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Ten lectures given in Dornach,
10th to 25th October, 1915
Translated by D. S. Osmond
Rudolf Steiner Press
35, Park Road, London NWI 6XT
First English Edition 1973
Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer.
In the Complete Edition of the works of Rudolf Steiner the
volume containing the German texts of the following ten
lectures is entitled: Die okkulte Bewegung im neunzehnten
Jahrhundert und ihre Beziehung zur Weltkultur. (No. 2S4 in the
Bibliographical Survey, 1961.)
This English edition is published by permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.
All rights reserved
1973 by Rudolf Steiner Press, London
ISBN 0 85440 280 2
5G6 I JS

The following lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner to audiences familiar with the general
background of his anthroposophical teachings. He constantly emphasised the distinction between his
written works and reports of lectures which were given as oral communications and were not
originally intended for print. It should be remembered that certain premises were taken for granted
when the words were spoken. These premises, Rudolf Steiner writes in his autobiography,
include at the very least theanthroposophical knowledge of Man and of the Cosmos in its
spiritual essence; also of what may be called anthroposophical history, told as an outcome of
research into the spiritual world.
A list of publications in English translation relevant to the theme of the following lectures, and a
summarised plan of the Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works in the original German will be
found at the end of the present volume.

The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century

Publisher's Note
The following lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner to audiences familiar with the general
background of his anthroposophical teachings. He constantly emphasised the distinction
between his written works and reports of lectures which were given as oral communications
and were not originally intended for print. It should be remembered that certain premises were
taken for granted when the words were spoken. These premises, Rudolf Steiner writes in
his autobiography, include at the very least the anthroposophical knowledge of Man and of
the Cosmos in its spiritual essence; also of what may be called anthroposophical history, told
as an outcome of research into the spiritual world.
A list of publications in English translation relevant to the theme of the following lectures, and
a summarised plan of the Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works in the original German
will be found at the end of the present volume.

Occult Movement: Contents

Lecture One, Dornach, 10th October, 1915
Seership and Thinking. Symbolism of the schools of Initiation. The
opposition between esotericists and exotericists about the publicising of
esoteric knowledge. Compromise achieved through the introduction of
mediumship and spiritualism. Failure of the attempt. Spiritual Science and
the principle followed by the exotericists from the middle of the nineteenth
Lecture Two, 11th October, 1915
Mediumistic methods of investigation in the Theosophical Society. The
path of knowledge in Spiritual Science. Aims of certain secret Orders. The
fiasco of Spiritualism. The unique personality of H. P. Blavatsky. The
founding of the Theosophical Society. Antecedents of the founding of the
German Section of the Theosophical Society and the development of the
spiritual-scientific Movement.
Lecture Three, 16th October, 1915
Materialism of the nineteenth century. Reflexion about thinking
indispensable for recognition of the barrenness of the materialistic picture
of the world. The true origin of atomism.
Lecture Four, 17th October, 1915
The attempt made by the occultists to avert the lapse into materialism.
Materialism in the world of thought during the nineteenth century. The
fallacies of mediumship. Distortion of the teaching concerning the Eighth
Sphere through Sinnett and Blavatsky and the backgrounds of this
Lecture Five, 18th October, 1915
The Eighth Sphere. The influence of the Spirits of Form and the battle
waged by Lucifer and Ahriman. The activity of esotericists connected with
the High Church party in Christianity. On the "mineralisation" of the
Moon. Complexity of the subject of the Eighth Sphere.
Lecture Six, 19th October, 1915
The dangers of aberration along the path into the spiritual worlds.
Clairvoyance in ancient and modern times. The revitalisation of the etheric
body in connection with the new revelation of Christ. Ancient knowledge
still present in the era of emergent materialism, for example in Heinroth
and Goethe (Makaria in Wilhelm Meister).
Lecture Seven, 22nd October, 1915
Investigation of the life between death and a new birth. The transformation
of unused physical forces into spiritual forces after death. In the Kamaloka
period after death man lives through in backward order the experiences
undergone during sleep. The boundaries set up by science and religion in
order to hinder penetration into the spiritual worlds.

Lecture Eight, 23rd October, 1915

The purpose of the use of symbols in the so-called secret Societies or
Orders. The problem of the publicising of knowledge hitherto kept secret.
The transformation of forces in world-history, exemplified by Dante's
Divine Comedy and the story of Father Antonius. Forces inimical to nature
and to man behind natural phenomena and the experiences of souls.
Lecture Nine, 24th October, 1915
Investigation of the mineral world is important for man's earthly evolution.
Duality in the world of sense; threefoldness in the super-sensible world.
Ahrimanic intelligence and Luciferic will. The dangers of objective
Occultism (Scylla) and subjective Mysticism (Charybdis) can be avoided
through the study of Spiritual Science.
Lecture Ten, 25th October, 1915
Human consciousness between objective and subjective reality, between
the Ahrimanic and Luciferic world. Aberrations of consciousness and their
correction. The Tantalus myth. The guiding principles of Spiritual Science.
List of relevant publications
Summarised plan of the Complete Edition of Rudolf Steiner's works in the
original German

Occult Movement
You will have realised from lectures given recently that in our times a
materialistic view of the world, a materialistic way of thinking, is not the outcome of
man's arbitrary volition but of a certain historical necessity.
Those who have some understanding of the spiritual process of human evolution
know that, fundamentally speaking, in all earlier centuries and millennia man
participated in spiritual life to a greater extent than has been the case during the last
four or five hundred years. We know with what widespread phenomena this is
connected. At the very beginning of Earth-evolution, the heritage of the Old Moon
clairvoyance was working in mankind. We can envisage that in the earliest ages of
Earth-evolution this faculty of ancient clairvoyance was very potent, very active, with
the result that the range of man's spiritual vision in those times was exceedingly wide
and comprehensive. This ancient clairvoyance then gradually diminished until times
were reached when the great majority of human beings had lost the faculty of looking
into the spiritual world, and the Mystery of Golgotha came in substitution. But a
certain vestige of the old faculties of soul remained, and evidence of this is to be
found, for example, in the nature-knowledge which was in existence until the
fourteenth and fifteenth, and indeed until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
This nature-knowledge was very different in character from modern natural science.
It was a nature-knowledge able to some extent still to rely, not upon clear,
Imaginative clairvoyance but nevertheless upon vestiges of the Inspirations and
Intuitions which were then applied and elaborated by the so-called alchemists. If an
alchemist of those times was honourable in his aims and not out for egotistic gain, he
still worked, in a certain respect, with the old Inspirations and Intuitions. While he
was engaged in his outer activities, vestiges of the old clairvoyance were still astir
within him, although no longer accompanied by any reliable knowledge. But the
number of people in whom these vestiges of ancient clairvoyance survived, steadily
decreased. I have often said that these vestiges can very easily be drawn out of the
human soul today in states of atavistic, visionary clairvoyance. We have shown in
many different ways how this atavistic clairvoyance can manifest in our own time.
From all this you will realise that the nearer we come to our own period in
evolution, the more we have to do with a decline of old soul-forces and a growth of
tendencies in the human soul towards observation of the outer, material world. After
slow and gradual preparation, this reached its peak in the nineteenth century, actually
in the middle of that century. Little as this is realised today by those who do not
concern themselves with such matters, it will be clear to men of the future that the
materialistic tendencies of the second half of the nineteenth century had reached their
peak in the middle of the century; it was then that these tendencies developed their
greatest strength. But the consequence of every tendency is that certain talents
develop and the really impressive greatness of the methods evolved by materialistic
science stems from these tendencies of the soul to hold fast to the outer, material
world of sense.
Now we must think of this phase in the evolution of humanity as being
accompanied by another phenomenon. If we carry ourselves back in imagination to
the primeval ages of humanity's spiritual development, we shall find that in respect of

spiritual knowledge, men were in a comparatively fortunate position. Most human

beings, in fact all of them, knew of the spiritual world through direct vision. Just as
men of the modern age perceive minerals, plants and animals and are aware of tones
and colours, so were the men of old aware of the spiritual world; it was concrete
reality to them. So that in those olden times, when full waking consciousness of the
outer, material world was dimmed during sleep or dream, there was really nobody
who would not have been connected with the dead who had been near him during life.
In the waking state a man could have intercourse with the living; during sleep or
dream, with the dead. Teaching about the immortality of the soul would have been as
superfluous in those primeval times as it would be nowadays to set out to prove that
plants exist. Just imagine what would happen at the present time if anyone set out to
prove that plants exist! Exactly the same attitude would have been adopted in
primeval times if anyone had thought it necessary to prove that the soul also lives
after death.
Humanity gradually lost this faculty of living in communion with the spiritual
world. There were, of course, always individuals who used whatever opportunity was
still available to develop seership. But even that became more and more difficult. How
did men in olden times develop a particular gift of seership? If with insight today we
study the philosophy of Plato, or what exists of that of Heraclitus, we must realise
and this applies especially to the still earlier Greek philosophies that they are
altogether different from later philosophies. Read the first chapter of my
book Riddles of Philosophy, where I have shown how these ancient philosophers,
Thales and Parmenides, Anaximenes and Heraclitus, are still influenced by their
particular temperaments. This has not hitherto been pointed out; the first mention of
it is in my book. Inevitably, therefore, some time must elapse before it is accepted
but that does not matter. Of Plato, we can still feel: this philosophy still lays hold of
the whole man. When we come to Aristotle however, the feeling is that we have to do
with an academic, learned philosophy. Therefore to understand Plato requires more
insight than a modern philosopher usually has at his command. For the same reason
there is a gulf between Plato and Aristotle. Aristotle is already a scholar in the modern
sense. Plato is the last philosopher in the old Greek sense; he is a philosopher whose
concepts are still imbued to some extent with life. As long as a philosophy of this kind
exists, the link with the spiritual world is not broken, and indeed it continued for a
long time, actually into the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages did not develop philosophy
to further stages but simply took over Aristotelian philosophy; and up to a certain
point of time this was all to the good. Platonic philosophy too was taken over in the
same way.
Now in days of antiquity, as long as at least the aptitude for clairvoyance of a
certain kind was present, something very significant took place when men allowed
this philosophy to work upon them. Today, philosophy works only upon the head,
only upon the thinking. The reason why so many people avoid philosophy is because
they do not like thinking. And especially because philosophy offers nothing in the way
of sensationalism they have no desire to study it. Ancient philosophy, however, when
received into the human soul, was still able, because of its greater life-giving power, to
quicken still existing gifts of seership. Platonic philosophy, nay, even Aristotelian
philosophy, still had this effect. Being less abstract than the philosophies of modern
times, they were still able to quicken faculties of seership inherent in the human soul.
And so it came to pass that in men who devoted themselves to philosophy, faculties
that were otherwise sinking below the surface were quickened to life. That is how
seers came into existence. But because what had now to be learnt about the physical
world and this also applies to philosophy was of importance for the physical
plane alone, and became increasingly important, man alienated himself more and
more from the remnants of the old clairvoyance. He could no longer penetrate to the

inner depths of existence and it was increasingly difficult to become a seer. Nor will
this again be possible until the new methods indicated as a beginning in the
book Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? are accepted by
mankind as plausible.
We have heard that a period of materialism reached its peak one could also say,
its deepest point in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is certain that
conditions will become more and more difficult but the threads of connection with the
earlier impulses in the evolution of humanity must nevertheless not be broken. The
following diagram indicates how seership has developed:

Here (yellow) seership is still present in full flower; it vanishes more and more
completely until the lowest point is reached in the middle of the nineteenth century,
and then there is again an ascent. But understanding of the spiritual world is not the
same as seership. Just as in regard to the world, science is not the same thing as mere
sensory perception, clairvoyance itself is a different matter from understanding what
is seen. In the earliest epochs men were content, for the most part, with vision; they
did not get to the point of thinking to any great extent about what was seen, for their
seership sufficed. But now, thinking too came to the fore. The line ab, therefore,
indicates seership, vision; line cd indicates thought or reflection about the spiritual
In ancient times man was occupied with his visions and thinking lay, as it were, in
the subconscious region of the soul. The seers of old did not think, did not reflect;
everything came to them directly through their vision. Thinking first began to affect
seership about three or four thousand years B.C. There was a golden age in the old
Indian, Persian, Egypto-Chaldean and also in very ancient Greek culture when
thinking, still youthful and fresh, was wedded with vision in the human soul. In those
times, thinking was not the laboured process it is in our day. Men had certain great,
all-embracing notions, and, in addition, they had vision (e in diagram) . Something of
the kind, although already in a weaker form, was present to a marked degree in the
seers who founded the Samothracian Mysteries and there gave the monumental
teaching of the four gods: Axieros, Axiokersos, Axiokersa and Kadmillos. In this great
teaching which once had its home in the island of Samos, certain lofty concepts were
imparted to those who were initiated in the Mysteries and they were able to unite with
these concepts the still surviving fruits of ancient seership. It may be possible on some
other occasion to speak of these things too in greater detail. [note 1]
But then seership gradually sank below the threshold of consciousness and to call
it up from the depths of the soul became more and more difficult. It was, of course,
possible to retain some of the concepts, even to develop them further; and so finally a
time came when there were initiates who were not necessarily seers mark well,
initiates who were not necessarily seers.
In different places where there were assemblies of these initiates, they simply
adopted what was in part preserved from olden times, of which it could be affirmed
that ancient seers revealed it or what could be drawn forth from men who still
possessed the faculties of atavistic clairvoyance. Conviction came partly through
historical traditions, partly through experiments. Men convinced themselves that

what their intellects thoughtwas true. But as time went on the number of individuals
in these assemblies who were still able to see into the spiritual world, steadily
diminished, while the number of those who had theories about the spiritual world and
expressed them in symbols and the like, steadily increased.
And now think of what inevitably resulted from this about the middle of the
nineteenth century, when the materialistic tendencies of men had reached their
deepest point. Naturally, there were people who knew that there is a spiritual world
and also knew what is to be found in the spiritual world, but they had never seen that
world. Indeed, the most outstanding savants in the nineteenth century were men
who, although they had seen nothing whatever of the spiritual world, knew that it
exists, could reflect about it, could even discover new truths with the help of certain
methods and a certain symbolism that had been preserved in ancient tradition. To
take one example only. Nothing special is to be gained by looking at a drawing of a
human being. But if a human form is drawn with a lion's head, or another with a bull's
head, those who have learnt how these things are to be interpreted can glean a great
deal from symbolical presentations of this kindsimilarly, if a bull is depicted with
the head of a man or a lion with the head of a man. Such symbols were in frequent
use, and there were earnest assemblies in which the language of symbols could be
learnt. I shall say no more about the matter than this, for the schools of Initiation
guarded these symbols very strictly, communicating them to nobody who had not
pledged himself to keep silence about them. To be a genuine knower a man needed
only to have mastered this symbolic language that is to say, a certain symbolic
And so the situation in the middle of the nineteenth century was that mankind in
general, especially civilised mankind, possessed the faculty of spiritual vision deep
down in the subconsciousness, yet had materialistic tendencies. There were, however,
a great many people who knew that there is a spiritual world, who knew that just as
we are surrounded by air, so we are surrounded by a spiritual world. But at the same
time these men were burdened with a certain feeling of responsibility. They had no
recourse to any actual faculties whereby the existence of a spiritual world could have
been demonstrated, yet they were not willing to see the world outside succumbing
altogether to materialism. And so in the nineteenth century a difficult situation
confronted those who were initiated, a situation in face of which the question forced
itself upon them: Ought we to continue to keep within restricted circles the knowledge
that has come over to us from ancient times and merely look on while the whole of
mankind, together with culture and philosophy, sinks down into materialism? Dare
we simply look on while this is taking place? They dared not do so, especially those
who were in real earnest about these things.
And so it came about that in the middle of the nineteenth century the words
esotericist and exotericist which were used by the initiates among themselves,
acquired a meaning deviating from what it had previously been. The occultists divided
into exotericists and esotericists. If for purposes of analogy, expressions connected
with modern parliaments are adopted although naturally they are unsuitable here
the exotericists could be compared with the left-wing parties and the esotericists
with the right-wing parties. The esotericists were those who wanted to continue to
abide firmly by the principle of allowing nothing of what was sacred, traditional
knowledge, nothing that might enable thinking men to gain insight into the symbolic
language, to reach the public. The esotericists were, so to speak, the Conservatives
among the occultists. Who, then we may ask were the exotericists ? They were
and are those who want to make public some part of the esoteric knowledge.
Fundamentally, the exotericists were not different from the esotericists, except that
the former were inclined to follow the promptings of their feeling of responsibility,
and to make part of the esoteric knowledge public.

There was widespread discussion at that time of which the outside world knows
nothing but which was particularly heated in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Indeed the clashes and discussions between the esotericists and the exotericists were
far more heated than those between the Conservatives and Liberals in modern
parliaments. The esotericists took the stand that only to those who had pledged
themselves to strictest silence and were willing to belong to some particular society
should anything be told concerning the spiritual world or any knowledge of it
communicated. The exotericists said: If this principle is followed, people who do not
attach themselves to some such society or league will sink altogether into
And now the exotericists proposed a way. I can tell you this today: the way
proposed by the exotericists at that time is the way we ourselves are taking. Their
proposal was that a certain part of the esoteric knowledge should be popularised. You
see, too, how we ourselves have worked with the help of popular writings, in order
that men may gradually be led to knowledge of the spiritual worlds.
In the middle of the nineteenth century things had not reached the point at which
anyone would have ventured to admit that this was their conviction. In such circles
there is, of course, no voting, and to say the following is to speak in metaphor.
Nevertheless it can be stated that at the first ballot the esotericists won the day and
the exotericists were obliged to submit. The society or league was not opposed,
because of the good old precept of holding together. Not until more modern times has
the point been reached when members are expelled or resign. Such things used not to
happen because people understood that they must hold together in brotherhood. So
the exotericists could do no other than submit. But their responsibility to the whole of
mankind weighed upon them. They felt themselves, so to speak, to be guardians of
evolution. This weighed upon them, with the result that the first ballot if I may
again use this word was not adhered to, and once again I will use a word which
as it is drawn from ordinary parlance must be taken metaphorically a kind of
compromise was reached. This led to the following situation.
It was said, and this was also admitted by the esotericists: it is urgently necessary
for humanity in general to realise that the surrounding world is not devoid of the
spiritual, does not consist only of matter nor is subject to purely material laws;
humanity must come to know that just as we are surrounded by matter, so too we are
surrounded by the spiritual, and that man is not only that being who confronts us
when we look at him in the material sense, but also has within him something that is
of the nature of spirit and soul. The possibility of knowing this must be saved for
humanity. On this, agreement was reachedand that was the compromise.
But the esotericists of the nineteenth century were not prepared to surrender the
esoteric knowledge, and a different method had therefore to be countenanced. How it
came into being is a complicated story. Particularly on occasions of the founding of
Groups I have often spoken of what happened then. The esotericists said: We do not
wish the esoteric knowledge to be made public, but we realise that the materialism of
the age must be tackled. In a certain respect the esotericists were basing themselves
on a well-founded principle, for when we see repeatedly the kind of attitude that is
adopted today towards esoteric knowledge we can understand and sympathise with
those who said at that time that they would not hear of it being made public. We must
realise, however, that over and over again it can be seen that open communication of
esoteric knowledge leads to calamity, and that those who get hold of such knowledge
are themselves the cause of obstacles and hindrances in the way of its propagation. In
recent weeks we have often spoken of the fact that far too little heed is paid to these
obstacles and hindrances. Most unfortunate experiences are encountered when it is a
matter of making esoteric knowledge public. Help rendered with the best will in the
world to individuals even there the most elementary matters lead to calamity! You

would find it hard to believe how often it happens that advice is given to some
individual but it does not please him. When the outer world says that an occultist
who works as we work here, exercises great authority that is just a catchword. As
long as the advice given is acceptable, the occultist, as a rule, is not grumbled at; but
when the advice is not liked, it is not accepted. People even browbeat one by
declaring: If you do not give me different advice, I simply cannot get on. This may
come to the point of actual threats, yet it had simply been a matter of advising the
person in question for his good. But as he wants something different, he says: I have
waited long enough; now tell me exactly what I ought to do. He was told this long
ago, but it went against the grain. Finally things come to the point where those who
were once the most credulous believers in authority become the bitterest enemies.
They expect to get the advice they themselves want and when it is not to their liking
they become bitter enemies. In our own time, therefore, experience teaches us that we
cannot simply condemn the esotericists who refused to have anything to do with
popularising the esoteric truths.
And so in the middle of the nineteenth century this popularising did not take
place; an attempt was, however, made to deal in some way with the materialistic
tendencies of the age. It is difficult to express what has to be said and I can only put it
in words which, as such, were never actually uttered but none the less give a true
picture. At that time the esotericists said: What can be done about this humanity? We
may talk at length about the esoteric teaching but people will simply laugh at us and
at you. At most you will win over a few credulous people, a few credulous women, but
you will not win over those who cling to the strictly scientific attitude, and you will be
forced to reckon with the tendencies of the age.
The consequence was that endeavours were made to find a method by means of
which attention could be drawn to the spiritual world, and indeed in exactly the same
way as in the material world attention is called to the fact that in a criminal the
occipital lobe does not or does not entirely cover the corresponding part of his brain.
And so it came about that mediumship was deliberately brought on the scene. In a
sense, the mediums were the agents of those who wished, by this means, to convince
men of the existence of a spiritual world, because through the mediums people could
see with physical eyes that which originates in the spiritual world; the mediums
produced phenomena that could be demonstrated on the physical plane. Mediumship
was a means of demonstrating to humanity that there is a spiritual world. The
exotericists and the esotericists had united in supporting mediumship, in order to
deal with the tendency of the times.
Think only of men such as Zllner, Wallace, du Prel, Crookes, Butlerow, Rochas,
Oliver Lodge, Flammarion, Morselli, Schiaparelli, Ochorowicz, James, and others
how did they become convinced of the existence of a spiritual world? It was because
they had witnessed manifestations from the spiritual world. But everything that can
be done by the spiritual world and by the initiates must, to begin with, be in the
nature of attempts in the world of men. The maturity of humanity must always be
tested. This support of mediumship, of spiritualism, was therefore also, in a certain
sense, an attempt. All that the exotericists and esotericists who had agreed to the
compromise could say was: What will come of it remains to be seen. And what did,
in fact, come of it?
Most of the mediums gave accounts of a world in which the dead are living. Just
read the literature on the subject! For those who were initiated, the result was
distressing in the utmost degree, the very worst there could possibly have been. For
you see, there were two possibilities. One was this. Mediums were used and they
made certain communications. They were only able to relate what they communicated
to the ordinary environment in the material elements of which spirit is, of course,
present. It was expected, however, that the mediums would bring to light all kinds of

hidden laws of nature, hidden laws of elemental nature. But what actually happened
was inevitable, and for the following reason.
Man, as we know, consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego.
From the time of going to sleep to waking, therefore, the real man is in his ego and
astral body; but then he is at the same time in the realm of the dead. The medium
sitting there, however, is not an ego and an astral body. The ego-consciousness and
also the astral consciousness have been suppressed and as a result the physical and
etheric bodies become particularly active. In this condition the medium may come
into contact with a hypnotist, or an inspirer that is to say, with some other human
being. The ego of another human being, or also the environment, can then have an
effect upon the medium. It is impossible for the medium to enter the realm of the
dead because the very members of his being which belong to that realm have been
made inoperative. The mediums went astray; they gave accounts allegedly of the
realm of the dead. And so it was obvious that this attempt had achieved nothing
except to promulgate a great fallacy. One fine day, therefore, it had to be admitted
that a path had been followed which was leading men into fallacy to purely
Luciferic teachings bound up with purely Ahrimanic observations. Fallacy from which
nothing good could result had been spread abroad. This was realised as time went on.
You see, therefore, how an attempt was made to deal with the materialistic
tendencies of the age and yet to bring home to men's consciousness that there is a
spiritual world around us. To begin with, this path led to fallacy, as we have heard.
But you can gather from this how necessary it is to take the other path, namely,
actually to begin to make public part of the esoteric knowledge. This is the path that
must be taken even if it brings one calamity after another. The very fact that we
pursue Spiritual Science is, so to say, an acknowledgment of the need to carry into
effect the principle of the exotericists in the middle of the nineteenth century. And the
aim of the Spiritual Science we wish to cultivate is nothing else than to carry this
principle into effect, to carry it into effect honourably and sincerely.
From all this it will be clear to you that materialism is something about which we
cannot merely speculate; we must understand the necessity of its appearance,
especially of the peak or lowest point it reached about the middle of the
nineteenth century. The whole trend had of course begun a long time before then
certainly three, four or five centuries before. Man's leanings to the spiritual passed
more and more into his subconsciousness, and this state of things reached its climax
in the middle of the nineteenth century. But that too was necessary, in order that the
purely materialistic talents of men might develop unhindered by occult faculties. A
materialistic philosopher such as Kant, a materialistic philosopher from the
standpoint of the Idealists of the nineteenth century you can easily read about this
in my book Riddles of Philosophy could not have appeared if the occult
faculties had not drawn into the background. Certain faculties develop in man when
others withdraw, but while the one kind of faculties and talents develops outwardly,
the other kind takes its own inner path. These three, four or five centuries were not,
therefore, a total loss for the spiritual evolution of mankind. The spiritual forces have
continued to develop below the threshold of consciousness, and if you think about
what I have indicated in connection with von Wrangell's pamphlet [note 2] on the
subject of what he there calls the dreamlike, you will be able to recognise the
existence of occult faculties which are merely waiting to unfold. They are present in
abundance in the souls of men; it is only a matter of drawing them out in the right
It was necessary to say these things by way of introduction, and tomorrow we will
pass on to the question of the relation between the Living and the Dead, bearing in
mind that in one respect the wrong path resulting from the compromise between the
exotericists and the esotericists has actually been instructive. To understand the

nature of this compromise we must study the questions of birth and death and then
show what effect the materialistic methods have had in this connection.

Note 1. See Mystery Knowledge and Mystery Centres,
Lecture XII. Fourteen lectures given in Dornach, 23rd
November to 21st December, 1923. (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973)
Note 2. Published in Leipzig in 1914, with the
title, Wissenschaft and Theosophie.

On this occasion I should like to be allowed to include certain personal references among
matters of objective history, because what must be added to the subject dealt with in the
lecture yesterday is necessary for our study today and after careful consideration I believe
it is right to include more details.
I want, first of all, to speak of a particular experience connected with our Movement. You
know that outwardly we began by linking ourselves but outwardly only with the
Theosophical Society and that we founded the so-called German Section of that Society in
the autumn of 1902, in Berlin. In the course of the year 1904 we were visited in various
towns of Germany by prominent members of the Theosophical Society, and the episode
from which I want to start occurred during one of these visits. The first edition of my
book Theosophy had just been published in the spring of 1904 and the
periodical Lucifer-Gnosis was appearing. In that periodical I had published articles dealing
with the problem of Atlantis and the character of the Atlantean epoch. These articles were
afterwards published as a separate volume entitled Unsere atlantischen Vorfahren (Our
Atlantean Forefathers). [note 1] The articles contained a number of communications
about the Atlantean world and the earlier, so-called Lemurian epoch. Several articles of
this kind had therefore already appeared, and just at the time when the members of the
Theosophical Society were visiting us a number of the periodical containing important
communications was ready, and had been sent to subscribers. A member highly respected
in the Theosophical Society had read these articles dealing with Atlantis, and asked me a
question. And it is this question which I want to mention as a noteworthy experience in
connection with what was said in the lecture yesterday.
This member of the Theosophical Society, who at the time of its founding by Blavatsky had
taken part in most vital proceedings, a member, therefore, who had shared to the full in the
activities of the Society, put the question: By what means was this information about the
world of Atlantis obtained? The question was very significant because until then this
member was acquainted only with the methods by which such information was obtained in
the Theosophical Society, namely, by means of a certain kind of mediumistic investigation.
Information already published in the Theosophical Society at that time was based upon
investigations connected in a certain respect with mediumship. That is to say, someone
was put into a kind of mediumistic stateit could not be called a trance but was a
mediumistic state and conditions were established which made it possible for the
person, although not in the state of ordinary consciousness, to communicate certain
information; about matters beyond the reach of ordinary consciousness. That is how the
communications had been made at that time and the member of the Theosophical Society
in question who thought that information about prehistoric events could be gained only in
this way, enquired what personality we had among us whom we could use as a medium for
such investigations.
As I had naturally refused to adopt this method of research and had insisted from the
outset upon strictly individual investigation, and as what I had discovered at that time was
the result entirely of my own, personal research, the questioner did not understand me at
all, did not understand that it was quite a different matter from anything that had been
done hitherto in the Theosophical Society. The path I had appointed for myself, however,
was this: To reject all earlier ways of investigation and admittedly by means of supersensible perception to investigate by making use only of what can be revealed to the one
who is himself the investigator.
In accordance with the position I have to take in the spiritual Movement, no other course is
possible for me than to carry into strict effect those methods of investigation which are
suitable for the modern world and for modern humanity. There is a very significant
difference, you see, between the methods of investigation practised in Spiritual Science and
those that were practised in the Theosophical Society. All communications received by that

Society from the spiritual world including for example, those given in Scott-Elliot's book
on Atlantis came entirely in the way described, because that alone was considered
authoritative and objective. In this connection, the introduction of our spiritual-scientific
direction of work was, from the very beginning something entirely new in the Theosophical
Society. It took thorough account of modern scientific methods which needed to be
elaborated and developed to make ascent to the spiritual realms possible.
This discussion was significant. It took place in the year 1904, and showed how great the
difference was between what is pursued in Spiritual Science and what was being pursued
by the rest of the Theosophical Society; it showed that what we have in Spiritual Science
was unknown in the Theosophical Society at that time and that the Theosophical Society
was continuing the methods which had been adopted as a compromise between the
exotericists and the esotericists. Such was the inevitable result of the developments I
described in the lecture yesterday. I said that seership gradually died away and that there
remained only a few isolated seers in whom mediumistic states could be induced and from
whom some information might be obtained. In this way, Occult Orders, as they were
called, came into being, Orders in which there were, it is true, many who had been
initiated, but no seers. Among the prevailing materialism these Orders were faced with the
necessity of having to cultivate and elaborate methods which had long been in vogue, and
instruments for research had to be sought among persons in whom mediumistic faculties
that is to say, atavistic clairvoyance could still be developed and produce some result.
In these circles there were far-reaching teachings and, in addition, symbols. Those,
however, who wished to engage in actual research were obliged to rely on the help of
persons possessed of atavistic clairvoyance. These methods were then continued in a
certain way in the Theosophical Society, and the compromise of which I spoke yesterday
really amounted to nothing else than that in the Lodges and Orders experiments were
made whereby spiritual influences might be projected into the world. The desire was to
demonstrate that influences from the spiritual world are exercised upon man.
Procedures adopted in esoteric schools had therefore been brought into action. This
attempt was a fiasco, for whereas it had been expected that through the mediums genuine
spiritual laws prevailing in the surrounding world would be brought to light, the only result
was that nearly all the mediums fell into the error of supposing that everything emanated
from the dead, and they embellished it into communications alleged to have been made to
them by the dead. This led to a very definite consequence. If the older members among
you will think back to the earliest period of the Theosophical Society and study the
literature produced under its aegis, you will find that the astral world that is to say, the
life immediately after death was described in books by Mrs. Besant which merely
reproduced what is contained in Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine or was to be read in books by
Leadbeater. This was also the origin of everything that was given out concerning man's life
between death and a new birth.
If you compare what is said in my book Theosophy about the Soul-world and the Spiritworld to begin with, people were always trying to refute it but I think that today a
sufficient number are able to think objectively on the subject you will find very
considerable differences, precisely because in regard to these domains too the methods of
investigation were different. For all the methods of research employed in the Theosophical
Society, even including those used for investigating the life of the dead, originated from the
procedures of which I have spoken.
So you see, what the Theosophical Society had to offer the world to begin with was in a
certain respect a continuation of the attempt made by the occultists previously. In what
other respect this was not the case we shall hear in a moment. Taken as a whole, however,
it was a continuation of the attempt which, since the middle of the nineteenth century, had
been the outcome of the compromise made between the exotericists and the esotericists,
except that later on things were made rather more esoteric by the Theosophical Society.
Whereas the previous attempt had been to present the mediums to the world, the members

of the Theosophical Society preferred to work in their inner circle only and to give out
merely the results. That was an important difference, for there people were going back to a
method of investigation established as a universal custom by the various Orders before the
middle of the nineteenth century. I bring this forward because I must sharply emphasise
the fact that with the advent of our Spiritual Science an entirely new method, one which
takes full account of the work and attitude of modern science, was introduced into the
occult Movement.
Now as I told you, the compromise reached between the exotericists and the esotericists to
convince the materialistic world through mediums of all types that a spiritual world exists,
had been a fiasco, a fiasco inasmuch as the mediums always spoke of a world which under
the existing conditions simply could not be accessible to them, namely, the world of the
dead. The mediums spoke of inspirations alleged to have been received from a world in
which the dead are living. The situation was that the attempt made by the exotericists and
the esotericists had not achieved the result they had really desired.
How had such a state of affairs come about? What was the outcome of the remarkable
attempt that had been made as a result of the compromise? The outcome was that initiates
of a certain kind had wrested the power from the hands of those who had made the
compromise. The initiates of the extreme left-wing had taken possession of the
proceedings which had been countenanced in the way described. They acquired great
influence, because what was obtained through the mediums did not spring from the realm
of the dead at all, but from the realm of the livingfrom initiates who had put themselves
either in distant or close rapport with the mediums. Because everything was brought about
through these initiates and through the mediums, it was coloured by the theories of those
who wished to get the mediums under their control. The desire of those among the
exotericists and esotericists who had made the compromise was to bring home to men that
there is indeed a spiritual world. That is what they wanted to impress. But when those who
thought themselves capable of holding the guiding reins let them slip, the occultists of the
extreme left-wing took possession of them and endeavoured by means of the mediums if
I may use this tautology to communicate their theories and their views to the world.
For those who had made the compromise for the good of humanity, the position was
disastrous, because they felt more and more strongly that false teachings about the supersensible were being brought into the world. Such was the position in the development of
occultism in the forties, fifties and even in the sixties of the nineteenth century.
As long as deliberation still continued in the circles of honest occultists, the situation was
sinister. For the further the occultists inclined to the left, the less were they concerned to
promote that which alone is justifiable, namely, the universal-human. In occultism a man
belongs to the left when he tries to achieve some ultimate goal with the help of what he
knows in the way of occult teaching. A man belongs to the right in occultism when he
desires that goal purely for its own sake. The middle party were in favour of making
exoteric the esoteric knowledge needed in our time to promote the interests of humanity
universal. But those who belong to the extreme left are those who combine special aims
of their own with what they promulgate as occult teaching. A man is on the left to the
extent to which he pursues special aims, leads people to the spiritual world, gives them all
kinds of demonstrations of it, and instils into them in an illicit way, promptings that simply
help to bring these special aims to fulfilment. The leading circle of modern initiates was
faced with this situation. It was realised that the control had fallen into the hands of people
who were pursuing their own special aims. Such was the state of affairs confronting the
esotericists and the exotericists who had made the compromise referred to.
Then it was heard the expression may not be quite exact but absolutely exact words
cannot be found because one is dependent on external language and intercourse among
occultists is different from anything that external language is capable of describing it
was heard that an event of importance for the further continuation of spiritual
development on the Earth must be at hand. I can describe this event only in the following

way. In the research carried on by the individual Orders, they had preferred for a long
time to make less use of female mediums. In the strict Orders, where it was desired to take
the right standpoint, no female mediums were ever used for obtaining revelations from the
spiritual worlds.
Now the female organism is adapted by nature to preserve atavistic clairvoyance longer
than the male organism. Whereas male mediums were becoming almost unknown, female
mediums were still to be found and a great number were used while the compromise still
held. But now there came into the occultists' field of observation a personality who
possessed mediumistic faculties in the very highest degree. This was Madame H. P.
Blavatsky, a personality very specially adapted through certain subconscious parts of her
organism to draw a great deal, a very great deal, from the spiritual world. And now think of
what possibilities this opened up for the world! At one of the most crucial points in the
development of occultism, a personality appeared who through the peculiar nature of her
organism was able to draw many, many things from the spiritual world by means of her
subconscious faculties.
An occultist who at that time was alert to the signs of the times could not but say to
himself: Now, at the right moment, a personality has appeared who through her peculiar
organic constitution can produce the very strongest evidence of ancient, traditional
teaching existing among us in the form of symbols only. It was emphatically the case that
here was a personality who simply because of her organic make-up afforded the possibility
of again demonstrating many things which for a long time had been known only through
tradition. This was the fact confronting the occultists just after the fiasco which had led to a
veritable impasse. Let us be quite clear on the point: Blavatsky was regarded as a
personality from whom, as out of an electrically-charged Leyden jar, the electric sparks
occult truths could be produced.
It would lead too far if I were to tell you of all the intermediate links, but certain matters of
importance must be mentioned. A really crucial moment had arrived which I can indicate
in the following way; although expressed somewhat symbolically, it is in strict accordance
with the facts. The occultists of the right-wing, who in conjunction with the middle party
had agreed to the compromise, could say to themselves: It may well be that something very
significant can be forthcoming from this personality. But those belonging to the left-wing
could also say with assurance: It is possible to achieve something extremely effective in the
world with the help of this personality! And now a veritable battle was waged around
her, on the one side with the honest purpose of having much of what the initiates knew,
substantiated; on the other side, for the sake of far-reaching, special aims.
I have often referred to the early periods in the life of H. P. Blavatsky, and have shown that,
to begin with, attempts were made to get a great deal of knowledge from her. But in a
comparatively short time the situation rapidly changed, owing to the fact that she soon
came into the sphere of those who belonged, as it were, to the left. And although H. P.
Blavatsky was very well aware of what she herself was able to see for she was especially
significant in that she was not simply a passive medium, but had a colossal memory for
everything that revealed itself to her from the higher worlds nevertheless she was
inevitably under the influence of certain personalities when she wanted to evoke
manifestations from the spiritual world. And so she always made reference to what ought
really to have been left asideshe always referred to the Mahatmas. They may be there in
the background but this is not a factor when it is a question of furthering the interests of
And so it was not long before H. P. Blavatsky was having to face a decision. A hint came to
her from a quarter belonging to the side of the left that she was a personality of key
importance. She knew very well what it was that she saw, but she was not aware of how
significant she was as a personality. This was first disclosed to her by the left-wing. But she
was fundamentally honest by nature and after this hint had been given her from a quarter
of which, at the beginning, she could hardly have approved, because of her fundamental

honesty, she tried on her side to reach a kind of compromise with an occult Brotherhood in
Europe. Something very fine might have resulted from this, because through her great gift
of mediumship she would have been able to furnish confirmations of really phenomenal
importance in connection with what was known to the initiates from theories and
symbolism. But she was not only thoroughly honest, she was also what is called in German
a Frechdachs a cheeky creature. And that she certainly was! She had in her nature a
certain trait that is particularly common in those inclined to mediumship, namely, a lack of
consistency in external behaviour. Thus there were moments when she could be very
audacious and in one of these fits of audacity she imposed on the occult Brotherhood
which had decided to make the experiment with her, terms which could not be fulfilled.
But as she knew that a great deal could be achieved through her instrumentality, she
decided to take up the matter with other Brotherhoods. And so she approached an
American Brotherhood. This American Brotherhood was one where the majority had
always wavered between the right and the left, but at all events had the prospect of
discovering things of tremendous significance concerning the spiritual worlds.
Now this was the period when intense interest was being taken in H. P. Blavatsky by other
Brothers of the left. Already at that time these left-wing Brothers had their own special
interests. At the moment I do not propose to speak about these interests. If it were
necessary, I could do so at some future time. For the present it is enough to say that they
were Brothers who had their special interests, above all, interests of a strongly political
character; they envisaged the possibility of achieving something of a political nature in
America by means of persons who had first been put through an occult preparation. The
consequence was that at a moment when H. P. Blavatsky had already acquired an untold
amount of occult knowledge through having worked with the American Lodge, she had to
be expelled from it, because it was discovered that there was something political in the
background. So things couldn't continue.
The situation was now extremely difficult, tremendously difficult. For what had been
undertaken in order to call the world's attention to the existence of a spiritual world, had in
a certain respect to be withdrawn by the serious occultists because it had been a fiasco. It
was necessary to show that no reliance could be placed on what was being presented by
Spiritualism, in spite of the fact that it had many adherents. It was only materialistic, it was
sheer dilettantism. The only scholarly persons who concerned themselves with it were
those who wanted to get information in an external, materialistic way about a spiritual
world. In addition, H. P. Blavatsky had made it clear to the American Lodge on her
departure that she had no intention whatever of withholding from the world what she
knew. And she knew a great deal, for she was able to remember afterwards what had been
conveyed through her. She had any amount of audacity!
Good advice is costly, as the saying goes. What was to be done? And now something
happened to which I have referred on various occasions, for parts of what I am saying
today in this connection I have said in other places. Something that is called in occultism
Occult imprisonment was brought about. [note 2] H. P. Blavatsky was put into occult
imprisonment. Through acts of a kind that can be performed only by certain Brothers
and are performed, moreover, only by Brotherhoods who allow themselves to engage in
illicit arts through certain acts and machinations they succeeded in compelling H. P.
Blavatsky to live for a time in a world in which all her occult knowledge was driven
inwards. Think of it in this way. The occult knowledge was in her aura; as the result of
certain processes that were set in operation, it came about that for a long time everything
in this aura was thrown back into her soul. That is to say, all the occult knowledge she
possessed was to be imprisoned; she was to be isolated as far as the outer world and her
occultism were concerned.
This happened at the time when H. P. Blavatsky might have become really dangerous
through the spreading of teachings which are among the most interesting of all within the
horizon of the Occult Movement. Certain Indian occultists now came to know of the affair,

occultists who on their part tended strongly towards the left, and whose prime interest it
was to turn the occultism which could be given to the world through H. P. Blavatsky in a
direction where it could influence the world in line with their special aims. Through the
efforts of these Indian occultists who were versed in the appropriate practices, she was
released from this imprisonment within her aura; she was free once again and could now
use her spiritual faculties in the right way.
From this you can get an idea of what had taken place in this soul, and of what
combination of factors all that came into the world through H. P. Blavatsky, was
composed. But because certain Indian occultists had gained the merit of freeing her from
her imprisonment, they had her in their power in a certain respect. And there was simply
no possibility of preventing them from using her to send out into the world that part of
occultism which suited their purposes. And so something very remarkable was
arranged if I may use a clumsy word. What was arranged can be expressed
approximately as follows. The Indian occultists wanted to assert their own special aims
in opposition to those of the others, and for this purpose they made use of H. P. Blavatsky.
She was given instructions to place herself under a certain influence, for in her case the
mediumistic state had always to be induced from outside and this also made it possible
to bring all kinds of things into the world through her.
About this time she came to be associated with a person who from the beginning had really
no directly theosophical interests but a splendid talent for organisation, namely,
Colonel Olcott. I cannot say for certain, but I surmise that there had already been some
kind of association at the time when Blavatsky belonged to the American Lodge. Then,
under the mask, as it were, of an earlier individuality, there appeared in the field of
Blavatsky's spiritual vision a personality who was essentially the vehicle of what it was
desired from India to launch into the world. Some of you may know that in his book People
from the Other World, Colonel Olcott has written a great deal about this individuality who
now appeared in H. P. B.'s field of vision under the mask of an earlier individuality
designated as Mahatma Kut-Humi. You know, perhaps, that Colonel Olcott has written a
very great deal about this Mahatma Kut-Humi, among other things that in the year 1874
this Mahatma Kut-Humi had declared what individuality was living in him. He had
indicated that this individuality was John King by name, a powerful sea-pirate of the
seventeenth century. This is to be read in Olcott's book People from the Other World.
In the Mahatma Kut-Humi, therefore, we have to do with the spirit of a bold sea-pirate of
the seventeenth century who then, in the nineteenth century, was involved in significant
manifestations made with the help of H. P. Blavatsky and others too. He brought tea-cups
from some distance away, he let all kinds of records be produced from the coffin of H. P.
B.'s father, [note 3] and so forth. From Colonel Olcott's account, therefore, it must be
assumed that these were deeds of the bold pirate of the seventeenth century.
Now Colonel Olcott speaks in a remarkable way about this John King. He says that perhaps
here one had to do, not with the spirit of this pirate but possibly with the creation of an
Order which, while depending for its results upon unseen agents, has its existence among
physical men. According to this account, Kut-Humi might have been a member of an Order
which engaged in practices such as I have described and the results of which were to be
communicated to the world through H. P. Blavatsky but bound up with all kinds of special
interests. These were that a specifically Indian teaching should be spread in the world.
This was approximately the situation in the seventies of the nineteenth century. We
therefore have evidence of very significant happenings which must be seen in a single
framework when we are considering the whole course of events in the Occult Movement. It
was this same John King who, by means of precipitation, produced Sinnett's books, the
first one, Letters about the Occult World and, especially, Esoteric Buddhism.
This book Esoteric Buddhism came into my hands very shortly after publication a few
weeks in fact and I could see from it that efforts were being made, especially from a
certain quarter, to give an entirely materialistic form to the spiritual teachings. If you were

to study Esoteric Buddhism with the insight you have acquired in the course of time, you
would be astonished at the materialistic forms in which facts are there presented. It is
materialism in its very worst forms. The spiritual world is presented in an entirely
materialistic way. No one who gets hold of this book can shake himself free from
materialism. The subject-matter is very subtle but in Sinnett's book one cannot get away
from materialism, however lofty the heights to which it purports to carry one. And so those
who were now H. P. B.'s spiritual bread-givers forgive the materialistic analogy not
only had special aims connected with Indian interests, but they also made trenchant
concessions to the materialistic spirit of the age. And the influence which Sinnett's book
had upon very large numbers of people shows how correctly they had speculated. [note 4]
I have met scientists who were delighted with this book because everything fitted in with
their stock-intrade and yet they were able to conceive of the existence of a spiritual world.
The book satisfied all the demands of materialism and yet made it possible to meet the
need for a spiritual world and to acknowledge its existence.
Now you know that in the further development of these happenings, H. P. Blavatsky
wrote The Secret Doctrine in the eighties of the nineteenth century, and in 1891 she
died. The Secret Doctrine is written in the same style as Esoteric Buddhism, except that it
puts right certain gross errors which any occultist could at once have corrected. I have
often spoken about the peculiar features of Blavatsky's book and need not go into the
matter again now. Then, on the basis of what had come about in this way, the Theosophical
Society was founded and, fundamentally speaking, retained its Indian trend. Although no
longer with the intensity that had prevailed under the influence of John King, the Indian
trend persisted. What I have now described to you was, as it were, a new path which made
great concessions to the materialism of the age, but was nevertheless intended to show
humanity that a spiritual world as well as the outer, material world must be taken into
Many details would have to be added to what I have now said, but time is too short. I will
go on at once to show you how our spiritual-scientific Movement took its place in the
Movement which was already in existence.
You know that we founded the German Section of the Theosophical Society in October,
1902. In the winters of both 1900 and 1901 I had already given lectures in Berlin which
may be called theosophical lectures, for they were held in the circle and at the invitation
of the Berlin Theosophists. The first lectures were those which ultimately became the book
entitled, Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichen Geisteslebens (translated into English
with the title, Mysticism and Modern Thought). These lectures were given to a circle
of Members of the Theosophical Society, of which I myself was not then a member. It must
be borne in mind at the outset that one had to do with teaching that was already
widespread and had led numbers of people to turn their minds to the spiritual world. Thus
all over the world there were people who to a certain extent were prepared and who wanted
to know something about the spiritual world. Of the things I have told you today they knew
nothing, had not the slightest inkling of them. But they had a genuine longing for the
spiritual world, and for that reason had attached themselves to the Movement in which
this longing could be satisfied. And so in this Movement there were to be found persons
whose hearts were longing for knowledge of the spiritual world.
You know that in a grotesque and ludicrous way I was taxed with having made a sudden
turn-about from an entirely different world-view which had been presented in my
book Welt- and Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten Jahrhundert. [note 5] The first
part had appeared in February 1900, and the second part in the following October. I was
taxed with having suddenly changed sides and having gone over to Theosophy. Now I have
often told you that not only had Sinnett's book, for example, come into my hands
immediately after its publication, but that I had also had close associations with the young
Theosophical Society in Vienna. It is right that you should understand what the
circumstances were at the time, and I want also to give you a very brief; objective view of

the antecedents of the German Section. There were people in the Theosophical Society who
longed to know of the spiritual world, and I had given lectures in their circle. These were
the lectures on Mysticism and the Mystics which I gave in a small room in the house of
Count Brockdorff. At that time I was not myself a member. The preface to the printed
volume containing these lectures is dated September 1901. In the summer of 1901 I had
collected the lectures given the previous winter, into the book published in September 1901
under the title Die Mystik im Aufgange des neuzeitlichin Geistlebens. [note 6]
I will read the first lines of the preface to this book:
What is stated in this work formed the content of lectures given by me last
winter in the Theosophical Library in Berlin. I was invited by Count and
Countess Brockdorff to speak on mysticism to an audience seriously interested
in the subject. Ten years earlier I should not have ventured to comply with
such a request. Not that the world of ideas which I am now bringing to
expression was not already within me. This world of ideas is presented in
my The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, published by Emil Felber,
Berlin, 1894. But to express this world of ideas as I am doing today and so
to make it the basis of study as in this present book, requires something quite
different from a mere firm conviction of its intellectual truth. It requires
intimate communion with this world of ideas such as can be achieved only
after many years. Only now, after this intimate communion has been
vouchsafed to me, do I venture to speak in the way that will be apparent in this
Now you can conceive why I had allowed the contents of lectures given in very different
circles to find a place in an occult movement. In the first edition of the book Welt-and
Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten Jahrhundert, the following is contained in the
chapter about Schelling I quote from the first edition, which was dedicated to Ernst
Haeckel and was published in February, 1900. I will read a few passages from the book of
which people have said that it sprang from a world-view quite different from that
presented in the book on Mysticism:
Now there are two possible ways of describing a being which is at the
same time Spirit and Nature. The one is: I exhibit the laws of nature which are
active in Reality. Or, I show how the spirit acts in order to come to these
natural laws. One and the same thing guides me in both cases. The one shows
me conformity to law as it is active in nature; the other shows me what the
spirit does in order to represent to itself this same conformity to law. In the
one case I pursue natural science, in the other spiritual science. How these two
are connected, Schelling describes in an interesting way. He says: The
necessary tendency of all natural science is to ascend from nature to
intelligence. This and nothing else underlies the endeavour to bring theory into
natural phenomena. The highest perfection of natural science would be the
complete spiritualisation of all natural laws into laws of observation and
thought. Phenomena (the material) must completely vanish, and laws alone
(the formal )remain. Hence it happens that the more conformity to law is
brought into nature herself the more the veils vanish, phenomena themselves
become more spiritual and finally disappear altogether. Optical phenomena
are nothing more than a geometry whose lines are drawn by light, and the
light itself is already an ambiguous materiality. In the phenomena of
magnetism all traces of matter are lost, and in those of gravity, which even the
natural scientist is only able to accept as a direct spiritual operation an
effect at a distance nothing remains but its laws, whose transactions are in

the vastness of the mechanism of the celestial movements. The perfect theory of
nature would be that by virtue of which nature as a whole is resolved into an
intelligence. The lifeless and unconscious products of nature are only nature's
abortive attempts to reflect herself; so-called lifeless nature is, however, an
unripe intelligence, hence in its phenomena the intelligent character still peeps
through, but without consciousness. Nature only reaches her highest aim to
become herself wholly object in her highest and final reflection, which is
none other than Man, or more generally, what we call Reason, through which
nature first completely returns into herself, and by which it becomes manifest
that she, nature, is originally identical with what is known in us as intelligence
and consciousness.
And referring further to Schelling, I say a little later:
To Schelling, with his progressive thought, the study of the world was the
study of God, or Theosophy. He already stood completely on this ground
when, in 1809, he brought out his Philosophic Enquiries into the Nature of
Human Freedom and allied Matters. All questions concerning conceptions of
the world now come to him in a new light. If all things are divine, how comes it
that there is evil in the world, since God can only be perfect Goodness? If the
soul of man is in God, how comes it that she follows her own self-seeking
interests? And if it is God who acts in me, how can I, who therefore in no wise
act as an independent being, yet be called free?
This view of the world is not put aside. And I say further:
With such views, Schelling proved himself to be the boldest, most
courageous of those philosophers who allowed themselves to be stimulated by
Kant into adopting an idealistic view of the world. Under the influence of this
stimulus, man has relinquished philosophising about things lying beyond what
the human senses alone and the thought concerning such observations, utter.
Men try to rest content with what lies within the field of observation and
thought. But whereas Kant drew from this the inevitable conclusion that man
can know nothing of things beyond, his successors declared: As observation
and thought indicate nothing divine in that beyond, they are themselves the
divine. Among those who declared this, Schelling was the most forceful. Fichte
gathered everything into selfhood; Schelling extended selfhood over
everything. He did not, like Fichte, wish to show that selfhood is everything,
but, on the contrary, that everything is selfhood. And Schelling had the
courage to declare not only the ego's content of ideas to be divine, but the
whole human spirit-personality. He not only made the human Reason divine,
but the content of human life a divine, personal entity. One calls an
explanation of the world Anthropomorphism which, starting from man,
imagines that underlying the whole course of the world there is a being who
guides that course as man guides his own actions. Those, too, who postulate a
general cosmic Intelligence as the basis of events, they too explain the world in
the anthropomorphic sense. For this cosmic Intelligence is none other than the
human Reason which has been made general and universal. When Goethe
says: Man never realises how anthropomorphic he is, his mind is engrossed
with the thought that concealed anthropomorphisms are contained in the
simplest utterances we make about nature. When we say, a body rolls further
because another has struck it, we form such an idea from out of our ego. We
strike a body and it rolls on. If we see that a ball moves towards another and

this other rolls on further, we think of the striking of the second by the first as
analogous to the striking effect which we ourselves exercise. Ernst Haeckel
spoke the anthropomorphic dogma: divine world-creation and divine worldgovernment resemble the mechanical productions of an ingenious technician
or engineer and the State-administration of a wise ruler. The Lord God as
Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of the Cosmos is here conceived as thoroughly
human in his thinking and acting. Schelling had the courage to lead
anthropomorphism to its ultimate consequences. He declared man and his
whole life-content to be divine; and as not only the rational belongs to this lifecontent, but also the irrational, he was able also to explain the existence of
irrationality in the world. To this end he had to extend the rational views of the
reasoning mind by adding another, whose origin does not lie in thinking. This
in his opinion higher view, he calls Positive Philosophy. This, he says, is
the really free philosophy; anyone who does not desire it may leave it alone; I
leave everyone free; I say only that if anyone desires, for instance, to ascertain
the actual course of things, to have a free world-creation and so forth, he can
succeed only along the path of a philosophy such as this. If rationalistic
philosophy satisfies him and he desires nothing further, let him content himself
with that, but he must give up trying to find in rationalistic philosophy what
unfortunately it cannot have within it, namely, the real God and the reality
underlying the course of things, and a free relationship of God to the world.
Negative philosophy will remain pre-eminently the philosophy for the schools,
Positive philosophy, the philosophy for life. Only through both together will
there come the consecration that man may expect from philosophy. It is well
known that the Eleusinian Initiates distinguished the Lesser and the Greater
Mysteries; the Lesser were a preparation for the Greater. ... Positive
philosophy is the necessary consequence of Negative philosophy when this is
rightly understood. It may therefore be said: In Negative philosophy the
Lesser Mysteries are celebrated, in Positive philosophy the Greater.
This chapter of my book closed with the passage:
If the inner life is declared to be divine, it seems inconsistent to confine
ourselves to one part of it. Schelling did not fall into this inconsistency. When
he said that to explain nature is to create nature, he indicated the direction of
his own view of life. If the reflective study of nature is a repetition of her
creation, the basic character of his creation must correspond to that of human
action; it must be an act of free spiritual activity, not one like a geometrical
necessity. But we cannot recognise a free creation through laws of Reason; it
must reveal itself through different means.
I was writing a history of world-views held in the nineteenth century. I could not go any
further than this, for what prevailed at the time in advancing evolution were purely
dilettante attempts which had no influence upon the progress of philosophical research.
Such matters could not form part of this book. But Theosophy, in so far as it is carried into
earnest thinking that you find in the chapter on Schelling.
The second part of the book, which deals, firstly, with Hegel, is dated October, two. It was
then that I had just begun to give the lectures referred to, and in September, 1901, the book
on Mysticism had already been published. Truly it is not for the sake of emphasising
personal matters but in order to help you to make an unprejudiced judgment that I should
like to refer you to a criticism of the book Welt- und Lebensanschauungen im neunzehnten
Jahrhundert which appeared on 15th December, 1901 in the journal of the German
Freethinkers' Alliance, The Free-Thinker. Here, after an introduction and a remark to the

effect that there had been no readable presentation of the development of thought in the
nineteenth century, it continues:
Especially in the domain of philosophy in which disputes can be carried
on in appropriate words, many sins are committed in popular writings. The
Watchers of Zion and organisations of every kind, with their learned cliques
to which unfortunately so many university tutors belong, are much to blame.
Quotation of the folllowing extract is made only in order to point out the good-will with
which the book was received at the time:
So much the more must we welcome the fact that Dr. Rudolf Steiner, an
author well known as a modern thinker and protagonist, has undertaken the
task of giving the German public an objective presentation of the spiritual
conflicts waged in Germany in the nineteenth century concerning views and
conceptions of the world.
Then, after an extract from the book, a remarkable statement follows and I must read it to
you in full. The writer of this review regrets the absence of something in the book, and
expresses this in the following words:
Although the spiritualism of Du Prel and the anchoretic original
Christianity of Tolstoi are useless for cultural activity based on the thought of
evolution, yet symptomatically they have a value not to be overlooked. The
same may be said of Neo-Buddhism (Theosophy), which has developed a
terminology of its own, a sort of mystic jargon. A psychology of the modern
belief in spirits by a man of the mental calibre of Steiner would be decidedly
welcome. The language of his book is easy to comprehend. None of the yardlong passages of the academic philosopher disturbs the enjoyment of the
This was written in November 1901, shortly after I had begun to give the theosophical
lectures in Berlin. It can truly be said that there was then a demand, a public demand, that
I should speak about the aim and purpose of Theosophy. It was not a matter of arbitrary
choice but, as the saying goes, a clear call of karma.
In the winter of 1900-1901, I gave the lectures on Mysticism, and in that of 1901-1902
those dealing with the Greek and Egyptian Mysteries in rather greater detail. These
lectures were subsequently printed in the book Christianity as Mystical Fact [note 7]
(published in the summer of 1902).
The greater part of Mysticism and Modern Thought was at once translated into
English, still before I was a member of the Theosophical Society. I could tell you a great
deal of importance, but time does not permit of it now; it may be told another time. One
thing, however, I must add.
You see clearly that nowhere in the course of things was there any kind of sudden jump;
one thing led to the other quite naturally. At the beginning of the course of lectures on the
Greek and Egyptian Mysteries again held in Count Brockdorff's library and indeed
also at the time of the second series I had some opportunity of hearing about matters
which were not so very serious at that time, but which eventually led to things which have
been spoken of here as mystical eccentricities.
So in the year 1901-1902, I spoke on the Greek and Egyptian Mysteries and these lectures
were attended by the present Frau Dr. Steiner. She had also heard the lecture I had given
in the Theosophical Society during the winter of 1900 on Gustav Theodor Fechner. It was a
special lecture, not forming part of the other series. Frau Dr. Steiner had therefore already

been present at some of the lectures I gave during that time. It would be interesting to
relate a few details here but these may be omitted; they merely add a little colour to the
incident. If necessary, they can be told on another occasion.
After having been away for a time, Frau Dr. Steiner returned to Berlin from Russia in the
autumn, and with an acquaintance of Countess Brockdorff was present at the second
course of lectures given in the winter of 19011902. After one of the lectures on the Greek
Mysteries, this acquaintance came to me and said well, something of the kind just
alluded to! This lady subsequently became a more and more fanatical adherent of the
Theosophical Society and was later given a high position in the Order founded to wait for
the Second Coming of Christ. At the time of which I am speaking, she came to me after the
lecture on the Greek Mysteries and, adopting the air of a really profound initiate of the
Theosophical Society about to give evidence of her initiation, said: You have spoken of
Mysteries; but they are still in existence. There are still secret societies. Are you aware of
After a subsequent lecture on the same subject, she came to me again and said: One sees
that you still remember quite well what you were taught when you were in the Greek
Mysteries! That is something which, carried a little farther, borders on the chapter
deserving the title of mystical eccentricities.
In the autumn of 1901, this lady organised a tea-party. Frau Dr. Steiner always speaks of it
as the chrysanthemum tea because there were so many of these flowers in the room. The
invitation came from this acquaintance of Countess Brockdorff and I often thought that
she wanted well, I don't quite know what it was! The day chosen for the founding of the
Theosophical Society was one of special importance for this lady. She may have wanted to
enlist me as a co-worker on her own lines, for she put out feelers and was often very
persistent but nothing of any account came of it. I should like, however, just to relate a
conversation that took place in the autumn of 1901 between the present Frau Dr. Steiner
and myself on the occasion of that chrysanthemum tea, when she asked whether it was
not urgently necessary to call to life a spiritual-scientific Movement in Europe. In the
course of the conversation I said in unambiguous terms: Certainly it is necessary to call
such a Movement to life. But I will ally myself only with a Movement that is connected
exclusively with Western occultism and cultivates its development. And I also said that
such a Movement must link on to Plato, to Goethe, and so forth. I indicated the whole
programme which was then actually carried out.
In this programme there was no place for unhealthy activities, but naturally a few people
with such tendencies came; they were people who were influenced by the Movement of
which I have spoken. But from the conversation quoted at the beginning of this lecture,
which I had with a member of the English Theosophical Society, you will see that a
complete rejection of everything in the nature of mediumship and atavism was implicit in
this programme.
The path we have been following for long years was adopted with full consciousness.
Although elements of mediumistic and atavistic clairvoyance have not been absent, there
has been no deviation from this path, and it has led to our present position.
I had, of course, to rely on finding within the Theosophical Movement people who desired
and were able to recognise thoroughly healthy methods of work. The invariable procedure
of those who did not desire a Movement in which a healthy and strict sense of scientific
responsibility prevails, has been to misrepresent the aim we have been pursuing, in order
to suit their own ends. The very history of our Movement affords abundant evidence that
there has been no drawing back from penetrating into the highest spiritual worlds, to the
extent to which they can now, by grace, be revealed to mankind; but that on the other
hand, whatever cannot be attained along a healthy path, through the right methods for
entering the spiritual worlds, has been strictly rejected. Those who recognise this and who
follow the history of the Movement do not need to take it as a mere assurance, for it is
evident from the whole nature of the work that has been going on for years. We have been

able to go very, very much further in genuine investigation of the spiritual world than has
ever been possible to the Theosophical Society. But we take the sure, not the unsure, paths.
This may be said candidly and freely.
I have always refused to have anything to do with forms of antiquated occultism, with any
Brotherhoods or Communities of that kind in the domain of esotericism. And it was only
under the guarantee of complete independence that I worked for a time in a certain
connection with the Theosophical Society and its esoteric procedures, but never in the
direction towards which it was heading. Already by the year 1907 everything really esoteric
had completely vanished from the Theosophical Society, and later happenings are
sufficiently well known to you. It has also happened that Occult Brotherhoods made
proposals to me of one kind or another. A certain highly-respected Occult Brotherhood
suggested to me that I should participate in the spreading of a kind of occultism calling
itself Rosicrucian, but I left the proposal unanswered, although it came from a muchrespected Occult Movement. I say this in order to show that we ourselves are following an
independent path, suited to the needs of the present age, and that unhealthy elements are
inevitably regarded by us as being undesirable in the extreme.

Note 1. Dr. Steiner's articles in Lucifer-Gnosis are collected in the
book entitled Aus der Akasha-Kronik. The book was published in
English translation by Rudolf Steiner Publications Inc., New York,
1959, with the title Cosmic Memory.
Note 2. See inter alia: Man in the Light of Occultism,
Theosophy and Philosophy, lecture 7 and lecture 10; Earthly
and Cosmic Man, lecture 1; Earthly and Cosmic Man, lecture
1; The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,
lecture 4; Things of the present and past in the Spirit of Man, lecture
5. (The last two lecture-courses are not yet printed but are available
in translation as typescripts.) See also Notes at end of Lecture Five.
Note 3. Note by translator. Presumably by means of the process
known in spiritualism as precipitation.
Note 4. See notes at the end of Lecture Five.
Note 5. The content of this book is included in Die Rtsel der
Note 6. Translated with the title, Mysticism and Modern
Thought. (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., London and
Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1925.)
Note 7. Second English edition (revised) 1972. (Rudolf Steiner
Press, London)

Because other matters have still to be discussed, I will add only a brief episode today to
the subjects of which we have been hearing during the last few days. Still more specific
details will have to be given tomorrow in connection with the Occult Movement in the
nineteenth century and its relation to civilisation and culture. I must, however, insert into
the course of our studies a subject that is very important. You will remember certain things
I have said in connection with von Wrangell's brochure, Science and Theosophy, and when
I repeat them you will realise that from the point of view of Spiritual Science great
significance must be attached to the advent of materialism and the materialistic worldconception in the nineteenth century; simply to adopt an attitude of criticism would be
quite wrong.
A critical attitude is always the easiest when something confronts one. It is therefore
essential to realise that the current in the evolution of humanity which may be called the
materialistic view of the world arose in the nineteenth century quite inevitably. It has
already been amply characterised, but two aspects may be described which will make its
whole significance doubly clear to us.
In the form in which it appeared in the nineteenth century, as an actual view of the world,
materialism had never hitherto existed. True, there had been individual materialistic
philosophers such as Democritus and others you can read about them in my
book Riddles of Philosophy who were, so to speak, the forerunners of theoretical
materialism. But if we compare the view of the world they actually held with what comes to
expression in the materialism of the nineteenth century, it will be quite evident that
materialism had never previously existed in that form. Least of all could it have existed, let
us say, in the Middle Ages, or in the centuries immediately preceding the dawn of modern
thought, because in those days the souls of men were still too closely connected with the
impulses of the spiritual world. To conceive that the whole universe is nothing more than a
sum-total of self-moving atoms in space and that these atoms, conglomerating into
molecules, give rise to all the phenomena of life and of the spirit such a conception was
reserved for the nineteenth century.
Now it can be said that there is, and always will be, something that can be detected like a
scarlet thread, even in the most baleful conceptions of the world. And if we follow this
scarlet thread which runs through the evolution of humanity, we shall be bound to
recognise at very least the inconsistency of the materialistic view of the world. This scarlet
thread consists in the simple fact that human beings think. Without thinking, man could
not possibly arrive even at a materialistic view of the world. After all, he has thought out
such a view, only he has forgotten to practise this one particle of self-knowledge: You
yourself think, and the atoms cannot think! If only this one particle of self-knowledge is
practised, there is something to hold to; and by holding to it one will always find that it is
not compatible with materialism.
But to discover the truth of this, materialism must be recognised as what it really is. As
long as man had, as it were, a counterfeit idea of materialism, an idea in which spiritual
impulses were still included, he could hold fast to the fragment of spirit he still sought to
find in the phenomena of nature, and so forth. Not until he had cast out all spirit through
the spirit for thinking is possible only for the spirit not until through the spirit he had
cast out spirit from the structure of the universe could the materialistic view of the world
confront him in all its barrenness. It was necessary that at some time man should be faced
with the whole barrenness of materialism. But what is also essential here is to reflect about
thinking. That is absolutely indispensable. As soon as we do so, we shall realise that the

barren vista presented by materialism had necessarily to appear at some point in evolution
in order that men might become aware of what actually confronts them there.
That is one aspect of the matter, but it cannot be rightly understood unless its other aspect
is presented. Materialistic picture of the world space in space atoms, which are in
movement and this is the All. Fundamentally, it is an outer consequence, a mirage of one
side of space and the atoms moving within it, that is to say, those minute particles of
which, as we have shown in earlier lectures, genuine thinking will not admit the existence.
But ever and again men come to these atoms. How are they found? How does man come to
assume their existence?
Nobody can ever have seen atoms, for they are conjectures, inventions of the mind. Apart
from the reality, therefore, there must be some instigation which prompts man to think out
an atomistic world. Something must instigate the proclivity in him to think out an
atomistic worldnature herself most assuredly does not lead him to form an atomistic
picture of her! With a trained physicist and I am not speaking hypothetically here for I
have actually discussed such matters with physicists with a trained physicist one can
speak about these things because he has knowledge of external physics. He could never
have hit upon atomism! He would have to say as indeed was the conclusion reached by
shrewder physicists in the eighties of last century: Atomism is an assumption, a working
hypothesis which affords a basis for calculation; but let us be quite clear that we are not
dealing with any reality. Thoughtful physicists would prefer to keep to what they
perceive with the senses, but again and again, like a cat falling on its feet, they come back
to atomism.
Mention has often been made of these things since I gave the lectures on the Theosophy
of the Rosicrucian in Munich [note 1], and if you have studied what has been
elaborated through the years, you will know that the rudiments of the physical body were
imparted to man on Old Saturn, that he then passed through the Old Sun and Old Moon
evolutions, and then, during the Old Moon period received into his organism, into what
existed of his physical organism at that time, his nerve-system.
It would, however, be quite erroneous to imagine that during the Old Moon epoch the
nerve-system was similar to what presents itself today to an anatomist or physiologist. In
the Old Moon epoch the nerve-system was present as archetype only, as Imagination. It
did not become physical, or better said, mineral in the chemical sense, until the Earthperiod. The whole ramified nerve-system we now have in our body, is a product of the
Earth. During the Earth's development, mineral matter was incorporated into the
imaginative archetypes of our nerve-system, as well as into the other archetypes. That is
how our present nerve-system came into being.
The materialist says: With this nerve-system I think, or I perceive. We know that this is
nonsense. To get a correct idea of the process, let us picture the course of some nerve in the
organism (see diagram). But now let us follow different nerves which run through the
organism and send out ramifications, like branches. A nerve has, as it were, a stem from
which branches spread out; these branches come into the neighbourhood of others and
then still another filament continues on its way. (The diagram is, of course, only a very
rough sketch.)

Now how does man's life of soul take its course within this nerve-system? That is the
question of primary importance. We can form no true conception here if we consider the
day-waking consciousness only; but if a man thinks of the moment when, together with his
ego and astral body, he slips out of the body and therefore also out of the nerve-system,

and especially of the moment when he slips into the body again on waking, he will have a
peculiar experience. During sleep, in his ego and astral body he has been outside his
nerves; he slips into the nerves again and is actually within them during his waking life; in
the act of waking he feels himself streaming, as it were, from outside into the nerves.
The process of waking is much more complicated than can be conveyed in a diagram.
Through the day, together with his soul, man is within his body, filling it to the uttermost
limits of the nerves. It is not as though the physical body were filled with a kind of
undifferentiated mist; the organs and various organic structures are pervaded individually.
As he passes into the different organs, man also slips into the sensory nerve-filaments,
right to the very outermost ramifications of the nerves.
Let us try to picture it vividly. Again I will make a sketch but can draw it only as a kind of
mirrored reflection. I can draw it only from the outside, whereas in reality it ought to be
drawn from within. Suppose here (diagram, p. 56) is the astral body and here the sensory
antennae extending from it. What I am drawing is all astral body.It sketches certain
antennae into the nerve fibres.
Now suppose the sleeves of my coat were sewn up and I were to slip my arm into the coat
suppose I had a hundred arms and were to slip them in this way into what would amount
to sacks. With these hundred arms I should come up against the places where the sleeves
are sewn up. In the same way I slip into the physical body, right to the ends of the nervefibres. As long as I am in the act of slipping in, I feel nothing; it is only when I reach the
point where the sleeves are sewn up that I feel anything. It is the same with the nerves; we
feel the nerve only at the point where it ends. Throughout the day we are within the nervesubstance, touching our nerve-ends all the time. Man does not realise this consciously but
it expresses itself in his consciousness willy nilly. Now man thinks with his ego and astral
body and we may therefore say: Thinking is an activity that is carried over by the ego and
astral body to the etheric body. Something from the etheric body also plays a partits
movement at any rate. The cause of consciousness is that in acts of thinking I continually
come to a point where an impact occurs. I make an impact at an infinite number of points
but I am not conscious of this. It comes into consciousness only in the case of one who
consciously experiences the process of waking; when he passes consciously into the mantle
of his nerves he feels as if he were being pricked all over.
I once knew an interesting man who had become conscious of this in an abnormal way. He
was a distinguished mathematician, conversant with the whole range of higher
mathematics at that time. He was also, of course, much occupied with the differential and
integral calculus. The differential in mathematics is the atomic, the very smallest unit
that can be conceived I cannot say more about it today. Although it was not a fully
conscious experience, this man had the sensation of being pricked all over when he was
engrossed in the study of the differential calculus. Now if this experience is not lifted into
consciousness in the proper way, by such exercises as are given in the book Knowledge
of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? very strange things may occur. This
man believed that he was feeling the differentials all over him. I am crammed full of
differentials, he said. I have nothing integral in me. And moreover he demonstrated in a
very ingenious way that he was full of differentials!
Now try to envisage these pricks vividly. What does a man do with them if they do not
reach his consciousness?

He projects them into space, fills space with them and they are then the atoms. That, in
truth, is the origin of atomism. If there is a mirror in front of you and you have no idea that
it is a mirror, you will certainly believe that there, outside, is another collection of people.
In the same way man conceives that the whole of space is filled with what he himself
projects into it. This entire nerve-process is reflected back into man owing to the fact that
he comes up against it (as a kind of barrier). But he is not conscious of this and so he
conceives of the whole of surrounding space as being filled with atoms: the atoms are
ostensibly the pricks made by his nerve-endings. Nature herself nowhere obliges us to
assume the existence of atoms, but the human constitution does. At the moment of waking
man dives down into his own being and becomes inwardly aware of an infinite number of
spatial points within him. At this moment he is in exactly the same position as when he
walks up to a mirror, knocks up against it and realises then that he cannot get behind it.
Similarly, at the moment of waking a man comes up against his nerve-endings and knows
that he cannot get beyond them. The whole atomic picture is like a reflecting-screen. The
moment a man realises that he cannot get behind it, he knows how things are.
And now think of a saying of Saint-Martin which I have quoted on previous occasions.
What does a natural scientist say? He says: Analyse the phenomena of nature and you find
the atomic world! We, however, know that the atomic world is simply not there; the truth
is that our nerve-ends alone are there. What then, is there where the atomic world is
conjectured to be? Nothing is there! We must remain at the mirror, at the nerveends. Man is there; and man is a reflecting apparatus. When this is not recognised, all
kinds of things are conjectured to lie behind him. The materialistic view of the world
arises, whereas in reality, it is man who must be discovered. But this cannot happen as
long as it is said: Analyse the phenomena of nature for this results in atomism. It should
rather be said: Try to get beyond what is mere semblance, try to see through semblance!
And then it will not be said: ... and you find the atomic world, but rather, and you find
man! And now call to mind what Saint-Martin said as a kind of prophecy without fully
understanding it himself: Dissipez vos tnbres materiels et vous trouverez l'homme.
This is exactly the same thing, but it can only be understood with the help of what we have
here been considering.
Through the way in which we are bringing Spiritual Science into connection both with
Natural Science and also with its errors, we are fulfilling a longing that has existed ever
since there were men who had some inkling of the fallaciousness of the modern
materialistic view of the world. When we think of the intrinsic character of our own
conception of the world, the fact of untold significance that strikes us is this: Spiritual
Science is there because it has been longed for by those who have had a feeling for the
True, for the Truth which alone can bring that of which modern humanity stands in need.
In the lecture tomorrow I shall show you why error was bound to arise when the attempt
with Spiritualism was made in the nineteenth century. I have indicated to you in many

ways that it was a matter of suggestions exercised by living men, whereas it was believed
that influences were coming from the dead. The dead can be reached only by withdrawing
into those members of man's psychic being which can be lifted out of the physical body.
The life of the human being between death and a new birth can be known only through
what can be experienced outside the physical body; therefore mediums using the word
in its real meaning cannot be used for this purpose. More about this tomorrow, when
what is said will also be connected with the subject of the life after death.

Note 1. In 1907.

I want to add certain things today in continuation of what has been said in these lectures
about the development of spiritual life in the nineteenth century.
We must turn our attention, on the one hand, to the role of the materialistic view of the
world, and to the attempt that was made to counter the inevitable penetration of this
materialistic outlook by means of the spiritual Movement of the nineteenth century; and
further, how an attempt was made from different sides among occultists to save men from
succumbing altogether to materialism. On the other hand, it will be well to connect with
this subject a study of matters with which we ourselves are particularly concerned just
now. This will help us to understand the character of those powers and forces which take
effect outwardly on the physical plane in the way that has already cost us many discussions
and will at least so I imagine have caused you much brain-racking. [note 1]
A connecting line exists from certain far-reaching factors in the spiritual development of
the nineteenth century to the matters with which we ourselves are now concerned. I shall
be obliged today to make a wide sweep and I ask you to treat the various communications I
shall make with a certain discretion from the outset, for the simple reason that they relate
to subjects which, as you will realise, can be known only to very few at the present time.
Later on, they will be found to be fully confirmed.
We will take as our starting-point the fact that the nineteenth century was the epoch when
materialism as a Weltanschauung arose in the natural course of progress and that the
middle of that century was the time when the whole of mankind was, as it were, to be put
to the test through the advent of materialism. Materialism was to stand on the horizon like
a Circe, a temptress, and men's proclivities and feelings were to result in their becoming
literally enamoured of it. For it may truly be said that the men of the nineteenth century
were enamoured of materialism.
On the other side we have seen how greatly materialism deserves praise. As a method,
materialism has made possible the great achievements of natural science which with all
their technical, economic and social consequences, would not have been possible if the
faculties of soul necessary for materialistic observation of the world had not been
developed. There was a combination of two factors. On the one hand, the evolution of
humanity had to take its course to the point where materialistic interpretations were
inevitable when the study of nature was carried to a further stage. Honest thinkers could
not but arrive at materialism if they adopted certain methods of investigation established
by natural science; for materialism was good as a method for investigating and observing
the secrets of the material world. That was the one aspect that emerged. The other was
that the hearts and souls of men were so attuned as to make them love materialism.
Everything tended towards it. All the factors combined to put men to the test, as it were,
through a materialistic view of the world.
Now I have already told you that those among the occultists who, so to speak, had the
responsibility of seeing that humanity should not completely sink into materialism, an
attempt was made with mediumship, and I showed you that mediumship led to
aberrations. I have already indicated one of the most significant of these aberrations. It
was remarkable that mediums everywhere professed to be able to give information,
revelations, from the realm of the dead, the realm in which men live after death. The most
remarkable thing of all, in addition to what I have already told you, was that these
communications which came through mediums allegedly from the realm of the dead
everywhere disclosed a strongly tendentious character. You can examine all these
proclamations made by the mediums and you will find that they invariably have a strongly

tendentious character precisely where the life of the soul after death is concerned.
In important circles where mediums were used, declarations were made which to the old
esotericists that is to say, those who did not wish certain occult truths to be made public
were the cause of great consternation. I can indicate the reason for their consternation
in the following way.
In order to be quite clear about the matter, please read the course of lectures I gave in
Vienna in the year 1914, entitled The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death
and a new Birth. The lectures contain very important facts which emerge when one
approaches the realm of the dead in the right way by putting oneself into the condition
where they are able to speak to one.
But in very many circles where mediums were used, revelations of a quite different kind
were made. If you peruse the mass of literature compiled from the communications of
different mediums, you will discover especially when these mediums were guided by the
souls of living persons that everything has a strongly tendentious character. Descriptions
of the life after death were given which, if you compare them with what was said in the
Vienna lectures, are entirely false. You will perceive, too, the tendency in the different
mediums to allow nothing concerning repeated lives on Earth to come to light. Wherever
the mediums alleged that the dead had spoken to them, they described the life after death
in such a way that the conclusion was: there can be no repeated Earth-lives! In the
development of mediumship there was the tendency to make false assertions precisely
about the most important aspects of the life between death and a new birth especially to
make assertions which preclude the fact of reincarnation. It was desired to speak to this
effect through mediums. That is to say, certain people who exploited this tendency in
pursuance of their special aims, desired that revelations indicating that there are no
repeated Earth-lives should be proclaimed through the mediums. The desire, therefore,
was to use the mediums in order to oppose the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.
That was a very striking fact, a fact which caused the right-wing occultists the greatest
consternation of all, for they themselves had been a party to the use of mediumship and
what it produced and this was being made to serve tendentious interests instead of the
unbiassed truth.
All these things were possible because the leaning towards materialism was so strong in
men. Now what is said in the Vienna lectures about the life between death and a new birth
is irreconcilable with any form of materialism as a view of the world. But a man can be a
materialist in his way of thinking and give credence to what different mediums have said
about the life after death, for that is really only a kind of embellished materialism that is
ashamed of being materialism and therefore has recourse to mediums in order to glean
something about the spiritual world. Materialism was therefore a factor to be reckoned
with, and those who did reckon with it fared the best.
In addition to all this there was something else. Even among those who knew something
about the spiritual worlds great confusion had arisen in the course of the nineteenth
century in regard to a matter about which, if a spiritual Movement is to make any real
progress, it is absolutely essential to be clear. The confusion was due to the fact that
Ahriman and Lucifer were continually being intermixed. People were no longer able to
distinguish between them. A principle of evil and the representative of the evil that they
understood, but they saw no need for any sharper distinction. Even Goethe was unable to
distinguish Ahriman whom he called Mephistopheles from Lucifer. In Goethe's
presentation they are indistinguishable, for Mephistopheles is a mixture, a cross between
Ahriman and Lucifer. In the nineteenth century men had no faculty for making a
distinction between the representatives of the two spiritual streamsbetween Ahriman
and Lucifer. I can only make certain statements on this subject today, but later on I shall
be able to elaborate them and then confirmation will be possible.
Now when it is a matter of clarity concerning the spiritual world, very much depends upon
being able to distinguish between Ahriman and Lucifer. That is why a strict distinction

between the figures of Ahriman and Lucifer will be made in the representations in our
Building. [note 2] Lack of clear distinction between these two Powers leads to a particular
kind of confusion in spiritual understanding. If Ahriman and Lucifer are intermixed as
they are in Goethe's figure of Mephistopheles, the danger is that Ahriman will constantly
appear in the form of Lucifer. There is no knowing whether one has to do with Ahriman
himself or with Lucifer in the form of Ahriman. Ahriman wishes to convey untruths by way
of the materialistic view of the world. But the materialistic view of the world would not lead
to the consequence mentioned yesterday if people would only hold fast to the thread of
thinking. Without this far-reaching thinking, materialism cannot be surmounted. But if
Ahriman and Lucifer are intermixed, man is induced to accept the Ahrimanic picture of the
world that is presented to him because Lucifer comes to the help of Ahriman and a certain
longing arises in him to weave certain fallacies in the guise of truths into his conception of
the world.
A remarkable trend has developed, namely, to harbour fallacies which indeed could
flourish only in the age of materialism one might say in the age of Ahrimanic deception
because Lucifer helps from within. Ahriman insinuates himself into the concepts formed
of outer phenomena and deceives man about them. But man would see through these wiles
if Lucifer did not incite him to lend force to certain materialistic facts in his view of the
That was the situation in which men were involved in the course of the nineteenth century
and those who so desired were able to take advantage of it. A person able to see through
such matters might set out to strengthen some tendency with a bias towards the left. This
would not have been such a simple matter if in the nineteenth century men had not been in
a position where they could easily be misled as a result of the intermixture of Ahriman and
And so it could happen that certain entirely materialistic natures had enough of the
Luciferic element in them not to believe in materialism, but to attempt to find in
materialism itself a spiritual conception of the world. Just think of it the nineteenth
century could produce a type of person whose head produced a thoroughly materialistic
kind of thinking but whose heart was longing for the spiritual! When that is the case, such
a man will endeavour to find the spiritual in materiality itself and will endeavour to give to
the spiritual a materialistic form.
Now if behind a personality of this type there happens to stand some individuality who
sees to the root of such matters, the latter has a very easy game to play. For if it is in the
interests of this individuality, he can induce such a man to mislead others into envisaging
the spiritual in a material form, and procedures calculated to trick these others can then
take effect. These measures succeed best when they are carried out at just the right place,
when truths are imparted to men and the door is opened for them to the things for which
they long. In this way certain spiritual truths could be brought to mankind and a one-sided
tendency steered in a certain direction; on the one hand a number of truths with a
materialistic colouring but truths for all that were communicated, and on the other
hand, at a certain place, something was introduced that would quite inevitably lead to
fallacy but could not easily be detected.
This was what happened in the case of Sinnett's book Esoteric Buddhism. Sinnett wrote it
but behind him was the one he calls his inspirer, and whom we know as the later mask
of a Mahatma-Individuality. Sinnett was a journalist and was therefore steeped in the
materialistic tendencies of the nineteenth century; here, then, was a personality whose
brain tended entirely to materialism, but the longing for a spiritual world was also present
in him. He therefore had every aptitude for seeking the spiritual world in a materialistic
form, and so it was easy for the above-mentioned individuality, in whose interests it was to
make use of materialism in this way for special aims of his own, to develop in
Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism an ostensibly spiritual teaching with an eminently
materialistic colouring.

Now you may say: But Sinnett's book certainly does not contain materialistic teaching!
The fact that this is not perceived there you have the gist of the whole matter!
Everything is embellished and disguised and can be understood only when one knows the
antecedents of which I have just spoken.
Of course, the teaching about the members of man's being, the doctrine of karma and
reincarnation, are truths. But materialism has here been woven into all these truths. In
Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism a genuinely spiritual outlook is combined with an eminently
materialistic tendency a combination that it was not easy to detect because there was
scarcely anyone who could discern that something entirely materialistic had insinuated
itself into a spiritual teaching something that was materialistic not merely in the
intellectual sense but materialistic as opposed to a spiritual view of the world. I refer to
what is said in Esoteric Buddhism about the Eighth Sphere. [note 3]
Here, then, are teachings which contain a great deal that is correct and into which this
utterly materialistic and misleading statement about the Eighth Sphere has been woven.
This culminates in the assertion made in Esoteric Buddhism that the Eighth Sphere is the
Moon. Owing to its journalistic qualities and the good style in which it is written, the book
was a tremendous draw and captivated many hearts. Consequently these readers imbibed,
not the true teaching concerning the Eighth Sphere, but the strange assertion made by
Sinnett that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere.
So there was Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The book was written at the time when
Blavatsky, after all the happenings of which I have told you, had already been driven into
the one-sided sphere of influence of those Indian occultists who belonged to the left and
had special aims of their own. Hence teachings relating to the constitution of man and to
reincarnation and karma are given in Esoteric Buddhism. It is therefore written in
opposition to those who wanted the knowledge of reincarnation to be allowed to disappear.
This will also show you how vehemently the conflict was being waged.
Blavatsky was connected with American spiritualists who wanted to let the teaching of
reincarnation disappear. Mediumship was a means to this end and so that method was
adopted. As Blavatsky revolted, she was expelled and came more and more under the sway
of the Indian occultists; she was driven into their hands. This led to a conflict between
American and Indian views in the sphere of occultism. On the one side there was the
strong tendency to let the teaching of reincarnation vanish from the scene, and on the
other, the urge to bring this teaching into the world but in a form that took advantage of
the materialistic leanings of the nineteenth century.
This was a possibility if the teaching about the Eighth Sphere was presented as Sinnett
presented it in the book Esoteric Buddhism. There are a certain number of other facts
which are perhaps of sufficient importance to be at least indicated because I do not want
to shock you by what I am saying but to explain the spiritual principle upon which our own
standpoint is based.
Two difficulties had arisen as a result of the way in which the teaching about the Eighth
Sphere had been presented in Sinnett's book. One of the difficulties had been created by
Blavatsky herself. She knew that what Sinnett had written on this subject was false [note 4]
but on the other hand she was in the hands of those who desired that the false teaching
should be inculcated into humanity. Therefore she tried as you can read in The Secret
Doctrine she tried to correct in a certain way this conception of the Eighth Sphere and
matters relevant to it. But she did this in such a way as to cause confusion. Hence there is a
certain discrepancy between Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine.
Blavatsky corrected in a way that actually reinforced the bias of the left-wing Indian
occultists. She tried by very peculiar means, as we shall presently see, to let more of the
truth come to light in order to overshadow the error. She was therefore obliged, in turn, to
create a counterweight, for from the standpoint of the Indian occultists it would have been
very dangerous to allow the truth to be revealed in this way.
She set out to create this counterweight we shall gradually understand it by pursuing

a definite course. She came nearer to the truth about the Eighth Sphere than Sinnett had
done but she created the counterweight by giving vent in The Secret Doctrine to a volley of
abuse on the subjects of Judaism and Christianity, interwoven with certain teaching about
the nature of Jehovah. In this way, what she had put right on the one side she tried to
balance out on the other, so that too much harm should not be done to the stream of
Indian occultism. She knew that such truths do not remain theory or without effect as do
other theories relating to the physical plane. Theories such as those of which we are
speaking penetrate into the life of soul and colour the perceptions and feelings of men;
indeed they were calculated to turn souls in a certain direction. The whole affair is an
inextricable jumble of fallacies.
H. P. Blavatsky did not, of course, know that the driving forces behind both tendencies
were directed towards a special aim, namely, to foster this particular kind of error instead
of the truth, to foster errors of a type that would be advantageous to the materialism of the
nineteenth century errors such as could be possible only at the high tide of materialism.
There you have one side of the situation.
On the other side, Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and, in a certain respect, Blavatsky's Secret
Doctrine too, had made a great impression, especially upon those who were really intent
upon seeking the spiritual world. And that again naturally alarmed those who had cause to
be alarmed at the possibility that an Occult Movement with such an oriental trend would
Now a number of senseless polemics have been levelled against Blavatsky, against Sinnett,
against the Theosophical Movement, and so forth. But among the different attacks made
upon the Theosophical Movement in the course of time there have been some which
emanated from well-informed but biassed quarters. The tendency of Anglican spiritual life
was that as little as possible of oriental teaching, as little as possible of any teaching
concerning repeated Earth-lives, should be allowed to come to the knowledge of the public.
There is no doubt that among those who, from the standpoint that here lay a danger to
Christianity in Europe, set themselves in opposition to the oriental teachings, were people
who may be called Christian esotericists. Christian esotericists connected with the High
Church party set themselves in opposition with this in mind. [note 5] And from that
quarter came declarations calculated to stem the current of oriental thought proceeding
from Blavatsky and Sinnett, but on the other hand to foster in the outside world
esotericism of a kind calculated to conceal the teaching of repeated Earth-lives. To
amalgamate a certain trend of thought with the form of Christianity customary in Europe
such was the aim of this group. It desired that the teaching of repeated Earth-lives
which it was essential to make known should be left out of account. And a method
similar to that used in the case of Sinnett was put into operation.
I must emphasise once again that those who made the corresponding preparations were
probably not fully aware that they were tools of the individuality who stood behind them.
Just as Sinnett knew nothing of the real tendency of those who stood behind him, neither
did those who were connected with the High Church party know much of what lay behind
the whole affair. But they realised that what they were doing could not fail to make a great
impression upon the occultists and that determined them to lend force to the trend of
those who were intent upon eliminating the teaching of repeated Earth-lives.
If after these preliminary indications we turn to consider the particular fallacy contained in
Sinnett's book, we find that it is the teaching that the Eighth Sphere makes itself manifest
paramountly in the Moon; that the Moon with its influences and effects upon man is, in
fact, the Eighth Sphere. Expressed in this form, this is a fallacy. Here is the essential
point. If in investigating the influences of the Moon we were to start from Sinnett's
assumption, we should be trapped in a grave error arising from materialistic thinking and
not easily fathomed. What, then, was necessary if the truth were to be fostered? It was
necessary to point out the true state of things in regard to the Moon as opposed to the
erroneous presentation in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism.

Read Chapter IV dealing with this subject in the book Occult Science: an Outline. It
was my purpose there to describe how the Moon left the Earth. I attached particular
importance to the fact that the exit of the Moon should be described with the utmost
clarity. It was essential to indicate the truth here as opposed to the fallacy. Thus in order to
counter the Indian influence it was necessary to describe in all clarity the function of the
Moon in the evolution of the Earth. That was one of the things that had to be done in my
book Occult Science: an Outline.
The other thing that was necessary will be clear to you if you think of the people of whom I
have just spoken, people who were also under a certain leadership and who did not wish
the teaching of repeated Earth-lives to be spread among men as a truth because they
considered that it would alter the form of Christianity customary in Europe and America.
They went to work in a particular way, a way which we can clearly discern if we picture
how these occultists set about refuting Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. The occultists who
were connected with the High Church party took upon themselves the task of refuting
Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism and Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine.
In point of fact a great deal of good was done in regard to Sinnett's statement about the
Eighth Sphere, for the falsity of the indications about the Eighth Sphere and the Moon was
emphasised very poignantly from that side. But at the same time this was combined with
another teaching. It was stated from that quarter that man is not connected with the Moon
in the way described by Sinnett, but in a different way. True, this different way was not
specifically described, but it could be perceived that these people had realised something
about the process of the Moon's departure from the Earth as I have presented it in the
book Occult Science. But now they laid great stress on the following. They said: The
Earth and above all, man was never connected with the other planets of the solar
system ... therefore man could never have lived on Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter. From
that side, therefore, it was sharply emphasised that there is no connection between man
and the other planets of the solar system. But this is the best way to instil yet another
fallacy into the world, and to spread the greatest possible obscurity over the teaching of
reincarnation. The other fallacy, Sinnett's fallacy, actually furthers the teaching of
reincarnation in a sense, but in a materialistic form. The fallacy which consists in the
assertion that during his Earth-evolution man has never had any connection with Mercury,
Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and so forth this fallacy was not actually spread abroad by those
who gave it publicity, but by those who stood behind them. It was they who worked upon
the souls of men in such a way that these souls could never seriously believe in
reincarnation. What, therefore, was strongly emphasised from this quarter was that man
had never been connected with any planet other than the Earth nor had ever had anything
to do with the other planets of the solar system.
If we think about man as he is between birth and death, we can envisage that in regard to
his evolution he stands under the workings of the Spirits of Form. This too is set forth
in Occult Science. But if we then think of his life from death until the next birth, an
essential fact must be taken into consideration, namely, that the spheres of activity of these
Spirits of Form fall as it were into seven categories, only one of which is allotted to
Jehovah, namely, that concerned primarily with the life between birth and death. The six
other categories of the Spirits of Form guide the life between death and a new birth.

This can be discovered only if we investigate the life between death and a new birth. Just as
Jehovah has to do with the Earth and actually made the sacrifice of going to the Moon in
order from there to neutralise certain things in Earth-evolution, so have the other Spirits of
Form to do with the other planets. But this fact must be cloaked, must be kept secret if it is

desired that the conception of repeated Earth-lives shall be withheld from men; and
moreover the concealment must be really effective, it must be brought about in such a way
that men do not become alive to the secret of which I have just spoken. For if they are
diverted from a true vista of the life between death and a new birth, their attention will be
rivetted, without this secret, upon the life between birth and death and they will allow
mediums to talk them into believing that the life after death is simply a continuation of the
life on Earth.
In all the things that happen in this domain a tremendous amount of scheming goes on.
For naturally, an occultist who undertakes anything of this nature knows, if he belongs to
the left, into which direction he must turn the thoughts in order to bring the feelings too
into line and thus divert men's attention from certain secrets in order that these shall not
come to light.
That is what actually happened, and you can read about it in the relevant literature. You
will often find the statement that man has nothing to do with the other planets of our solar
system but the implication behind this is: Nothing to do with the Guiding Spirits of these
planets of our solar system. This was sharply accentuated in order that men should never
evolve such concepts as would lead them to realise the credibility of the teaching of
reincarnation. And now the other task was to present the truth as opposed to the fallacy. If
you read Occult Science you will again find emphasis laid upon the fact that it is
necessary for men to go away from the Earth in order that part of his life shall be spent on
other planets. The book Occult Science deals in detail on the one side with man's
relation to the Moon, and on the other, with his relation to the planets.
What these people set out to achieve can be indicated briefly by saying: they too availed
themselves of the materialistic outlook of the time. For if you present the matter as I have
done in Occult Science, you will show what has to be accomplished in the evolution of
our Earth through its connection with the planets. The other planets, too, belong to the
evolution of the Earth. To the materialist, the planets move around in space as mere clods
of matter. And so, in describing their functions in the spiritual evolution of humanity, one
had to go back to their spiritual realities of being, to the Spirits of the planets.
You see by this how the spiritual Movement was wedged as it were between two set
purposes, one intent upon distorting the truth concerning the Moon, the other upon
distorting the truth concerning the planets. That was the situation at the end of the
nineteenth century. H. P Blavatsky and Sinnett were to distort the truth about the Moon;
the others set out to distort the truth about the connection of the planets with the evolution
of the Earth. Do not imagine that it is an easy position to be wedged between two such
currents; for here we have to do with occultism, and where occultism is involved a stronger
force is necessary for grasping its truths than for grasping the ordinary truths of the
physical plane. But consequently there is also at work a far stronger force of deception
which it is essential to see through. This is not easy, because of the strong force required to
counter it. On the one side, the truth about the Moon is veiled by the distortion, and on the
other, the truth about the planets. One was therefore wedged between two fallacies
committed in the interests of materialism. First, it was a matter of reckoning with the
materialism emanating from the oriental side, which was responsible for promoting the
fallacy about the Moon in order to introduce the oriental teaching of reincarnation. The
teaching of the fact of reincarnation was of course correct, but we shall soon see what a
strong concession had been made to materialism in Esoteric Buddhism as the book was
called. On the other side there was the desire that a certain form of Catholic Esotericism
should be protected from the assault of the Indian influence, and there, more than ever,
the tendency was at work to allow all spiritual reality connected with the evolution of the
planetary system as a whole to be submerged in materialism. The mission of Spiritual
Science was wedged between these two currents. This was the situation with which one was
confronted. Everywhere there were strong forces at work, intent upon making the one or
the other influence effective.

And now it is a matter of showing in what respect this distorted teaching about the Moon is
a very special concession to materialism, and how the way in which it was then corrected
by H. P. Blavatsky actually made matters even worse, because on the one side, with a great
talent for occultism which Sinnett did not possess she amended his statements but on
the other side made use of particular methods whereby the error could be preserved with
even greater certainty.
The first essential is to discern how far Sinnett's teaching about the Eighth Sphere is a
fallacy. Here you must keep firmly in mind the teaching regarding the whole process of the
evolution of the Earth, namely, the teaching that the planet Earth passed through the Old
Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon periods of evolution before entering its present stage. You
must remind yourselves that the composition of the Old Moon was essentially different
from that of the Earth. The mineral kingdom was added for the first time during the Earth
period, and what constitutes the material world of the physical plane is entirely
impregnated with the mineral element. All that you perceive in the plant, animal and
human kingdoms is the mineral element that has been impregnated into them. Your body
is mineralised through and through. That which is not mineral the Moon-nature, the
Sun-nature is only occultly present there. We see only the mineral, the earthly. This
must be firmly borne in mind if starting from what man now actually is on the Earth, we
are to find the answer to the question: What is it in man that is the heritage of the Old
As you see, the preparation for our present study was made already a long time ago.
Within man as he now is, the Old Moon-man is present, but in a form that must be
pictured as containing nothing mineral whatever. If you envisage earthly man in such a
way that you see his mineral constituents only, you must picture the Moon-man within
him. (A sketch was made on the blackboard.) But there is nothing mineral in this Moonman, hence he cannot be seen with physical eyes but only with spiritual sight. A Moonform underlies certain members of physical man, is contained within them, but can be
perceived only with the eye of clairvoyance. Needless to say, what is there within was
present on the Old Moon. But just remember how it was seen on the Old Moon. It was seen
through Imaginative Cognition in surging, undulating pictures. These are still present
today, but to behold them, atavistic clairvoyance, at that time at least, was necessary. The
Old Moon-man could be perceived only by atavistic clairvoyance, which in that era was the
normal faculty of vision. Consequently everything that is connected with this Old Moon
evolution can also be seen only in Imaginations, with the ancient visionary clairvoyance. It
must never be thought that the Moon-man could be formed out of the mineral Earth; he
was the product of the Old Moon as it can be seen in Imaginative clairvoyance. And so in
connection with the Old Moon we must picture to ourselves that the whole environment
was visible to the Imaginative clairvoyance of the Moon-men just as our own environment,
with plants, animals, rivers, mountains, is visible to physical eyes.
Now we know that the forces contained in the Old Moon inevitably appear again in the
Earth's evolutionary process but that Earth-evolution would have been doomed to perish,
as I have shown in Occult Science, if these Moon-forces had not subsequently taken their
departure. They could not have maintained their existence within the Earth-forces. And
why not? Remember that the whole planet Earth had to receive into itself the mineral
kingdom, to be mineralised, as it were. While the Moon formed part of the Earth, the
Moon-forces were still within the Earth. But these forces had to be expelled, hence the
Moon itself was obliged to separate from the Earth, because it could not have existed in the
mineralised Earth; hence men would not have been able to evolve as they have actually
evolved. I have spoken of all this in the book Occult Science. But now recall exactly what
I have said to you today that this Moon can be perceived only through Imaginative
clairvoyance. If, therefore, you picture how man developed as earthly man, with a
constitution organised for perception with physical senses, you will understand that he
could never have beheld the departure of the Moon. The departure of the Moon and also its

position out there in the Cosmos could only have been apprehended clairvoyantly. Man
was so organised that the whole process of the departure of the Moon could have been seen
only with clairvoyant sight, and the influences then proceeding from the Moon could only
have been those of the Old Moon that is to say, influences which worked in such a way
upon man that among other things, Imaginative clairvoyance would have been evoked in
Try to imagine the situation in that ancient time! The situation was that man could come
into being, that the souls could come down from the planets, and so forth but the Moon
would have worked as Moon, and in such a way that the forces in the human being as he
descended would have been the same forces as had been present in the Old Moon which
preceded the Earth. Nobody except one endowed with visionary clairvoyance could have
beheld this Moon.
Then, as a material phenomenon accompanying this process of the departure of the Moonforces, something else came about. I have already told you how Jahve is related to the
Moon. What happened was that through the connection of Jahve with the Moon, the Moon
too was made material, was mineralised, but with a materiality much denser than that of
the Earth. Therefore what can be seen today as physical Moon and of which it can be
assumed that the Moon contains a mineral element, is to be traced back to the deed of
Jahve whereby certain elements were added to the Old Moon.
Thereby, however, the Old Moon forces were crippled, and now work in a quite different
way. Had the Moon remained unmineralised, its forces would have worked in such a way
that its rays would always have evoked the old atavistic clairvoyance in men, and the
effects of the Moon upon the will would have made men somnambulists in the most
marked form. This was neutralised through the mineralisation of the Moon. The old forces
can now no longer develop in such a way.
This is a truth of tremendous importance, for now you will realise that it was necessary for
the Moon to be mineralised in order that it might not work in the old way. And so when
speaking of the Moon as a recapitulation of the Old Moon, we must speak of a celestial
body that is not visible with physical eyes, that is a concern of the spiritual world, albeit
only the subconscious spiritual world that is perceptible to visionary clairvoyance. We
must therefore speak of something spiritual if we are speaking of the recapitulation of the
Old Moon; what is mineral in the present Moon has been added to the spiritual and does
not belong to the Moon when the Moon is referred to in the old sense.
How was the materialism of the nineteenth century to be grappled with? Its adherents
would certainly not believe that behind the material Moon there lies the very important
remainder of the old, non-mineralised Moon; they would never believe such a thing. So a
concession was made to materialism by speaking only of the physical, materialised Moon.
Hence when Sinnett spoke of the Moon, he left out the spirit. In Esoteric Buddhism he
merely says that the materiality of the Moon is far denser than that of the Earth. That is so,
indeed must be so, but that the occult reality which I have indicated lies behindthat fact
he omits altogether. He therefore made the concession in that he speaks only of the
materiality of the Moon. But the spirituality behind the Moon does not there come into
consideration; it does not belong essentially to the Earth but is connected much more
closely with the Old Moon than with the Earth. This fact was completely veiled, and the
consequence was of tremendous import; for Sinnett had thereby brought a true fact
namely, that the Moon has something to do with the Eighth Sphere into an utterly false
light and distorted it with great subtlety. He omits all mention of the spiritual aspect of the
Eighth Sphere, namely that the Eighth Sphere, the representative of which is alleged to be
the Moon, is that which lies behind the Moon, and he calls what was actually placed there
to neutralise, to counter the effects of the Eighth Sphere, the Eighth Sphere itself. As we
have heard, the materiality of the Moon is there in order to neutralise the Eighth Sphere, to
render it ineffectual.
People do not realise what the effect of the Eighth Sphere would be if materiality were

taken away from the Moon. The whole nature of the human soul would have become quite
different on the Earth and that this has not happened is due to the fact that materiality of a
greater density was incorporated into the Moon. That which actually makes the Eighth
Sphere ineffectual, namely, its materiality, Sinnett calls the Eighth Sphere, and what is
actually the Eighth Sphere, namely the Old Moon forces, he obscures. A trick frequently
used in occultism is to say something that is true fundamentally but to put it in such a way
that it is absolutely false forgive the paradox! It is false to say that the material Moon is
the Eighth Sphere, because actually it is the neutraliser of the Eighth Sphere. But it is quite
correct that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere, because the Eighth Sphere is centred in the
Moon, is actually present up there.
And now we have reached the point where we can say more specifically than has hitherto
been possible, what the Eighth Sphere is in reality.This is a matter most intimately
connected with the spiritual aspect of evolution in the nineteenth century.

Note 1. A reference to discussions that were taking place at the time
in connection with certain internal affairs of the Society.
Note 2. The first Goetheanum, later destroyed by fire. The statue
now stands in a special room in the second Goetheanum.
Note 3. See notes at end of Lecture Five.
Note 4. See notes at end of Lecture Five.
Note 5. Compare C. J. Harrison in The Transcendental Universe,
London, 1893. See also Notes at end of Lecture Five.

It is very difficult indeed to speak about the so-called Eighth Sphere which was
referred to openly for the first time by Mr. Sinnett one cannot say that he gave
information about it for what he said was a fallacy. [note 1] You can certainly
realise why it is difficult to speak about this subject, for again it must be emphasised
that our language has been coined for the outer, material world, and the Eighth
Sphere was regarded as a secret matter until it was mentioned by Sinnett.
Consequently there are not many words that can be used for characterising the
Eighth Sphere. The fact that all mention was avoided for so long will also enable you
to realise what is involved when one speaks of it. You will therefore have to take the
aphoristic remarks I shall make today as a kind of introductory exposition, given with
the object of throwing out certain indications which, to begin with, can be only a small
contribution to the subject. It is to be hoped, however, that there will be opportunities
for saying more at some later time. On the basis of what was said in the last lecture
and also, to some extent, on earlier occasions, I shall try to characterise what is called
the Eighth Sphere in order that we may have a foundation for describing the
development of the spiritual Movement in the nineteenth century and at the
beginning of the twentieth.
You will have realised from the lecture yesterday that the Eighth Sphere cannot be
anything that belongs to the material world, for I have shown you that the greatest
fallacy in Sinnett's statement is that the physical Moon is directly connected with the
Eighth Sphere; and I tried to make it comprehensible that the actual foundation of the
error consists in the fact that this pointed to something material and physical.
From this you will be able to conjecture, even if not fully to understand, that what
is called the Eighth Sphere can have nothing directly to do with anything within the
material world that is to say, what can be perceived by man's senses and thought
out on the basis of sensory perception has no part in the Eighth Sphere. So it will be
useless to look for the Eighth Sphere anywhere in the material world.
You now have indications by means of which some approach can be made in
thought to a conception of the Eighth Sphere. I have said that the Eighth Sphere has
something to do with the residue left from the Old Moon and its evolution. So much
you can gather from the studies we have pursued in the course of time. I tried to make
it clear in the lecture yesterday that on the Old Moon, man's natural mode of
perception was visionary and imaginative in character, so that any substantiality to be
discerned in the Eighth Sphere must be found with this kind of vision. That is to say:
it must be presumed at the outset that the Eighth Sphere is found by way of visionary

How was it that the expression Eighth Sphere came to be used? You know that

human evolution takes its course through the seven spheres of Saturn, Sun, Moon,
Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan. We will conceive that besides these seven spheres there
is still something else which lies outside them and yet is in some way related to the
Earth. Here, then, we have a sphere, visible only to visionary-imaginative
clairvoyance, which stands there as an Eighth Sphere over and above the seven which
constitute the domain of the ordered and regular evolution of mankind. All such
sketches are, of course, purely diagrammatic; one is obliged to draw separately
spheres which can only be observed each within the others. For you will certainly have
realised from our studies that as long as a man is within the material world, makes his
observations through the senses and thinks with the intellect, he is standing in the
Fourth Sphere, the Earth Sphere. If he develops his faculties of soul sufficiently to be
able to see the Third Sphere, the Moon Sphere, then he takes a far flightbut not in
the spatial sense. He observes, not from another place, but physically speaking,
spatially speaking, from the same place. These seven spheres ought therefore in
reality to be drawn within one another. They are successive stages and states of
evolution and, fundamentally, such a diagram is of no other value than as if one were
to say: human beings develop from birth to the seventh year in a first stage, from the
seventh to the fourteenth year in a second stage, and so on. The being who has
developed from the first to the seventh year cannot be thought of as separate from the
being who is developing from the seventh until the fourteenth year. Neither is it
correct to think of the seven successive spheres or stages of the Earth's evolution as
separate from each other.
This will give you an inkling that the Eighth Sphere is to be observed within the
Earth Sphere. It cannot properly be drawn either above or below; to depict the reality
it would have to be sketched into the Earth Sphere. I have often given a crude
example to express what is here meant. Just as the physical air is around us, so is the
Spiritual around us; we have to look for the Spiritual within what is actually physical
in our environment. Hence it must be presumed that just as the spiritual is round
about us, so we must also look for the Eighth Sphere in our environment. This means
that an organ enabling man to perceive the Eighth Sphere would have to be
developed, just as his physical senses enable him to perceive the material Earth. He
could then experience the Eighth Sphere quite consciously; but unconsciously he is
always within it just as we are always within the air, even if we are not aware of it. And
if we have developed an organ for experiencing the Eighth Sphere, we are conscious of
it around us. So that if the Eighth Sphere is to be described, it must obviously be
described as a realm in which we are living all the time.
Now, as I said, all that I can do in these introductory studies is to give some
general informationthe rest will emerge as we proceed. First of all, you can
understand that what is around us as the Eighth Sphere is accessible to Imaginativevisionary clairvoyance. To develop Imaginative clairvoyance without perceiving
something of the Eighth Sphere is impossible. The reason why it is so difficult to
speak of matters such as the Eighth Sphere is because really clear and discriminative
clairvoyance is possessed by so very few. In the Eighth Sphere we have to do with
Imaginations, and what constitutes the essential nature of Earth-evolution that is
to say, the Fourth Sphere is not present in the Eighth Sphere. The essential nature
of the Fourth Sphere is constituted, as I indicated yesterday, by the mineral
impregnation of this world-body. That we are able to live on the Earth is due to the
fact that this Fourth Sphere has been mineralised: we live in a mineralised
environment; what is perceived through the physical senses can be co-ordinated by
the intellect. But we must conceive that the mineral element is totally absent from the
Eighth Sphere.
When we eliminate the mineral element in thought, all that remains is a later stage
of the Old Moon evolution, for whence could anything else originate ? But evolution

proceeds; something that is perceptible through Imaginative, visionary clairvoyance

but could be nothing else than a residue of the Old Moonthat would be no Eighth
Sphere. All that could be said would be that something has been left behind by the
Third Sphere.
In order to have some inkling of facts relating to the Eighth Sphere, let us keep the
following in mind. In the course of its regular evolution, the Third Sphere became the
Fourth Sphere; that is to say, a transition of the third elemental kingdom for that is
what we must call it to the mineral kingdom took place. The mineral element was
added. Otherwise we should have to conceive of the Old Moon as a sum-total of
substantiality, imaginatively perceptible! It must therefore be assumed that the
regular progression from the Old Moon to the Earth, from the Third Sphere to the
Fourth Sphere, consists in what was formerly only imaginatively perceptible
becoming materially perceptible, that is to say becoming mineralised. As the Eighth
Sphere there remains, to begin with, the Old Moon element, but owing to a particular
happening this Old Moon element undergoes a change. What took place in order that
the Fourth Sphere might be able to arise from the Third is clearly described in the
book Occult Science, where it is said that to the activities of the Spirits of Movement
are added those of the Spirits of Form under whose guidance the whole process of the
transformation takes place. [note 2] We can therefore say that the Fourth Sphere
arises out of the Third through the fact that the Spirits of Form add their activities to
those of the Spirits of Movement.
If the Spirits of Form had achieved everything that their own nature desires and
moreover is able to achieve, when the mission of Sphere Three was fulfilled in the
Cosmos, Sphere Four would have arisen quite naturally from Sphere Three. That is
obvious. But we know that Luciferic and Ahrimanic spirits are at work and they
hold back for themselves something of the Old Moon substantiality, wrest it away, as
it were, from the Spirits of Form. The fact that Lucifer and Ahriman do so is indicative
of their essential nature. Thus as Sphere Three is advancing to a further stage,
something is wrested from the Spirits of Form by Lucifer and Ahriman; into this part
that is wrested away, Lucifer and Ahriman penetrate, instead of the Spirits of Form.
The activities of Lucifer and Ahriman are added to those of the Spirits of Movement
and, as a result, Eight arises out of Three. (Note by translator: The Eighth Sphere out
of the Third Sphere.)
Something else, then, must be there, not merely the Old Moon, and this
something else which comes into being as well as Sphere Four is constituted by the
fact that mineral substantiality, as it comes into being, is wrested away at the moment
of the birth of the Fourth Sphere. Thus when the mineral comes into existence out of
the Imaginative substantiality, it is snatched by Lucifer and Ahriman and made into
Imagination. Instead of an Earth arising from the remaining Old Moon substantiality,
a cosmic body takes shape whose birth is due to the fact that the substantiality
wrested from the Earth is made into what has come over from the Old Moon.
Now recall how I have described the conditions pertaining to the Old Moon, in the
book Occult Science. In the Old Moon there was as yet nothing mineral. Had
mineral substance been present, that world-body would have been an Earth, not
Moon. Sphere Four comes into being through the birth of the mineral element. In that
Lucifer and Ahriman approach, snatch mineral substantiality out of Sphere Four and
infuse it into Sphere Three, the Old Moon is recapitulated, but now with materiality
that belongs properly to the Earth.
Mark this well: instead of pure Imaginations being there, the Imaginations are
densified by the infusion of a mineral element that has been wrested from the Earth.
Densified Imaginations are thus created. We are therefore drawn into a world of
densified Imaginations which are not lunar in character because they have been
densified by materiality belonging to the Earth. They are ghosts, spectres that is to

say, behind our world there is a world of spectres created by Lucifer and Ahriman.
Let me express it schematically, as follows: On the Old Moon certain pictures were
present. These should have passed over to the Earth as something everywhere
perceptible. But Lucifer and Ahriman retained them for themselves. Lucifer and
Ahriman wrested from the Earth certain of its constituents and made them into
Imaginations, so that these Earth-substances became, not Earthly formations, but
Moon formations. Into our Fourth Sphere, therefore, there has been instilled a sphere
that is really a Moon-sphere, but is filled with Earthly substantiality and is therefore a
bogus creation in the Universe. To the seven Spheres, an Eighth, created in opposition
to the progressive Spirits, has been added. The necessary consequence of this is that
the Spirits of Form must do battle on the Earth for every morsel of substantiality
capable of mineralisation, lest it should be wrested from them by Lucifer and
Ahriman and borne into the Eighth Sphere.
In truth, therefore, our Earth the Fourth Sphere is simply not what it appears
outwardly to be. Were it really to consist of atoms, all these atoms would still be
impregnated by formations belonging to the Eighth Sphere which are perceptible
only to visionary clairvoyance. These formations are present everywhere; so too is the
spectre-like content of the Eighth Sphere which can therefore be perceived just as
actual spectres are perceived. All earthly being and existence are involved here.
Lucifer and Ahriman strive unceasingly to draw from the Earth's substances whatever
they can snatch, in order to form their Eighth Sphere which then, when it is
sufficiently advanced, will be detached from the Earth and go its own way in the
Cosmos together with Lucifer and Ahriman. Needless to say, the Earth would then
pass over to Jupiter as a mere torso. But man, as you realise, has his established place
in the whole of Earth-evolution, for he is mineralised through and through. We are
permeated by the mineralising process which is itself drawn into this battle, so that
morsels of this substance can be continually wrested from it. Therefore we ourselves
are involved in the battle. Lucifer and Ahriman battle against the Spirits of Form, with
the aim of wresting mineral substance from us everywhere.
But the strength of the process varies in the different regions of our organism. We
are diversely constituted; some of our organs are more perfect than others. The most
perfect of all is our organ of thinking, the brain and the skull, and there the battle of
which I have spoken is the most vehement, precisely because this human head, this
human brain, is fashioned as it is; and it is so fashioned because at this place in our
body, Lucifer, and Ahriman too, have been the most successful in wresting mineral
substance from us. Physical substance there is more spiritualised than anywhere else.
The formation of our skull is due to the fact that it is there that most has been wrested
from us. Hence it is precisely through the head that we can emancipate ourselves
from our organism to the greatest extent. We can soar upwards in thoughts, we can
distinguish between the good and the evil. And for that very reason, Lucifer and
Ahriman have there been the most successful in wresting away substantiality; in the
so-called noblest organ of man they have been able to wrest away the greatest amount
of mineralised substantiality. This alchemy by which mineral substance is sent over
into the Eighth Sphere is taking place all the time behind the scenes of our existence.
To begin with, I am simply communicating information; corroborations will
emerge more and more clearly as our studies proceed.
If everything were to run without a hitch for Lucifer and Ahriman, if they were
everywhere able to wrest as much as they wrest from the organ of the head, Earthevolution would soon reach a point where Lucifer and Ahriman could succeed in
destroying our Earth and in leading over all evolution of worlds into the Eighth
Sphere, so that Earth-evolution as a whole would take a different course. Hence
Lucifer endeavours to unfold his greatest strength of all at the place where man is the
most vulnerable, namely, in his head. The stronghold which it is easiest for Lucifer to

capture is the human head; and everything that is similar to the head in respect of the
distribution of the mineral element, so that it can be drawn out in the same way, is
equally exposed to the danger of being despatched into the Eighth Sphere. No less a
prospect looms as a consequence of this intention of Lucifer and Ahriman than that
the whole evolution of humanity may be allowed to disappear into the Eighth Sphere,
so that this evolution would take a different course.

That, you see, was the intention of Lucifer and Ahriman from the beginning of
Earth-evolution to let the whole of this evolution disappear into the Eighth Sphere.
It was therefore necessary that a counterweight should be created by those Spirits
who belong to the Hierarchy of the Spirits of Form. The outer counterweight they
created consists in this: into the space, as it were, of the Eighth Sphere something
was inserted which works against this Eighth Sphere. To present this correctly, we
must show the Earth here, and the Eighth Sphere here (see diagram). The Eighth
Sphere belongs to our physical Earth in the sense indicated. We are surrounded
everywhere by the Imaginations into which the aim is that mineral materiality shall
continually be drawn. There lies the reason for the sacrifice made by Jahve or
Jehovah the precipitation of substance far denser than the other mineralised
substance. This was established by Jahve as Moon, as the counteracting agent. It was
substance of extreme density and this density was described by Sinnett as
substance of a far denser physical-mineral character than exists anywhere on the
Earth. Hence Lucifer and Ahriman cannot dissolve it away into their world of
Imaginations. And so this Moon circles around as a globe of dense matter, solid,
dense, indestructible. If you read carefully enough you will find that even the
descriptions of the Moon given by physicists tally with this. Everything that was
available on the Earth was drawn out and placed there in order that there should be
enough physical matter incapable of being wrested away. When we look at the Moon,
we see there in the Universe a substance far more intensely mineralised, far physically
denser, than exists anywhere on the Earth. Jahve or Jehovah, then, must be regarded
as that Being who even in the physical domain has ensured that not all materiality can
be drawn away by Lucifer and Ahriman. And then, at the right time, equal care will be
taken by the same Spirit that the Moon shall re-enter the Earth when the Earth is
strong enough to receive it, when the danger is averted by the development that has
meanwhile taken place. [note 3]
This applies to the external, physical-mineral domain. But in the human domain
too it was necessary that a counterweight should be created to the intention aimed at
the human head. Just as in the outside world materiality had to be densified so that
Lucifer and Ahriman cannot dissolve it by their alchemy, so in the human being
something had to be set over against the organ that can most easily be attacked by
Lucifer and Ahriman. Jahve had therefore to take care, just as he had done in respect

of the mineral domain, that not everything can succumb to the attacks of Lucifer and
Care had to be taken that not everything in man proceeding from the head can
become the prey of Lucifer and Ahriman; that not everything shall depend upon
head-activity and the activity of the outward-turned senses, for then Lucifer and
Ahriman would have been victors. It was necessary that a counterweight should be
created in the domain of earthly life, that there should be in the human being
something entirely independent of the head. And this was achieved through the work
of the good Spirits of Form, who implanted the principle of Love into the principle of
heredity on Earth. That is to say, there is now operative in the human race something
that is independent of the head, that passes from generation to generation and has its
deepest foundations in the physical nature of man.
Everything that is connected with propagation and with heredity, everything that
is independent of man in the sense that he cannot penetrate it with his thinking,
everything that is the gift of the Moon in the celestial firmamentthat, in man, is
what has proceeded from the principle of Love permeating the process of propagation
and heredity. Hence the violent battle which persists through history, the battle
waged by Lucifer and Ahriman against everything that comes from this domain.
Lucifer and Ahriman want to force on man the exclusive sovereignty of the head, and
they launch their attacks by way of the head against everything that is purely natural
affinity. For whatever is hereditary substance on the Earth cannot be wrested away by
them. What the Moon is in the heavens, heredity is in men on the Earth below.
Everything that is grounded in heredity, everything that is not charged with thought,
that is connected intrinsically with physical nature that is the Jahve-principle. The
Jahve-principle unfolds its greatest activity where nature is working as nature; it is
there that Jahve has outpoured in greatest measure the Love that is his natural
attribute, in order to create a counterweight to the lovelessness, the mere wisdom, of
Lucifer and Ahriman.
It would be necessary to go very thoroughly into matters recently presented from
quite different points of view, in order to show how in the Moon and in the process of
human heredity, barricades have been created against Lucifer and Ahriman by the
Spirits of Form. If you think more deeply about these matters, you will find that
something of immense importance is contained in the indications given.
Now in order to reach at least some measure of understanding, the subject must
also be approached from a rather different standpoint. If you remember what is said
in the book Occult Science about the evolution of man through the Old Saturn, Old
Sun and Old Moon stages, you will realise that in these stages there can be no
question of freedom. In those other stages man is enclosed in a web of necessity. In
order that he might be ripe for freedom, the mineral nature had to be incorporated
into him; he had to become a being permeated with the mineral element. Hence man
can be educated for freedom only within the earthly-material world.
This by itself indicates the tremendous significance of the earthly-material world.
That which must be acquired by mankind freedom of the will can be acquired
only during Earth-evolution. In the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan stages men will need
this freedom of will. Therefore when we consider the question of freedom, we are in a
realm of great importance; for we know that the Earth is the begetter of freedom
precisely because it is the Earth that impregnates man with the physical-mineral
From this you will understand that what stems from the free will must be kept
within the realm of Earth. To Spheres Three, Two and One, it is impossible to apply
anything that stems from the principle of freedom. But the endeavour of Lucifer and
Ahriman is to drag the free will of man, and whatever stems from it, into the Eighth
Sphere. This means that man is perpetually exposed to the danger of having his free

will wrested from him and dragged by Lucifer and Ahriman into the Eighth Sphere.
This happens if the element of free will is transformed, for example, into visionary
clairvoyance. When this is the case, a man is already in the Eighth Sphere. This is a
matter of which occultists are so reluctant to speak, because it is an awful, terrible
truth. The moment the free will is transformed into visionary clairvoyance, what
unfolds in the human being becomes the booty of Lucifer and Ahriman. It is
immediately captured by them and thereby spirited away from the Earth. You can see
from this how, through the shackling of free will, the spectres of the Eighth Sphere are
created. Lucifer and Ahriman are engaged perpetually in shackling man's free will and
in conjuring all sorts of things before him in order to tear away what he makes out of
these things and let it disappear in the Eighth Sphere.
When clairvoyance in all kinds of different forms develops in naive, credulous,
superstitious people, it is often the case that their free will has been sacrificed. Then
Lucifer instantly seizes hold of it, and whereas these people imagine they have had an
experience of immortality, the truth is that in their visions they see a part, or a
product, of their souls being wrested away and prepared for the Eighth Sphere.
You can imagine from this how deep was the concern of those who, having
compromised by agreeing that by way of mediumship all kinds of truths relating to
the spiritual world should be given to the public, then found the mediums believing
that the dead were speaking to them. But the occultists then knew that what takes
place between mediums and living men is that the stream of free will is passing into
the Eighth Sphere. Instead of a link being formed with the Eternal, the mediums were
testifying precisely to what was continually disappearing into the Eighth Sphere.
From this you will realise that Lucifer and Ahriman have an avid desire to bring as
much as possible into the Eighth Sphere. Although Goethe mixed Lucifer and
Ahriman together, he has nevertheless correctly described how a soul is wrested away
from the clutches of Mephistopheles-Ahriman! It would be the richest prize for
Lucifer and Ahriman if they could ever succeed in capturing a whole soul for
themselves; for thereby such a soul would disappear into the Eighth Sphere and be
lost from Earth-evolution. The greatest victory for Lucifer and Ahriman would be if
one day they could claim that countless numbers of the dead had passed into their
sphere. That would be their greatest victory. Moreover there is a way of achieving it.
Lucifer and Ahriman may say: human beings long to know something about the life
between death and a new birth. If, therefore, we tell them that they are learning
something from the dead, they will be satisfied and will direct their feelings towards
the realm from which announcements are made to them as coming from the dead. If
therefore we desire that the hearts and minds of men shall be guided towards the
Eighth Sphere, let us say to them: we are telling you something that comes from the
dead. We shall capture men by alleging that the dead are in our domain.
This devilish plan for here we have indeed to do with the devil was put into
effect by Lucifer and Ahriman when it had occurred to occultists to endeavour to
accomplish something through mediumship. Lucifer and Ahriman inspired the
mediums through whom they arranged the whole business, in order that people might
be guided to the realm whence the dead were alleged to be speaking. Lucifer and
Ahriman could then lay hold of their souls. The occultists were alarmed when they
saw what course things were taking and they took counsel among themselves as to
how to steer away from it. Even those who belonged to the left wing realised what was
happening, and they said: we will do something different! An opportunity then
presented itself through the appearance of a remarkable personality, namely H. P.
Blavatsky. Now, after the plan had been seen through and the occultists on the Earth
no longer lent their hands to it, Lucifer and Ahriman were obliged to pursue their aim
in a different way.
Materialism had come upon the scene in the natural course of the Earth's

evolution. Therefore in order to reckon with the mineralised process of evolution, it

was necessary that men's attention should be focussed entirely on material things.
That is materialism pure and simple! The occultists who had special aims of their
own, said: Well and good, we will rely upon materialism. If, however, we take
materialism in its purely earthly form, man will inevitably discover one day through
his thinking that atoms do not exist so that will not be very fertile soil. But human
thinking can certainly be perverted if materialism is made occult. The best way of
doing this is to present the Sphere that had to be created as a counterweight to the
Eighth Sphere as the Eighth Sphere itself! If people can be led to believe that the
materiality created as a counterweight to the Eighth Sphere is the Eighth Sphere
itself, that will outstrip every conceivable earthly materialism! And earthly
materialism was indeed outstripped in the assertion made by Sinnett. Materialism is
there imported into the realm of occultism; occultism there becomes materialism. But
sooner or later men would have been bound to discover this. H. P. Blavatsky, who had
deep insight into this phase of the Earth's evolution, divined something of what was
happening, after she had seen through the tricks of that strange individuality of whom
I spoke in the last lecture, and she said to herself: This cannot go on as it is; it must be
changed! But she said that under the influence of the Indian occultists who belonged
to the left wing. She realised that things must change but that something not easily
detectable must be created. In order to create something herself that would outstrip
Sinnett's assertion, she acceded to the proposals of the Indian occultists who were
inspiring her. These occultists, being adherents of the left path, had no other aim than
the promotion of their own special interests Indian interests. They had in mind to
establish all over the Earth a system of wisdom from which Christ, and Jahve too,
were excluded. Therefore something whereby Christ and Jahve were eliminated
would have to be interpolated.
The following method was then adopted. It was said: Lucifer is in truth the great
benefactor of mankind. (Of Ahriman there was no mention; so little was known of
him that one name was used for both.) Lucifer brings to men everything they have
gained through the head: science, art, in short, all progress. He is the true Spirit of
Light; it is to him that men must adhere. And Jahve what has he done, in reality ?
He has established in men the principle of physical heredity! He is a Moon God who
has introduced elements pertaining to the Moon. Hence the statement in The Secret
Doctrine that men should not adhere to Jahve, for he is only the Lord of materiality,
of all the lower, earthly impulses; the true benefactor of mankind is Lucifer. This
shimmers through the whole of The Secret Doctrine, and is, moreover, clearly stated
there. And so for occult reasons H. P. Blavatsky was prepared in such a way as to
become a hater of Christ and Jahve. For in the occult domain such an utterance
signifies exactly the same as Sinnett's statement that the Moon is the Eighth Sphere.
It is through knowledge alone that an approach can be made to these things
verily through knowledge alone. Therefore when we began the periodical LuciferGnosis, the first article was necessarily on the subject of Lucifer, in order that he
should be rightly understood, in order that it should be realised that inasmuch as he
brings about head-activity, he is a benefactor of mankind. But the counterweight must
also be there: Lovemust be there as the counterweight. This was stated in the very
first article of the periodical, because at this point it was essential to intervene.
As you see, things were complicated. Fundamentally, what it was desired to
achieve through H. P. Blavatsky was that men should be misled into believing in the
Eighth Sphere. They could most easily be misled into this belief by something false
being presented to them as the Eighth Sphere. Naturally, people were led to the
spiritual world, for Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine has this great merit, that through it
men's minds were directed to the spiritual world. But the path followed was in
pursuance of special interests, not the interests of the evolution of humanity in

general. All these things must be kept strictly in mind if we are to be quite clear as to
which is the healthy path. We must not accept empty words without verification if we
desire to hav e genuine occultism; we must resolve to see things clearly. Particularly
at the present point of time in our development it has been necessary for me to give
certain indications about these things, indications which can be supplemented at
some other time by matters of even greater significance. I had to give these
indications because, if you keep them rightly in your minds, you will see how our ship
has been steered from the beginning of our Movement steered in such a way that
account has been taken of all the false paths that can be pursued and of all those
things that were a menace to the spiritual development of humanity.
Indications of a path into the spiritual world must not be given blindly, above all
not as the result of rapturous fanaticism. That is why the exhortation has again and
again had to be made among you, my dear friends, that it is urgently necessary not to
allow yourselves to be duped by what leads to the Eighth Sphere. And if again and
again it has been said that more caution should be exercised in the domain of
visionary clairvoyance, that validity should be ascribed only to that clairvoyance
which, in leading into the higher worlds, excludes Lucifer and Ahriman then it will
be seen that everything capable of bringing the soul into connection with the Eighth
Sphere must be rejected. If the tendency to shackle the free will and remain in the
domain of visionary clairvoyance comes into evidence time and again, this is a sign
that opposition is being put in the way of the clear-cut endeavour of our Movement,
owing to the propensity to fetter the free will in visionary clairvoyance.
How happy some people would have been if only they could have shackled the free
will! This was a symptom of how many of the traits prevailing in the other Movements
spoken of here were being imported into our own Movement. It was not from
Blavatsky, nor was it from outside, but by our Members themselves that breaches
were constantly being made in what it is our aim to achieve. Such breaches were and
are being made because announcements of visionary clairvoyants are greeted with
rapturous wonder! This was an expression of perverse love for the Eighth Sphere.
When one or another person has insisted: Dr. Steiner has said that such and such
ought to be done, then this means that such and such a person wants to deliver up the
free will to foreign influence, to let this will be determined, not by himself, but by
someone else; he wants to make someone else responsible for instilling into the
physical world a willingness to allow the free will to be fettered. Whenever people give
way to fatalism instead of making decisions through their own power of judgment,
they show their inclination to the Eighth Sphere. And everything that passes in this
way into the Eighth Sphere disappears from Earth evolution, does not go forward in
the right way with Earth evolution.
We have come to a point where it behoves us to pay heed to these things that is
why they have been brought forward. We have come to a point where we must pay
attention to the needle in the scales which oscillates all the time between the exoteric
and the esoteric. The principle in esotericism observed among us is that,
fundamentally speaking, the occult life in its reality cannot be expressed by means of
words. Things are said sometimes in an esoteric, sometimes in an exoteric form, and
these are, as it were, two different dialects of one inexpressible language. And if in his
arrogance a man wants to substitute the exoteric for the esoteric, he forgets that they
are two dialects of an inexpressible language and that everything depends upon how
he is able to hold the balance between the two. But what still remains between the two
must be regarded as an inexpressible languagethere is always something that
cannot be directly expressed.
If, as in the book Occult Science, certain exoteric (sic) matters are publicised,
care must be taken that in such a publication everything is put in such a way that it is
within the grasp of the contemporary culture prevailing in the non-occult world

outside. When it is said that something should remain esoteric, this simply means
that it should remain within the circle of those who participate in everything that is
presented in the sphere of esotericism. If things go wrong here, the esoteric is carried
into the exoteric and then one is always facing a danger. This happens whenever
anything that should be kept within a limited circle is carried out into the world so
that there is no possibility of keeping up with it. ... During the years we have been
pursuing our studies of Spiritual Science I have endeavoured to develop things in
such a way that it can be clear to everyone who really goes into them that they are
intelligible even before clairvoyance is attained. I have been at pains to make public
nothing that cannot be comprehensible in its own domain. It follows therefore that
only those who are willing to see human beings pass into the Eighth Sphere can have
any valid objection to this spiritual-scientific Movement. When I made public the
most delicate facts of all about the two Jesus children, opposition arose from a
quarter which understood nothing at all and still places its faith in mediumship;
whereas one who studies the Bible deeply enough today can grasp the circumstances
which confirm the statement about the two Jesus children. We must therefore take
our stand on the principle of following attentively what is brought forward, but not
allowing it to be said that it is accepted among us out of belief in authority. Never
should the phrase be heard that truths are accepted simply because I have voiced
them! We should sin against the truth were we to say any such thing. One thing or
another may be grounded on confidence; but that can never be made into a principle.
Someone else may perhaps be better able to tread the path; but the rule to which
every individual should adhere is this: not to accept things on authority, but to put
them to the test.
It is by testing that confirmation will be found. Whenever the word confidence
has been used among us it has been a danger signal; it has been a sign that we have
entered a period when dangers threaten us. The attitude hitherto prevailing among us
must cease, for Spiritual Science is grounded, not upon authority, but upon
knowledge. The time for being easy-going about presenting Spiritual Science is over.
Enemies will be on the look-out everywhere and we shall have much to combat; we
shall have to make ourselves equal to the battle, and whenever confused minds feel
compelled to throw themselves into the combat this will make it especially possible
for the forces working against our spiritual-scientific Movement to develop.
These things must be regarded as resulting from the nature of the subject itself.
We shall have to resolve to take account of all of them. For Movements with a
particular bias find acceptance and adherents simply because there are always groups
of human beings here and there whose interests are suited by one-sidedness.
Humanity consists, does it not, of groups of human beings. If, now, an occultist
attaches himself to a group, he finds it a means of support, he has a foothold from
which he can start, because this group helps him. Therefore everyone who starts from
a one-sided, biassed outlook may expect some measure of agreement and good-will.
But he who starts from truth itself has, to begin with, all humanity against him. Truth
has to conquer its domain with complete disinterestedness. That is why, at bottom,
nothing is more hated than the truth, the unvarnished truth. And so there may be
many adherents here and there who actually cherish hatred deep down within them.
No wonder that this hatred sometimes cuts through the force that builds a wall
against it cuts through this force because the hatred has been accumulating for so
long. Such hatred is far more widespread than is imagined and it is a factor that must
be reckoned with. Wherever truth is trying to assert itself endeavours are made to
transform and re-cast it in such a way that it can somehow serve the opposing
Powers. And various endeavours cropping up among us at the present time must be
regarded as an effort to distort truth as presented here and apply it in a different
sense. The craftiest way of doing this is to declare: the teaching itself is good, the

teacherworthless. The teaching is stolen from the teacher and efforts are made to
apply it to some other aims. What Lucifer and Ahriman would love to do is to be
able to take the wisdom of the Gods lock, stock and barrel and transfer it to the Eighth
Endeavours such as those I have mentioned are directed to changing a Society in
which freedom can prevail into a Society of slaves. That is the method which can serve
Ahriman, for he sets out to make such activities useful to himself. That is the more
esoteric side of the matter, which we must now also consider with the necessary
earnestness from the exoteric aspectin the other dialect.
I would beg you not to lose sight of the fact that we are standing at a crucial point
in the development of our Spiritual Science.
1. See notes at end of this lecture.
2. See pp. 128-9 et seq in the 1962-3 edition.
3. See Lecture by Rudolf Steiner: From the Departure of
the Moon to the Return of the Moon, given in Dornach,
13th May, 1921. Printed in The Golden Blade, 1960.
As the literature which contains much direct confirmation of what is said by Dr.
Steiner is not always readily available and may be unfamiliar to readers of these
lectures, the following notes and quotations may be helpful.
(1) The very wide circulation of Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism is indicated by the
fact that by the year 1884 (that is, only a year after publication) it was already in its
third edition. There have been eight editions in all.
(2) The Eighth Sphere: In The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 186, Sinnett's
statement that the Eighth Sphere is the Moon is criticised by Madame Blavatsky who
says, however, that it is to be hoped that the mistaken notions of which this is one
may be corrected in later editions of the book. She was obviously referring to
the first edition, as was C. J. Harrison in his statement contained in The
Transcendental Universe (see note below). In the third edition of Esoteric Buddhism,
however, the corresponding passage is identical with that in the eighth edition, and
while not specifically mentioning the Moon, implies it so specifically that nothing has
really been done in the way of correction.
The passage in Esoteric Buddhism is as follows (Pages 104 and 105, third edition,
also eighth edition, pages 117 and 118):
Kama loca may be permanently inhabited by astral beings, by elementals, but can
only be an antechamber to some other state for human beings. In the case imagined,
the surviving personality is promptly drawn into the current of its future destinies,
and these have nothing to do with this earth's atmosphere or with Devachan, but with
that Eighth Sphere of which occasional mention will be found in older occult
writings. It will have been unintelligible to ordinary readers hitherto why it was called
the Eighth Sphere but since the explanation, now given out for the first time, of the
sevenfold constitution of our planetary system, the meaning will be clear enough. ... It
will readily be guessed that the only sphere connected with our planetary chain, which
is lower than our own in the scale, having spirit at the top and matter at the bottom,
must itself be no less visible to the eye and to optical instruments than the earth itself,
and as the duties which this sphere has to perform in our planetary system are
immediately associated with this earth, there is not much mystery left now in the
riddle of the Eighth Sphere, nor as to the place in the sky where it may be sought. ...

Most interesting references are to be found in C. J. Harrison's The Transcendental

Universe (a book containing lectures given by him in the year 1893 before the Berean
Society which was an association of students of theoretical occultism.) The
following extracts are taken from pages 1o8, 109:
... It will be my duty to explain, to the best of my ability, certain facts in
connection with a mystery known as the Mystery of the Eighth Sphere. ... Now I am
well aware that there are many occultists who say the subject ought not to be brought
before the public at all, and object to the very name being mentioned, ... In reply to
such persons it is due to myself to say I am breaking no oath, and violating no
confidence. These lectures were advertised in the public journals, and all who choose
to attend them are welcome. I regret to be obliged to differ from many persons, whom
I hold in the highest respect, as to whether or not the times are ripe for mentioning
these subjects. They have been mentioned prudently or imprudently and are
familiar to all who have taken an interest in the Theosophical Movement ... The first
person, however, to profane the mysteries (albeit unconsciously) was Mr. Sinnett, the
author of Esoteric Buddhism, a book which made considerable sensation when it
came out, but which contains nothing new that is true, and nothing true that is new.
As he was the first to make public the information that there is an eighth sphere and
a mystery connected with it of which he is ignorant, it may be as well to say that both
these statements are true. But when he proceeds to say that the Eighth Sphere is the
Moon, he gives utterance to one of those half-truths that are more misleading than
falsehoods ...
Readers of Esoteric Buddhism will remember that man is said therein to evolve on
seven planets; three of which (including the Earth) are visible, and the other four
composed of matter too attenuated to be visible. Also that there is an eighth planet,
the moon, in which matter asserts itself yet more strongly than on the earth.
Anything more utterly misleading it is impossible to conceive. Madame Blavatsky,
who knew very well that this kind of thing was sure to be exposed sooner or later, has
in her Secret Doctrine corrected some of the errors, but as she has not chosen to
elucidate any portion of the mystery except such as suit her purpose, and as she is
destitute, moreover, of the literary gifts of her disciple, her teaching in respect to the
Seven Planets and the Eighth Sphere will be caviare to the General, who will
continue to regard Mr. Sinnett's explanation as the genuine Esoteric Buddhism ...
(3) In Lecture II, Dr. Steiner refers to the occult imprisonment to which H. P.
Blavatsky was subjected. He also refers to this in Lecture V of the Course Things of
the Present and Past in the Spirit of Man.
The following is quoted from Harrison's The Transcendental Universe, page 36:
... What is occult imprisonment, and why was it inflicted on Madame Blavatsky?
There is a certain operation of ceremonial magic by means of which a wall of
psychic influences may be built up around an individual who has become dangerous,
which has the effect of paralysing the higher activities, and producing what is called
the repercussion of effort, and the result is a kind of spiritual sleep characterised by
fantastic visions. It is an operation seldom resorted to even by Brothers of the Left,
and in the case of Madame Blavatsky was disapproved of by almost all European
occultists. On the American brotherhoods alone rests the responsibility for what has
since happened. ...

If in a broad sense, without going into details, you review what I ventured to put
before you in the foregoing lectures, you will realise that the path of development
which the spiritual-scientific current of thought was bound to take, imposes definite
and earnest responsibilities upon those who feel themselves its sponsors. For you will
certainly have realised from our recent studies that when man tries to find his
bearings along the right path, great difficulties spring up for him, difficulties of a kind
different from those otherwise encountered in life.
Now in life on the physical plane we are in many respects protected from
aberrations in one direction or another. Many years ago I drew attention to this
protection when, in connection with the problem of the Guardian of the Threshold, I
gave certain indications which have been added to in the course of time. [note 1]
Even in the early articles now incorporated in the book Knowledge of the Higher
Worlds. How is it achieved? it was shown how man on the physical plane is
protected from deviating too readily in one direction or another in intellectual and
moral life. We enter into existence in such a way that certain guiding forces for life are
with us during our childhood. We know well that only in later years do we reach the
stage of being able to exercise our power of free judgment.
If you observe a child and compare his soul-life with that of a grown-up person
you will detect a certain difference. For you can justly say: instead of a kind of
dreamlike life which he leads in childhood, the human being begins in later years to
exercise his own faculty of free judgment. It is very important to be aware of these
If in thinking of the whole course of human life from birth until death we keep
childhood too much in mind, we may perhaps pay insufficient attention to this
metamorphosis of the inner life of soul. But it is important to understand it because it
is during the period when our power of judgment is not yet fully awake that guiding
impulses for later life can be received. For the sake of our power of free judgment we
must, as it were, be swathed in dream during the early years of our life in order that
certain forces of guidance may find their way into our intellect and into our moral
impulses, in order that we shall not prematurely crystallise the forces bestowed upon
us for the purposes of our life and which are breathed I will not say
incorporated into our being. Thereby we have something for the whole of our life;
we direct ourselves throughout life in accordance with the intellectual and moral
impulses that have been breathed into our soul.
When we approach concepts of the spiritual worlds, we become in a certain sense
freer. It has often been said and must again and again be repeated, that the approach
to the spiritual worlds is also a kind of awakening from the ordinary conditions and
circumstances of life; again, therefore, this is a variation in the metamorphoses of life
similar to the metamorphosis leading from childhood to the capacity of free judgment
in later life.
But this means that when we adopt the spiritual-scientific view of life it can very
easily happen that the steady direction of life we formerly knew, begins to waver. So
that when we begin to grasp the reality of the spiritual worlds, it is a matter of
mustering the forces of the whole man within us because we need the life-capital
breathed into us during childhood in order rightly to approach the things now to be
revealed from the world on yonder side of the Threshold. And I showed you how easy
it is, under influences which proceed as a matter of course from the different currents
of the time, to go astray in one direction or another. An aberration such as occurs in
Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism is due to the fact that the strong impulse of materialism

can have an effect upon the souls of men I say, can have an effect. Just because
oriental influences were at work, a deviation was possible in the direction which led to
a defamation of the whole nature of the present Moon, and on the other side
aberration was possible because it was in the interests of certain persons not to allow
the truth of repeated lives on Earth to come into the open. The one who had an
interest in this case it was not Sinnett himself but the one who was behind him in
helping materialism in human life to be, as it were, ultra-materialised, introduced
into an otherwise true system, teaching such as that concerning the Moon, thereby
giving a twist in a particular direction.
Now we know that especially in recent centuries Western civilisation and its
American offshoot have been subject to a strongly Christian impulse. I myself have
been at pains to show that the significance of Christianity does not depend upon what
can actually be understood of it for a great deal will become intelligible only in the
future, and we ourselves are only just beginning to grasp certain facts connected with
the Mystery of Golgotha. But the impulses of Christianity are real; they take effect
even when men do not yet understand them. In earlier centuries, however, certain
cosmic truths were excluded from these impulses. These truths are entirely
compatible with Christianity although insight has not succeeded in making this
evident. Truths relating to repeated lives on Earth were withdrawn from Christianity,
and so a Western culture with an American offshoot arose with a form of Christianity
from which the teaching of repeated lives on Earth was excluded.
Now I have shown you how certain occultists made efforts to preserve this view of
Christianity the view which rejected the truth of repeated earthly lives. I spoke of
trends in occultism that were connected, for example, with the High Church party.
Those concerned were people of knowledge, they were well-informed. It can be said
that they knew much more about occultism than did the leading members of the
Theosophical Society. But their whole object was to ensure that the teaching of
repeated earthly lives should be eliminated even more decisively; hence their denial
that man, as I have shown in Occult Science, enters in the course of his earthly
evolution into relationship with the other planets of our solar system.
The forces here implanted into the human soul have mainly to do with man's
participation in the extra-terrestrial Cosmos; and it was desired from this quarter that
men should be left in obscurity about this participation. The object was to divert them
from the realisation that the soul is connected, not only with the Earth and its
happenings, but also with what is out there in the Cosmos, shining down to us, for
example, from the other planets of our solar system.
Now in that they work upon the human being, the impulses proceeding from the
other planets of our solar system have the power to wrest the soul, as living soul, away
from physical death. That is their essential function, as you can realise from the
descriptions of the life between death and a new birth which I have given in various
connections and from various points of view.
But if you look back over the evolution of humanity, you will find that precisely in
the times when atavistic knowledge, clairvoyant knowledge, was present as an ancient
heritage, men directed their gaze to the other celestial bodies of our solar system, and
Astrology which in our day has become such a questionable science played a part
of tremendous importance in those olden times.
Why, we may ask ourselves, has Astrology ceased to play this important part? It is
because the gaze of human souls had to be diverted in order that Christianity should
have time to take root in earthly existence. Just as the gaze of clairvoyance had to be
diverted from the Imaginative world, so too had the gaze to be diverted from the
impulses proceeding from the planets of our solar system. All that has remained of
Astrology consists of old traditions. I have often spoken of this. In a sense, we may
say: the old clairvoyance and also the old vision of the impulses proceeding from the

planets of our solar system, were circumscribed. Man was relegated to the physically
perceptible world, to the senses by means of which he was to perceive only that which
takes place on the Earth. This was in order that the impulses of the Mystery of
Golgotha might wax in strength and take root in the souls of men, in the feelings of
the believers, so that men might be inwardly deepened.
In ancient times, clairvoyance was, after all, an external faculty. It was not a
question of having to acquire it by effort, for it was a heritage. Just as a man today has
eyes and ears, so in those times he had the faculty of clairvoyance. But the times are
approaching when clairvoyance will increasingly be regained. This made it necessary
that in one phase of his existence man should be shut off from the spiritual world and
confined to the outer, mineral world, in order that everything may be built up again
from within; what was once seen from without must now be built up again from
within. I will sketch it for you like this (drawing on the blackboard).

Picture a man with the old clairvoyant vision. (I will take the eye as representing the
clairvoyant gaze, although this is not exclusively a function of the eye.) He directed his
gaze to the starry heavens and beheld the different spiritual impulses streaming from
Then, in the course of the ages this clairvoyance faded away and man's gaze was
restricted to the phenomena of earthly existence. Something else had to arise in place
of the earlier clairvoyance, something that can be indicated by saying: What formerly
came from without must now go out from within. Man had to learn to project
outwards what the Heavens had implanted in him in order that he might again find
his links with the phenomena of the Heavens.

The direction that had now to be followed was exactly the opposite of that of the
earlier path. It is an actual fact that human nature is at this present point of time
involved in a process of re-organisation. It has passed through the point of deepest
darkness one expression of which was what I called the full flood of materialism in
the middle of the nineteenth century. But humanity is emerging from this condition.
Describing this in terms of occultism, we may say: In earlier times men did not
perceive, did not think with the physical body only, but they perceived and thought
with the etheric body. What was perceived with the etheric body was experienced
consciously in the astral body as Astrology. But in modern Astronomy everything is a
matter of calculation. The etheric body must be revitalised, and this is connected with
the new revelation of Christ. When the etheric body is re-vitalised, man finds Christ.
But, as you see, it is essential that this vitalising of the etheric body shall take place.
Noteworthy discoveries can be made if one goes deeply into these matters. The
whole feeling that man has an etheric body has disappeared and the feeling that he
has only a physical body predominates. But it would be entirely false to believe that
this opinion about man having a physical body only, is very old. By no means is it so.
If this restriction to the physical body was actually brought about by the full flood of
materialism in the nineteenth century, then men must previously have had some
inkling of the etheric body which was then suppressed but is now emerging again. I
could give you many proofs that previously something was known about the etheric
body, the existence of which began gradually to be ignored. I could quote many
passages from earlier works, but I will read one from a book published in 1827. On
page 208, a remarkable passage occurs. I will read it very slowly so that you may be
able to judge how differently these things are written about today under the influence
of views that have become wholly materialistic.
The concept of nourishment is connected erroneously with the mere
imbibing of food and drink and their elaboration in the organs of
digestion. The organism is nourished, and organic life sustained, not by
food and drink, but by the blood (the neutralised earthly and etheric lifeprinciple) here the writer shows that he is not speaking of the physical
blood but of what underlies the blood as etheric life-principle and
indeed not until in the plastic membranes the blood has been enhanced
and as it were sublimated into the vitalising, formative exhalation (Aura

What does the writer want to express here? He wants to indicate that external
nourishment is not the fact of primary importance but that while external
nourishment is taking place, extracts stream from the foodstuffs into the blood, so
that a process is going on in that which underlies the blood as an etheric lifeprinciple. This was written in the year 1827. The writer has put brackets round the
words Aura vitalis. Plastic here is a synonym of imaginative. I might equally well
read the lines thus: Not until in the imaginative membranes the blood has been
enhanced and sublimated as it were into the vitalising, formative exhalation (Aura
vitalis) ... the two last words are in brackets. Aura vitalis can only be translated as
etheric body.
The man who wrote this was Professor of Psychiatric Therapy at the University of
Leipzig and Physician at the Hospital of St. George there. He was Johann Christian
August Heinroth, of whom I once spoke in connection with Goethe.
Hundreds of such examples could be given and they will indicate to you how
utterly different the attitude of mind once was, how the knowledge that was still in
evidence by no means such a very long time ago, has degenerated into the
materialistic view of the world.
One can say: A stream of knowledge oozes away and the materialistic view of the
world rises to the surface, but beneath the stream a sub-stream develops in human
nature. The connection with the Cosmos is established again, this time from within.
You may still say: Prove to us that there have been people who had an inkling of the
fact that whereas, on the one side, knowledge of the activities of the etheric body
passed away, on the other, the etheric body was being revitalised again from within.
Here I will read you a passage from a book published even earlier, from which you
can see that there were indeed people who drew attention to a change that would take
place in the organisation of humanity in the future. Admittedly, the story is told in a
very veiled form, but at all events it is told. The story is about a female character.
When I read the passage, most of you will know where it occurs.
We read that there is a soul in the body of a woman who no longer leads the
earthly life but the solar life, that in the course of her life she circles around wider and
wider spheres it can therefore be assumed that beings, in so far as they are
corporeal, strive towards the centre, and in so far as they are spiritual, towards the
periphery. A soul who lives with the Cosmos is here described. [note 2]
Makaria is in our solar system in a relation which we may scarcely
dare to express. In spirit, soul, imagination, she keeps within herself; she
does not only look, but at the same time she makes a part of it; she sees
herself carried away in those heavenly circles, but in a quite special
manner. From her childhood she wanders around the sun, and indeed, as
is now discovered, in a spiral, withdrawing always more from the centre
and circling towards the outer regions.
If we may accept that creatures, so far as they are bodily, strive
towards the centre, so far as they are spiritual to the periphery, so does
our friend belong to the most spiritual. She appears to be born only to
free herself from what is earthly, so as to pierce through to the nearest
and most remote spaces of existence. This quality, splendid as it is, was,
however, lent to her from her earliest years as a difficult task. She
remembers from childhood her innermost self as penetrated by
illuminating beings, brightened by a light which even the brightest light
of the sun could get no hold on.

She therefore bears sources of light within herself and the external light can get
no hold on her.
Often she saw two suns, one inward, another in the sky; two moons, of which the
outer one, in its size, remained the same in all phases; the inner always diminished
more and more.
This gift drew her interest away from ordinary things, but her excellent parents
directed everything towards her culture. All faculties were alive in her, all activities
operative, so that she understood how to satisfy all outward relationships, and while
her heart, her spirit, was entirely filled with otherworldly visions, her actions and
dealings remained always suited to the noblest decorum. As she grew up, everywhere
helpful, incessant in great and small services, she wandered like an angel of God upon
the earth, while her entire spiritual being moved indeed around the sun of this world,
but in continually increasing circles towards what is beyond this world.
The exuberance of this condition was in some measure modified, that it also
seemed to her to dawn and to grow dark, while with quenched inner light she strove
most loyally to fulfil external duties; with the fresh shining of the inner light she gave
herself up to the most blessed tranquility. Yes, she will have observed that some kind
of clouds hovered over her from time to time, and for some time obscured for her the
look of the heavenly companions a period which she understood how to make use
of continually for the well-being and delight of her surroundings.
So long as she kept her views secret, it required much to support them. What she
revealed of them was not recognised, or misinterpreted; therefore in her long life she
let it appear outwardly as an illness, and in the family they still always speak of it so;
but at last good fortune introduced to her the man whom you see with us, as doctor,
mathematician and astronomer equally valuable; a thoroughly noble man who,
however, first actually approached her out of curiosity. But when she gained
confidence towards him, described by degrees to him her circumstances, joined the
present to the past and had brought a connection into the events, he became so
fascinated by the phenomenon that he could no more separate himself from her, but
day by day endeavoured continually to penetrate more deeply into the secret.
At first, as lie gave it to be understood not obscurely, he considered it to be
deception, for she did not deny that from earliest youth she had diligently busied
herself about knowledge of the stars and sky, that she had been well instructed in
them, and had missed no opportunity of getting a clear idea for herself of the
structure of the world by means of machines and books. He did not, therefore, have
his say out; it was learnt by heart, the effect of an imagination regulated in a high
degree, the influence of the memory was to be conjectured, a co-operation of the
power of judgment, but especially of a hidden calculation.
He is a mathematician and therefore obstinate, a clear mind and therefore
unbelieving. For a long time he resisted, observed however what she mentioned,
exactly, endeavoured to get near to the sequel of different years, kept himself
especially to the newest with the opposite position of the lights of heaven and their
tasks in accordance, and at last exclaimed: Now why should not God and Nature be a
living Armillarsphere, an intellectual clockwork movement, so that just as the clocks
perform it for us daily and hourly, it would be in the position of itself in a special way
to follow the course of the stars!
But here we dare not proceed further, for the incredible loses its value when we
wish to look at it more nearly in detail. We say so much, however: that which served
as the basis of the reckonings to be instituted, was as follows. For her, the seeress, our
sun appeared in the vision much smaller than she beheld it as such by day; also an
unusual position of this high light of heaven in the zodiac gave rise to inferences.
On the other hand, doubts and errors arose because she who looked indicated one
and the other star as appearing alike in the zodiac, but of which in the sky one was not

aware. They might be the small planets at that time still undiscovered, for from other
accounts it could be concluded that she, long since over the, orbit of Mars, drew near
to the orbit of Jupiter. Openly, for a long time, she had considered these planets, at
what distance it would be difficult to say, with astonishment in their mighty
splendour, and looked at the play of its moons around it, but had seen it in the most
marvellous manner as waning moon, and indeed, without being turned round, as the
waxing moon appears to us. From this it would be concluded that she saw it from the
side, and was really on the point of moving outside its orbit, and in the infinite space
coming in opposition to Saturn. Thither no imagination follows her, but we hope that
such an entelechy does not withdraw itself entirely from our solar system; but if it has
arrived at the border of it, it will yearn to be back again, so as to work again in favour
of our great grandchildren for earthly life and beneficence.
Here, in a very significant way, the vista is presented to us of how the soul, how
the human being, will from within take the path of return to the world of the stars. I
have been reading to you the description of Makaria from Goethe's Wilhelm Meister,
and he has expressly added that he has not said everything. He indicates that this was
an ethereal poem, in the words: While we now here close this ethereal poetry, hoping
for forgiveness, let us turn again to that terrestrial story, of which we have given above
a transient indication.
Before Goethe describes Makaria he writes:
But arrived at this point, we cannot resist the temptation of communicating from
our archives [note 3] a paper which concerns Makaria, and the special quality which
was imparted to her mind. Unfortunately, this composition was written from memory
not till a long time after the contents were communicated, and cannot be looked upon
as altogether authentic, as in so remarkable a case would be desirable. But however
this may be, here already is so much communicated as to arouse reflection and
recommend attention as to whether already something similar or approximating to it
has been remarked and noted down.
I wanted to call your attention to this passage in Wilhelm Meister's
Travels because it will show you that with Spiritual Science we are really meeting the
demands of our age. Human nature is changing in such a way that it will bring
forth from itself that ancient heritage from the pre-earthly world which it has lost.
And men must be aware of what is approaching them otherwise they will fall into
utter confusion. Spiritual Science must establish its place in the cultural life of our
But the moment men become attentive to what has been indicated here they
inevitably come across the teaching of reincarnation, because they say to themselves
that an entelechy from the spiritual world, from the spheres of Jupiter, Saturn, and so
on, may well have something to do with the Earth and might return among us.
Therefore those occultists who wish the teaching of reincarnation to be suppressed,
say that barricades must be erected against the advent of this view of life, and these
barricades are erected by diverting men's minds as far as possible from the
connection with the celestial bodies of the solar system. So we see that in that quarter
there is intense interest in not allowing certain things to come to light. I said
yesterday that if interest is present for a biased, one-sided cause, it always finds
support. But truth is generally contested and everything possible is done to prevent
the truth itself from coming to light. And whether we take the right stand in our
spiritual Movement depends upon our being fully conscious that the truth for which
we seek will be attacked from many, many sides. Nothing is more essential than that
in order to be armed, we shall endeavour to develop clarity of thought in every
domain. You must bear in mind that the antagonisms that arise, above all the hostile
personalities, are really, for the most part, puppets of the opposing Powers. For we
are here in the field of activity of super-sensible Powers. These super-sensible Powers,

to which Lucifer and Ahriman belong, naturally work in human life through human
souls, which are simply their instruments.
Hence it is necessary to know exactly what is at issue in the one case or the other;
but what is far and away the most necessary of all is that the acquisition of the faculty
of clear, exact thinking shall never be neglected. You know that life itself has its
contradictions, and Hegel built up his whole philosophy on this. It is not a question of
avoiding the contradictions in life, for they are there. The essential thing is to
recognise and be alert to them.
Ahriman and Lucifer can accomplish something only when a contradiction
remains unnoticed, when we have neither the strength nor the will to lay it bare.
Whenever we get entangled in a contradiction that we do not recognise as such but
simply regard it as a natural part of life, this makes it possible for Lucifer and
Ahriman to take possession of our soul.
Let us take a strange contradiction with which we have been just recently
confronted here. The circumstances have obliged me to read a passage in a letter from
a lady who states that what is wanted is not the teaching and not the teacher, but
the man. The teaching was therefore taken as a kind of adjunct and the chief value
attached to the man. Then came another assertion the very opposite! The man was
completely rejected and it was stated that the teaching must be acknowledged as
correct. Just think of it: on the one hand it is asserted that the quest should not be for
the teaching or the teacher, but for the man; and on the other: I hate the man and
reject him; he makes promises and does not keep them but the teaching is good, I
accept it.
To what does this really amount? In effect it amounts to this: For a time I had a
certain relationship with an individual; he himself interested me, the teaching only
very little. Then I turn from the individual and lay stress on what did not really
interest me at all. I now lay the stress upon what I formerly put aside; I did not
assimilate the teaching and now say: it is good. I stand for something which I refused
to accept, something I cannot possibly have acquired because previously I refused to
accept it! There you have a literal example of the kind of contradictions to be found
in the world. Can you possibly imagine that where such contradictions prevail there
can be any real, inner connection with our spiritual-scientific Movement? There can
obviously be none.
It is important to be aware of contradictions such as these, for if we fail to notice
such phenomena among us we shall never find the right path to knowledge of the
spiritual world. Needless to say, many things may escape us, but we must have the
will to take note of such contradictions. On the other side, however, it must be
remembered that contradictions of this kind are used with the intent of shaking the
truth to its foundations. Suppose, for example, someone were to say: a man is giving
teaching but he himself is full of contradictions, even of immoral tendencies, indeed
he is dominated by the power of evil; but the teaching itself is good that is certainly
to be admitted. Very well but if it is part and parcel of the teaching that the one who
represents it and the Movement connected with it establishes the relationship
between himself and the others precisely through the teaching, wishing to be nothing
more than the bearer of the teaching then such an attitude demands him to be
something else! All kinds of demands are made upon the man, and although at
bottom the teaching is rejected, it is said: the teaching is good, but for all that the man
is evil! In this way, someone who feels utterly incapable of grasping the teaching can
work against it through those who believe in it. This is the best way for a person to
undermine teaching which he cannot disprove, for as I indicated yesterday, it is then
delivered into the hands of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic Powers.
It has been said so often that our teaching must not be mere theory, but actual life.
If it is made into mere theory, it is killed, delivered into the hands of Ahriman, the

God of Death. That is the best method for ensuring that what is taught is given over to
Ahriman and thus exterminated from the world; moreover, it is a method very similar
to that employed by certain individualities who were standing behind Mr. Sinnett, for
example. They inspired him to take a certain direction in order to steer him into
fallacy which culminated in the true facts being violated. The Moon, which as physical
Moon is an agent for paralysing the Eighth Sphere, is declared to be the Eighth
Sphere itself. The reality concerning the Eighth Sphere is obscured, effaced. And later
on H. P. Blavatsky corrects this by alleging that Jahve has created the lower sphere of
man's life only, the sphere of his senses whereas the truth is that Jahve has created
a counteracting agent for the Eighth Sphere. This method therefore consists in
spreading over some matter a fog whereby it is presented in a false light. If you
examine these things carefully, you will see that what has happened among us is
essentially of the same pattern, only on a smaller scale. It is an attempt to shed
calumny on the truth that would fain come into the world. Someone feels incapable of
refuting the teaching and so levels imputations against the one who has to present it.
This of course shows that such a person is unable to grasp the essence of the teaching.
This is a problem well worth the notice of people of standing and sincerity among
us, for these things must be viewed from a higher vantage-point. I am quoting these
examples because they are near at hand and because they show us whither our
attention should be directed. In our Movement the strongest possible emphasis must
be laid and this has been done ever since I have been connected with itupon a
right attitude being adopted towards atavistic clairvoyance, so that there may be no
delusions about it. An example of what has been invented in order to distort what we
do or desire to do, is that it has been said: One can see that this is a Movement which
applies itself to the cultivation of clairvoyance and then efforts have been made to
imply that everyone in the Movement is urged to develop clairvoyance. This kind of
thing spreads a fog over the Movement. The truth is reversed although it is a fact
that clairvoyance must be developed but a good means is furnished for provoking
hatred against the Movement.
Again, it is said: A Movement that comes into being in the modern age ought not
to cultivate the old, atavistic clairvoyance, but that is precisely what this particular
Movement is doing. On the subject of cultivating atavistic clairvoyance the
Movement says exactly the same, but here the direction of the arrow is turned round
and the Movement is censured. This is happening, for example, in our immediate
vicinity, where in sermons and addresses it is alleged that those who have gathered
here in Dornach are urged, above all by me, to develop clairvoyance, and it is imputed
at the same time that this is pathological, atavistic clairvoyance.
Needless to say, the one who voices these things has no inkling of what he is really
saying; he is only a puppet. But we ourselves must look more deeply into the
connections, realising that we are living at a time when such impulses will assert
themselves strongly against us. And it would be particularly grotesque if our teaching
itself were to he used as a weapon for confuting us. Even this has already happened.
In one of the antagonistic criticisms published during recent weeks, an attack was
formulated by using quotations from the Mystery Plays and from the book Occult
Science. So the Powers that do not want the truth to come to light are everywhere at
About the truth itself we need have no anxiety. ... Truth makes its way in the world
by laying emphasis only on what is positive.
But the moment statements that simply do not remotely come near the truth go
out into the world, we must be armed and know how to judge them. We must not
adopt the stand merely of studying what is to be found in the literature; we must
translate into very life the life-principle contained in our teaching. That is to say, we
must judge life according to the principles of our teaching; we must not think about

one or another attack from outside as we should be bound to think if we had accepted
our teaching merely as a theory. The need for polemics does not begin until we are
attacked. But then we must realise that ours is a teaching very easily distorted into its
opposite and that we have therefore to watch over and protect it. Especially must we
be on guard against all one-sidedness.
For example, undertones could be heard in connection with certain things that
have been said here and there undertones coming from an attitude that very easily
runs to opposite extremes. And then it is easy to be refuted. You will remember that it
was necessary to say a great deal on the subject of illusions about particular
incarnations. If this were carried to the extreme of laughing all such matters to scorn,
our opponents might well say: These people teach something. But let one of them
touch the very fringe of it and they at once proceed to ridicule him!
We have no ground for rejecting clairvoyant experiences obviously not. Our
only duty is to get to the bottom of such experiences when they are being used to
bolster up the aims of personal vanity, or certainly when the outer course of events
proves these experiences to have been incorrect. We must not, to use a trivial
expression, pour away the child with the bath-water. Our Society must certainly not
transform itself into a body of scientific theory. There too you can see that this danger
may easily arise.
An essay sent to us during the last few days is astutely written, for there is no more
plausible way of attacking our Movement than by saying: Those people behave as if
they rejected all connection between the world of the senses and the spiritual world!
This is actually stated in the essay. In an appendix, strangely enough, the question is
raised : Why should not the Mother of God also reincarnate? Of course, one can
ask, why should she not reincarnate? There is no reason why it cannot be so. But of
this you may be sure: the exoteric life of this Mother of God in such a reincarnation
would not be in the form in which it is claimed to have taken place!
Truly, in these matters it is a question of something that I have been emphasising
for many years and found it necessary to include in my fundamental philosophical
work. If you read other philosophies you will find in their theories and forms of
expression, also in still earlier writings, much that appears again in my The
Philosophy of Freedom. But one thing is contained in it which, at least in the way
it is there expressed and interwoven as an ethical principle, a moral impulse, is
entirely original. For the first time, moral tact is introduced as something that
cannot be grasped through the mere power of judgment, but only through the whole
mind and life of feelings, so that when something has to be handled delicately one
shall not immediately fall into extremes and try to sweep away one error by means of
another. That is moral tact. I have tried to define it as clearly as possible in the
Philosophy of Freedom. It is truly necessary to emphasise at the present time that
because here we have to do with a very tricky matter we must avoid the danger of
falling into the other extreme.
I indicated various dangers yesterday but have felt it necessary to add something
today, in order to emphasise that we must not fall into the other extreme. The whole
of our activity, the whole nature of our Movement, must be based upon making the
spiritual world a reality, upon feeling and experiencing our own life as connected with
the spiritual world.
But if we hold this principle sacred, we must tactfully refuse to allow directly
personal affairs, the subjective-personal life, to be drawn in. This again does not
imply that we should never try to discover whether we ourselves are the reincarnation
of someone. But simply to look from one personality in search of the other is of no
account. It is the easy-going way. But the right way is to endeavour to reach the point
where we begin to discover certain secrets of our own life. Then we shall certainly
make progress. In this connection we are standing at a point of great significance,

namely that we must pay heed to the saying: do not pour the child away with the bath
At the same time we must work with all intensity to prevent what would be utterly
disastrous to an occult Movement, namely, a gradual lapse into haziness and lack of
clarity. There are certain things which need to be treated with a certain harshness.
That is another matter. But we must always be mindful of the ground on which we
stand the ground of an earnest and worthy spiritual Movement.
These are some of the points of view which can help us to realise the conditions
that are essential to the life of our Movement. When it is said that outer reality is
maya, then this maya too must be thoroughly studied. Nor must we keep emphasising
the theoretical saying, outer reality is maya, and then act as if the outer reality itself
is of supreme importance when we encounter it concretely in the world.

Note 1. See inter alia, Macrocosm and Microcosm, lecture 4.
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968).
Note 2. The translation of the passage is by R. O. Moon, M.A.,
M.D.(Oxon.), from Vol. II of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister.
Published by G. T. Foulis & Co., London.
Note 3. (Goethe means spiritual archives.)

In a recent lecture I said something to which I want to return today, because in its logical
conclusion it forms a kind of foundation for what I still have to say. I said that a spiritualscientific Movement such as ours must be one which takes full account of the demands of
the present cycle of the evolution of humanity and of the necessary consequences of this
evolution. Such a Movement must therefore necessarily regard atavistic clairvoyance, and
knowledge that is a residue of atavistic clairvoyance, as out of date and no longer suitable
for our times; it must be a Movement which sets no store by anything that stems from
atavistic sources.
This meant that a great deal of the knowledge given out in the so-called Theosophical
Society had simply to be rejected or ignored in the form in which it was there presented,
and in certain cases built up entirely anew. Hence from the beginning onwards, strenuous
efforts were made by the old representatives of that Society to oppose us. I will give only
one example.
You can compare what I said in the year 1904 in the first edition of my
book Theosophy about the soul-world and the spirit-land with what had formerly been
stated. You must bear especially in mind the distinctions made by me in connection with
the soul-world and in the inner soul-life of man and you will see that great stress was laid
upon the distinction to be made between the Sentient Soul, the Intellectual or Mind-Soul,
and the Consciousness Soul (Spiritual Soul). This threefold distinction had never been
made in the literature of the Theosophical Society, but among us it was emphasised from
the very beginning.
The other side were at pains to eliminate this distinction, not to allow it to gain ground. I
remember vividly what efforts were made to win back our friend the late Ludwig
Lindemann, when he was trying to make our Movement known in Italy. It was asserted:
You are simply saying in other words what has already been said in our teaching. Briefly,
these people did not wish it to be realised that this threefold distinction was something
entirely new and it was necessary to indicate it again and again. And the same kind of thing
happened in many, many instances.
From the very beginning we ourselves set out in the direction demanded by the needs of
the present age, taking into consideration all the matters of which I have been telling you
briefly during recent weeks. But in order to follow this course strictly, it was necessary to
give a different form to the way of working adopted everywhere in the Theosophical
Society. This naturally entailed effort, really strenuous effort. There was also the difficult
question of how my own work could find a place in the literature. During the first years I
was obliged to present certain things with great reserve, for the simple reason that years of
testing and strict verification were needed in connection with certain subjects and because
from the outset I had resolved never to publish or to say anything except that for which I
could be answerable, having submitted it all to thorough testing.
Now as you will have realised after what I have been saying, confusion had arisen because
investigation of the life between death and rebirth had been brought into an entirely false
channel. I spoke about this in the foregoing lectures. But it has not always been easy to test
these things as they should be tested. If one resolves to work conscientiously and with a
sense of full responsibility, every opportunity that offers itself for stringent testing must be
seized, but these opportunities must never be forced. In spiritual investigation it is a
matter of waiting. Opportunities must never in the slightest degree be forced.
Most obvious of all was the inaccuracy of the statements purporting to give information
about the life between death and a new birth. But whereas on the physical plane, false

results of investigation can be rectified by testing them with physical means which make
their inaccuracy immediately evident, it is of course quite another matter when things of
the spiritual worlds are involved. In the spiritual worlds, the existence of a false, erroneous
conception of the real facts is confusing for investigation itself. If, then, through mediums,
statements had been made which were not communications from the dead at all, but
deliberately inspired by living persons with every kind of bias, these results of what
purported to be investigation were in existence. They confront one, and if one is trying to
verify things in this domain one has to battle with these results of investigation as actual
powers. Anything that is said on the physical plane can be refuted; one sits down at the
writing-table and refutes it. But a false result of investigation in the spiritual world is
a living reality: it is there and one has to battle with it, do away with it.
Just as thoughts are living realities, false results of investigation are real powers which are
there directly one crosses the Threshold of the spiritual world. One enters the spiritual
world with the endeavour to bring to light knowledge of the life between death and a new
birth; but now the false thoughts that have been produced stand there as living beings
before one. To begin with, they give the appearance of truth, of reality. Hence one has first
to battle with them, to test them, in order to discover whether they have the attributes of
untrue thoughts, or the attributes of true and really living thoughts.
This process of testing and verification often takes a very long time. In the nature of things,
therefore, when one had resolved that the testing should be thorough and exact, it was
difficult to investigate this realm of the life between death and a new birth, because so
many false conclusions had been drawn. Hence in these matters particularly it was
necessary to exercise great reserve, speaking of them only when they could be presented as
absolutely and strictly true. A great deal of work had therefore to be done before it was
possible to give, for example, the course of lectures now available under the title The
Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and a new Birth. [note 1]
In a general way it is easy to describe the life between death and a new birth. It begins
when, after completing the backward review arising in the process of the separation of the
etheric body from the physical body, the human being passes into the sphere which in
theosophical literature was usually called Kamaloka. But if you compare what was called
Kamaloka in that literature with what has been made known among us during the course
of the years, you cannot fail to perceive the considerable differences. Now please do not
misunderstand me here. I do not assert that at the present time it is the task of each
individual to put everything to the test. The task of one is not that of the other. I regard it
as my task to say nothing which I cannot guarantee to have been tested and proven. That is
what I consider to be my particular, entirely individual task.
I want now to speak of something that it is important to remember when speaking of the
first years of the life between death and a new birth. A really positive and faithful picture of
these first years or decades can be gained only by using certain parallels. Only so is it
possible, by adding many details, to fill out the general picture given in the
book Theosophy. Our whole development depends upon this being done. In that book a
broad ground-plan is given, and our work should consist in filling out each of the various
sections outlined in the general plan. It is a matter, therefore, of gathering together many
things that have been said, and if, starting from what is contained in the
book Theosophy, you go on to the many more intimate details given in the lecturecourses which have now been printed, you will see that real progress has been made in
acquiring more and more intimate knowledge.
To have an accurate picture of the first years or decades of the life after death, it is
necessary to compare what is to be perceived in the case of human beings who died very
young, let us say in earliest infancy, with what is to be perceived in the cases of those who
died in middle age and again at an advanced age. There are very great differences here. The
life after death differs enormously according to whether the human being has died in early
or advanced years; and a really reliable picture can be gained only from what is

experienced in connection with human beings whose deaths occurred at different ages.
So, for example, an essential foundation for discovering certain matters was to become
fully aware of the conditions of those who died in very early infancy and again of those who
died at the ages of 11, 12 or 13. A very great difference in the conditions of life after death is
to be observed according to whether death took place before the age of 8 or 9, or before the
age of 16 or 17. This is clearly disclosed by certain experiences one can have with the dead.
It can be observed that human beings who died during the tenderest years of infancy are
very much occupied with the tasks devolving upon mankind during the period immediately
following these deaths.
Now the outer representatives of religious communities do nothing to prevent certain ideas
that are at variance with the truth from taking root among men. You will know from your
own experience that little is done by these representatives of religion to refute the idea that
when an old man or an infant dies, the old man lives on as an old man and the child as a
child. But the mode of life of souls on the Earth has nothing directly to do with the mode of
their life in yonder world. If a child dies at the age of three or six months, all its earthly
lives come into consideration, and it may enter the spiritual world as a very mature soul. It
is therefore entirely false to imagine that an infant lives on as an infant. We find that souls
who died in early infancy have tasks connected with what the Earth needs in order that the
necessary store of spiritual strength may be acquired for further activities. Human beings
cannot work adequately on the Earth unless impulses come to them from the spiritual
worlds. These impulses, however, do not come in the vague, nebulous way imagined by
Pantheism; they come from actual beings, among whom are also to be found the souls of
children who died in early infancy.
As a concrete example, let us think of how Goethe developed. Naturally, some part of
Goethe's genius was due to the help he received from the spiritual world. If we investigate
this, we come to the souls of children who died in early age. The spirituality there present
in the universe is connected with the souls of children who died in infancy. On the other
hand, children who died at the ages of 9 or 1o but before they are 16 or 17 are found very
soon after death in the company of spiritual beings but these spiritual beings are human
souls. Many of these children are found in the company of human souls, and indeed of
those souls who must shortly come down to the Earth, who are awaiting their next
incarnation. And so those who die in early infancy, say up to the ages of 7 or 8, are found to
be much occupied with human beings here below on the Earth; but those who died
between the ages from about to to 15 or 16 are found to be occupied with souls whose
endeavour is to incarnate soon. They are vital supporters and helpers, important
messengers for what these souls need in order to prepare for their earthly existence. It is
important to know this if we want to avoid generalities and are intent upon penetrating
into these spiritual worlds.
It is not easy to investigate these matters. One can make an approach by asking, for
example: What is the best way to find the dead? It then proves to be the case that those
who died years or decades ago, or quite recently, are most easily found when consciousness
of the spiritual world awakens in sleep.
I have often told you that awakening can be of two kinds. An awakening can take place in
sleep itself, and then a man knows that now he is not asleep in the ordinary way but is in
the spiritual world. Indications on this subject are to be found in the book A Road to
Self-Knowledge. Eight Meditations. Or an awakening can take place in waking life
itself. But investigation into the life of the dead is best pursued when the awakening takes
place during actual sleep, because then one's own activity is most closely related with that
of the dead.
A remarkable discovery is then made. Here, in physical life between waking and
sleeping, man always remembers the periods of his waking life. In what does his life really
consist? Waking, daily life, sleeping; waking, daily life, sleeping and so on. During the life
of day his remembrances are always of what happened during a former life of day. Our

everyday waking life is full of such remembrances. But it is different when the life of our
Ego is interrupted by the periods of sleep. The curious thing is, however, that during sleep
we remember only the preceding sleep-conditions only we are unconscious of this. In most
cases there is no such remembrance. But during sleep a subconscious process of
remembrance continues through the whole of life.
If we consider the life that embraces both sleeping and waking, night-life and day-life, we
can say: the night-life is interrupted by the day-life, just as the day-life is interrupted by the
night-life. Nevertheless the stream of life is continuous. The remarkable thing, however, is
that whereas in remembrances during the life of day we are passivefor they rise up and it
is only in exceptional cases, when we want to remind ourselves of something in the past,
that we have to make effortsduring sleep, when we want to remember something for a
particular purpose, efforts are essential. As a rule, however, man lacks the strength to
become conscious of this activity and that is why he has no remembrances during sleep. In
his soul, however, he is much more active during sleep than during waking life. Dreaming
does not cut across this activity. Dreaming corresponds to what goes on in our waking life
when we make great efforts to remember; but if during sleep, we exert ourselves only
slightly, this corresponds to the ordinary process of remembering during the day, when we
make no efforts because the remembrances come of themselves. After death, the
remembrances we have of the waking life now ended are soon over. Then in the period of
Kamaloka man lives through all the experiences of the nights in backward order.
In our life here on Earth we are occupied with what the days brought to us and also
although without being aware of itwith what we experienced during the nights. After
death, however, everything we lived through during the nights comes into our
consciousness. Night by night everything comes back to us. And it is important to realise
that, to begin with, the dead lives through his nights. This is by no means easy to realise
and can only gradually be discovered. Naturally a man lives through his life, but he lives
through it by way of his experiences during the nights.
I have often said that the time spent in Kamaloka is approximately one third of the lifetime
on Earth. If you reflect that a man who does not die in childhood spends about a third of
his life asleep, you will understand why the time in Kamaloka amounts approximately to a
third of the time of the earthly life; the Kamaloka period lasts for as long as the time spent
in sleep about one third of the whole lifetime on earth.
It is very necessary to gather together carefully the items of concrete knowledge that have
been given and to correlate them. And that is why how shall I put it? that is why it has
such a jarring effect (although that does not quite express what I mean) when one who is
trying to speak about the spiritual world with full responsibility, is asked all kinds of
questions about this or that point after the lectures. These people want to know everything,
but on the other hand one has been endeavouring to speak only of what has actually been
thought through to the end. One is forced, then, to speak about a whole number of matters
into which there has not yet been opportunity for thorough investigation. It is, of course,
possible to give some reply, for the science of occultism is there; but when one has laid it
down as a fundamental principle to speak only of what one has actually tested and verified,
this kind of talking goes against the grain.
And now recall that I said: when we cross the Threshold of the spiritual world, we find that
comparatively soon after his death a human being who died at the age of 11, 12, 13 or 14
years, is living among those who are shortly to return to the Earth and discharge their tasks
there. This soul helps them to find the right paths to incarnation. It may seem strange to
say this, but it is the case nevertheless.
Now these things are in turn connected with certain secrets of life, with very definite
secrets of life. The fact of the matter is that we discover certain things in the real sense only
when we can put the right questions. Not every question is rightly put; we have to wait
until we become worthy, as it were, of putting the question in the right way.
I shall now say something that may seem strange, although it is correct. The human being

gets two sets of teeth: first he gets the teeth which fall out about the seventh year, and then
he gets the second teeth. I do not believe that it occurs to many people to ask anything
about the coming of these second teeth, for I have always found that when the subject is
under discussion among specialists, they speak as though there were no difference between
the first and second dentition. To an occultist, however, the first dentition is an entirely
different matter from the development of the second teeth. I once had to give what seemed
a grotesque answer to a point raised to me by a medical expert. The answer amused him,
but from the standpoint of occultism it was quite correct. He said that children with milkteeth ought to be taught to bite as soon as possible, because the sole purpose of the teeth is
to enable human beings to bite. This line of thought, however, is not correct from the
occult standpoint, at least, it is only half correct, and the matter must in any case be gone
into more exactly. There is no question that man has the second teeth for the purpose of
biting; but as regards the first teeth there is a question. The first teeth come through
heredity. The human being has them because the parents and grandparents have had
them. Only when he has shed these first, inherited teeth does he develop the second teeth.
These are then an individual acquisition; the first teeth have been inherited. This is a
matter which comes into consideration only if we pay attention to subtle differences. It is
not a matter of outstanding importance, nor would particularly grave errors be incurred if
the question were not raised. But it is important to know that the first teeth are related to
heredity in quite a different way from the second. The second teeth will be found to be
connected with the general health of the human being, with his whole constitution,
whereas the first teeth, especially as regards their healthiness are far more closely
connected with the health of the parents and grandparents. Here there is already a
difference which can be followed up empirically. These distinctions are subtle, but when
attention is directed in this way to how matters stand with the teeth, something else comes
to light, and this is the point that may strike you as strange, although it is quite true.
Suppose a child dies before he has cut all his second teeth, or very shortly afterwards.
Strangely enough, occult investigation discovers that whether the child has not yet or had
already cut the second teeth has an actual effect in the spiritual world. Assuming that the
child died at the age of 8 or 9, we discover that some of the impulses which otherwise
penetrate into the physical world are working there; we discover that these are the forces
which should have penetrated into the teeth, but are now at the disposal of the child.
Especially in the case of a child who died early, who had lost the first teeth but had not yet,
or had only just, cut the second teeth, it can be observed, strangely enough, that this child
has certain forces and that these forces are of exactly the same kind as those which, on the
physical plane, promote the growth of the teeth out of the organism as a whole.
When a human being is in the physical world he must unfold certain physical forces in
order that the teeth may develop out of the organism. If he dies before the teeth have
developed or have only just developed, these forces are free for him in the spiritual world
and he can work with them into the earthly world; if he is living in the physical world these
forces build up the teeth which he then uses in the physical world.
Here we have a vista of a wonderful connection with the Cosmos, and can recognise the
profound truth of what is described in the first scene of the second Mystery Play, The
Soul's Probation: how the spiritual worlds work by means of their Beings to bring Man
into existence, and how when this knowledge goes to his head, Capesius is filled with
arrogance on learning that Man is the goal of all the activities of the Gods. But this great
truth is hardly noticed.
I said further that human beings who died between the ages of 8 or 9, and 9 to 16 or 17, are
found among souls who are trying to incarnate as soon as may be. These souls of human
beings who died in youth again have special forces which are also the result of
metamorphosis. At the age of 14, 15 or 16, the human being reaches puberty: if puberty had
not been reached or had only just been reached, the forces leading to it are transformed in
the spiritual world into forces by means of which such a soul can work among those souls

who are awaiting their next incarnation on Earth, helping them to prepare for this
Think of the infinitely profound connection here. The forces of reproduction are
transformed in the spiritual world into forces of help for the souls who are trying to come
down as soon as may be into the physical world. These are connections which show us how
the spiritual on yonder side of the Threshold works on in the physical world in individual,
concrete realities. Moreover, we do not learn to know the physical world truly until we
realise that forces are unfolded as a result of the fact that the human being discards certain
teeth and develops others. Puberty again is brought about by the unfolding of forces. When
the human being has actually reached puberty the forces have quite different functions.
All this leads to the question: Why is man prevented in his ordinary life from looking into
the spiritual world? The spiritual world is barred on two sides. On the one side, it is barred
by outer nature. We see outer nature as a veil covering what lies behind it. If a man can
pierce the veil, he is in the spiritual world. Materialism endeavours in every way to prevent
men from recognising that spirit is behind that veil. I have often said, even in public
lectures, that an unconscious fear underlies this but it is the same with regard to the
inner life. Man is aware of his thinking, his feeling and his will; but behind these there is
something else, namely, the being of soul who passes from incarnation to incarnation. And
in that domain the religious communities of the present day do not want it to be discovered
that behind thinking, feeling and willing there lies the other reality.
For this reason the book Riddles of Philosophy will be very unwelcome, because I have
dealt with this point in the last chapter. The path to the world of spirit is barred on two
sides. Whereas natural scientists on the one side are at pains to produce nothing that
might lead into the world lying behind nature, the representatives of the religious
communities are at pains to prevent anything coming to the knowledge of souls that can
enlighten them on what it is that passes beyond death and then on to the next incarnation.
Why, on the one side, do the natural scientists hinder man from penetrating behind
nature, and, on the other, why do the priests hinder him from penetrating behind the
secrets of the life of soul? This question is important and worth consideration, for you will
find these things coming more and more to a head. Those who build up a view of the world
on the basis of natural science will be our opponents because they do not wish the spiritual
world behind nature to come into evidence. And the priests will be our opponents because
they do not wish to allow the reality of the being who lies behind thinking, feeling and
willing and passes from incarnation to incarnation, to be grasped. On the one side the
natural scientist says: here are the boundaries of knowledge. And on the other side the
representatives of religion say: to go further is sinful, it is presumption on the part of man.
Tomorrow we will consider the reasons on which the contentions of these two categories of
opponents are based, and then pass on to other matters.

Note 1. Six lectures given in Vienna, 9th to 14th April, 1914.
Anthroposophical Publishing Co. (Rudolf Steiner Press) 1959.

At the end of the lecture yesterday I said that opponents of the spiritual-scientific
Movement arise, naturally in a way, from two sides. They arise, on the one side, from the
domain of natural science because its whole make-up and stamp at the present time are up
to a certain point bound to be such that anyone who undergoes a scientific training and
thinks that on this basis he can, or may, or must, develop a view of the world, feels
compelled to adopt one which, on account of its materialistic trend, must inevitably be
antagonistic to Spiritual Science. Right thinking is essential here. It must be realised that
many individuals into whom the methods of modern materialistic science which we
recognise to be a necessityhave been instilled, simply cannot help becoming opponents
on account of the thoughts that have been kindled in them. This of course cannot absolve
anyone from the obligation to combat this opposition when it arises. But it will be
combatted in the right way only when what I have just said is taken into consideration.
On the other side, in a similar way, opposition comes from the representatives of the
various religious bodies. Just as in the domain of modern science there is an interest in
concealing the spiritual behind nature, so have the representatives of modern religious
bodies an interest in concealing the spiritual behind the soul. We may therefore say:
Spiritual Science is obstructed from the side of natural science because of the desire to
keep concealed the spiritual behind nature; and it is obstructed from the side of the
religious bodies because it is held that the spiritual behind the manifestations of the life of
soul should be kept hidden. Religious bodies, as they now are, will always be prone to
oppose what Spiritual Science brings into the open, because they have no interest in
pointing to the spirit behind the expressions of the life of soul, but consider that the spirit
should be kept hidden. This must be realised, although again it does not imply that the
opposition should be left out of account; it is a question of adopting the right attitude to it.
This is a chapter of which it is extraordinarily difficult to speak, for here we touch upon
things which everyone must inevitably realise through what he reads between the lines in
the literature of Spiritual Science and who feels something of what is contained in its
communications. At the basis of the matters to which I have referred there lies something
of great profundity, something very significant. For certain reasons it is actually dangerous
simply to point from nature herselfthat is to say, from the surface manifestations of
natureto what lies behind nature. And because of this danger there comes about what I
have indicated, more or less metaphorically, by saying: In the so-called Secret Societies or
Orders there is invariably a kind of right wing, composed of those esotericists who wish
to adhere strictly to the principle of silence in regard to everything connected with the
higher secrets. All such Orders but, as I said, the expressions are to be taken
metaphorically all such Orders have a kind of right wing, a kind of middle party, and
a kind of left wing. The inclination of those belonging to the left wing is always to make
public certain esoteric matters; but those belonging to the right wing are wholly against
making public anything whatever of what they believe should be in the guardianship of the
Secret Orders and Societies. They consider that such knowledge is dangerous if it falls into
the hands of incompetent people, if it were to be represented in public by persons
insufficiently prepared.
The reason why it is so difficult to speak about this subject is that the moment one does so,
one is obliged to give certain indications which in a way do bring things into the open. The
Secret Orders, believing, rightly or wrongly, that they are custodians of certain higher
knowledge, necessarily choose a method whereby they provide certain precautionary
measures in connection with their real or alleged knowledge reaching the public.
In such Orders there are usually degrees three lower and three higher degrees. The
knowledge considered by those in the higher degrees to be dangerous in the hands of

unprepared people is not, as a rule, imparted in the three lower degrees; in the three lower
degrees, efforts are made to clothe the real or alleged knowledge in all kinds of symbols.
Of these symbols one may perhaps say the following: If they have been faithfully preserved
since ancient times and have not been adulterated through the machinations of those who
did not understand them, they constitute a kind of language which can gradually be
mastered by those who really penetrate to the gist of them. And when this language is
mastered, it conveys certain knowledge. These symbols could also be said to be vehicles of
information brought upon the scene with extreme caution. The egoistic standpoint of
restricting the store of knowledge to the innermost circle is not adopted. The knowledge is
given in a certain way to those who are received into the outer circle. But it is hidden in
symbolism, so that only one who is able to unravel the symbols can penetrate to the
underlying truths. There are, indeed, Orders which keep a strict watch against theoretical
explanations of the symbols ever being given, insisting that the symbols shall simply be
presented or demonstrated by exercises; so that anyone who wants to read the symbols,
when he takes them to be a language, must achieve this by his own efforts.
It might be asked: Is that really a protection? Is not the knowledge still apt to fall into
wrong hands? Now at any rate until the fourteenth and on into the fifteenth or sixteenth
century, it can be said that the Orders working with symbolism did not, by such practices,
allow the knowledge to fall into wrong hands. Since then, however, things have become
essentially different. I will at once tell you why. Please, therefore, bear this in mind. In
occult Orders established before the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, those in
the three lower degrees to whom, as the outer circle, the knowledge was imparted in
symbols, could not make any fundamental misuse of it because the symbols were simply
presented and everything else was left to those who had now to get at their meaning. This
was in itself a protection, because to discover the meaning of the symbols entailed a certain
spiritual effort.
Suppose someone entered one of the lower degrees of an occult Order. Symbols were either
presented or demonstrated to him. He was given only the symbols and was instructed to let
them work upon him as if they were phenomena of nature. If he wished to go further, to
discover the secret meaning of the symbols, he was obliged to investigate, to exert spiritual
energy. Had he received help, it would not have been necessary to apply this spiritual
energy. But he received no help and was therefore obliged to make efforts to decipher the
And now the question is: What spiritual force was used for deciphering these symbols? It
was the same force which if not employed for this purpose but for penetrating the
phenomena of nature would have helped to make a man cunning and induce him to
apply certain faculties to a purpose to which he ought not to apply them. It was therefore a
task of symbolism to ensure that the forces which might become dangerous were diverted
to the deciphering of the symbols. In this way the forces were deflected from causing harm.
A second point to be remembered in connection with these symbols is that human nature
is intrinsically constituted to view such symbols in their moral aspect. It must also be
stressed that these symbols were contrived in such a way that their moral aspect was
necessarily obvious. But in the case of phenomena of nature, the moral aspect does not
come into consideration. A lily, because it blooms, cannot be judged on the basis of moral
principles; there one must go to work objectively and with complete detachment. Symbols
are a different matter, for they arouse moral feelings. And these moral feelings which study
of the symbols aroused in the soul were able to combat unhealthy mystical tendencies. So
unhealthy mysticism, too, was turned aside by the inner effects of the impression made by
the symbols. This symbolism had therefore very valid grounds.
Since the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, these grounds have lost
their validity; they can no longer be advocated. Hence since that time, occult Orders have
long lost the significance once attaching to them. In many respects they have become
Societies where all sorts of special aims are pursued; they are Societies for fostering

particular vanities and the like. In many cases they are no longer repositories of any special
knowledge but at most of an empty formalism.
The development of natural science since the time of Galileo, Copernicus and others has
played an essential part here. For the appearance and cultivation of these methods of
natural science has caused the human soul gradually to lose the possibility of cleaving to
symbolism with the old devotion. In reality, all symbols conduce towards bringing to light
the Spiritual behind Nature. But natural science with its materialistic methods which
reached their zenith in the nineteenth century, has affected the human soul in such a way
that it loses interest in the reality to which symbolism is a pointer. Practical evidence of
this is that anyone who believes himself able to construct a view of the world out of the
findings of natural science has no longer any inclination to concern himself with
symbolism with any real earnestness or seriousness. And so a symptom has appeared the
significance of which is fully in evidence today.
The symbols of the secret Societies which until the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries were presented to the lower degrees, were expressions of very deep truths. But
expression was given to these truths in the manner that was customary at that time. Under
the influence of the natural scientific way of thinking, and especially of the proclivities
consequent upon it, no efforts were made to carry these symbols to a further stage. Since
the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, symbolism ought to have been developed
with greater freedom. The symbols ought to have been kept abreast of what humanity was
actually experiencing in the world. But this did not happen, and so to those whose mental
horizon has been created by modern culture, the symbols seem antiquated and out of date
as indeed by far most of them are. But precisely among those who want to make some
approach to occultism, a propensity has developed which I have often deplored the
propensity to unearth as many very ancient symbols as possible. And if these people can
say of some symbol that it has the hallmark of great antiquity, their delight is unbounded.
They do not value the symbolism as such but the fact that it originated somewhere and
somehow in the distant past. Very often no attempts are made to understand it; these
people are satisfied if the symbols unearthed are of great antiquity. During recent
centuries, very little has been done to develop symbolism to a further stage. The result is
that when it is presented today in Orders that can only be called stragglers of the old
occult Orders for such indeed they are this symbolism is for the most part antiquated,
and no efforts are made to develop it in accordance with the progress made by humanity.
The general outlook and attitude of people have changed. To keep some matter secret
today in the way in which this could formerly be done, is no longer possible. Let anyone try
to delve into earlier, perfectly authentic symbolism, and he will soon find how little
difficulty there is in doing so. Our age is the age of publicity and will not tolerate artificial
secrecy, artificial mystery. Our age wants everything to come immediately into the open.
Moreover, it can also be said that for those acquainted with the literature that has been
published about symbolism scarcely anything is still unavailable! Practically everything has
found its way into books, and some Orders today work on the principle of diverting their
members' attention from literature where one thing or another is to be read. Hence a great
deal that has long been accessible in books is thought by the members of such Orders to be
a secret of which only their superiors may justifiably have knowledge. In no domain is
humbug more rife than in that of occult Orders!
As I have said, it is really no longer possible to maintain the principle of secrecy and of
erecting barricades by means of symbolism. But these things can only be rightly
understood when one tries to discover the reasons why in earlier times certain things were
kept secret. As I have already said, it is difficult to speak about these matters, because in
doing so a great deal that cannot lightly be discussed would have to be said. Therefore
today and tomorrow I shall choose a different way. I shall tell you certain things which if
you follow them up consistently will help you to glimpse what it is really not advisable to
express in plain words at the present time. I shall tell you certain things which can be

followed up in your own thinking and experience, and also in your own inner life. If you do
this, it will carry you far. Because it is timely to speak of these things, I shall do so as far
as is possible.
I will take one example. In one of his addresses, the famous English writer Carlyle made
a certain reference to Dante, the author of The Divine Comedy. In other respects the
address is not particularly significant; it was on the subject of Dante and Shakespeare, but
one passage is notable. Those who read this address in the way that ordinary readers are
wont to read and for most people today there is no difference between reading an
address by Carlyle and a newspaper article will find nothing particularly striking. But
the attention of one who has absorbed something of Spiritual Science not only into his
brain as theory but also into his feeling, may well be struck by this passage. Carlyle points
out how remarkable it is that from happenings which outwardly seem like chance, or also
from something that has not turned out at all as people would have wished, things of
tremendous import have come to pass. Carlyle illustrates this by speaking of Dante's
destiny. Dante was banished from his native city on account of his political views and was
obliged to become a wanderer. It was owing to this that he became what he is for the world
today. Being an outcast from his native city he was led to write The Divine Comedy. Now,
says Carlyle, Dante certainly had no wish to be thus exiled! But had he remained in
Florence he would probably have become something like a Lord Mayor in the city; he
would have had a great deal to do as one of the leading figures in Florence, and The Divine
Comedy would not have been written. So Dante was obliged to suffer something highly
unwelcome in order that mankind might possess The Divine Comedy. Mankind owes this
to a fate which Dante would certainly not have chosen for himself and here Carlyle is
assuredly right. There is genius in this utterance. It does not seem so very significant to one
who reads the address in the ordinary way, but it may well strike an attentive reader. He
may perhaps not understand why his feelings should be particularly arrested by this
passage. Indeed, Carlyle himself was not aware of its significance. He made the utterance
because he was a man of great insight, but he felt nothing of what I mean here. I must
make my meaning clear to you in a roundabout way.
Suppose that Dante had not been exiled, but had become something like a councillor or an
official in Florence; he would have attained everything for which his talents fitted him. He
might even have become a prior, and if he had he would have been a very distinguished
one. Much would have come about through Dante but there would have been no Divine
The matter is, however, not as simple as this. Let us assume that Dante had achieved his
goal, had not been exiled from Florence but had become one of the chiefs of the State or of
the Church posts which are somewhat akin as far as public influence is concerned. As
you will admit from what is contained in The Divine Comedy, Dante possessed talents of
no mean order and he would have been a most distinguished Lord Mayor, a figure of
tremendous importance. In these circumstances, history would have assumed a totally
different aspect. Florence would have had a very important civic official and statesman
yes, and not only that! Imagine a Florence administered by councillors possessing the
talents which flowed into The Divine Comedy! This able administration would have meant
that many, many other forces present would have been obstructed in their hidden working.
It is utter stupidity to maintain that there are no men of genius in the world. There are very
manyonly they go under because they are not awakened. If Dante had become a leader of
the State, he would have had a successor also of great importance and there would have
been seven such successors. Exactly seven people we shall one day see the reasons for
this seven people of importance would have succeeded one another as governors of
Florence. Something really magnificent would have come into being but there would be
no Divine Comedy. Dante was born in the year 1265. We are living now in an age when, if
all these seven men had worked in Florence at that time, we should still be feeling the
after-effects, for they would have lasted for seven centuries! Seven centuries would have

taken a course quite different from the one they have actually taken. But these things did
not happen the Catholic Church is still there, but so too is The Divine Comedy.
I have given you an example of how forces are transformed in the ordering of worldhistory, an example of what is really involved in the great process of the transformation of
world-history. Viewed in this light, matters of immense significance open out before us,
matters of vast, far-reaching significance.
I have used this example because I want to draw your attention to the fact that it is
sometimes necessary in the evolution of humanity for forces to be transformed, turned into
a channel quite other than that into which, according to outward appearance, they would
seem to want to flow. This example has, apparently, nothing to do with what I really want
to say, and yet it has everything to do with it. For if you follow to its ultimate consequences
what is implied in this example, you will realise why it is difficult to hand over freely to the
public certain truths connected with what lies behind outer nature. It is necessary to
present many things in such a way as to keep rein on forces, in order that certain of them
may not become dangerous.
With this example I have pointed to those forces which will unfold in human nature if a
man penetrates behind the veil of the phenomena of outer nature. But there are also
certain dangers when men do not only pierce through the veil of the phenomena of outer
nature but try to pierce through the veil of the soul's experiences, endeavouring to plumb
the depths of the life of soul. There are dangers here too. And again by means of a story I
will make it possible for you to realise certain things which otherwise could not be
expounded. I will take a story that is familiar to you but is not generally recognised as
giving expression to such deep truths as those in question.
A man, by name Paul, came one day to Father Antonius, whose pupil he desired to become.
He gave the appearance of being a very simple-minded man. Antonius, however, accepted
this man as a pupil we will call him Paul the Simpleton and caused him year after year
to carry out certain tasks. I do not think many of you would have enjoyed carrying out the
tasks which Father Antonius set his pupil! The latter had to carry water, but in perforated
vessels, so that when he reached his destination there was no water left in them; and this
he had to do year after year. He had to stitch clothes, and when they were finished, unpick
them; again, year after year, he had to carry stones up mountains and on reaching the top
to let them roll down to their original places. The outcome was that Paul the Simpleton
underwent a tremendous deepening of soul and he became aware that forces arising out of
his subconsciousness were gradually making him into a man of wisdom. Paul the
Simpleton became Paul the Wise.
I am not recommending that this example of what Father Antonius did with Paul the
Simpleton should be imitated! I am merely telling the story. Suppose Antonius had not
chosen this method but had made things easier for Paul the Simpleton. What would have
happened ? One day Paul the Simpleton would have said: Yes, Antonius, your teaching is
very good, but you are really a very evil man. I must now take your teaching with me out
into the world. I must fight you with your own teaching, for I recognise that you are evil.
Moreover, you do nothing for me that I am entitled to demand. You promised that from a
certain stage onwards you would declare that, although when I first came to you I appeared
to be a simpleton, already then I was at a much higher level. And then you promised to
declare that all your teaching is really inspired by me. The pupil might have come to this,
but he was protected by the methods employed by Antonius, methods which are now no
longer practicable although this is not to say that in certain cases they would not be very
If you think through these two examples to their ultimate conclusions, you will perceive
certain dangers which threaten a man if he enters into the field of operation of the spiritual
forces which lie behind outer nature. From the example I gave you in connection with
Dante, you can realise with what momentous issues one is confronted here.
The question might be raised: Why does not science, with its praiseworthy and really

brilliant methods, arrive at certain things that lie behind nature? This can be answered
very simply. Science lacks the requisite forces of knowledge, nor does it work at
developing them, owing as I have often said to a certain fear of what lies behind the
phenomena of nature.
But on the other side it might be asked: why is it that those who know something of the
spiritual in nature are not willing to bring to light more adequately than is the case at
present, the methods and ways whereby man can develop the forces of knowledge which
lead him behind nature, which enable him to cross the Threshold and to penetrate to what
lies behind nature?
Now as soon as a man passes the Threshold leading to the spiritual beings behind nature,
he comes into actual contact with those beings. So much you will have realised from all
that has been presented in recent lectures. Passive phenomena of nature, such as are
studied by natural science today, are to be found only in the physical world. As soon as we
cross the Threshold we enter a world of living spiritual beings. The remarkable thing is that
the beings first encountered in yonder world make us more capable of clear thinking and
the like than we previously were. It is indeed so: if we regard all the phenomena of nature
studied by materialistic natural science today as a screen on which the laws of nature are
inscribedthen behind that screen lies a vortex of spiritual beings. This screen must be
pierced. But it cannot be pierced by men with the faculties at their command for the study
of natural science. If this were possible, the screen would be pierced today. But with these
faculties it is not possible.
There are, to be sure, individuals who through a true interpretation of symbols could bring
people to the stage of being able to pierce the veil. These people would then inevitably
come into contact with spiritual beings, and indeed with beings pre-eminently interested
in making them very astute, very cunning, very subtle thinkers. These are certain elemental
beings whose whole endeavour is to impart to man certain faculties of knowledge which
make him really different from what he was before he had pierced the veil. Man is
connected with these beings. They have, however, still another trait: they make a man
astute, endow him with certain faculties of knowledge but they are inimical to man,
inimical in the highest degree to man and animal. Hence in piercing the veil a person
forfeits the very generally prevailing friendliness to man and animal. It is not easy for
anyone who is unprepared to break through without forfeiting this natural friendliness. He
tends immediately to do all sorts of things that are unfriendly to man and even acquires a
certain skill in the doing of them.
You will see from this that it is not advisable to allow men to break through the veil without
proper preparation. It is fraught with danger, because the beings first encountered are
inimical to man. But one who broke through on the path that would make this possible if
the methods of modern natural science were to be carried further, would inevitably
encounter these beings who are inimical not only to man but to nature herself and he
would come into possession of a great mass of powerfully destructive forces.
It is therefore not desirable to allow those persons to break through the veil who still have
the slightest inclination to apply these destructive forcesmany of which would thereby be
delivered into the hands of mankind. The endeavour must be to allow only those
individuals to break through whose training has brought them to the stage where they will
make no use of such forces when these beings present themselves. In this direction the
deciphering of the symbols was extraordinarily effective. For in deciphering the symbols,
the forces which these beings would have been able to apply in order to make men into
agents of destruction, are used up. And the train of thought in those who were in favour of
keeping secret a large part of esoteric knowledge was as follows. They said: If we make
our knowledge and the kind of knowledge existing in the secret Orders accessible to men
unconditionally, so that they are spared the exertion of themselves penetrating to the
meaning of the symbols, we shall make them rebels against nature, we shall make them
bearers of forces of destruction. They said: We possess knowledge which would

unquestionably bring this about, therefore we cannot make this knowledge exoteric. We
must adhere undeviatingly to the rule that those who approach us shall first of all be
trained to develop an invincible love for plant, animal and man; we must therefore first
subject them to careful training and discipline.
Well and good but today people do not take kindly to discipline; they resist it, fight
against it. Humanity has advanced! Suppose one were to enforce this discipline, were to
put people into the Orders in question and strictly apply what in most cases might be
prescribed with great benefit! What would be the outcome? Within three months, the
women, especially, would all have departed; they would certainly not have taken kindly to
it! Certain Orders, therefore, in order to be able to continue in existence, have abandoned
this discipline. Hence what was once profound knowledge has degenerated into mere
straw, lacking all real substance. On the other hand, however, the practice of discipline
continued among those who really knew something about how to keep the knowledge
As you will have seen, the subject is widened by what I have said, namely, that when
materialism was in full flood, the method of mediumship was adopted. It was thought that
what would otherwise be gained from theoretical explanations of the symbols would be
actually perceptible in the methods used by mediumship.
From all this you will realise that those who possess some knowledge in this domain have,
after all, certain grounds for not allowing the veil over the secrets of nature to be easily
pierced. But it will be clear to you, too, that our Movement cannot consist in taking secrets
of some Order as there preserved, and making them exoteric. If that were to be done and
it would amount to my taking some ancient secrets of an Order and teaching them in
public then we should be involved in all kinds of questionable magic of which nothing
good could come. This means that the making public of any secrets of ancient Orders is
precluded in our Movement. We cannot use such preserves of ancient Orders for
unravelling the secrets of nature. Tomorrow I will show you that neither can we so easily
adopt religious truths because thereby another and different danger would be set on foot.
So it will be clear to us why we could not adopt either of these methods and were obliged to
take a particular path. It is precisely this path that brings us opposition from both sides
from natural science and from religion. I shall speak further of this tomorrow.

If you recall what was said in the lecture yesterday, it will be clear to you that,
fundamentally speaking, the appearance of materialism I do not say the materialistic
conception of the world, but materialism itselfhas its very good sides. The harm occurs
when materialism is made the basis of a conception of the world. As a method for
investigating the external phenomena of the physical world, materialism is good; it is a
good instrument for investigating the mineral world in Earth-evolution. Again it is of
importance that man is embodied in this mineral world, for thereby he develops those
faculties which can be acquired only in the physical-mineral body. Intelligence and free
will must be acquired to a certain degree during the Earth-period. In the Jupiter, Venus
and Vulcan periods, man will possess these faculties, but a being of soul such as he is, can
acquire them only by being incarnated during the Earth-period in a mineralised body.
A counterbalance to this evolution in mineralised earthly bodies is created by the fact that
man passes ever and again, without a mineralised body, through the life of soul between
death and a new birth. It can be said that man must undergo very much on the Earth, on
account of the fact that between birth and death he has a mineralised body. But what he
undergoes, as it were to his cosmic disadvantage, by being embodied in a mineralised
body, is balanced out by what he lives through between death and a new birth, when he is
not a corporeal being but entirely a being of soul using the word in its right sense.
To examine into the mineral element contained in stones, plants, animals and men is the
task of materialism and its method; in practising this method in the course of the centuries
man acquires that which, fundamentally speaking, he must acquire during the Earthperiod. The modes of investigation preceding those of materialism were all still influenced
by the clairvoyance inherited by man from his previous evolutionary states. And when,
after our fifth postAtlantean, and the post-Atlantean epoch as a whole, he has passed
through his mineral evolution and enters a different form of evolution, the closeness of his
relationship to the spiritual world will depend upon whether he has already acquired,
during the Earth-period, the intelligence and the measure of free will foreordained for him;
otherwise he will not have fulfilled the purpose of his evolution.
Viewed in this light, the method of materialism assumes great significance; but it must
remain method, a method for investigating the physical, material world. It is there that,
even in the higher sense, it has its truly great significance. In that man observes and also
investigates the purely mineral world, is active in the mineral world, he gradually unfolds
his free will. For while he stands in the mineral world, what really underlies this world is
veiled from him.
We have heard during recent weeks what is the outcome if man limits himself to
theoretical speculation within the perimeter of physical sense-perceptions. The outcome is
atomism, and as we have also heard, atomism is nothing else than a subjective delusion.
But if a man who allows himself to be thus deluded were to go out into the world where he
looks for the atoms, he would find Ahriman and his beings. For through those spiritual
beings of whom I spoke yesterday and whom man encounters when he breaks through the
veil of nature, he will be led to develop forces of destruction. These beings, too, it must be
remembered, are cosmic beings.
Thus we can understand what has to be said about materialistic methods. They provide
man with illusion, maya. But this illusion is actually advantageous to man, for when he
sees through it, he enters, to begin with, into the kingdom of Ahriman and his spiritual
hosts beings who are out for destruction and death and who cause him to develop
certain subtly destructive forces in his own human nature. Intellect in particular, purely
external cleverness, is developed in him by the powers into whose realm he enters, so that
he becomes crafty, astute in a subtle way. If his earthly intelligence is not sufficiently
developed to see through these things, he becomes unconsciously, but subtly cunning and
crafty. It may therefore be said that materialistic philosophy represents a period during

which man can mature and thus be able, later on, to enter this realm of Ahriman without
So it is evident that materialistic natural scientists or philosophers follow a certain
justifiable instinct. The custodians of the ancient symbols had not dared to make
esotericism public and so hand over the secrets to men. The natural scientists said to
themselves not literally, of course, but one can put it in this way we do great good if
we lead men only so far as the veil and not behind it. Naturally they do this instinctively,
but they do it, nevertheless. Fundamentally speaking, they render humanity good service,
for if the natural scientists were to succeed in piercing the veil, they would make man
acquainted with the forces of those destructive beings of whom I spoke yesterday, beings
who are in the service of Ahriman. And the consequence would be that men still
unprepared would come into possession of the forces proceeding from that realm and
would be able to bring about very much by their means but it would all tend towards
destruction, towards extermination of the good. Thus even the ignorance in which man is
left through the natural scientific view of the world has in a certain sense something good
about it. That is one side of the matter. But the other side is this.
Man has been living, already for a number of centuries, in this world of illusions into
which, instinctively, he is placed by the scientists. Yes but this has not been without its
effects on human nature! When a man is living in illusion he is not living in the world of
reality. This illusion does not affect his forces of soul as strongly as reality would affect
them, and the consequence is that doubt upon doubt heaps up in the soul doubts which
make themselves felt even in the domain of science. Natural scientists of great eminence
have declared: Ignorabimus we shall never know. The second half of the nineteenth
century did everything to cause men to be beset by doubt upon doubt. But the truth is that
we are facing the approach of an era brought about by the fact that man is living more and
more in illusion, while believing he has reality. He steeps himself more and more deeply in
the materialistic view of the world, but doubts about its validity constantly increase, and it
would not take long for every human being to be living in a condition of unalloyed doubt as
the outcome of scientific philosophy. People would then no longer be able to hold fast to
anything; doubt would inevitably arise over every problem, every task. Scepticism would
become a vast ocean in which the human soul would inevitably be engulfed.
It is the task of Spiritual Science to make men realise that a great ocean of scepticism and
doubt threatens to break in and engulf the human soul. And the further task of Spiritual
Science is to erect dams which will hold back this flood of scepticism and doubt. We are
here facing a vista of something that will inevitably befall man if natural scientific doctrine
continues as a view of the world.
What I am now saying is connected with a deep secret: the secret that everything in the
outer, material world lives itself out in duality. Two is the number of manifestation; two is
the number which governs all material manifestation but material manifestation only.
The world of material manifestation always passes through a certain process of evolution.
Let us think of the evolution of the maya presented by nature nature-maya. Reaching
its zenith in the nineteenth century, this nature-maya gradually emerged together with the
natural scientific view of the world. But the consequence of man's living in maya is that
underneath this view of the world, something else takes place, namely, the preparation for
a different view, the preparation for penetrating into reality. This preparation is going on
in the sub-consciousness; but timely care must be taken that the next phase of evolution is
steered into reality otherwise nature-maya will assert itself as scepticism, as the most
terrible doubt which will engulf the human soul. Thus we are approaching a time of which
it may be said that without Spiritual Science, man will fall more and more deeply into
scepticism; but if Spiritual Science is accepted, then in the place of the doubt that would
engulf the soul, there will come what men truly need.
There is duality, as you see. Nature-maya continues, but underneath it is the budding life,
the preparation for Spiritual Science. In the material world, duality prevails everywhere.

Therefore the occultist says: Two is the number of material manifestation. Directly one
passes from the material world into another world, the number Two no longer has this
significance, and it is entirely erroneous to characterise higher worlds as if duality also
prevailed there. It is only the basic law of the material-physical world that can be so
characterised. In the higher world, if we are to start from number, we must, for example,
start from Three; this governs everything in that world, just as the material world is
governed by duality. In the material world, duality prevails; in the spiritual world,
There are circumstances when it is by no means unimportant to understand that if
someone says that there is white magic and black magic, this implies duality. But duality
can have meaning only in the material world; such a person therefore immediately shows
that he has no notion of the fundamental laws of the spiritual world, for in the spiritual
world duality can never be a basic principle. True as it is that duality lies at the basis of the
physical-material world, it is also true that in the super-sensible world we never have to do
with duality.
Now the human being is related to the whole Cosmos; as earthly man he is a microcosm,
and in order to understand certain matters it is necessary to learn more about this
We have heard that when man breaks through the veil of nature and penetrates into the
world lying behind nature, he encounters Ahrimanic beings, beings intent upon
destruction. In the World Order these beings are bitter enemies of man's earthly nature, so
that if, through weakness, he allies himself with them and this is possible, as I have
indicated he is allying himself with the enemies of man on Earth. That is a fact, and a
certain relationship existing between the human being and the Cosmos does much to
promote such an alliance.
These beings behind the veil of nature are highly intelligent. I have spoken of human
intelligence, but these beings have their own kind of thinking and intelligence; they have
feeling, although it is different from human feeling; they also have will, although it, too, is
different from human will. They perform certain deeds which come to expression
outwardly in manifestations of nature, but the essential substantiality of which lies behind
the veil. Now there is a remarkable affinity between something in man and the highest
faculties of these beings. I will make this clear in the following way. When man crosses the
Threshold of the spiritual world and approaches these beings, it may seem to him as if he
were entering a veritable inferno, or whatever he conceives it to be. What matters is that he
shall understand the experience aright. What will strike him most forcibly is the
remarkable intelligence of these beings. For they are extraordinarily clever, extraordinarily
wise. Their faculties of soul come to expression in this cleverness. But the soul-forces, the
higher forces of these beings are all related to the forces of man's lower nature. Sensuous
urges in man are, in these beings, the very forces which strike one as so significant. Thus
there is a relationship between the lowest forces of man and the highest forces of these
spiritual beings. That is why they strive to identify themselves with the lower forces in
man. When a man enters this other world, instincts of destruction or hatred, or the like,
arise in him, because these beings draw up what constitutes man's lower nature to their
own higher nature, and with their higher forces work through man's lower forces. Nobody
can ally himself with these beings without debasing his own nature, without greatly
enhancing the strength of certain sensuous urges and impulses.
This is a fact of which special account must be taken, for it shows us unambiguously how
we must picture our relation to the Cosmos. In our own human nature there are lower
urges and impulses. But these lower urges are forces which represent lower impulses only
in us, as human beings. These same urges are, in these spiritual beings, higher forces. But
these beings are working all the time within us. They are always there within our nature.
Our progress in Spiritual Science depends essentially upon our recognising them, knowing
that they are there. This enables us to say: we have our higher forces and we have our lower

forces, and, in addition, those forces which in us are lower forces but in these spiritual
beings are higher forces. This expands the duality of our higher and lower forces into a
triad. We are already at the border of the Threshold of the spiritual world when, instead of
the duality of our higher and lower forces, we recognise the triad.
Now as I said, in our age it is impossible to adopt the method employed by Father Antonius
in dealing with Paul the Simpleton; it is also impossible to do many things in the way
certain Orders have been wont to do them. It amounts to this: the knowledge in its old
form cannot be used. For if it were thus presented to men, it would bring about exactly
what I have been speaking about. It would without any doubt arouse lower instincts in
For example, there actually exists in the world an Order which leads men to knowledge of
these mysterious beings without any preparation. In all such men, instincts of destruction
are aroused, so that this Order is actually responsible for sending human beings with
destructive instincts out into the world. In a passage in one of his writings Nietzsche hinted
at the existence of this Order without knowing the actual circumstances. [note 1]
That is the one side which I have felt it essential to bring to your attention. Here (drawing
on the blackboard) is a veil covering the secrets behind nature. The veil represents
everything that can be acquired by materialistic methods. The real world lies behind, and
to enter this world is verily no simple matter. Let us hold this firmly in our minds.
The other side is that of our life of soul, with its activities of thinking, feeling and willing.
But in the form in which this life of soul appears to us inwardly as we actually experience it,
it is maya, just as external nature is maya. The true form of our inner life is not that which
appears to our own soul as thinking, feeling and willing; the true reality lies behind this
thinking, feeling and willing.
Just as the learned scientists today instinctively develop the view that nature herself
presents the reality, but ultimately arrive at atomism, so are the representatives of certain
religious bodies at pains to indicate that the thinking, feeling and willing of which the soul
is aware in the ordinary way are the reality, and continue in human beings after their
death. Just as the scientists describe naturemaya, so do the representatives of certain
religious bodies describe the maya of the life of soul, and in so doing, again instinctively,
bring a certain trend into the evolution of mankind.
You know that already from the early Middle Ages onwards, trichotomy, as it was called
the division of man into body, soul and spiritbegan to be a heresy in historical
Christianity. As you know, a comparatively early Council abolished the Spirit and decreed
that man was to be regarded as a being consisting only of body and soul. And since that
time this has become customary in the West. In the Middle Ages it was a most terrible
thing to speak of Spirit, of a trichotomy; it was deemed the worst of all heresies, because
Spirit had been abolished and body and soul established as a duality. This is evidence of
the endeavour to look, even in number as applied to the human being, for what has
significance only for this earthly world. The tendency is to keep man within a world that is
in truth only maya, because he stops short at the thinking, feeling and willing which are
themselves of the same character. Attention is limited to those effects of the present
incarnation which last only through the first period between death and a new birth. What
is elaborated in man's being in order subsequently to come forth in the next incarnation is
left entirely out of account.
I may perhaps indicate this diagrammatically in the following way (see diagram). Here is
the body (red) and here what lies behind it which is not visible and could be perceived
only by penetrating through the nerve endings. If atoms were not accepted as forming the
basis of the world but one were to go out of the body with vision, one would come to the
realm where the beings of destruction seize hold of the whole man. And now, within this, I
draw the life of soul unfolded by man in the physical world (blue). Thus the red and
the blue represent what man is aware of here, namely, his bodily nature and his life of soul.
But while we are living between birth and death, the imperceptible (yellow) develops, and

remains wholly imperceptible to us. When we die, our thinking, feeling and willing do not
continue; they are exhausted, and in the process the yellow is elaborated (the
imperceptible). This increases in power between death and a new birth and in so doing
becomes the foundation of the new incarnation. We are reincarnated with new thinking,
new feeling, new will, and a new bodily nature. Thus when we speak of what is revealed to
our soul here on Earth, we are speaking of something that comes to an end, does not go
with us into the next incarnation. Of the soul itself, the representatives of certain religious
bodies say: the human being dies, goes either to heaven or to hell, and we concern
ourselves no more with him. According to certain representatives of religion, this is
enough; what passes on to the next incarnation is not important. The aim is to conceal the
fact that the spirit in man passes into the spiritual world and lives on until the next
incarnation. It can be said that representatives of certain religious bodies are intent upon
not allowing man to become aware of the yellow (diagram) in his nature, upon preventing
him from knowing anything of it. Here again, they are really obeying a certain sound
instinct, but one which shows even more clearly than the instinct prompting the learned
naturalists, that in our time it has really lost its value.

The efforts of the representatives of various religious communities all tend quite decisively
in the direction of concealing the fact that there is a spiritual world to which belongs the
inmost core of our being, which is destined to appear in repeated Earth-lives, and in the
intervals between them to pass through an entirely spiritual form of existence; they try to
conceal this by offering men the consolation that the life of soul which comes to expression
in thinking, feeling and willing is, after all, sufficiently immortal.
In their actions and trend of thinking these pastors of souls instinctively prevent men from
coming into contact with certain beings. Man can never penetrate into the world of his true
and innermost being without coming into contact with certain beings just as in the way
described he comes into contact with different beings if he desires or is actually able to
break through the veil of nature. But the beings with whom he is related in this other world
are of a Luciferic order.
If, as the result of certain teachings having been imparted to him without the requisite
caution, a man comes into contact with certain destructive beings behind the veil of nature,
he will become one who values nothing in the world, and it will soon be apparent that he
takes actual pleasure in destructionwhich need not necessarily be destruction of external
things. Many men to whom this has happened have shown that they take pleasure in
tormenting and oppressing other souls. These are the characteristics which come into
evidence. But it can never be said that men who have such traits owing to their alliance
with Ahrimanic elementary beings, are invariably egotistic. They need not be and indeed
usually are not, egotists. They act out of an urge quite different from that of egotism. They
act out of a lust for destruction, and they destroy without the slightest benefit accruing to
themselves. The beings into whose sphere a man enters are essentially beings of
destruction, and they tempt him, lure him, to destroy.
The other beings into whose sphere man comes when he penetrates behind the veil of the
life of soul have a quite different character. They have no particular lust for destruction. In
point of fact, what we know as destruction does not enter their ken. They have a veritable
passion for creating, for bringing something into being a tremendous urge for activity,

for productivity. And they too have certain higher faculties which are less closely related to
our thinking than to our feeling, and especially to our will. We enter here into a sphere of
beings preeminently related to our will, but curiously enough to the noblest sides of
our will.
Thus if we enter this world without knowing anything of what the Initiate knows, namely,
that behind the world of nature and also behind the world of soul there is a spiritual world,
when we fill our will with ideals, when we unfold noble, spiritualised will, this will becomes
allied precisely with the lower attributes of these beings into whose sphere we have
entered. There is a mysterious bond of attraction between the noble side of our will and the
lower urges and desires of these beings.
And now think of it. If a man's spiritual pastor gives him the consolation of immortality,
laying stress on the dignity of the human soul, the majesty of the Divine and the like, it
may happen that through some slight incitement, particularly if he was a noble character,
he breaks through the membrane of his soul-activity at some point and penetrates behind
the secrets of his thinking, feeling and willing. But he then comes into the region of these
beings of will, and the consequence is that the idealistic side of his will actually begins to
assume a sensuous character. And now, with this in mind, please read the descriptions
given by certain mystics of either sex. As you read the biographies of these mystics, notice
the sultry, voluptuous atmosphere which pervades them. The most sublime ideals assume
a sensuous character. I would remind you of the rapture experienced by mystics in
connection with their soul-bride or soul-bridegroom; in women mystics the mystical
union is like a sensuous union with the Saviour, and in male mystics like an actual bond
with the bride of the soul, with the Virgin Mary.
It is the endeavour of these beings of will to pour into man's thinking, into his ideals, what
he otherwise knows as sensuousness. This is a hard saying. These beings into whose
regions a man there enters, striveand from their own standpoint it is a justified striving
to pour their sensuous instincts into his idealised will. And then the willing that goes out
from the head, which otherwise has a certain quality of cool detachment about it, is
pervaded by a sultry, voluptuous experience of the spiritual world, which often seems to
have the character of fevered mysticism. The representatives of the various religious bodies
have an infinite dread of this, and their greatest fear of all is aroused by those among their
believers who come forward as mystics.
Verily, we have here Scylla and Charybdis. If we desire to pierce through the veil of nature,
we come to Scylla, to the Ahrimanic beings who wish to endow us abundantly with
destructive forces of intelligence. If we desire to pierce through the veil of the life of soul,
we come to Charybdis, to the Luciferic beings of will, who would fain pervade us with the
fumes of spiritual ecstasy, spiritual rapture, spiritual instincts.
Priestly Orders intent upon the cultivation of the religious life were therefore in a certain
sense right to take care that when mystics appeared among them, at least the shadow-side
of mysticism should not come to the fore. Hence in a certain sense they erected barriers
against the entrance into the spiritual worlds. Just think how certain religious Orders I
am speaking, not of occult but of religious Orders were associated with manual work,
with labour that allows delight in nature, delight in what lives in the world around, to arise
in the soul; just think how such Orders, if the right principles were understood, insisted
upon outer, manual work. Those who founded such Orders said to themselves: The worst
thing we could do would be to isolate men and allow the mystic life to develop in them as
the outcome of inertia and idleness. Read the monastic rules originating in better times
and in the better Orders, and you will everywhere see that full account was taken of what I
have just mentioned, how mystic rapture and fevered ecstasy were counteracted by manual
labour. And now you will also understand why Father Antonius caused Paul the
Simpleton to work, even if it served no useful purpose. Had he allowed him to cultivate
idleness for years, Paul the Simpleton would have become a senuous, ecstatic mystic.
We have, as you see, to do with a duality: with objective occultism which, if it is simply

handed over to unprepared men, makes them destroyers; and with subjective mysticism,
which if it is cultivated or suddenly appears in idealistic natures, makes men egotists
egotists such as are to be met with in numbers of mystics who have developed merely a
subtle form of egotism, a subtle mania for fostering their own souls. If you read the
biographies of the mystics, you will often be appalled by the egotism they display.
The region of Scylla is that of the spirits who serve Ahriman. We come into their sphere if
we cultivate, not egotism but the will for destruction. If we cultivate the subjective
mysticism connected with the Luciferic spirits of will into whose sphere we enter, then
Charybdis approaches us from the other side; for these spirits do everything to foster
egotism, so that our own inner nature forms the world for us. This is the duality in the
material world: objective occultism subjective mysticism. In both realms there may be
Fundamentally speaking, in what has been developing for centuries there is present, on the
one side, objective occultism, guarded in the Secret Societies and Orders but no longer
effectively protected owing to the insistent trend towards publicity. We have heard of the
efforts that were made to find a way out of the dilemma. And on the other side there is
subjective mysticism.
It follows from this that when we wanted to lay the foundations of Spiritual Science, it
behoved us not to allow ourselves to be enticed either by Scylla or Charybdis, but to steer
between them; it behoved us neither to cultivate the old, traditional occultism, nor the old,
traditional mysticism. And now you have a deeper conception of what gives our Movement
its direction. Both objective occultism and subjective mysticism in the old sense had to be
avoided. Our Spiritual Science had to be of a character ensuring that Scylla as well as
Charybdis are avoided.
I have still to speak to you about the fundamental character which our Spiritual Science
must bear in order that it may steer clear of both these dangers. But it obviously cannot be
avoided that at the present time, out of mistaken notions, certain people come to us
because some of them are looking for an old, objective occultism, while others are
hankering after old, subjective mysticism. It is hardly likely that either the one type or the
other will find among us what they are looking for. But they believe they find it by simply
interpreting our teaching to suit their own liking. The form which our teaching must take,
and what our attitude to it must be if our ship is to be steered between Scylla and
Charybdis of this I must speak again tomorrow.

Dr. Steiner may have been referring to a passage in The Genealogy of Morals, Section
XXIV, page 287 in the translation (together with The Birth of Tragedy) by Francis
Golffing. (Doubleday Anchor Books, New York). When the Christian Crusaders in the East
happened upon the invincible Society of Assassins, that order of free spirits par excellence,
whose lower ranks observed an obedience stricter than that of any monastic order, they
must have got some hint of the slogan reserved for the highest ranks, which ran, Nothing
is true, everything is permitted. See also Dr. Steiner's own work, Friedrich Nietzsche. Ein
Kampfer gegen seine Zeit, page 25 in the Gesamtausgabe 1963 volume. (Bibl. No. 5).

If we are to enter more deeply into the matters which cannot fail to interest us at the

present time, it is necessary to keep clearly in mind a certain aspect of human

consciousness as it is today. Let us think of certain characteristics of this consciousness of
which we have been speaking during the past weeks. This consciousness holds us within a
domain shut off on the one side by the veil placed before us by the phenomena of nature
through which, to begin with, our consciousness cannot penetrate, and on the other side,
by the veil of our own life of soul, of our thinking, feeling and willing. The nature of our
consciousness is such that when we look inwards, we are able to a certain extent to
experience our thinking, feeling and willing in their human form, to experience them
consciously. But again, we cannot penetrate behind the veil. Hence we can say: As regards
the veil of the phenomena of nature on the one side, with the objective reality behind, our
consciousness is directed towards a veil which, to begin with, may not be pierced. On the
other side, there are the manifestations of the life of soul, behind which lies the subjective
reality. We contemplate it but we cannot immediately break through the veil. Within these
frontiers, within these two parallel lines, as it were, is our present consciousness, to which,
when we look out through the sense-organs, the world of nature presents itself; when we
look inwards, there is the world of soul. This is how the consciousness we have as human
beings today, is organised.
We know that this consciousness differs from man's earlier consciousness with its heritage
of ancient clairvoyance; but we know too that this inherited clairvoyance faded away and
that our present consciousness, when functioning normally on the physical plane, is as
described above.
The question may be asked: Why is it that our consciousness today is constituted as it is?
The reason is that during the present cycle of evolution, as well as everything else that has
been described, we have to develop the true relationship that should prevail between one
human soul and another. Our present form of consciousness, therefore, has a very definite
During the earlier periods of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon we lived in different states
of consciousness, and in the future periods of Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan, our
consciousness will again be different. We are gradually preparing for these different forms
of consciousness. In our present cycle of evolution we have to develop in ourselves,
through the way we relate ourselves to the world, the form of consciousness belonging to
this cycle; and besides all that must be developed in connection with the moral life, there is
also the fact that through this form of consciousness there can unfold the right relationship
of one human soul to another, a relationship we had not acquired before the beginning of
the Earth-period and without which, if we do not acquire it during the Earth-period, we
shall not be able to maintain our existence during the periods of Jupiter, Venus and
In the periods of Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon preceding the Earth-period, man had
not, in this sense, acquired the right relationship to other men; in a certain sense he was
too close to them. During the Old Moon period, conditions were still such that the will of
one had a direct effect upon the other; the other felt, was affected by, the will of his fellowbeing. Moreover, this process was regulated and guided by the Spirits of the higher
Had this guidance by the Spirits of the higher Hierarchies continued, man would never
have reached complete freedom in cosmic existence. The guidance had at some point to
cease. Hence the necessity of a form of consciousness which as it were makes a frontier
possible between one man and another. The fact is that on the one side our vision does not
penetrate through nature, and on the other side the world of soul causes the relation of one
soul to another to be such that a certain frontier is created between them. That this frontier
exists is due to our present form of consciousness, a special characteristic of which is that

what we actually experience are reflections, mirror-images. This, of course, applies also to
relationships between man and man. Because, when we meet another human being we
have in our present form of consciousness a mere reflection, we cannot approach him in so
arbitrary a way that we pour the content of our consciousness into his soul. If, therefore,
our consciousness is normally developed, this prevents us from coming unduly close to the
consciousness of another. I might also put it like this: the forces of our consciousness and
intelligence are so organised that we can neither exercise too great an influence upon the
other man, nor can he exercise too great an influence upon us because the fact that our
own consciousness is mirrored, separates us from him.
This is a matter of very great importance for the understanding of human evolution.
Whenever there is a defect in the normal consciousness, what happens is at once evident.
Think of a person whose consciousness is not quite normal, who has a touch of what we
have recently encountered in the form of mystical eccentricity to use a rather harsh
expression, but one that is often very apt. Suppose such a person is inclined to all sorts of
fanciful delusions, based upon certain experiences which are abnormal in our day. You will
always find that a person with abnormal consciousness of this kind has a far greater
influence upon other souls than one with normal consciousness. To put it rather crudely, a
person who is a little mad in one direction or another can have a far stronger influence
upon his fellowmen than one who is normal; and by strengthening his consciousness, a
normal man must protect himself from the influence of one who is abnormal. An abnormal
man, as long as he is not recognised, is always a certain danger to his fellow-men, because
they allow themselves to be too strongly influenced by him and because they are too ready
to regard him as a rare, out-of-the-common phenomenon. Precisely where there are
perforations in the mirror of consciousness, too strong an influence passes over through
these perforations to the other person.
Thus in the present epoch of evolution we acquire our particular form of consciousness in
order that the right relationship of one human soul to another in the world may be
Now, from all that has been said in these lectures, the following is clear: on yonder side of
the veil of nature lies the Ahrimanic world with all the beings I have described; on yonder
side of the veil of the life of soul lies the Luciferic world with all the characteristic features I
have described. Man is, as it were, shut in between the Ahrimanic world and the Luciferic
world. If he pierces only a little behind the veil of nature, he cannot help becoming
acquainted with the Ahrimanic world. If he pierces a little behind the veil of the life of soul,
he will inevitably become acquainted with the Luciferic world.
We have behind us a certain epoch during which man was safeguarded against making too
great an advance towards the one side or the other. But we are now living in a time of
transition, when human souls needs must advance towards the one side or the other. This
must inevitably happen, for again it is demanded by the present phase of man's evolution.
As you know, we are now living in the age of the development of the Consciousness or
Spiritual Soul and moving towards that of the development of the Spirit-Self. Such
development has a long preparation behind it. When, in the Sixth post-Atlantean epoch of
culture, the Spirit-Self is fully developed, man's life of soul will be different in very many
respects from what it is today. The human intellect will have a much more objective power
than is the case now. Mankind is already approaching this more objective intellectual life.
Evidences may be seen on every hand and I have spoken of the matter in many lectures. A
life of soul is approaching of which it may be said that the intellect will be outspread as a
power to which men must submit as a power working objectively in a realm outside the
souls of men.
We are still living in times when many human beings are safeguarded against this objective
power by a strong, assertive individuality. But this protection will be less and less possible
the nearer we come to the Sixth post-Atlantean epoch. A time will actually come when
phenomena now only in the initial stages will be far, far more strongly in evidence. Even

now, one who knows how to assess happenings in the world can form a true judgment in
regard to this phenomenon. It is well known, for example, that writers in certain
newspapers and periodicals are very far from saying only what springs from their own
souls. They represent the intelligence of certain circles, an objective intelligence which
rides rough-shod and of which they are only the speaking trumpets. It is extremely
important to keep this in mind, for it is a phenomenon which will become more and more
Now there is a very definite prospect ahead. When the intelligence of certain people is
objectivised and it has been so objectivised ever since public literature has existed it
becomes more and more possible for Ahriman to take possession of the intelligence of
men. That is a prospect which Spiritual Science must place before us, for it is Ahriman's
constant and fiercest endeavour to strangle men's individual intelligence and appropriate it
for himself, so that it may pass into his power and be used to serve his own purposes. I
have told you that there is a mysterious connection between the higher forces of
intelligence in the beings who serve Ahriman and the forces of man's lower nature.
Ahriman's perpetual endeavour is to appropriate the intelligence of human beings and not
allow them to realise what they can achieve through their own intelligence. Think of the
last conversation between Benedictus and Ahriman in the Mystery Play The Soul's
Awakening. Before Ahriman disappears, he says:
It is now time for me to haste away
From his environment, for whensoe'er
His sight can think me as I truly am,
He will begin to fashion in his thought
Part of the power which slowly killeth me.
A profound secret is contained here, a secret of which every student of Spiritual Science
should be aware. Men must strive as time goes on to keep their intelligence under their
own individual control, to keep unceasing watch over it. This is essential, and it is well that
man should know with what enticing and powerful words Ahriman approaches him, trying
to wring his intelligence from him.
More and more it will behove men to be alert to such moments. For Ahriman takes full
advantage of moments when, in full waking life, a man falls into a state of vertigo or
dizziness, into a kind of twilight consciousness, when he feels not quite securely anchored
in the physical world and begins to yield himself to the whirl of the universe, when he does
not stand firmly and steadily on his own feet as an individuality. These are the moments
when it behoves him to be on his guard, for it is then that Ahriman easily gets the upper
hand. The best way in which we can protect ourselves is to develop clear, exact thinking,
not simply skimming over things in thought as is the general custom today. We should go
even farther and try to avoid colloquialisms and current catchwords, for directly we use
such words which come, not from thought but from habits of speech, we are not exercising
thinking even if only for a very short time. These are particularly dangerous moments
because they are not heeded. We should really be careful to avoid using words behind
which there is not sufficient reflection. Such self-training, precisely in these intimate
details, should be undertaken by those who are in earnest about the tasks of the age. After
all that has been said in these lectures it will not be difficult for you to realise what is
But Lucifer, too, endeavours by way of the will to bring man into a condition where he does
not act out of well-considered impulses, but out of impulses springing merely from
temperament and inclination. Here again, Lucifer takes hold and makes us his prey. And it
is easiest for him to find his prey when a large number of people give way to such impulses
which surge in the dark foundations of the life of soul without rising into the sphere of the
individual will. If impulses springing from temperament and vague inclinations bring us

into connection with groups of human beings in such a way that we feel ourselves part and
parcel of a group, we are at once caught into a whirl in which the judgment of the
individual will is wrested from us; and it must not be wrested from us, for if it is, Lucifer
gains too great a power over us. We must strive for objectivity in this respect.
Again, when there is some deviation from the sphere of normal consciousness, these are
moments favourable for Lucifer. Very radical symptoms may appear, but there are also
more intimate phenomena, when, for instance, we allow our actions to be determined by
obscure feelings of affiliation and the like. The more flagrant, more radical, deviations of
consciousness are those where the will becomes defective or so weak that a man can do no
other than surrender himself entirely to his life of soul with what amounts to the exclusion
of his will.
Modern psychiatrists have adopted certain technical terms for these particularly radical
phenomena. For example, they speak of imperative or insistent ideas
(Zwangsvorstellungen) [note 1]. These ideas arise in people whose consciousness is not
adjusted in the way that is right and proper for the physical plane. If due strength of will is
lacking, ideas arise which a man cannot expel from his consciousness imperative or
insistent ideas, as they are called.
I will give an example that has actually been observed in clinics. A man once saw
another who had a cancerous tumour in the face; he saw the tumour and as he was a man
of very weak will, he has believed ever since that cancer germs are everywhere; he is
convinced that these germs are present wherever he goes. In other words, his will is not
strong enough to drive down into the subconsciousness the idea once aroused in him. That
is a particular instance of an imperative or insistent idea. But the same kind of thing makes
its appearance in very diverse forms among people whose will is not sufficiently developed,
and then it is easy for Lucifer to get power over them. Another aberration of consciousness
has been called by modern psychiatrists a morbid fear of touch (Berhrungsfurcht). The
sign of this condition is that people in whom the will is insufficiently developed shrink
from every contact with other human beings or objects; they are frightened of being
touched by others or by objects. The morbid fear of touch is another technical term used
in modern psychiatry.
Many other such aberrations of consciousness could be mentioned. These very aberrations
show what the normal state of our consciousness should be on the physical plane. But we
are now living at a time when certain beings must inevitably become known to us, on the
one side beings who are behind the veil of nature, and on the other, behind the veil of the
world of soul. If these beings are not made known, the further evolution of mankind will be
endangered. If the connection of Ahriman and Lucifer with human evolution is not
perceived, danger lies ahead. For it is just when they are not perceived that they can
operate most effectively. As an example of the way in which Ahriman works, I will relate an
anecdote which presents the unqualified truth.
To a village there once came a stranger who was an acquaintance of the burgomaster. He
arrived on horseback and rode into the village. This was an interesting event for the
villagers and they ran out into the street to watch him. He put his horse in the
burgomaster's stable and stayed in his house from the Saturday evening over the Sunday.
On the Monday he wanted to take his departure, and asked for his horse. The burgomaster
said: You came here on foot; you had no horse. To every protest the burgomaster
replied: You had no horse. Finally he said: Very well, then, we will ask the people in the
village; they must have seen you when you arrived. Thereupon he called the people
together and asked them whether they had not seen the man arrive on foot, and they all
said, Yes. When everyone had affirmed this, the burgomaster said: Now swear to me, all
of you, that this man came on foot. And everyone swore that it was so. The man was
therefore obliged to leave the village on foot, without his horse. After a short time the
burgomaster rode after him, bringing his horse. At this, the man exclaimed: What was the
purpose of this comedy? To which the burgomaster replied: I only wanted to present my

community to you!
Naturally, Ahriman was at the bottom of this and he acted effectively as an objective
power. The anecdote is truer than true, for the same thing is happening among us
continually. The whole of human life tends to increase the number of people who swear to
the non-existence of the horse.
We must therefore see to it that we have the greatest possible exactitude of consciousness,
for that alone is fitting for our present earthly life. If you take all that can be found in my
books, Occult Science, The Threshold of the Spiritual World, A Road to SelfKnowledge, in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. How is it achieved? as well as
in many Lecture-Courses, you will find that the paths have been indicated whereby men
may penetrate behind nature and behind the world of soul in the proper way and with the
requisite preparation. The paths are described by which men can penetrate behind the
scenes of existence in the right way. But the subjective strivings of very many persons do
not, in reality, aim at reaching the goal to be desired. In those books it is clearly indicated
that one who wishes to penetrate into the other world must transcend the normal form of
consciousness. If the indications given are faithfully followed, it will be clear that one must
emerge from the normal consciousness into a different form of consciousness.
It is important to know this, for there is a tendency among most people, indeed among
many of our friends too, not to leave the normal form of consciousness at any price but to
remain in it and to bring the spiritual world into the ordinary consciousness: that is to say,
not to let the Ego emerge but to bring the spiritual world into the Ego. It is knowledge of
the spiritual world that should be brought into the ordinary consciousness, not the
spiritual world itself. If you faithfully practise what is contained in the books mentioned,
you will bring yourself into conditions through which you will experience the spiritual
world, conditions through which experiences deriving from that world can be brought into
the sphere of the normal consciousness. But there are many who do not want this; they
want the experience to be actually in the normal consciousness; whereas it ought to
originate from consciousness that isdifferent from the normal and passes into the normal.
Many of our friends, however, try to have visions in the normal consciousness, not
something that is a reminiscence of a different kind of consciousness. If, however, you have
visions in the normal consciousness, that is to say, if you do not really wish to develop a
different kind of consciousness, but to keep consciousness in its ordinary form and yet look
into the spiritual world, this means that you do not seriously wish to go beyond but to
remain in the ordinary consciousness, expecting to see forms and figures there which look
like those of the physical world. Many people try hard to see spirits or the activities of
spirits, but they want to see them just as they see physical things. They want to see a spirit,
but this spirit is expected to have the form of a man or a woman or perhaps a poodle, as
these are seen in the physical world. In the other world, however, it is not like this. The
process itself lies outside the ordinary consciousness and what enters into the
consciousness is at most a picture, an image which appears afterwards. In short, we must
not expect the spiritual world to be merely a kind of finer sense-world, nor that it will
speak in human words, the only difference being that the words come from the spiritual
world. Our friends are often only willing to listen in this way to voices which seem to speak
to them; these voices are expected to be similar to those of the physical world, merely
giving a different, subtler version of things of the physical world. These people would like
to enter the spiritual world with the ordinary consciousness which belongs to the physical
world only.
Actually, most of the visions or voices of which one is told are of the character just
described. At all events, this much is certain: when we have such visions or hear such
voices it is always easy for Lucifer and Ahriman to have an easy game with us; they lay hold
of these experiences for themselves, for men are always prone to interpret them
incorrectly. If such experiences are rightly interpreted, Lucifer and Ahriman gain nothing
from them.

As you see, there are distinctions here which must be kept strictly in mind. We must be
fully alive to the possibility that as soon as we bring something else into the ordinary
consciousness which is in truth suitable only for the physical world, we come to Scylla and
Charybdis to Lucifer and Ahriman. We must learn to recognise Lucifer and Ahriman as
real Powers in this connection. It is for this reason that such emphasis has been laid on the
relationship between Ahriman and Lucifer, and the statue in the Goetheanum will be a true
representation of this.
Now you might ask: If this is how things are, might it not after all be more sensible to act
like the scientists who, although Ahriman is within what they say, are nevertheless
unwilling to acknowledge his reality? Or might it perhaps be better to act like the Pastors
of various religious communities? for they present things in such a way that Lucifer is
everywhere, but they will not admit it. They would regard it as sinful were anyone to realise
that the door there is open for Lucifer. But a person who speaks to this effect today is not
being very clever. To say that it is more sensible to act like the scientists and the Pastors of
various religious communities would be the same as deliberately refraining from warning
someone who has to cross a chasm for some distance on a narrow plank, that he is facing
danger. It is obvious that he should be warned. Otherwise it would amount to saying:
certainly the man may be in danger, but it is more sensible to say nothing to him about it.
Through knowing how things are and they will have to be known the danger
becomes no greater and no less.
A time is coming when Ahriman will try to take possession of the intelligence and Lucifer
of the will of men. This can be thwarted only if these things are recognised; and recognition
can be brought about only by a spiritual-scientific Movement. It is remarkable to see what
Ahriman and Lucifer do and yet are not observed. From this point of view it is interesting
to study modern psychiatry. Modern psychiatry has actually recognised many things that
are facts, but that it cannot interpret correctly because it takes no account of the approach
of these spiritual Powers behind the veil. Modern psychiatry regards anything that is not
absolutely normal in man, anything that deviates in the slightest degree from a certain
average norm, as tending towards insanity. In numerous treatises the Maid of Orleans is
held to have been merely an hysteric. Indeed, writings are accumulating in which Christ
Jesus Himself is regarded as a not quite normal man. There are also writings which ascribe
craziness to Goethe, and so on.
Here we have an unmistakable, but false, Ahrimanic science, a science which is at pains to
show that although Goethe was in certain respects a moral genius, this was entirely due to
the fact that he had an element of madness in his nature. Socrates, however, knew better;
he spoke of his daimon, being well aware that his soul bordered on objective spiritual
Powers. This was quite clear to him. But the modern psychiatrist sees fit to make out that
there was an element of madness or something of the kind in Socrates too. Ahriman must
be hidden at all costs which is exactly what suits him! And the same applies to Lucifer.
The fact of the matter is that if one were simply to cultivate today what purports in certain
occult Orders to be secret knowledge, with its accompanying symbolism, it would be very
easy to deliver into the hands of Ahriman everything that has been pursued hitherto as
occultism. And if the mysticism hitherto pursued were to be encouraged and cultivated in
human beings, it would easily be delivered into the hands of Lucifer. The ship of Spiritual
Science must be steered between these two dangers. This is extremely important. Spiritual
Science must therefore be so constituted that neither mystical nor occult aberrations can
take root.
I said yesterday that when man breaks through the veil of nature, he comes into a region
where he encounters beings who have a will for destruction, and that this will for
destruction is related to the human intellect. I have described what may become of a man
who falls prey to these beings. This must not happen. I have also spoken of the fevered,
ecstatic condition into which a person may fall in his spiritual life if he indulges in false
mystical experiences. This too must be avoided.

I said in an earlier lecture that the esotericists among the occultists tried hard to compel
men to apply their intellect to the deciphering of symbols, in order that they should not
break through the veil in a wrongful way and become the victim of the Powers encountered
in so terrible a form in these border regions. These beings can be held at bay if the intellect
is employed in the way it is employed, for example, in deciphering the symbols. This was
formerly the practice but it no longer meets the needs of the present time, nor is it a
practicable method.
You will find that by the very manner in which Spiritual Science is presented, the
aberration leading into the region of Ahriman is avoided in a different way. You must think
here about something that is apt to crop up in the life of our own society. When one person
or another is beginning to study Spiritual Science, the remark is very frequently to be
heard: I cannot grasp these things until I have seen them myself clairvoyantly, so I take
them on trust. I have emphasised over and over again that, rightly understood, this is not
the case. At the present time human beings have sufficient intellectual capacity to
understand everything that has been given out. The whole of Spiritual Science in the form
it has been presented is within the grasp of the intellectual capacities existing in men at the
present time. Spiritual Science cannot, it is true, be discovered by these capacities, but it
can be understood. The intellectual capacities are there and can be roused into activity,
and those who refuse to admit that it is so are in error. When what has been given in
Spiritual Science is really worked upon by the intellect, the intellect is being employed in
the right way and it is then impossible to enter into the Ahrimanic realm by an unlawful
path. There are two eventualities only. Either men make strenuous efforts to understand,
in which case they are employing the intellect which could well be misused by the
Ahrimanic beingsin order to understand Spiritual Science, and then this intellect cannot
be wrung from them. Whatever Ahriman may elect to do, he will never get hold of the
intellect which men apply, either in the present age or in the future, to the study of
Spiritual Science. Of that you may rest assured. If men make no attempt to understand
Spiritual Science, they are not applying their intellect to it but Spiritual Science cannot
be blamed for that! Laziness alone is responsible.
The region of destructive spirits into which a man may come, is disclosed most clearly of all
if a soul is observed at the moment of passing through the gate of death. Then these
spiritual beings swirl forward in their hosts; nor is this surprising, for they are the spirits of
destruction. To work at the destruction of the physical organism is their regular function. It
is part of their handiwork only they must not remain too long.
Men who have attained spiritual understanding keep these beings at bay. But these beings
have a great deal of power over souls whose thinking is materialistic, who acquire no
understanding of the spiritual world. Souls who disdain any attempt to acquire knowledge
of the spiritual world have a great deal to suffer from Ahriman. The Greek myth has
depicted this very graphically in the figure of Tantalus. The Gods placed food in front of
him but out of his reach and then watched the torments he had to endure.
Many such figures can be seen in the world today. All of them are materialistic souls who
have no desire to understand the spiritual world. They are like Tantalus, in the sense that
after death, during the period of Kamaloka when they live through their life for a third of
its duration in backward order, everything is snatched away from them. Again and again
they have the feeling: to what purpose did I do this or that? For they see one of the spirits
of destruction snatching it away, and then they realise that they really did it to no purpose!
That, of course, is an illusion; but such souls suffer the torments of Tantalus because the
spirits of destruction are all around them. They do not realise that the whole of earthly life
from birth until death would be without purpose or meaning if it were not pervaded by the
Spirits of the higher Hierarchies. But these souls cannot see the Spirits of the higher
Hierarchies and so everything must seem to them to have been purposeless.
Spiritual Science avoids false occultism in that it applies the ever-increasing intellectual
capacity now developing in humanity to the establishment of a science for which more

intellect is required than hitherto. The nature of Spiritual Science inevitably demands
greater intellectual effort than people have been accustomed to apply. Men like to delude
themselves in this respect. Were they really to apply the intellectual capacity at their
command today, they would understand Spiritual Science. Through the strong intellectual
efforts that are necessary in Spiritual Science, Scylla is avoided and mastered on the one
side. The spiritual scientist is well aware why people are disinclined to embark on the study
of Spiritual Science. It is because they are too lazy to apply enough intellectual effort. That
is why I spoke just now of laziness.
On the other side, the pitfall of false mysticism must be avoided by ceasing to grovel within
the purely inner life. This tendency to live and brood continually within one's own soul
must be eliminated. The soul must come out of itself and look with eyes of love at the
deeper connections manifesting in life outside.
The Mystery Plays were written in order to help people to perceive such connections
which can also be observed externally. Inner processes of the life of soul are portrayed in
the Plays. If you learn to understand and perceive what is happening, for example to
Capesius, how he passes on from one event to another, the weaving, creative activity there
in evidence will help you to release your own inner life, to free it. This is also the essential
function of our art. The purpose of our whole Building is that souls shall be set free from
themselves and shall not lapse into false mysticism. It is necessary to keep this in mind for
we shall thus also avoid the Charybdis of false mysticism.
Every effort we make to explain to ourselves the mysterious connections in the lives of
human beings in the world outside protects us from false mysticism. If in this way we
follow what happens to Capesius, we live in a weaving life of soulbut we are not huddled
up within our own. We attain everything that the mystic attains, but in a different way. So
you see, the ship of Spiritual Science must be steered with clear-sighted purpose between
the two pitfalls. The teachings given must be of a nature whereby false occultism and false
mysticism are both avoided.
It may truly be said that our Spiritual Science is in keeping with the needs and demands of
the age. For this reason I have often been obliged to oppose any false simplification or
popularisation of Spiritual Science which would do away with the need for strenuous
thinking. Equally I have been obliged to oppose everything that tends towards ecstatic,
egoistic mysticism, which is always an element of such precepts as: in your own inmost
being you find the reality, the Divine and so forth. For in this there is no desire to seek
the Divine in outer life by following its phenomena with love and understanding.
I recently said to someone that Spiritual Science may be regarded as of eminently practical
usefulness. I did not say this in order to boast about the merits of our Movement but
merely in order to show that in it the positive can always be found. I said: even if people
accept only what they can recognise, leaving aside what does not interest them, Spiritual
Science can nevertheless be of the greatest usefulness. If you think of the way in which we
have been working for fifteen years, you will realise that a host of truths belonging to the
domains of natural science, art, the history of art and so forth, have been included in the
purely spiritual-scientific teachings. Indeed, assuming for a moment that nothing at all of
pure Spiritual Science had been given but only truths relating to natural science and art
even this by itself could be of practical use. But whatever is given in this way is given with
purpose and deliberation, for thereby the human mind is induced to abandon fanciful
speculation. And so in every way we have endeavoured so to form our Movement that it
may go forward in the right and healthy way. From the very beginning it was conceived as
a kind of organism. And thinking of it as such we may also say that it must grow and
develop like an organism, like a human organism which about the seventh year gets its
second teeth and the organism must make use of these second teeth, of the individual
teeth it then has at its disposal.
In earlier lectures I have shown why we had to link up with the Theosophical Movement, as
we did in the year 1902 by founding the German Section. At the beginning, progress was

possible because we developed entirely independently, as I have told you. But then, in the
year 1909 (1902 + 7 = 19o9) it was also necessary to get second teeth. You will remember
that those were the years when the Leadbeater affair threw everything into the meltingpot. The year 1916 is not far off. We shall then have the second seven years behind us. If
with this second period of seven years behind us we think of our Movement as an
organism, this organism will then have reached maturity; it must steer its own course and
be able to achieve something by itself. After all that has been given, it ought to be possible
for the work to go on effectively even without the teacher.
I have spoken to this effect on many occasions. Some time ago in Berlin I said that the
Gesellschaft fr Theosophische Art and Kunst [note 2] ought to be an organisation that
leads a life of its own, apart from me. This trend will become more and more necessary.
The danger that things go well only as long as something comes from me week after week,
must be surmounted. We have now reached the years when the Society ought to be able to
show that it can quietly continue to cultivate what has been given, to cultivate it as if I were
no longer there.
This is an absolutely necessary thought. The teachings which have been given are of such a
nature that if they now work in souls, a great deal can be done for which I am no longer
needed. I am not saying that I will not remain, but the test will consist in my becoming
more and more superfluous. It is absolutely essential to obviate the possibility which
actually exists of our members not appreciating one another! For you can realise what ill
service would be done to our cause if it were always being said: He is the Director, and he
must be followed, or He is the Director and he will see that such-and-such is done.
That simply will not do. What would happen if one day I were no longer there? The Society
would at once fall to pieces! We shall only attain what we ought to attain if, after fourteen
years, we have really come to the point of having a life of our own which can in turn bring
forth new life. This is not an impossibility if only we are mindful of our real aims. Certainly,
there are some difficult years now, but we must surmount such difficulties. And a different
value can be placed upon much that I myself have to contribute, if what I have now
indicated is fulfilled. Difficulties of many kinds exist at the present time. There are certain
things which cannot be said indiscriminately and during the last four days I should have
liked to call together a small, restricted group of people in order to speak of matters of
which I cannot speak before a whole audience. But I was obliged to abandon the idea
because we are living in days when such an arrangement is not feasible. In order to see
clearly, what I have been trying to present in these lectures must be kept well in mind. We
must also try to understand the inner character of Spiritual Science and then it will be clear
to us why on the one side we shall inevitably have opponents in the learned scientists who
would like to base a view of the world upon their erudition and, on the other side, in those
pastors who desire that what lies behind the everyday life of soul shall remain completely
We must hold faithfully to our teaching and also steep ourselves deeply in its contents. Let
us remember, for example, how the Mystery of Golgotha has constituted the very core of
our strivings, how it has been stressed that Christ entered into Jesus of Nazareth in the
way so often described, coming from other spheres of consciousness into the sphere of
consciousness proper for man's physical life on Earth. Christ-Jesus is a Power on Earth,
living on in the earthly consciousness of men and in earthly happenings. For this reason
the New Testament can be no natural science, for natural science the science of what lies
behind nature must, if it makes for reality, go beyond our normal consciousness. Neither
can the New Testament be Spiritual Science, for there, too, normal consciousness must
have been transcended in the other direction. The marvellous greatness and significance of
the New Testament lies precisely in the fact that it aspires neither to be Natural Science
nor yet Spiritual Science but for all that it must not be used to support polemics against
Spiritual Science.
Here, however, we perceive the reasons why the representatives of one or another religious

body will always rise up in arms against Spiritual Science! It is because they will never be
willing to allow man to enter the world they so greatly fear. They are afraid that one day
human beings will discover the eternal nature of the soul within them. They want people to
realise that only what they already know lives eternally within them. I said yesterday that if
a materialistic view of the world were to take root, if such a view alone prevailed and no
Spiritual Science were to come into being, things would reach the point where men would
be engulfed in scepticism and doubt, for something like an ocean would be created in
which souls would inevitably drown. But if it is desired to hold men back lest they
penetrate behind the veil of the world of soul, then the only thing to do is to keep them in a
state of ignorance. Ignorance which would eventually suffocate men must inevitably spread
if those who are often the representatives of religious communities today were to gain their
ends. If the scientists were to win the day, human souls would be engulfed in an ocean of
doubt; if the pastors of religion who think in the way described were to win the day, human
souls would suffocate in an atmosphere of ignorance. The task devolving upon Spiritual
Science is serious and grave and we must realise its gravity. We must regard ourselves as
individuals who through their karma can be led to Spiritual Science in order that what they
possess in the way of intellect and intuitive discernment may be placed at the disposal not
actually of Spiritual Science, but of the general progress of humanity. And such progress is
a dire necessity for the world.
We see, on the one side, how a materialistic view of the world is trying to get a firm
foothold, and how nothing that offers resistance is of any avail! And on the other side we
see how efforts are made to spread ignorance, how more and more is done to efface the
truths relating to the spiritual world! Just think how every communication from the
spiritual world is regarded with downright hatred by the representatives of certain
religious communities!
I have given these lectures in order to indicate the direction of the path which must be
taken by Spiritual Science, and to help you to realise the following. We must oppose the
materialistic scientists, although they really cannot help acting as they do, for Ahriman has
them in his power and wishes to hide from them the real motives underlying their activity.
And we must oppose the othcrs too although they again cannot act differently, because
they are in the hands of Lucifer. The right way to work is to come to grips with what
Spiritual Science can give us. Oh, if only there were a number of people who realised the
uniqueness of Spiritual Science, that it must not be confused with other things! That in
itself would be a great step forward.
One can also learn a great deal from mistakes, and pay attention to them from this point of
view. That is more important than merely to criticise them, although criticism is also
sometimes necessary. I said that to put it in plain words Ahriman is out to destroy
man's intellect in the future; but he combines this with something else as well because
the beings who serve him are related, with their higher forces, to the lower forces in man
and because he wants to establish an alliance between the higher and the lower forces. In
the normal course, Ahriman has under his direction those things in the world which give
rise to illnesses; we know that they too are unavoidable for they bring about death in the
physical world. All destruction in the physical world is allotted to him. But the connection
must be known and understood. If what is in the lower sphere is taken up into the higher,
it is united with these beings of destruction and then man himself gives many
opportunities to Ahriman and his hosts. And when he does so he will not fail to notice that
certain lower parts of his organism begin to function as higher parts of the organism
otherwise function.
If a man has a dread of really exact thinking and yet wishes to enter the spiritual world,
well, he may succeed in doing sohe crosses the Threshold and lives in the realm of the
powers of destruction. When he comes back again into his body, he has entered into an
alliance with these destructive beings and knows nothing about it because he has not
developed his own intellect in the right way. He will then feel these beings within him

and instead of thinking, instead of his ears hearing and his eyes seeing, all kinds of hidden
powers in the lower organism begin to hear and to see. The body is no longer his own in
the sense it was before. On coming back again into the body he finds it filled with all sorts
of ingredients. It is something new to him.
This entry into one's own body as into something unfamiliar and containing unknown
elements is an experience that may befall those who do not keep faithfully to the right path.
For Ahriman strives to establish himself in the human body and to transform certain
organs into organs of knowledge. Lucifer, however, incites his fiery spirits of will to take
certain forces out of us in order to make these forces independent. And so if we cross the
Threshold in the direction of Lucifer's realm and then come back into the body, we feel as if
certain parts are hollow, as if something has been taken out of us.
Ahriman adds something, because as he enters into us he fills the organs. Lucifer takes
away organs, makes what was otherwise part of our own organism, independent of us.
This is one of the aims of Lucifer to make independent what belongs to us. And that is
why in the pursuit of unjustifiable mystical experiences it may so easily happen that
mystics, by consolidating and brooding over their own inner life, prepare it for Lucifer who
can then draw it out of them. It is really so: Lucifer approaches the human being and draws
out something from his brain, namely, the intellect. The intellect is drawn out as part of the
etheric brain or of the etheric heart, made independent, and then a man feels that part of
him has become hollow and empty. This is actually an experience associated with intensely
egotistic individuals who have reached a certain high level of development. It can be seen
that certain parts of their forces have been detached and are then, as it were, outside them.
Lucifer robs man of certain forces with which he then proceeds to work. This state of things
must naturally be prevented and it is prevented by faithful adherence to the right path. It
is, however, a Luciferic conception to imagine that something can be taken away from man
and then utilised as though he has no longer any part in it for example, if a man's
teaching is stolen from him and then utilised in the world. There you have a hint of the
domain where such things actually happen. A great deal can be learnt from an error
above all from the error that teaching can be separated from the teacher. By observing
these facts one can learn more than by merely criticising them justifiable though this
may well be. It is not difficult to realise what danger there would be were this kind of thing
to become more general in the future. And the danger actually exists!
On the other side man is approaching the danger that in the process of the independent
development of the Spirit-Self, Ahriman may take possession of it. Already ncw, those who
have an eye for such things perceive how men lose their independence and how Ahriman is
actually guiding their hand when they write. That is the one side, and the other is that
things are taken and utilised, and it is believed possible to separate them from their
originator. But the legitimate and only right way will be for men to accept the guiding
principles of Spiritual Science, whereby on the one side the illumination that is shed upon
nature safeguards them when they break through its veil. A zoology, a botany, a science of
agriculture based on the principles of Spiritual Science must be brought into being;
everything, medicine too, must be enriched by these principles. But medicine can be rightly
enriched only by those who are not afraid to pierce the veil of nature, to enter right into the
Ahrimanic world where they must battle against the spirits of destruction. To discover
what is health-bringing for man, one must enter the region of those spirits who destroy all
human life, who bring about illness and death; for only in the realm where lie the deeper
causes of illness and death can the remedies be found.
Similarly, one who wishes to learn what will be fruitful for the human soul, must not be
afraid to battle with the Luciferic beings; he must preserve unshakable moral courage if he
wishes to cross the Threshold, he must realise that he is entering a region of spiritual
beings where his every thought will tend to produce in him a slight touch of vertigo
because it is on the point of being wrested from him, because it is about to flit away and he
must swiftly take hold of it lest it escape him. Nobody can penetrate into this region

without calmly battling against everything which, when it is out of balance, leads the
human being to unhealthy, subjective mysticism.
But Spiritual Science steers us in such a way that, if we understand it, we actually find the
strength to combat the Ahrimanic forces of destruction wherever they may be at work. And
when, as in the Mystery plays, we apply Spiritual Science to the onflowing development of
human life, and to the unfolding life of nature when we portray the forces of nature in the
forms of our pillars and architraves, and when we portray the higher secrets of existence by
placing Christ over against Lucifer and Ahriman as in our statue, when we approach these
things in such a way that the spiritual powers become objective realities to us, then, my
dear friends, we find the strength which the mystic does not, as a rule, possess the
strength to battle against the Luciferic powers.
From this you will realise that Spiritual Science was from the outset obliged to take the
form in which it has actually been presented, and that what it creates, in addition to its
theoretical teachings, is also essentially part of it. Let us try more and more to make our
thinking conform with the thinking proper to Spiritual Science, for not until we free
ourselves from the prejudices current in the outside world can we have a rightful place in
Spiritual Science.

Note 1. Note by translator: According to Baldwin's Dictionary of
Philosophy and Psychology, the more commonly-known term fixed
idea would not be the correct translation here. The expression
imperative or insistent idea approximates more closely to the
example given by Dr. Steiner.
Note 2. This was the name of a project which did not continue.