The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of the Ch

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The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of the Ch

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 7:59 am

The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of the Christian Community
Four lectures including question-answer session, held in Stuttgart from 11 to 14 July 1923
With documentary additions
by Rudolf Steiner
Translated by Hanna von Maltitz
© 1994 Rudolf Steiner Publications, Dornach/Switzerland



The first part of this volume contains four lectures which Rudolf Steiner gave to the priests of the “Christian community,” founded ten months earlier, in Stuttgart. In the second part are the original manuscripts, handwritten by Rudolf Steiner. These are supplements to what had already been given during the second and third lecture courses. They are consecrations for the Festivals of the Year and other rites.

These four lectures, comprising the entire GA 345, are from the lecture series entitled, Lectures at a Meeting of the Priests in Stuttgart, published in German as, Vom Wesen des winkenden Wortes. They have never before been translated into English: a First Edition.

Table of Contents:

Foreword to this Edition
Publisher's Note

Lecture I July 11, 1923
The development of the work of The Christian Community from its inception. Symptoms of the undercurrents in spiritual streams at the present time. Regarding Ahrimanic forces absorbed by humanity through outer culture and making it harmless. Answers to questions by the audience. The right way of being immersed in the ritual. The ritual as the speech of the higher world. Daily self-participation with the Act of Consecration of Man. Permeating the self with priest consciousness.

Lecture II July 12, 1923
Difficulties in the viewpoints of the relationships of the Movement for Religious Renewal and the Anthroposophical Movement. Inner truth is necessary as opposed to the unconscious untruthfulness of today. The necessity for an intention in the search of knowledge towards making the spiritual valid again within the nature of knowledge. The relationship of mankind to the ritual. Answers to questions from the participants.

Lecture III July 13, 1923
Impulses towards sensing oneself in the spiritual world. The weaving of the genius of speech. Our relationship to speech. The word `human' / individual (“Mensch”). A threefold meditation about “the Being whom I want to describe by the word `human'”. Experiencing truth in words. The Priest as genius of speech.

Lecture IV July 14, 1923
The New Testament as a supersensible revelation. Regarding the translation of the Gospels. An example of a new kind of translation: John's Gospel 17, 1-19. Facts of the spiritual evolution of humanity; after the Mystery of Golgotha the consciousness of God penetrated humanity in a different way than previously.
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Re: The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of th

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 7:59 am


The present publication in the series “Lectures and Course regarding the Christian-religious work” is divided into two. The first part includes four lectures, given by Rudolf Steiner in July 1923 for the Priests in the 10 months before the founding of “The Christian Community” in Stuttgart.

In the second part are the original hand written notes of Rudolf Steiner (slightly reduced). They deal with additions to the wording for rituals already presented in the second and third courses. The originals of these handwritten notes can be found in the Archives of the Rudolf Steiner Estate Administration.
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Re: The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of th

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 8:00 am


The complete works of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) is divided into three parts: the written works, lectures and artistic work.

From 1900 to 1924 the open lectures, courses as well as lectures to members of the Theosophical and later of the Anthroposophical Society, Rudolf Steiner did not originally want to have written down because “the spoken word brings across something specific”. Later, due to incomplete and error filled auditory reports having been customised and spread, he was prompted to regulate the notes taken. This task he gave Marie Steiner-von Sivers. She was incumbent with the stenographers, the management of transcripts and the publication of the need for issuing a review of the texts. As Rudolf Steiner, due to a shortage of time, could only in rare cases correct the transcripts himself, it must be taken into account that all open lectures must be considered with reservations: “It must be realized that in anything I have not reviewed there might be some errors”.

Regarding the relationship of lectures to the members which are only available internally in printed manuscripts, Rudolf Steiner expressed himself in “My Biography” (Chapter 35). The corresponding text is given at the end of this publication. What is said there is equally valid to single fields of knowledge which borders on the basics of spiritual science directed at loyal participants.

After the death of Marie Steiner (1867-1948) her guidelines were adhered to in creating the publication of the Complete Works (Gesamtausgabe). This particular publication forms a part of this Complete Works. If necessary, you will find further information on text documents at the beginning of the Notes.
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Re: The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of th

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 8:01 am

Stuttgart, 11 July 1923

The hearty words just spoken (by Dr Rittelmeyer) are an introduction of the strong impetus towards the founding of this religious community-building and the essentials which will flow through this religious working community depend upon the earnestness, I could say a deepening earnestness, which lay originally in the intention and gave the impetus towards the founding of this religious community movement. It has to be said that during the course of these years there has been within the religious community a continuation of this earnestness and that one can already say, in a certain sense, that the original intention has been proven time and again.

In this movement it also appears clearly that the outer impressions of the rituals — I mean this in the noblest sense of the word — work right into our combined spiritual movement. A strong current working from within, truly intended and also truly coming out in a devotional attitude as we recently had in one of our oldest members of our anthroposophical movement, Herman Linde, being lead to his cremation. The impressions which came out, just on this occasion, of the ritual act completely shows that the real intention is well on its way to becoming a reality, and can be spoken about in the most varied areas not mentioned until now.

I even have the feeling that the objective and progressing striving of this religious community has gone faster than the inner satisfaction and internal harmonizing in the souls of the individual carriers of these religious thoughts. Things are going well. You can feel yourself drawn out by the way these good things are developing, on the one side, and on the other side you battle with inner soul difficulties with particular meaning, because just at this gathering such inner soul difficulties can be talked about because this particular initial gathering can serve to make the difficulties you have, valid, so we can try during the next days to bring about some harmonizing of these inner difficulties.

It is completely understandable that these inner difficulties are there, because you must, while you are the representatives of the most important spiritual initiative, forever remind yourself that realities in the spiritual world work in a powerful way. Even when you are not aware of them, these realities are there. Events taking place on the surface develop roots especially when it happens in the spiritual sphere when related to good or evil. You must always be aware that if you want to work in the present in a religious area that religious orientated spiritual or non-spiritual streams develop an exceptional activity just at that moment.

Just as we are speaking about this at the moment, there is for example a gathering happening of representatives of the Roman Catholic church in a specific place in Europe, which will probably have a particularly important outcome; at least a remarkable result is being envisaged. Today in fact there are more people than one suspects whose hearts feel deserted by religion. Hearts feel deserted by religion while all too seldom words spoken to them come directly out of the spiritual realm. For quite large layers of humanity, it is simply impossible to address these deserted feelings in their hearts, when it is not addressed in words which are not merely of earthly origin, which implies words presented in a supersensible language in the rituals. You must never forget how powerfully effective the Roman Catholic Church in its mass is just at present, still in its old form yet working strongly on the soul and even more effectively in the way it can be spoken.

One must always be clear about how many powers inherent in humanity are such that errors are able to enter on this side. Consider, when you ask about circulated poetry of Central Europe today, in circles which usually discuss historical progress, and you will not once have a name mentioned such as “Thirteen Linden” von Weber, who has experienced surprisingly many conditions. Why is this so? Out of what basis, when the work of the Roman Catholic spirit is permeated ... (gap in stenographer notes).

These facts are the outer symptoms for a strong spiritual steam, particularly the Roman Catholic one, which works outwardly. This is quite clear to see. Don't forget these forces stream right through the human soul and also go through your souls and some of you probably ascribe it to a subjective experience, stirring in the objective spiritual streams at the present moment. It is of greater meaning that today some of you have formulated these subjective experiences in order for us to allow these to flow into our discussions during the next few days. You must not forget that in such a Movement, such as yours, it must be a question of working with real concrete spirits of the present time. What do people know about real spirit today? One of the most important facts for the support of inner spiritual activity in the present time will be the effect of people starting to see the indications given by Anthroposophy in America, which of course is unheard of. Now outer objects are being used to achieve insights.

Compare the world today with one of a hundred years ago. There are a multitude of differences but one could say that one of the greatest differences is that today our atmosphere is crisscrossed either with telegraph or telephone wires. In Europe this entanglement of wires looks like a child's game compared to America. Here is a trace of possible insight regarding how that might affect people. Eventually one will sense that people are not immune to the activity buzzing through telephone wires in the air, making people into actual induction apparatuses. Consider an opposing stream in their nerves and then again one in the counter direction working in the bloodstream. All of this is what humanity carries in itself today, but it is hardly even noticed. These are pre-eminently Ahrimanic forces being absorbed by people from outer culture which they can't evade. One can think about things that are possible and impossible, and yet to the most powerful realities no thought is given. At some point the difference between Goethe and present day should be spoken about, regarding the fact that Goethe wasn't surrounded by telegraph wires. You see, the desolation of the human soul is in reality connected to all of this.

When you now look around at how the highest spiritual religious needs are satisfied, you must pose the question: Are there in these gratifications already some impulses inherent which take into account an element which renders these things harmless as part of the soul-spiritual experience? — That is not so! The satisfaction of religious needs go back to a time when all of this was not present, which I have illustrated for you. Today there is a gratification of religious needs which is only valid for a few people, which is not alive in the culture we have today. Anthroposophy wants to enter here to introduce newer impulses, impulses capable of making people independent from what they can't be independent of outwardly. What is external must be absorbed inwardly. Yet the polar opposite must be created — that means a strong awareness needs to be created for the importance of your Movement in order to create more and more impulses to come out of your Movement. The most important things must be thought through when you are to answer the question: What shall we do? — The correct application of the ritual and sermon already offers the necessary strong impulse because this religious Movement is built on the basis of Anthroposophy. Yet the awareness that humanity stands in the midst of these influences in the world must be present in every single one of us. Each one of you can contribute much towards fortifying awareness in this direction by raising it up and strengthen it.

We may not forget that gradually everything in humanity has become abstract and intellectual, and that intellectualism today stands completely in the afterglow. Today we may want to just understand things but we must open our hearts for the realities of the spiritual world. Mere understanding, how this or that can be grasped, is all very good but it is not the reason for a movement to be supported. You see, some things need to be particularly perceived: those movements which are alert and equipped with strong will, sprouted from ancient humanity, have unbelievably deep roots in Central Europe and western folklore; the Roman Catholic Church is but one phase of this. Intellectualism having caused the desolation of the heart now results in crowds running in droves back to the existing church, namely the Catholic Church.

You are now only a small movement and few in numbers, but if you carry the awareness within you that you are working with Truth, then you will simply say to yourself: with spiritual movements it does not depend on how great they are in number but how strong their inner strengths are. This will be active when you have a strong awareness of what it is that is being carried. This is exactly what you must have: a strong consciousness for Truth and not allowing it to de-motivate you because in fact the truth is most detested. If you wish to spread some secular falsehood, then people will have no fear of it. Precisely when you want to spread the truth people sense your intention and there will be the strongest opposition you can find.

Today our intention is to examine two big oppositions. I don't want to refer to Jesuitism at every opportunity, also not in the usual sense; I mention it only as representative of the old spirituality penetrating present time in contrast to what modern culture has brought into the present. This stream promises the eradication of modern culture. You must not believe that the will forces in this Movement are insignificant. No doubt there is a striving to have humanity deprived of modern cultural elements, which is what this Movement carries. Modern cultural elements are considered as the devil which needs to be conquered by the old culture. Ahriman can't be eradicated but he can be refined, cleansed and made noble; he must be reckoned with alongside modern culture. Opponents know this as well and for this reason they clearly express their fear regarding your Movement because it contains truth. Errors soon come to nothing but by encountering the truth, the opposition grasp at anything in defence, big or small.

You can say that something has come out of Dornach which is connected to your Movement. However, I want to say without any ill meaning, that the destiny of the Goetheanum is also not without the link to your Movement originating from it. In the place where your actions come alive is where the burning spark is laid. Don't believe that your opposition works with limited resources. Above all we must be clear that our advancing impulse can't be located outwardly, nor can a deadening element be located externally. The one and only aspect of this Movement is its impulse of being in the inmost soul. Outer things can perhaps then take place tragically but there will be no obstacles for the impulse once it has been grasped and deepened and really expresses itself as it needs to do. It was a good impulse which has given an impetus to this religious Movement; it will express itself and bear fruit if it is continued forward with the same good sense. Now I will enter into some impulses coming from your midst, what you would like to discuss.

From the participants the following questions were brought:

1. How does our ritual relate to the cultic worship which will develop in the future? How should we work together in the right way with the Anthroposophic Movement? How can we do the right thing towards moral supportiveness of the overall Movement?

2. I ask for clarity regarding preceding historical events with particular reference to the Rhur district. (Rhurgebiet)

3. It doesn't help me to bring an objective balance to the ritual steps. They change as I practice it. The Act of Consecration of Man can be read in such a way as to physically link it to the nervous system but then it is not beneficial.

Rudolf Steiner: It is necessary to consider this last question or let someone else express it more precisely. For example, you speak a sentence and it is not always clear if it has fulfilled the ritual of worship. That is a valid question. It needs to be looked at even closer. It would not be good to bring the nervous system into it. Naturally the act of worship must be on such a level that everything coming from it is not just on the level of the nervous system, which is already considered as far too important. ... (Gap in stenographer's notes.) In your subjective experience you must honour the objective experience flowing out of the ritual.

No uncertainty may limit speaking about the relationship of the ritual to anything else. The ritual which comes about, if you ask the spiritual worlds, is the ritual which lives within you. It is not in some or other outer exceptional form but it is the ritual which is already finding its future but through life itself. The real inner involvement with the ritual is closely connected with the consciousness of the priest. The priest's consciousness can only develop when an inner honesty is outwardly present. Therefore, it would be good when the subjective soul aspect, experienced by individual personalities, as they work with the ritual, are openly spoken about on an occasion such as this. Only when you utter your subjective needs can we start talking in a fruitful way. ... (Gap in stenographer's notes.)

It boils down to the speech of the ritual being expressed as the speech of higher worlds. Human speech is from the outset an earthly speech because it finds expression in structured air. Of course it is foolish to assume that departed souls can talk in a human way. Mediums in Germany let the spirits speak German, English in England and French in France as if one can be a German, English or a Frenchman after death. A spirit does no longer speak with a human language and can't pervade the air. What streams through speech as spirit depends on how it is spoken. At the very moment you have the feeling you are speaking with reverence then you can convey something spiritual through the spoken word. What does this mean: reverence? Reverence is something our philosophers have quite unlearned. They argue that the things they are discussing need to be grasped and touched. Whoever wants to speak about spiritual things must be aware that thought is like an etheric touch and that thoughts should be formed with reverence, just as also in the physical world, if it has to be touched with awe then it only is done on the surface. This inner feeling of reverence within speaking is of course the start. As a result, talking is then not only about content but physiognomic, it becomes conscious and one can gradually become filled with the genius of speech. Through this, you start to discover talking itself as a living spiritual experience. This must be present in the ritual to the highest degree. Then you really stand within the process and therefore realize: you are not speaking subjectively but you are a tool for the spiritual world.

On this rests the substantial understanding that it can be met with the ritual. Contributing most significantly to this is the How in the speech. This How however comes through the consciousness of being a tool for the spiritual world. Every small ritual action is a continuation of what flows out of the Word. In the ritual these attribute to the words become gestures. Now the struggle surfaces in your awareness: You may think as you wish about something (this is irrelevant) but it comes down to you saying what the gods want you to say. Through this, one arrives at the point of awareness that the impulse of the Act of Consecration can be allowed to work through every little thing one does throughout the day.

What is this impulse? The impulse which comes out of the Act of Consecration lies essentially in the sacrifice/offering. In the sacrifice the earthly is offered to the spiritual world; we lay it down at the feet at the spiritual world. With communion we receive it again but now it comes out of the spiritual world. We have surrendered it out of the earthly. What happened in between? Transubstantiation; an exchange has happened with the spiritual world. This brings an awareness which allows us to stand within the spiritual world each time we experience the Act of Consecration. It is lifted higher by the Gospel reading preceding it. When the Gospel reading is a corresponding preparation for the interpenetration of the spiritual world between the offering and communion, then the right way to experience the Consecration of Man is found.

Of course an addition is implicit to this: the Act of Consecration needs to be conducted at least every day. It is prescribed for Catholic priests to perform the Mass every day; through this they receive a powerful force. This must not be celebrated absolutely every day, but it is absolutely necessary that the Mass must be celebrated every day. Through this sensing you relate to the spiritual world. This is of the utmost importance.

Something else happens between one day and the next for priests: sleep happens between the two. What does this mean, sleep? Present day science has the peculiarity that the most important things in life make sense externally, but not inwardly. What is said about sleep is that it is an illusion. During sleep the soul-spiritual part of the human being, the ‘I’ and the astral body, are separated from the physical and etheric part. Between falling asleep and waking up the physical and ether bodies work on the level of the plant kingdom. What the human being has as remnant of the plant kingdom is found in his sleep, thus the human being descends as a physical being down to the plant level. This means processes are taking place which are of a lower kind than normal when a person is fully conscious. Something “cooks” up, warmth and cold are active in lower forces of nature which work in the same way where growth takes place. Only then do we have the right feeling when waking up — this must, of course, be perceived spiritually, otherwise it can be dangerous — when we say to ourselves: our I and astral bodies were in the divine world, our bodies we had handed down to the lower worlds; we then take the body back from the lower world which actually lies beneath the actual human world. This we must not forget; from an Ahrimanic level we take our bodies back, it is full of Ahrimanic build-up which we need to destroy during our waking hours. The first hour after waking should pass in such a way that we are capable of eradicating these things deposited overnight especially in for the form of salts in our bodies. When you don't manage this then the body becomes full of rheumatism, gout and so on, and on a soul level, full of lascivious thoughts. These things come from what has been experienced during sleep.

While the human being has sunk down (during sleep) to a level below that of humanity, the priest must now restore up to a higher level. This happens when the priest practices the ritual. One does not need, like in the Catholic church, to practice the Mass every day, but one should live within the Act of Consecration. That works as powerfully as the daily read mass. It then becomes powerful objectively. These are things we must observe in reality. It is essential that the human being sleeps every night. The Act of Consecration of Man is as important as sleep. If you occupy yourself every day with the Act if Consecration, you lift yourself out of the lower level of sleep-life. The evangelical attitude knows nothing about these things; it doesn't want to lift priests out but want them to remain on the level of nightly sleep-life. This lifting out of people from their nightly life of sleep, this conscious opposition to the sinking down of people into their lower human consciousness, this is what actually constitutes the vocation of priests.

What is the level on which human beings exist? The human level lies between the plant and animal regions, also between air and water. The human being is firstly mineral, plant-like, animal-like; not yet actually human. The human being will only be formed in future. When we meditate through the Mass we don't enter the animal-like aspect but enter into the divine which otherwise can only work unconsciously in us. If we carry around with us only what is daily consciousness — yes, you see, we would not look like we look now, we would only have a body developed up to the diaphragm, men would have heads like bulls and women would have heads of lions. What we have in our day consciousness doesn't enable us to have a human physical head — that is given to us by the divine. For this reason, we see the embryo head as developed to a high degree. During normal waking hours we can't entirely embrace our total human form but we learn to take this human form which is godly, to really experience the earth. You only come to have the right to feel yourself positioned in the human physiognomy when you lift yourself out of the animalistic, during the Mass. Then you free yourself from the animal and lion nature and as a result, have a human-godly physiognomy.

This is where the Catholic Church is insistent — for the divine to speak through the human. When you start to become the practical performer of the ritual then you need to grasp these things infinitely more earnestly than in the normal sense; to the extreme it is necessary to look at it, and say to yourselves: we don't carry a human head when we interact with ordinary people, because the divine works in the human head.

For this reason, it is why the “Act of Consecration” is not a poor expression but a good one, a very good one. How your head is positioned in the world is not due to your doing but God created it thus. Ordination means taking what is firm and making it fluid, what the individual has is baptised into the spiritual. As a result, you can say: I earn the right to live in the divine through the Act of Consecration and meditation and thus allow the members of the congregation to only take part in the Act of Consecration and meditation. This doesn't contradict the social and also not the evangelical consciousness but in fact it is the right attitude to reality. Only thereby it is contradicted that you turn yourself away from the things in the ordinary world; yet by consciously juxtaposing yourself to it, you conquer it. There is always more to strive for, more to struggle through and understand because priest consciousness is not a given from one day to the next, you must first allow these things to permeate you.

A speech exercise is asked for.

Rudolf Steiner: The Catholic Church considers language seriously and insists on speech exercises. The Jesuit must recite and learn to scan, he must learn how to shape an opening sentence and a concluding sentence, how to prepare the initial sentence in order to be convincing with the second one and by ending without impoverishing it by lack of eloquence. Speech becomes something objective. Speech for most people is only an expression of a purely physical organ — the larynx and the mucous membranes. The spoken word which is to be practiced in the ritual must make itself free from the individual, it must have its foundation as a power to vibrate the air without allowing the mucus to mix into it. Today this is not something that can be done effortlessly; it needs practice. The Berlin University once had a professor of eloquence, called Curtius, but so little was known in that time that he never fulfilled this lectureship but instead recited Greek art history.
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Re: The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of th

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 8:02 am

Stuttgart, 12 July 1923

My dear friends!

Perhaps deepening some of the questions of yesterday can be our starting point today. Dr Rittelmeyer has already called our attention to some difficulties which exist in understanding the relationship of this Christian-religious Movement to Anthroposophy. These difficulties are such that you actually can't just through, one could call it a definition, try and deal with it, but that it should actually be dealt with through practical application, and then also through a certain study of soul relationships in present-day humanity. The soul relationships in present-day humanity have only really just emerged in the course of the last three to four centuries and far too little consideration has been given to exploring just how difficult these soul relationships really are. Thus you must already be clear about how, out of all the energy and best of will impulses a religious movement can be formed, which can also work powerfully and nonetheless in opposition to other movements of our time where the hearts of people have gradually become lost, if at the same time the needs of humanity were not satisfied by the older, or relatively not so very old, religious streams having become unavailable.

We may not give in to the illusion that in reality it would be possible to lead a religious movement separated from the rest of cultural life, namely to be apart from what is called scientific culture. You must be aware that an atheistic science armed with the highest authority exists today. Now you would probably say, sure, this atheistic science exists as a science, but alongside that some or other contemporary science and those involved there insist they are filled not with a contemporary but an inner piousness; so that there are possibly people who can live quite within this present day atheistic scientific community who say: ‘This is another field but when I'm not active in this field then I find myself in a religious life.’

You see, this separation between the scientific and the religious elements which has been going on for centuries, this inner separation can still not cope with such a strong and pure Movement as yours — because a religious movement must, just like a scientific movement, above all support the truth. It can now seem even trivial when, after having spoken so much about the content of a religious movement, we again return to the elementary idea: the Movement must be truthful. We may not undervalue how strong the present day untruthfulness, the inner unconscious falsehood of civilisation has become. What the first initiators of this Religious Movement felt at the time, when they made the suggestion for founding this Movement, was in reality precisely towards dealing with that inner, unconscious untruthfulness of our present day.

You see, out of the cultural historical discomfort the view has gradually been developed that one must leave science to science; the theologians need not bother with it. The theologians had to create their own principles of truth from which they developed ethical and religious content separated from anything scientific and gradually introduced eternity and religiosity while not bothering with what drove science. It is exactly this detachment of the religious life placing itself opposite cultural life which resulted in deep inner untruth. Those who practice science as it is carried out today can only be atheists if he or she is honest because the manner and way thoughts regarding the world, as it is carried out in physics and chemistry, give no possibility to rise up to any kind of ethic ideal. There exists only one truth for the science of today, namely: “The totality of the world is determined by causes. The world of causality is however neutral towards ethic and religious ideals, completely neutral. Right here we must search for the truth and conclude there is no other way than to remain with the verdict of astronomers: I have searched through the entire universe and haven't found God anywhere, I therefore don't need this hypothesis.” Something else is not possible for science, if one is really honest.

On the basis of such a scientific viewpoint depends how a question such as: “Should we abandon everything moral and ethical?” is answered in the following way: “If we do this then humanity will fall into chaos and therefore it is necessary to tame humanity from the outside with state laws or equivalents.” We then have tamed people where the principle of being tamed becomes nothing other than a higher form of submission just like one applies to animals. Religion, for people who thought like this, only had one entitlement and that was to use it as a means to activate people into mutual opposition. Religion was just a means to an end; only this was allowed by those with a scientific way of thinking regarding the present. A large part of those who undermined humanity like this is as a result of not having an honest disgust for a way of thinking which only takes the half, that is, the scientific method of thought and incidentally invents the theory of how humanity was tamed. When one speaks about religious and ethical impulses with only this attitude then one must be completely clear that all one can speak about are the taming rules. One always steers towards deeper untruthfulness if one doesn't confess these things. On the other hand, atheistic science can't be stopped. Just think how forcefully today intentions arise to establish human institutions solely and extensively based on mere materialistically thought-out inherited principles, for example laws set up for marriage where nothing about inner heartfelt relationships are the decisive factor, but rather, for example, that a doctor decides. These things are argued away but in reality these things do not have an end. For those who want to work from the basis of religious renewal it is necessary to be clear to unite the focus of knowledge simultaneously with the spirit into nature's wisdom, making the spirit prevalent within the wisdom of nature so that right into physics spirituality is alive. This need really be striven for by the fact that the religious movement is based on Anthroposophy. Still, this basis of Anthroposophy needs to be a totally inward, truthful aspect. For this reason it is necessary that the relationship between the Religious Renewal and Anthroposophy is also represented in the correct way.

Isn't it true that Anthroposophy wants and can't be anything other than a quest for knowledge? You must, also as far as your relationship involves its followers, be fully aware that you are working with a path of knowledge. The religious renewal is even a religious movement with a corresponding religious ritual. When both movements work out of their own impulses then only mutual fructification can result. Basically this can never cause trouble. One must, when one is clear about it, know that on the whole, trouble can't appear when the conditions of the time are considered. The Anthroposophical Movement can be seen to have a difficult position because many people thirst for a spiritualised world view and spiritualised knowledge but want to come to their knowledge with more comfort and ease than what Anthroposophy offers. People don't want such intensive inner work which is necessary in Anthroposophy and as a result really absurd points of view and thoughts pop up. It is like this — you only need to remind yourselves about yesterday's lecture — for those who really want to be involved with Anthroposophy, a basic rethink is necessary which creates a radical difference between Antroposophists and those who have no inkling of the existence of such rethinking and transformative sensitivity.

What actually makes a community? A communal thinking and feeling! One can hardly imagine that people who truthfully work with the Anthroposophical impulse would not get such a feeling of community, as it had never before been in the world. Such a fundamental change in thinking has never existed before, even in the Mysteries: then everything was quite similar to popular thought. There is a strong bond where everyone calls and shouts for community which often becomes evident among the youth, surfacing basically as an absurd tendency. However, don't forget we are not in a studio where we can make people out of plasticine, but that people exist out there in all their absurdities, which one need to refer back to, from which there is no escape if one wants to do real work. It comes down to taking these things profoundly and in all seriousness. One tends not to think about all the various fields. Perhaps you will understand me better if I give you a popular example.

In the Waldorf School we now have 12 Classes and students of up to the age of 18 or 19. They all want to be teachers. Now, the first and foremost requirement in teaching and education lies in the non-discussion of the teaching methods to the child, boy or girl; these methods need to remain a mystery. The way things are accomplished these days centre around the child in the Waldorf School; revealing the pedagogical foundation and so on to them as they are growing up until they sometimes know what Waldorf pedagogy is better than the teacher. Yes, when things are like this there can be no progress.

On the other hand it is not acceptable today to dissect things in an outer manner. Recently in a delegation meeting we spoke about the method of how money could be acquired for the reconstruction (of the Goetheanum). A hateful article appeared as a result in a Geneva newspaper in a wild attack, how the poor Swiss people were having a million Franks pulled out of their pockets. Open secrets also don't work. It must come down to the ability to inwardly depend on people, so that when basic rules of secrecy are not given, that a form of tact develops among the authoritative personalities, speaking about something in a specific way and not, for instance, reveal the ground rules of Waldorf pedagogy to a fifteen year old as one would to a thirty year old person. This must gradually come out of it. In fact all kinds of absurd added impulses come to the fore, when things are not considered in depth or with enough strength.

This is how the impulse for community building appears in the Anthroposophical Movement. The Anthroposophical Movement is a movement for knowledge. It is founded on the communality of will, feeling and thought. Thus one can actually consider that the Religious Movement would simply rise out of the foundation of the Anthroposophical Movement, taken up in the way which was once given to religious movements which had come out of archetypal impulses and then developed further.

Before any religious movement existed among the Anthroposophists, a substitute was looked for in all kinds of esoteric circles which were however based solely on knowledge and the aspect considered as ritualistic also was just there to serve knowledge. As a result nothing from these circles could be brought across into a movement for the renewal of religion.

Had things going on at that time, considered then as ritualistic, had these things not been permeated with the pulse of knowledge, they would have been conceived outwardly which is not where they had their origin.

In contrast it is namely so in religious movements, that the ritual itself contains immediate content in each act of worship so that those who for instance refuse to strive for knowledge within the ritual, still through their participation in the ritual shares in the ritual's life, because the ritual, in the way it should work in this Religious Movement, is the speech of the spiritual world, brought down into earthly form, making participation in the ritual something quite positive.

Let us contemplate the central focus of the ritual from this viewpoint. When we look at the Act of Consecration we notice the preparatory part being the Gospel reading. Now here is another difficulty because it is really necessary to get a better understanding of the Gospels than what currently exists. It is really a matter of understanding that the Words of the Gospels are to be taken up quite differently to any other words, which have flowed from civilisation's development through humanity. The Word of the Gospel, when it is taken as the truth, contains within itself something which can be described when one says: The person who reads the Words of the Gospel out loud, speaks as the conduit for something which comes down from the spiritual into the physical world in order for the prepared part of the Gospel text to somehow enable the entire congregation to establish a link to the spiritual world.

Following this, the actual offering takes place, in three parts: Revelation, Transubstantiation and Communion. A real conception of this trinity is not possible if one is not clear about the very moment when transubstantiation is fulfilled, even for those who actually take part, when natural law and ethical law flow together as one, so that quite a different world order is opened up every time for the congregation, each moment when a person is lifted up to the divine, and the spiritual sinks down into the congregation. When one takes this as reality then one must say, something is happening which is completely independent to what one can recognise as happening in it. Mere feeling is sufficient for what precedes it. For knowledge, mere feeling is insufficient. For the preparatory steps to transformation, it suffices to have feeling, therefore actually it is a task, an activity involving the congregation, when the priest celebrates the Act of Consecration for the congregation. This is something which must definitely be accepted and as a result you should never disturb this harmony by asking the question: ‘Could any ritual which is received today out of the spiritual world’ — and all our rituals are received from the spiritual world are to some extent ordained by God — ‘can it be changed or stopped?’ — You see, by somehow evaluating these rituals and come to saying: ‘Yes, it should develop into another state where people can have an invisible ritual’ — these questions are unreasonable.

The relationship must be thought of in this way: people are always going to look for a ceremony followed by a sermon; in the sermon the only enrichment flowing into it can come from Anthroposophy, out of spiritual science. It will happen in future that those who are knowledgeable in the topmost degree in spiritual matters, will never reject keeping community with those who attend the ritual. He or she has also no other way of relating to the ritual than, I could call it, a naive person. Therefore the question can't possibly be raised: ‘Do we carry the ritual for the present time and in future substitute it by another?’ — Through our founding of the ritual it is established and will continue; it is subject to other rules than those that human beings validate when it is asked: ‘Will there one day be an invisible ritual?’ The Ritual is subjected to the immense cosmic world impulses which include everything in its evolution which comes about in the world. However, the changes of the future will be quite different to changes that have happened in the past.

Take the Mass of the today's Roman Catholic Church. What is present there is the synthetic confluence of all the corresponding rituals of ancient times, deepened in a Christian sense. This is the wonderful element within the Catholic Church which has flowed together out of all the ancient mysteries. However, at specific times in the development of Christianity there came about — these times actually already began in the third and fourth century — times during which there was no understanding any more for what was woven into the sacrifice of the Mass and so it became an empty formula, propagating itself through tradition, one could say, out of respect. Then, seemingly soon, people came with the courage of non-understanding and started to improve all kinds of things. Today, as a result, we have in the Catholic Mass sacrifice, something which gradually, simply through the dying out of language, has become fundamentally incomprehensible. It is celebrated in the old language, without it possibly bringing about understanding. One can regard this sacrifice of the Catholic Mass as a corpse, which is something unthinkably huge and powerful, yet still as a corpse possessing unbelievable power. In totality the peculiar aspect of the Catholic Church is how the priesthood is exceptionally educated philosophically but theologically extraordinarily uneducated. The Catholic theology has no liveliness, so that actually right up to the greatest climaxes Catholic theology is something extraordinarily uneducated. Since the Middle Ages it hasn't undergone any further development. On the grounds of religious needs of humanity, the teaching or sermon all fail to be satisfying, yet by contrast this is not the case with the cult because the cult has an extraordinary power of building the community. This is what is given in which you can engender a feeling of eternity through this new ritual, so that no disharmony need to bear down on your souls. Some Anthroposophists claim that parts of the prescribed ritual can be left out. This question would actually not come about if one has the right attitude. I really don't know out of what grounds these ideas could have come. Because, take the case of the funeral today; surely a religious community will ask for a ritual? So you are called to the Consecration of Man for the whole of humanity and not only with the attitude that it is something temporary, it will be replaced by something else. This is something eternal as far as something can be called eternal on earth. This conflict which appears to be developing among many of you, that Anthroposophy sees the ritual to some extent as something less meaningful or that something else in the future must represent the present Movement, this conflict can only be based on a feeling of a misunderstanding. As soon as you are clear that naturally Anthroposophy lies more on the side of knowledge and that it must give itself over to that, as far as the ritual is considered, then on the other side, people who attend the ritual and also seek the knowledge aspect, because of the strength of the intellect, and approach the ritual from the basis of Anthroposophy — as soon as you are clear about this then you can say to yourself in some way this is only a kind of division of labour. If taken from this basis, conflict should not arise at all.

Now I would like to ask you, following on from these comments, to express whatever you want because I know that much still lies in the depths of your souls.

A question is posed (which is not written down by the stenographer) regarding the lecture given on the 31st December 1922 in Dornach.

A Saying:

The world's working approaches
As a material reflection to me
In the Heavenly Beings of the stars
I see, through Willing, their loving motion.
Penetrating me with life's water
Forming me through matter's power
The heavenly deeds of the stars
Within feeling I see their wise revolving.

Es nahet mir im Erdenwirken
In Stoffes Abbild mir gegeben
Der Sterne Himmelswesen
Ich seh' im Wollen sie sich liebend wandeln.
Es dringen in mich im Wasserleben
In Stoffes Kraftgewalt mich bildend
Der Sterne Himmelstaten
Ich seh' im Fühlen sie sich weise wandeln.

Rudolf Steiner: What I spoke about then is a kind of cosmic communion. When this is performed meditatively, then under the circumstances as things are today, they could offer people a certain satisfaction. In this way a kind of communion can be received. However that doesn't exclude those who receive communion through their knowledge in this way, when they in their entire soul constitution strive for it today, to also receive communion in another way. The differences should not be stressed because the two things are not contradictory. Do you experience a stronger contradiction here than what you have against the old, still truly understood, Catholic Church? There they have the priest communion and naturally also the lay communion — I don't want to say that all Anthroposophists should be priests. You have those who can give and receive communion and you have those who can receive communion but not give it. When you grasp the difference you have to say to yourself: ‘Those who give communion can't possibly, without it adding some inner experience, take the communion anyhow like the layman. He must experience something more in it.’ Therefore the priest, when working with the communion, must also experience something more, an inner communion, and this he does have. Now, it comes down to strictly adhering to the difference between the priesthood and the laity. Only these two classes exist. Today one walks away from the developments in these olden times, this past time is no longer here.

Today much which was only available to the Priests in olden times is now to some extent also made available to the laity. Our entire modern theology, all its literature is now available. The same can be said to be valid in our case. You can study theology as a layman. If you choose a way of knowledge like Anthroposophy it is self-evident that the thoughts of participants become familiar with such things as would first and foremost been available for the celebrating Priests in past times. Today it is different. We can't put up boundaries. If we would have clung to old principles it would be as if a religious movement existed and within that movement would have been the priesthood who then would have Anthroposophy to themselves, who would have to do everything on the level of profane technicality, as demanded by the times ... (gap in stenographer's notes). If you take that into account you will understand that this communion which the priest celebrates has developed from something which belongs to the Anthroposophical Movement. However, there is no ground for saying: ‘On the one hand we have the priestly, on the other we have cosmic communion.’ Both come from the same foundation, only differentiating in form. They can both stand independently beside one another. So when you enter with profound feeling into these things you will have no difficulties.

A Participant: In the report about the meeting of delegates in February 1923 it is said that the ritualistic element is something which comes from prenatal life. In the course which we attended in Dornach, it is illustrated how our ritual raises up the dead in their life after death.

Rudolf Steiner: This is something which is applicable to all things created out of the spiritual world; the concepts need to be grasped very precisely. To grasp concepts scholarly dialectic needs to be entered into. However we haven't come that far yet, neither in the area of Anthroposophy, nor in the Religious Movement. You see, the way people work in the ritual, to really engage, so that the human soul is involved, is in order for this to lead to the Portal of Death and encounter Christ — this is the one side of the cult. The other side through which that takes place for the human being is like a cosmic memory of what had been experienced prenatally. Let's take an example in ordinary life to make this clear. What meeting makes a great impression on a person today? To have had an encounter, already during his youth, with a venerated person. Now something else is added to this. It is something different, when I depict it, which germinates in the mood of soul towards the future; as a result of this he might approach relationships in life in quite a different manner to the kind of person he had been in his youth. When one partakes in the ritual, one's next, future life is touched. This happens because its origin lies in prenatal life. This works very strongly on the human being.

A Participant: Does one accomplish more by meditating on the Mass or when one celebrates the Mass? One can then come as far as saying we don't need to read the Mass any more.

Rudolf Steiner: Logically that is not quite untrue, but in fact it is not so. When the Mass is read and is then experienced meditatively and thus has an effect on you, then this effect, while depending on a more intense inner activity, actually becomes stronger. However you are not always able to call upon this inner activity. When you haven't read the Mass for some days then its power becomes paralysed. It is true, if one can, then it is good, but when it has had no preparatory stages then these forces are paralysed. It is not true that the inner meditated Mass is as strong as the read Mass, and it must not somehow become an ideal for the Priest, to not read the Mass. Then he could well say: ‘I refrain from working with my congregants, I, alone, want to make progress.’ It is possible to imagine this ideal (not reading the Mass but meditating) but the power which the priest will need, when he wants to read the Mass, this he must not allow to weaken as a result, by him wanting to present such an ideal.

A participant: How does one bring people to the Consecration of Man? Are we to only take people who emotionally come from underdeveloped religious sentiments, to whom the way of knowledge is closed? How should we approach participants if we don't follow the route of thinking?

Rudolf Steiner: You don't just have the ritual, but also in the broadest sense the sermon, lectures, or preaching in the terminological sense. Nothing can be seen as a problem. Today's younger intellectuals who work out of nothing don't want an isolated intellectual aspect, but strive strongly towards ritual.

What can enter here, which must from external sources form a synthesis between the Religious Movement and Anthroposophy, I now want to characterise. On the one hand today's intellect is not enlivened without the ritual. The ritual firstly calls upon the intellect. Today people stop believing they can think if they don't have the ritual. Stopping thinking is a danger of the time. On the other hand I don't see where the limitation must lie when presenting a sermon and ritual. A limitation can only exist where you create it artificially. They don't want to learn about Anthroposophy, they say. That they can't handle because they must! Of course one should not throw Anthroposophy at them because then the problem arises with them saying: ‘We don't want to learn about Anthroposophy.’

A participant: So I won't talk about the ether body, for example?

Rudolf Steiner: That depends on the knowledge of the congregation. I can easily imagine a congregation who relate honestly to the ritual and still can have a need for knowledge. I don't see why you shouldn't speak about the ether body.

A participant: There are actually people with a desire for knowledge and who find their way to Anthroposophy through the ritual. Can we find a possibility to satisfy people who don't want Anthroposophy?

Rudolf Steiner: The question is actually: how will you characterise someone who should be led by you, who will actually be led by you in order for that person to be seen quite separated from Anthroposophy? How must that person be? It is like this: When one really grasps what a person is about, when one really enters into true humanity, then people want Anthroposophy, just as at all times the underlying soul is being sought for. To not want Anthroposophy is only the case with inhibited people. For forty years you could still find elementally healthy people in the countryside, they uttered the highest wisdom. (The following sentence was only partially captured.) Under their pillows they use to hide something — take Jacob Böhme for instance — this is no longer found today. People who have become inhibited in large cities don't come anywhere near such things. As a result I can imagine that another way can be used, other than anthroposophic. Your approach need not be from what is printed in books but what you have experienced through books. For example the concept of the etheric body is easy to bring across to naive individuals. In some regions people called the little substance left in the eyes upon waking, “night's sleep”; the etheric is in there because it comes from the etheric body's activity. Starting points are everywhere. You satisfy people more when you become free of words and come from experience itself.

A participant: Is it possible to find the difference between cosmic communion and the ritual in order to formulate it as sacramental?

Rudolf Steiner: That is something which is difficult to say, because experience of real cosmic communication is already sacramental. All of anthroposophic thought is something sacramental, as I have expressed it already in my Theory of Knowledge in the Goethian world view. Knowledge, when it is true knowledge, strives towards sacrament. It depends more upon us trying to bring things together than to find differences, because in reality you bring yourself together with it.

A question is posed with reference to specific words in a sentence from one of Rudolf Steiner's Dornach lectures of 1922 (indicated by a few connecting words by the stenographer).

Rudolf Steiner: ‘Anthroposophy needs no religious renewal’ — so you have correctly formulated the sentence. What will it mean for Anthroposophy, whose foundation is in itself, to need religious renewal? The reverse: ‘Religious renewal needs Anthroposophy!’ What was said there in the lecture, that Anthroposophy needs ritual, was actually directed at Anthroposophists, not at the Movement for Religious Renewal. Such things need to be said because many people believe they need to orientate themselves out of principle, whether they should choose to take part in the Religious Movement. There were members of the Anthroposophic Movement who were much older than Dr Rittelmeyer; when they asked if they should take part in the ritual, one must say to them: ‘In the end you should know this yourself, you must be able to consult Dr Rittelmeyer.’ — One may not say that the only way to come to anthroposophy is through the Religious Movement; that would be very wrong. My lecture at that time was directed at Anthroposophists. It is therefore self evident that the Anthroposophists, as they have become lately, could be consultants for the ritual. The opposite is deadly for Anthroposophy: when you say one couldn't come to an anthroposophic understanding (of Christ) if you do not come via the ritual. It is necessary to stress that the lecture was directed at Anthroposophists. The misunderstanding came about by both sides making mistakes of omission in their handling. There are many in the Religious Movement who doesn't know what they should be doing.

Marie Steiner: Some Anthroposophists created the saying: “Dr Steiner wants the Religious Movement to replace the Anthroposophical movement”; that was Dr Steiner's assessment. Similarly at the start of the Threefold Movement it was also suggested it should replace the Anthroposophical Movement. There have already been signs of people believing that Anthroposophy should be disassembled. Lecture cycles at the publishers were cancelled, and such like.

Rudolf Steiner: These things appear in outer practice and do not lead to inner difficulties.

A Participant pointed out that Rudolf Steiner had said during the lecture on 30 December 1922 that there were many people who are orientated towards knowledge but other people with dull religious inclination (text here only copied in key words by the stenographer).

Rudolf Steiner: Yes, that can't be denied, there are people with a thorough orientation towards knowledge and others with just a dull religious inclination. If I said that Anthroposophy can't do anything with people who have dull religious instincts, but only through something like the Religious Movement, then it is true. However it does not mean that the Religious Movement is applicable to only these kinds of people, but it means these people can't do anything with Anthroposophy. These people can only be reached through the ritual, not through Anthroposophy. People with a dull religious inclination are to be involved through the ritual and possibly will become very thoughtful people in their next lives.

A participant: People say: ‘The Anthroposophists have a university, you have a school for children.’ This is the kind of thing we have to deal with.

Rudolf Steiner: Recently I saw a big poster which came out of Austria with sheer nonsense on it, claiming how concerned individuals reach the spiritual world, but on the other side it said: ‘With my spiritual system I include all things which are only approached one-sidedly by Anthroposophy and Theosophy etc.’ With such things inner difficulties can't be judged. Such people one may not take as tragic. You can't be upset by this.

A participant: To prevent such things being proclaimed, the leader of the branch needs to take action.

Rudolf Steiner: These are outer things. The leader of branch is not involved with what members do outside the branch.

A participant: It is said directly that the two paths are contradictory. This frightens people and they stay away.

Rudolf Steiner: This is not inner difficulty, it is outer action of practical life. That these things happen cannot be stopped. One can't characterise something in a trivial way which is connected to the most serious profundity; for this is needed clear formulation, with serious words which can possibly appear as falsely expressed. What one or other branch leader has to say is quite insignificant. Otherwise we have to regard it as a task to only have branch leaders who are infallible. Your spiritual tools are there to educate people.

Emil Bock: In a certain sense there was no confusion in the beginning. We were looking for our field of work as somewhere different from the Anthroposophic field. We probably took the declarations of the opposition as our connecting point which made us too separate from the Anthroposophic work. Some of us also had no more time for it. As a result of these difficulties arising among the Anthroposophists we realised we could not speak from the side of Anthroposophists. As a result of the course of events we had separated ourselves somewhat out of the anthroposophical line. Now we ask you, please help us, to find the true way in the anthroposophic work again, because we have a strong desire not to fall away from the Anthroposophic work and see how as a result we have attracted the possibility to really contribute to the clarification of us not being seen as Anthroposophists but as standing for Religious Renewal. We do not want to be poor representatives of Anthroposophy.

Rudolf Steiner: The danger was actually there from the beginning. It all depends on the correct critical attitude being maintained. It is possible through many things that judgement is rectified. For several months already, Dr Rittelmeyer is very actively involved in the Management (Forstand) of the Anthroposophic Society. What he says is highly recommended. It is already so that the strength of each one of you becomes strongly recommended. I will never again, at an occasion where social relationships are to be healed by the ritual, participate without a representative of the Religious Movement working with me. At burials I will no longer speak alone, without a priest. The ritual needs to be celebrated by the priest. In this way correct judgement must be built up. In discussions misunderstandings arrive, but the facts speak for themselves.

It is important that the Religious Movement does not deny Anthroposophy. You are mistaken if you believe you can make progress without it. It is far better to be clear and stand firm on the foundation of Anthroposophy. Everything must be openly brought to light. You may not allow people to come to the opinion that it has nothing to do with Anthroposophy. The Waldorf School is completely related to Anthroposophy. Some lecturer has said that the Waldorf School is quite nice if only their basic views could be dropped.

It is this which I want to stress: If Anthroposophy is the foundation of the Waldorf School then we don't create an anthroposophic sect education, but by going through Anthroposophy we strive towards a general education of mankind.

We have the task not to clarify misunderstandings but simply to speak the truth.
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Re: The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of th

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 8:03 am

Stuttgart, 13 July 1923

My dear friends!

For the kind of striving you are involved in, it is of primary importance to cultivate a true impulse for feeling yourselves within the spiritual world as well as striving towards the achievement of such an impulse, but taken from the viewpoint of your Movement, of which I intend speaking to you today. You see it really involves establishing a connection with a definite point to enable you to link to a spiritual impulse, if you want to be a sure, broad minded, active person, which you all want to be. It involves enlivening the appropriate impulses for this particular activity. From my observations in the spiritual world as such, it appears that the following will be helpful to you.

A connection can be established with the manifestation of the spirit of speech, the wielding of the speech genius. We must firstly be very clear, my dear friends, how far we are removed as a rule from the real spiritual, inner self-activation of grasping speech within ourselves. We basically are involved with speech but without its divine quality. We take up speech in such a manner that by the very act of applying it to ordinary life, we actually profane it. We allow ourselves as contemporary people to use speech by not venerating it in any way at all. We basically speak in sinfulness and this can awaken the awareness that our speaking sinfully enables us to acquire an attitude, I may say, to develop a relationship with speech towards obtaining a spiritual impulse. Examples to confirm this arise of course from all areas.

How many people today have obtained some guidance which empathises with any of the sounds in speech? This naturally means a large number of sounds are spoken conventionally and inhumanely, without comprehension, uttered as if without human input. Who feels at the moment the word “harden” is spoken, that in expressing the word the speaker's mood is permeated by something which hardens it like a mineral and simultaneously cools down his mood? Who feels, when the word “Word” is spoken that it is linked to life from ancient times, a past spiritual weaving which has been killed in the present time, the past crystallized in the present, and so on? We have absolutely no experience of the most important words any more. I would like to know how many people today have the experience with the word “thinking,” how many people have an experience with the word “feeling,” the word “willing.” This I'm only saying to you with reference to what I really want to entrust you with today.

You may of course name yourself in the most varied expressions of language. You can call yourself “I” as one does usually, or you can start to theorise about it and say to yourself you can be called a “human-being” (Mensch)(1). Then you substitute the speech genius and determine your own being out of the being of the language. However today a person has the feeling when he does something like that, he is applying a word which he designates to himself. When a person of today says to himself he can be called a “human-being,” he thinks that under all circumstances he has in a comprehensive way with a word, he believes, described an idea.

Now, when the starting point is feeling, it is good: in the true sense of the word language is so little understood, making the description which a person as a human-being applies to himself actually something whose understanding must first be wrestled with, whose understanding must first be arrived at. Feeling should actually always be a starting point so that when I believe I can describe myself in some or other words, even in my mother tongue, they designate an infinite pride in me. When we permeate ourselves with the feeling that we believe we can manage a language, even our mother tongue, so far removed from the spirit that we can legitimately name ourselves with the word “human-being,” if we consider this belief as terribly proud then we start to draw courage for the preparatory feeling towards a specific spiritual impulse such as I am indicating today. We should much more often be able to say: ‘I am placed on the earth as a human-being through some or other divine circumstances unknown to me and this leads me to call myself a “human-being,” but the basis for this description lies high above my horizon. It is the will of God who prevails here, who has lead me out of the unconscious deep substrate, to describe me as “human-being.” I have as a human-being, as this human individuality standing on earth, actually not the right to characterize myself.’ Then the next step must be to say to oneself: Before I can become capable at all of understanding the entire preliminary stages in existence which leads to me saying “I” to myself, I must undergo three developmental steps — right up to the judgement which I may express as the following: I have no right to call myself “human-being,” I need to first go through three steps of development, I must push through three tests. When I have passed these three tests to satisfy my own judgement, will I have earned the right to say to myself: ‘You are a human-being.’

This we should actually feel toward every spoken word: an extraordinary noble humility towards the point of origin for the development of spiritual impulses. We need to say to ourselves: Just like we as human-beings stand on earth today in our 5th Post-Atlantean period, we may, if we are honest people, start by falling quiet, name nothing and then start to conquer the three steps which will give us the right to rename things out of ourselves. Through this can we first get a feeling for how extraordinary a meaningful cosmic experience it had been, as indicated in scripture, that in the presence of God Adam was permitted to name animals and things, which only God's proximity could enable. We come through such experiences which need indeed to be concrete personal experiences, to the necessary depths of the scripture, so that it, through its inner power which we can give it, reach the necessary nuances and coloration and out of every word in each verse let it ring out, to which we can't merely say: ‘We don't have the right to name things’ — but we could say: ‘Through God the right has been given to us, to name things out of ourselves.’

These things must firstly be experienced through the depths of our soul in a priestly way to really encounter the world. Outer gestures do not make a priest, because the priest expresses what comes out of the deepest depths within. When we designate the words “human-being” as such to ourselves, we should only be able to do so when we have gone through these three stages:

The being to whom I want to ascribe the word “human-being”
has depths which I must first need to fathom;

The being to whom I want to ascribe the word “human-being”
has heights to which I need to rise first;

The being to whom I want to ascribe the word “human-being”
has widths which I first have to look at and grasp.

These three sentences contain something meaningful: being a human-being. By deepening these sentences through meditation, they can take you a long way.

In truth it is so: by the human-being placing himself in earthly existence he places himself outside spiritual heights. Solely through the fact that our earth existence is a cooperative task towards human development, cosmically validated, do we contribute a part of our totality as earthlings. Earth shapes us while we walk on it between birth and death, as earthlings, and everything which is shaped out of the earth come out of the depths which cooperates in everything, even in the most minute parts of the smallest organs in us. Just imagine the earth as a being in space has endless secrets within it which work creatively. How your eyes, your ears are formed, how every singular, how every smallest member of your body is formed and fashioned, for all this the creative forces lie within the earth. If we succeed in gradually grasping what the earth's expression of its inner being is in its countenance, with thinking, feeling and willing as an unveiling of her inner secrets, so we meditatively, gradually come to search for an answer to the question: How do I fathom the depths of the being of man?

When we succeed in placing ourselves into our bodies as the multitudinous ways of crystallised earth, which dissolves the crystallisation again, atomised to a powder, when we succeed in observing this development, pulverising and re-crystallising which in the course of time was characterised for the sensitive human-being, for example with Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva; if we succeed in experiencing this entire process which will be for us a kind of bed of the Godhead, by us being embedded in it, so that the bedding within this Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva process becomes something like a cosmic sleep for us during our earth existence, if we experience this crystallisation and dissolving as something which weaves through us with a cosmic urge for sleep, so that we could say: the human-being is so profound, so deeply fashioned in earthly existence that the depths of consciousness doesn't endure but with the entire created earth as a physical body it expires into a cosmic sleep — then we gradually approach the feeling of what it means: what it is for the human-being to be connected to the depths of the earth. If we can finally say to ourselves: the earth forms us out of its depths, permeates us out of its depths with earthly sleep, while out of the depths of earthly sleep the archetypal divine works fully consciously, then we experience something of this earthly depths within the human-being. If we could say something like: the harder the earth appears to us, diamond hard, the harder in its parts, just so more true, so powerfully speaks from this diamond hard heart the condition of sleep of the spiritual world, the light filled spirituality which works in the earth as awakened, active divinity.

Thus we need to go through our meditation in an ever more deepening feeling way and transfer the earthly foundation and say:

‘Oh man, before you can name yourself, before you can establish your depths, you need to ever more deepen yourself into the foundations of the earth.’ When we observe plants sprouting out of the earth, we may acquire a more lofty feeling of piety, a feeling of reverence, that in every plant morsel we can behold something of ourselves, something like a revelation of what is happening below in the earth. We must really clearly understand the exchange of activities taking place between the earth's depths and the breadths of the heavens. See how the blossoming roses grow out of the earth, look at the particular way the rosebud pinches its petals so tightly together as to complement the ground of the earth, counter positioned to the central point of the earth as a mighty rose of light, permeated with divine thought gestures which need to wait until the rose unfolds its bud upwards. Every sleeping rosebud you empathise with the waiting, creating, living light rose in the earthly depths. So it is with all plants. Look at the green cover of plants over the earth and experience that which sprouts out of the earth as green, in the depths of the earth, as quite light-filled but permeated with deep violet, which appears in the world, weaving through it with life. Then you have something which I have said to you: ‘I may only call myself a human-being, when I have explored myself in the earth's depths.’

So the feeling must be reached towards becoming worthy through such meditative penetration, through the conquering of this first step, for the word “human-being” to be used for people. When one takes what the profane person takes as obvious, as a level hovering high above and think one can only reach this level by climbing up to it; through humbling yourself three times more than an ordinary person, becoming three times more humble than an ordinary person believes himself to be, then one is only starting to sense oneself gradually approaching the calling of a priest.

When one has gradually in such a way led oneself to reach the first step, then one takes on the second step which lets us look into the infinite widths of the worlds and one says to oneself at the present moment: Oh, how trivial this world has become, where humanity has only developed trivial images of the wide world. Yes truly, wiser than the wisest student was Stifter's grandmother who was asked about the evening red glow and answered it was the mantle of God's mother, which is hung out in the heaven to be aired. This naive, picturesque imagination is in contrast to scientific knowledge much wiser, much wiser than the most learned astronomy.

This one must be able to absorb: To actually see the shining stars in wide space, stars with essentially the eyes of divine spiritual beings who glance down at us, children of the earth, while their spiritual hands reach out to us, while our spiritual hands reach up to their spiritual hands because we were with them before we came down to an earthly existence. The gods look after us out of space, out of the heights above worlds, in order to explore how we feel towards their predisposition while our spiritual hands reached their spiritual hands. When we are able to possibly develop many imaginations of the heights and become more and more empathic, how the being of humanity originate out of the heights, towards which it needs to climb up once again, then we will be able to come one step closer to earn the right to, as people, call ourselves ‘human beings.’

The word ‘human-being’ must first be dipped into the depths of the earth, as I have indicated, so that its absorption during this immersion becomes part of our minds and enable us to say: We understand this. Now this word ‘human-being’ need to rise up with the mists into the heights and give us the feeling that it will come again in the falling rain, when the word “human-being” will carry within itself the possibility of learning to understand it. We really must initially be clear about everything which works between the depths of the earth and the heavenly heights. In a lively way we must follow the haze rising from woods and mountains. We must not believe that the haze is rising from an area which belongs to the earth. We must develop every kind of modesty towards those people who see in a drop the dragon rising in a thermometer or a barometer, to facilitate measurements. The tendency is to immerse everything in earthly images only. We must reach a point where we can say: ‘How foolish to believe thunder develops out of the friction between clouds; clouds consist of water as every child knows, all moisture is completely kept away from a glass rod if electricity is to be created.’ — Naturally this foolishness comes to the fore when a person tries to experience something in the heights of heaven which he experiences on earth for he has descended down from the heavenly heights and now he needs to feel related to it again before he can truly call himself a human-being. We must clearly understand that while the fog rises out of the mountains and forests, where water is somewhat different than it is on earth, in regions where water itself becomes spiritualised, it is ‘de-watered’ and goes through spiritual processes so that it can materialise once again until it descends again as rain out of spiritual spheres. We must know that if we rise up into such regions then we need to be familiar with these regions of our origination, out of which we descended from in a previous existence. We need to know that lightening is something which rules and weaves in spiritual regions and take the imagination of ancient times, where lightening was the arrow of the Gods, as an imagination far more wise than we can ever make today.

In total stillness we must be able to develop such meditative imaginations in the depths of our minds, enabling us to be the leaders turning a completely de-spiritualised world culture towards the Spirit. When we turn towards the hard earth, we must also turn towards the gentle, flowing water, combining with one another in the depths, right into the most concentrated minute matter, which expands in the heights and must atomise, then coalesce to become rain again in their descent to earth. We must discover all the secrets of water, everything relating to water and draw it all together in our minds. We must meditate over it, we must ask ourselves: ‘How does the sun's warmth come out of the world expanse during summer and into the earth to enable plants to bear fruit which turn ripe? How does this warmth of the sun sink into the earth to enable the farmer to entrust his seeds in the earth's warmth during winter?’ At the end of winter it is this warmth which expands again into the vastness of existence. This warmth, found in all areas of existence, working in all cosmic undertakings, is a communion of the opposites between the heavenly heights and the earthly depths. As human-beings we originate from both. We must fathom the earth's depths before we can enter into the world's expanse.

By increasingly entering into such meditations we come to a kind of feeling, a mindfulness, towards the second step, which gives us the right to apply the word ‘human-being’ to ourselves. We must achieve an awareness that all languages can only be provisional, until through the third step we have reached that union with the linguistic genius who actually speaks unconsciously within us while we, when we have made ourselves the tool of God's Word, only then need to have the right to apply the word ‘human-being’ to ourselves.

As a third step we must try and observe the world's expanse. This we can perceive when the rising and the setting sun becomes a reality in our minds. Similarly with the rising and sinking stars when we learn to understand the great journey of the sun chariot going through the world, then we are really able to recognise what the variations are between East and West, what is different from Southeast compared to Northwest and so on. This we can observe when we are able to say to ourselves: You as human-being may take five steps and so change your position on the earth's surface. For you to be able to do so, like the animal as well, is as a result of forces which draw from East to West in width and breadth, also working on you. You are also shaped out of the earth's depths. While the heights of heaven throw light on you from above and forms and enlivens you, you are all given the ability to be formed into beings able to walk on the earth's surface. The world's expanse you should sense and you can sense this by placing yourself in some distant landscape and experience the air as becoming something increasingly more real. In your immediate surroundings the air appears transparent to you, you don't see it; when you look at a mountain you can paint the air with it because it appears as dew on the surface; when you look at the air in the distance then you see the blue sky. Drenched with it you experience the beings of light as a feeling which becomes real because the experience is bound to actions of will. Thus you rise to the third step in your meditation which leads you to earn the right to name yourself a ‘human-being.’

When you deepen this step in the secret of breathing, you start to understand what the air and the widths of the world are; what is working in the heights and depths and in the horizon and you admit: what permeates your breathing lives in the wide world — it is how the wide world experiences you — and it is this that you must sense in your breath. Further, you must sense in your breathing that an act of will is the basis of penetrating your entire being with the powerful impulses of breathing. You get an inkling of how the depths of the earth give material cohesion to your entire body which you transform according to thoughts given to you from the wide world. So they work together in the whole person:

Depths of earth in your Physical
World widths in your Astral
Heavenly heights in your Etheric

Thus you can feel entire cosmic dimensions in yourself. You can sense when you enter with your feeling into the diamond hard earth how you are a sleeping being. You can feel, when you raise your gaze to the heavenly heights, you are snatched from sleep and become a dreaming being. Yet you can also feel how you are a being who is awake in the width of the world. Gradually you learn to recognise the comic human in the earthly human-being.

In this way you learn to recognise how the human-being is actually formed by God out of the entire cosmos, placed by God on earth. Thus you sense the threefold positioning in the cosmos. This is how you learn to feel how the Father God works out of the earth, whose lively activity must preferably be looked for in the past because what has remained is the firm ground on which we stand, the fixed forms repeated in the world, all that has remained appears to us in fixed images. By meditating with our mind sunk into the earthly depths we hear the words of the Father God sounding up to us. Out of the heavenly heights we hear how the presence of God speaks to us but the words are more profound and more complicated that human speech. God has descended from the heavens down to earth and had to go through the Mystery of Golgotha to allow heavenly speech to penetrate our words. The actual communion of the earthly with the heavenly we can depict in the rising water vapour, in the rain which falls down again, in the rising and again descending warmth of the world. When we allow that to work in us it will permeate us with spirit and we will sense the presence of Christ in those who we feel are under the influence of the heavenly heights. When we penetrate into our breath as coming out of the widths of space and we humbly link our feeling to what happens at every instant, when we in our physicality, ruled by the forces of earthly depths, feel formed and shaped under the leadership of Christ Jesus out of the heavenly heights then we come to really experience, and are permeated by, the activity of the Holy Ghost as the fulfilment of the Trinity and thus out of this our meditation could be:

The Father God has given me the strength which lies in my material existence, as solidified Spirit.

The Son God is always the heavenly which lives in me, which works and weaves like a watery cosmic existence, which is a symbol, an image of it. I sense Christ-God in all my weaving and living, in all which has made me from a child to an adult, in all which grows in me daily and needs to perish again, enabling me to be an earthling through my becoming.

I feel the Spirit God carry into the future that which Christ Jesus has become in us, in the past.

You see, when you meditate like this on the content born out of a word, a word previously only used provisionally, then you have earned the right to call a person a ‘human-being.’ We must begin by developing reverence towards the genius of speech because through such a meditation real reverence is cultivated. Our starting point must not be to refer to the outer impression of the human form only but as a human-being created by God, as a thought from God, as a God-filled human-being, when we speak.

When we prepare ourselves as we have through our meditation on a word such as ‘human-being,’ then the impulse is born for these three steps to be applied to some other words and for the human speech on earth to be implemented in this way. The genius of speech will teach us how we can become living tools for the Word of God when we allow the congregation to experience this Word of God. The Word of God is always there, and what we are doing, is but a moment's experience of the continuous spiritual cosmic weaving Word of God. In the very first beginnings the word existed, in ancient beginnings it was already divine. When we are however not in the position to sense the holiness in the words ‘human-being’ for the people, then our approach is not right, we do not have dignity to also express the first words of the St John's Gospel in the correct way. The priest today has not yet come so far as to be able to say these words in this way.

In our time the primary importance for priests, if they continue in their calling, is to further such things. What has actually been left over from the ancient words revealed from the holy heights above the earth? What has remained from the words such as “Deus,” “Christus,” “Spiritum”? Earthly sounds they now are, hardened by dogma. The truth within words need to be awakened in us, the truth of these words must live in us. We may not neglect anything which will still make it possible for the old, hardened and therefore dogmatic words to become alive again within us. We may no longer turn and twist in the way it was done with God's words in past times in which the Catholic Church extracted the Mystery of the Mass.

In the Old Mysteries priests were far more humble than those of today, when they are like I have just described them. The priest of old said to himself he couldn't be a priest if he was just as he was. As a result, before he was allowed to speak, those things were performed in which the last remainder of incense was still held. As a result of the sensing, which has come to its right in our Consecration of Man ritual, there is indicated that in the Mysteries of old, outer substances were used to shift the consciousness of the priests. This resulted in them feeling shifted out of their bodies and enchanted by the genius of speech, taking them to the higher Genius so that the priest of old, out of his body, experienced the Being of God. No priest was of the opinion that he could move his tongue when he expressed the Word of God; he knew he had to first go out of himself and allow his tongue to be moved from outside. We can no longer do this today and nor should we try. We should through inner spiritual means, with internalized feeling and will work towards the understanding of the foregoing, when we can call ourselves ‘human-beings.’

Just consider, my dear friends, what the Act of Consecration will become under your handling when you start from today taking these things I've spoken about into your priest meditations. These things can also just gradually be taken in by us. Mankind has distanced itself from the divine and must find its way back again. We have absorbed the Act of Consecration into the Christian Movement for Religious Renewal like religious artists. Today we have come to the point where what can only be accepted like a religious art must be taken up in such a way that we are in the position to make it into a lively organism, in order for the Act of Consecration to become really alive and in this way be experienced within the Christian Community as ever new at each fulfilment of the ritual, just like the physical body experiences something new each time it takes in nourishment.

My dear friends, take this into your souls: the Act of Consecration is to become alive. Through this you will earn the right to place yourselves in the earth's becoming and through the Act of Consecration be present within the earth's becoming. Then may you express the following truth: If this Act of Consecration is not performed then the earth will waste away and remain without nourishment. It would be just as if no plants would grow. Plants grow in the physical world; the Act of Consecration of Man must grow in the spiritual realm. If it was not enacted there on this higher level it would be the same as if on the lower level of the physical earth no plants would grow. A human-being only has the right to say this when he or she succeeds in continuously enlivening the Act of Consecration so that this self-expressed word ‘human-being’ has been achieved in the correct manner and being and weaving, within the earthly existence, through achieving the three steps of inner soul development.

Only then, my dear friends, when you have experienced it in this sensitive way can you really place yourself in the right way in our present time. According to your need to gather again after a certain time, I may say this to you, because it belongs to the entire development of the Christian Community. Thus you have taken something full of life into yourselves which can work in an enlivening way in yourselves. I wish that today's words are taken in all seriousness, in the right way.


Translator's note: “Mensch” has no English equivalent. Collins Dictionary considers mensch used in English as “a well-meaning person.” Reverso suggests ‘human,’ ‘person’ and ‘man.’ Google adds ‘individual’ to this list. The word ‘human’ is seen in contrast to ‘animal’ or ‘robot.’ To translate “Mensch” as ‘human-being’ is not quite correct, nor is ‘individuality’ — the latter indicating a person being different from others in some way. “Mensch” has a humane as well as individual character so the best solution is using the expression “human-being” in this translation. As “the Word” is under examination, a hyphen is an attempt at forming a single inseparable concept.
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Re: The Essence of the Active Word: Course for Priests of th

Postby admin » Thu May 17, 2018 8:03 am

Stuttgart, 14 July 1923

Yes, my dear friends, I would like to supplement what I said yesterday. I wanted to offer it then already, but time was too short. This occasion gives us the opportunity to refer to our relationship we need to gradually re-establish with the Bible. The Bible, namely the New Testament, is a document which we must learn to grasp as a supersensible revelation, not in a dogmatic sense but through arriving at knowledge which indicates that religious documents originating up to about the time 4 AD were not only of human origin but were poured into the consciousness of humanity; knowledge which could not have come out of humanity. I would like to mention that you only need to bring humanity up to this point while a kind of instinctive atavistic consciousness still existed, presenting the most manifold images depicting the highest spiritual things and processes, yet these images were not conceptualised in human consciousness.

So it has come about that right at the time when intellectualism has become authoritative, religious documents are misunderstood in many areas. They are approached with intellectual thinking and basically it is quite natural that even with much goodwill, misunderstandings come to the fore. Thus it has happened that when today's presented texts are transcribed into a common language, they do not represent the original documents because a national language has an intellectual basis which is alien to the original elements in which the religious documents were embodied.

When religious documents, particularly the New Testament, are referred back to in its original language, it also becomes apparent that this original language can no longer be experienced in an adequate way in the constitution of souls of today. Actually, a kind of untruthful element enters into the understanding of ancient religious knowledge, also the New Testament. It is hopeless to think that translations done up to now can somehow be improved continually, because it must firstly involve finding the preconditions which will enable a kind of reawakening of ancient spirituality with the purpose of really understanding religious documents. This we can do, this everyone can basically do, if the trouble is taken to apply researchable spiritual scientific facts to, let's say, the New Testament.

I would like to give a small example and that from one of the most important places in the New Testament. I would like to stress from the start that representations in the New Testament are connected to a historic fact; the depiction in the New Testament can only be understood when it is very clear that the fact of the Mystery of Golgotha is placed within the rest of humanity's evolution, but as a fact which falls outside the rest of humanity's laws. The Mystery of Golgotha is a totally singular event and for its understanding should not be considered out of historical foundations but it should be grasped out of itself. Only when you take — I would like to call it super-historical fact — this cosmic fact in relationship with scientific spiritual knowledge about the development of humanity, only then can you actually start understanding the deep sense of the words and the sentence formation of the New Testament. If you don't do this, a far too strong trivial tone enters into the New Testament. We can remind ourselves of various impulses towards a possible understanding of the Bible where absolutely no preparatory understanding is regarded necessary and that it should simply be taken in a naive, primitive manner. You need to remind yourself of this fact in order to judge how strong the reluctance is to perceive the New Testament in its total profundity.

Just consider, my dear friends, that the Mystery of Golgotha, taken in its right sense, was fulfilled for the earth as a specific act of grace out of higher spiritual worlds at a specific time when a certain part of humanity was passing over from a previous state of consciousness to the next one. At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha the evolution of humanity's becoming in earthly life reached up to an inner ego reality. The “I” gradually unfolded at the same time as the Mystery of Golgotha. We may not look for the connection between these two facts, whether causal or just as a connection. We may only consider it a connection when it is compared with one seeing something happening and something is done towards it out of free will. The Mystery of Golgotha appears as a cosmic fact of free will which has come about within the development of humanity in such a way, that the ego consciousness is awakened. Now, you know the remainder of the important facts which are linked to the appearance of the ego consciousness. Something extraordinary may be added to this. It is necessary to know that with the embodiment of the ego consciousness in evolution there was a condition where people looked up at every opportunity of their conscious lives to gods, or — where monotheism existed — to that God who has remained as an image of the Father God. As long as we stand in the imagination of the Father God, the imagination is fulfilled so that we can say: ‘When a human being is aware of his ego nature then he feels that within his ego is the inner working of the Father God in his soul.’ The Father God distils in a certain way a drop of his own Being which remains connected to the entire spiritual sea of the Father God, to the beings of individuals and every person can say to himself: ‘The Father God is alive in me, the abundance of the Father God lives in me.’ However, the entire humanity is permeated with the being of the Father God. Experiencing all of this at present is to say to yourself: ‘I am!’ That is: ‘The Father God is in me.’ — To live in this way in present times is becoming increasingly impossible. You must come to your own “I” via your own consciousness which makes it a product of yourself. This production of the individual “I” is in connection with the entire cosmic-spiritual world only possible when individuals identify themselves with Christ, thus with the Son of God.

What can be said about the relationship between people blessed by Christ and people who have not been enriched by Christ? Upon looking back at the consciousness of unblessed mankind, therefore the individual being of their souls, can you say: ‘I am the only one who has been blessed with an “I”?’ — No, the soul could only say: ‘Within me the Father God lives and because He lives in me it enables me to say “I” to myself.’ — People had not been completely individualised, the individual was a child of God, but as if the child was still connected to God by an umbilical cord. What the soul could have when it was aware of this divine capacity, it could have no more, later on. The Christ-blessed humanity acquired it in such a way that each single soul could take up their “I” out of this divine substance.

In this way the Christ-blessed people were able to take their own “I” out of the substance of their individual soul being.

Thus the Christ brought the same as what the Father God had given humanity on earth, but He brought it in a new way in order for every individual to find a connection to the ego being born within. Thus the Christ could say to humanity: ‘I bring to you what you are used to recognise out of the Logos but I bring it in a new way. I bring it to you through what the Father God has given to me, what He had given directly to you before, but for another state of consciousness. As his messenger I bring this treasure from the Father God to you, to each independent consciousness of yours, to every single individual. I don't want to just make you into some kind of member of the whole cosmos, I will by virtue of the full authority given to me by the Father God make each single one of you, if you want to come, into an “I” filled person with a divine consciousness.’

That the manner in which the divine consciousness should come to people now in a different way to what it had been in earlier times, is because of the Mystery of Golgotha. Similarly, it also applies to the Words of the Gospels taking on quite a different sense as a result of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is for instance possible to refer back to the stages of evolution of humanity from the contents of the Our Father prayer. It doesn't refer to the contents in this case but that the Our Father comes across in a different and in a newer way to the “I” filled conscious soul even though given in the same words, in the same sentences. Penetrating this event with spiritual powers makes it possible again for us to research it ourselves. This fact brings us back to the original meaning of the Gospels. This original meaning must be revealed again today. Humanity should not be allowed to be fobbed off with misunderstandings of Gospels not taken from a lofty view. One should overcome the point of understanding the matter in such a way as to ask oneself: Can you, when you are quite honest in your soul, today still, discover meaning in the words of John 17, verse 1 to 9?

My dear friends, much can be said and repeated about this if you want to disregard the facts that a clear understanding can't really be found. In an artificial way (of the commentator) no meaning can be linked to these words. Only through belief can meaning be connected to them because nothing actual is touched when you have one these sentences (of some or other terrible translation) in front of you. By contrast when you make an attempt to empathise with the (original) texts in a word-for-word translation into your mother tongue (original text says “German” — translator note), then a deeper meaning comes into it. You should not allow, if you are honest with yourself, to say these words would be simplified and be comprehensible to every ordinary human mind, through artificial comments. Actually you realise the deeper meaning in the original and this fact must be your starting point.

Humanity today would prefer not to have to search for such deep meaning in the Gospels. One can't escape the fact that there is deeper meaning which we need to discover. We can't deny it. It would be a subjective fantasy to say: ‘Don't interpret anything in the Gospels, simply remain with the contents.’ That as such is the interpretation. When we go back to the meaning which is there on quite a mundane level then we could translate it in the following way:

After Jesus saved him, he lifted his eyes to heaven and said: Father, the hour has come, let your son be revealed so that he may reveal you, as You have given him power over all who have flesh, so that he may give everlasting life to them. This now is everlasting life, that You are recognised as the only true God and Jesus Christ as your emissary. I have revealed Your being on earth, to fulfil the work You have given to me. And now reveal me, Father, with the light of revelation which came through You to me before the world began. I have brought You into manifestation to humanity which You assigned to me out of the world. They were Yours and You gave them to me and they have remained fulfilled with Your Word. Thus they can see that everything which You have given me comes from You. For the power of thought which You have given me, I have brought to them. You have linked yourself to them and seen how I come from You and that You have given them to me. I pray for each single individual, not for humanity in general, but for those you have given me, for they are yours, created by you.

As I have said to you before, this entire version is nothing other, my dear friends, than the facts of humanity's evolution depicted within the Gospels. The precise truth in the Gospels can be found when you enter into the spiritual facts within them. With this, the kind of awareness develops, I might say, for the right light to be thrown on the words. Is it not true, it is certainly not my intention to utter some idle criticism when I say it is not possible to say the words: “Father, the hour has come for You to reveal your son, so that Your son can reveal you.” If you are honest, you will admit: this doesn't really say anything, even by trying to make it comprehensible through the human heart. In contrast the truth becomes obvious by taking the Greek Text which says: “Father, the hour has come, reveal your son ...” which asks the Father to reveal the Son. The Image 1 is no statement, the Image 1 is to reveal, to announce, to-bring-to-recognition, and thus it is meant: “... so that your son is revealed out of You.” The mediation of the Father-contents through the power of the Son are expressed directly in these words in a naive idea. Earlier, humanity had the substance of the Father God within them, as described. Now the Father God has brought the Son to becoming the mediator for humanity. This is really written here and is no lie: “... as You have given him power over all who have flesh ...” The expression “flesh” (Fleisch) is difficult to translate here because it can be misunderstood in ordinary speech. In fact, it should say: “... as You have given him power over all human physical bodies so that he can give everlasting life for those given to him.” — When one contemplates these facts, that the human body originally had the consciousness of being filled with God and thus earned everlasting life, you realise that while this power no longer fills the consciousness, the bodies can no longer reflect back the gift of everlasting life. This is why the Christ had to be sent to humanity. ‘This now is everlasting life, that You are recognised as the only true God and Jesus Christ your emissary. I have revealed Your Being on earth, to fulfil the work You have given to me. And now reveal me, Father, with the light of revelation which came through You to me before the world began. I have brought You into manifestation for humanity which you assigned me out of the world. They were Yours and You gave them to me and they have remained fulfilled with Your Word.’

Christ Jesus has made it possible to stop the Word from dying and for the contents of the Father substance to remain in humanity. If the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place, humanity would have forgotten about this content. The Father God would have been forgotten if the Son had not perpetuated the Fatherly content. Thus they have seen that everything which You have given me comes from You. For the power of thought which You have given me, I have brought to them. You have linked yourself to them and seen how I come from You and that You have given them to me. I pray for each single individual, not for humanity in general, but for those you have given me, for they are yours, created by you.

I add here ‘for humanity in general’ instead of ‘for the World’. This is no longer understood. This spiritual connectivity experience has just been referred to which at the time was an acceptable image: For them as individuals, not only for humanity in general.

In truth, the New Testament does not become less beautiful, magnificent and sublime through our understanding of its contents. This concerns your correct positioning in the present, in the spiritual life of the present, in a religious movement of the present to once again return to the reality contained in the Gospels. How often the request surfaces for the necessity to return again to original Christendom! It fails because nothing can be achieved by an attempt to grasp the Logos in its ancient meaning and then one repeatedly comforts oneself conveniently that the Gospels should be taken up as simple content. However, simple content would not fail if one would actually enter into what is written there. We may not forget, my dear friends, that words do essentially change in their feeling-value in the course of time. It is not possible simply to translate a word out of the ancient language lexicographically. Already today when one translates something lexicographically, the results are entirely different. This applies even more when translating historical events. It does not come down to directly taking the sentimental value attached to words of the present and applying this to ancient wording, but the task is to go back to the feeling within the contents of the ancient working. We can find examples of these facts everywhere in the New Testament where the Gospels were expressed in a time when revelation was given through grace from the spiritual cosmos to mankind which had not yet moved from the partially developed ego consciousness into the fully developed ego consciousness. All other facts need to be judged according to this basic fact. We may not remain fixed in an opinion and say that the earlier, the simple people emerging from the lowest levels could not understand the meaning in it. If the meaning of the Gospels is so simple to understand, we must reveal the other side of this wonderful fact: How were these simple people capable of relating such a profound meaning in the Gospels? — It is far more spiritual to say these simple people born from the folk could not have understood the meaning. Such a conclusion depends on another opinion.

I don't know if any of you — perhaps those of us who are older — have had this kind of experience of going with a loving heart among the country folk. You go there as an educated person feeling tremendously clever and you speak to the folk of what you've learnt. They don't understand you. Yet if you go along with them, you discover an unbelievable deep wisdom among these simple people which outshines anything you can offer out of yourself. The wisdom of naive people is actually deeper than that of educated people. The theory of simplicity among primitive people is an intellectual theory of educated people. For example, the meaning in some of Jakob Bohme's sentences could have been learnt from a herb gatherer forty years ago rather than in a university. This can't be denied. However faithfully an old text can be translated is something from which Professor Beckh can create a song for you, concerning Sanskrit in oriental texts. One will not be going too far by saying Indian philosophy becomes unrecognizable in translation, which for example was done by Professor Deußen (after the visit of Swami Viviknanda to Germany in 1896-translator note). If one wants to examine the original human contents of Deußen's translation, simply the straight forward word combination, you experience it as empty words in which no sense can be found at all. These things are of the utmost importance and are related to the deepest questions of our time. As a result, I do not want to hesitate to decide our future meeting in relation with this consideration, because I believe that it is necessary precisely at this time.

I hope you can experience it as the truth — what I mentioned yesterday — that for the Religious Movement the Act of Consecration becomes the deepest and most everlasting fact which is not merely rich in imagery but that it must become alive and remain capable of becoming ever new and more rich. I hope that we can continue with our working together in this lively unfolding way with which we have started with so much hope.

Werner Klein expressed in closing the wish of the good will remaining so powerfully in the work that in a year's time another meeting will be held where they could ask Dr Steiner's advice.

Rudolf Steiner: We wish for this as well and will hold this in our hearts.
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