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Selected Lectures for GA 211 ...

1922-03-24 pm 1922-04-02 pm 1922-04-02 pm 1922-04-13 pm 1922-04-14 pm 1922-04-15 pm 1922-04-24 pm 1922-04-24 pm 1922-06-11 pm

Name of Lecture
The Three Stages of Sleep Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity Lecture V -- The Teachings of the Risen Christ
From: The Festivals and Their Meaning II Easter

Place Dornach Dornach Dornach The Hague London London London London Vienna

Year 1922 1922 1922 1922 1922 1922 1922 1922 1922

Lecture: Knowledge and Initiation

From: Knowledge and Initiation - Cognition of the Christ Through Anthroposophy

Lecture: Cognition of the Christ Through Anthroposophy

From: Knowledge and Initiation - Cognition of the Christ Through Anthroposophy

Man's Life on Earth: Lecture I

From: Man's Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds

Planetary Spheres: Lecture I

From: Planetary Spheres and Their Influence on Mans Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds

The End of the Dark Age

The Three Stages of Sleep The Three Stages of Sleep

A lecture by Rudolf Steiner Dornach, March 24, 1922 GA 211
A lecture, hitherto untranslated given at Dornach on March 24, 1922. Published in Anthroposophy Today, No. 4, Winter 1975. It is the second of twelve lectures in the volume The Sun Mystery ... Death, Resurrection, and is also known as Mystery of Golgotha and its Relation to the Sleep of Man. In the collected edition of Rudolf Steiner's works, the volume containing the German texts is entitled, Das Sonnenmysterium und das Mysterium von Tod und Auferstehung. Exoterisches und esoterisches Christentum , (Vol. 211 in the Bibliographic Survey, 1961). The translator is unknown.
Copyright 1987 This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of: Anthroposophy Today

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Spiritual Science cannot hand people something which, once assimilated, is enough for the rest of life. I have often pointed out that there exists no short summary of a world view which can be kept at hand in one's pocket. In place of ready formulas, science of the spirit provides something with which the human soul must repeatedly unite itself, which must be repeatedly inwardly assimilated and digested. External truths such as those provided by natural science we can, if we have a good memory, take in and then possess them once and for all. That is not possible with spiritual-scientific truths, the reason being that the truths of natural science are lifeless concepts. The laws of nature are dead once they have been formulated into concepts, whereas spiritual-scientific truths are living concepts; if we condemn them to lifelessness because we accept them as if they were external truths, then they provide no nourishment; then they are stones the soul cannot digest. Rudolf Steiner Aspects of Human Evolution, lecture VIII, Berlin 24 July 1917

The Three Stages of Sleep

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Rudolf Steiner A lecture given in Dornach, 24 March 1922 Published in Anthroposophy Today Winter 1987 No 4 WAKING LIFE is the state of consciousness that is most familiar to mankind, but within this sphere the problems of existence are not unveiled. If this waking consciousness, as it serves us for ordinary life and knowledge, could solve the problems of life without further ado, such problems would no longer exist. Their solution would be a matter of course. Human beings would never come to the point of questioning. The fact that someone asks about the deeper foundations of life and, while not perhaps coming to the point of definitely formulating questions as to the problems of life yet retains the longing to know something that ordinary consciousness cannot yield, proves that from the deepest foundations of the human soul, though in a more or less unconscious way, something arises which indeed belongs to the human being, but which must first be sought if it is to rise up into the light of consciousness. This leads those who do not observe life sufficiently closely into speculation and into the forming of all kinds of philosophies which eventually prove to be unsatisfying. But anyone who observes the phenomena of life with a certain impartiality will soon realise that, in the sleeping condition, as opposed to the waking condition of consciousness, something is concealed, and that an understanding of life may result from an understanding of the sleeping condition. We have often spoken of these things, but it is necessary to return to them again and again, for Anthroposophy can only be understood when the attempt is made to approach facts from the most varied points of view. Out of the state of sleep there emerges first the life of dreams. This dream life consists of pictures, and if one pays attention to this life of dreams, it is easy to observe that its pictures are related to ordinary life and consciousness. Even if it can often be said that things are dreamed of in a way in which the dreamer has never experienced them, I would answer: the parts out of which the dream is made up, the details of the pictures, are all the same taken from ordinary consciousness. It is different with regard to the dramatic element of the dream, to the way in which the dream, as it grows in intensity, evokes feelings of anxiety, of joy, of compulsion. The meaning of the course taken by these dream pictures lies more deeply within human nature, and we can understand this when we consider the following example. A man may dream, for instance, that he is walking along a road and comes to a mountain. He passes into a cave in the mountain. At first it is dusk, and then it gets darker. An unknown impulse urges him to go farther; he has a sense of uneasiness and this increases till he stands there in a state of terror, let us say, of falling into some inner chasm or the like. He may then wake up in this feeling of terror, for it has lasted until the time of waking. Again, we may dream that we are standing somewhere and a man is approaching us from a distance. He comes nearer and nearer, and when he is quite close it appears that he is preparing to make an attack. There is an experience of increasing anxiety. The other man comes still nearer and the harmless instrument which he had shown us from afar changes into a murderous weapon. The dream transforms things in this way. Anxiety becomes terror, and once more we awake full of this terror which continues into waking life. Here we have two entirely different pictures. In the first dream we have a series of pictures which led us into the mountain cavern, and in the second a series of pictures connected with an approaching enemy. The soul-experience has been the same although the picture sequence has been quite different. What the soul has lived through is something entirely different from what is consciously experienced on waking. The pictures in themselves are not the essential thing. The point is the inner drama through which the soul passes; how there was first an impulse or something that approached the soul in the place of an impulse how this passed over into feelings of anxiety and terror, and how at last the dreamer came to the point of rousing himself out of sleep and returning to ordinary consciousness. Forces that increase in intensity are there behind the dream and these forces clothe themselves in pictures. The forces are not perceptible but they are the essential factor. I might multiply these two picture sequences many times, for the same soul content may be clothed in 10, 20 or a hundred different pictures. Thus we must say that here is something that takes place in the soul which the human being does not observe and of which the person knows nothing. Only the pictures are known. These pictures are experienced in dream consciousness, but the essential thing is the process of intensification: first anxiety, then greater anxiety, and lastly actual terror. The dream pictures are more or less taken from ordinary life the mountain, the cavern, the approaching enemy, his weapon all these are borrowed from life. The pictures derive their content from life, but this is only the clothing. But now when, through what I have often described as Imaginative consciousness, we have the power to remain behind this clothing, building no pictures of this kind, but remaining with Imaginative consciousness within the forces of the soul which have given rise to the anxiety, fear and terror, then something quite different happens. When a person sleeps, the astral body and Ego are outside the physical and etheric bodies. In normal circumstances when human beings awake, they re-enter the etheric and physical bodies very rapidly; but when, in somewhat abnormal circumstances, someone does not immediately penetrate into the physical body, but before entering it penetrates more intensely into the etheric body, then these pictures are formed out of life. For in ordinary consciousness there is no conceptual activity in actual sleep. The dream pictures Page 2 of 30

arise only at the moment when someone is penetrating into the body and passing through the etheric body, or at the moment of falling asleep when, on leaving the physical body, the sleeper lingers in the etheric body. These dream pictures taken from ordinary life are formed only in the intermediate conditions. Imaginative consciousness, however, enables human beings to live in those forces of the soul which stand behind the dream while the person is wholly outside the body. The individual lives then in a different world of reality, a world which is passed through between falling asleep and awaking. Between falling asleep and awaking human beings live in this world without consciousness. You can picture this to yourselves as though a man sank under water, and there, losing all consciousness, can only regain it when the waters bear him to the surface and make him free again. The same thing that there takes place in a physical sense takes place in the soul when people sleep. They dive down into the spiritual world and there lose consciousness. They pass out of the body with their soul and lose consciousness. On waking they rise up again and regain consciousness, and this re ascent is the entrance into the body. When, as has been said, someone does not enter the body immediately, but becomes aware of the passage through the etheric body, there arise the pictures of the dream. But when we reach a stage where the appearance of such dream pictures is no longer allowed and, existing wholly outside the physical body in the spiritual world, we perceive pictures, these are no longer arbitrary pictures but are such as you will find in the description of world-evolution in my Occult Science. All such descriptions as those given in Occult Science originate in the way just characterised. If it is asked what is to be found in Occult Science, the answer must be: Thoughts are there. These thoughts can be studied. I have emphasised again and again that the healthy human intellect can reflect upon these thoughts. Thoughts are there, but they are not ordinary thoughts: they are thoughts which are creatively active in the cosmos. Human beings can live in these thoughts when they stand on the other side of the threshold leading into the spiritual world. They can live in these thoughts which are active in the cosmos. This is the first thing that they will find when they enter the supersensible world. Picture to yourselves someone asleep. During sleep, processes of the greatest intensity and far-reaching effect take place in the soul. Nothing is known of all this because in sleep the person is without consciousness. In the morning the person re-enters the physical body, diving down instantaneously into it. The eyes are used to perceive light and colour, the ears to hear sounds, and so on. The person becomes conscious. But there is this intermediate state where, before entering directly into the physical body, the person enters the etheric body. Then the dream arises. But should that person become conscious before penetrating into the etheric body, he or she would then be conscious in the outer ether which fills the whole cosmos; there would be consciousness of what is described in Occult Science. If, for example, you were to become conscious in the middle of the night without returning to your physical body, so that this physical body rose up before you and you were to look upon it for it would then be visible you would become conscious of this cosmology, of what I have described in Occult Science. What is there described may be called the formative forces of the cosmos, or cosmic thoughts. Just as people have their own thoughts in waking life, they can now say: The Earth has originated in such and such a way; it has passed through a Moon condition, a Sun condition and a Saturn condition as I have described in Occult Science. This kind of perception in the spiritual world is only one of three existing kinds. When human beings consider their waking condition of consciousness, they know that in this consciousness they can distinguish between thinking, feeling and willing. But just as the waking consciousness has these three states, so also the night consciousness, which in an ordinary way is an unconscious condition so far as the human being is concerned, has its three states. In the period between falling asleep and awaking people are not always in the same condition any more than they are during the period of waking consciousness. A person is awake when thinking or feeling or willing; consciousness can also function in three conditions during sleep. Imaginative consciousness is only able to behold the cosmic formative forces if we have first acquired consciousness and knowledge of them. In sleep we all live within these formative forces of the cosmos, within the cosmic thoughts; just as man is immersed when he jumps into water, so is everyone immersed, in sleep, in the formative forces of the cosmos. Besides this life within the formative forces of the cosmos there are two other conditions of the life of sleep, just as in waking life the human being not only thinks, but feels and wills. Thinking, the possession of thoughts, corresponds in sleep to the life of the cosmic formative forces. This means that, when we become conscious in the lightest sleep, we are living in the formative forces of the cosmos. It is as though we were swimming through the cosmos from one end to the other, floating through thoughts thoughts which are, however, forces. In this lightest sleep we float through the thought-forces of the cosmos. But there is also a deeper sleep a sleep from which nothing can be brought into the waking life of the day unless we have practised special exercises of the soul. A person can bring back something into the waking life through the dream only from the lightest sleep, but, as I have already said, these dream-pictures are not authoritative, for the same dream can be clothed in the most varied pictures. In very light sleep we can always dream, that is, we can always bring something over into consciousness; we can feel that we have had at least some experiences in sleep. This is, however, only the case with the very lightest kind of sleep. Of deeper sleep nothing can be known until we can enter it with Inspirational consciousness, and then we become aware of more than is described in Occult Science. In that work I have, of course, described something of what sounds forth from Inspirational consciousness, but let us make it quite clear and this is a matter which can only be explained through Anthroposophy in what way the human being experiences this transition from light sleep to that sleep from which no dreams can be brought back into the ordinary conscious life. When sleep is so light that dreams can be brought back into ordinary life, then one who is able to look into these worlds perceives the surging, weaving thought-pictures, the cosmic Imaginations which reveal cosmic mysteries showing that human beings indeed belong to a cosmic world just as they belong to the world in which they live consciously from awakening to falling asleep. For what I have described in Occult Science is not as though one merely painted something on a surface, but everything is in perpetual movement, in perpetual activity. At a definite moment, however, pictures begin to appear in this world through which human beings pass in light sleep, though they know nothing of it. The pictures become distinct; their light is enhanced; they reveal certain realities Page 3 of 30

lying behind them. The pictures fade away again, and nothing remains in the consciousness but a kind of feeling that they have died down. Then they rise up again, and in this alternation of activity and withdrawal, something appears which can be called the harmony of the spheres, cosmic music. Thus cosmic music does not reveal itself only as melody and harmony but as the deeds and activities of those beings who dwell in the spiritual world, as the deeds of the Angeloi, Archangeloi, Archai, and so on. The spiritual beings who guide and direct the world out of the spirit are seen, moving as it were through the surging sea of pictures. It is the world that is perceived through Inspiration, the second world. Let me call it the revelations of spiritual cosmic beings. And this world of the revelation of spiritual cosmic beings is the second element of sleep, as feeling is the second element of waking consciousness. Thus during sleep not only does the human being enter the realm of cosmic thoughts, but within these flowing cosmic thoughts there are revealed the deeds of cosmic beings who belong to the spiritual world. In addition to these two conditions of sleep there is yet a third of which human beings have as a rule no sort of awareness. They usually know that they can sleep lightly, and they know also that dreams emerge from this light sleep. They know that there is a dreamless sleep. But the utmost that they can know of this third condition of sleep is that on awakening they may be conscious of the fact that, during sleep, they had been faced with some difficulty, with something which they must conquer in the first hours after awaking. I am sure that many of you are familiar with this feeling in the morning, where one knows that one has not slept quite in the ordinary way, but that something was there which has left a certain sense of difficulty, that will take some time to overcome when one regains consciousness in the morning. This is an indication of that third condition of sleep, the content of which can be apprehended only through Intuition. It is a condition which is of great significance to the human being. When they are in the lightest sleep human beings are still actually concerned with a great deal that belongs to the experiences of waking consciousness. In a certain sense they still participate in their breathing processes; they also participate, although not from within but from without, in the blood circulation and the other processes of the body. In the second condition of sleep they do not actually participate in the processes of their bodily life; they are concerned with a world that is common both to the body and to the soul. Some element connected with the body plays over into the soul, just as something passes over from the light into the plant when it is developing in the light of day. But when they are in the third condition of sleep, there is something within them which if I may so express it has become mineral, for in this state the salts of the body are especially strongly deposited. During this third state of sleep a very strong storing up of salts takes place in the physical body with their souls human beings live in the inner being of the mineral world. Now let us imagine that the following experiment may be made. You lie down in bed and fall into a light sleep from which dreams may emerge into ordinary consciousness. You pass over into a deeper sleep from which no dreams proceed, but in which the soul is still connected with the physical body. You then enter into a sleep in which strong accumulations of salts take place in the physical body. The soul can have no relation to what is thus taking place in the body. However, if you had placed beside your bed a mountain crystal, it would be possible for you to enter with your soul right into the inner being of the crystal; you would perceive it from within outwards. This is not possible either in the first or in the second condition of sleep. In the first state of sleep, the content of which can enter into the dream, you would, had you dreamed of the crystal, still perceive it as some kind of crystal it would certainly be a shadowy experience, but something of the nature of a crystal would be there. In the second state of sleep the crystal would be experienced in a less definite sense; and if you could then still dream that is not possible in the ordinary way but we will imagine it to be so then you would have the experience that the crystal becomes indefinite and forms itself into a kind of sphere or ellipsoid, and then recedes again. But if you could dream in the deepest sleep that is, if you could bring into it the consciousness of Intuition then out of this deepest sleep, this third condition of sleep, you would so experience the crystal that it would seem as though inwardly you followed these lines of form to the apex, and back again. You would experience the inner being of the crystal; you would be living within it. And so also in the case of other minerals. Not only would you experience the form, but also the inner forces. In short, the third condition of sleep is one which lifts human beings wholly out of their bodies and places them within the spiritual world. In this third stage of sleep we live with the essential being of the spiritual world itself. That is, we stand within the essence, within the being, of Angeloi, Archangeloi and of all those beings whom we otherwise perceive outwardly, in their manifestations. Between waking and sleeping we see with our sense consciousness, as it were, the external manifestations of the Gods in nature. During sleep we enter either the world of pictures, in the first condition, or into the world of manifestation, the revelation of spiritual beings, in the second condition. And when we reach the third condition we live within the divine spiritual beings themselves. Thus, just as in our waking consciousness we live the life of thinking, feeling and willing, so during sleep we either flow with the cosmic thoughts, or out of these cosmic thoughts the deeds of divine spiritual beings are revealed, or these spiritual beings so take us up into themselves that we rest within them with our souls. Just as thoughts and ideas are for the waking consciousness the clearest and most definite things of all, while feeling is darker and really a kind of dreaming, and willing the condition of the greatest insensibility as it were a kind of sleep so we have these three degrees of the sleeping consciousness. We have the sleep in which ordinary consciousness experiences the dream and a higher clairvoyant consciousness the cosmic thoughts; we have the second state of sleep which for the ordinary consciousness remains hidden, but so appears to the consciousness of Inspiration that everywhere the deeds of divine, spiritual beings are revealed; and we have the third state of sleep, which to intuitional consciousness is life within the divine, spiritual beings themselves. This can be expressed by saying that we dive down, for instance, into the inner being of the minerals. This third state of sleep has, however, yet another element of great significance for the human being. In the second stage of sleep, as I have said, we find in the surging pictures, alternately appearing and disappearing, the cosmic being of the Angeloi, Archangeloi, and so on. But we find ourselves as well. We find ourselves as beings of soul; not, however, as we now are, but as we were before birth, before conception. We learn to know how we have lived between death and a new birth. This belongs to this second world. And every time we pass through dreamless sleep, we live in this same world in which we lived before Page 4 of 30

we descended into our physical body. But when we pass over into the third condition of sleep and are able to awake there, when the consciousness of Intuition awakes, then we experience our destiny our karma. We know then why certain capacities are ours in this life as the results of a previous one. We know why in this life we have been led into connection with this or that personality; we learn to know our destiny, our karma. We can learn to know this destiny and I speak now from another point of view only when we are able to penetrate into the inner being of the minerals. If we are able to see the crystal not only from without but from within naturally we must not break it up, for that would still be to see it only outwardly, but we must feel fully within it, in the way I have described when we thus see the crystal from within, we can understand why this or that blow of destiny has befallen us in life. Take any kind of crystal take an ordinary salt-cube. We look at it from without. That is how it is perceived in ordinary consciousness. Life then remains impenetrable. But if we are able to penetrate within it the size in space has nothing to do with it when we look at it from within, looking around in every direction, we are in that world in which we can understand our destiny. We live in this world every night when we pass into the third condition of sleep. Before the Mystery of Golgotha, in the period of evolution before the appearance of Christ on Earth, human beings we ourselves in earlier incarnations entered very often into this third condition of sleep. But before they sank down into this sleep their Angel appeared and raised them out of it again. This is the significant thing: we can always raise ourselves out of the first state, and out of the second state of sleep, but not out of the third. Before the appearance of Christ on Earth we must have died in this third condition of sleep if Angels, or some other beings, had not raised us out of it. Since the appearance of Christ, the Christ-force has been united with the Earth. Every time that we must awaken out of this third state of sleep, the Christ-force which came to be united with the Earth through the Mystery of Golgotha must come to our aid. The human being can enter into the inner being of the crystal but cannot emerge again without the Christ-Force. When we gaze behind the veils of existence, we see the significance of the Christ Impulse for the earthly life. Once again, then, I emphasise that the human being could enter into the crystal, but could not emerge again. After the appearance of Christ on Earth, after the Mystery of Golgotha, these things were strongly felt in certain regions, for example in Central Europe, where there was still a vivid, ancient, pagan consciousness but where, nevertheless, the Christ revelation was known. It was realised that many people had died because they had fallen into this deep sleep, and that they need not have died had Christ come to their aid. This was felt, for instance, with regard to Charlemagne and Frederick Barbarossa. In spite of the fact that so far as the outer physical world was concerned Frederick Barbarossa was drowned, this feeling was there, and it was very definitely there with regard to Charlemagne. What happened to such a soul according to the consciousness of the Middle Ages? It passed into the interior of the crystal, thence into the mountain, and there it must wait until Christ should come to raise it out of its deep sleep. All such legends were connected with this consciousness. The deep connection of the Christ Impulse with the Earth since the Mystery of Golgotha has brought it about that the world of Angeloi, Archangeloi and other spiritual beings is still able to raise human beings from this deep sleep; otherwise, when they sank into this third condition of sleep, they could not be brought back out of it. This is connected with the Christ-force itself, not with belief in the Christ-force. No matter whether a man belongs to this or that religious confession, what Christ accomplished on Earth was an objective fact, and what I am here describing as an objective fact is wholly independent of belief. I will speak of the significance of belief on another occasion, but what I am now stating is an objective fact having nothing to do with belief. How did these things come about? Into the spiritual world itself there entered a different destiny, a destiny which I will describe in the following way. Human beings here in the physical world are born and they die; the characteristic of the divine, spiritual beings who belong to the higher hierarchies is that they are not born, neither do they die, but only undergo a transformation. Christ, Who until the time of the Mystery of Golgotha lived with the other divine, spiritual beings, resolved to know death, to descend to Earth, to become man, and within the nature of man to pass through death, thereafter to return to consciousness through the Resurrection. In the divine-spiritual world it was an event of the deepest significance that a God should experience death. We can thus say that, in the history of the evolution of the Earth, there came about the mighty event that God became man, and that through this His power manifests as I have described. The God Who became man has such power in earthly life that He is able to raise our souls out of the interior of the crystal when they have passed into it. When we speak of Christ we are speaking of the cosmic Being, the God Who became man. What, then, would constitute the antitype? The antitype would be the man who has become god. This would not, however, be an absolutely good god but, just as Christ descended into the world of men and took death upon Himself, that is, assumed a human form in order to be able to participate in human destiny, so we are led to the opposite pole to the man who, having freed himself from death, having liberated himself from human bodily conditions, within earthly conditions becomes a god. Such a man would then cease to be mortal. He would wander about the Earth not, of course, under the same conditions as an ordinary mortal human being who must pass from birth to death, and from death to a new birth. A man who had thus become a god would exist on Earth as a man who had unlawfully become god-like. As the Christ is a God Who has lawfully become man, we must seek His antitype in the man who has become god, who, mortal no longer, has unlawfully assumed the god-nature. Just as in the Christian tradition we have in Christ Jesus the God Who has become man in righteousness, so are we also directed to Ahasueris, the man who has become god in unrighteousness, who has laid aside the mortality of human nature. We have the polar antithesis of Christ Jesus in Ahasueris. That is the deeper foundation, the deeper significance of the Ahasueris legend. This legend narrates something that is a reality, speaking of a man who wanders over the Earth. The figure of Ahasueris is actually there, wandering over the Earth from people to people. This Ahasueris figure exists the man who has unlawfully become god. If we wish to gain knowledge of historical truth we must turn our attention to such matters; we should observe how beings and forces from the supersensible world work down into the physical world; how Christ came from the spiritual world into the physical world; and further how again the sensible world works back into the supersensible. We must recognise in Ahasueris a real cosmic force, a real cosmic being. A consciousness of this wandering of Ahasueris has always existed, though of course he can be perceived Page 5 of 30

only with clairvoyant vision and not with physical eyes. The legends of Ahasueris have a true objective foundation. We cannot understand human life if we only observe it externally, as it is described in history books. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, the Christ has dwelt in our inner being. Just as when we look inwards with quickened sight we can perceive Him there, so also when we look at human life and the eye of vision is opened there appears this figure of Ahasueris and this is the case in most of those in whom clairvoyance arises, as it may happen unawares to the person who steps across the threshold of consciousness. People may not perhaps always recognise him; he may be taken for something different. It is nevertheless possible for Ahasueris to appear to us, as it is also possible when we look into our inner being for the Christ-figure to shine forth. These things belong to World Mysteries which now, in this age when many Mysteries are destined to be revealed, must be made known.

Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity

A lecture by Rudolf Steiner Dornach, April 2nd 1922 GA 211
Exoteric Christianity is to be found in the Gospels and as they have been interpreted through history; esoteric, inner Christianity is the living teaching of the Risen Christ: resurrection. Today it lies in the resurrection of thinking: how dead thoughts can be awakened to life in the form of moral impulses. Translated from shorthand report unrevised by the lecturer. In the collected edition of Rudolf Steiner's works, the volume containing the German text is entitled, Das Sonnenmysterium und das Mysterium von Tod und Auferstehung. Exoterisches und esoterisches Christentum (Vol. 211 in the Bibliographic Survey). This English edition is published in agreement with, and the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland. From GA# 211. Search for related titles available for purchase at!

Be sure to read another version of this book, Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity (pub. 1948).
This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of: Various e.Text Transcribers

In Rudolf Steiner's autobiography (chapters 35 and 36), he speaks as follows concerning the character of this privately printed matter: The content of this printed matter was intended as oral communications, not to be printed ... Nothing has ever been said that is not in utmost degree the purest result of developing Anthroposophy ... Whoever reads this privately printed material can take it in the fullest sense as containing what Anthroposophy has to say. Therefore, it was possible without hesitation ... to depart from the plan of circulating this printed matter only among members [of the Anthroposophical Society]. It will be necessary, however, to put up with the fact that erroneous matter is included in the lecture reports that I have not revised. The right to a judgment about the content of such privately printed material can naturally be conceded only to one who knows what is taken for granted as the prerequisite basis of this judgment. For most of this printed matter the prerequisite will be at least the anthroposophical knowledge of the human being and of the cosmos to the extent that their nature is set forth in Anthroposophy, and of what crisis in the form of anthroposophical history in the communications from the world of spirit.


Dornach, April 2nd 1922.

The evolution of mankind is recorded in documents that have been preserved as religious records, or as other documents relating to world-conceptions. But it must be emphasized over and over again that, in addition to these records that have influenced mankind throughout history (and there is, indeed, a deep justification for this exterior influence), there are other records, which we may term esoteric records. When people spoke in a deeper sense of a knowledge of man and of man's conception of the world, they always made a distinction between an exoteric teaching, that gives a more exterior knowledge of things, and an esoteric teaching; only those who had trained their hearts and minds accordingly, were able to penetrate into this teaching. In Christianity, too, especially as far as its central Page 6 of 30

point, the Mystery of Golgotha, is concerned, we must make a distinction between exoteric conceptions and esoteric knowledge. An exoteric contemplation of Christianity, accessible to all the world, is contained in the Gospels. Side by side with this exoteric contemplation, there has always been an esoteric Christianity for those who were willing as I have said before to prepare their hearts and minds in an adequate way for the reception of an esoteric Christianity. All that could be gathered of the intercourse of the Christ who had passed through death and had risen from the dead, with those of his disciples who were able to understand him, was of the greatest importance in this esoteric Christianity. You know already that the Gospels contain very little about the intercourse of the risen Christ with his disciples. But what the Gospels tell us concerning this intercourse of the risen Christ with his disciples, can indeed give us an inkling and a foreboding of something very special, that entered the evolution of the earth through the Christ who rose from the dead. But we cannot go beyond such forebodings, without an esoteric knowledge. These inklings of a truth acquire weight and significance if we add to them Paul's utterances. Paul's words acquire a particular meaning, for he assures us that he was able to believe in Christ only from the moment in which the Christ appeared to him through the event at Damascus. This gave him the sure knowledge that Christ had passed through death and that, after his death, he was connected with the evolution of the earth as the living Christ. The event at Damascus gave Paul a knowledge of the living Christ and we should bear in mind what this impiles, when it is said by a man like Paul. Why could Paul not be convinced of the true existence of the Christ-being before the event at Damascus? We must bear in mind what it implied for Paul, initiated to some extent in the Hebrew teachings that the Being who lived on earth as Christ-Jesus, had been condemned to a shameful death on the cross in accordance with human laws and justice. Paul could not grasp that the old prophecies referred to a Being who had been condemned lawfully to the shameful death through crucifixion. Until the event at Damascus, Paul saw in the shameful crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth the proof that He could not be the Messiah. Only the experience at Damascus convinced Paul; the vision at Damascus convinced him of the truth of the Mystery of Golgotha. In spite of the fact that Jesus of Nazareth or better, the Being who was incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth had undergone the shameful death on the cross, something very deep and great is implied in this confession of Paul's conviction. The traditions that still existed in the first centuries after Christ, no longer exist. They may exist, at the most, in the form of outer historical records kept by some secret society that does not understand them. We must find again, through an anthroposophical spiritual science, that which surpasses the scanty communications concerning the Christ, after the Mystery of Golgotha. This is what we must find again: What did the risen Christ tell to the disciples that were around him, and that are not mentioned in the Gospels? For, what the Gospels say of the apostles who met Christ-Jesus on the way to Emmaeus, and other things recorded of the apostles, are steeped in tradition and refer to simple souls who were unable to advance to an esoteric knowledge. For this reason we must go beyond this and ask: What did the Christ say after his resurrection to the disciples who were really initiated? If we want to understand this, we must begin by taking into consideration the frame of mind in which men of past ages took up the real Mystery of Golgotha and how the Mystery of Golgotha changed their disposition. When we speak of the great truths of the past connected with man's earthly evolution, a modern man finds it very difficult to understand that the first men who lived on the earth did not possess a knowledge of the kind termed knowledge by us. The first men who lived on the earth were able to receive the wisdom of gods through atavistic, clairvoyant capacities. This means nothing less than this: Divine beings who descended to the earth from higher worlds could impart their teachings to human beings in a spiritual way, of course and these, in their turn, taught other souls. In the ancient past of human evolution on earth, it was a well-known fact that men were taught by the divine beings themselves, who descended to the earth from spiritual worlds. This condition, transcending the earthly one, could be attained especially by those men who had passed through the initiation in the Mysteries, where for the most part, they were outside their bodies with their souls and were able to reveive the communications of the gods in a spiritual way, because they were not dependent on the outer form of speech, or spoken words. They did not receive these communications in a state of mind resembling today's dreaming state, but in a living intercourse with divine beings which took place spiritually, and where they received what these beings considered to be their own particular wisdom. This wisdom at first consisted of communications (if I may call them thus) of the gods concerning the abode of human souls in the divine world before descending into an earthly body. During that state of consciousness which I have just described, the gods taught human beings what the souls experienced before their descent into an earthly body through conception. Then men felt as if they were being reminded of something, and they found that the communications of the gods reminded them of their experiences in the world of the spirit and soul, before birth, i.e. before conception. An echo can still be found in Plato that this was indeed so in ancient times. Today we can look back on a divine spiritual wisdom received here on earth by men who were in the frame of mind just described, a wisdom received we may indeed say it in the real sense of the word from the gods themselves. This wisdom was of a special kind: namely, of such a kind, that people strange as it may seem today knew nothing of death. It may seem strange to you today, yet it is so: the oldest inhabitants of the earth knew nothing of death, just as the child knows nothing of death. The people who were instructed in the way indicated by me and passed on this instruction to others who still possessed an atavistic clairvoyance, became conscious at once of the fact that their soul-being had come down from divine-spiritual worlds into a body, and that it would leave this body. They considered this an advance in the life of the spirit and of the soul. Birth and death appeared to them as a metamorphosis, as something which is the beginning and end of something. Were we to draw this schematically we might say that people saw the human soul in its progressive evolution and considered life on earth as an interlude. But they did not see in the points a and b a beginning and an end, they only saw the uninterrupted stream of the life of spirit and soul. They did see, of course, that the people around them died. You will not think that I am comparing these ancient men with animals; for, although their outer aspect resembled that of animals, these oldest of men had a higher soul-spiritual nature. I have already explained this before. But just as an animal knows nothing of death when it sees another animal which is dead, so did these ancient men know nothing of death, for they received only the idea of an uninterrupted stream in the life of soul and spirit. Death was something pertaining to Maya, the great illusion, and it made no great impression on men, for Page 7 of 30

they knew life, only. Although they saw death, they knew nothing of death. For, their spirit-soul life was not ensnared by death. They saw human life only from within. When they looked at birth, human life extended beyond birth, into the spiritual. When they looked at death, the life of spirit and soul again extended beyond death, into the spiritual; birth and death had no meaning for life. Life alone was known not death. Men gradually came out of this frame of spirit. On tracing the evolution of mankind from the oldest times to the Mystery of Golgotha, one may say: more and more, human beings learnt to know death. They learnt to know death more and more as something that made an impression on them. Their souls became entangled in death, and out of man's feelings arose the question: what happens to the soul when man goes through death? You see, in far distant ages people never contemplated death as an end. Their problem was at the most one dealing with the special nature of metamorphosis involved. They asked whether the breath leaves man and continues streaming, and whether the soul enters thereby into eternity; or else, they had some other conception of the way in which the life of spirit and soul continues. They thought about the nature of this continuation, but they did not think of death as an end. Only with the approach of the Mystery of Golgotha people really felt that death has a meaning and that life on earth is something that ends.This, of course, did not assume the form of a problem formulated in a philosophical or scientific way, but it entered the soul as a feeling. Men on earth had to come to this feeling, for it was necessary for the evolution of mankind that the understanding, or the intellect, should enter life on earth. But the intellect depends on the fact that we are able to die. I have often mentioned this. Man had therefore to become entangled in death. He had to become acquainted with death. The old ages in which man knew nothing of death were all non-intellectualistic. Men received their ideas through inspirations from the spiritual world and did not think about them. There was no intellect. But the intellect had to come. If we express it in a soul-spiritual way, the understanding could come only because man is able to die and carries within him all the time the forces of death. In a physical way, we might say that death can enter because man deposits salts, i.e. solid mineral substances, dead substances, not only in the body, but also in his brain. The brain has the constant tendency to deposit salt I might say, toward an incomplete ossification. So that the brain contains a constant tendency toward death. This inoculation of death had to enter in mankind. And I might say, that the result of this necessary development that death began to have a real influence in man's life was the outward acquaintance with death. If men had remained the same as in the past, where they did not really know death, they would never have been able to develop an intellect, for the intellect is only possible in a world where death holds sway. This is how matters stand, seen from a human aspect. But they can also be contemplated from the aspect of the higher hierarchies, and then they will appear as follows: The higher hierarchies contain in their being the forces that have formed Saturn, the Sun, the Moon and finally the Earth. If the higher hierarchies had expressed their teachings amongst themselves, as it were, up to the Mystery of Golgotha, they would have said: We can form the Earth out of Saturn, Sun and Moon. But if the Earth were to contain only what we have placed into Saturn, Sun and Moon it would never have been able to develop beings who know something about death, and can therefore develop the intellect within them. We, the higher hierarchies, are able to let an Earth proceed out of the Moon, on which there are men who know nothing of death, and on which they cannot develop the intellect. It is not possible for us, higher hierarchies, to form the Earth in such a way that it is able to supply the forces which lead man towards the intellect. We must rely, for this, on an entirely different being, on a being who comes from another direction than our own The Ahrimanic Being. Ahriman is a being who does not belong to our hierarchy. Ahriman comes into the stream of evolution from another direction. If we tolerate Ahriman in the evolution of the Earth, if we allow him a share in it, he brings us death, and with it, the intellect, and we can take up in the human being death and intellect. Ahriman knows death, because he is at one with the Earth and has trodden paths which have brought him into connection with the evolution of the Earth. He is an initiate, a sage of death, and for this reason he is the ruler of the intellect. The gods had to reckon with Ahriman if I may express it in this way. They had to say: the evolution cannot proceed without Ahriman. It is only a question of admitting Ahriman into the evolution. But if Ahriman is admitted and becomes the lord of death and, consequently, of the intellect too, we forfeit the Earth, and Ahriman, whose sole interest lies in permeating the Earth with intellect, will claim the Earth for himself. The gods faced the great problem of losing to a certain extent their rule over the Earth in favour of Ahriman. There was only one possibility that the gods themselves should learn to know something which they could not learn in their godly abodes which were not permeated by Ahriman namely, that the gods should learn to know death itself, on the Earth, through one of their emissaries the Christ. A god had to die on earth, and he had to die in such a way that this was not grounded in the wisdom of the gods, but in the human error which would hold sway if Ahriman alone were to rule. A god had to pass through death and he had to overcome death. Thus the Mystery of Golgotha meant this for the gods: a greater wealth of knowledge through the wisdom of death. If a god had not passed through death, the whole Earth would have become entirely intellectual, without ever reaching the evolution which the gods had planned for it from the very beginning. In past ages, people had no knowledge of death. But they learnt to know death. They had to face the feeling that through death, i.e. through the intellect, we enter a stream of evolution which is quite different from the one from which we come. Now the Christ taught his initiates that he came from a world where death was unknown; he learnt to know death, here on earth, and conquered death. If one understands this connection between the earthly world and the divine world, it will be possible to lead the intellect back gain into spirituality. We might express approximately in this way the content of the esoteric teachings given by the Christ to his initiated disciples: it was the teaching of death, as seen from the scene of the divine world. If one wishes to penetrate into the real depths of this esoteric teaching, one must realize that he who understands the entire evolution of mankind knows that the gods have overcome Ahriman by using his forces for the benefit of the Earth, but his power has been broken because the gods themselves learnt to know death in the being of Christ. Indeed, the gods have placed Ahriman into the evolution of the earth, but, in making use of him, they have forced him to come down into the evolution of the earth without completing his own rulership. He who learns to Page 8 of 30

know Ahriman since the Mystery of Golgotha and he who knew him before, knows that Ahriman has waited for the world-historic moment in which he will not only invade the unconscious and subconscious in man, as in the case since the days of Atlantis (you know this through my Occult Science), but will invade also man's consciousness. If we apply human expressions to the willing of gods, we might say that Ahriman has waited with longing for the moment in which to invade human consciousness with his power. His purpose was thwarted because he knew nothing of the divine plan whereby a being the Christ was to be sent to the Earth, a being who underwent death. Thus the intervention of Ahriman was possible, but the sharp edge was taken off his rule. Since then, Ahriman uses every opportunity to encourage men in the exclusive use of the intellect. Ahriman has not lost all hope today that he will succeed in inducing men to use only their intellect. What would this imply? If Ahriman would succeed in convincing men against all other convictions that man can live only in his body and that, as a spirit-soul being, he cannot be separated from his body, the idea of death would seize the souls so strongly that Ahriman would be able to realize his plans quite easily. Ahriman hopes for this always. One might say, for instance, that special joy fills the heart of Ahriman if one can speak of a heart in Ahriman's case, but this is a comparison, for I must always use human expressions in cases where other expressions should really be found that special joy lives in Ahriman's soul since the period stretching from the forties of the 19th century until about the end of the 19th century; in the predominant sway of materialism Ahriman could cherish new hopes for his rule over the earth. In this time even theology becomes materialistic. I have mentioned already that theology has become unchristian and that the theologian from Basle, Overbeck, wrote a book in which he tried to prove that modern theology is no longer Christian. This gave new hopes to Ahriman. An antagonism to Ahriman exists today only in the teachings like those that stream through Anthroposophy. If Anthroposophy can again make clear to men the independence of the spirit-soul being which is not dependent on the bodily being, Ahriman will have to give up his hopes for the time. The battle of the Christ against Ahriman is again possible. And we can have a foreboding of this in the Temptation described in the Gospel. But a full understanding can be gained only by penetrating into what I have often set forth, namely, that Lucifer plays a greater part in the older evolution of mankind, and that Ahriman began to have an influence on human consciousness since the Mystery of Golgotha. He had an influence also before that time, but not on the consciousness of man. If we look at the human mind and soul we must say that the most important point in mankind's evolution lies where man learns to know that the Christ-impulse contains a living force which enables him to overcome death in himself, when he unites himself with it. Seen from the spiritual world this implies that Ahriman was drawn into the evolution of the earth by the hierarchies belonging to Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, etc. But his claims of rulership were hedged in because they were placed at the service of the evolution of the earth. Ahriman has, as it were, been forced to enter the evolution of the earth. Without him, the gods could not have placed intellectualism into mankind and if they had not succeeded in taking off the sharp edge to Ahriman's rule through the Christ event, Ahriman would have rendered the whole earth intellectual from within and material from without. The Mystery of Golgotha is not only an inner mystical event; we must look upon it entirely as an outer event which cannot, however, be set forth according to an outer materialistic, historical investigation. It must be set forth in such a way as to show the entrance of Ahriman into the evolution of the earth, and, at the same time, the overcoming of Ahrimanism, to a certain extent. Thus we have a battle of the gods which was enacted through the Mystery of Golgotha. That a battle of the gods took place on that occasion, is contained also in the esoteric teachings imparted by the Christ to his initiated disciples, after his resurrection. If we are to designate that which existed in the form of an esoteric Christianity, we might say that in past ages of the evolution of the earth people knew of the existence of these worlds through the manifestations that I have characterized a short while ago. But these divine worlds could not tell them anything concerning death, for death did not exist in the worlds of the gods, and it did not exist for man, because he gained knowledge only of the steady uninterrupted progress of the spirit and soul through the spheres of the gods. Man came nearer and nearer to the understanding of death. By yielding himself up to the Christ, he could gain for himself a sure power which enabled him to overcome death. This is man's inner evolution. But the esoteric element which Christ gave to his initiated disciples consisted therein, that He told them: What took place on Golgotha, is the reflection of superterrestial events and of the relationship between the worlds of the gods connected with Saturn, Sun, Moon and the present Earth, and Ahriman. The cross of Golgotha cannot be looked upon as something earthly, but as something having a meaning for the entire universe this was the content of esoteric Christianity. Perhaps we can awaken a particular feeling in connection with esoteric Christianity: Imagine two esoteric disciples of the Christ, who progress more and more in the acquisition of an esoteric Christianity, and imagine them speaking together while they are still battling with their doubts: One of them would say more or less the following words to the other one: The Christ who is teaching us, has descended from worlds which are known from the past. Gods were known in past ages, but they were gods who could not speak of death. If we had remained with these gods, we would never have learnt anything concerning the nature of death. The gods themselves had first to send down to the earth a divine being, in order to learn something concerning death though one of their own ranks. After His resurrection, Christ teaches us what the gods had to fulfill in order to guide the evolution of the earth to a right end. If we keep to him, we will learn something that men could not learn until then. We learn what the gods did behind the scenes of the worlds's existence in order to further the evolution of the earth in the right way. We learn how they brought in the forces of Ahriman, without allowing them to be of harm to man, but to be of use to him. What the initiated disciples received as the esoteric teaching of the risen Christ was something deeply moving. A disciple, such as the one described above, could only have continued by saying: Today we would know nothing at all concerning the gods, for we would be in the meshes of death had Christ not died and risen, and had He not taught us, after His resurrection, the experiences of the gods concerning death. As human beings, we must immerse ourselves into a period of time in which we can no longer know anything of the gods. The gods found a new way of speaking to us. This way went through the Mystery of Golgotha. The essential knowledge conveyed to the disciples through the Mystery of Golgotha, was that men could again approach the divine worlds which they had left. In the first period of the Christian evolution, the disciples were permeated by this stirring teaching. Many a one, whom history barely mentions, bore within him the knowledge which he could Page 9 of 30

have gained only because in the early times he had enjoyed the teaching of the risen Christ himself, or else because he was connected in some way with the teachers who had been taught by the Christ. Later on, all these things were exteriorized. They were exteriorized to such an extent that the first heralds of Christianity attached great value to the fact of being able to say that they were the disciples of one who had been taught by a disciple of the apostles. It was a continuous development, for he who imparted the teaching, had known one who had seen an apostle, i.e. one who had known the Lord himself, after his resurrection. In the past, some value was still attached to this living development, but the form in which it reached a later mankind was already exteriorized. It had assumed the aspect of an outer historical description. But, essentially, it goes back to what I have just set forth. The incorporation of the intellect, which began already, and particularly, during the fourth and fifth centuries after the Mystery of Golgotha, and underwent a special change in the fifteenth century the beginning of the fifth postatlantean epoch this development of the intellect brought about the loss of the ancient wisdom which enabled man to grasp something of the spiritual truths, whereas the new wisdom was not there. To a certain extent, men forgot for a whole age everything that had an esoteric significance in Christianity. As stated, some records dealing with this esoteric knowledge remained in the keeping of secret societies, the members of which no longer understood the content of these records in our age, certainly not. These records really refer to the teachings that were imparted by the risen Christ to some of his initiated disciples. Suppose that the ancient Hebrew teaching had not received new life through Christianity then, Paul's conviction before the event at Damascus would have been justified. For, Paul more or less accepted the view that there is an old traditional teaching, which existed originally as a divine-spiritual revelation given to men in a distant past, in the spiritual form which I have described. Then, this was preserved in written records. Amongst the Hebrews, there were scribes who knew what was contained in the records from out of the ancient wisdom of the gods. The sentence that condemned Christ-Jesus to death came from such scribes. While he was still Saul, Paul looked up to this original divine wisdom of the past and thought that this ancient wisdom was the source of the knowledge which came streaming down even to the scribes of his time. The fact that prominent men took up the calling of a scribe, could, however, bring this divine wisdom only as far as the pronouncing of righteous sentences. Impossible quite impossible for an innocent man to be condemned to death through crucifixion! Especially if things took the course they did take during the trial of Christ Jesus. This was the course of Paul's thoughts. Only the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, was already entangled instinctively in quite another world-conception and could utter the pregnant sentence: What is Truth? Paul, as Saul, could not possibly imagine that what had taken place according to a righteous judgement, might not be truth. What a conviction had to be gained by Paul? The conviction that there can be error in the truth which used to come streaming down to men from the gods, for men have changed it into error into an error so strong, that the most innocent of all had to pass through death. The original divine wisdom streams down as far as the wisdom of the scribes, who were the Hebrew contemporaries of the Mystery of Golgotha. This wisdom can only contain truth thought Saul. But he had to think otherwise. When Paul was still Saul, he used to say: If he, who died on the cross, is indeed the Christ and the Messiah, this current of wisdom must contain error in its truth, and error brought Christ to the cross. That is, man must have turned the old divine wisdom into error. Naturally, only the actual fact that this is so, indeed, could convince Saul. Only Christ himself could convince him, by appearing to him in the event at Damascus. What did this mean for Saul? It meant that a divine wisdom no longer existed, for the Ahrimanic element had entered into it. Thus Paul reached the point of seeing that mankind's evolution had been seized by an enemy and that this enemy is the source of error on earth. In bringing the intellect, he brings also the possibility of error, and, in its greatest aspect, this error is responsible for the death on the cross of the most innocent of all. First, this conviction must be gained that He who has no stain upon him, died on the cross. This enabled men to see how Ahriman crept into the evolution of humanity and how a supersensible, superterrestial event existed in the evolution of the Ego, through the enactment of the Mystery of Golgotha. An esoteric fact can never be merely mystical. It is always an enormous mistake to explain mere mysticism as esotericism. The esoteric knowledge is always a knowledge of facts which take place, as such, in the spiritual world, and remain hidden behind the veil of the physical world. For, behind this veil, the adjustment between the divine world and Ahriman takes place, as enacted in the death on the cross of Christ-Jesus. Paul felt that error, leading to the death on the cross, can only enter a world wherein man is seized by the Ahrimanic powers. And when he had understood this, he learnt the truth of esoteric Christianity. Paul was undoubtedly one of those who belonged, in this sense, to the initiates. But initiation gradually died out, through the growing influence of intellectualism. Today we must return to a knowledge of esoteric Christianity: we must know again that Christianity does not only contain what is exoteric, but goes beyond the forebodings that can be awakened through the Gospels. Today very little is said concerning an esoteric Christianity, but humanity must return to this knowledge, which is not based on outer documents. We must learn to fathom what the Christ himself taught to his initiated disciples after his resurrection, and we must take for granted that he could impart such teachings only after having passed through an experience, here on earth, which he could not have had in the divine world for until the Mystery of Golgotha death did not exist in the divine worlds. No being of the divine worlds had passed through death Christ is the first-born who passed through death from the world of the hierarchies, connected with the evolution of the Earth that went through Saturn, Sun and Moon. The secret of Golgotha is the inclusion of death into life. Before Golgotha, the knowledge of life did not include death. Now death became known as an essential part of life, as an experience which strengthens life. Humanity went through a weaker form of life when nothing was known of death; humanity must live more forcefully if it wants to pass through death and yet remain alive. Death, in this connection, is also the intellect. Men possessed a comparatively weaker sense of life when they had no need of the intellect. The older people who obtained their knowledge of the divine worlds in the form of images and inner manifestations, did not die inwardly. They always remained alive. They could laugh at death because they remained alive inwardly. The Greeks still relate how Page 10 of 30

happy the ancients were because, when death approached them, they became so dazed within, that they hardly noticed it. This was the last remnant of a world-conception that knew nothing of death. Modern man experiences the intellect. Intellect renders us cold and dead within. It paralyses us. When our intellect is active, we do not really live. We must feel that when we are thinking, we are not really alive, that our life is poured into the empty pictures of our understanding. A strong life is needed in order to experience the living activity contained in the lifeless images formed by our intellect, a creative, living activity inspite of all. A strong life is needed to reach the sphere where moral impulses flow out of the force of pure thinking, and where we learn to understand the freedom in man, through the impulses of pure thinking. This is what I tried to set forth in my Philosophy of Freedom, which is really an ethical conception, and tries to show how dead thoughts can be awakened into life in the form of moral impulses, and thus be led to resurrection. An inner Christianity is undoubtedly contained in this Philosophy of Freedom. With these explanations I wished to place before your souls, from a particular aspect, something concerning an esoteric Christianity. This age, which is so full of disputes concerning the nature of Christianity in an exoteric, historical sense, needs an esoteric Christianity it is necessary to point out the esoteric teachings of Christianity. I hope that they will not be taken lightly, but with the needed earnestness and responsibility. When speaking of such things, one feels how difficult it is to clothe these experiences in the words of modern speech, which has already become abstract. For this reason, I have tried to attune your souls by describing the inner processes of man in the form of images, in order to form a thread leading from the single human being to that which constitutes, in an esoteric sense, the historical evolution of humanity, which is contained, as something essential, in the Mystery of Golgotha.

The Festivals and Their Meaning II Easter Lecture V -- The Teachings of the Risen Christ
(see Note 1) I WANT to speak to-day about a certain aspect of the Mystery of Golgotha of which I have often spoken before in more intimate anthroposophical gatherings. What there is to be said about the Mystery of Golgotha is so extensive in range, so rich in content and of such significance, that new light needs constantly to be shed upon it before any real approach can be made to this greatest of all Mysteries in the evolution of the earth and of humanity. The importance of the Mystery of Golgotha can be rightly assessed only when we envisage two streams of evolution in man's earthly existence: the stream which preceded the Mystery of Golgotha and the stream which, following it, will continue for the rest of the earth's existence. In speaking of the very early period in earth-evolution when thinking of a certain kind dream-like, imaginative, but still, thinking was already active, we must be quite clear that in those times men possessed faculties whereby if I may so express it they were able to commune with Beings of a higher cosmic order. From the book Occult Science and other works of mine, you know something of these Beings of the higher Hierarchies. In his ordinary consciousness to-day man knows little of these Beings, for his intercourse with them has, as it were, been broken off. In earlier periods of human evolution it was different. To imagine that coming into contact with a Being of the higher Hierarchies in those ancient times in any way resembled the meeting between two men incarnate in physical bodies to-day would of course be a wrong conclusion. Such intercourse had quite a different character. What these Beings communicated to man in the original, primeval language of the earth could be apprehended only by spiritual organs. Momentous secrets of existence were communicated by these Beings, secrets which flowed into the human heart and awakened the consciousness that above and on all sides where we to-day see only clouds and stars earthly existence is connected with divine worlds. Super-earthly Beings belonging to these worlds came down in a spiritual manner to the men of earth, revealing themselves in such a way that through them men received what we may call the primal wisdom. The revelations proceeding from these Beings contained an abundance of wisdom which in their earthly life men could not have discovered themselves. For at the beginning of earth-evolution the period of which I am now speaking men could discover little through their own faculties. Whatever vision, whatever perceptive knowledge they possessed was received from their divine Teachers. These divine teachings were infinitely rich in content, but one thing they did not include a thing which it was unnecessary for men of those times to know, but which for the present-day humanity is essential. The divine Teachers imparted many aspects of knowledge, truths in profusion, but they never spoke of the two fundamental boundaries of man's earthly life; they never spoke of birth and death. Needless to say, in this short hour I cannot attempt to speak of everything that was communicated to the human race in those ancient times by the divine Teachers. A great deal is already known to you. But I want now to stress the point that among all those teachings there were none concerning birth and death. The reason for this was that for the men of those times and for a considerable period after them it was unnecessary to have knowledge of the facts of birth and death. The whole consciousness of Page 11 of 30

mankind has changed in the course of earth-evolution. The animal consciousness of to-day, even that of the higher animals, must never be compared with human consciousness, even as it was in those ages of primitive antiquity. Yet we may perhaps find a point of approach by considering the life of the animal to-day. This lies at a level below the human, whereas the earliest form of the life of primitive man lay, in a certain respect, above the present level of the human, in spite of having certain animal-like characteristics. If you think, without preconceived ideas, about the animal to-day, you will say that the animal is unconcerned with birth and death because its existence is wholly passed in the state of life between them. Disregarding birth although here too, of course, it is an obvious fact we need think only of the carefree lack of concern with which the animal lives on towards death. The animal accepts death. It is simply transformation of its existence, a transition from individual to group-soul existence. The animal does not experience any such deep incision into life as is the case with the human being. Now as I said, the primeval man of earth in spite of his animal-like organisation was at a higher level than the animal; he possessed an instinctive clairvoyance which enabled him to commune, to have intercourse with, his divine Teachers. But, like the animal of to-day, he was unconcerned with the approach of death. It never occurred to him, if I may so express it, to pay any particular attention to death. And why? With his instinctive clairvoyance, the primeval man was clearly aware of what was still his nature even after his descent through birth from the spiritual world into the physical world. He knew that his own essential being had entered into a physical body; and because he could say with certain knowledge, An immortal, eternal being lives in me, the transformation taking place at death was not a matter of interest or concern to him. At most the process was like that experienced by a snake when it sheds its skin and has it replaced by another. The impression of birth and death was taken much more as a matter of course; birth and death were far less drastic incisions in human existence. Men still had clear vision of the life of the soul; to-day they have no such vision. Even in dreams the transition from the sleeping to the waking state is hardly perceptible and the dream, with its pictures, is regarded as part of the sleeping state, as itself a semi-sleep. But what came to primeval man in his dream-pictures belonged, in reality, to a waking state, not yet fully awake. He knew that what he received in these dream-pictures was reality. In this way he felt and experienced his life of soul. Therefore questions about birth and death could not seem to him as crucial as they must inevitably be today. This condition was very marked in the earliest epochs of human evolution on the earth, but it faded gradually away. As men began more and more to be aware that death makes a drastic incision not only into earthly physical life, but into the life of the soul as well, their attention was inevitably drawn to the fact of birth. On account of this change in human consciousness, earthly life assumed a character of increasing importance for men; and because experience of the life of soul was also growing dim, they felt themselves more and more removed during their sojourn on earth from an existence of soul-and-spirit. This condition became more and more marked as the time of the Mystery of Golgotha approached. Even among the Greeks it had reached the point where they felt life outside the physical body to be a shadow-existence, and regarded death as an event fraught with tragedy. The knowledge received by men from their earliest, divine Teachers did not cover the facts of birth and death. Hence before the Mystery of Golgotha took place, men were exposed to the danger of having to face experiences in their earthly life that would be unknown and incomprehensible to their earthly consciousness namely, the experiences of birth and death. Now let us imagine that those early, divine Teachers of humanity had descended to the earthly realm at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. They might have been able, through the Mysteries, to reveal themselves to a few specially prepared pupils or men of knowledge, to communicate to priests trained in the Mysteries the wealth of the ancient, divine wisdom; but in the whole range of these teachings there would have been nothing concerning birth and death. The riddle of death would not have been presented to man through the revelations of this divine wisdom, not even within the Mysteries; and in their outer life on earth men would have observed facts of vital importance and interest to them namely the facts of birth and death of which the gods had said nothing! And why? You must approach this matter with a certain freedom from bias, laying aside many of the conceptions that have become part of traditional religion to-day, and be clear about the following. The Beings of the higher Hierarchies who were the divine Teachers of primeval humanity had never experienced birth and death in their own realms. For birth and death, in the form in which they are experienced on the earth, are experienced only on the earth, and, again, only by human beings on the earth. The death of an animal and the dying of a plant are altogether different matters from the death of a human being. And in the divine worlds where dwelt the first great Teachers of mankind there is no birth or death, but only transformation, metamorphosis from one state of existence into another. These divine Teachers, therefore, had no inner understanding of the facts of dying and being-born. Now to these divine Teachers belongs the host of beings connected with Jahve, with the Bodhisattvas, with the early interpreters of the world to humanity. Just think how in the Old Testament, for example, the mystery of death as it confronts men, comes to be fraught with an increasing sense of tragedy, and how, in fact, none of the teaching conveyed by the Old Testament gives any adequate or revealing illumination on the subject of death. If, therefore, at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha there had happened nothing that differed from what had already happened in the realm of the earth, and in the higher worlds connected with the earth, men would have faced a terrible situation in their earthly evolution. On the earth they would have lived through the experiences of birth and death, which now confronted them, not as simple metamorphoses but as drastic transitions in their whole human existence, and they could have learnt nothing of the significance and purpose of death and of birth in the earthly life of the human being. In order that there might gradually be imparted to mankind teaching concerning birth and death, it was necessary for the Being we call the Christ to enter the realm of earthly life, the Christ Who indeed belongs to those worlds whence the ancient Teachers too had come, but Who in accordance with a decision taken in these divine worlds, accepted for Himself a destiny different from that of the other Beings of the divine Hierarchies connected with the earth. He lent Himself to the divine decree of higher worlds that He should incarnate in an earthly body and with His own divine soul pass through birth and death on earth. (see Note 2) Page 12 of 30

You see, therefore, that what came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha is not merely an inner affair of men or of the earth, but is equally an affair of the gods. Through the Event on Golgotha, the gods themselves for the first time acquired inner knowledge of the mystery of death and of birth on the earth, for they had previously had no part in either. Therefore we have this momentous fact before us: a divine Being resolved to pass through human destiny on the earth in order to undergo the same fate, the same experiences in earthly existence, as are the lot of man. Many things concerning the Mystery of Golgotha have become known to mankind. A tradition exists, the Gospels exists, the whole New Testament exists, and modern humanity approaches the Mystery of Golgotha for the most part by way of the New Testament and such interpretation of it as is possible to-day. But very little real insight into the Mystery of Golgotha is to be gained from the interpretations of the New Testament current at the present time. It is inevitable that modern humanity should pass through the stage of acquiring knowledge in this external way, but knowledge so gained is itself external. There is no realisation to-day of how differently men in the first Christian centuries looked back to the Mystery of Golgotha; how differently in a way that became impossible later on it was regarded by those who understood its import. The reason is that at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, although the change I have described was beginning to take place, vestiges of ancient, instinctive clairvoyance still survived in certain individuals. They were no more than vestiges, it is true, but they enabled men, until the fourth century A.D., to look back to the Mystery of Golgotha in a quite different way from that which was possible later on. It is not without meaning that at that time and some confirmation of this, although in very many respects wanting, can be found in the historical traditions emanating from the earliest Church Fathers and other Christian teachers those who came forward as teachers valued more highly than any written traditions the fact that they had received information concerning Christ Jesus from direct eye-witnesses, or from those who had been pupils of the Apostles themselves or again pupils of pupils of the Apostles, and so on. This continued until the fourth century A.D., so that a living connection was still claimed for those who were teaching at that time. As I have said, by far the greater part of the historical records have been destroyed, but those who study attentively what is left, can still discover by these external means what value was placed upon the testimony: I have had a teacher, he too had a teacher ... until at the end of the line was an Apostle who had seen the Saviour face to face. Even of this tradition a great deal has been lost. But still more has been lost of the genuine esoteric wisdom surviving during the first four centuries of Christendom thanks to the remaining vestiges of the old clairvoyant insight. External tradition had lost wellnigh everything that was known in those days about the Risen Christ, the Christ Who had passed through the Mystery of Golgotha and then, in a spirit-body, like the early teachers of primeval humanity, had taught certain chosen disciples after His Resurrection. (see Note 3) In the story, for example, of Christ meeting the disciples who had gone out to seek Him there are indications in the New Testament but scanty indications even there of the significance of the teachings given by the Risen Christ to His disciples. (see Note 4) And Paul himself regards his experience at Damascus as a teaching which, given by the Risen Christ, made the man Saul into Paul. In those early times there was full realisation that Christ Jesus, the Risen One, had secrets of a very special kind to impart to men. The fact that later on they were unable to receive these communications was due entirely to their own human evolution. For it was necessary that man should begin to unfold those forces of soul which, later, were to operate in the exercise of human freedom and of the human intellect. Evidence of this is clear from the fifteenth century onwards, but its beginnings can be traced to the fourth century. The question naturally arises: What was the content and substance of the teachings which could be given by the Risen Christ to His chosen disciples? He had appeared to them in the same manner in which the divine Teachers had appeared to primeval humanity. But now, if I may so express it, He was able to tell them out of divine wisdom what He had experienced and other divine Beings had not. From His own divine vantage-point He was able to explain to them the mystery of birth and death. He was able to convey to them the knowledge that in the future there would arise in the men of earth a day-consciousness, unable to have direct perception of the immortal element in human life, a consciousness that is extinguished in sleep, so that in sleep too the immortal element is invisible even to the eyes of the soul. But He was also able to make them aware that it is possible for the Mystery of Golgotha to be drawn into the field of man's understanding. He was able to make clear to them what I will try to express in the following words. They can only be feeble, stammering words because human language has no others to offer, but I will try to express it in these halting words: The human body, He taught, has gradually become so dense, the death-forces in it so powerful that, although man will now be able to develop his intellect and his own inner freedom, he can do this only in a life that definitely experiences death, a life into which death makes a marked incision, a life from which vision of the immortal soul is obliterated during waking consciousness. But, so Christ taught His initiated disciples, you can receive into your souls a certain wisdom. It is the wisdom which through the Mystery of Golgotha, my own being has made possible for you, something with which you your selves can be filled if only you can attain the insight that Christ came down from spheres beyond the earth to the men of earth; if only you can come to realise that here on the earth there is something which cannot be perceived Page 13 of 30

by earthly means, but only by means higher than those of the earth; if you can behold the Mystery of Golgotha as a Divine Event set into earthly life; if you can apprehend that a god has passed through the Mystery of Golgotha. Through everything else that comes to fulfilment on earth you can acquire earthly wisdom, but in order to understand the significance of death to humanity it would avail you nothing. Earthly wisdom would suffice you only if you, like the men of earlier times, could feel no intense interest in death. But since you must needs be concerned with death, you must strengthen your perceptive faculty by drawing into it a force stronger than all earthly forces of perception, a force so strong that you can realise that in the Mystery of Golgotha there came to pass something to which all earthly laws of nature are inapplicable. If you can include in your beliefs only the laws of earthly nature, you will, it is true, be able to observe death, but you will never discover its significance for human life. But if you can attain the insight that the earth has now for the first time received its true meaning and purpose, that at this middle point of earth-evolution a Divine Event has taken place in the Mystery of Golgotha, an Event beyond the comprehension of earthly means of perception, then you are preparing a special power of wisdom. This power of wisdom is the same as the power of faith; it is a special power of Spirit-Wisdom, a power of faith born of wisdom. Strength of soul is expressed when a man says: I believe! I know through faith what I can never know by earthly means. This is a stronger force in me than when I claim to have knowledge of what can be fathomed merely by earthly means. A man is lacking, even were he to possess all the science known on earth, if his wisdom is able to embrace only what can be grasped by earthly means. To perceive the reality of the super-earthly within the earthly, a far greater inner activity must be unfolded. Contemplation of the Mystery of Golgotha gives a stimulus to unfold such inner activity. And in ever new variations, this teaching that a god had lived through a human destiny and had thereby united Himself with the destiny of the earth an experience hitherto unknown to the gods in their own realm was proclaimed over and over again by the Risen Christ to His disciples. And it worked with stupendous power. Try to realise the power of it by thinking of the conditions prevailing to-day. Less is demanded of a man who can grasp what his thinking has extracted from earthly concepts and also out of the generally acknowledged, traditional tenets of religion than of one who is required to attain understanding of the fact that there were some among the gods who, until the Mystery of Golgotha, possessed no wisdom concerning birth and death and then for the first time acquired this wisdom for the salvation of mankind. To penetrate into the realm of divine wisdom needs a very definite strength. No particular strength is required to repeat from some catechism, God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-divine, and so forth. One needs only to use the prefix all and there is the definition of the Divine ready-made, but utterly nebulous. People do not muster the courage to-day to penetrate into the wisdom of the gods. But this must happen. The divine Beings themselves added this wisdom which the gods acquired through the fact that One from among them passed through human birth and human death. That this secret should have been entrusted to Christ's first disciples after His Resurrection is a fact of supreme moment, and so was the sequel to it, that through this knowledge they were brought to realise clearly that man once possessed the power to behold and understand the eternal nature of his own soul. This understanding, this insight into the eternal nature of the human soul can never be acquired through brain-knowledge, that is, through the intellectual, cogitated knowledge which uses the brain as its instrument. It can never in any real sense be acquired unless, as in earlier times, nature comes to the help of man, through the kind of knowledge that may still be attained through a particular development of the human rhythmic system. Yoga achieved much while the old instinctive clairvoyance could still come to its aid, while the last possessors of instinctive clairvoyance were still practising yoga. But it is a long time since the modern Oriental, the Indian about whom many Westerners weave such fantastic ideas to-day has attained any real vision of the eternal essence of the human soul when he engages in his exercises. He lives for the most part in illusions, in that he has a fleeting experience belonging to some elemental reality of earthly life, and then reads into the experience something from his sacred books. Real and fundamental knowledge of the divine nature of the human soul has been possible for humanity only in two ways: either as primeval humanity attained it, or as man can again attain it to-day, in a much more spiritual way, through Intuitive cognition, through cognition which, rising to Imaginative knowledge, and then to knowledge through Inspiration, finally becomes Intuition. Now during earthly life the thinking part of the soul has poured itself into the human nervous system; it has built up this plastic structure and in it no longer has a separate existence. In the rhythmic system it is only partially absorbed. We can say of this is that there remains here some possibility of independent thought-activity. But the really eternal element of the human soul is hidden in the metabolic system, in the system which, for earthly life, has the most material function of all. Outwardly it is indeed the most material, but just because of this, the spiritual remains separate from it. The spiritual is drawn into, absorbed by the other material parts of the organism, by the brain and the rhythmic system, and is no longer there independently. In the crude materiality, the spiritual is present in itself. But to use it, a man must be able to see, to perceive, by means of the crude outer materiality. This was a possibility in Page 14 of 30

primeval humanity and, although it is not a condition to be striven after, it may still occur to-day in pathological states. It is known by very few, for example, that the secret of Nietzsche's style in Thus Spake Zarathustra lies in the fact that he imbibed certain poisonous substances which brought into play within him a particular rhythm, which is the distinctive style of this work. In Nietzsche, it was a definitely material substratum that was really doing the thinking. This, needless to say, is a pathological condition, although in a certain respect again there is a kind of grandeur in it. If we are to understand these things we must no longer have false ideas, either about them, or about Intuition and the like, which lie at the opposite pole. We must understand what it means that Nietzsche should have imbibed certain poisons a procedure not to be imitated which substances work in such a way that they lead to an etherisation, an etherealised mode of experience in the human organism. This irradiates the thinking and produces what we find in Thus Spake Zarathustra. Intuition, on the other hand, is able to perceive the spirit-and-soul as such, separated from matter. Nothing of a material nature is at work in Intuition as described in the books Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment or in An Outline of Occult Science. Here we have two opposite poles of spiritual knowledge. But in the Mysteries into which Christ sent His message, it was still known that men once possessed a sublime knowledge born of the working of material substances, born of metabolism. No attempt was made to awaken the old matter-born knowledge of spiritreality in the manner in which this had been done in primeval humanity, nor in the degenerate way subsequently pursued by hashisheaters and others with similar habits in order to acquire, through the workings of matter, knowledge not otherwise accessible. An attempt was made in quite another way to awaken this matter-born knowledge, namely, by clothing the Mystery of Golgotha in ritual, in mantric formulae, above all in the whole structure of the Mystery as Revelation, Offering, Transubstantiation, Communion, in the administration of the sacrament of the Eucharist in bread and wine. It was not poisons, therefore, but the Lord's Supper, clothed in what arises from the mantric formulae of the Mass, and from its fourfold membering: Gospel, Offering, Transubstantiation, Communion. For the intention was that after the fourth part of the Mass, the Communion, actual communion among the faithful should take place, with the aim of giving an intimation, at least, that thereby a knowledge leading to what was once achieved instinctively by the old metabolism-born knowledge, must be re-acquired. It is difficult for men to-day to form any conception of this metabolism-born knowledge, because they have no inkling of how much more a bird knows than a man although not in the intellectual, abstract sense how much more even a camel, an animal wholly given up to the process of metabolism, knows than a man. It is, of course, a dim knowledge, a dream-knowledge, for degeneration has entered to-day into what was contained in the metabolic process of primeval man. But on the basis of the earliest Christian teachings, the sacrament at the altar was conceived as a means of pointing to the need to re-acquire a knowledge of the eternal nature of the human soul. At the time when the Risen Christ was teaching His initiated disciples it was beyond men's power to acquire such knowledge by themselves. It was taught them by Christ. And until the fourth century of Christendom this knowledge was in a certain sense still alive. Then it ossified in the Western Catholic Church, because, although the Mass was retained, the Church could no longer interpret it. The Mass, conceived merely as a continuation of the Lord's Supper described in the Bible, can obviously have no meaning unless meaning is imbued into it. The establishment of the Mass with its wonderful ritual, its reproduction of the four stages of the Mysteries, stems from the fact that the Risen Christ was also the Teacher of those who were able to receive these teachings in a higher, esoteric sense. In the centuries following there remained only an elementary kind of instruction about the Mystery of Golgotha. A faculty was developing in man whereby, to begin with, this knowledge concerning the Mystery of Golgotha was veiled, concealed. Men had first to become firmly rooted in what is connected with death. This is the stage of early medieval civilisation. Traditions have been preserved. The rituals of many secret societies existing at the present time contain formulae which, for those who understand and recognise them, are unmistakably reminiscent of the teachings given by the Risen Christ to His initiated disciples. But the individuals who come together in all kinds of masonic and other secret societies do not understand what their ritual contains, have not the remotest inkling of it. It would be possible to learn a great deal from these rituals because they contain much wisdom, even if it be in dead letters, but this does not happen. Now that mankind has passed through that period in evolution which as it were shed darkness over the Mystery of Golgotha, the time has come when human longings are reaching out for a deeper knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha. And that longing can be satisfied only through spiritual science, only through the advent of a new knowledge which works in a spiritual way. The full significance for humanity of the Mystery of Golgotha will then again be acquired. Then men will again come to realise that the most important teachings of all were given, not by the Christ Who until the Mystery of Golgotha lived in a physical body, but by the Risen Christ after the Mystery of Golgotha. Men will acquire a new understanding for words of an Initiate such as Paul: If Christ be not risen, then is your faith vain. After the event at Damascus, Paul knew that everything depended upon grasping the reality of the Risen Christ, upon the power of the Risen Christ being united with the human being in such a way that he can affirm: Not I, but Christ in me. It is an all too characteristic contrast to this that there should have arisen in the 19 th century a kind of theology which has really no desire to know anything about the reality of the Risen Christ. It is also a significant symptom of our times that a tutor of theology in Basle Overbeck, a friend of Nietzsche should have written a book about the Christianity of modern theology, in which he sets out to prove that this modern theology is no longer Christian. He concedes that there may still be a great deal in the world that is Christian, but he declares that the theology taught by Christian theologians is not Christian. That, in effect, is the view of Overbeck, himself a Christian theologian. And this view is brilliantly substantiated in his book. In respect of the understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, mankind has come to a point where those officially appointed by their Church to tell men something of the Mystery of Golgotha are least of all capable of doing so. As a result of this there is springing up the human longing to learn something about the need for Christ that every individual may experience in his heart.

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I have often made it evident that Anthroposophy has many services to render to humanity to-day. One significant service will be that rendered to the religious life. This is in no sense the founding of a new religion. With the Event of a god passing through the human destiny of birth and death, the earth received its meaning and purpose in such completeness that this Event can never be surpassed. To one who understands the nature of its founding it is quite evident that them can be no question of inaugurating a new religion after Christianity. To believe such a thing possible would be to have a false idea of Christianity. But as men themselves make strides in supersensible knowledge, the Mystery of Golgotha, and together with it the Christ Being Himself, will be more and more deeply understood. Anthroposophy would fain contribute to this understanding what perhaps it alone, at the present time, is able to contribute. For it is hardly possible anywhere else to hear about the divine Teachers of primeval humanity who spoke of all things, save only of birth and death of which they had had no experience and about that Teacher Who appeared to His initiated disciples in the same manner as that in which the divine primeval Teachers had appeared, but Whose momentous teachings included the crucial one of how a god shared the human destiny of birth and death. This revelation was intended to give men the power to regard death which from that time must inevitably be a matter of concern to them in such a way that they would realise: Death indeed there is, but the soul is beyond its reach! The fact that men can assert this is due to the Mystery of Golgotha. Paul knew that if the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place, if Christ had not risen, the soul would be involved in the destiny of the body, that is to say in the dispersion of the elements of the body into the elements of the earth. Had Christ not risen, had he not united Himself with earthly forces, the human soul would unite with the body between birth and death in such a way that the soul would be united, too, with all the molecules which become part of the earth through cremation or decomposition. It would have come about that at the end of earth-evolution, human souls would go the way of earthly matter. But in that Christ has passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, He wrests this fate away from the human soul. The earth will go her way in the universe, but just as the human soul can emerge from the single human body, so will all human souls be able to free themselves from the earth and go forward to a new cosmic existence. Christ is thus intimately united with earth-existence. But the union can he understood only if the mystery is approached in the way indicated. To one or another the thought may occur: What, then, of those who cannot believe in Christ? Here let me give you reassurance. Christ died for all men, for those, too, who to-day cannot unite with Him. The Mystery of Golgotha is an objective fact, unaffected by human knowledge. Human knowledge, however, strengthens the inner forces of the soul. All the means, therefore, at the disposal of human knowledge, human feelings, and human will, must be applied, in order that in the further course of earth-evolution the presence of Christ in this earth-evolution shall be an experienced reality, through direct knowledge. Note 1: See also: Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity. Lecture given at Dornach, 22 nd April, 1922. Anthroposophical Publishing Company. Note 2: Cp. Epistle to the Hebrews II, 14, 15. Note 3: Not baptism alone sets us free, but knowledge (Gnosis): who we are, what we have become, where we were, whither we have sunk, whither we hasten; whence we are redeemed, what is birth, and what is re-birth. Fragment from the Eastern School of Valentinus, copied by his pupil Theodotus. Note 4: See Acts, I, 3.

Knowledge and Initiation - Cognition of the Christ Through Anthroposophy Lecture: Knowledge and Initiation

Anthroposophy, as I am attempting to expound it, represents a science of initiation originating in the necessity of the day. A science of initiation has existed always. Anthroposophy springs from the same foundation as ancient science, but in the course of human evolution ages succeed each other and vary in their demands. And thus the science of initiation arising out of the modern spirit is in some respects peculiar to this age, just as there was an initiation science of the Middle Ages, of Ancient Greece and of yet older periods of human evolution. In the course of history the whole constitution and mood and tendency of the human soul undergoes changes. The so-called science of initiation has to investigate and understand what is the eternal in the human being and in the universe. We have to consider the needs and the subconscious longings of today, and a science of initiation, an ancient science that meets those needs and longings, is what Anthroposophy strives for. It is for that very reason that it meets with such opposition, for the present time, standing as it does in the midst of the thoughts of natural science, is filled with certain judgments and prejudices which very often prevent us from consciously recognizing the subconscious longings within. And yet, if we regard life without bias, we have to understand that the conceptions of external natural science do not reach to what is eternal in the human being and in the universe, when, on the other hand, we of to-day turn aside from Page 16 of 30

the external thoughts of natural science and attempt to find the eternal by inner mystic contemplation, we may indeed reach to a certain amount of faith or belief, but we do not attain that clear knowledge which to-day is necessary. Between these two extremes Anthroposophy has to take its stand. So it is that Anthroposophy is so generally misunderstood, because it endeavours in accordance with modern needs to attain to a science of initiation which is exact and of the nature of knowledge, and not of the nature of vague kinds of mysticism. But to understand what are the unconscious longings and needs of our time is to understand the need for such a thing as Anthroposophy. I am not dwelling any longer on this introductory aspect because I assume that those who are here this evening have already experienced two things: that our natural scientific thoughts borrowed from natural science and modeled upon it do not reach far enough to penetrate and place before us the eternal in man and in the world, and that mysticism only reaches in a vague and unclear way and therefore, in that sense, is insufficient to meet present needs. One could prove these things by a multitude of examples if one were to dwell upon them further. Anthroposophy seeks for what may be called exact clairvoyance, again to borrow a term from scientific usage; that is to say it seeks to develop a knowledge and perception of the spiritual worlds which is no less exact, no less conscientious in the sense of exact science, than is the best tendency and striving of our natural scientific age. I shall now indicate briefly how this path is begun. We must consider in the first place what we know in the ordinary life of the soul by means of our ordinary self-knowledge as the three forces or faculties that work in the soul, viz., thinking, feeling, and willing. We know in our thoughts that we are, as it were, awake; that we are essentially wakeful human beings. It is by virtue of our thinking life, which ceases between going to sleep at night and regaining consciousness in the morning, that we are awake, and it is in our thoughts that our soul-life is filled with a kind of clarity, an inner light. Next, as to the feeling life. The feelings are perhaps even more important for the human being (or he attaches more importance to them) than are his thoughts, but we know from our ordinary observation that the feelings of our soul-life are far less clear and filled with light than our thoughts. In a sense our thoughts, our conceptual life, play into our feelings and bring them into a certain clarity, but our feelings seem to surge up from the unknown depths of our life. They do not appear with the full clearness of our life of thought. Then we come to the third category of our soul-life, the impulses of will. Our impulses of will come from still deeper down and are still less clear and have less light. But from what we know already in the observation of our ordinary life about thinking, feeling and willing, we realize at once how little we know of what is happening within us; for example, when an impulse of will arises making us take some action! We realize how little we know of what is happening in that life of will itself, and yet we find that thinking, feeling and willing still form a kind of unity in our soul-life. At the one pole is our conceptual life, our thinking life, we find in the way in which we join the concepts together like the links of a chain that there is an element of will at work in the process. Then passing to the other pole, the life of will for the feeling life stands midway between the two we find that for willing there is a certain element of conception; the concepts play into our willing life. So we see that in our soul-life there are the two poles, thinking on the one hand and willing on the other, with feeling as it were between the two, and that in these three something works in them all. Now with the development of a higher science, the science of initiation, according to modern requirements and to Anthroposophy, it is necessary to train, develop and evolve by our own conscious activity both the conceptual thinking-life and the will-life, and it is thus that we can trace what has been called an exact clairvoyance, a modern science of initiation. In the one case we have to carry out exercises in thought, and in the other of will. So it is that the way is sought to pass through those portals which lead into the super-sensible worlds; indeed without entering those worlds in consciousness it is impossible to gain that clear knowledge we need of the eternal in the soul and in the universe. It is while taking the exercises in thought that special attention has to be paid to what is not generally observed in ordinary life, viz., that slight additional element of will which is playing into the thinking life. This subject is dealt with in much greater detail in my book that is translated into English under the title Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and How to Attain It. We have above all to train that element of will which is at work in our thinking life, and in a sense have to exercise it. We have to select that very thing which passes unnoticed in the ordinary everyday thought-life, and pay less attention to what is most important to us in that life. We have to form a clear concept in our minds its content is not of much importance; it may be either a simple or a complex concept and then hold it as the full content of the soul to the exclusion of all else. To do this calls forth the full energy of the soul and an exercise of strong will power. The selected concept must be clearly abstracted for a certain time from everything else in the world, so that the forces of the soul are concentrated upon it alone. In the case of one individual these exercises may have to be carried on for months, in the case of another years, but sooner or later, provided they are undertaken systematically and with persistent energy, the soul-life will develop and experience an inner strengthening. What happens may be compared with the effect produced by exercising a certain muscle, by its doing the work for which it is best fitted, until it is developed to its full power. After a time has elapsed (varying, as we have seen, according to the individual) there will come a certain moment when the soul will have an experience of such strength and power that it will be shaken to its very foundations. This experience may be described somewhat as follows: with the strengthening of the soul-life the door is opened to an entirely new way of thinking and to entirely new thoughts. It may be compared with the way in which sense impressions and thoughts are experienced in the ordinary soul-life. How do we experience sense impressions? In all sense impressions such as those of colour and sound, heat and cold, there is a certain vitality and life; they are experienced in a very living way and in the full sap of life. But in the way in which the thoughts are experienced there is something abstract, something vague and sketchy in outline; it is all grey and pale as compared with the intensity and living nature of the sense experiences. Now, when this new way of thinking has been attained, we Page 17 of 30

find that the whole thought-life has become as intense and as full of life as is the ordinary soul-life in sense experiences and perceptions. It is called imaginative thinking; imaginative not in the sense of arbitrary fantasies in the mind but a pictorial, formative thought filled with inner life and possessing a quality of strength and intensity comparable with the sense impressions of the ordinary life. And with this life of imaginative thought, which is saturated with a kind of plastic vitality, there comes the realization that within us is an entirely new human being of which we never knew consciously before. The ordinary physical human being may be described as an organism in space; we see the different organs spread out in space, so to speak, and know that they are all connected together, that the heart is connected with the whole and the right hand with the left and so forth. The new human being that we come to know within us in the life of imaginative thought, however, is better described as an organism in time. Suddenly there stands before us in a single imaginative tableau or picture a memory of our whole life; in the first place to a point in early childhood; not, however, in the way in which isolated memories of the past appear more or less dully in the ordinary consciousness, but as the whole individual life laid out before us in a single moment. In this sense we, as human beings, are time-organisms. We have come to experience what in the modern science of initiation are called the formative forces of the body; not the full human being, using the term body in its extended sense, but its formative forces which in the older science of initiation are called the ether or etheric body. So we come to experience something that works within and builds up the physical organism of man; to know that when we entered this life in the physical body of a child we brought with us certain super-sensible forces direct from the super-sensible world; to know that these forces were modeling and moulding our physical organs, our minds, the circulation of our blood, even in our earliest childhood, and were gradually taking possession of the whole of our organism stage by stage. In the space-organism of the physical body the formative forces of the etheric body were building all the time. With this experience comes also an understanding of how we enter this world with certain particular faculties and qualities of character, and of how one individual will develop in quite a different direction from another. This knowledge of what works in our physical organism as a super-sensible thing brings us to the stage of the exact higher knowledge which the present age needs as its science of initiation. Thus to know the formative forces or etheric body from imaginative knowledge is the first and necessary stage we must pass through before we can learn to know what is essentially the eternal which was working in the human being in the spiritual worlds before birth. As we have to learn to carry the power of will into our thoughts, and to strengthen that power in the holding of thoughts with the full forces of the soul, so we then have to carry out exercises in the opposite direction. We have to attain the power to extract the soul from the concept that we have learned to hold to the exclusion of everything else, so that they fill our consciousness, and then to extract ourselves from them so that our consciousness is empty of content and yet we maintain our wakefulness. Now let us consider our ordinary life. Here our consciousness is always filled with thoughts, sense perceptions and memories, and the moment they cease to be there we tend to drop into sleep. Therefore it needs a still greater activity, a greater power, to hold the soul in full wakefulness when it is rendered empty of what has been held within it by imagination and concentration. This power is attained in the next stage if, by means of the exercises referred to earlier, we have once attained the power to hold a concept in our consciousness to the exclusion of all else. It consists in being able to detach the soul from the particular concept leaving the consciousness empty of content and yet wakeful, and once this is acquired there enters into the emptied but wakeful consciousness something which is entirely new to us, something which is not of the nature of a reflection, a memory or a conception, but a supersensible reality. It floods into the soul, this spiritual reality of being which is in all the individual things of the world, and we see it blossoming forth from everything in nature. Into the consciousness that we have had the strength to train through meditation and concentration, and then to empty of content while keeping it fully wakeful, there streams the reality of spiritual being so that we perceive the super-sensible reality of being in the world. This is the super-sensible reality of which Anthroposophy and the science of initiation speak, not as of a vague beyond but of something that is present, that is certainly outside the world of the senses and not perceived therein. So we may learn to penetrate into an entirely new thinking, to see that whereas our ordinary thought is making use of the time and the instruments of the physical brain and the nervous system, this new thinking is independent of the physical organism and outside it. It is thinking purely through the forces of the soul. This new thinking is so entirely different in its conditions from our ordinary life of thought that we may say we recognize for example that in this new spiritual perception, this spiritually perceptive thought, you have something in which there is no such thing as ordinarily you have in memory. In our ordinary life of thought, if it is healthy and sound at all, there is memory. If we learn a certain thought or concept we can call it to memory again. But in this super-sensible thinking, which does not make use of the physical organism, we cannot call back to mind; we have no memory of the experiences in this new thought we have had, and if we wish to return to it we must only remember the activity of soul, the exercises and the precise path which we took in inner activity and concentration of will in order to reach that particular knowledge or super-sensible concept. We can remember the path our soul took and we can repeat that path. Then that perception, that super-sensible knowledge, is freshly again before us. In the physical world if we have seen a rose, for example, and want to have it raised before us again in all its full colour and freshness, it is no use trying to remember it. No memory will restore what we received by our sense perception; we must come before the rose again. So in the higher super-sensible thinking to have our thoughts again before us in all their freshness we must return by the path that led us to them. Let me put this to you in a personal way. When I speak on the higher knowledge it is not from reading books on the subject or from hearing about it, but as one who has attained to and experienced it. If I give a lecture I cannot do so like one who speaks on external science, who simply has his knowledge systematized in his memory and then gives it out; I must pass through the full experiences, through all those qualities of feeling and of thought, of inner life and activity, through which I had to pass before I had gained that knowledge for the first time. I must speak from the full freshness of the past to give it full freshness in the present. So different are the conditions of this higher knowledge that is attained by the science of initiation from the conditions of the ordinary knowledge which is connected with the physical instruments of the physical brain and nervous system. There is yet another faculty of soul in which the student of the higher knowledge must train himself. It is that faculty which we know in ordinary life as presence of mind, the power to meet a circumstance that comes upon us suddenly and, without spending a Page 18 of 30

long time in deliberation, to perceive the right course immediately. This faculty must be developed and enhanced, so that he who has these experiences before him in the super-sensible world, shall be able to grasp the reality of the spiritual world as it flits past. He must have the presence of mind to recognize it at once. Now by the exercising and training of the soul to attain the power of detaching it from the content of consciousness, and of holding it empty and yet fully awake, we are led to perceive something still higher than was explained in the first part of this lecture. We are led to what is essentially the soul and spiritual being of man that had lived in the spiritual worlds before it united with the physical substance of heredity, with the physical bodily substance, for the course of this earthly life. We come to know our own eternal being, our life of soul and spirit in the spiritual worlds before birth. This second stage of knowledge is known as inspired or inspirational knowledge, as a technical term in this modern science of initiation. Just as the outer air enters our lungs through inhalation so does the spiritual world enter into our emptied consciousness. Thus we inhale, so to speak, the spiritual world as we knew it before we descended into physical earth existence. So we learned to know one facet of our being, the other side is the spiritual immortality. This will be dealt with in the third part of this lecture. We come to know in this second stage, but to know clearly, what might be defined as the birthlessness or unbornness (just as we speak of deathlessness or immortality) of that other side of the eternal in man, viz., that which existed in the spiritual worlds, his life in those worlds before birth. Our present age has very few conceptions, even though it may have dim conceptions through faith, about immortality, but in this second stage we learn to know our birthlessness, our eternal on the other side, our life in the spiritual reality before we entered this particular earthly life. This higher inspired knowledge leads us also in another direction which however can only be touched upon here, since it would take many lectures to describe it in detail. Just as we learn to know the super-sensible, the eternal reality of our own being, and to enter through inspired knowledge into our own soul and spirit before we entered this physical life, so do we learn to recognize the spirit in the world around us. This must be described in a few short sketches. If we look out upon the universe the sun appears to us as a physical ball, but when we enter into inspirational knowledge we see it not only as the concentrated physical object that is seen by the senses. We see something that spreads through the whole universe and is accessible to us, namely, the spiritual quality and being of the sun, the sun-like being itself. What we see everywhere in mineral, in plant and animal, what is in man too as sun-force that we see physically concentrated when we look up to the sun. Though it may sound strange from the point of view of modern science, what we thus attain through inspirational knowledge is the power to perceive this sun-like being in everything, in the mineral, the plant, the animal and the human being. We learn to perceive the sun-force working in every single organ, in the heart, the liver and so forth, of the physical organism, and in everything within the whole universe that is accessible to us. This is the actual reality that is attained through the science of initiation. And out of inspiration-knowledge we see that just as the sun does not only have a sharp outline, the same applies to the moon. The external physical moon is only the physical concentration, while the moon-substance streams through the whole universe. It is in mineral, plant and animal and every organ of man, in them the moon- and sun-substances live on. This experience comes in the second stage of inspirational knowledge, and it leads to something which is eminently practical and which already has been developed as a science, viz., the anthroposophical science of medicine. By its means we learn to see how in every human organ there is a kind of balance between the sun-force and the moon-force, the sun-substance and the moon-substance. In the former we recognize that there is something that expresses itself in the life element, in the blossom and growth of youthful forces, and in the moon-force something that expresses itself in degeneration and aging, in the thinning down of those blossoming, living forces which we can describe as a spiritual reality, as the sun-force. We recognize that there is a kind of balance and that both forces, both qualities of being which are at work permeating every single organ, are necessary; we see how that when we are sick it is because there is a preponderance, an imbalance of the one force over the other. Hence it becomes possible to exercise a healing influence on this or that organ of a sick human being by bringing to bear upon it the particular forces that are at work in some plant or mineral from the external world; the preponderance of one force at work in the sick man is counteracted by a particular plant or mineral in which the opposite spiritual force is at work. So we attain to a definite and rational science of medicine, and one that has not merely collected a number of empirical results but is built up scientifically upon rational conceptions. I have shown how we can come to a true self-knowledge, how this can also help us in practical life. I have shown this for one field of activity, it is also possible to do the same for others. So we can say: initiation science provides on the one hand the basis for the deepest longings of the human soul; on the other, gives us what we need to work practically in the world, but deeper than through external science. This second aspect of human knowledge leads to the Spirit of the Cosmos. Higher still is that which leads us to conscious knowledge of man's passing through the gate of death. It is only when this inspirational knowledge is attained that we come to perceive and recognize in full consciousness, the inner soul nature of our own human being. We then recognize our reality, the reality of our existence purely in soul, that is to say, independently of the body, for we recognize how we lived without a physical body in the spiritual worlds before birth. Having thus dealt with the inspirational knowledge that brings us experience of our spiritual life before birth, I now come to the third stage of higher knowledge, that which leads us to conscious knowledge of the passing through the gate of death to immortality. This knowledge of the soul-spiritual of man remains one-sided if there is progress only up to inspired knowledge, before birth. To obtain knowledge of life after death, the exercises to develop supersensible knowledge must be raised to a still higher degree. This time, just as to start with, the element of will was trained and carried into the life of thought which thus became strengthened, so now it is a matter of carrying the thoughts into the life of will. For example, suppose that in the evening we set ourselves to think over the events and experiences of the day that is past, not however by beginning with the morning and following out the events in the order in Page 19 of 30

which they took place, but beginning with those that were the most recent and tracing them backwards. What is the effect of this exercise of following the events of the day in the opposite way from their natural sequence? In our ordinary life and experience our thoughts all the while are being moulded and conditioned and determined by the course of our experiences in time; as they occur so do our thoughts take their impression. Whereas in those exercises whereby we pass from one event or experience to another in the reverse order we are training a strong element of will, not in the way that is determined by the external events or experiences but in the opposite way. By this means we develop strong forces of will and carry the thinking life into the willing life. It may be done by remembering a tune or melody backwards, or by following the action of a drama from the fifth Act back to the first. It may at first only be possible to pick out isolated episodes during the day, but gradually the power is attained of having the whole of the day's experiences before us in a kind of picture, passing backwards from the evening to the morning. Thus do we drive the power of thought right down into our will-life. Further, the will-life should be trained so strongly that not only do we go about our life with those qualities and faculties and characteristics which we already had in childhood, or gained through education; we also carry on a rigorous self-education as mature men and women, especially if we set ourselves deliberately to train one or other specific quality or characteristic wherein we are lacking, and to develop along those lines, no matter if the exercises take a number of years. Thus by self-education we train ourselves to will, until we come to pass into the super-sensible world from yet another side. This may be explained as follows. Think of our soul life; what is our volitional life like? For instance, we have a certain conception, and as a result we wish, let us say, to raise our arm; a conception and then an act of will. But we have no knowledge of the way in which we raise our arm; that will-process by means of which we pass from conception to action is entirely hidden from us. We are asleep, so to speak, in our will life, and we are awake in our conceptual and inner thought-life. By way of comparison, how is it that the eye enables us to see the external world? It becomes transparent, and by thus practising a sort of self abnegation enables us to see right through it to the world. So much for the physical sense, but in a sense of soul the whole of our organism must be made transparent so that we learn to look on our physical organism in a physical sense and in a sense more transparent. Then do we come to experience the moment of death. When we have attained the power, through these exercises of the soul, of making our physical body transparent, we have before us a picture of the moment of death and we pass in conscious experience out through the gate of death and experience our immortality. This is the stage of Intuitive knowledge, the true intuitive knowledge. We know that once we have reached this stage after passing through Imagination and Inspiration, that we then belong to the universe as an eternal being, that we behold the spirit in the universe with the eternal spirit in us. That is the plateau initiation science reaches when it adapts to modern consciousness. In old times it rose in us in an atavistic, dreamlike way, but today it has to be in full consciousness, from the transitory to the eternal. The conclusion should not be drawn that this science of initiation is only of importance to those who immediately set out to acquire these higher faculties of knowledge which have been described as imagination, inspiration and intuition. No. It is necessary for every human being, but just as it is not given to every man to become a painter so it is with this science. Everyone with a healthy and unbiased artistic sense can understand and appreciate a painting, and in the same way those who through the science of initiation have attained imaginational, inspirational and intuitional knowledge of the spiritual world, can describe that knowledge to their fellow men. And when once shown it can be understood by those who will exercise the simple unbiased faculties of thought and judgment normal to our present stage of development; such people can then take their stand upright as human beings equal to the tasks of life in the present age. We must not meet this science of initiation with all sorts of prejudices and all sorts of confusions arising out of the prejudices and habits of thought and judgment that are external. For example, we must not confuse it with any kind of vision and hallucination, for it is outside and beyond the visionary, hallucinatory, or the mystical experiences. Imagination, inspiration and intuition are the very opposite of such. What is the characteristic of hallucinatory and visionary experience? It is that the person is completely given up to his visions and hallucinations; dependent upon them and therefore unable to maintain his full independence. But when undergoing this higher training of the soul that has been described, when we are developing this higher knowledge, imagination, inspiration and intuition in the soul, all the time there is standing beside us, fully present and fully there, the ordinary human being with his feet on the ground, his firm and sound judgment unhampered, entirely capable of exercising criticism, and with the full presence of mind of the ordinary healthy human being at the present stage. We are not completely given up and lost in these spiritual experiences but maintain full control; standing beside us is a normal and healthy human being. Anthroposophy is actually a continuation of that modern striving for knowledge which has led to the results of natural science with its achievements of external scientific knowledge. This the anthroposophist would by no means decry, but would maintain that the results of external science need to be supplemented and completed, in the present experience and stage of the world, by a science extending into the higher spiritual worlds. In that sense it is a continuation of the true striving for knowledge of our age, and despite the triumphs of natural science it may well be said by those with a heart and an understanding of the experiences of the modern world, that the need of men for this higher knowledge is being proclaimed on every side. One may speak, for instance, of the need for higher knowledge in the religious and moral and ethical demands of the human soul. The subject that will be dealt with in the following lecture is the application of this science of initiation to an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. In conclusion, just as we see the external features and physiognomy of a man confronting us but do not know him well until we become his friend, entering into his life with heart and soul until we know him from within, so it is with the natural science that we have attained so far. For it shows the external features or physiognomy of the world, and the need of the world and of humanity to-day is to gain a knowledge that not only shows those things but enters into the spiritual and soul-life of the universe. It is that which this higher knowledge of initiation reaches; something that perceives the spiritual and soul-being in all the universe and in the human being himself. In that sense and to develop to its real completion, the fundamental striving for knowledge, this science of initiation springing from the needs and from the spirit of the age in which we live and whose tasks we have to accomplish. Page 20 of 30

Knowledge and Initiation - Cognition of the Christ Through Anthroposophy Lecture: Cognition of the Christ Through Anthroposophy
Clairvoyance, which is the basis of the modern science of initiation, has always existed. In the past ages it was something that rose up within the human being like an elemental force, and on the path of initiation those who had gone through fewer stages were essentially dependent for their progress upon the authority of those who had gone through more stages than they. But to meet the needs of the human soul of today we cannot build on authority; to do so would be to contradict the stage it has now reached. In our age the methods are entirely built, as in external science, upon the continuous and full control of the individuality and personality; in the soul life there must be control in every stage and in every step taken by the new candidate for initiation. Hence in speaking of exact clairvoyance in connection with the modern science of initiation we use the word exact as it is used in the term exact science. Yesterday I spoke of the insight we gain into the cosmos and into the working of all things through the modern science of initiation. That insight is by no means something which, when we study it, lives in the soul merely as a theory or an abstract conception; it is something which becomes a living, spiritual force which penetrates us fully in all our powers and faculties when we allow it to work upon us. Thus the anthroposophical spiritual movement has been made effective in many spheres of life and particularly in that of the artistic life. Through the help and self-sacrifice of its friends and members in many countries the movement has been able to build the Goetheanum, its headquarters at Dornach, near Basle, Switzerland, [ Refers to the first Goetheanum, destroyed by fire on December 31, 1922. Rebuilt as the present Goetheanum. (Ed.) ] as an independent school of anthroposophical science. And in all its forms this building expresses that same deep spiritual reality which finds utterance through the spoken and the written word for the ideas and thoughts of the science. Had any other spiritual movement in our time required to build a headquarters it would have commissioned an architect to design it on Antique, Renaissance or Gothic lines, or in one of the prevailing styles. This the Anthroposophical Movement, by reason of its inner nature, could not do. The architectural forms of the Goetheanum are drawn from the same source out of which the ideas of the super-sensible spring, as they are proclaimed through the world. Everything that is found in Dornach, be it sculpture or painting, is carried by a new style out of which Anthroposophy is born in this modern age. Whoever visits this School for Spiritual Science will find that on the one hand the anthroposophical world view is proclaimed from the rostrum in words and on the other hand the forms of the building and the paintings express in an artistic way what is expressed by the word. That which can work from the stage should only be another form of revelation than that what can be effected through the word. Anthroposophy should come out of the deepest foundations of humanity, of which theoretical Anthroposophy is only one branch, education and the arts are the others. In this way anthroposophical life becomes a factor in the most varied fields of human existence. The Waldorf School, which has been founded in Stuttgart, is not in any sense a school where children are taught a particular anthroposophical conception of the world. It is one where the teachers themselves, not so much in what they teach as in how they do so and in the whole way in which they exercise the art of education are permeated in their faculties with that which anthroposophy can give them. Reference could be made to other directions in which the modern science of initiation is proving itself of use in every branch of human life and activity. Moreover it operates upon and vitalizes the religious needs of civilized humanity, and as these needs are deeply connected with an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha it is with that subject that I propose to deal now. Let me begin by connecting what I have to say with what was said yesterday about the path of spiritual development for modern times leading to imagination, inspiration and intuition. I showed how by imagination and concentration, by means of certain exercises, the student can develop his thought-power until it becomes something which may be called imaginative in the real sense of the word, and in such a way that thought becomes not what it ordinarily is abstract, cold, and in outline sketchy if compared with the intense vitality of sense impressions but imaginative, pictorial, vivid and full of life, and in these characteristics no way inferior to impressions of the senses. The man who has attained to imaginative thinking, has something as full of life as when in normal daily existence he yields to the impressions of the world of colour or of sound. But between the students of the new science of Initiation who attain to this imaginative thought, and those who abandon themselves to uncontrolled vision and hallucination, there is an important difference. The man who is subject to visions and hallucinations is not aware that the pictures which arise before him are subjective; on the other hand, he who has imaginative thought is fully aware that what he has before him is not an external reality but is something subjective having its origin in his own inner life. He knows the subjective nature of that imaginative picture-world. He knows too, that when through imaginative thought he comes to perceive what was called yesterday his time organism the formative force body that works within the physical body as its sculpturer and architect he is perceiving the first spiritual super-sensible thing that he can experience, and something that essentially belongs to his own inner being. Then there comes the second stage on that path of development when he becomes so strong that he is not only able to concentrate the full forces of his soul at will upon the concepts, and then upon the imaginative pictures he has before him in imaginative thought, but can divert that picture world away from his consciousness while maintaining it in a fully wakeful condition. He is now ready for the real imaginations to pour into him from the external world spiritually, speaking through the outside spiritual universe, i.e., the objective imaginations as against the subjective picture-world that he had before. Here is attained the stage I have described as inspirational knowledge. He perceives his own spiritual being as it exists independently of his physical bodily organism, and as it existed in the worlds of soul and spirit before he entered into this physical life through conception and birth. He has before him a picture of his prenatal existence in the spiritual world and of the spiritual realities of the whole universe, and comes in contact through conscious knowledge with the spiritual reality of man and of the universe. Thus, through this imaginative, inspirational knowledge, he Page 21 of 30

discovers what he was before he descended into this physical incarnation in a physical body for this life. He discovers also that when he came down from the spiritual worlds he carried with him into this physical life the power of thought which he here possesses in his ordinary consciousness. What is this power of thought? It is that which he already had in his life in the spiritual worlds before birth, but ordinary consciousness only shows it in a pale and abstract outline. He then comes to recognize something that may be thus described: he gazes upon the picture at the gate of death, and the moment of death, and sees that the physical body is no longer held together and built up in its whole forces by the force of an indwelling human soul but is given over to the forces of the earth as they work in the external mineral world; he sees how, through decay or the process of burning, the human physical body is given up to those mineral forces and assimilated with the earth. He sees by comparison how, in effect, what is carried into the earthly life through birth is something (speaking now in the sense of the soul) that dies into the physical body just as the latter dies into the earth at death. What he had in his power of thought in the ordinary consciousness was something that was vital and full of spiritual life in the spiritual worlds before conception and birth, but was then killed in the physical body so that it appeared in ordinary consciousness as the power of deadened thought. Because of this fact knowledge of today is so unsatisfactory for man, as he comprehends, in a certain sense, only lifeless nature. It is an illusion when he thinks that through scientific experiments he can reach anything else. Certainly there will be progress beyond representing only lifeless nature; they will be able to create organic substances. But it will not be understood by the deadened thinking, even when they have been created in the laboratories. With this kind of thinking, which is the corpse of the soul which is spiritually dead, only death can be understood. In what then does the process consist that was described as the development of the soul to imaginative, inspirational and intuitional knowledge? It is in effect this, that we call to life within ourselves what was killed in our power of thought. When we develop the living, imaginative, plastic thought, and inspirational and intuitional cognition, we call to life our power of thought, which was dead. We have now reached the point where we should be able to understand human evolution and history. Modern scientific history usually skims over the surface of external events, without regarding the metamorphoses that go on within the soul of man from age to age. We may ask why is it that in this age humanity has had to pass through a period when thought was abstract and of a deadened quality. The answer is that the full, living, spiritual thought, by its very vitality and fullness of life, exercises a kind of compulsion on the human soul. It is by passing through this dead and abstract thought that humanity has been able to achieve freedom, and for the evolution and development of freedom this stage was a necessary one. After man has attained to Imagination and Inspiration, he has to say to himself: Something has happened to me, which causes me anxiety. I mention this as an unusual fact, for the strange thing happens, that the man of today when he has risen to Imagination and Inspiration, experiences real anxiety. This stems from the fact that today, when he becomes clairvoyant, man has to say to himself: I have become too strongly egotistical through my development. Anxiety arises in the heart and mind (Gemt), for man has the feeling that his ego works too strongly. In ancient initiation, before the Mystery of Golgotha, the candidate went through the opposite experience: As he attained to initiation he found that in a sense he was becoming less ego-conscious, that he was pouring himself out into the universe and becoming less in possession of himself. His ego-consciousness was rather weakened than strengthened. The turning point between these two characteristics of initiation is the Mystery of Golgotha. The first human being to pass through initiation, and to experience this deeply disquieting feeling when the ego becomes too strong, was St. Paul at Damascus. The passage in the New Testament (Acts 9) is so well known as to need no further reference here. It was on that occasion that he gained insight into the necessity for weakening the power of his ego; he realized that the initiate of the new age stood in need of a force to weaken the intensity of the ego-life, and as a result of his experience he pronounced the words which were to give the keynote to the whole development of humanity through initiation as from the moment of the Mystery of Golgotha. These words, which resounded forth into the future and pointed out the direction to be taken by the succeeding period of evolution, were Not I, but Christ in me. When we look upon the place of Golgotha, and receive into ourselves the forces of the Christ Who descended to earth from the spiritual worlds and Who since the Mystery has permeated the earth, we are enabled to diminish the forces of the ego and to pass through initiation in the right way. The abstract thinking of which I spoke in the first part of this lecture, where the power of thought is deadened and becomes like a soul-corpse living in the physical body, has prevailed only in the more recent times of human evolution. It began, gradually, some three or four centuries after the Mystery of Golgotha. In the more ancient people, man brought with him into his physical life out of the spiritual worlds more of the full life of thought which is now dead abstract thought. This may be confirmed by studying, without bias, the evolution of humanity and the records and experiences of man, whether initiate or non-initiate, in ancient times. Much is said today about so-called Animism, the poetic fancy of simple and primitive peoples, in an endeavour to explain the experiences of the past ages as recorded and handed down in tradition. But by facing up to realities we see that it was not in a kind of poetic fancy that ancient man described the woods and forests, lakes and mountains, springs, brooks, clouds and thunder and lightning, and everything physical in the world of Nature in a spiritual way. He saw and described not only the physical things that we see, but the spiritual beings that inhabited every flower and mineral, every spring and wood. That description was not, as in the modern conception of Animism, something created out of poetic fancy, but a direct experience of the living, spiritual power which man brought with him into physical life. It was as though, in a spiritual sense, he sent out feelers which felt and touched and realized, giving him experiences of the spiritual beings which inhabit everything in external nature. It is only since the third or fourth century after Christianity that gradually developed in humanity dead thinking, that dead consciousness which today can only see the mineral world. Ancient man Page 22 of 30

experienced in himself something that was living; he was able to experience and to know the spiritual beings in the world and to recognize them as the same thing that had lived within him before he entered into the physical life. His experience was a very practical one, explaining his pre-natal existence in spiritual worlds, and he felt that something was born with him into this physical life and lived within him; he did not feel that this thought proceeded from the organism of his physical body, for he knew it was a living thing he had brought with him from the spiritual world before his birth. Now we can quite well realize how the course of human evolution would have continued along the line that has been described, and how the thinking power of man would have become more and more dead. We can imagine evolution continuing in a straight downward line, and that is what would have happened if the Cross had not been raised upon Golgotha. Looking at the picture of death we see that had it not been for the Mystery of Golgotha the physical body of man would die, that his soul-life would die with his physical body. We can say out of our consciousness of this abstract, deadened thought, that our soul-life, i.e., our life of thought, partakes of death. And this is what humanity would have had to experience gradually more and more but for the Cross on Golgotha; no longer would there have been the living thought, but the soul-life would have slowly expired in universal death. This is how we can regard the Mystery of Golgotha by means of the modern science of initiation, just as it is possible for those who are rooted in Christianity to regard the Mystery through the simple study of the Gospel records. This fresh aspect of the Mystery is the starting point for a new evolution and an upward one. He who goes through the experiences and training of the modern path of initiation, and who attains to inspirational and intuitive cognition, is able to attain to the point where a spiritual world is revealed, of which the Mystery of Golgotha is shown as the great solace in world existence. He also realizes that he has attained freedom, but as the price of that freedom he finds this deep and troubling experience, as he passes through the way of initiation to imagination and inspiration, that his ego has been strengthened and intensified, and is now too strong. That is one pole of his experience. The other pole is that in spite of the strengthened ego he has gained from evolution he cannot save himself or mankind from the universal death of the soul-life. But when he looks out, from his spiritual experience in inspirational and intuitive cognition, upon the picture of the Cross on Golgotha, he sees that through the passing of that Divine Being, the CHRIST first through the physical body of a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, and then through the gate of death mankind can be redeemed from universal death. On the one hand man has strengthened the ego-consciousness, but this cannot save him from universal death; and on the other hand he sees redemption from that death in the picture of the Cross on Golgotha and of the dying and the risen Christ. Through this conscious spiritual knowledge he is able to understand from out of what experience the wonderful writers of the Gospels wrote. He sees that until the third or fourth century after Golgotha something still remained of that living thought in humanity, something of that spiritual world which man brought into his physical life, and that it was this which enabled isolated human beings in the first three or four centuries to understand the Mystery of Golgotha; even as the modern initiate can understand it by means of the new science of initiation when he goes through that path and through the exercises which have been described. From the knowledge contained in the Gnosis which resembles in some respects modern anthroposophical science we find that in the first few centuries there was a certain understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, and that unless that understanding had still existed in isolated human beings the Gospels never could have been written. They were written out of the last relics of the old preChristian science of initiation. Hence we see why St. Paul out of his experience was able to say, Were it not for the risen Christ then all our faith and all our life of soul would have been in vain, would have remained dead'. Then we understand that the Divine Being, the God, descended to the earth and went through the gate of Death, and lives in and with the earth since the Mystery of Golgotha, and, as was not the case before, the forces of Christ are working especially in the evolution of humanity upon the earth. We know that He passed through and conquered death, that He rose again through conquering the death of the soul forces and redeemed the soul from death. And so are we able to enter our thinking life again, to enliven what has become dead in the soul-life by looking up from the deeply moving and troubling experience of our too much strengthened ego to the picture of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is thus that anthroposophy can show the path, not away from Christ, but to Him. I shall now give an outline of what anthroposophical cognition tells us of the evolution of mankind in its approach to the Mystery of Golgotha. In primeval times, when man's thinking was still alive and filled with spiritual vitality, he saw the spiritual alongside the physical being when he looked out upon the physical phenomena of the world of Nature. The spiritual thought he experienced in a somewhat dreamlike, instinctive consciousness, and he knew that his spiritual origin was in the spiritual worlds. From out of the great masses of men who thus knew instinctively of the spiritual world there arose individuals who gave themselves up to science, to the path of knowledge, just as in our time individuals become scientists and learned men. In that time when in the forces of all human souls there was still a connection with the spiritual world, there arose men of science and learning, initiates, who also by exercises and by training the soul (though different in character from those described for the modern science of development) attained to a kind of imagination, inspiration and intuition. Intuition is the third stage of spiritual development, Here the initiate perceives not only pictures of the spiritual world, but enters into and communes with the spiritual beings themselves. In the spiritual worlds the initiates held a mighty and majestic communion with beings who descended from the divine spiritual worlds; they raised themselves to this inter-course. The most ancient and primeval teachers of humanity were spiritual beings who taught, not through the external senses and not by walking in physical bodies among men and teaching through the physical ear, but through the spiritual consciousness of the ancients. Now what was it primarily that these spiritual beings, the sublime teachers, taught mankind through these ancients? It was the mysteries of unbornness of the human soul. They taught in clear knowledge that which was already known or felt instinctively by the masses of mankind, namely, how the life of man is connected in the spiritual worlds before birth. From these ancients, divine spiritual teachers, humanity learnt to know the destinies of the human soul through its connection with the life before birth. We can see how in ancient times death and resurrection were represented merely in pictorial form in the cults and ceremonies. The cults represented the death and the Page 23 of 30

resurrection of gods, of divine beings, prophetically and in a picture that was not at that time a real and practical experience of the mysteries of death. For man had not then the same tragic experience of death as he has today; he still had within him the living life he had brought from the spiritual worlds into his physical life. Death to him did not mean that tragedy which it was to mean later when the soul-life had been drawn into the physical body and become like a corpse. In those ancient cults where death and resurrection of the Divine Being were represented as in a picture it was more like a pictorial prophecy of what was to come the Mystery of Golgotha. The men who witnessed these cults and ceremonies were already able to say in dim prophecy that the god passes through death and conquers it, and that because the god conquers death so can the divine in the human soul. Nevertheless the pre-Christian mysteries and understandings and teachings of humanity by the divine spiritual beings was a teaching principally of the mysteries of birth not of death. And that is a deeply significant fact in the evolution of humanity. The first initiates of the Christian era, looking upon the Mystery of Golgotha, recognized that the old initiation and the old teaching of the mysteries did not penetrate into the knowledge of death. They realized however that this knowledge was revealed in the Mystery of Golgotha. Then there was understood and was revealed what can only be described by saying literally that in the Mystery of Golgotha something happened which concerned the destinies of the gods themselves. It may be put in this way: looking down upon the earth, the divine spiritual beings could see that through a destiny that was beyond the power of the gods, the earth and humanity and all that was connected with humanity were being given up to death. But who was it that had no experience of death? The gods, the divine spiritual beings, those from whom the ancient primeval teachers of humanity descended to commune with the initiates when they had raised themselves to a consciousness of the spiritual. And they, the gods, did not partake in that death through which all earthly human beings were destined to pass. Therefore it was decided between the gods, not only as a matter concerning mankind but as one concerning the gods themselves, that a god should pass through the mystery of death on earth in a human body. That is the great mystery that we must understand about the Mystery of Golgotha. It not only concerns man but also the gods. So it is that when we come to view the Mystery through the modern science of initiation our aspect or outlook is super-sensible. Anthroposophy leads to an understanding of this. Not only the initiate of today but every man may receive a stimulating impulse, encouragement and understanding from the modern science of initiation. We, all of us, may attain to an intensified and strengthened power of knowledge, and having done so may recognize that the Mystery of Golgotha which took place within earth-existence, was at the same time a cosmic and an earthly event. Then are we able to say, It is not I, but Christ in me Who makes me live again in the spiritual life of the soul. Anthroposophy does not lead to irreligion but to a religious life in the fullest sense of the term; we are deepened and penetrated with new spiritual forces. Through spiritual-scientific cognition of the Mystery of Golgotha man overcomes all doubts which are contained so strongly in today's religious life. External science has given us freedom, but with it has come doubt. It is the task of Anthroposophy to sweep away these doubts that have come in the train of external science and which were a necessary stage in the development of humanity, and because Anthroposophy is a spiritual science it is able to do so. It can instill into the heart and soul of man a religious sense for everything in the world and in mankind, and above all it can give an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha in a form that can be received, not only by those who adhere to the older Christian tradition, but by all men on the earth. Anthroposophy did not come to found sects or new religions. It came to call to life again what is the religion of humanity, the synthesis of all religions, the religion that is already there Christianity. Not only is it able to call Christianity into fresh life, but for those who have been bereft of Christianity by modern science and the doubts arising from it, it is able to bring about, in the fullest sense, a resurrection of the religious life. Amongst all the other life-giving forces, Anthroposophy is able at this present time to enliven us and to bring about the resurrection of religious experience for all mankind.

Man's Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds Man's Life on Earth: Lecture I
LECTURE I London, 24th April, 1922 My Dear Friends, It is of the first importance that there should be in this present time a certain number of people who know where man stands in his spiritual evolution, and know also what must be his next Step if civilisation is not to go completely under. For what is happening today? In speaking to you, my dear friends, I can use anthroposophical terminology and say at once that the Ahrimanic forces, which are at work wherever man thinks or acts on a materialistic basis, are in our day trying to chain man to the Earth by gaining possession of his intellect. They are at this moment very powerful, these Ahrimanic forces, and they are searching out all kinds of ways to get access to the souls of men, with the object of enticing them to the adoption of a purely materialistic outlook, a purely intellectual understanding of the world. It is on this account important that there should be, as I said, a certain number of persons who know how the evolution of man has to proceed in order for him to reach his goal. Let us look tack a little into the past. We could go back very much farther, but for the moment we need go no more than three or four thousand years before the Mystery of Golgotha. And then let us follow, from one point of view, the course of man's evolution since that epoch. Page 24 of 30

In the age of which I want first to speak, a civilisation flourished in the East that in my book Occult Science I have called the Ancient Persian civilisation. The teacher of mankind during the height of this civilisation was Zarathustra, Zoroaster. Not the Zarathustra of whom history tells; he lived later. The Zarathustra I mean is a much more ancient teacher of mankind. In those olden times it was, you know, quite a common custom for the pupils of a great and lofty teacher to continue for a long time to bear his name; and the Zarathustra we read of in history is in reality the last of a succession of pupils of the great Zarathustra. Now, this great teacher of mankind was initiated in a most wonderful and remarkable manner into the secrets of existence, and he could stand before the men of his time and teach them as an eminent and sublime initiate. Zarathustra knew and it was his initiation that enabled him to have the knowledge that in that place in the heavens whither our eyes are turned when we look at the Sun, lives a great and allembracing Spirit. He did not at first see the physical Sun at all; in the place in the heavens where we today with our ordinary consciousness see the physical Sun, Zarathustra beheld a great and omnipresent cosmic Spirit. And this cosmic Spirit influenced him in a spiritual way, whereby he was able to know that with the sunshine, with the rays that fall from the Sun upon the Earth, come also spiritual rays, rays of divine-spiritual grace and bounty, which enkindle in the soul and spirit of man that higher man to which the ordinary man in us must continually aspire. In those olden times initiates were not given names on any external grounds, their names came to them on account of what they knew. And so this sublime initiate of whom we speak was called by his pupils and he also called himself Zarathustra, Zoroaster, the Radiant Star; he was named from the radiant Godhead Who sends to Earth the rays of wisdom. The initiation of. Zarathustra was, in relation to all initiations that came after him, more lofty and more sublime. When he looked upon the spiritual cosmic Sun, he was looking into the source of all the forces that make the stones on the Earth to be hard and solid, that make the plants to come forth from their seeds and grow, that make the animals; to spread abroad over the face of the Earth in their different kinds, and that make man to flourish and thrive upon the Earth. The oldest of the Zarathustras, the Radiant Star, had knowledge of everything that took place on the Earth; and he had this knowledge because he was able to experience the Spiritual Being of the Sun. Then came a time when man was no longer able to penetrate so deeply into the Mysteries of the worlds, the time that I have named, in my Occult Science, after the civilisations of Chaldea and Egypt. Man still looked up to the Sun, but he no longer saw it as radiant, as sending forth rays; he saw it only as shining, as illuminating the Earth with its light. Men spoke in those times of Ra, whose representative on Earth was Osiris; Ra signified for them the Sun that moved round the Earth, giving light. Some of the secrets had been lost; the initiate was no longer able to see with full inner clarity the radiant cosmic God, as had the initiates of an older time. He could only see how the primal astral forces come from the Sun. Zarathustra saw in the Sun a Being, he was still able to see in the Sun a Being. The initiates of Egypt and o Chaldea saw in the Sun the forces that come to, the Earth, forces of light, forces of movement. What they saw was deeds, something inferior of Being; spiritual deeds, it is true, but not a spiritual Being. And the Egyptian initiates spoke of One who represents on Earth the forces of the Sun that man carries within him; and they called him Osiris. When we come to the age of, Greece, we find that by the eighth, seventh, fifth century before the Mystery of Golgotha, man had lost all power of looking into the Mysteries of the Sun, he could see only the effect of the Sun's influence in the environment or the Earth. Man beheld the working of the Sun in the ether that fills all the space around the Earth. And this ether, that spreads out around the Earth and permeates also man himself, the Greek initiates not the people generally, but the initiates called Zeus. There have been then these three stages in the cultural evolution of mankind. First there was the stage when the initiates beheld in the Sun a Divine-Spiritual Being; then came a second stage, when the initiates beheld the Sun's forces that are working there; and finally a third stage, when the initiates beheld only the influence of the Sun Being in the Earth's ether. Now, there was in a later time a man who came as near to the teachings of initiation as it was possible to come in the time in which he lived, and who was acquainted with the teaching o these three aspects of the Sun the aspect of the Sun according to Zarathustra, the aspect of the Sun that is associated with Osiris, and the aspect of the Sun as seen and understood by Pythagoras and Anaxagoras. I refer to Julian the Apostate. Julian the Apostate was not able himself to behold the Sun in all three aspects, but he knew of the teaching; he knew it as a tradition that had come down in the Mystery Schools. And so impressed was Julian the Apostate by this teaching of the three aspects of the Sun that to him that which Christianity brought seemed small in comparison. For he still knew of the inexpressible glory and splendour into which Zarathustra had gazed; he had learned to know also of the activities of fire and of light, of the cosmic chemical forces, and of the cosmic life-forces, as man had been able to behold them in the ancient Mysteries. Of all this he, Julian, could in his time still learn, although only by tradition. And the whole teaching seemed to him so sublime, so mighty, that he found himself unable to accept Christianity. The thoughts and purposes of his mind were, in fact, turned in quite another direction, He seized with the desire to impart to mankind the ancient Mysteries into which he had himself been initiated up to a certain degree. And this, my dear friends, was what led at last to the unsheathing of the dagger that brought his life to a violent end. The hand that lifted the dagger belonged to one of those who counted it a sin to communicate the Lofty teachings of initiation to the general run of mankind, and who wanted that people should hear the Sun spoken of in an external manner only, that is, of course, in such external terms as were customary in that age. Julian the Apostate declared that the Sun has three aspects: first, the aspect of the Earthly ether; secondly, the aspect of the light of heaven that is behind the Earthly ether, which is the aspect also of the chemical, the warmth of fire, and the life forces; and lastly, the aspect of pure spiritual Being. For this he was put out of the way. And indeed it must be admitted that the moment had not yet come when mankind in general was ripe to receive such weighty and solemn truths. A study of history can, however, bring to light something else in this connection, that is of very great significance, A good deal of this threefold teaching of Zarathustra, Osiris, and Anaxagoras the teaching of the spiritual Sun; of the elemental Sun; and of Zeus, the Sun-flooded ether environment of the Earth found its way into the external exoteric culture of Greece, And the world would never have had such a sublime Greek art, nor such a wonderful Greek philosophy, would never have had a Plato and an Aristotle, were it not that into the art and philosophy of Greece, streams from this ancient wisdom were able to flow. A time came, however, when the initiation truths that were handed down from past epochs were no longer sufficiently protected from profanation. Many teachings that had their source in initiation wisdom passed into the hands of distinguished Romans, more especially the Romans, more especially the Roman emperors. Among them all, perhaps of Augustus alone can it be said that he still knew how to value the initiation wisdom that Page 25 of 30

was imparted to him. In the Roman world there was, generally speaking, no understanding for the esoteric factor in Greek art and Greek wisdom, no recognition that these contained elements which could be traced back to the very most ancient wisdom teaching, Consequently, the hopelessly prosaic, the semi-barbarous civilisation of Rome took over what we may call the surface brightness, the sheen, of Greek culture, but was quite incapable of handing on, in its true form, to later generations what lived at the heart of this culture, And so when Roman influences began to permeate the Christianity that . had, ever since the Mystery of Golgotha, been making its way into the world, there was no possibility for Christianity to receive, along with all that came from Rome, the true essence of the ancient culture. When I describe historical events in the way I have just been doing, you must not take it as an expression of blame or of criticism. It was necessary for the evolution of mankind that things should happen as they did. It is, however, also necessary that we should not be blind to the fact that because Rome did not know how to value and guard initiation, the genuine initiation truths of earlier times have been prevented from finding their way over to the West. We must realise that we, as human beings possessing the ordinary consciousness of modern times, have been debarred from the sacred truths of olden times because Rome was unable to understand these truths. As we know, it was a man who hailed from Rome that drove out of Europe the last remaining Greek philosophers and obliged them to seek refuge in the East. I have to call these things to mind; the consideration of the subject we have in hand made it necessary to begin by referring to them taking our thoughts back, even if only for a brief while, to the far-off time when the spiritual teachers of man could still turn their gaze to the starry heavens and behold up there the threefold Sun, The only remnant of this knowledge that has been left for later generations is the symbol of it in the triple crown worn by the Popes of Rome. The outer symbol remains; the inner reality is lost. But through the new initiation of modern times, a way has, opened once again for man to look back into those earlier epochs of his evolution. This new initiation of which our anthroposophical teaching has to tell enables us to look back and behold how, it was for man, when he looked up from Earth to the Sun and listened to hear what the Sun should teach him of the mysteries of human evolution. * My dear friends, when the pupils of the old initiates looked out into the wide universe and spoke of what they saw living out there beyond the Earth in the workings of the Sun, yes, in the Sun itself, when they spoke of the sublime Spirit-Being of the Sun as proclaimed by Zarathustra, they were speaking of the very same Being Whom, in these later times, we designate as Christ. So that we are adhering strictly to truth when we say that the initiates of olden times beheld the Christ outside the Earth in the Cosmos, in the Cosmos that has its centre and representative in the Sun. The real essence of the Mystery of Golgotha does not lie in the fact that it teaches of the Christ. The initiates of olden times also knew and taught of Him. Only, they spoke of Him not as living on the Earth, in the forces of the Earth, but as living within the forces of the Sun. It is a mistake to think that the old initiates did not speak of the Christ Being. Christ was spoken of continually before the Mystery of Golgotha, as a Being who is outside and beyond the Earth, Men have lost sight of this truth and are apt to regard the statement of it as unchristian. But why should such a statement be regarded as unchristian, seeing that the Early Church Fathers undoubtedly held this view? They said: The wise men of olden times who are often described as heathen are, in a deeper sense, Christian. The Early Church Fathers did not hesitate to speak of the heathen as Christians before the Mystery of Golgotha. What took place at the Mystery of Golgotha was really nothing less than that the Being Who, previously, was not to be found on Earth, Whom one could find only outside the Earth when one had been initiated into the Mysteries of the heavens, this Being incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, lived on Earth in Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified and laid in the Earth, and appeared to his initiated pupils as Resurrected as One who has risen in the spiritual body. The great and sublime Sun Being descended from cosmic heights, descended to Earth that is the event that came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha. And when He had descended from spiritual worlds and passed through death, and His body had been laid in the Earth, then this same Christ after His death, after His resurrection had initiate pupils. And it is important that many should know today what Christ taught at that time to His initiate pupils; it is important that many should know of this teaching of the risen Christ, in order that they may be able to participate in the forces that are now at work for the further evolution of mankind. Let us look back once more to the initiate of olden times. How did he receive his teaching? All initiates of olden times were instructed by Beings who were outside and beyond the Earth, And the instruction was carried out in the following manner. The pupils of the Mysteries were trained and prepared to be able to see when outside their body, and then through this kind of seeing they came to know Beings. We have spoken of how Zarathustra came to a knowledge of Christ as a sublime Sun Being. The initiates of old came to know also other Beings of the Hierarchies. And the language, the spiritual language that was used by a Being who descended in this way to teach the initiates, was a language by means of which, it was in those times still possible to impart teachings to men. There were thus in olden time[s] divine teachers. And the Christ, He was also such a divine teacher. For those to whom He gave instruction after His resurrection He was the divine teacher. And what He was able to teach them was new; it was more than what the earlier divine teachers taught. The divine teachers of earlier ages spoke to men of the secrets of birth, but they did not speak of the secrets of death; for in the divine world whence the earlier divine teachers descended to teach the initiates of olden time, there were no beings who had undergone death, Death was something that could only be undergone on Earth by man. The Gods looked down and saw man who dies; their knowledge of death was an external knowledge merely. But Christ learned to know death on the Earth. For He did not merely become incorporated, shining forth in some human being at certain times, as was the case with the divine being teachers of long ago. Christ learned to know death inasmuch as He, a God, lived on Earth as a human soul in a physical human body. Thus, He learned to know death in actual reality. He went through death. And He learned also something more. My dear friends, if the Christ had undergone only what took place from the time of the Baptism in Jordan until the time of the Crucifixion and the Death on the Cross, then, having undergone all this, He would still not have been able to speak of the Mysteries of which He did speak to His initiate disciples after His resurrection. I must explain to you that, to the divine teachers who were able to Page 26 of 30

descend to Earth, and to the initiated teachers in olden times, all Mysteries were open in the whole wide world save only the Hysterics of the interior of the Earth. The initiates knew that down there within the Earth spiritual Beings hold command, of quite another kind than the Gods Who before the Mystery of Golgotha used ever and again to descend to human beings. The Greeks, for instance, were not unaware of the Spiritual Beings in the interior of the Earth; they called them in their mythology the Titans. But Christ was the first of the Upper Gods to learn to know the interior of the Earth, That is an important fact. The Christ, because He was buried in the Earth, brought knowledge to the Upper Gods of a region of which before They had no knowledge. And this secret, that the Gods too undergo evolution this secret Christ communicated to His initiate pupils after His Resurrection. This secret Paul also learned through the natural initiation that he experienced outside Damascus. What stunned and shook Paul to the depths of his being was the knowledge that the Power that had formerly been sought in the Sun had now become united with the powers of Earth. For what was the reason why Paul, when he was still Saul, persecuted the followers of Christ? The reason was, he had learned in the old Chaldean initiation that the Christ lives outside the Earth in the Cosmos, and that those who declare that Christ lives in the Earth are in error. But when Paul received enlightenment on his way to Damascus, at that moment he knew that it was he himself who had been mistaken, in that he was ready to believe only what had hitherto been true. For now he saw that what had been true, had become changed; the Being Mho dwelt formerly only in the Sun had now descended to Earth and continued to live in the forces of the Earth. Thus was the Mystery of Golgotha, for the understanding of those who first made it known to men, not an event for Earth alone, but a cosmic event, an event for all the worlds. This was how it was understood in early Christian times. And the true initiates described the event in the following way. They were deeply initiated, the earliest Christian initiates; and they knew that the Christ, Whom we think of today as the Being Who passed through the Mystery of Golgotha at the beginning of our era, they knew that the Christ, Who came hither from the Sun, had also descended to the Sun from yet more distant heights. It was in the Sun that Zarathustra beheld Him. Then His power went over into the rays of the Sun. The initiates of Egypt beheld Him in the rays of the Sun. And then His power lived in the environment of the Earth. It was there that the initiates of Greece beheld Him. And now in this present time so said the earliest Christian initiates it is given to man to behold Christ as One Who walked on Earth in an earthly body, and Who is seen by us in His true form when we behold Him as the Risen One the Christ Who is in the Earth, and has seen the Mystery of the Earth and can now bring it about that this Mystery shall gradually flow into the evolution of mankind. There was a wonderful warmth and glow about the whole way in which this esoteric teaching was communicated, in scattered and lonely schools of initiation, during the first centuries after Christ, coming over from the East and spreading continually westward by secret channels. Yes, make no doubt of it, there was verily such an esoteric teaching of Christianity. The Early Church Fathers knew more than is known today. But they saw also at the same time the attack that was threatening from the side of Rome. Modern historians have very little idea of the magnitude of that collision between the early Christian impulse and the anti-spiritual world of Rome. What the Roman world did was to throw a cloak of externality over the deepest Christian Mysteries. The men of old had a living relationship to the powers of the Universe, such as is scarcely possible for us to imagine today with our ordinary consciousness. Men who lived three, four, five thousand years before Christ knew quite well that when they ate this or that substance, it went on working in their body and brought the powers of the Cosmos to manifestation within them. Look, for example, at the kind of instruction Zarathustra gave to his pupils. He used to teach them in the following manner. You eat the fruits of the field. These fruits have been shone upon by the Sun, and in the Sun lives the high and lofty Spirit Being, The power of the high Spirit Being, coming from the distant Cosmos, enters with the Rays of the Sun into the fruits of the field. You eat the fruits of the field; what the substance brings forth in you fills you with the spiritual forces of the Sun, when you enjoy the fruits of the field, the Sun rises in you, I will tell you what you should do at Solemn festival times. Take something that has been prepared from the fruits of the field. Meditate upon it. Remember that the Sun is within it. Meditate upon it until the piece of bread becomes radiant to you. Then eat it, and be conscious of how the Spirit of the Sun has come from the vast Universe, has entered into you and become alive within you. What is left of all this? Merely the outer expression of it, the eating of the bread in the Mass and in the Communion Service. And those who continue to celebrate this rite in the spirit and understanding which Rome has introduced into Christianity are the very ones who oppose most fiercely any suggestion that man needs cosmic wisdom in order to understand the teachings of Paul; for Paul beheld the Radiance, raying inwards from the clouds, of that force which is the Power of the Sun, the super-corporeal Being, the Christ, Who in the Mystery of Golgotha descended to Earth, the Cosmic Godhead united with the forces of the Sun. In the first three or four centuries of Christian evolution, a good deal was still known of this Mystery, Afterwards the external knowledge of the world gained such a hold upon man that it is hardly possible for us today, when we read the accounts that have come down to us of the first Christian centuries, to recognise from these how deeply spiritual was the early Christian conception of the Event of Golgotha. But now the time has come when it is of the highest importance for man to look back and call up once again in memory the spiritual understanding of Christianity that he had in the first centuries after Christ. Since that time man has gone through a development that has enabled him to attain a wonderful earthly wisdom. Through this he has become a free being. In olden times even the initiates were not free. When they wanted to work out of really deep impulses, they suffered themselves to be guided by the Gods, By the attainment of earthly wisdom, and by that alone, is man able to become free. In the near future this will, however, have the result that the antidivine, the anti-Christian forces, will be able to seize hold of the souls of men. These anti-Christian forces, I call them the Ahrimanic forces. We have in our day a highly developed science, but it is not yet Christianised. We talk a great deal about our civilisation and culture, but no one sees any occasion to Christianise the natural science upon which they are founded. It must, however, be Christianised; otherwise we shall be deprived of all that we stand in need of from the Cosmos. We shall lose it utterly. Long ago, when men were more sensitive, they were able to receive understanding along with the nourishment that they enjoyed. But as time went on, they became more and more estranged from the cosmic life. In the later part of the Egypto-Chaldean epoch of culture, the initiates were still able to speak of the forces of the Gods, the forces that enter into plant and stone. And so there could arise in this time a science of healing and medicine. And as a matter of fact, our most effective remedies today come from that ancient epoch, little as people suspect it. Yes, in the realm of healing too, we shall have to turn again to the true sources of knowledge, and develop an art of Page 27 of 30

medicine that is based on insight into the deeper forces of the things that are around us. It rests with modern initiation science to find the way. The anthroposophical movement is really there for nothing else than to impart to man that which is attainable for him today. For since 1899, the Dark Age as the, prophets of old called it is past and over. All around us is the spiritual world, the living spiritual world that can reveal itself to us; we can perceive it and take cognisance of it. And it is for us to listen and hear what the spiritual world is revealing to us. That is the aim and purpose we have in view in this anthroposophical movement of ours; we want to make men attentive to the revelations of the spiritual world. Verily, that is a task and mission that is no affair of mankind alone, it concerns the cosmic worlds. * My dear friends, when we begin to communicate single, concrete facts from initiation knowledge, we must not be surprised if one or another truth is met with ridicule and even scorn. Remember what I said at the beginning of my lecture, that there is need today for persons who have clear and detailed knowledge concerning the evolution of mankind, there is need in the world today for persons who have acquired such knowledge from initiation science. And you will, I think, have seen from the descriptions that have been given, how important it is that we should not rest content with the recognition of broad and general truths, but should bring these truths right into the everyday world of humanity, and let them come to life there. This we shall indeed be able to do, for the truths of initiation science have in them the vigour of life and can speak with strength and precision of the life of man on Earth. Let me give you an example. During the time of one of the later Crusades there was living in a monastery in Italy a young monk, who was remarkably gifted and who devoted himself to a special study of the knowledge that came not in writings, but handed on by word of mouth from early Christian times, For such knowledge continued to live on for a long time as tradition, notably in some of the monasteries. An older monk would, for instance, impart it to a younger when they were alone together; and the young monk of whom I am speaking learned a great deal of early Christian knowledge in this very way. He then left Italy and joined the Crusade. He fell ill in Asia Minor, and while he was being tended, met a still older monk who had been initiated into the Mysteries of Christianity. As a result of this meeting, an intense longing was awakened in the young man to come to a real knowledge and understanding of the deeper Christian Mysteries, Then he died, out there in the East. And he was born again in our age, born again as a person in whom the forces that came from his earlier incarnation worked strongly and showed themselves in the following remarkable way. As I said just now, when one begins to speak on the ground of initiation knowledge about practical matters of life, it is really no more than can be expected if people turn it to ridicule. Nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary that this should be done in our day; and the time will come when we shall have the perception to see that things which are discerned spiritually can be spoken of as historical fact with the same directness and assurance with which we speak of the facts of external science. The personality of whom I speak is none other than Cardinal Newman. Follow the course of his life from youth upwards; look at the knowledge he possessed, read his own words. You cannot, I think, fail to see that in Cardinal Newman we have a strong personality imbued with a Christianity that is different from the Christianity of his environment. You will understand why he wanted to get away from the intellectual type of Christianity that he found around him, and dreamed of another kind of consciousness such as had been possessed by the first disciples of the Risen Christ, Follow his life further, note the significant words that he uttered at the time of his investiture, when he declared that there can be no salvation for religion, unless man receives a new revelation. Ponder it all, and it will grow clear to you that this earnest seeking is born of a deep and powerful longing that had come over from former lives on Earth. The man sensed the presence and impulse of those spiritual forces of which I spoke in the second part of my lecture. He felt if but dimly that it might be possible in our day, by undergoing special development, to attain a new initiation knowledge to receive a new revelation, And yet he himself ultimately accepted for his understanding of Christianity a tradition! I need not tell you whither his search led him; you can read the story for yourselves. He strives to reach through the gloom to a light that is beyond, but remains all the time within the cloud. A deeper knowledge of his being reveals to us that Newman was not really to blame for this, rather was he in this respect a sacrifice, a victim of his age, a victim of the Ahrimanic forces as I named them just now. These Ahrimanic forces had an extraordinarily strong influence on Cardinal Newman; they fell upon him and took captive his power of thought, which was consequently unable to develop freely and find its way into spirituality. For he who would today unfold his life in freedom must first of all be free in his thinking, must liberate his power of thought from the bondage of the brain. Ahriman achieves his greatest successes by shortening the second half of mans life after death. You know how a certain time elapses between death and a new birth. I have described in my Mystery Plays how this time consists of two halves, the second half taking its course after what I have called the Cosmic Midnight. It is this later half the period from the Cosmic Midnight to the moment of new birth that Ahriman tries to shorten. And by so doing he gets hold of the human brain and its thinking. With impetuous and savage energy, he fastens on the brain, and tries to hold men spellbound to the Earth, That is how the Ahrimanic forces are working today, and in ever increasing measure; they try to bring mans power of thought evermore deeply into the earthly realm, away from the spiritual world. Human beings are thus incarnated one or two centuries too early. This method of attack on the part of the Ahrimanic forces must be overcome with spiritual energy and determination, At the time when Cardinal Newman was still holding the rudder of his life, he was even then incapable, for all his spiritual energy, of freeing his thought sufficiently, or he would not have spoken as he did of the need for a new revelation, he would instead have found the way to it himself We cannot omit from our considerations a person like Cardinal Newman when we are calling attention to the spirituality that can bring man in our age to a new life. For this spirituality will help men, as I have already indicated, to understand the Mystery of Golgotha. It will enable them to summon their fullest human powers to its comprehension; and the Mystery of Golgotha shall then live within them, within their very inmost being. Speaking here in England, I have purposely cited Cardinal Newman as an example. The study of tragic figures such as his can bring home to us very forcibly the need of our time; and you will find many similar instances here in England. That is why it is so urgent that there should be understanding in this country of the need for that spiritual knowledge and spiritual life, from which Cardinal Newman was snatched away by the Ahrimanic forces. Spiritual knowledge and spiritual life must again be made accessible to mankind, if civilisation is to be saved from ruin. Insight into such connections as we have been considering can stimulate in us the resolve to do all in our power for the furtherance of the spiritual life of mankind. There is really no other possible course for us today. Let us, however, not be blind to the fact that the Page 28 of 30

Ahrimanic powers are very strong. The truth to which we would bear witness has fierce and stubborn enemies, who are inspired by these Ahrimanic powers. Stronger, and ever stronger grow these powers! I want to say this to you today, that you may not be taken aback when you find that as soon as the anthroposophical movement begins to stand forth in the world, it will have to fight continually and increasingly with terrific enemy forces. May my words rouse you, on the one hand to have insight into the will and intention that lies behind all our anthroposophical efforts, and on the other hand to be on your guard against attacks which will often be grossly slanderous from enemies who want to stifle this movement in the moment of its birth. Strong as these enemies may be, not a whit less strong must we be, each one of us in the positive power of his own energy and initiative. The anthroposophical world-conception must be put before the world clearly and truthfully, even if in the way it is put forward it should often meet with misunderstanding, and with an inclination to distrust the aims and purposes of our movement. It is therefore my earnest desire that there may be many among you who will be stirred and quickened to work unremittingly for the time when this spirituality, in spite of all that is being done to misrepresent and obscure it, shall prevail in the world. That you feel an urge to do so will mean that you are awake to the fact of how urgently necessary this spirituality is for the further evolution of mankind. If, my dear friends, we have come a little nearer to one another in a common understanding of the inmost nature of the Being Anthroposophia, and of its importance for our age, then will this meeting for which we have had to wait for some years, have borne fruit, borne indeed what I for my part shall be ready to recognise as good and beautiful fruit. Carrying this hope in our hearts, let us then resolve to remain together in soul, even when in terms of space we are far apart.

Anthroposophic News Sheet


16th vol.

No. 7/8

22nd of February, 1948.

All subscriptions, communications, notices, advertisements, etc. should be addressed to Miss DORA BAKER, Anthroposophic News Sheet Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland. Yearly subscription: 17.Swiss Francs. Single Copies: 35 cents. Copyright and all other Rights of reproduction and translation reserved by General Anthroposophic Society, Dornach, Switzerland. Responsibility for the contents of the articles in the Anthroposophic News Sheet attaches only to the writers .

The End of the Dark Age

By Dr. Rudolf Steiner
From a lecture given at Vienna on the 11th of June 1922.

Mankind unfolded its intellectual life in the course of many centuries. This intellectual life gradually led it away from spirituality. The intellect itself is spirit, but its content is no longer a spiritual content. Indeed, the intellect is spiritual, but it seeks as its content external Nature, the external life of Nature. Hence the intellect is spirit, but it fills itself with something which cannot appear to it as spiritual. The great tragedy, the modern tragedy of the world, is that man may look into himself and that he must say to himself: When I am intellectually active, I am spiritually active, but at the same time my intellect, which is pure spirit, cannot absorb in a direct way the spiritual. I fill the spirit in me only with things pertaining to Nature. This is what devastates and rends the human soul to-day. Even though we do not wish to admit this torn and devastated condition, it nevertheless exists in the spiritual regions of the human soul and constitutes the fundamental evil and the fundamental tragedy of our age. If we wish to express in habitual terms what I have explained to you just now, we must draw attention to all the spiritual powers that are still active in the whole life of Nature; they enter into us because we fill our own spirit with the life of Nature, and we may designate these powers as the Ahrimanic powers.

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Our intellect is thus exposed to the great danger of falling a prey to the Ahrimanic powers. During the past centuries, when the intellect was still unfolding and still possessed the inheritance of an old spiritual life, these Ahrimanic powers did not have that great influence on man which they have now. The life of Nature is apparently spread out round about us; but this is only apparent: for Ahriman lives in Nature. And by absorbing Nature, by believing that it is only controlled by neutral laws of Nature, we really absorb spiritual powers, even though we are not aware of this; we absorb Ahrimanic spiritual powers, who took over a special task in cosmic life, in the whole evolution of the world. When we speak of the task of these spiritual powers, some people are easily inclined to say: But why does the divine guidance of the world admit these powers? To this we must reply: All that exists in the earthly sphere may be grasped with the ordinary understanding; but when it is a question of grasping in a spiritual-scientific way that which transcends the earth, we must do this through spiritual vision (Anschauung). Consequently we must say: These powers exist, but the way in which they are connected with the divine-spiritual powers pertaining to man, can only be grasped in the course of long epochs; indeed, the powers belonging to the super-human sphere are perhaps quite inaccessible to the human understanding. We can therefore only say: These powers exist, they show themselves to those who have spiritual knowledge. The tasks of the Ahrimanic beings is the following: To prevent the earth from continuing to develop as it should develop in accordance with the intentions of the divine-spiritual powers with whom man is connected from the very outset, inasmuch as he is a human soul. (You will find all these things mentioned in my Occult Science). In my Occult Science I have spoken of the future development of the earth, of the Jupiter and Venus phases of evolution: The aim of the Ahrimanic powers is to prevent this course of development. Their aim is to harden and freeze up the earth, to shape it in such a way that, together with the earth, man remains an earthbound creature. He becomes hardened, as it were, within earthly substance and continues to live in the future ages of the world as a kind of statue of his past. These powers thus pursue definite aims, which undoubtedly appear as part of their own individual striving. The earth could not reach its goal if the Ahrimanic powers were to gain the victory, if man were alienated from his beginnings, from the powers who supported him at the beginning of his evolution. Outwardly, the human being would develop in a way entirely in keeping with the earthly sphere, but by suppressing his innate disposition, which must lead him beyond the earth. The Ahrimanic powers could not touch man while the intellect was still rooted in the spiritual through an old inheritance, as was the case during the past three or four centuries. But this has changed since the beginning of the 20th century. The ancient Indian wisdom knew this, and fixed the end of the 19th century as the end of the Dark Age, of Kali-Yuga. Thus it had an intimation of a new age. This new age was to indicate that from the beginning of the 20th century, our deepest concern should no longer be that of clinging to an old spiritual inheritance, but of absorbing the new light, the pure light, in our earthly life.

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