Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to know higher worlds: some practical aspects

Rudolf Steiner

Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment

Chapter 3

The training of thoughts and feelings, pursued in the way described in the sections on Preparation, Enlightenment, and Initiation, introduces into the soul and spirit the same organic symmetry with which nature has constructed the physical body. Before this development, soul and spirit are undifferentiated masses. The clairvoyant perceives them as interlacing, rotating, cloud-like spirals, dully glimmering in reddish, reddish-brown, or reddish-yellow tones. After this training they begin to assume a brilliant yellowish-green, or greenish-blue color, and show a regular structure. This inner regularity leading to higher knowledge is attained when the student introduces into his thoughts and feelings the same orderly system with which nature has endowed his bodily organs that enable him to see, hear, digest, breath, speak. Gradually he learns to breathe and see with this soul, to speak and hear with the spirit.
In the following pages some practical aspects of the higher education of soul and spirit will be treated in greater detail. They are such that anyone can put them into practice regardless of other rules, and thereby be led some distance further into spiritual science.
A particular effort must be made to cultivate the quality of patience. Every symptom of impatience produces a paralyzing, even a destructive effect on the higher faculties that slumber in us. We must not expect an immeasurable view into the higher worlds from one day to the next, for we should assuredly be disappointed. Contentment with the smallest fragment attained, repose and tranquility, must more and more take possession of the soul. It is quite understandable that the student should await results with impatience; but he will achieve nothing so long as he fails to master this impatience. Nor is it of any use to combat this impatience merely in the ordinary sense, for it will become only that much stronger. We overlook it in self-deception while it plants itself all the more firmly in the depths of the soul. It is only when we ever and again surrender ourselves to a certain definite thought, making it absolutely our own, that any results can be attained. This thought is as follows: I must certainly do everything I can for the training and development of my soul and spirit; but I shall wait patiently until higher powers shall have found me worthy of definite enlightenment. If this thought becomes so powerful in the student that it grows into an actual feature of his character, he is treading the right path. This feature soon sets its mark on his exterior. The gaze of his eye becomes steady, the movement of his body becomes sure, his decisions definite, and all that goes under the name of nervousness gradually disappears. Rules that appear trifling and insignificant must be taken into account. For example, suppose someone affronts us. Before our training we should have directed our resentment against the offender; a wave of anger would have surged up within us. In a similar case, however, the thought is immediately present in the mind of the student that such an affront makes no difference to his intrinsic worth. And he does whatever must be done to meet the affront with calm and composure, and not in a spirit of anger. Of course it is not a case of simply accepting every affront, but of acting with the same calm composure when dealing with an affront against our own person as we would if the affront were directed against another person, in whose favor we had the right to intervene. It must always be remembered that this training is not carried out in crude outward processes, but in subtle, silent alterations in the life of thought and feeling.
Patience has the effect of attraction, impatience the effect of repulsion on the treasures of higher knowledge. In the higher regions of existence nothing can be attained by haste and unrest. Above all things, desire and craving must be silenced, for these are qualities of the soul before which all higher knowledge shyly withdraws. However precious this knowledge is accounted, the student must not crave it if he wishes to attain it. If he wishes to have it for his own sake, he will never attain it. This requires him to be honest with himself in his innermost soul. He must in no case be under any illusion concerning his own self. With a feeling of inner truth he must look his own faults, weaknesses, and unfitness full in the face. The moment he tries to excuse to himself any of his weaknesses, he has placed a stone in his way on the path which is to lead him upward. Such obstacles can only be removed by self-enlightenment. There is only one way to get rid of faults and failings, and that is by a clear recognition of them. Everything slumbers in the human soul and can be awakened. A person can even improve his intellect and reason, if he quietly and calmly makes it clear to himself why he is weak in this respect. Such self- knowledge is, of course, difficult, for the temptation to self-deception is immeasurably great. Anyone making a habit of being truthful with himself opens the portal leading to a deeper insight.
All curiosity must fall away from the student. He must rid himself as much as possible of the habit of asking questions merely for the sake of gratifying a selfish thirst for knowledge. He must only ask when knowledge can serve to perfect his own being in the service of evolution. Nevertheless, his delight in knowledge and his devotion to it should in no way be hampered. He should listen devoutly to all that contributes to such an end, and should seek every opportunity for such devotional attention.
Special attention must be paid in esoteric training to the education of the life of desires. This does not mean that we are to become free of desire, for if we are to attain something we must also desire it, and desire will always tend to fulfillment if backed by a particular force. This force is derived from a right knowledge. Do not desire at all until you know what is right in any one sphere. That is one of the golden rules for the student. The wise man first ascertains the laws of the world, and then his desires become powers which realize themselves. The following example brings this out clearly. There are certainly many people who would like to learn from their own observation something about their life before birth. Such a desire is altogether useless and leads to no result so long as the person in question has not acquired a knowledge of the laws that govern the nature of the eternal, a knowledge of these laws in their subtlest and most intimate character, through the study of spiritual science. But if, having really acquired this knowledge, he wishes to proceed further, his desire, now ennobled and purified, will enable him to do so.
It is also no use saying: I particularly wish to examine my previous life, and shall study only for this purpose. We must rather be capable of abandoning this desire, of eliminating it altogether, and of studying, at first, with no such intention. We should cultivate a feeling of joy and devotion for what we learn, with no thought of the above end in view. We should learn to cherish and foster a particular desire in such a way that it brings with it its own fulfillment.
If we become angered, vexed, or annoyed, we erect a wall around ourselves in the soul-world, and the forces which are to develop the eyes of the soul cannot approach. For instance, if a person angers me he sends forth a psychic current into the soul-world. I cannot see this current as long as I am myself capable of anger. My own anger conceals it from me. We must not, however, suppose that when we are free from anger we shall immediately have a psychic (astral) vision. For this purpose an organ of vision must have been developed in the soul. The beginnings of such an organ are latent in every human being, but remain ineffective as long as we are capable of anger. Yet this organ is not immediately present the moment anger has been combated to a small extent. We must rather persevere in this combating of anger and proceed patiently on our way; then some day we shall find that this eye of the soul has become developed. Of course, anger is not the only failing to be combated for the attainment of this end. Many grow impatient or skeptical, because they have for years combated certain qualities and yet clairvoyance has not ensued. In that case they have just trained some qualities and allowed others to run riot. The gift of clairvoyance only manifests itself when all those qualities which stunt the growth of the latent faculties are suppressed. Undoubtedly, the beginnings of such seeing and hearing may appear at an earlier period, but these are only young and tender shoots which are subjected to all possible error, and which, if not carefully tended and guarded, may quickly die.
Other qualities which, like anger and vexation, have to be combated are timidity, superstition, prejudice, vanity and ambition, curiosity, the mania for imparting information, and the making of distinctions in human beings according to the outward characteristics of rank, sex, race, and so forth. In our time it is difficult for people to understand how the combating of such qualities can have anything to do with the heightening of the faculty of cognition. But every spiritual scientist knows that much more depends upon such matters than upon the increase of intelligence and employment of artificial exercises. Especially can misunderstanding arise if we believe that we must become foolhardy in order to be fearless; that we must close our eyes to the differences between people because we must combat the prejudices of rank, race, and so forth. Rather is it true that a correct estimate of all things is to be attained only when we are no longer entangled in prejudice. Even in the ordinary sense it is true that the fear of some phenomenon prevents us from estimating it rightly; that a racial prejudice prevents us from seeing into a man's soul. It is this ordinary sense that the student must develop in all its delicacy and subtlety.
Every word spoken without having been thoroughly purged in thought is a stone thrown in the way of esoteric training. And here something must be considered which can only be explained by giving an example. If anything be said to which we must reply, we must be careful to consider the speaker's opinion, feeling, and even his prejudice, rather than what we ourselves have to say at the moment on the subject under discussion. In this example a refined quality of tact is indicated, to the cultivation of which the student must devote his care. He must learn to judge what importance it may have for the other person if he opposes the latter's opinion with his own. This does not mean that he must withhold his opinion. There can be no question of that. But he must listen to the speaker as carefully and as attentively as he possibly can and let his reply derive its form from what he has just heard. In such cases one particular thought recurs ever and again to the student, and he is treading the right path if this thought lives with him to the extent of becoming a trait of his character. This thought is as follows: The importance lies not in the difference of our opinions but in his discovering through his own effort what is right if I contribute something toward it. Thoughts of this and of a similar nature cause the character and the behavior of the student to be permeated with a quality of gentleness, which is one of the chief means used in all esoteric training. Harshness scares away the soul-pictures that should open the eye of the soul; gentleness clears the obstacles away and unseals the inner organs.
Along with gentleness, another quality will presently be developed in the soul of the student: that of quietly paying attention to all the subtleties in the soul-life of his environment, while reducing to absolute silence any activity within his own soul. The soul-life of his environment will impress itself on him in such a way that his own soul will grow, and as it grows, will become regular in its structure, as a plant expanding in the sunlight. Gentleness and patient reserve open the soul to the soul-world and the spirit to the spirit-world. Persevere in silent inner seclusion; close the senses to all that they brought you before your training; reduce to absolute immobility all the thoughts which, according to your previous habits, surged within you; become quite still and silent within, wait in patience, and then the higher worlds will begin to fashion and perfect the organs of sight and hearing in your soul and spirit. Do not expect immediately to see and hear in the world of soul and spirit, for all that you are doing does but contribute to the development of your higher senses, and you will only be able to hear with soul and spirit when you possess these higher senses. Having persevered for a time in silent inner seclusion, go about your customary daily affairs, imprinting deeply upon your mind this thought: “Some day, when I have grown sufficiently, I shall attain that which I am destined to attain,” and make no attempt to attract forcefully any of these higher powers to yourself. Every student receives these instructions at the outset. By observing them he perfects himself. If he neglects them, all his labor is in vain. But they are only difficult of achievement for the impatient and the unpersevering. No other obstacles exist save those which we ourselves place in our own path, and which can be avoided by all who really will. This point must be continually emphasized, because many people form an altogether wrong conception of the difficulties that beset the path to higher knowledge. It is easier, in a certain sense, to accomplish the first steps along this path than to get the better of the commonest everyday difficulties without this training. Apart from this, only such things are here imparted as are attended by no danger whatsoever to the health of soul and body. There are other ways which lead more quickly to the goal, but what is here explained has nothing to do with them, because they have certain effects which no experienced spiritual scientist considers desirable. Since fragmentary information concerning these ways is continually finding its way into publicity, express warning must be given against entering upon them. For reasons which only the initiated can understand, these ways can never be made public in their true form. The fragments appearing here and there can never lead to profitable results, but may easily undermine health, happiness, and peace of mind. It would be far better for people to avoid having anything to do with such things than to risk entrusting themselves to wholly dark forces, of whose nature and origin they can know nothing.
Something may here be said concerning the environment in which this training should be undertaken, for this is not without some importance. And yet the case differs for almost every person. Anyone practicing in an environment filled only with self-seeking interests, as for example, the modern struggle for existence, must be conscious of the fact that these interests are not without their effect on the development of his spiritual organs. It is true that the inner laws of these organs are so powerful that this influence cannot be fatally injurious. Just as a lily can never grow into a thistle, however inappropriate its environment, so, too, the eye of the soul can never grow to anything but its destined shape even though it be subjected to the self-seeking interests of modern cities. But under all circumstances it is well if the student seeks, now and again, his environment in the restful peace, the inner dignity and sweetness of nature. Especially fortunate is the student who can carry out his esoteric training surrounded by the green world of plants, or among the sunny hills, where nature weaves her web of sweet simplicity. This environment develops the inner organs in a harmony which can never ensue in a modern city. More favorably situated than the townsman is the person who, during his childhood at least, had been able to breathe the fragrance of pines, to gaze on snowy peaks, and observe the silent activity of woodland creatures and insects. Yet no city-dweller should fail to give to the organs of his soul and spirit, as they develop, the nurture that comes from the inspired teachings of spiritual research. If our eyes cannot follow the woods in their mantel of green every spring, day by day, we should instead open our soul to the glorious teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, or of St. John's Gospel, or of St. Thomas à Kempis, and to the descriptions resulting from spiritual science. There are many ways to the summit of insight, but much depends on the right choice. The spiritually experienced could say much concerning these paths, much that might seem strange to the uninitiated. Someone, for instance, might be very far advanced on the path; he might be standing, so to speak, at the very entrance of sight and hearing with soul and spirit; he is then fortunate enough to make a journey over the calm or maybe tempestuous ocean, and a veil falls away from the eyes of his soul; suddenly he becomes a seer. Another is also so far advanced that this veil only needs to be loosened; this occurs through some stroke of destiny. On another this stroke might well have had the effect of paralyzing his powers and undermining his energy; for the esoteric student it becomes the occasion of his enlightenment. A third perseveres patiently for years without any marked result. Suddenly, while silently seated in his quiet chamber, spiritual light envelops him; the walls disappear, become transparent for his soul, and a new world expands before his eyes that have become seeing, or resounds in his ears that have become spiritually hearing.







Beyond Sexuality


Rudolf Steiner:  "Of course a materialistic view of the world and of the human being, which recognizes only what can be touched and seen, naturally sees in man and woman only the big physiological differences; and anyone who remains with this materialistic view will simply miss, will overlook, something that is far greater and more decisive than sexual differences — he will overlook the individuality which goes beyond gender and is independent of it."







Thank you, Larry Young and Nesta Carsten

Who's afraid of ...

Virginia Woolf's mother

Donald Trump's mother

Albrecht Dürer's mother

Rembrandt's mother

Emerson's aunt
According to her nephew Waldo, for some years Mary Emerson slept in a coffin-shaped bed and regularly wore death-shrouds as outfits, replacing them with newer shrouds as they wore out and death “refus[ed] to come.” Images of death and death-longing filled her writing and emerged as one of her most significant and striking tropes. Emerson acknowledged this, stating that “Destitution and Death” were the “Muse[s] of her genius” (Emerson Lectures 428, 404). She reflected, "The humblest example of meekness will shine in light when the meteors are gone [….] Good night. Oh for that ‘long and moonless night’ to shadow my dust, tho’ I have nothing to leave but my carcase to fatten the earth—it is for my own sake I long to go" (Barish “Angel” 232).
In 1863, at almost ninety years old, Mary Emerson at last found her “moonless night.” Buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, Mary’s body—her “tedious tabernacle”—was finally placed into a “cool, sweet grave,” freeing her soul to ascend to Heaven. Worms, those “most valuable companions,” finally would “gnaw[…] away the meshes” that had trapped her soul on earth, a place where she felt she never truly belonged.




Friday, February 23, 2018

The Bridge


Rudolf Steiner:  "Nothing can reveal itself to us which we do not love."

Rudolf Steiner:  "On the sixth stage of Rosicrucian schooling we do not attain to a dry, intellectual form of knowledge, but to one which is intimately connected with the world, with the universe. Those who have this knowledge are intimately connected with everything in the universe; it is a connection which a modern person can only understand by bearing in mind the mysterious love-relationship between man and woman, which is based upon a secret knowledge of the other's being. The contemplation of the macrocosm leads not only to an understanding of the world, but to an intimate connection with every being, resembling that of lovers. In that case you will have an intimate relationship, a kind of love relationship with the plant, with the stone, with every creature in the universe. You will develop a specialized love for every being; to each one you will say something which you would not have said had you not reached this deeper understanding."




At-one-ment


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery






R.I.P. Billy Graham and the twenty pounds of headlines stapled to his chest






Oh, the ragman draws circles
Up and down the block
I’d ask him what the matter was
But I know that he don’t talk
And the ladies treat me kindly
And furnish me with tape
But deep inside my heart
I know I can’t escape
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells
Speaking to some French girl
Who says she knows me well
And I would send a message
To find out if she’s talked
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Mona tried to tell me
To stay away from the train line
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine
An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that
But then again, there’s only one I’ve met
An’ he just smoked my eyelids
An’ punched my cigarette”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Grandpa died last week
And now he’s buried in the rocks
But everybody still talks about
How badly they were shocked
But me, I expected it to happen
I knew he’d lost control
When he built a fire on Main Street
And shot it full of holes
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Now the senator came down here
Showing ev’ryone his gun
Handing out free tickets
To the wedding of his son
An’ me, I nearly got busted
An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
To get caught without a ticket
And be discovered beneath a truck
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Now the preacher looked so baffled
When I asked him why he dressed
With twenty pounds of headlines
Stapled to his chest
But he cursed me when I proved it to him
Then I whispered, “Not even you can hide
You see, you’re just like me
I hope you’re satisfied”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, “Jump right in”
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ I have no sense of time
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

When Ruthie says come see her
In her honky-tonk lagoon
Where I can watch her waltz for free
’Neath her Panamanian moon
An’ I say, “Aw come on now
You must know about my debutante”
An’ she says, “Your debutante just knows what you need
But I know what you want”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

Now the bricks lay on Grand Street
Where the neon madmen climb
They all fall there so perfectly
It all seems so well timed
An’ here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again









Joined by Destiny



The words of Benedictus, from scene 7 of Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Drama “The Portal of Initiation”:


You have been joined by destiny
together to unfold the powers
which are to serve the good in active work.
And while you journey on the path of soul,
wisdom itself will teach you
that the highest goal can be achieved
when souls will give each other spirit certainty,
will join together in faithfulness
for the healing of the world.
The spirit’s guidance has united you in knowledge;
so now unite yourselves for spirit work.
The rulers of this realm bestow on you,
through me, these words of strength:

Light’s weaving essence radiates
from person to person
to fill the world with truth.
Love’s blessing gives its warmth
to souls through souls
to work and weave the bliss of all the worlds.
And messengers of spirit
join human works of blessing
with purposes of worlds.
And when those who find themselves in others
join with each other
the light of spirit radiates through warmth of soul.





Nothing can reveal itself to us which we do not love



"Nothing can reveal itself to us which we do not love."  ~ Rudolf Steiner







Spiritual Kingdoms and Human Self-Knowledge. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #69 — #75



Rudolf Steiner:

Through the Leading Thoughts which have been sent out from the Goetheanum during the past weeks to the members of the Anthroposophical Society, the soul has been directed to the beings of the spiritual kingdoms with whom man is connected from above, just as, from below, he is connected with the kingdoms of Nature.
True self-knowledge may become the guide through which man finds his way into these spiritual kingdoms. And when such self-knowledge is striven after in the right way, then the understanding will be awakened for what Anthroposophy is able to make known through its insight into the life of the spiritual world. But self-knowledge must be practiced in the true sense, not as a mere rigid gazing into one's inner being.
By means of such a true self-knowledge one arrives in the first place at what lives in memory. In thought-pictures, the shadow of what was a direct and living experience in the past is called up into consciousness. Anyone seeing a shadow will, out of an inner impulse of thought, be guided to the object which threw the shadow. He who bears a memory within him cannot in this direct way turn the eye of his soul to the experience which lives on in the memory. But when he truly reflects on his own nature he will be obliged to say to himself that he himself, in his soul-being, is what his experiences have made of him — those experiences which throw their shadows into the memory. The memory-shadows appear in the consciousness; in the soul there shines what in the memory is shadow. Dead shadow lives in the memory; living being lives in the soul in which the memory is active.
It is only necessary that this relationship of the memory to the actual soul-life should be made clear; and in this striving for clearness in self-knowledge a man will then perceive that he is on the path to the spiritual world.
Through memory, man is looking at the spiritual in his own soul. But in the ordinary consciousness he does not arrive at a real grasp of what he thus looks upon. He looks in the direction on something; but his look meets with no reality. Anthroposophy, out of Imaginative knowledge, shows the way to this reality. Through it we are referred from the shadow to that which gleams and shines. Anthroposophy does this, in that it speaks of the etheric body of man. It shows how the physical body is active in the thought-shadow pictures; but how in the gleaming and shining, the etheric body lives.
With the physical body man is in the sense-world; with the etheric body he is in the etheric world. In the sense-world he has his environment; in the etheric world also. And Anthroposophy speaks of this latter environment as the first of the hidden worlds in which man is living. It is the kingdom of the Third Hierarchy.
Let us now approach speech in the same way that we have considered memory. It issues from within man just as does the memory. It connects him with a certain state of being, as memory unites him with his own experiences. In words, too, there is an element of shadow. This is deeper than the shadow of the thoughts of memory. When man inwardly casts the shadow of his experiences as his memories, his own hidden self is active in the whole process. He is there when the light casts the shadow.
In speech there is also a process of shadow-casting. The words are the shadows. What is it in this case that shines? Something stronger shines, because words are stronger shadows than are the thoughts of memory. The element in the human self which in the course of an earthly life can produce memories, cannot create words. Man must learn these in connection with other human beings. Something which lies deeper in him than that which casts the shadow of memory must take part in this process. In this case Anthroposophy speaks from Inspired knowledge of the astral body, as in the case of memory it speaks of the etheric body. The astral body is added to the physical and etheric bodies as a third part of the human being.
This third part, too, has a cosmic environment about it. This is made up of the Second Hierarchy. In human language we have a phantom of this Second Hierarchy. As to his astral body, man lives within the province of this Hierarchy.
We may go still further. In speech a portion of man's being is engaged. When he speaks he brings his inner being into motion. That which surrounds this inner being remains at rest. The movement of speech wrings itself loose from the human being while he remains at rest, but the whole man comes into motion when he brings into activity all that belongs to his limbs. In such movement man is no less full of expression than in memory and speech. Memory expresses his experiences. The nature of language consists in its being the expression of something. In the same way the man whose whole being is in motion expresses something.
Anthroposophy points out that this ‘something’ is another part of the human being. From Intuitive knowledge it speaks of the ‘real Self’ or ‘I.’ This too, it finds, has a cosmic environment, namely the First Hierarchy.
When man approaches the thoughts in his memory he meets with the first supersensible element — his own etheric being. Anthroposophy points out to him the cosmic environment corresponding to it. When man considers himself as one who makes use of language he finds his astral being. This is no longer comprehended in that which only acts inwardly, like memory. It is seen by Inspiration as that which in the act of speaking shapes a physical process out of the spiritual. Speech is a physical process. At its foundation lies an activity which proceeds from the sphere of the Second Hierarchy.
When the whole man is in motion there is a more intense physical action than in speech. Not merely a part of man is molded, the whole man is given shape; and in the physical being which lives and moves in form, the First Hierarchy is active.
In this way, then, true self-knowledge can be cultivated. But in doing this man does not grasp his own Self alone. Step by step he comprehends the parts of his body: the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the Self. And by comprehending these he also reaches up, step by step, to higher worlds which like the three kingdoms of Nature — the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms — belong, as the three spiritual kingdoms, to the whole universe in which his being is unfolding.

Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society

69. The Third Hierarchy reveals itself as pure soul and spirit. It lives and moves in all that man experiences in the soul, in his inner life. Neither in the etheric nor in the physical could any processes arise if this Hierarchy alone were active. Soul-life alone could exist.

70. The Second Hierarchy reveals itself as soul and spirit that works in the etheric. All that is etheric is a manifestation of the Second Hierarchy. This Hierarchy, however, does not reveal itself directly in the physical; its power extends only to etheric processes. Only etheric and soul-life could exist if the Third and the Second Hierarchy alone were active.

71. The First and strongest Hierarchy reveals itself as the spiritually active principle within the physical. It makes the physical world into a cosmos. The Third and the Second Hierarchy are the beings who minister to it in this activity.

Further Leading Thoughts issued from the Goetheanum for the Anthroposophical Society

72. As soon as we approach the higher members of man's being — the etheric, the astral body, and the ego-organization — we are obliged to seek for man's relation to the beings of the spiritual kingdoms. It is only the physical body's organization which we can illumine by reference to the three physical kingdoms of Nature.

73. In the etheric body the intelligence of the cosmos becomes embodied in the human being. That this can happen requires the activity of cosmic beings, who, in their combined working, shape the etheric body of man, even as the physical forces shape the physical.

74. In the astral body the spiritual world implants moral impulses into the human being. That these can show forth their life in man's organization depends on the activity of beings who are able not only to think the spiritual, but to shape it in its reality.

75. In the ego-organization man experiences himself, even in the physical body, as a spirit. That this can happen requires the activity of beings who themselves, as spiritual beings, live in the physical world.




Stuck in the Middle


"Soon a person will not be able to walk about in the world without having a doctor on his left side and a policeman on his right to see that he is thoroughly ‘managed.’"  — Rudolf Steiner, September 3, 1916


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?












Thursday, February 22, 2018

Think before you speak

Rudolf Steiner


Rudolf Steiner:  "Every word spoken without having been thoroughly purged in thought is a stone thrown in the way of esoteric training. And here something must be considered which can only be explained by giving an example. If anything be said to which we must reply, we must be careful to consider the speaker's opinion, feeling, and even his prejudice, rather than what we ourselves have to say at the moment on the subject under discussion. In this example a refined quality of tact is indicated, to the cultivation of which the student must devote his care. He must learn to judge what importance it may have for the other person if he opposes the latter's opinion with his own. This does not mean that he must withhold his opinion. There can be no question of that. But he must listen to the speaker as carefully and as attentively as he possibly can and let his reply derive its form from what he has just heard. In such cases one particular thought recurs ever and again to the student, and he is treading the right path if this thought lives with him to the extent of becoming a trait of his character. This thought is as follows: The importance lies not in the difference of our opinions but in his discovering through his own effort what is right if I contribute something toward it. Thoughts of this and of a similar nature cause the character and the behavior of the student to be permeated with a quality of gentleness, which is one of the chief means used in all esoteric training. Harshness scares away the soul-pictures that should open the eye of the soul; gentleness clears the obstacles away and unseals the inner organs."








Receiving the Word


Rudolf Steiner:

Feel how in the heights of heaven
Selfhood selflessly can live,
If in spirit-fullness it will follow
Powers of thought and striving to the heights,
And will bravely then receive the Word
That rings forth from heights above with grace
Into your true essential being.






"Spring and All" by William Carlos Williams



By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken