[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive Home



The East in the Light of the West

The East in the Light of the West: Lecture VI

CHAPTER VI

W

E have spoken of two spiritual streams, flowing through different peoples, and passing from old Atlantis towards the East. We saw the difference in their development and how they were enabled to prepare future events; and we observed how the southern stream more particularly tended to deepen the power of penetration to the spiritual world which lies behind the soul world of man, while the other more northerly spiritual stream directed man's attention to his earthly environment in order to make him aware of the spiritual world behind the world of the senses. Mention has been made of the development in the southern stream of qualities which led to spiritual beings connected with the Luciferic principle, and of the gradual approach to earth, on the other side, of the kingly spiritual being behind the sun in order finally to incarnate in a physical body, which, through many incarnations of a certain individuality, had been so purified that the Godhead found in it not merely an image of itself, but was able actually to incarnate within it. The incarnation of the Christ, the sun spirit, in the body of Jesus of Nazareth was the great event which took place in the northern stream of peoples. Now these two streams of peoples may, be said to have moved towards each other in order to be mutually enriched, and during their progress there arose, in the first epoch after the great Atlantean catastrophe, the ancient Indian race in the south of Asia, a race in which the human soul was in a certain sense able to look out towards the external world of the senses as well as into itself to find the spirit, because it instinctively recognised the unity between the spirit in the external world and the spirit within man. Let us picture to ourselves the feelings of the ancient Indian when he looked out at the sense world, at the earth with its mountains and forests, its tapestry of plant life, its animal and human kingdoms.

Possessed in high degree of spiritual sight, this ancient Indian soul perceived, underlying everything, a spiritual world consisting of beings of etheric substance, who did not descend to the density of a physical body. In the mountains, trees and stars the soul of the ancient Indian saw not only the dense elements but also the finer, etheric nature, in the shape of the external world of the gods. It should not of course be imagined that these spirits were composed merely of ether but just as the etheric, the astral and the ‘I’ principles are within the physical body of a man, so these spirits had an etheric body for their lowest principle and their other, higher principles in higher worlds. The Indian, looking into this world, felt that he stood upon the Earth; that as man he had through long periods of time developed from the first germ of human existence on ancient Saturn down to the Earth evolution; that it was necessary for him to descend to dense physical matter in order to acquire self-consciousness within it. He said: ‘I, speaking to myself, am an Ego being; formerly I was a companion of all those spiritual beings visible around me to spiritual sight from the etheric world upwards. I have descended from these worlds to denser matter, yet in them all human perfection's are to be found, not only those now possessed by man, but those which he will have to attain through his own efforts. But there is one thing which no being who does not descend to the physical plane can attain. There are in the universe other lofty perfections as well as the recollection peculiar to human consciousness. There are other kinds of consciousness, but in order to develop that of a man on earth, it is necessary for a being to descend to this earth and for a number of incarnations to be embodied in dense matter.’ The soul of the ancient Indian further realised that whatever infinitely higher perfections than man on the Earth these spiritual beings possessed, there was one thing they had not in their world, namely, the human ego consciousness that to say ‘I’ as a man does, was not natural in those higher worlds. The Indian felt himself to originate from these realms and everything existing in the spiritual worlds to be summed up for him in his human ‘I’ consciousness. He knew that to speak of a human ego consciousness in the spiritual world had neither meaning nor content. Hence only a word which excludes this ‘I’ can be applied to everything that in a spiritual sense is spread out in the surrounding world, a word which is not in contact with the ‘I’ ... And the Indian consciousness named that which spread itself out externally, the ‘Tat,’ the ‘That’ in contradistinction to the ‘I.’ In order to express the fact that man is of the same nature and essence as the ‘That,’ the ‘Tat,’ or the ‘It’ — that the ‘I’ or ego had only developed because of the descent to the Earth — the Indian said: ‘I am Tat, Thou art That.’ Thus man's relationship to the surrounding spiritual world (to this clairvoyant penetration of the ultimate nature of our world) was combined in the words: ‘It exists; but thou thyself art that.’

But the ancient Indian realised at the same time that the reality without designated as ‘Tat’ is also to be found by a man looking into his own inner being, that this reality manifests at one time from without, at another time from within. Therefore men of those ancient times knew that by sinking down into the soul they came to the same primordial spiritual reality as the external ‘Tat,’ but that the right relationship between them and what was living within them as their original ‘cause,’ so to speak, veiled by the life of the soul, was expressed by saying instead of ‘Thou art That,’ ‘I am Brahman,’ and ‘I am the All.’ And they took the two together to mean the following: ‘When I look out into the world of “Tat” I find a spiritual world, and if I dip down into my own soul life I find a spiritual world, and the two are one.’

As we have seen, in ancient India, a perception of the unity of the outer and of the inner was the typical outlook of the soul; and it is to be expected that the other extreme will consist in turning the gaze outwards, and in penetrating through the tapestry of the sense world to the spiritual world lying hidden behind it. And this is what actually happened to a different people. They saw the outer spiritual world, but could not realise immediately that it was the same as the inner spiritual world. Hence it is not surprising that religious conceptions and philosophical thoughts spring up, all fervently directed to the gods and spirits behind the sense world; that mythical and other descriptions for these divine spiritual beings behind the tapestry of the sense world were given to the people; and that in the mysteries of that age men were led into the spiritual world which is behind the sense world. Nor will it be a matter for wonder that side by side with such mysteries and such racial gods something else is to be found; that at the same time there were mysteries leading man along the path through the inner soul life to its deepest foundations. And in very fact we find a region of post Atlantean civilisation where those two kinds of mysteries existed contemporaneously — a region where on the one side the so-called Apollonian culture and mysteries were developed, and on the other the culture and mysteries of Dionysos. Such a division is to be found in ancient Greece. There we have on the one hand the path which was shown to the people as well as to the Initiates, the path leading out into the spiritual world, to what is behind the senses, to the spiritual world behind the sun. So far as the Greek knew this world, he gave it the name of the realm of the Apollonian beings. Apollo, the Sun god, was the representative of the divine spiritual beings which exist behind the tapestry of the sense world. But there was also a class of mysteries pointing the way through the soul life into its spiritual foundations, mysteries concerning which we already know that man may enter them only, after careful preparation, and after having attained a certain degree of maturity. For this reason the second kind of mysteries was more carefully guarded against immaturity than were the Apollonian. The Apollonian gods were indicated to the masses of the people, whereas the spiritual beings to be found along the path through the inner nature were reserved for those who, through spiritual, intellectual and moral training of their inner life had reached a certain state of maturity. This second kind of mystery cult was known as the Dionysian mystery and its central spiritual being was Dionysos. So it is natural that in Dionysos, this central figure of the inner circle of gods, men perceived a being standing in near and intimate relationship to the human soul; a being not unlike man, but one who did not descend so far as the physical plane; a being to be found by sinking from the physical plane into the depths of the soul life. Here we have in point of fact the deeper causes of the Apollonian and the Dionysian division in the spiritual culture of the Greeks. In more modern times a dim consciousness that something of the kind had existed in Greece made its appearance in several places. The group gathering round Richard Wagner realised the existence of something of the kind although without definite knowledge of its spiritual foundations. And Friedrich Nietzsche, a member of this group, founded his first remarkable and inspired work: ‘The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music’ on this very division of Greek spiritual life into the Apollonian and Dionysian mystery cults. These occurrences were a dim realisation of what may be known to an ever-increasing degree through spiritual meditation. In the minds of many men today there is a kind of yearning for such a deepening of the spiritual life. There is a widespread feeling that this deepening alone can give an answer to man's yearning. Thus in ancient Greece these two divine spiritual worlds are side by side. In ancient India they appeared as a unity, in a state of reciprocal permeation.

Now let us turn again to evolution. We have already seen that only the most advanced group of the northern stream of nations, namely the ancient Persian civilisation of Zoroaster, could originate the ideal of creating a body in which the spiritual being approaching humanity and the earth from outside could incarnate. And Zarathustra took upon himself the task of passing through his incarnations in such a way as to take later re-birth in a body spiritualised to such a degree that it was able to receive into itself the sublime sun-spirit in its most perfect form, in its Christ form. Zarathustra was reborn as Jesus, having made himself ripe through his various incarnations to be the vehicle of the Sun spirit for the space of three years. [Dr. Steiner has in many lectures gone more fully into the difference between the Jesus of Bethlehem and the Jesus of Nazareth, and explained to some extent the deep mystery here referred to. The translation of a small work by Dr. Arenson on this subject, and called the “History of the Child-hood of Jesus,” is strongly recommended to those interested. It is published simultaneously with this volume by the Anthroposophical Publishing Company, price 2p.]

We may now ask: What is the relation of Apollo to the Christ? When a Greek uttered the name of Apollo, he referred to the spiritual realm behind the sun. But men's conception of a being or of a fact differs according to their capacities. The man who has cultivated a rich inner life within his soul is capable of seeing in a truer form things which a less developed person also sees, so when the Greek uttered the name of Apollo he was indeed referring to the being which later was revealed as the Christ, but he could only conceive of it in a kind of veiled form, as Apollo. Apollo is in a certain sense a garment of the Christ, resembling in its form the being within it. Veil after veil had to fall from that figure conceived of by the soul as Apollo before the Christ could become visible and intelligible to the intuition of men. Apollo is an intimation of the Christ, but not the Christ Himself.

Now what is the most essentially characteristic quality of the Christ so far as our cycle of evolution is concerned? To consider all those divine spiritual beings to which men of ancient times looked up to as the upper gods behind the tapestry of the sense world, as the rulers and lords of the spheres and functions of the universe, is to realise that their characteristic quality is that they do not descend so far as the physical plane; they only become visible to the consciousness of the seer, which transcends the physical plane and is able to see on the etheric plane. There Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Wotan, Odin, Thor, who are all real beings, became visible. It was characteristic of these spiritual beings not to descend so far as the physical plane, but at the most to manifest temporarily in some kind of physical embodiment, a fact which is cleverly indicated in the myths when mention is made of momentary appearances of Zeus or other gods in human or some other form, when they descended to the world of men in order to carry out some purpose. It is not permissible to speak of a permanent physical incarnation of these spiritual beings behind the sense world. We may say that Apollo is a figure incapable of descending into physical incarnation. For this descent requires a higher power than Apollo possessed, namely, the Christ power. And in the Christ all the qualities of the other beings out in the universe were united, all the qualities which are revealed to the consciousness of the seer; but above and beyond all these He possessed the ability to break through the barrier separating the world of the gods from the world of man, and was able to descend into a physical body and become man in a human physical body that had been prepared for Him upon the earth. In the divine spiritual world this ability was possessed by the Christ alone. Thus one being, and one being only of the divine spiritual world descended so far as the stage of taking up its abode in a human body in the sense world, and living as man among other men. This is the great and mighty Christ event, and this is how we have to conceive it. Whereas therefore all gods and spirits can be found only by the consciousness of the seer and beyond the physical world, the Christ is to be found within the physical world, although He is a being of the same nature and essence as the other divine spiritual beings. The other gods can only be found in the external universe: the Christ is He who was born within the human soul, Who, as it were, leaves the outer world of the gods and enters into the inner nature of man. This has been an event of great significance in the evolution of the world and humanity. Before the Christ event it — had been necessary to descend to the sub-terrestrial gods hidden behind the veil of soul experiences if an inner god was sought; the Christ is a God Who may be found without as well as within. This is the essence of what happened in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, after the Indian, the Persian and the Egyptian periods. The contemplative vision and abstract perception in ancient India of the fact that the divine spiritual world was an unity, and that Tat and Brahman, streaming to the soul from two sides, were an unity, became a living life through the Christ event. Formerly men could say that the divinity to be found on the outward path and the divinity to be found on the inward path were one. After the Christ event it was possible to say that if the soul participates in the Christ, a descent to the inner life will reveal a being which is Apollo and Dionysos united in one.

Another question arises here. We have seen that divine spiritual beings of the external world are, for man, represented by the mightiest of them, by the Christ, Who, as an outer being, at the same time becomes an inner being. But what of those other beings designated in the last lecture as ‘Luciferic?’ Knowledge gained as the result of spiritual development teaches us that it would not be correct to say that the beings under the leadership of Dionysos work themselves through into the human soul life, and that, as it were from the other side, a Dionysos — a Luciferic being — incarnated as a man. Here we arrive at something vitally and essentially connected with the evolution of humanity and of the universe. If we go back to very ancient times, we find that the soul looking outwards sees the external spiritual world, and looking inwards, sees the inner divine spiritual world; the Apollonian world objectively, and the Dionysian world subjectively, to use the Greek expressions. Later on in evolution matters change somewhat. In the most ancient times, when a vast majority of men were possessed of spiritual vision, facts were as I have just described them. Objectively the upper gods were seen; subjectively, the lower gods; and there were these two paths into the spiritual world. In later times man's capacity for spiritual vision decreased; he gradually lost his original dim clairvoyance. But let us take a period in which a few men still possessed a natural spiritual vision. We need not go so very far back, for in the Egypto-Chaldean epoch such natural sight still existed. At that time men, on penetrating through the tapestry of the sense world, saw the upper gods, and on descending into the depths of their own souls, the lower gods. Those who had passed through a certain degree of initiation felt these impressions more clearly and powerfully. I should mention of course that at all times there have existed initiates with full knowledge of the unity of these two worlds; but they are men who have reached the apex of humanity. Centuries therefore before the appearance of Christ on earth, there were men who still had the old spiritual sight, and initiates who by following one path were able to find the upper gods, or following the other were led to the lower gods. But there came an age where the region which we call the world of the lower gods gradually withdrew from human life and was difficult of attainment even for those who had passed through the early degrees of initiation; but in this period it was comparatively easy at an early stage of initiation to attain to what we call the upper gods behind the outer world of the senses. Take, for instance, an initiate of the ancient Hebrew people. Such an initiate could, even if he had not attained a very high degree of initiation, look into a region where Jehovah was not merely an idea, a concept, but an etheric reality, a being which spoke to them as a man in their spiritual consciousness.

While therefore the existence of Jehovah was proclaimed to the people, to the initiates he was a reality. On the other hand it had become more difficult for an initiate of the ancient Hebraic world to find anything by dipping down into his own soul life, and searching there for the domain of the lower gods. In that region he would have felt no solid ground, but everywhere would have encountered the thick crust of his soul life through which he could not penetrate to the lower gods. The lower gods had withdrawn into a certain unknown obscurity. This was the time of the Christ's descent to the earth, when the Luciferic spirits had to a certain extent withdrawn into the darkness. And at that time men in the outer world only knew that the mysteries existed, and that those initiated into them acquired the faculty of penetrating through the forces of the soul life into the Dionysian world. There was just a vague inkling of the deep secrets which could be investigated by man in the mysteries. But the subject was merely alluded to and very few people had a clear idea of it at the time when the Christ was expected. Their ideas of the outer gods were much more definite. There were many men who still had living experience of these gods. But the evolution of humanity progresses. And with what result? There is a history of outer humanity, and in the future there will also be a history of the mysteries. Outer humanity will transform its spiritual culture and the Christ will enter into it more and more. In the mysteries, too, the nature of the Christ being, which today is hardly appreciated at all, will come to be understood. The god who could be perceived at the time of Zarathustra when spiritual sight was directed to the sun, and who descended to the earth, will be understood with ever growing intimacy by the human soul. The god who was the ruler of the outer world will become more and more an inner god. The Christ traverses the world in such a way that from a cosmic god who descended upon earth, He becomes an inner mystical god, Whom man will gradually be able to experience in the depths of his soul life. Therefore it was, that at the time of the descent of the Christ there could be accomplished what His disciples, the Apostles, described in the words: ‘We have laid our hands in His wounds, and have heard His words on the mountain.’ The essential point is that the Christ was on earth in a physical body. At that time He could not have been experienced physically within, or understood in His Dionysian nature; He had first to be experienced as the outer, historical Christ. But the progress of man's consciousness of the Christ consists in His ever deeper descent into the soul, and it will become possible for man to live through his own soul experiences subjectively, finding the mystical Christ within his own soul, in addition to the knowledge he has of the outer Christ. It will be observed how in the so-called mysticism which arose in the early days of Christianity, through Dionysius the Areopagite, a friend and pupil of St. Paul, the Christ is first understood by external occult faculties. And all the descriptions of this first occult Christian school are of a kind that depict the Christ essentially as having those qualities which he unfolds in the external worlds, and which may be experienced by instinctive spiritual sight when it is turned outwards. Then let us proceed a few centuries further in human evolution and see what has come about; let us enquire into mediaeval mystical development, into the deep inner experiences of Meister Eckhart, of Johannes Tauler, etc., and to our more modern mystics. Here are men who look down into their own souls. Just as in ancient times men looked within themselves in order to penetrate through this inner life to Dionysos, so the more modern mystics, piercing inwards, could say like Meister Eckhart: ‘The historical Christ is in very truth a fact; His development takes place in outer history but there is a possibility of descending into one's own inward life, and of there finding the inner mystical Christ.’ Thus the human soul developed the capacity of finding the Christ not only in the outer world, but also within, of finding the mystical Christ in His Dionysian nature. First the historical Christ came into being, and then through the work of the historical Christ, influences were brought to bear on the human soul of such a nature that a mystical Christ within human evolution has become possible. Therefore we may, with regard to modern times, speak of an inner mystical experience of the Christ; but we must also understand that the Christ was a cosmic god before His descent upon earth. If, in those former times, man plunged into his inner soul life, he found not Christ, but Dionysos. Today if development has come about in the right way, we find an inner Christ Being there. The Christ, at first a divinity external to the soul, has become a divinity within the soul, who will take fuller possession of it, the more the soul experiences draw near to the Christ. Here we have an example of a transformation of principles during the development of the world. When modern men speak of the mystical Christ within the soul, they should not forget that everything in the world has developed, and that mystical consciousness has not been the same through all time, but has also evolved to its present state. When the holy Rishis of antiquity looked up into the spiritual worlds they spoke of Vishvakarman, who was the same cosmic being to whom Zoroaster referred when he spoke of Ahura Mazdao. It was the Christ Being. Today this being may also be found in the inner life as the mystical Christ. This is the result of the Christ's own deed on the earth. This is the true relation of the cosmic, astronomical Christ to the mystical Christ. The outer god has gradually become an inner god.

But since every event in the external physical world is an effect of a spiritual occurrence, this penetration of the soul by the Christ has also its effect upon the other life. This effect will manifest first of all in the mysteries, and has already partly done so since the foundation of the Western mystery schools of the Rosicrucians. When by means of the discipline of the old mystery schools a man had sunk more deeply into his soul and descended to the lower gods, he found Dionysos, which is only another name for the world of the Luciferic gods. But at the time when the Christ in His glory was approaching the earth, the Luciferic reality sank into darkness even for spiritual consciousness, if the latter had not attained the very highest stages. Only the highest initiates were still able to descend to the Luciferic gods. Other men had to be told that if they descended while yet unpurified and immature, these Luciferic beings would only appear in distorted images, as wild demons who would tempt them to all sorts of evil. This is the original of all the terrible descriptions of this subterranean realm, and of the fear of the mere name of Lucifer at a certain time. And as everything is transmitted hereditarily to men who do not progress with evolution, there are still some who have inherited the fear of the name of Lucifer. But for spiritual consciousness the Luciferic world emerges again after the Christ principle has for some time been working in the soul. As soon as the Christ has worked in the soul for a while, the soul, permeated by the Christ substance, becomes mature enough to penetrate again into the realm of the Luciferic beings. The Rosicrucian initiates were the first to be able to do this. They strove to understand and see the Christ in such a form that as the mystical Christ He permeated their souls, and lived within them, and that this Christ substance in their inner being became a bulwark of strength against all attacks. It became a new light within them, an inner, astral light. Historical experience of the Christ in His true being illuminates the soul to such an extent that men again become able to penetrate into the realm of Lucifer at first only the Rosicrucian initiates were capable of this, and they will gradually carry out into the world what they have been able to experience with regard to the Luciferic principle, and will pour out over the world that mighty spiritual union which consists in the fact that the Christ, Who has poured Himself as Substance into the human soul is understood henceforth by means of the spiritual faculties that mature in the spirit of individual men through a new influx of the Luciferic principle. Let us consider an initiate of the Rose Cross. He first prepares Himself by the continual direction of the feeling, conceptions and thoughts within his soul to the great central figure of the Christ, by allowing the mighty figure of the Christ, as depicted by the Gospel of St. John, to work upon him, and in this way he purifies and ennobles himself. For our souls change fundamentally when we gaze in reverence upon the figure depicted by the Gospel of St. John. If we receive within us what streams forth from this figure, as described by St. John, the mystical Christ comes to life within us. And if we further this process by the study of other Christian documents, the soul is gradually permeated by the spiritual substance of the Christ, is cleansed and purified and reaches higher worlds. Feelings more especially are purified in this way. We either, like Meister Eckhart and Tauler, learn to conceive of the Christ in an universal sense, or else to experience Him with the tenderness of Suso and others; we feel united with that which streamed to the earth from the wide expanse of the heavenly worlds through the Christ event. Thereby a man makes himself ready to be led as a Rosicrucian initiate consciously into those regions which in ancient times were called the Dionysian worlds and may now be called the Luciferic worlds.

What is the effect upon modern Rosicrucian initiates of this introduction into the Luciferic worlds? If their feelings glow with enthusiasm for the divine as soon as they are permeated with the Christ substance, the other faculties through which we understand the world are illuminated and strengthened by the Luciferic principle. In this way the Rosicrucian initiate ascends to the Luciferic principle. His spiritual faculties are intensified and elaborated through initiation, so that he not merely feels the Christ mystically within His soul, but can also describe Him, can speak of Him and picture Him in spiritual images or thought pictures; so the Christ is not merely dimly felt and experienced but stands before him in concrete outlines, as a figure of the outer sense world. It is possible for man to experience the Christ as soul substance when he directs his gaze to that figure of the Christ which meets him in the Gospels. But to describe and understand Him in the way that other phenomena and events in the world are understood, and thereby to gain an insight into His greatness, His significance and His causative connection with world evolution, is only possible when the Christian initiate advances to knowledge of the Luciferic realms.

Thus in Rosicrucian science it is Lucifer who gives us the faculty for describing and understanding the Christ. [It is easy to see how, conformably with the use of the ordinary word ‘Lucifer,’ ill will or ignorance may throw calumny on what has been here said; that however cannot prevent these things being stated. Anyone, who understands by Lucifer what is here meant, must necessarily have other conceptions.]

What the centuries have been able to do is to propagate the Gospels; so that the Word streaming forth from them enabled hearts and souls to be warmed by their message, to be permeated by the fire and enthusiasm which flow out from them. Today we stand at a stage of human evolution when it can no longer suffice to receive the Gospels as a tradition in the old way; today men need something else. Those who decline to accept this new teaching will have to bear the Karma of opposition to the introduction of the Luciferic principle into the interpretation of the Gospels. There may be many who say: ‘We are content to accept the Gospels as simple Christians; we feel that they satisfy us; the Christ speaks through them, and He does so even when we receive them as traditionally handed down for centuries in religion.’ Although these people may imagine themselves to be good Christians, they are in reality enemies of the Christ, who on account of their personal egoism, and because they still feel themselves satisfied by what is offered in the traditional interpretation of the Gospels, would sweep away that which in future will bring Christianity into glory. Those who today believe themselves to be the best Christians are often the most effective exterminators of real Christianity. Those who today understand the development of Christianity think quite differently. They say that they do not wish to be the egoists who think that the Gospels suffice and assert that they will not have anything to do with abstractions. What spiritual science has to offer is far removed from being an abstract teaching. Real Christians today know that humanity needs something more than the Christianity of the egoists; they realise that the world can no longer be satisfied with the old Gospel tradition, and that the light from Lucifer's kingdom must be thrown upon it. They listen to the teachings proceeding from Rosicrucian schools of initiation, wherein the spiritual faculties have been intensified by the Luciferic principle, in order to penetrate more and more profoundly into the Gospels, and these initiates have found the Gospels to be of such infinite depth that it is impossible to imagine that they can ever be exhaustively dealt with. But today the time has already arrived when the Rosicrucians must let their teachings flow out into the world; they are called upon to spread abroad what they have gained from the Luciferic world in the form of intensification of spiritual forces and faculties, and to pour this into the Gospels. The spiritual science of the West consists in letting the light which streams forth and may be gained from Lucifer's kingdom be cast upon the Gospels. Spiritual science should be an instrument for the interpretation of the Gospels. So it is part of our work to bring to man the joyful message about the substance of the Christ Being, which permeates the world, and to allow the light which may be gained in Lucifer's kingdom on the path of Rosicrucian initiation to fall upon the Gospels. Thus we see that the Christ, Who formerly was a god living in the outer world, became the mystical Christ, and that by His ennoblement of the human soul, He has brought it back again to the realm called in ancient times the Dionysian world, which for awhile had to be shut off and which will be re-attained in the future by man. The interpretation of the Christ by spiritual faculties illuminated by Lucifer, is the inner and essential kernel of the spiritual stream which must flow through the western channel. And what I have said represents the mission of Rosicrucianism in the future.

What is it therefore that comes to pass in human evolution? Christ and Lucifer, the one as a cosmic god and the other as a god within the human soul, dwelt side by side in ancient times, one to be found in the upper regions and the other in the nether regions; then the evolution of the world progressed and for some time it was known that Dionysos or Lucifer, was far away from the earth; on the other hand the cosmic Christ was felt to be penetrating the earth to a greater and greater degree; Lucifer again became visible, and was once more able to be known. The paths taken by these two divine spiritual beings may be pictured more or less in the following way: they approached the earth from two different sides; Lucifer became invisible at the time when his path cut across that of the Christ — his light was overpowered by the Christ light. The Christ entered the human soul, became the planetary spirit of the earth, growing more and more to be the mystical Christ within human souls, and can be felt and realised through inner experiences. In this way the soul becomes gradually more capable of again beholding the other being, who took the reverse way, from within to without. Lucifer, from a being within man's inner nature, a purely earthly being such as he was when he was sought in the mysteries leading to the underworld, becomes a cosmic god. He will appear in ever-greater radiance in the outer world which we behold when we look through the tapestry of the sense world. Man's vision will become reversed. In the past Lucifer was seen behind the veil of the inner soul world, and the Christ, as by Zarathustra, behind the veil of the sense-world, but in the future the Christ will to an ever greater degree be realised by inner spiritual meditation and Lucifer will be found when the gaze is directed outwards into cosmic regions. Thus we have to record a complete reversal of the conditions by which man can acquire knowledge in the course of human evolution. The Christ, an erstwhile cosmic god, has become an earthly god, who is henceforth the soul of the earth; Lucifer, an erstwhile earthly god, has become a cosmic god. And when in the future, man desires again to ascend to the external spiritual world hidden behind the veil of the sense-world, and is not willing to stop short at the external and material, he must penetrate through the sense-world into the spiritual world and must allow himself to be borne to the light by the ‘Light Bringer.’ No faculties for penetration into that region can arise in man if he does not create them out of the forces flowing to him from Lucifer's kingdom. Men would be drowned in the sea of materialism, would persist in the belief that there is nothing except the outer world of matter, if they did not ascend to inspiration through the Luciferic principle. Just as the Christ principle exists to strengthen our inner being, so the Luciferic principle intensifies and develops those faculties by means of which we have to penetrate into the spiritual worlds fully and completely.

Lucifer will intensify our understanding and comprehension of the world; the Christ will strengthen us perpetually within.




The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com
[Spacing]