The Art of Avoiding History, by Peter Staudenmaier

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Re: The Art of Avoiding History, by Peter Staudenmaier

Postby admin » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:57 am

From Jesus to Christ
by Rudolf Steiner
Schmidt Number: S-2455

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YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


LECTURE VIII

Yesterday we indicated that it was now necessary to answer the question: What really happened to that Being whom we designate as Christ Jesus from the Baptism by John in Jordan to the Mystery of Golgotha? To answer this question as far as possible, we must recall briefly what we know from former lectures concerning the life of Jesus of Nazareth, who in his thirtieth year became the bearer of the Christ. The essential points are given in my recently published book, The Spiritual Guidance of Mankind.

We know that in Palestine, at the time which concerns us, not one but two Jesus-children were born, one of them from the Solomon line of the House of David. This is the Jesus child of whom the Matthew Gospel speaks. The peculiar contradiction between the beginnings of the Matthew and the Luke Gospels derives from the fact that the writer of the Matthew Gospel was concerned with one of the Jesus-children, the one born from the Solomon line. Then, at almost but not quite the same time, another Jesus-child was born, from the Nathan line of the House of David.

The important thing is to understand clearly what kind of beings these two children were. Occult investigation shows that the individuality who was in the Solomon Jesus-child was none other than Zarathustra. After Zarathustra's most important mission, of which we have spoken in connection with the ancient Persian civilisation, he had been incarnated again and again; lastly during the Babylonian-Chaldaic civilisation, and now as the Solomon Jesus-child. This Zarathustra individuality, with all the great and powerful inner forces which in the nature of things he had brought over from earlier incarnations, had to incarnate in a body descended from the Solomon side of the House of David; a body adapted for working up and further developing the great faculties of Zarathustra, in the way that human faculties, when they are already at a very high level, can be brought further on, in so far as they belong to the being who is going from incarnation to incarnation. We are concerned therefore with a human body which did not wait until later years to work on these faculties, but could do so in a youthful, child-like and yet powerful organism. Hence we see the Zarathustra-individuality growing up in such a way that the faculties of the child developed comparatively early. The child soon showed an extent of knowledge which would normally have been impossible at his age.

One fact, however, we must keep firmly in mind: the Solomon Jesus-child, although the incarnation of so lofty an individuality, was only a highly developed man. Hence he was encumbered — as even the most highly developed man must be — with certain liabilities to error and moral difficulties, though not exactly vices or sins. Then we know that in his twelfth year the individuality of Zarathustra, by an occult process known to everyone who has made himself conversant with such facts, forsook the body of the Solomon Jesus-child and went over into the body of the Nathan Jesus-child. Now the body of this Nathan Jesus-child — or, better, his three-fold bodily organisation physical body, etheric body, astral body — was formed in a quite special manner. In fact, this body was such that the child showed capacities exactly contrary to those of the Solomon Jesus-child. Whereas the latter was remarkable because of his great gifts in relation to things one can learn externally, it might almost be said that in this respect the Nathan Jesus-child was untalented. You will understand that saying this implies not the slightest deprecation. The Nathan Jesus-child was not in a position to familiarise himself with the products of human culture on earth. By contrast, the remarkable fact is that he could speak as soon as he was born. A faculty which belongs more to the physical body was thus present in him from his birth. But — according to a good tradition which can be occultly confirmed — the language he spoke could be understood by his Mother only. The child's most strongly marked characteristics were qualities of the heart. He had an immense capacity for love and a disposition capable of immense self-sacrifice. And the remarkable thing is that from the first days of his life his mere presence, or his touch, had beneficent effects — magnetic effects, one might perhaps call them nowadays. Thus all the qualities of heart were manifest in this child, enhanced to such a degree that they could have a beneficent magnetic influence on his environment.

We know also that active in the astral body of this child were the forces which had once been acquired by that Bodhisattva who became Gautama Buddha. We know indeed — and in this respect the oriental tradition is absolutely correct, for it can be confirmed by occult science — that the Bodhisattva, who on becoming Buddha five centuries before our era no longer needed to incarnate further on earth, worked from the spiritual world upon all those who devoted themselves to his teachings. It is characteristic of such an individuality, who rises to heights from which he need no longer incarnate in a body of flesh, that he can then take part in the affairs and destiny of our earth existence from out of the spiritual worlds. This can happen in the most manifold ways. In fact, the Bodhisattva who went through his last incarnation on the earth as Gautama Buddha has taken an essential part in the further evolution of humanity. Our human spiritual world stands continually in connection with all the rest of the spiritual world. The human being not only eats and drinks and so takes into himself the substance of the physical earth; he continually receives soul-spiritual nourishment from the spiritual world. In the most varied ways forces continually flow into physical earthly-existence from out of the spiritual world. Such an in-flow of the forces which Buddha had gained for himself came into the wider stream of humanity through the fact that the Buddha forces permeated the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child. We know, too, from earlier lectures that the words we still have today as a Christmas message — ‘The Divine reveals itself from the heights, and on earth peace will spread in the hearts of men of good will!’ — originate in essence from the influence which flowed down into human evolution through the immersion of the Buddha powers in the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child.

Thus we see the Buddha forces working further in the stream of earth-existence which took its start from the Events of Palestine. And it is interesting that precisely the researches made by western occultism in quite recent years have led to the recognition of a very important connection between European civilisation and the Buddha forces. For a long time these Buddha forces have been working from the spiritual worlds, particularly upon everything in Western civilisation which is unthinkable without the specific influence of Christianity. All those philosophical streams which have developed during recent centuries up to the nineteenth century, in so far as they are Western spiritual currents, are permeated by the Christ-Impulse, but the Buddha has always been working into them from out of the spiritual worlds. Hence the most important thing that European humanity can receive from Buddha today does not depend on the handing down of the teaching that Buddha gave to men about 500 years before the Christian era, but on what he has become since that time. For he has not remained at a standstill; he has progressed; and it is through this progress, as a spiritual being in the spiritual worlds, that he has in the highest sense been able to take part in the further evolution of Western civilisation. The outcome of our own occult investigation harmonises in a wonderful way with much that had been known previously, before this important influence could be investigated again. For we know that the same individuality who appeared as Gautama Buddha in the East had previously worked in the West, and that certain legends and traditions connected with the name of Buddha or Wotan have to do with this same individuality, just as Buddhism has with Gautama Buddha in the East; hence the same field of action in human evolution which had been prepared earlier by the same individuality has again been occupied in a certain sense. Thus are interlaced the ways taken by the spiritual currents within the evolution of humanity.

Today the most important thing for us is to establish that in the astral body of the Jesus-child described by Luke we have the Buddha forces at work. And when this Nathan Jesus-child was twelve years old, the Zarathustra individuality passed over into his three-fold being.

Why is it, then, that this Jesus-child had the remarkable qualities we have just characterised? It was because he was not a human individuality like every other, but in a certain respect quite different, and in order to understand him we must go back to the ancient Lemurian time in which, strictly speaking, the Earth-evolution of man took its start. We must clearly understand that everything before the Lemurian time was really only a repetition of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods. Only in the Lemurian time was the first germ-condition laid down in man as a potentiality, so that during the Earth-evolution he could receive the fourth member of his being, the Ego. We can say the ex-tension of mankind over the Earth — a subject dealt with more precisely in the Outline of Occult Science — is to be traced to certain human ancestors in the Lemurian period, the period with which our present Earth took its start.

It is only after a certain point of time in this Lemurian period that we can speak correctly, in a modern sense, of the human race. Before this, those Egos who have since continued to incarnate were not present in men on Earth. They were not yet separate from the substance of that Hierarchy which had first brought the human Ego into being: the Hierarchy of the Spirits of Form. We can now picture to ourselves — occult research shows this — that part of the substance of the Spirits of Form entered into the incarnations of men for the building up of the human Ego. But when in due time man was given over to his physical incarnations on the Earth, something was held back. A certain Ego substance was not brought into the stream of physical incarnations. If we were to represent the stream of physical human incarnations, beginning with him whom the Bible calls ‘Adam’, the progenitor of the human race, we should have to draw a genealogical tree with wide-spreading branches. Instead, let us simply imagine that the substance poured down from the Spirits of Form now flows onward, but that something was held back: an Ego that was now protected from entering into physical incarnations. Instead, this Ego preserved the form, the substantiality, which man had had before proceeding to his first earthly incarnation. This Ego lived on collaterally with the rest of humanity, and at the time of which we are now speaking, when the Event of Palestine was to take place, it was still in the same condition, if we wish to speak according to the Bible, as was the Ego of Adam before his first embodiment in flesh.

In examining what occult science knows about this Ego — which naturally for modern man is something extremely foolish — we see that this Ego, which was, as it were, held back ‘in reserve’, was given into the care of the Holy Mysteries through Atlantean and post-Atlantean times. It was preserved in an important Mystery centre, as in a tabernacle, and because of this it had quite special characteristics; it was untouched by everything that a human Ego could have learnt on Earth. It was therefore untouched by any Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences; it was indeed something we can think of, in contrast to other human Egos, as an empty sphere, still completely virginal with regard to all earth experiences — a nothing, a negative, in this respect. Hence it seemed as though the Nathan-child, described in the Luke Gospel, really had no Ego; as though he consisted only of physical, etheric and astral body. And it is quite adequate if at first we say that an Ego, developed as Egos had developed in Atlantean and post-Atlantean times, was not there at all in the Luke Jesus-child.

We speak in the true sense of the words when we say that in the Matthew Jesus-child we have to do with a completely human being; whereas in the Nathan Jesus-child of the Luke Gospel we have to do with a physical, an etheric and an astral body which are interrelated in the harmonious unity that belonged to man when he emerged from the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions. Hence this Jesus-child, as the Akashic Record tells us, was untalented for all that human culture had developed. He could not receive it because he had never been among it. External abilities and adaptations to existence are the outcome of certain experiences in earlier incarnations. Anyone who had never shared in such experiences would show himself without talent for all that men have accomplished during the earth-evolution. If the Nathan Jesus-child had been born in our time, he would have been totally ungifted for learning to write, since in Adamic times writing was unknown. By contrast, the Luke Jesus-child revealed in a high degree the qualities he had brought with him — qualities that had not fallen into decadence through the Luciferic influence. Even more interesting is the remarkable language he spoke.

Here we must bring to mind something I mentioned in The Spiritual Guidance of Mankind: that the languages which are now spread over the earth took their rise comparatively late in evolution: they were preceded by what can truly be called a primal human language. It is the disuniting spirits of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic world who have made many languages out of the primal language. The primal language is lost, and can be spoken today by nobody with an Ego which in the course of earth-evolution has passed from incarnation to incarnation. This Jesus-child, who had not gone through human incarnations, acquired from the starting-point of human evolution the faculty of speaking, not this or that language, but a language of which we can rightly say that it was not comprehensible to those around him. But, because of the inner qualities of heart that lived in it, it was understood by his Mother's heart. This points to a phenomenon of immense significance in the case of the Luke Jesus-child.

We have seen that when this Luke Jesus-child was born, he was provided with everything that had not been influenced by the Lucifer-Ahrimanic forces. He did not possess an Ego that had been through a series of incarnations; therefore nothing had to be discarded when, in his twelfth year, the individuality of Zarathustra passed over from the Solomon Jesus-child into the Nathan Jesus-child. I have already said that the human element which had remained behind, and up to this time had developed in the Mysteries by the side of the rest of humanity, was born for the first time in the Palestine period as the Nathan Jesus-child. There was a transference from a Mystery centre in Western Asia, where this human kernel had been preserved, into the body of the Nathan Jesus-child. This child grew on, and in his twelfth year the individuality of Zarathustra passed into him. We know also that this passing over is intimated in the scene of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple. It was quite natural that the parents of the Nathan Jesus-child, who were accustomed to regard him in the light we have described, should find a remarkable change when they discovered him in the Temple after he had been lost. For that was the moment when Zarathustra passed over into this twelve-year-old child. From the twelfth to the thirtieth year, therefore, we have to do with the individuality of Zarathustra in the Luke Jesus-child.

Now in the Luke Gospel we have a remarkable expression which indicates something that can be made clear only by occult investigation. You know that in the Luke Gospel, after the description of the scene with the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple, there is a passage: ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man’. (Luke II:52). In truth this passage stands as follows when we restore the text of the Gospels from the Akashic record: The twelve-year-old child increased in everything wherein an astral body can increase, i.e., in wisdom; in everything wherein an etheric body can increase, i.e. in all the qualities of kindliness, goodness, etc; and in everything wherein a physical body can increase, i.e., in all that pours itself into external beauty of form. In this passage, therefore, a special indication is given that the Jesus-child, not having gone from incarnation to incarnation, had up to his twelfth year remained untouched, and could not be touched in his individuality, by the Luciferic and Ahrimanic forces. The Luke Gospel intimates this again by tracing the sequence of generations back through Adam to God, thus indicating that the substance in question was uninfluenced by all that had taken place in human evolution.

So this Jesus-child lived on, increasing in all that was possible for a three-fold organism not touched by the contamination which has affected the three-fold bodies of other men. And this enabled the individuality of Zarathustra, from the twelfth to the thirtieth year of life, to pour into this three-fold human being all that could come from the heights to which he himself had previously attained. Hence we form a correct idea of Jesus of Nazareth, up to the thirtieth year of his life, when we think of him as a lofty human individuality, for whose coming into existence the greatest possible preparations had been made.

But we must now be clear about one thing if we want to understand how the fruits of a development we go through in our bodies are of benefit to the individuality. Our bodies enable our individuality to absorb the fruits of our life for its future evolution. When in death we forsake our bodies, we do not usually leave in them what we have achieved and gained for ourselves as individuals. Later on we shall see under what special conditions something may remain in the bodies; but it is not the rule that the individuality should leave behind in his bodies whatever he has won for himself. When Zarathustra forsook the threefold bodily being of Jesus of Nazareth in the thirtieth year, he left behind the three bodies, physical, etheric, and astral. But all that he had been able to gain through these instruments went into the individuality of Zarathustra and lived on further with him, to his benefit. Something however, was gained by the three-fold bodily organism of Jesus of Nazareth. His human nature, still free, as it always had been, from Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences, was conjoined for a period with the individuality who had unequalled insight into the spirituality of the cosmos.

Think what this Zarathustra had experienced! While he was founding the ancient Persian civilisation and looking up to the great Sun Spirit, he was even then gazing out into the cosmic realms of the spiritual. Through successive incarnations his development went on. When the innermost part of human nature, together with the most intensive powers of sympathy and love, had become manifest through the unsullied human substance which had been preserved until the birth of the Nathan Jesus, and when the astral body had permeated itself with the forces of Gautama Buddha, there was present in this child what we may call the most intimate inwardness of man. And then into this bodily nature there entered the individuality who above all others had seen most clearly and deeply into the spirituality of the Macrocosm. By this means the bodily instrument, the entire organism, of the Nathan Jesus was so transformed that it could be the vehicle capable of receiving into itself the Christ-extract of the Macrocosm. If this bodily nature had not been permeated by the Zarathustra-individuality up to the thirtieth year, the eyes would not have been able to endure the substance of the Christ from the thirtieth year up to the Mystery of Golgotha; the hands would not have been capable of being permeated with the substance of the Christ in the thirtieth year. To be able to receive the Christ, this bodily nature had to be prepared, expanded, through the individuality of Zarathustra. Thus in Jesus of Nazareth, as he was at the moment when Zarathustra took leave of him and the Christ-Individuality entered into him, we have to do neither with an adept, nor with anything like a higher human being. For an adept is an adept because he has a highly developed individuality, and it was just this that had passed out of the threefold bodily nature of Jesus of Nazareth. We have simply the bodily nature so prepared through the indwelling of Zarathustra that it could take into itself the Christ-Individuality. But now, through the union of the Christ-Individuality with this bodily nature, by necessity the following consequence came about.

During these three years, from the Baptism by John in Jordan onwards to the Mystery of Golgotha, the development of the physical body, the etheric body, and the astral body was quite different from the bodily development of other human beings. Since the Nathan Jesus had received no influence from the Luciferic and Ahrimanic powers, the possibility was given that, from the Baptism in Jordan onwards — now that there was in Jesus of Nazareth no human Ego, but solely the Christ Individuality — everything which is normally at work in a human organism was not developed.

We said yesterday that the human Phantom, the primal form which draws into itself the material elements that fill out the physical body and are laid aside at death, had degenerated in the course of time up to the Mystery of Golgotha. At the beginning of human evolution it was intended that the Phantom should remain untouched by the material elements that man takes for his nutrition from the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms. But it did not remain untouched. For the Luciferic influence brought about a lose connection between the Phantom and the forces which man absorbs through his earthly evolution; a connection particularly with the ashy constituents. The result was that the Phantom, while continuing to accompany man during his further evolution, was strongly drawn to these ashy constituents, and instead of adhering to the etheric body, it attached itself to these products of disintegration. But where the Luciferic influences had been kept away, as they were from the Nathan Jesus, no force of attraction arose between the Phantom and the material elements that had been taken into the bodily organism. Throughout the three years from the Baptism up to the Mystery of Golgotha, the Phantom remained untouched by these elements.

In occult terms we can say: The human Phantom, according to its intended development through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon periods, should not have been attracted to the ashy constituents but only to the dissolving salt constituents, so that it would have taken the path of volatilisation in so far as the salt constituents dissolved. In an occult sense one can say that it would have dissolved and passed over, not into the earth but into the volatile constituents. The remarkable fact is that with the Baptism in Jordan and the entry of the Christ Individuality into the body of the Nathan Jesus, all connection of the Phantom with the ashy constituents was wiped out; only the connection with the salt constituents remained.

This is alluded to in the passage where Christ Jesus wishes to explain to his first-chosen disciples: ‘Through the way in which you feel yourselves united with the Christ Being, a certain possibility for the future evolution of humanity will come about. It will be possible for the one body risen from the grave — the spiritual body — to pass over into men’. That is what Christ wished to say when he used the phrase, ‘You are the salt of the earth’. All these words we find in the Gospels, reminding us of the terminology and craft language of the later alchemists, the later occultism, have the deepest imaginable significance. And in fact this significance was well known to the mediaeval and later alchemists — not to the charlatans mentioned in the history books — and not one of them spoke of these connections without feeling in his heart a connection with Christ.

Thus it followed that when Christ Jesus was crucified, when his body was nailed to the Cross — you will notice that here I use the exact words of the Gospel, for they are con-firmed by true occult research — when this body of Jesus of Nazareth was fastened to the Cross, the Phantom was perfectly intact; it existed in a spiritual bodily form, visible only to super-sensible sight, and was much more loosely connected with the body's material content of earth-elements than has ever happened with any other human being. In every other human being a connection of the Phantom with these elements has occurred, and it is this that holds them together. In the case of Christ Jesus it was quite different. The ordinary law of inertia sees to it that certain material portions of a human body hold together after death in the form man has given them, until after some time they crumble away, so that hardly anything of them is visible. So it was with the material portions of the body of Christ Jesus. When the body was taken down from the Cross, the parts were still coherent, but they had no connection with the Phantom; the Phantom was completely free of them. When the body became permeated with certain substances, which in this case worked quite differently from the way in which they affect any other body that is embalmed, it came to pass that after the burial the material parts quickly volatilised and passed over into the elements. Hence the disciples who looked into the grave found the linen cloths in which the body had been wrapped, but the Phantom, on which the evolution of the Ego depends, had risen from the grave. It is not surprising that Mary of Magdala, who had known only the earlier Phantom when it was permeated by earthly elements, did not recognise the same form in the Phantom, now freed from terrestrial gravity, when she saw it clairvoyantly. It seemed to her different.

Moreover we must clearly understand that it was only through the power of the companionship of the disciples with the Christ that all the disciples, and all those persons of whom the same is told, could see the Risen One, for He appeared to them in the spiritual body, the body of which Paul says that it increases as a grain of seed and passes over into all people. Paul himself is convinced that it was not a body permeated by the earthly elements which had appeared to the other apostles, but that the same which had appeared to him had also appeared to them, as he says in the following passage:

For I have delivered unto you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (I Corinthians XV:3–8.)

But what was it that convinced Paul? In a certain sense Paul was an Initiate before the Event of Damascus. His Initiation had combined the ancient Hebrew principle and the Greek principle. He knew that an Initiate became, in his etheric body, independent of the physical body, and could appear in the purest form of his etheric body to those who were capable of seeing it. If Paul had had the vision of a pure etheric body, independent of a physical body, he would have spoken differently. He would have said that he had seen someone who had been initiated and would be living on further in the course of earth-evolution, independently of the physical body. He would not have found this particularly surprising. What Paul experienced on the road to Damascus could not have been that. He had experienced something which he knew could be experienced only when the Scriptures were fulfilled; when a perfect human Phantom, a human body risen from the grave in a super-sensible form, would appear in the spiritual atmosphere of the earth. And that is what he saw! That is what appeared to him on the road to Damascus and left him with the conviction: ‘He was there — He is risen! For what is there could come only from Him: it is the Phantom which can be seen by all human individualities who seek to relate themselves to the Christ.’ This is what convinced him that Christ was already there; that he would not come first in the future, but was actually present there in a physical body, and that this physical body had rescued the primal form of the human physical body for the salvation of all men.

That this deed could be accomplished only through the greatest unfolding of divine love, and in what sense it was an act of love, and then in what sense the word ‘salvation’ is to be understood in the further evolution of humanity — this will be our subject tomorrow.
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Re: The Art of Avoiding History, by Peter Staudenmaier

Postby admin » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:17 am

A Picture of Earth-Evolution in the Future
by Rudolf Steiner
Dornach, May 13th, 1921
Copyright © 1960

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


A lecture delivered in Dornach, on May 13th 1921. Authorized translation from the German of Notes unrevised by the lecturer. Published by kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.

Also known as: A Picture of the Earth's Future Development Lecture 14 of 17 from the lecture series: Perspectives on Humanity's Development. Published in German as: Perspektiven der Menschheitsentwickelung. Der materialistische Erkenntnisimpuls und die Aufgabe der Anthroposophie. Der Mensch in seinem Zusammenhang mit der Kosmos. GA# 204.


This is a time when a great deal of attention, ranging from serious science to science-fiction, is being devoted to “outer space.” There is speculation on various levels about visitants from other worlds. Behind it all there may be an instinctive feeling — true in itself though often distorted in expression — that the apparent isolation of man on earth is not final; that man is not alone in the universe. We are therefore reprinting here a lecture (first published in English in the quarterly, “Anthroposophy,” for Easter, 1933, and long out of print) in which Rudolf Steiner spoke, briefly and enigmatically, of the need to recognise and welcome certain beings, “not of the human order,” who since the seventies of the last century have been descending from cosmic spheres into the realm of earth-existence, bringing with them “the substance and content of Spiritual Science.” — The Editors.

THE lectures I have given recently on the nature of colours [Three lectures on Das Wesen der Farben, given at Dornach on May 6 – 8, 1921. Published in English as a book entitled “Colour” (new edition in preparation).] may have helped to show you that we can begin to understand man in his real being only when we relate him to the whole universe. If we ask: What is man in his true nature? — then we must learn to look upwards from the Earth to what is beyond the Earth. This is a capacity of which our own time particularly stands in need. The human intellect has become more and more shadowy, and as a result of the developments which took place in the nineteenth century, it is no longer rooted in reality.

This unmistakably indicates that it is high time for man to discover how he can receive new impulses into his life of soul, and we will turn our attention today to certain great cosmic events with which we are already familiar from other points of view.

Most of you will have read the book An Outline of Occult Science, and will have realised that one of the great events in earthly evolution was the separation of the moon from the earth. The moon as we see today, shining towards us from cosmic space, was once united with the earth. It then separated from the earth and now circles around it as its satellite. We know what incisive changes in the whole sweep of evolution are connected with this separation of the moon from the earth. We must go far back in time, before the Atlantean deluge, to find the epoch when the moon departed from the body of the earth.

Today we will confine our attention to what came to pass on earth in connection with the being of man, and with the kingdoms of Nature around him, as a consequence of the separation of the moon from the earth. From the lectures on colours we have learnt that minerals — that is to say, the coloured mineral substances — actually derive their different hues from this relationship of the moon to the earth. Recognition of this fact enables us to make these cosmic events part of an artistic conception of existence. But other matters of the greatest significance come into consideration here. Man's being is the product of preceding metamorphoses of earth-existence — namely, the Saturn, Sun and Moon periods of evolution, during which no mineral kingdom existed. The mineral kingdom as we know it today came into being for the first time during the Earth period. Mineral substance, therefore, became part of man's being only during this Earth period. During the stages of Saturn, old Sun and old Moon, man had nothing mineral within him at all. Nor was his constitution adapted for existence upon the earth. By his very nature he was a being of the cosmos. Before the separation of the moon, and before the mineral substances with their many colours came into being, man was not adapted for earthly existence.

Let me put it in this way. It was a very real question for the Spiritual Beings who guide earthly evolution as to what must happen to man. Should he be sent down to the earth or be left to pass his existence in a realm beyond the earth? It can be said with truth that the separation of the moon, with the consequent changes in the earth and in the being of man, was the outcome of a decision on the part of the Spiritual Beings who guide and direct the evolution of humanity. It was because this coarse moon-substance was sent out of the earth that man's organism developed in such a way as to make it possible for him to become an earthly being. Through this event — through the separation of the moon and the incorporation of the mineral kingdom into the earth — man has become an earthly being, existing in the sphere of earthly gravity. Without earthly gravity, he could never have become a being capable of freedom. Before the separation of the moon he was not, in the real sense a personality. He was able to become a personality because of the concentration of the forces that were to build his body. And this concentration of forces was the result of the separation of the moon and the incorporation of the mineral kingdom into earthly existence. Man became a personality, and freedom was henceforward placed within his reach.

The evolution of man upon the earth since the separation of the moon has proceeded through many different stages. And we may say that if nothing else had happened except this departure of the moon from the earth, it would still have been possible for man to draw out of his organism, out of his body and soul, pictures such as arose in ancient, clairvoyant vision. Nor was man deprived of this faculty by the separation of the moon. He still envisaged the world in pictures, and if nothing else had happened, he would be living in a world of pictures to this day. But evolution went on. Man did not remain fettered to the earth. He received an impulse for evolution in the other direction — an impulse which actually reached its climax in the nineteenth century.

Even when long ages ago the human being, as ‘metabolic man,’ became subject to the force of earthly gravity, he was adapted as ‘head man’ for a cosmic existence. In effect, the intellect began to evolve. The old clairvoyant pictures densified into the forms of intellectual consciousness, as it was until the epoch of the fourth century after Christ. It was then for the first time that the human intellect began to grow shadowy. This process has been increasingly rapid since the fifteenth century, and today, although the intellect is an altogether spiritual faculty in man, its existence is not rooted in reality. It has only a picture-existence. When the man of today thinks merely with his intellect and faculty of reason, his thoughts are not rooted in reality at all. More and more they move about in a shadowy existence which reached its climax during the nineteenth century. And today man is altogether devoid of the sense for reality. He lives within a spiritual element, but is at the same time a materialist. His thoughts — which are spiritual but yet merely shadow-thoughts — are directed entirely to material existence.

Thus the second great process or event was that man became more spiritual. But the spiritual substance once derived from matter no longer ensouls him. His nature has become more spiritual, but with his spiritual faculties he thinks only about material existence.

You know that the moon will one day reunite with the earth. By the astronomers and geologists, who live in a world of abstractions, this reunion of the moon with the earth is placed thousands and thousands of years ahead. But this is mere illusion. In reality it is by no means so very far distant. Humanity as such is becoming younger and younger. Human beings are coming to a point when their development of body and soul will proceed only up to a certain age in life. At the time of the death of Christ, of the Event of Golgotha, human beings in general were capable of development in body and in soul until the 33rd year of life. Today this development is possible until the 27th year. In the fourth millennium a time will come when men will be capable of development only until the 21st year. In the seventh millennium the bodily nature will be capable of development only until the 14th year of life. Women will then become barren. An entirely different form of earthly life will ensue. This is the epoch when the moon will again approach the earth and become part of it.

It is high time for man to turn his attention to such mighty events of the realm of existence beyond the earth. He must not go on dreaming, vaguely and in the abstract, of some form of Divinity, but he must begin to be alive to the great happenings that are connected with his evolution. He must know what it means to say that the moon once left the earth and will enter the earth again.

Just as the separation of the moon was a decisive event, so too will be its re-entry. It is true that as human beings we shall still be inhabiting the earth, although birth will no longer take place in the ordinary way. We shall be connected with the earth by other means than through birth. We shall, however, have evolved in a certain respect by that time. And we must learn to connect what is happening today — I mean the fact that the intellect is becoming more and more shadowy — with what will one day be a great event in earthly evolution — the re-entry of the moon into the substance of the earth.

If the intellect continues to become even more spectral than it is already, if men never resolve to receive into their being what can now flow to them from spiritual worlds, then they will inevitably be absorbed into the shadowy grey-ness of their intellectual life.

What is this shadowy intellect? It cannot understand the real nature and being of man. The mineral world is the only realm which the shadowy human intellect is to a certain degree capable of understanding. Even the life of the plant remains enigmatical; still more so the life of the animal; while human life is altogether beyond the grasp of the mind. And so man goes on his way, evolving pictures of existence which in reality are nothing but a great world-question. His intellect cannot begin to grasp the real nature of plant or animal, and least of all that of the human being. This state of things will continue if man fails to listen to what is being given to him in the form of new Imaginations, in which cosmic existence is pictured to him. The living wisdom that Spiritual Science is able to impart must be received into his shadowy, intellectual concepts and thoughts, for only so can the shadow-pictures of the intellect be quickened to life.

This quickening to life of the shadow-pictures of the intellect is not only a human but a cosmic event. You will remember the passage in the book Occult Science dealing with the time when the human souls ascended to the planets and afterwards descended once more to earth-existence. I spoke of how the Mars-men, the Jupiter-men and the others descended again to earth. Now an event of great significance came to pass at the end of the seventies of last century. It is an event that can be described only in the light of facts which are revealed to us in the spiritual world. Whereas in the days of old Atlantis human beings came down to the earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so on — that is to say, beings of soul were drawn into the realm of earth-existence — since the end of the seventies of last century, other Beings — not of the human order — have been descending to the earth for the purposes of their further development. From cosmic realms beyond the earth they come down to the earth and enter into a definite relationship with human beings. Since the eighties of the nineteenth century, super-earthly Beings have been seeking to enter the sphere of earth-existence. Just as the Vulcan-men were the last to come down to the earth so now Vulcan Beings are actually coming into the realm of earthly existence. Super-earthly Beings are already here, and the fact that we are able to have a connected body of Spiritual Science at all today is due to the circumstance that Beings from beyond the earth are bringing the messages from the spiritual world down into earth-existence.

But, speaking generally, what is the attitude adopted by the human race? The human race is behaving, if I may put it so very shabbily to these Beings who are appearing from the cosmos and coming down — slowly and by degrees, it is true — to the earth. The human race does not concern itself with them; it ignores their existence. And it is this which will plunge the earth into tragic conditions, for in the course of the next centuries more and more Spiritual Beings will be among us — Beings whose language we ought to understand. And this is possible only if we try to grasp what comes from them: namely, the substance and content of Spiritual Science. They want to give it to us and they want us to act in the sense of Spiritual Science. Their desire is that Spiritual Science shall be translated into social behaviour and action on the earth.

I repeat, then, that since the last third of the nineteenth century Spiritual Beings from the cosmos have been coming into our own sphere of existence. Their home is the sphere lying between the moon and Mercury, but they are already pressing forward into the realm of earth-existence and seeking to gain a foothold there. And they will be able to find it if human beings are imbued with the thought of their existence. This can also be expressed as I expressed it just now, by saying that our shadowy intellect must be quickened to life by the pictures of Spiritual Science. We are speaking of concrete fact when we say: Spiritual Beings are seeking to come down into earth-existence and ought to be willingly received. Catastrophe after catastrophe must ensue, and earthly life will fall at length into social chaos, if opposition is maintained in human existence to the advent of these Beings. They desire nothing else than to be the advance-guards of what will happen to earth-existence when the moon is once again united with the earth.

Today people may consider it comparatively harmless to elaborate only those automatic, lifeless thoughts which arise in connection with the mineral world and the mineral nature of plant, animal and man. Materialists revel in such thoughts which are — well — thoughts and nothing more. But try to imagine what will happen if men go on unfolding no other kinds of thoughts until the time is reached in the eighth millennium for the moon-existence to unite again with the earth. These Beings of whom I have spoken will gradually come down to the earth. Vulcan Beings, ‘Supermen’ of Vulcan, ‘Supermen’ of Venus, of Mercury, of the Sun, will unite with this earth-existence. But if human beings persist in nothing but opposition to them, earth-existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years.

It will be quite possible for the men of earth, if they so wish, to develop a more and more automatic form of intellect — but that can also happen amid conditions of barbarism. Full and complete manhood, however, cannot come to expression in such a form of intellect, and men will have no relationship to the Beings who would fain come towards them in earth-existence. And all those Beings of whom men have such an erroneous conception because the shadowy intellect can only grasp the mineral nature, the crudely material nature in the minerals, plants and animals, nay even in the human kingdom itself — all these thoughts which have no reality will in a trice become substantial realities when the moon unites again with the earth. And from the earth there will spring forth a terrible brood of beings, a brood of automata of an order of existence lying between the mineral and the plant kingdoms, and possessed of an overwhelming power of intellect.

This swarm will seize upon the earth, will spread over the earth like a network of ghastly, spider-like creatures, of an order lower than that of plant-existence, but possessed of overpowering wisdom. These spidery creatures will be all interlocked with one another, and in their outward movements they will imitate the thoughts that men have spun out of the shadowy intellect that has not allowed itself to be quickened by the new form of Imaginative Knowledge by Spiritual Science. All the thoughts that lack substance and reality will then be endowed with being.

The earth will be surrounded — as it is now with air and as it sometimes is with swarms of locusts — with a brood of terrible spider-like creatures, half-mineral, half-plant, interweaving with masterly intelligence, it is true, but with intensely evil intent. And in so far as man has not allowed his shadowy intellectual concepts to be quickened to life, his existence will be united not with the Beings who have been trying to descend since the last third of the nineteenth century, but with this ghastly brood of half-mineral, half-plantlike creatures. He will have to live together with these spider-like creatures and to continue his cosmic existence within the order of evolution into which this brood will then enter.

This is a destiny that is very emphatically part of human evolution upon the earth, and it is quite well known today by many of those who try to hold humanity back from the knowledge of Spiritual Science. For there are men who are actually conscious allies of this process of the entanglement of earth-existence. We must no longer allow ourselves to be shocked by descriptions of this kind. Such facts are the background of what is often said today by people who out of old traditions still have some consciousness of these things and who then see fit to surround them with a veil of mystery. But it is not right any longer for the process of the earthly evolution of humanity to be veiled in mystery. However great the resistance, these things must be said, for, as I constantly repeat, the acceptance or rejection of spiritual-scientific knowledge is a grave matter for all mankind.

I have been speaking today of a matter upon which we cannot form a lukewarm judgment, for it is part and parcel of the very texture of cosmic existence. The issue at stake is whether human beings will resolve in the present epoch to make themselves worthy to receive what the good Spirits who want to unite with men are bringing down from the cosmos, or whether men intend to seek their future cosmic existence within the tangled, spider-brood of their own shadowy thoughts. It is not enough today to speak in abstract terms of the need for Spiritual Science. The only thing to do is actually to show how thoughts become realities. Dreadfully abstract theories are hurled at men today, such, for example, as “Thoughts become things,” or similar phrases. Abstract statements of this kind altogether fail to convey the full and concrete reality. And the concrete reality is that the intellectual thoughts evolved inwardly by men today will in time to come creep over the earth like a spider's web wherein human beings will be enmeshed, if they will not reach out to a world lying beyond and above their shadowy thoughts and concepts.

We must learn to take in deepest earnestness such matters as were indicated at the conclusion of my lectures on the nature of colours, when I said that the science of colour must be lifted out of the realm of abstract physics into a region where the creative fantasy and feeling of the artist who understands the real nature of colour go hand-in-hand with a perception of the world illumined by Spiritual Science. We have seen how the nature of colour can be understood, how that which modern physics, with its unimaginative charts, casts down into the Ahrimanic world, can be lifted into the sphere of art, so that there can be established a theory of colours — remote, it is true, from the tenets of modern science, but able to provide a true foundation for artistic creation, if man will only receive it into his being.

And there is another thought, too, that must be taken very seriously. What do we find today all over the civilised world? Young students go into the hospitals or to universities to study science, and the constitution of the human being is explained to them. By studying the corpse they learn about the bones and the rest of the organism. By a series of abstract thoughts they are supposed to be able to acquaint themselves with the nature of man's being. But in this way it is only possible to learn something about the mineral part of the human organism. With this kind of science we can only learn about the part of man's being which has a significance from the time of the separation of the moon until its return, when the shadowy thoughts of modern times will become spidery creatures having a concrete existence.

A form of knowledge must develop which produces quite a different conception of the being of man, and it can be developed only by raising science to the level of artistic perception. We shall realise then that science as it is today is capable of grasping only the mineral nature, whether in the mineral kingdom itself or in the kingdoms of plant, animal and man. Even when applied to the plant kingdom, science must become a form of art, and still more so in the case of the animal kingdom. To think that the form and structure of an animal can be understood by the means employed by anatomists and physiologists is nonsense. And so long as we fail to realise that it is nonsense, the shadowy intellect cannot be transformed into a living, spiritual comprehension of the world. What is taught to young students today in so abstract a form in the universities must be transformed and must lead to a really artistic conception of the world. For the world of Nature itself creates as an artist. And until we realise that Nature is a world of creative art which can be understood only through artistic feeling, no healing will come into our picture of the world.

In the torture-chambers of mediaeval castles, people were shut into what was called the ‘iron virgin,’ where they were slowly spiked with iron teeth. This was a physical and more tangible procedure than that to which students in our day have to submit when they are taught anatomy and physiology and are told that in this way they are acquiring knowledge of the nature of man — but fundamentally it is the same kind of procedure. All that can be understood of the nature of man by such methods derives from an attitude of mind which is not unlike the attitude of those who were not averse from applying tortures in the Middle Ages. Students learn about the human being as he is when he has been dismembered — they are taught only about the mineral structure in man, about that part of his being which will one day be woven into the network of spider-like creatures extending over the earth.

It is a hard destiny that power should lie in the hands of men who regard the truest thoughts as absurdities and who scorn the impulses that are most inwardly and intimately bound up with the well-being of human evolution, with the whole mission of humanity in the world. It is a tragic state of things and we dare not shut our eyes to it. For it is only by realising the depth of such a tragedy that men will be brought to the point of resolving, each in his own place, to help the shadowy intellect to admit the spiritual world that is coming down from above in order that this intellect may be made fit for the conditions of future times. It is not right for the shadowy intellect to be driven down into an order of existence lower than that of the plants, into the brood of spidery creatures that will spread over the earth. Man's being needs to have reached a higher level of existence when, in the eighth millennium, women will become barren and the moon will unite once again with the earth. The earthly must then remain behind, with man directing and controlling it from outside like an object which he need not carry over with him into cosmic existence. Man must so prepare himself that he need not be involved in what must inevitably develop upon the surface of the earth in this way.

From pre-earthly existence man has descended to this earthly life. His birth from woman began with the departure of the moon, but this physical form of birth is only a passing episode in the great sweep of cosmic evolution and will be replaced by another. It is the phase which was destined to bring to man the feeling and consciousness of freedom, the self-completeness of individuality and personality. It is a phase by no means to be undervalued. It was necessary in the whole cosmic process, but it must not remain forever unchanged. Man must not give way to the easy course of assuming the existence of an abstract God, but bring himself to look concretely at things that are connected with his evolution. For his being of soul-and-spirit can only be inwardly stimulated when he really understands the nature of the concrete realities connected with the great epoch towards which his successive earthly lives are leading him.

That is what a true Spiritual Science tells us today. The human will is threatened with being deprived of spiritual impulses and with becoming involved in the spidery web that will creep over the earth. There are men in existence who imagine that they will gain their ends by promoting their own spiritual development and leaving the rest of their fellow-beings in a state of ignorance. But the vast majority live in complete unawareness of the terrible destiny that awaits them if they lend themselves to what an ancient form of spiritual knowledge called the “sixteen paths to corruption.” For just as there are many ways in which the shadowy intellect may be directed to the impulses and knowledge coming from the spiritual world, so naturally there are many ways in which varieties of the shadowy intellect will be able to unite with the spider-beings who will spin their web over the earth in times to come. Intellect will then be objectivised in the very limbs and tentacles of these spidery creatures, who in all their wonderful inter-weavings and caduceus-like convolutions will present an amazing network of intricate forms.

It is only by developing an inner understanding for what is truly artistic that man will be able to understand the realm that is higher than mineral existence — that realm of which we see an expression in the actual shaping and form of the surfaces of things in the world.

Goethe's theory of metamorphosis was a most significant discovery. The pedants of his day regarded it as dilettantism, and the same opinion prevails today. But in Goethe, clarity of insight and intelligence was combined with a faculty of vision which perceived Nature herself as an active expression of artistic creation. In connection with the animal world, Goethe only reached the point of applying this principle of metamorphosis to the forms of the vertebras and cranial bones. But the process whereby the forms of a previous existence are transformed, whereby the body of the earlier life is transformed into the head of the subsequent life — it is only by an inner understanding of this wonderfully artistic transformation of the radial bones into the spherical that we can truly perceive the difference between the head and the rest of the human structure. Without this insight we cannot perceive the inner, organic connection between the head and the rest of the human body.

But this is a form of art which is at the same time science. Whenever science fails to become art, it degenerates into sophistry a form of knowledge that hurls mankind into calamity so far as his cosmic existence is concerned. We see, therefore, how a true Spiritual Science points to the necessity for artistic insight and perception. This faculty was already alive in Goethe's soul and comes to expression in his hymn in prose, entitled Nature, written about the year 1780, and beginning: “Nature! We are surrounded and embraced by her ...” The ideas are woven together so wonderfully that the hymn is like the expression of a yearning to receive the Spirit from the cosmic All.

It can be said with truth that the development of the thoughts contained in Goethe's hymn to Nature would provide a dwelling-place for the Beings who would fain come down from the cosmos to the earth. But the barren conceptions of physiology and biology, the systematising of plant-life and the theories that were evolved during the nineteenth century — all the thoughts which, as I showed in the lectures on colour, have really nothing to do with the true nature of the plants — can awaken no real knowledge, nor can they get anywhere near the being of man. Hence the body of knowledge that is regarded today as science is essentially a product of Ahriman, leading man on towards earthly destruction and preventing him from entering the sphere which the Beings from beyond the earth have been trying to place within his reach since the last third of the nineteenth century.

To cultivate Spiritual Science is no abstract pursuit. To cultivate Spiritual Science means to open the doors to those influences from beyond the earth which have been seeking to come down to the earth since the last third of the nineteenth century. The cultivation of Spiritual Science is in very truth a cosmic event of which we ought to be fully conscious.

And so we survey the whole span of time from the separation until the return of the moon. The moon which, as we say, reflects the sunlight back to us, is in truth deeply connected with our existence. It separated itself from the earth in order that man might become a free being. But this period of time must be utilised by man in such a way that he does not prepare the material which, with the re-entry of the moon into the earth-sphere, would combine with the moon-substance to produce that new kingdom of which I have tried to give you a graphic picture.

Now and then there arises in human beings of our time a kind of foreboding of what will come about in the future. I do not know what meaning has been read into the chapter in Thus Spake Zarathustra, where Nietzsche writes of the ‘ugliest man’ in the ‘valley of death.’ It is a tragic and moving passage. Nietzsche, of course, had no concrete perception of the valley of death into which existence will be transformed when the spidery brood of which I have spoken spreads over the earth. Nevertheless, in the picture of this valley of death in Nietzsche's imagination there was a subconscious vision of the future, and within this valley of death he placed the figure of the ‘ugliest man.’ It was a kind of foreboding of what will happen if men continue to cultivate shadowy thoughts. For their destiny then will be that in hideous shape they will be caught up by the forces of the moon-existence as it comes down into the sphere of the earth and will become one with the brood of spidery creatures of which I have been speaking.

What purpose would be served by keeping these things secret today, as many people desire? To keep them secret would be to throw sand into the eyes of men. Much of what is spread over the world today under the name of spiritual teaching is nothing but a process of throwing sand into men's eyes so that no single event in history can be understood for what it really is. How many people realise today that events of fundamental and incisive importance are taking place? I have already spoken of these things. But how few are prepared really to enter into them! People prefer to shut their eyes to what is happening and to think that, after all, the events are not really of such great significance. Nevertheless, the signs of the times are unmistakable and must be understood.

This was what I wished to say in regard to the way in which the being of man upon the earth is connected with the cosmos.
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