosened its whole connection with the physical body, but is still connected with the etheric body. Man's field of vision is then pervaded with the pictures we call dreams. This is, in very truth, an intermediate condition because the astral body has detached itself completely from the physical body, while remaining connected, in a certain way, with the etheric body.

The human being, while he is asleep, lives in his astral body outside his physical and etheric bodies. The fact that he must sink into sleep has deep significance for his whole make-up. Do not imagine that the astral body is inactive and has no work to do during the night while it is outside the physical and etheric bodies. During the day, when the astral body is within the physical and etheric bodies, influences come to it from the outside world, impressions which man receives as a result of the functioning of his own astral body, through his senses, through his activity in the physical world. Feelings and experiences, everything that works in upon him from outside continues on into the astral body. This constitutes the actual feeling and thinking part of man, and the physical body, together with the etheric body, is only the transmitter, the instrument. Thinking and willing take place in the astral body. While the human body is active in the external world during the day, the astral body is receiving impressions all the time. But let us remember, on the other hand, that the astral body is the builder of the etheric and physical bodies. Just as the physical body with all its organs has hardened out of the etheric body, so everything that streams and is active in the etheric body has been born out of the astral body.

Out of what is the astral body itself born? It is born out of the universal astral organism which weaves through the whole of the cosmos. If you want to envisage, by means of a simile, the relation of the small portion of astral substantiality contained in your astral body to the great astral ocean in which all human beings, animals, plants, minerals, and planets too, are contained and out of which they are born, if you want to envisage the relation of the human astral body to the great astral ocean, think of one drop of a liquid in a glass. The drop derives its existence entirely from the liquid in the glass. Similarly, what is contained in an astral body was once embraced within the astral ocean of the cosmos. It has separated out from this ocean and having passed into an etheric body and a physical body, has become a distinct entity, like the drop of liquid.

As long as the astral body lay within the astral ocean, it received its laws and its impressions from this cosmic source. It had its life within this cosmic astral body. After its separation it is exposed, during man's waking consciousness, to the impressions received from the physical world; so that it is divided between the influences coming from the cosmic astral body and those which it receives from outside as the result of the activity imposed upon it by the physical world. When man has reached the goal of his earth-evolution, this division, will merge into harmony. Today, these two kinds of influences do not harmonise.

Now the astral body is the builder of the etheric body and indirectly — because the etheric body is in turn the builder of the physical body — also of the physical body. Everything that the astral body has built up piece by piece through the ages has been born out of the great cosmic astral ocean. Because only harmonious and sound laws proceed from this astral ocean, the work carried out by the astral body in building the etheric and physical bodies is originally sound and harmonious; but as a result of the influences which came to the astral body from outside, from the physical world, impairing its original harmony, there arise all those disturbances of the physical body which prevail in mankind today.

If the astral body remained all the time within the human being, the strong influences of the physical world would soon destroy the harmony brought by the astral body from the cosmic ocean. The human being would very soon be spent by illness and exhaustion. During sleep the astral body withdraws from the impressions of the physical world, which contain nothing that produces harmony, and passes into the cosmic harmony from which it was born. And so in the morning it brings with it the lingering effects of the refreshment and renewal it has experienced during the night. Every night the astral body renews its harmony with the cosmic astral ocean and reveals itself to the clairvoyant as anything but inactive. The clairvoyant perceives a connection between the astral ocean and the one comet-like trail and observes how this part of the astral body works to eliminate the debility caused by the world of disharmony. This activity of the astral body expresses itself in the feeling of refreshed vigour in the morning. Having lived during the night within the great cosmic harmony, the astral body has of course again to adjust itself to the physical world; hence the feeling of greatest vigour does not arise until a few hours have elapsed after waking, when the astral body has again drawn into the physical body.

We will now turn to death, the “brother” of sleep, and study the condition of the human being after death. The difference between a man who is dead and one who is only sleeping is that at death the etheric body passes away together with the astral body and the physical body alone is left behind in the physical world. From birth until death the etheric body never leaves the physical body except during certain states of Initiation.

The period immediately following death is of great importance for the human being. It lasts for many hours, even days, during which the whole of the incarnation that is just over comes before the soul of the dead as in a great tableau of memories. This happens to every human being after death. The peculiarity of this tableau is that as long as it remains in the form in which it appears immediately after death, all the subjective experiences of the man during his life are expunged.

Our experiences are always accompanied by feelings either of joy or pain, upliftment of sorrow, in other words our outer life is always associated with an inner life. The joys and sorrows connected with the pictures of the past life are not present in the memory-tableau. The human being confronts this memory-tableau as objectively as he confronts a painting; even if this painting depicts a man who is sorrowful or full of pain, we still look at him quite objectively; we can, it is true, discern his sorrow, but we do not experience it directly. So it is with these pictures immediately after death. The tableau widens out and in an astonishingly brief span of time man sees all the detailed events of his life.

Separation of the physical body from the etheric body during life can take place only in an initiate, but there are certain moments when the etheric body suddenly loosens from the physical body. This occurs when a man has had terrible experiences, for instance, a dreadful fall or has been in danger of drowning.— The shock causes a kind of loosening of the etheric body from the physical body and the consequence is that in such a moment the whole of the previous life stands before the soul like a memory-picture. This is analogous to the experience after death.

Partial separations of the etheric body also occur when a limb has “gone to sleep” as we say if a hand, for instance, has gone to sleep, the seer can perceive the etheric part of the hand protruding like a glove; parts of the etheric brain also protrude when a man is in a state of hypnosis. Because the etheric body is woven in the physical body in tiny, pinpoint formations, there arises in the physical body the well-known sensation of prickling in a limb that has gone to sleep.

After the lapse of the time during which the etheric body together with the astral body is emerging from the physical body after death, there comes the moment when the astral body, with the higher members, leaves the etheric body. The latter separates off and the memory-tableau fades away; but something of it remains; it is not wholly lost. What may be called ether- or life-substance dissipates in the cosmic ether, but a kind of essence remains and this can never be lost to the human being through his further journeyings. He bears this with him into all his future incarnations as a kind of extract from the life-tableau, even though he has no remembrance of it. Out of this extract is formed what is called, with concrete reality, the “Causal Body.” After every incarnation a new page is added to the Book of Life. This augments the life-essence and, if the past lives were fruitful, causes the next life to develop in the proper way. This is what causes a life to be rich or poor in talents, qualities and the like.

In order to understand the life of the astral body after its separation from the etheric body, we must consider the conditions obtaining in physical life. In physical life it is the astral body that is happy, suffers, satisfies its desires, impulses and wishes through the organs of the physical body; after death these physical instruments are no longer at its disposal. The epicure can no longer satisfy his desire for choice food because the tongue has passed away with the physical body; but the desires, being connected with the astral body, remain in the man and this gives rise to the “burning thirst” of the Kamaloca period. (Kama = desire, wish; “loca” is “place”, but it is in reality a condition, not a place.) A man, who during physical life learns to transcend the physical body, shortens his time in Kamaloca.

To take delight in the beauty or harmony of things means growth and development, for this leads us beyond the material world. To delight in art that is materialistic increases the difficulties of the Kamaloca state, whereas delight in spiritual art lightens them. Every noble, spiritual delight shortens the time in Kamaloca. Already during earthly life we must break ourselves of pleasures and desires which can be satisfied only by the physical instrument. The period of Kamaloca is a time of the breaking of material pleasures and impulses. It lasts for approximately one third of the time of the earthly life. There is something singular about the experiences undergone in Kamaloca. The human being begins actually to live backwards through the whole of his past life. Immediately after death there was a memory-tableau devoid of the elements of joy and suffering; in Kamaloca the human being lives through all the joy and all the suffering again in such a way that he must experience in himself all the joy and the suffering he caused to others. This has nothing to do with the law of karma.

The journey backwards begins with the last event before death and proceeds at triple speed, to birth. When in this backward passage of remembrance the human being reaches his birth, the part of the astral body that has been transformed by the ego combines with the causal body and what has not been so transformed falls away like a shade, a phantom; this is the astral corpse of the human being. He has laid aside the physical corpse and the etheric corpse and now the astral corpse. He now lives through new conditions: those of Devachan. Devachan is all around us, just as is the astral world.

When the life has been lived through backwards as far as earliest childhood, when the three corpses have been discarded, man reaches the condition mysteriously indicated in the Bible by the words: “Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Devachan, the spiritual world — this is the Kingdom of Heaven in the Christian sense.)

The world of Devachan must now be traversed. It is a world as manifold and differentiated as our physical world. Just as solid regions, continents, are distinguished in the physical world, with an expanse of water surrounding the solid land, with the air above and above the air still finer conditions, so there is a similar differentiation in Devachan, in the spiritual world. By analogy with conditions on earth, the phenomena to be found in Devachan have been given similar names.

Firstly, there is a region which may be compared with solid, physical regions: it is the Continental region of Devachan. What is physical here on the earth is, in this region of Devachan, found to be a multitude of spiritual Beings. Think, for example, of a physical human being. To devachanic vision he appears like this: what the physical senses perceive, vanishes, and light flashes up in the sphere immediately around the physical man, where otherwise there is a void; in the middle, where the physical body is, there is an empty, shadowy space — like a kind of negative. Animals and human beings appear here in negative pictures; blood appears as green — its complementary colour. All formations which are physical in our world are present in the Archetypes of Devachan.

A second region — not separated off, but like a second stage — is the Oceanic region of Devachan. It is not water it is a particular substantiality which in rhythmic streams pervades the world of Devachan in colour that may be compared with that of young peach-blossom in Spring. It is fluidic life and it pervades the whole of Devachan. What is divided among individual human beings and animals here below is present in Devachan as a kind of watery element. We have a picture of it when we think of the diffusion of the blood in the human organism.

The third region of Devachan can best be characterised by saying that what lives here, in the physical world, within beings in the way of feelings, of happiness and suffering, joy, pain and the like, is present there in external manifestation.

To take an example. — Suppose a battle is waged here on the earth. Cannons, weapons and the like — these are all on the physical plane. But within human beings on the physical plane there are mutual feelings of revenge, pain, passions; the two armies confront one another full of opposing passions. Think of all this translated into external manifestation and you have a picture of how it appears on the devachanic plane. All that happens here on a battlefield, appears, in Devachan, like the bursting of a fearful storm. This is the atmosphere, the surrounding air of Devachan. Just as our earth is surrounded by air, so all the feelings that break out here, whether they come to physical expression or not, spread out in Devachan like an atmosphere.

The fourth region of Devachan contains the archetypal forms, the archetypal foundations of all truly original achievements on the earth. If we examine closely the happenings of the physical world, we find that the vast majority of inner processes are instigated from outside. A flower or an animal gives us joy; without the flower or the animal we should not experience this joy. But there are also processes which are not instigated from outside. A new idea, a work of art, a new machine — all these things bring into the world something that was not there before original creations come into being in all these domains. If new creations did not arise in the world, humanity would make no progress. Original creations given to the world by great artists and discoverers are only higher in the sense of degree than every other truly original act — even the most insignificant. The point is that something original arises in the inner being.

Archetypes exist in Devachan even for the most insignificant original actions; all these things are already prefigured in yonder world; any original achievement of a human being is already present in the germinal state, even before his birth.

Thus in Devachan we find four regions whose counter-images on the physical plane are Earth, Water, Air and Fire. There is the Continental region as the solid crust in Devachan-in the spiritual sense, of course; then the Oceanic region, corresponding to our area of water; the Atmospheric region, the streaming flow of passions and the like — beauty, but also tumult is to be found there. Finally, there is the all-pervading world of the Archetypes. Everything in the way of initiatives of will and original ideas to which, later on, effect is given in the physical world by beings who return thither — all this must be lived through by the soul in yonder world in order that fresh power may be gathered for the new life.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:05 am


IN THE last lecture we described the worlds through which the human being has to pass after death, when everything that binds him to his physical instrument has been laid aside in Kamaloca or — as we say in Rosicrucian Theosophy — in the Elemental world. We also spoke of “Rupa-Devachan,” or the region known as the Heaven world, the world of Inspiration. We heard that this region-the Spirit-Land proper-has a fourfold constitution, like the physical world. There is the Continental region, permeated by a flowing oceanic region which is more aptly to be compared with the blood circulation in the human organism. In the surrounding “air” of Devachan which is analogous to the atmosphere of our earth, is to be found all that pervades the souls of beings in the physical world in the way of joys, sufferings, sorrows, afflictions, only this air must be conceived in a much wider sense because this world is the dwelling-place of other, quite different Beings who are not incarnate in physical bodies. Finally we heard how in the fourth region of Devachan everything that is truly original, from the most trivial to the most lofty inspiration of the inventor or artist, exists as an archetype. In this world Lies the motive force of the progress of our earth. But in addition to these constituent realms of the spiritual world proper, we find that which links our earth with still higher worlds.

Up to now we have been considering things that have reference only to earth-evolution, not those that transcend this evolution. A man who attains Initiation acquires knowledge of what our earth was in the past and will be in the future, of what links the earth with worlds beyond our system.

Important above all in Devachan, in this “world of Reason”, is the Akasha Chronicle as we are accustomed to call it. The Akasha Chronicle is not actually brought into being in Devachan but in an even higher region; when, however, the seer has risen to the world of Devachan, he can begin to perceive what is known as the Akasha Chronicle.

What is the Akasha Chronicle? We can form the truest conception of it by realising that what comes to pass on our earth makes a lasting impression upon certain delicate essences, an impression which can be discovered by a seer who has attained Initiation. It is not an ordinary but a living Chronicle. Suppose a human being lived in the first century after Christ; what he thought, felt and willed in those days, what passed into deeds — this is not obliterated but preserved in this delicate essence. The seer can behold it-not as if it were recorded in a history book, but as it actually happened. How a man moved, what he did, a journey he took-it can all be seen in these spiritual pictures; the impulses of will, the feelings, the thoughts, can also be seen. But we must not imagine that these pictures are images of the physical personalities. That is not the case. To take a simple example. — When a man moves his hand, his will pervades the moving hand and it is this force of will that can be seen in the Akasha Chronicle. What is spiritually active in us and has flowed into the Physical, is there seen in the Spiritual. Suppose, for example, we look for Caesar. We can follow all his undertakings, but let us be quite clear that it is rather his thoughts that we see in the Akasha Chronicle; when he set out to do something we see the whole sequence of decisions of the will to the point where the deed was actually performed. To observe a specific event in the Akasha Chronicle is not easy. We must help ourselves by linking on to external knowledge. If the seer is trying to observe some action of Caesar and takes an historical date as a point of focus, the result will come more easily. Historical dates are, it is true, often unreliable, but they are sometimes of assistance. When the seer directs his gaze to Caesar, he actually sees the person of Caesar in action, phantom-like, as though he were standing before him, speaking with him. But when a man is looking into the past, various things may happen to him if, in spite of possessing some degree of seership, he has not entirely found his bearings in the higher worlds.

The Akasha Chronicle is to be found in Devachan, but it extends downwards into the astral world, with the result that in this lower world the pictures of the Akasha Chronicle may often be a mirage; they are often disconnected and unreliable and it is important to remember this when we set about investigating the past. Let me indicate the danger of these possible mistakes by an example. — If through the indications of the Akasha Chronicle we are led back to the epoch in the earth's evolution when Atlantis was still in existence, before the great Flood, we can follow the happenings and conditions of life in old Atlantis. These were repeated later on, but in a different form. In north Germany, in central Europe, eastwards of Atlantis, long before the Christian era and long before Christianity made its way thither from the south, happenings took place which were a repetition of conditions in Atlantis. Only afterwards, through the influences coming from the south, did the peoples begin to lead a life that was really their own. Here is an example of how easy it is to be exposed to error. — If someone is observing the astral pictures of the Akasha Chronicle, not the devachanic pictures, he may be confused in regard to these repetitions of Atlantean conditions. This was actually the case in the indications about Atlantis given by Scott-Elliot; they tally with the astral pictures but not with the devachanic pictures of the true Akasha Chronicle. The truth of this matter had sometime to be made known. The moment we know where the source of the errors lies, it is easy to assess the indications correctly.

Another source of error may arise when reliance is placed upon indications given by mediums. When mediums are possessed of the necessary faculties, they can see the Akasha Chronicle, although in most cases only its astral reflections. Now there is something singular about the Akasha Chronicle. If we discover some person there, he behaves like a living being. If we find Goethe, for example, he may not only answer in the words which he actually spoke in his life but he gives answer in the Goethean sense; it may even happen that he utters in his own style and trend, verses he never actually wrote. The Akasha picture is so alive that it is like a force working on in the mind of the human being. Hence the picture may be confused with the individuality himself. Mediums believe that they are in contact with the dead man whose life is continuing in the spirit, whereas in reality it is only his astral Akasha-picture. The spirit of Caesar may already have reincarnated on earth and it is his Akasha picture that gives the answers in seances. It is not the individuality of Caesar but only the enduring impression which the picture of Caesar has left behind in the Akasha Chronicle. This is the basis of errors in very many spiritualist seances. We must distinguish between what remains of the human being in his Akasha-picture and what continues to evolve as the true individuality. These are matters of extreme importance.

When the human being has passed out of Kamaloca, he has weaned himself from all the habits for which a physical instrument is necessary. He enters into the region described above. The period that now begins for him is exceedingly important and we must understand what it is that happens.

All the man's earlier experiences in his life of thought and feeling, all his passions, confront him in Devachan as his environment. Firstly, he sees his own physical body in its archetypal form. Just as on the earth we move among rocks, mountains and stones, in yonder world we move among the archetypes of all the structures that exist in the physical world. A man, therefore, moves over his own physical body. The fact that his own physical body is an object outside him is a pointer to him after death, for he recognises by this that he has left Kamaloca and has entered into Devachan. On the earth he says to his body: “I am that!” In Devachan he sees his body and says: “Thou art that!”

The Vedanta Philosophy teaches its pupils to meditate upon the “Thou art That!” in order that through such exercises they may understand what it means to say to the body: “Thou art That!”

In Devachan the human being sees around him what he experienced inwardly here on earth. If he has harboured revenge, antipathy and other evil feelings towards his fellow men on earth they confront him externally like a cloud and this teaches him what significance and effect all these things have in the world.

Let us be clear about what happens to the human being in Devachan. How have the organs, the eyes, for instance, of physical man on the earth been formed? There was a time when no eye was yet in existence. The eye has been formed out of the physical Organisation by light. Light is the progenitor of the eye. What is around us on the earth creates organs in physical bodies and substances; in Devachan, what is around us works upon our being of soul. So that everything a human being has developed here on earth in the way of good and reprehensible feelings is to be found, in yonder world, in his environment; it works upon his soul and so creates organs of the soul. If a man has lived a righteous life on earth, his good qualities live around him in the “air” of Devachan; they work in the Spiritual, creating organs. These organs serve as architects and moulders for the building of the physical body in a new incarnation. What was within the human being on earth is transferred to the outer world in Devachan, and prepares the forces which build up the human body for the next birth.

But let it not be imagined that the human being has nothing to do except to care for himself; as well as this he has very important work to do in Devachan. We can form an idea of this if we consider for a moment the evolution of the earth. How greatly certain regions have changed since a couple of thousand years ago! There were then quite different plants, different animal forms, even the climate was different. In respect of the products of nature the earth's surface is continually changing. In Greece, for example, there could never again arise what sprang forth from the soil in the days of ancient Greece. Evolution proceeds precisely through the fact that the face of the earth undergoes constant change.

When a human being dies, a very long period elapses before he is born again. When he appears again on the earth he does not find the same conditions as of yore; he has to have new experiences; he is not born a second time into the same configuration of the earth; he remains in the spiritual worlds until the earth has entirely new conditions to offer him. There is good purpose in this for thereby he learns something entirely new and his development goes forward quite differently. Think, for example, of a boy in ancient Rome. His life did not in the least resemble that of a modern schoolboy; and when we ourselves are born again we, in turn, shall find quite different conditions. Thus does evolution proceed from incarnation to incarnation. While the human being sojourns in the spiritual regions described, the face of the earth is perpetually changing.

What beings are active here? By what beings are the changes in the earth's physiognomy brought about? This leads at once to the answer to the question: What is the human being doing in the period between death and a new birth? He himself is working from out the spiritual worlds, under the guidance of higher Beings, at the transformation of the earth. It is human beings themselves, between death and rebirth, who carry out this work. When they are born again they find the face of the earth changed, changed into a form which they themselves have helped to fashion. All of us have been engaged in this work.

To the question: Where is Devachan, where is the spiritual world? — I answer: It is around us all the time. In very truth it is so. Around us too are all the souls of discarnate human beings; they are at work around us. While we are building cities and machines, human beings who are living between death and a new birth are around us, working out of the spiritual realms.

When, as seers, we seek for the Dead, we can find them within the light-if we perceive the light not merely in a material way. The light that surrounds us forms the “bodies” of the Dead; they have bodies woven out of light. The light that enfolds the earth is “substance” for the beings who are living in Devachan. A plant nourished by the sunlight receives into itself not the physical light alone but in very truth the activity of spiritual beings, among whom there are also these human souls. These souls themselves ray down upon the plants as light, weaving as spiritual beings around the plants. Looking at the plants with the eye of spirit, we can say: the plant rejoices at the influences coming from the Dead who are working and weaving around it in the light. When we observe how the vegetation on the face of the earth changes and ask how this comes about, the answer is: The souls of the Dead are working in the light which enfolds the earth; here is Devachan, in very truth. After the period of Kamaloca we pass into this realm of light. Only those who are able to point to where, in truth, the Dead are to be found have any knowledge of Devachan in the sense of Rosicrucian Theosophy.

When the faculties of the seer develop, he often makes a striking discovery. When he stands in the sunlight, his body holds up the light and casts a shadow; very often he will discover the spirit for the first time when he looks into this shadow. The body holds up the light but not the spirit; and in the shadow that is cast by the body the spirit can be discovered. That is why more primitive peoples who have always possessed some measure of clairvoyance, have also called the Soul, the shadow they say “shadow-less” — “soul-less.” A novel by Adalbert Chamisso is unconsciously based on this idea: the man who has lost his shadow has also lost his soul — hence his despair.

Such, then, is the work that is performed by human beings in Devachan between death and a new birth. They are by no means in a state of inactive repose; they work creatively from Devachan at the evolution of the earth. They are not, as is often said, in a state of blissful rest or dream. Life in Devachan is just as full of activity as life on the earth.

When the human being has reached the point where he has transformed into spiritual forces his activities in the last earthly life, when these experiences have come to him from the outer world of Devachan and have worked upon him, then he is ready to come down from Devachan to a new birth. The earth draws him once again to her sphere.

When the human being descends from Devachan, he passes, first, into the astral region, the “Elemental World.” Here he receives a new astral body... If iron filings are scattered on a piece of paper and a magnet is moved about underneath, the filings arrange themselves into forms and lines, following the forces of the magnet. In exactly the same way, the irregularly distributed astral substance is attracted and arranged according to the forces which are in the soul and correspond with what this soul has achieved in the previous life. Thus the human being himself gathers together his astral body. These human beings in the making, who to begin with have only an astral body, appear to the eye of the seer like bell forms opening downwards. They shoot and whirl through the astral world with tremendous speed-with a speed that can hardly be conceived.

These incipient human beings must now receive an etheric body and a physical body. What happened hitherto, up to the stage of the formation of the astral body, depended upon themselves, upon the forces they themselves had developed. But the forming of the etheric body does not, in the present phase of evolution, depend upon the human being alone; in respect of the forming of an etheric body, man is dependent upon beings external to himself. Consequently the human being always has a fitting astral body but there is not in every case perfect accordance between the astral body and the etheric and physical bodies; this is often the cause of maladjustment and lack of satisfaction in life. These incipient human beings whirl around space as they do because they are seeking for suitable parents, parents who will afford the best possible opportunity of receiving an etheric and a physical nature befitting the astral being.

The parents who can provide this can only be relatively the best and the most suitable. Co-operating in this search are Beings who member the etheric body to the astral body and whose rank is similar to that of the Folk-Spirits. The Folk-Spirit is not the intangible abstraction it is usually considered to be. A Folk-Spirit is as real to the eye of the seer as our soul that is incarnate in our body. A whole people, although it has not a common physical body, has a common astral body and the rudiments of a common etheric body. This lives within a kind of astral cloud and is the “body” of the Folk-Spirit. Of this nature are the Beings who guide the ether-formations around the human being who is thus no longer entirely under his own control.

Now comes a moment of extreme importance, equally as important as the moment after death when the whole of the past life is seen as a memory-picture. When the human being passes into his etheric body but has not yet acquired his physical body — it is a brief moment but of supreme importance — he has a pre-vision of his coming life, not in all its details but only as a survey over what his future life has in store for him. He can say to himself (but he forgets it when he actually incarnates) that he has a happy or an unhappy life in front of him. It may happen, if a human being has had many unfortunate experiences in a previous life, that he now gets a shock and is hesitant to enter into the physical body. The result of this may be that he does not come right down into the physical body and so the connection between the several bodies is not fully established. This produces idiocy in the coming life; it is not always the cause of idiocy, but frequently so. The soul rebels, as it were, against physical embodiment. Such a human being cannot make right use of his brain because he is not properly incarnate in it. He can only use his physical instrument aright when he allows himself to be born into it in the full and proper sense. Whereas in other circumstances the etheric body extends only slightly beyond the physical body, in the case of idiots portions of the etheric body are often to be seen as an etheric sheen extending far beyond the head. Here is a case where something that is left unexplained by physical observation of life, is explained through Spiritual Science.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:05 am


WE have come to the point in our studies where we heard that the human being who is descending from spiritual regions is clothed in an etheric body and has, for a brief moment, a pre-vision of the life that is awaiting him on earth. We have heard of the abnormalities and conditions to which this may give rise. Before proceeding, we will answer a question which may seem of importance to one who turns his spiritual gaze to Devacha: In what sense is there community of life among human beings between death and a new birth? For there is community of life, not only among men on the physical earth but also in the higher worlds. Just as the activities of human beings in the spirit-realm reach down into the physical world, so all the relationships and connections that are established between men on the earth stretch up into the spiritual world.

We will take a concrete example of this, namely the relationship between mother and child. Is there a relationship between them which endures? There is indeed and moreover a much more intimate, much firmer relationship than can ever be established here on earth. Mother-love, to begin with, is a kind of natural-instinct, it has something of an animal-like character. As the child grows up this relationship becomes a moral, ethical spiritual one. When mother and child learn to think together, when they share experiences in common, natural instinct with draws more and more into the background; it has merely provided the opportunity for the forging of that beautiful bond of union which is present in the very highest sense in the mother's love for the child and the child's love for the mother. The mutual understanding and love which unfolds here continues on into the regions of the spiritual world, even although, as the result of the one dying earlier, the other seems for a time to be separated from the dead. After this period has passed, the link that was on earth is equally vital and intimate. The two are together, only all the purely natural, animal instincts must have been outlived. The feelings and thoughts which weave between one soul and another on earth are not hindered in yonder world by the encasements that exist here. Devachan actually assumes a particular appearance and structure as a result of the relationships that are woven here on earth.

Let us take another example. Friendships and affinities are born from the kinship of souls; they continue on into Devachan, and from them the social connections for the next life develop. By establishing connections with souls here, we are therefore working at the form which Devachan receives. We have all of us worked in this way if bonds of love were forged between us and other men; thereby we create something that has significance not only for the earth but which also shapes conditions in Devachan. What happens here as the fruit of love, of friendship, of mutual inner understanding — all these things are building stones of temples in the spiritual region above and men who have this certainty cannot but be inspired by the knowledge that when, here on earth, bonds are forged from soul to soul, this is the foundation of an eternal “Becoming.”

Let us suppose for a moment that on some other physical planet there were beings incapable of mutual sympathy, incapable of forming bonds of love among one another. Such beings would have a very barren Devachan. Only a planet where bonds of love are forged between one being and another can have a Devachan rich in content and variety. A being who is already in Devachan and whose presence, it is true, cannot be experienced by ordinary men, has, according to his stage of development, greater or less consciousness of communion with those who have remained behind on the earth. There are, indeed, means whereby consciousness of these bonds of communion can be intensified. If we send thoughts of love-but not of egotistic love-to the Dead, we strengthen the feeling of community with them.

It is a mistake to assume that the consciousness of the human being in Devachan is dim or shadowy. This is not the case. The degree of consciousness once attained by a man can never be lost, in spite of darkenings which occur during certain periods of transition. The human being in Devachan has, through his spiritual organs, clear consciousness of what is happening in the sphere of the earth. Occultism reveals that the human being in the spiritual world lives together with what is taking place on the earth.

Thus we see that life in Devachan, if viewed in its reality, loses every element of comfortlessness; that the human being, when he ceases to regard it from his earthly, egotistical standpoint, can experience it as a condition of infinite blessedness — even apart from the fact that all freedom from the physical body, freedom from the lower nature in which he is enclosed here, brings with it a feeling of intense relief. The fact that these encasements have fallen away — this in itself brings a feeling of beatitude. Devachan is thus a time of expansion and expression in all directions; there is a richness and an absence of restriction that are never experienced on the earth.

We have heard that on his descent to a new birth, man is clothed with a new etheric body by Beings of a rank similar to that of the Folk-Spirits. This etheric body is not perfectly adapted to the reincarnating human being; still less perfectly adapted is the physical sheath he receives. We will now speak, in broad outline, of the incorporation of the human being into the physical world. Much of the subject baffles any attempt at outer description.

We have heard that in accordance with his qualities, the human being clothes himself with an astral body. Through what is contained in this astral body he is attracted to certain human beings on the earth; through the etheric body, he is drawn to the folk and to the family in the wider sense, into which he is to be reborn. According to the way and manner in which he has developed his astral body, he is drawn to the mother; the essence, the substance, the Organisation of the astral body draws him to the mother. The ego draws him to the father. The ego was present even in ages of remote antiquity, when the soul descended for the first time from the bosom of the Godhead into an earthly body. This ego has developed through many incarnations; the ego, the “ I ,” of one human being is distinct from the ego of another and at the present stage of evolution gives rise to the force of attraction to the father. The etheric body attracts the human being to the folk, to the family; the astral body attracts him particularly to the mother; the “ I ” to the father. The whole descent to the new incarnation is guided in accordance with these principles.

It may happen that the astral body is attracted to a mother but that the ego is not attracted to the corresponding father; in such a case the wandering continues until suitable parents are found.

In the present phase of evolution, the “ I ” represents the element of will, the impulse of perceptivity. In the astral body lie the qualities of phantasy or imagination, of thinking. The latter qualities, therefore, are transmitted by the mother, the former by the father. The individuality who is approaching incarnation, seeks out through his unconscious forces the parents who are to provide the physical body.

What has here been described takes place, in essentials, by about the third week after conception. True, this being who consists of “ I ,” astral body and etheric body is, from the moment of conception onwards, near the mother who bears within her the fertilised germ-cell; but it works in upon the germ-cell from outside. At about the third week the astral and etheric bodies take hold, as it were, of the germ-cell and now begin to participate in the work on the embryo; up to that time the development of the physical body proceeds without the influence of the astral body and etheric body. From then onwards these bodies participate in the development of the embryo and themselves influence the further elaboration of the human-germ. Therefore what was said about the etheric body holds good still more for the physical body and complete suitability is even less easy to obtain here. These significant facts shed light upon a great deal that happens in the world.

Up to this point we have been speaking of the normal evolution of the average man of modern times; what has been said does not altogether hold good of a man in whom occult development began in a previous incarnation. The higher the stage to which he attained, the earlier does he begin to work upon his own physical body in order to make it more suitable for the mission he has to fulfil on the earth. The later he takes command of the physical germ, the less control he will have over the physical body. The most highly developed Individualities, those who are the guides and leaders of the spiritual life of the earth take command already at the time of conception. Nothing takes place without their collaboration; they direct their physical body right up to the time of their death and begin to prepare the new body directly the first impetus for this is given.

The substances of which the physical body is composed are perpetually changing; after about seven years, every particle has been renewed. The substance is exchanged but the form endures. Between birth and death the substances of the physical body must continually be born anew; they are the ever-changing element. What we develop in such a way that death has no power over it, is preserved and builds up a new organism.

The Initiate performs consciously, between death and a new birth, what the average human being performs unconsciously between birth and death; the Initiate consciously builds up his new physical body. For him, therefore, birth amounts to no more than an outstanding event in his existence. He exchanges the substances only once, but then fundamentally. Hence there is considerable similarity of stature and form in such Individualities from one incarnation to another, whereas in those who are but little developed there is no similarity of form whatever in their successive incarnations. The higher the development of a man, the greater is the similarity in two successive incarnations; this is clearly perceptible to clairvoyant sight. There is a definite phrase for indicating this higher stage of development; it is said that such a man is not born in a different body, any more than it is said of the average human being that he receives a new body every seven years. Of a Master it is said: he is born in the same body; he uses it for hundreds, even thousands of years. This is the case with the vast majority of leading Individualities. An exception is formed by certain Masters who have their own special mission; with them the physical body remains, so that death does not occur for them at all. These are the Masters whose task it is to watch over and bring about the transition from one race to another.

Two other questions arise at this point, namely, that of the duration of the sojourn in the spiritual worlds, and that of the sex in consecutive incarnations.

Occult investigation reveals that the human being returns to incarnation within an average period of from 1,000 to 1,300 years. The reason for this is that the human being may find the face of the earth changed on his return and therefore be able to have new experiences. The changes on the earth are closely connected with certain constellations of the stars. This is a most significant fact. At the beginning of spring the sun rises in a certain zodiacal constellation. The sun began to rise in the constellation of Aries (the Ram) 800 years before Christ; before that epoch it rose in the adjacent constellation of Taurus (the Bull). About 2,600 years are required for the passage through one constellation. The circuit through the whole twelve constellations is known in occultism as a Cosmic Year.

The peoples of antiquity were deeply sensible of what is connected with this passage through the zodiac. With feelings of awe and reverence they said: When the sun rises in spring, nature is renewed after her winter repose; nature is awakened from deep sleep by the divine rays of the vernal sun. And they connected this young, fresh power of spring with the constellation from which the sun was shining. They said: This constellation is the bestower of the sun with its new vigour, it is the bestower of the new, divinely creative power. And so the Lamb was regarded as the benefactor of humanity by men who lived in an epoch now lying 2,000 years behind us. All the sagas and legends concerning the Lamb originated in that age. Conceptions of the Godhead were associated with this symbol. During the early centuries of our era, the Redeemer Himself, Christ Jesus, was depicted by the symbol of the Cross and underneath it the Lamb. Not until; the sixth century A.D. was the Redeemer portrayed on the Cross.

This is the origin, too, of the well-known myth of Jason and the quest of the Golden Fleece.

In the epoch preceding 800 B.C. the sun was passing through the constellation of Taurus; in Egypt we find the veneration of Apis the Bull, in Persia the veneration of the Mithras Bull. Earlier still, the sun was passing through the constellation of Gemini, the Twins; in Indian and Germanic mythology we find definite indication of the Twins; the twin goats drawing the chariot of the God Donar are a last remnant of this. Then, finally, we come back to the epoch of Cancer which brings us near to the time of the Atlantean Flood. An ancient culture passed away and a new culture arose. This was designated by a particular occult sign, the vortex, which is the symbol of Cancer and to be found in every calendar.

Thus the peoples have always had a clear consciousness of the fact that what proceeds in the heavens runs parallel with the changes taking place on the earth beneath. When the sun has completed its passage through one constellation, the face of the earth has changed to such an extent that it is profitable for the human being to enter a new life. For this reason the time of reincarnation depends upon the progress of the vernal equinox. The period required by the sun for its passage through one zodiacal constellation is the period within which the human being is twice incarnated, once as a man and once as a woman. The experiences in a male and a female organism are so fundamentally different for spiritual life that the human being incarnates once as a woman and once as a man into the same conditions of the earth. This makes an average of 1,000 to 1,300 years between two incarnations.

Here we have the answer to the question concerning the sex. As a rule, the sex alternates. This rule, however, is often broken, so that sometimes there are three to five, but never more than seven consecutive incarnations in the same sex. To say that seven consecutive incarnations in the same sex are the rule, contradicts all occult experience.

Before we begin to study the karma of the individual human being, one fundamental fact must be borne in mind. There is a common karma, karma that is not determined by the single individual although it is adjusted in the course of his incarnations. Here is a concrete example: —

When in the Middle Ages the Huns poured over from Asia into the countries of Europe and caused alarming wars, this too had spiritual significance. The Huns were the last surviving remnants of ancient Atlantean peoples; they were in an advanced stage of decadence which expressed itself in a certain process of decay in their astral and etheric bodies. These products of decay found good soil in the fear and the terror caused among the peoples. The result was that these products of decay were inoculated into the astral bodies of the peoples and in a later generation this was carried over into the physical body. The skin absorbed the astral elements and the outcome was a disease prevalent in the Middle Ages, namely, leprosy. An ordinary doctor would, of course, attribute leprosy to physical causes. I have no wish to dispute what such doctors say but their line of reasoning is as follows: — In a fight, one man wounds another with a knife; he had harboured an old feeling of revenge against him. One person will say that the cause of the wound was the feeling of revenge, another that the knife was the cause. — Both are right. The knife was the final physical cause but behind it there is the spiritual cause. Those who seek for spiritual causes will always admit the validity of physical causes.

We see that historical events have a significant effect upon whole generations and we learn how, even in fundamental conditions of health, improvements extending over long periods of time can be brought about.

As a result of technical progress in recent centuries there developed among the European peoples an industrial proletariat, and together with it, untold racial and class hatred. This has its seat in the astral body and comes to physical expression as pulmonary tuberculosis. This knowledge is yielded by occult investigation. It is often not within our power to help the individual among those who are subject to general karma of this kind. We are often compelled, with aching hearts, to see an individual suffering without being able to make him well or, happy because he is connected with the general karma. Only by working for the improvement of the common karma can we also help the individual. It should not be our aim to promote the well being of the single, egoistic self, but to work in such a way that we serve the well being of humanity as a whole.

Another example, directly connected with topical events, is the following — Occult observations have revealed that among the astral beings who participated in the various battles of the Russian-Japanese war, there were dead Russians, working against their own people. This was due to the fact that during recent times in the development of the Russian people, many noble idealists perished in the dungeon or on the scaffold. They were men of high ideals, but they were not so far developed as to be able to forgive. They died with feelings of bitter revenge against those who had been the cause of their death. These feelings of revenge were lived out in their Kamaloca period, for only in Kamaloca is this possible. From the astral plane after their death, they filled the souls of the Japanese soldiers with hatred and revenge against the people to whom they themselves had belonged. Had they already been in Devachan they would have said: I forgive my enemies! For in Devachan, with the clouds of hatred and revenge confronting them from without, they would have realised how terrible and how unworthy such feelings are. — Thus occult investigation reveals that whole peoples stand under the influence of their forefathers.

The idealistic strivings of modern times cannot attain their goals because they are willing to work only with physical means on the physical plane. So, for example, the Society for the Promotion of Peace, which sets out to bring about peace by physical methods alone. Not until we learn how to influence the astral plane too can we recognise the right methods; not until then can we work in such a way that when the human being is born again he will find a world in which he can labour fruitfully.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:06 am


WE come today to what man experiences in the physical world, in so far as these experiences are determined by an earlier incarnation. At the outset it must be emphasised that life is not determined by previous incarnations alone but also, though in a small degree, by the present life. The law of how man's past, present and future are connected, is called in Spiritual-scientific literature, the Law of Karma. It is the true law of human destiny; an individual life is only a specific application of the great law of the Cosmos, for the law of Karma is a universal, cosmic law with a specific application in the life of a human being. Whenever we envisage a connection between preceding conditions and subsequent effects, we are thinking in line with this law. I want therefore to explain in detail the individual application of this cosmic law in the life of the human being.

Suppose we have two vessels of water in front of us and put into one of the vessels a red-hot iron ball. The water will hiss and become warm. If we take the ball out and put it into the other vessel, the water in this case neither hisses nor gets warm, because the ball is no longer red hot; it has been cooled by immersion in the first vessel of water. The effect of the behaviour of the iron ball in the first vessel determines its behaviour in the second. Thus are cause and effect always connected in physical life. Subsequent behaviour depends upon what has happened previously.

Another example is afforded by certain animals whose organ of sight has atrophied in consequence of having made their home in dark holes and caves. In such animals, the substances which formerly nourished the eyes were led to other parts of the body because as it was no longer necessary for the eye to see, these substances were not required. The eyes atrophied and remain atrophied in all subsequent generations. Through their earlier wanderings these animals determined the actual behaviour of their organs; the destiny of subsequent generations was determined by what had happened in the past; these animals prepared their destiny for the future. And it is the same in human life.

Man determines his future by his past and because his innermost being is not confined to one incarnation but passes through many, the causes of what confronts him in a given life are to be sought in an earlier life.

We will now consider the chain of happenings which can be understood if we think of the consequences of human deeds, thoughts and feelings. It is so often said in everyday life: Thoughts are duty-free! — meaning that we can think what we like and nobody in the external world will be affected. This is one important point where a man who has really grasped spiritual impulses is at variance with the materialistic thinker.

The materialist agrees that injury is caused if he throws a stone at a man, but he thinks that a thought of hatred which he may harbour against a fellow-creature, does not hurt him. Those however who have real knowledge of the world know that far, far stronger effects proceed from a thought filled with hatred than can ever be caused by a stone. Everything that a man thinks and feels has its effects in the outer world and the seer can follow with great precision the effect of a loving thought that goes out to another man, and the very different effect that is produced by a thought filled with hatred. When you send out a loving thought to someone the seer perceives a form of light shaped like a sort of flower-calyx, playing around his etheric and astral bodies, thereby contributing something to his vitality and happiness. On the other hand a thought of hatred bores its way into the etheric and astral bodies like a wounding arrow.

Very varied observations are to be made in this domain. There is a tremendous difference in the astral world if one voices a thought that is true or a thought that is untrue. A thought is related to a thing and is true if it coincides with that thing. Every event that happens causes an effect in the higher worlds. If someone relates this event truly, an astral form rays out from the teller, unites with the form emanating from the event itself, and both are strengthened. These strengthened forms help to make our spiritual world richer and more full of content — which is necessary if humanity is to make progress. But if the event is related untruthfully, in a way that does not coincide with the facts, then the thought-form of the teller comes up against the thought-form that has proceeded from the event; the two thought-forms collide, causing mutual destruction. These destructive “explosions” caused by lies work on the body like a tumour which destroys the organism. Thus do lies kill the astral forms which have arisen and must arise, and in this way they obstruct or paralyse a part of evolution. Everyone who tells the truth actually promotes the evolution of humanity and everyone who lies, obstructs it. Therefore there is this occult law: Seen with the eyes of Spirit, a lie is a murder. Not only does it kill an astral form, but it is also self-murder. Everyone who lies places obstacles along his own path. Such effects are to be observed everywhere in the spiritual world. The clairvoyant sees that everything a man thinks, feels and experiences has its effect in the astral world. A man's disposition, temperament, enduring qualities of character, thoughts that are not merely transient — all this streams continually not only into the astral world but into the world of Devachan as well. A man with a happy disposition is a source, a centre, of certain processes in Devachan; a man who is hypocritical has the effect of multiplying the essences and substances associated with hypocrisy in human character. Thus Spiritual Science shows us that we do not live as isolated beings but that our thoughts continually produce forms which cast shadows in the world of Devachan and permeate it with all kinds of substances and essences. The four regions of Devachan-the “Continental,” the “Oceanic,” the “Atmospheric” and the region of original “Inspirations” are influenced all the time by the thoughts, feelings and sensations of human beings.

The higher regions of Devachan, in which the Akasha Chronicle appears, are influenced by deeds. What happens in the external world plays into the very highest region of Devachan — the “world of Reason.” We shall understand in this way how on his descent to a new incarnation the human being reconstitutes his astral body and attaches it to himself All his thoughts and feelings and experiences had become integral parts of the astral world, leaving many traces there. If his thoughts had contained much truth, these traces gather together to form a good astral body for him. What he had incorporated into the lower Devachanic world as his temperament and so on, gathers together the new etheric body, and from the highest regions of Devachan where the Akasha Chronicle is to be found, his past deeds play their part in establishing the station, the localisation of the physical body. Here are the forces which bring a human being to a definite locality. If a man has done evil to someone, this is an external fact which reaches into the highest regions of Devachan; when the time comes to enter a new physical body it works as forces which the man has left in his trail, and impels him — under the guidance of higher Beings — to the associations and to the place where he will now be able to experience the effects of his past deeds in the physical world.

Experiences in the external world which do not inwardly affect us very strongly work upon our astral body in the next incarnation, drawing into it corresponding feelings and a characteristic life of thought. If a man has spent his life profitably, if he has been very observant and has acquired wide knowledge, his astral body in the next incarnation will be born with special gifts in these directions. Experience and acquired knowledge thus express themselves, in the next incarnation, in the astral body. Inner experience, all that a man feels in the way of happiness, sorrow and so on — this works down to the etheric body in the next incarnation and imbues it with lasting propensities. The etheric body of a man who experiences much happiness will have a temperament disposed to joy. A man who tries to perform many good deeds, will, as a result of the feelings evoked, have a decided talent in the next life for good deeds; he will also possess a thoroughly developed conscience and will be a person of high moral principles.

That of which the etheric body is the bearer in the present life — the permanent character, talents etc. — appears in the next life in the physical body. For instance, a man who has developed bad inclinations and passions in one life will be born in the next with an unhealthy physical body. On the other hand, a man who enjoys good health, who has great powers of endurance, unfolded good qualities in the previous life. A person who is continually prone to illness, has worked bad impulses into himself. Thus we have it in our power to create for ourselves health or illness in so far as these inhere in the natural constitution of the physical body. All that is required is the elimination of bad tendencies for we then prepare a healthy, vigorous physical body for the next life.

It is possible to observe, in all details, how the tendencies that were present in one life, work, in the next, on the physical body. A person who is disposed to love everything around him, who is loving to all creatures, who pours out love, will have in the next incarnation a physical body that remains young and fresh until late in life. Love for all beings, the cultivation of sympathy, gives rise to a physical body that preserves its youthful vigour. A man who is full of antipathy against other human beings, who criticises and grumbles at everything, trying to keep aloof from it all, produces, as the result of these tendencies, a physical body that ages and becomes wrinkled prematurely. Thus are the tendencies and passions of one life carried over to the physical, bodily life of subsequent incarnations.

The very details can be observed and it can be found that a passion for acquisition, an urge that makes a person hoard possessions and becomes a rooted disposition in him, produces, in the next life, a tendency to infectious diseases in the physical body. Absolute confirmation is possible of cases where a pronounced tendency to infectious diseases leads back to an earlier, very strong sense of acquisition, the bearer of this quality being the etheric body. On the other hand disinterested striving, free from any desire for self-profit and wishing only to work for the well-being of all mankind — this tendency in the etheric body gives rise, in the next life, to a strong power of resistance to infectious diseases.

Thus knowledge of the connection between the physical and the astral world enables us to have a clear understanding of the world in its inner process of development; things are often connected in quite a different way from what people like to imagine. Many people deplore pain and suffering, but from a higher point of view this is quite unjustified, for if they are overcome and the person is ready for a new incarnation, suffering and pain are the sources of wisdom, prudence and comprehensiveness of vision. Even in writing emanating from the modern, materialistic standpoint, we find it stated that there is something like “crystallised pain” in the face of every thinker. What this materialistically minded author says here has long been known to the occultist, for the greatest wisdom of the world is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering; this creates wisdom in the next incarnation.

No one who shudders at the unpleasantness of pain, who is unwilling to bear pain can create in himself the foundations for wisdom; indeed when we look deeper, we cannot really bemoan illnesses, for regarded from a higher standpoint, from the standpoint of Eternity, they take on a very different aspect. Illnesses calmly borne often appear in the next life as great physical beauty; great physical beauty in a human being is acquired at the cost of illnesses in the preceding life. Such is the connection between impairment of the body through illness, particularly also through external circumstances, and beauty.

The following words of the French writer, Fabre d'Olivet can be applied to this very remarkable connection: “When we observe the life of the human being, it often seems to be like the formation of the pearl in the oyster-shell — the pearl can only come into being through disease.” And so it is actually in human life: Beauty is karmically connected with illnesses and is their result. When I said, however, that a man who unfolds reprehensible passions creates in himself the disposition to illness, it must be fully realised that in this case it is a matter of inherent tendency to illnesses. It is a different matter if a man falls ill through working in a poisonous atmosphere; this too may be a cause of illness but is not connected with the inherent constitution of the physical body.

Everything that is a fact on the physical plane, everything that constitutes a deed, expressing itself in such a way that it has a definite effect in the physical world, from a footstep and movement of the hand to the most complicated processes, for instance the building of a house, comes to the human being in a later incarnation from outside as an actual physical effect. As you see, we live our life from within-outwards. What lives as joy, pain, happiness, sorrow in the astral body appears again in the etheric body; the lasting impulses and passions that are rooted in the etheric body appear in the physical body as constitutional tendencies; deeds that require the agency of the physical body appear as outer destiny in the next incarnation. What the astral body does becomes the destiny of the etheric body; what the etheric body does becomes the destiny of the physical body; and what the physical body does comes back from outside in the next incarnation as a physical reality.

Here you have the actual point where external destiny intervenes in human life. This working of destiny may be postponed for a long time but must inevitably approach the human being sooner or later. If a man's life is followed through the different incarnations it can always be seen that his life in a subsequent incarnation is prepared by Beings who work at his physical embodiment in such a way that he is led to a particular place in order that his destiny may overtake him.

Here again is an example drawn from life. At a Vehmic Court in the Middle Ages a number of judges condemned a man to death and executed the sentence themselves. Earlier incarnations of the judges and of the dead man were investigated and it was found that they had all been contemporaries; the prisoner who had been put to death had been the Chief of a tribe who had ordered the death of those who were now the Vehmic judges. The deed of the former physical life had created the connection between the persons, and the forces had inscribed themselves in the Akasha Chronicle. When a man again comes down to incarnation, these forces cause him to be born at the same time and place as those to whom he is tied in this way, and they work out his destiny. The Akasha Chronicle is a veritable source of power in which everything that is due to be expiated between one human being and another, is inscribed. Some people can sense these processes, but very, very few are really conscious of them.

Suppose a man has a profession in which he is apparently happy and contented; for some reason or other he is forced to leave it and finding no other occupation in the same place is driven far away — into another country, where he has to strike out on an entirely new line of work. Here he finds a person with whom he has in some way to be associated. What has happened in such a case? He had once lived with the person whom he has now met and remained in his debt for some reason or other. This is inscribed in the Akasha Chronicle and the forces have led him to this place in order that he may meet the man and discharge his debt.

Between birth and death the human being is perpetually within a network of these forces of soul which weave around him on all sides; they are the directing powers of his life. You bear within you all the time the workings of earlier lives; and all the time you are experiencing the outcome of former incarnations.

You will realise, therefore, that your lives are guided by Powers of which you yourselves are not aware. The etheric body is worked upon by forms which you yourselves previously called into existence on the astral plane; beings and forces in the higher regions of Devachan, inscribed by you yourselves in the Akasha Chronicle, work upon your destiny. These forces or beings are not unknown to the occultist; they have their own place in the ranks of similar beings. You must realise that in the astral body and in the etheric body, as well as in the physical body, you feel the workings of other beings; all that you do involuntarily, everything to which you are impelled, is due to the working of other beings; it is not born from nothingness. The various members of man's nature are all the time actually permeated and filled by other beings, and many of the exercises given by an initiated teacher are for the purpose of driving out these beings in order that a man may become more and more free.

The beings who permeate the astral body and make it unfree are known as “Demons.” Your astral body is always interpenetrated by demons and the beings you yourselves generate through your true or false thoughts are of such a nature that they gradually grow into demons. There are good demons, generated by good thoughts; but bad thoughts, above all those that are untruthful, generate demoniacal forms of the most terrible and frightful kind and these interlard the astral body — if I may so express it. The etheric body is also permeated by beings from which man must free himself; these beings are called “Spectres”, “ghosts.” And finally, permeating the physical body there are beings known as “Phantoms.” Besides these three classes there are yet other beings, the “Spirits,” who drive the Ego hither and thither — the Ego itself also being a Spirit. In actual fact the human being generates such creatures who then determine his inner and outer destiny when he descends to incarnation. These beings work in your life in such a way that you can feel the “demons” created by your astral body, the “ghosts” or “spectres” created by your etheric body and the “phantoms” created by your physical body. All these beings are related to you and approach you when the time comes for reincarnation.

You will remember that religious documents express these truths. When the Bible speaks of the driving-out of demons, this is not an abstraction but is to be taken literally. Christ Jesus healed those who were possessed of demons; He drove the demons out of the astral body. This is an actual process and, the passage is to be taken literally. The wise man Socrates also speaks of his “Daimon” which worked in his astral body. This was a good demon; such beings are not always evil.

There are, however, terrible and corrupt demonic beings. All demons that are born of lying work in such a way as to throw man back in his development; and because owing to the lies of eminent figures in world-history demons who grow into very powerful beings are all the time being created, we hear of the “Spirits of Hindrance”, “Spirits of obstruction.” In this sense Faust says to Mephistopheles: “Thou art the Father of all hindrances!”

The individual human being, membered as he is within mankind as a whole, has an effect upon the whole world according to whether he speaks the truth or lies; for beings created by truth or by lies produce quite different effects. Imagine a people which was composed entirely of liars, the astral plane would be populated solely by the corresponding demons and these demons would be able to express themselves in constitutional tendency to epidemics. Thus there is a certain species of bacilli who are the carriers of infectious diseases; these beings are the progeny of the lies told by human beings; they are nothing else than physically embodied demons generated by lies.

You see therefore that lies and untruths of earlier ages appear in world-karma as a definite host of beings. A passage in Faust indicates how much deep truth is contained in myths and sagas. You will find there a connection between vermin and lies in the role played by rats and mice in connection with Mephistopheles, the Spirit of Lies. Legends have often preserved wonderful indications of the connection between the spiritual world and the physical world.

In order to understand the Law of Karma we shall have to speak about many other things. The Movement of Spiritual Science itself is the outcome of an intimate knowledge of the Law of Karma.

You have just heard that forces which lie in the etheric body work upon the physical body in the next incarnation. Thus the attitude of mind, the tendency to think along particular lines, works upon the physical body. A spiritual or a materialistic attitude of mind is by no means without importance for the next incarnation. A man who has some knowledge of the higher worlds — he need only believe in their existence — has in his next life a well centred physical body and tranquil nervous system, a body which he has well in hand, including the very nerves. On the other hand, a man who believes in nothing except what is to be found in the world of the senses, communicates this kind of thinking to his physical body and in the next incarnation has a body prone to nervous diseases, a frail, fidgety body in which there is no steadfast centre of will. The materialist scatters himself in pure details; the Spirit binds together, for Spirit is Unity!

The tendency or disposition comes to light, in the case of the individual, through destiny in his next incarnation, but it continues through the generations, so that the sons and grand-children of materialistic fathers have to pay for this by badly constituted nervous systems and nervous disorders. An “epoch” of nerves is the outcome of the materialistic attitude of the last century. And as a counteraction, the Great Teachers of mankind have recognised the necessity of allowing the inflow of spiritual ways of thinking.

Materialism has also found its way into religion. There are people who “believe” in the spiritual worlds but have not the will to acquire real knowledge of them. Can it be said that such people are not materialists? It is materialism in religion which makes people want to have the mystery of the Six Day of Creation — as the Bible describes the evolution of the worlds — displayed before their very eyes; it is materialism which speaks of Christ Jesus as an “historical personality” and ignores the Mystery of Golgotha. Materialism in natural science is primarily a consequence of materialism in religion, and would not exist if the religious life were not saturated with materialism. Men who have been too lazy to deepen their religious life — it is they who have introduced materialism into science. And the derangement of the nerves caused by this materialism works itself out among racial stocks and among whole peoples, as well as in the individual.

If the stream of spirituality is not powerful enough to influence lazy and easy-going people as well, the karmic consequence of nervous derangement will gain greater and greater hold over humanity, and just as in the Middle Ages there were epidemics of leprosy, so, in future, materialistic thinking will give rise to grave nervous diseases; there will be epidemics of insanity besetting whole peoples.

Insight into this domain of the Law of Karma reveals that Spiritual Science should never be a matter of strife but a healing power in humanity. The more spiritual men become, the more will troubles connected with diseases of the nervous system and derangement in the life of soul, be expunged.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:07 am


IN ORDER that you may better understand the Law of Karma as it works in human life, I shall speak of what happens immediately after the death of a human being. We heard of the memory-tableau which appears when he is freed from the physical body and is living for a short time in the etheric and astral bodies before passing through the Elemental World.

To help you to understand the inner working of karma, let me describe a strange feeling that arises during the experience of this great tableau. It is the feeling of expansion, growing out of oneself. This feeling becomes stronger and stronger as long as the human being is living in his etheric body. He has a strange experience in connection with this tableau. To begin with, he sees pictures of his past life as in a panorama. Then a moment comes, not very long after death and lasting for hours, even days, according to the nature of the individuality, where he feels: I am myself all these pictures. He feels his etheric body growing and expanding as if it embraced the whole sphere of the Earth, as far as the Sun.

Then, when the etheric body has been abandoned, another very remarkable feeling arises. It is really difficult to describe this feeling in words drawn from the physical world. It is a feeling of expansion into wide cosmic space but as though one were not actually within every place. The experience can only be approximately described. The individual feels as though with one part of his being he were in Munich, with another part of his being in Mainz, with a third in Basle, and with another far outside the Earth sphere, perhaps in the Moon. He feels as though he were dismembered, as though he were not connected with the spaces in between. That is the peculiar way of experiencing oneself as an astral being, spread out in space, transferred to different centres, but not filling the regions between them.

This experience lasts throughout Kamaloca during which period man is living through his life backwards to his birth. He lives through all that belongs to his life and these experiences then become part of the rest of his life in Kamaloca. It is important to know this in order to picture how the law of Karma works. The individual feels, at the beginning, as though he were within that human being with whom he was last connected and then, retrogressively, within all the persons and other beings with whom he was associated during his life.

Suppose, for example, you once thrashed a man in Mainz. After your death, when the time comes, you experience the thrashing you gave him, with its accompanying pain. If this man is still in Mainz, a part of your astral body after your death feels as if it were in Mainz, experiencing the event there. If the person you thrashed has died in the meantime, you feel yourself at the place in Kamaloca where he now is. You have, of course, been related not only with one but with many human beings who are scattered over the Earth in Kamaloca. You are everywhere and this gives rise to the feeling of dismemberment of the bodily nature in Kamaloca. It is thereby possible for you to experience, within all these others, the associations you had with them, and you thus form a lasting connection with everyone with whom you have come into contact. You have a tie with this man whom you thrashed because you have lived with him in Kamaloca. Later on you pass into Devachan and then, in turn, back through Kamaloca. Now, during the process of up-building, your astral body once again finds the ties which bind it to the man with whom you were united. And since there are many such connections you see you are linked by a kind of bond with everything with which you were associated.

The event observed by occult sight of which I told you in the last lecture, offers a clear explanation here. Five Vehmic judges in the Middle Ages condemned a man to death and executed the sentence themselves. In his previous life, this man had been a kind of Chief and had ordered the death of the five. Then the Chief died and passed into Kamaloca. During this period he was transported into the others at the place where they now were and he was obliged himself to experience what they had felt when they had been put to death. This is the starting-point of forces of attraction which bring human beings together when they return to the Earth, in order that the law of Karma may be fulfilled.

Such is the technique of karma, the way in which karma works. You see from this that there are forms of existence, kindred ties, which begin already on the astral plane. On the physical plane there is continuity of substance; on the astral plane, however, related yet separated parts of the bodily nature may be experienced. It is as if you were to feel your head, then nothing at all between head and heart, then the heart, then the feet, with nothing between heart and feet. One part of you may be in America, quite separated from but yet belonging to your astral being; another part may be on the Moon and a third on yet another planet; there need be no visible astral connection between these parts of your being.

This view of the law of Karma makes it clear that what arises in one human life-cycle is the outcome of many causes which lie in past lives. How is the law of Karma to be reconciled with heredity? It is said that there are many contradictions between heredity and this law.

People are apt to say of a gifted man that he must be the offspring of a gifted family, that he must have inherited his talents from his forefathers. When we observe the physical processes from the occult standpoint we know that it is not like this. We can, however, in a certain sense speak of processes of physical heredity, and we will take an example.

Within a period of 250 years, twenty-nine musicians were born in the Bach family, among them the great Bach. A good musician needs not only the inner musical faculty but also a well-formed physical ear, a special form of ear. Laymen cannot perceive the differences here; it is necessary to look very deeply, with occult powers. Although the differences are very slight, a particular inner form of the organ of hearing is necessary if a man is to become a musician, and these forms are transmitted by heredity they resemble those which have been present in the father, grandfather and so on.

Suppose that on the astral plane there is an individual who acquired great musical faculties hundreds or thousands of years ago; he is ready for reincarnation and is seeking a physical body. If he cannot find a physical body possessing suitable ears, he cannot be a musician. He must look around for a family which will provide the musical ear; without it his musical talents could not manifest, for the greatest virtuoso can do nothing unless he has an instrument.

Mathematical talent also needs something quite specific. A particular construction of the brain is not, as many people think, necessary for mathematicians. Thinking, logic, is the same in the mathematician as in others. What is needed here is a special development of the three semi-circular canals in the ear which lie in the three directions of space. Special development of these canals determines mathematical talent — herein lies the gift for mathematics. This is a physical organ and its form must be transmitted by heredity. It will be remembered that eight first-class mathematicians were born in the Bernoulli family.

A man of high moral principles also needs parents who transmit a physical body suitable for the functioning of his moral gifts. And he has these parents and no others because he is this particular kind of individuality.

The individuality himself seeks his parents, although under the guidance of higher Beings. From the point of view of mother-love many people take exception to this fact. They are fearful that they might lose something if the child were not to inherit certain qualities from the mother. True knowledge, however deepens mother-love, for it reveals that this love is present before birth, even before conception, as a force which guided the child to the mother. The child loves the mother even before birth and mother-love is the reciprocal force. Spiritually regarded, therefore, mother-love extends to the time before birth; it is rooted in mutual feelings of love.

It is often imagined that the human being is subject to the irrevocable law of karma in which nothing can be changed. Let us take a simile from everyday life to explain the working of this law.

A merchant makes entries of debits and credits in his account books; taken together, these entries tell him the state of his business. The financial state of his business is subject to the inexorable law governing the calculation of debit and credit. If he carries through new transactions he can make additional entries and he would be a fool if he were unwilling to embark on other business because a balance was once drawn up. In respect of karma, everything good, intelligent and true that has been done by a man stands on the credit side; evil or foolish deeds stand on the debit side. At every moment he is free to make new entries in the karmic book of life. It must never be imagined that life is under the sway of an immutable law of destiny; freedom is not impaired by the law of karma. In studying the law of karma, therefore, the future must be borne in mind as strongly as the past. Bearing within us the effects of past deeds, we are the slaves of the past, but the masters of the future. If we are to have a favourable future, we must make as many good entries as possible in the book of life.

It is a great and potent thought to know that nothing we do is in vain, that everything has its effect in the future. The law of karma is the reverse of depressing; it fills us with splendid hope and knowledge of it is the most precious gift of Spiritual Science. It brings happiness inasmuch as it opens out a vista into the future. It charges us to be active for its sake; there is nothing in it whatever to make us sad, nothing which could give the world a pessimistic colouring; it lends wings to our will to co-operate in the evolution of the earth. Such are the feelings into which knowledge of the law of karma must be translated.

When a human being is suffering, people sometimes say: “He deserves his suffering and must bear his karma; if I help him, I am interfering with his karma.” This is nonsense. His poverty, his misery is caused through his earlier life, but if I help him, new entries will be made in his book of life; my help brings him forward. It would be foolish to say to a merchant who could be saved from disaster by 1,000 or 10,000 Marks: “No, for that would alter your balance.” It is precisely this possibility of altering the balance that should induce us to help a man. I help him because I know that nothing is without its karmic effect. This knowledge should spur us on to purposeful action.

Many people dispute the law of karma from the standpoint of Christianity. Theologians maintain that Christianity cannot acknowledge this law because it is irreconcilable with the principle of the vicarious Death. And there are even certain Theosophists who say that the law of karma contradicts the principle of the Redemption, that they cannot acknowledge the help given to the many by an individual. Both are wrong for neither has understood the law of karma.

Suppose some human being is in distress. You yourselves are in a more fortunate position and can help him. By your help you make a new entry in his book of life. A more influential person can help two, and affect the karma of both of them. A man who is still more powerful can help ten or a hundred people and the most powerful can help unnumbered human beings.

This does not by any means run counter to the principle of karmic connections. Precisely because of the absolute reliability of the law of karma we know that this help does indeed influence the destiny of the human being.

Mankind was verily in need of help when the Christ was sent to this plane. The death on the Cross of the Redeemer, of the one central Being, was the help that intervened in the karma of untold numbers of men. There is no variance between Christian Esotericism and Spiritual Science when both are rightly understood. There is profound agreement between the laws of both and we are by no means obliged to abandon the principle of the Redemption.

We penetrate still more deeply into the law of karma when we study the evolution of humanity as well as the evolution of the Earth. We have considered certain facts which help us to understand this law of karma, and we shall understand it still better when we pass on to the evolution of humanity itself, not only during the Earth period but also during the other planetary incarnations of the Earth. We shall discover certain supplementary details of this law when we go back to ages in the remote past and receive indications, too, about the far future. By way of introduction we will consider a fact of great significance.

We have realised from what has been said that the external, physical body of man — the part of him that we see with physical eyes — is built up by the higher members of his being; Ego, astral body, etheric body and all the members up to Atma, the highest of them, work at the physical body. The various parts of the body, as they exist in the human being today, are not of equal but of different value in his nature. Even superficial thought will make us realise that the physical body is the most perfect part of our nature. Take, for example, a part of the thigh-bone. This is not simply a compact, solid bone, but full of artistry, constructed as it were of intersecting beams. Anyone who studies this bone not only with the intellect but also with feeling will marvel at the wisdom which, in its creation, has used no more material than is essential to support the upper body with the smallest possible amount of power. No engineering art applied to the building of a bridge is equal to the wisdom that has brought such a bone into existence!

If we investigate the human heart, but not merely with the eye of the anatomist or physiologist, we shall find here an expression of sublime wisdom. Do not imagine that the astral body of man today is as far advanced in development as the physical heart. The heart has been built up with art and with wisdom; the astral body, with its desires, induces the human being to pour definite heart-poison into himself for many decades, but the heart withstands it for many decades. Only at a future stage of evolution will the astral body have reached the stage of development of the physical body today, and then it will be at a far, far higher level than the physical body. Today the physical body is the most perfect; the etheric body is less perfect, the astral body still less perfect, and the Ego is the “baby” among the bodies.

The physical body as it is today, is the oldest member of man's being; work has been performed on it for the longest period of time and not until it had reached a certain stage in the course of evolution was it permeated by the etheric body. When these two bodies had worked together for a time, the astral body was added, and then, finally, the “I”, which in the future will attain undreamed of heights of development. Just as the human being has repeated incarnations, so, too, the Earth, has passed through incarnations and will pass through still others in the future. Reincarnation is enacted throughout the Cosmos. Our Earth in its present form is the reincarnation of earlier planetary bodies of which there have been three. Before our Earth became Earth, it was what is called by occultism — not by Astronomy — the Moon. The present Moon is as it were a body of dross which was discarded as useless.

If we could mingle Earth and Moon, together with all their substances and all their beings, we should have the “occult Moon” — the forerunner of the Earth; the Earth of today is the remnant of the Old Moon that remained after the dross had been thrown off just as the Moon of today is a discarded remnant of the Old Moon incarnation of the Earth, so is the Sun in the heavens a body that proceeded from a still earlier condition of the Earth. Before the Earth was Moon, it was, as we say in Occultism, Sun, and this Sun was composed of all the substances and beings which today form Sun, Moon and Earth. This Sun released itself from the substances and beings which form the Earth and the Moon of today, which it could not, as a higher celestial body, retain and it thereby became a fixed star. Occultists know that a fixed star need not always have been a fixed star. The Sun only became a fixed star after having been a planet.

The Sun we see today was once united with the Earth and took with it many beings who were at a higher stage of development than the beings of the Earth; just as with the Moon that we see went the interior portions and the Moon is therefore a body of discarded dross. The Moon is a planet that has degenerated; the Sun is a body that has ascended.

The Sun existence was preceded by the Saturn existence. Thus there are our consecutive incarnations of the Earth: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth. When the forerunner of the human being was developing on Saturn, his only principle was that of the physical body; the etheric body was added on the Sun, the astral body on the Moon, and the “ I ” on the Earth.

The lecture entitled “Blood is a very special fluid” will have shown you how intimately the “ I ” is connected with the blood. This blood was not within the human body before the embodiment of an Ego, so that this red human blood is connected with the evolution of the Earth as such. It could not have been formed at all if the Earth, in its evolutionary course, had not come together with another planet, namely, with Mars. Before this contact of the Earth with Mars, the Earth had no iron; there was no iron in the blood; the blood upon which the human being is dependent today, did not exist. In the first half of Earth existence, the influence of the planet Mars is the ruling factor, and the influence of the planet Mercury in the second half.

Mars has given iron to the Earth and the Mercury influence manifests on the Earth in such a way that it makes the human soul more and more free, more and more independent. In occultism therefore, we speak of the Mars half of Earth evolution and of the Mercury half. Whereas the other names describe a whole planet, Earth evolution is spoken of as “Mars-Mercury.” Used in this connection the names do not designate the planets we know today but the influences at work during the first and second halves of Earth evolution.

In the future the Earth will incarnate as a new planetary body, known as Jupiter. The human astral body then will have developed to a stage where it no longer confronts the physical body as an enemy, as is the case today, but it will still not have reached its highest stage. The etheric body on Jupiter will have reached the stage at which the physical body is now, for it will then have three planetary evolutions behind it as the physical body has today.

On the planetary body following Jupiter, the astral body will have developed as far as the physical body of today; it will have behind it the Moon, Earth and Jupiter evolutions and will have reached the Venus evolution. The final planetary incarnation will be that of Vulcan, when the “ I ”, the Ego, will have attained the highest stage of its development. The future incarnations of the Earth will thus be: Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. These designations are also found in the names of the days of the week.

There was a time when the names of the things and facts around us in our lives were given by the Initiates. Men have no inner feeling today of the way in which names really belong to things. The names given to the days of the week were meant to be reminders to human beings of their development through the evolutionary stages of the Earth.

Saturday (Sonnabend) is Saturn-day; Sunday (Sonntag) = Sun-day; Monday (Montag) = Moon-day. Then Mars and Mercury, the two conditions of our Earth. Mars-day (Dienstag) = Tuesday, in old German Ziu — Dinstag; in French, Mardi, in Italian Martedi. Wednesday (Mittwoch) is Mercury-day, in Italian Mercoledi, in French Mercredi; Mercury is the same as Wotan; Tacitus speaks of Wotan's day, in English Wednesday. Then comes the Jupiter day; Jupiter is the Germanic Donar, hence Donnerstag, in French Jeudi, in Italian Giovedi. Then Venus-day; Venus is the Germanic Freia; Freitag, in French Vendredi and in Italian Venerdi.

Thus in the names of the consecutive days of the week we have reminders of the development of the Earth through its different incarnations.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Theosophy of the Rosicrucian, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 6:07 am


WE will now consider the series of incarnations passed through by our planet, and realise that these were embodiments, that is to say, conditions of our Earth when it was once Saturn, Sun, Moon. We must be fully aware that these incarnations were necessary for the development of every living thing, especially of man, and that man's own evolution is intimately connected with the Earth.

We shall, however, only understand in the right way what took place then, if we realise how the man of today — we ourselves — has changed in respect of certain characteristics in the course of evolution. And first we will consider the changes which have come about in man's conditions of consciousness. Everything in the world has evolved, even our consciousness. The consciousness that a man has today he has not always possessed, it has only gradually become what it is now.

We call our present consciousness the objective consciousness or the waking day-consciousness. You all know it as that which you have from morning when you awake, to evening when you fall asleep. Let us be clear as to its nature. It consists in man's turning his senses towards the outer world and perceiving objects-and hence we call it objective consciousness.

Man looks into the surroundings and sees with his eyes certain objects in space which are bounded by colours. He listens with the ear and perceives that there are objects in space which produce a tone, which resound. With his sense of touch he feels objects, finds them warm and cold, he Smells, tastes objects. What he thus perceives with his senses he reflects upon; he employs his reason to understand these different objects, and it is from these facts of sense perception and their comprehension in the mind that the present waking day consciousness has arisen. Man has not always had this consciousness, it had first to develop, and he will not always have it as it is, but will ascend to higher stages. Now with the means supplied by occult science we can survey seven states of consciousness of which our present consciousness is the middle one: we can survey three preceding ones and three following after.

Many will wonder why we are just standing so nicely in the centre. This comes from the fact that other stages, preceding the first, are beyond our sight, others follow the seventh which are again beyond our sight. We see just far behind us as we do in front; if we took one step back, we should see one more behind us and one fewer before us-just as when you go into the fields you can see as far to the left as to the right.

These seven states of consciousness are the following: At first a very dull deep condition of consciousness which humanity hardly knows today. Only persons with a special mediumistic tendency can still have this consciousness today which once upon Saturn was possessed by all men. Mediumistic persons can come into such a consciousness, which is known to the modern psychologist. All the other states of consciousness have been deadened in them and they appear practically lifeless. But then, if from memory or even in this condition they sketch or describe what they have experienced, they bring to light quite extraordinary experiences, which do not take place around us. They make all sorts of drawings which, although they are grotesque and distorted, yet agree with what we call in theosophy cosmic conditions. They are often entirely incorrect, but nevertheless they have something by which we can recognise that such people during this lowered condition have a dull but a universal consciousness; they see cosmic bodies and therefore their sketches are of that nature.

A consciousness that is dull like this but in compensation represents a universal knowledge in our cosmos, was once possessed by man on the first incarnation of our Earth, and is called “deep trance consciousness.” There are beings in our surroundings who still have such a consciousness — the minerals. If you could talk with them, they would tell you what goes on in Saturn — but this consciousness is entirely dull and insensible.

The second condition of consciousness which we know, or much rather, do not know, since we are then asleep, is that of ordinary sleep. This condition is not so comprehensive, but in spite of its still being very dull, it is clear in comparison with the first. This “sleep-consciousness” was once the permanent state of all human beings when the Earth was “Sun”; at that time the human ancestor was in a continuous sleep.

Even today this state of consciousness still exists; the plants have it, they are beings who uninterruptedly sleep, and if they could speak they could tell us how things are on the Sun, for they have Sun-consciousness.

The third condition, which is still dim and dull in relation to our day-consciousness, is that of “picture-consciousness”, and of this we have a clear idea since we experience an echo of it in our dream-filled sleep, though it is but a reminiscence of what on the Moon was the consciousness of all human beings. It will be well to start from the dream in order to get a picture of the Moon-consciousness.

In the dream-life we find indeed something confusing, chaotic, but on closer observation this confusion nevertheless displays an inner law. The dream is a remarkable symbolist. In my lectures I have often brought forward the following examples, which are all taken from life. You dream that you are running after a tree-frog to catch it, you feel the soft, smooth body; you wake up and have the corner of the sheet in your hand. Had you used your waking consciousness you would have seen how your hand was holding the bed-cover. The dream-consciousness gives you a symbol of the external act, it forms a symbol out of what our day-consciousness sees as a fact.

Another example: a student dreams that he is standing at the door in the lecture hall. There he is roughly jostled, and from this ensues a challenge. He now experiences every detail, until, accompanied by his second and a doctor, he goes to the duel, and the first shot is fired. At this moment he wakes up, and sees that he has overturned the chair at his bedside. In waking consciousness he would simply have heard the fall; the dream symbolises this prosaic event through the drama of the duel. And you see too, that the conditions of time are quite changed, for the whole drama flashed through his mind in the single instant in which the chair fell. The entire preparation took place in one moment, the dream has reversed time, it does not conform to the circumstances of the ordinary world, it is a creator in time.

Not only can external events be symbolised in this way, but also inner processes of the body. A man dreams he is in an air hole of a cellar, obnoxious spiders creep about him; he wakes up and feels a headache; the skull has taken on the symbol of the cellar hole, the pain, that of the hideous spiders!

The dream of the present-day man symbolises events which are both external and within. But it was not so when this third state of consciousness was that of the Moon humanity. At that time man lived entirely in such pictures as he has in the modern dream, but they expressed realities. They signified precisely such a reality as today the blue colour signifies a reality, only at that time colour hovered freely in space, it was not resting upon the objects. In that former consciousness man could not have set out on the street, as today, have seen a man in the distance, looked at him, approached him; for forms of beings with a coloured surface could not have been perceived at that time by man, quite apart from the fact that he could not then walk as he does today. But let us suppose that one man on the Moon had met another, then a freely hovering picture of form and colour would have risen up before him. Let us say, an ugly one, then the man would have turned aside in order not to meet it; or a beautiful one, then he would have drawn near it. The ugly colour-picture would have shown him that the other had an unsympathetic feeling towards him, the beautiful, that the other liked him.

Let us suppose there had been salt on the Moon; when salt stands on the table today, you see it as it is in space, as object, granular, with definite colouring. At that time it would not have been so. On the Moon you would not have been able to see the salt. But from the place where the salt would be, a picture of colour and form would have proceeded, floating free; and this picture would have shown you that the salt was something useful. Thus the whole consciousness was filled with pictures, with floating colours and forms. In an ocean of such form and colour pictures the human being lived; but the pictures of colour and form denoted what was going on around him, above all, things of a soul character and those which affected the soul nature — what was advantageous to it or harmful. In this way the human being orientated himself rightly with regard to the things around him. When the Moon passed over into the Earth incarnation this consciousness changed into our day-consciousness, and only a relic of it has remained in the dream as one has it now — a rudiment, as there are rudiments of other things. You know, for instance, that there are certain muscles near the ear which nowadays seem purposeless. Earlier they had their significance; they served to move the ears at will; there are very few persons who can do this today.

So conditions are to be found in man which have remained as a last relic of a former significance. Although these pictures no longer have a meaning, at that time they signified the outer world. Even today you still have this consciousness among all those animals — note this carefully — which cannot utter sounds from their inner being. There is in fact a far truer division of animals in occultism than in external Nature Science, namely in to those which can utter sounds from within and those which are dumb. It is true that you can find among certain lower creatures the power of producing sounds, but then this happens in a mechanical way, through friction, etc., not from their inner being. Even the frogs do not create sounds so. Only the higher animals, which arose at the time when the human being could express his suffering and joy in tones, only these, together with man, have gained the power of bringing to expression their pain and pleasure through sounds and cries. All animals which do not utter sounds from within still have such a picture-consciousness. It is not a fact that lower animals see the pictures in such outlines as we do. If some lower animal, the crab, for example, perceives a picture that makes a distinctly unpleasant impression, it gets out of the way, it does not see the objects, but sees the harmfulness in a repelling picture.

The fourth state of consciousness is that which all men now have. The pictures which man formerly perceived as colour pictures floating freely in space, wrap themselves, so to speak, round the objects. One might say they are laid over them, they form the surface and seem to be upon the objects, whereas formerly they seemed to float in freedom. In consequence, they have become the expression of the form; what man earlier had within himself has come out and fastened itself on the objects and through this he has come to his present waking day-consciousness.

We will now consider something else. We have already said that man's physical body was prepared on Saturn; on the Sun was added the Etheric or Life-body, which interpenetrated and worked on it. It took what the physical body had already become by itself, and worked on it further. On the Moon was added the Astral-body; this still further altered the form of the body. On Saturn the physical body was very simple, on the Sun it was much more complicated, for then the etheric body worked on it and made it more perfect. On the Moon the Astral body was added, and on the Earth the Ego, which brought it to a still greater completion. At the time when the physical body existed on Saturn, when as yet no etheric body had interpenetrated it, all the organs it contains today were not yet within, for it lacked blood and nerves, nor had it as yet any glands. The human being at that time had merely the organs-and these only in their rudiments-which today are the most perfect, and which have had time to arrive at their present perfection, namely, the marvelously constructed sense organs.

The wonderful construction of the human eye, the wonderful apparatus of the human ear, all this has only attained its perfection today because it was formed out of the general substance of Saturn, and the etheric body, astral body and ego have worked on it. So too the larynx; it was already laid down on Saturn, but man could not as yet speak. On the Moon he began to send out inarticulate tones and cries, but only through the continuous activity described, the larynx became the perfected apparatus it is on the Earth today. On the Sun, where the etheric body was inserted, the sense organs were further elaborated and all those organs were added which are primarily organs of secretion and life, which discharge functions of nutrition and growth. They were first laid down during the Sun stage of existence. Then the astral body worked further during the Moon existence, the Ego during the Earth existence and thus the glands, the organs of growth and so on have matured to their present perfection. Then on the Moon the nervous system originated through the incorporation of the astral body. The principle, however, which enabled the human being to evolve an objective consciousness and at the same time gave him the power to sound forth his pleasure and pain from within — the ego — this formed in man his blood.

Thus the whole universe is the builder of the sense organs. Thus have all the glands, organs of reproduction and nutrition been formed by the life-body; thus the astral body is the builder of the nervous system and the ego the incorporator of the blood. There is a phenomenon described as “chlorosis” — anæmia or green-sickness. There the blood comes into a state where it cannot sustain the waking consciousness; such persons often lapse into a dim consciousness like that on the Moon.

Now let us consider the three states of consciousness which are still to come. One can ask how it is possible to know something about them already. It can be done through Initiation. The initiate can have these states of consciousness even today in anticipation. The next known to the initiate is the so-called psychic, *[Later called by Dr. Steiner Imagination.] a consciousness in which one has both together, the picture-consciousness and the waking day-consciousness. With this psychic consciousness you see a man in outline and forms as in day-waking consciousness. But you see at the same time what lives in his soul, streaming out as coloured clouds and pictures into what we call the “Aura.” Nor do you go about the world in a dreamy state like the Moon-human being, but in complete self-control, as modern man of the waking consciousness. On the planet that replaces our Earth the whole of humanity will have this psychic or soul-consciousness, the Jupiter consciousness.

Then there is still a sixth state of consciousness which man will also one day possess. This will unite the present day-consciousness, the psychic consciousness only known to the initiate and in addition all that man sleeps away today. Man will look deep, deep into the nature of beings when he lives in this consciousness, the consciousness of Inspiration. He will not only perceive in pictures and forms of colour, he will hear the being of the other give forth sounds and tones. Each human individuality will have a certain note and the whole will sound together in a symphony. This will be the consciousness of man when our planet will have passed into the Venus condition. There he will experience the sphere-harmony which Goethe describes in his Prologue to Faust:

“The Sun-orb sings, in emulation
Mid brother-spheres, his ancient round;
His path predestined through Creation
He ends with step of thunder-sound.”

(Bayard Taylor's translation)

When the Earth was Sun the human being was aware in a dim way of this ringing and resounding, and on Venus he will again hear it ringing and resounding “auf alter Weise” (as of old). To this very phrase Goethe has retained the picture.

The seventh state of consciousness is the Spiritual consciousness,* [Since called Intuition] the very highest, when man has a universal consciousness, when he will see not only what proceeds on his own planet, but in the whole cosmos around him. It is the consciousness that the human being had on Saturn, a kind of universal consciousness, although then quite dim and dull. This he will have in addition to all the other states of consciousness when he will have reached Vulcan.

These are the seven states of human consciousness which man must go through in his journey through the cosmos. And each incarnation of the Earth produces the conditions through which such states of consciousness are possible. Only because the system of nerves was laid down on the Moon, and further developed to the present brain, has the modern waking day-consciousness been possible. Organs must be created by which the higher states of consciousness may also have a physical basis of experience, as the initiate already experiences these states spiritually.

That the human being can pass through seven such planetary conditions is the meaning of evolution. Each planetary stage is bound up with the development of one of the seven states of human consciousness, and through what takes place on each planet the physical organs for such a state of consciousness are perfected. You will have a more highly developed organ, a psychic organ, on Jupiter; on Venus there will be an organ through which man will be able to develop physically the consciousness possessed by the initiate today on the Devachanic plane. And on Vulcan the Spiritual consciousness will prevail, which the initiate possesses today when he is in Higher Devachan, the World of Reason.

To-morrow we will examine these planets separately, for, just as our Earth earlier, in the Atlantean and Lemurian Ages, for instance, had a different appearance from that of today, and as later it will again look different, so too have Moon, Sun and Saturn passed through various conditions, and so will Jupiter and Venus pass through still others.

We have learnt today the broad, comprehensive cycle of the planets, to-morrow we will occupy ourselves with the changes under one by these planets while they were the theatre of human evolution.
Site Admin
Posts: 23130
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Ancien Regime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest