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

The Mission of Folk-Souls

Lecture 11

Schmidt Number: S-2258

On-line since: 17th September, 2005

LECTURE 11

Study Guide: Souls of the Nations — Eleventh Lecture ]

17th June, 1910.

In beginning this our last lecture I may truly say that there is a great deal more to be discussed, and that on the whole we have only been able in this course of lectures to deal with the very smallest part of what belongs to this rich subject. I may, however, hope that it will not be the last time we shall speak together here on similar matters, and it must suffice as a beginning, if only indications have been given on this theme, the further discussion of which would not be without its difficulties at the present time.

As a golden thread running through the last few lectures, was the idea that something is contained in the Germanic Scandinavian mythology or teaching of the gods, which in an imaginative form is wonderfully connected with everything we can extract in the shape of knowledge from the spiritual research of our own time. Now that is also one of the reasons why we may hope that the Folk-spirit, the Archangel who extends his educative and directing activity over this country, will permeate with the capacities he has developed in the course of centuries, that which may be called modern philosophy, modern spiritual research, and that from then on, this modern spiritual research will be fertilized in a popular sense.

The further we penetrate into the details of the Germanic Scandinavian mythology, the more we shall see how wonderfully the great occult truths are expressed in its pictures such as really is the case in no other mythology. Thus perhaps some of you who have read my Occult Science, or have heard other lectures which I was able to give here, will remember that once upon a time in the evolution of the earth an event occurred which we may describe as the descent of those human souls who, in primeval times, before the old Lemurian epoch, for particular reasons had ascended to the various planets of our system, and who at the end of the Lemurian and during the whole of the Atlantean epochs endeavored to unite themselves with that which the human body had little by little developed and perfected in the way of capacities, and which had been made possible by the separation of the moon from the earth. These Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury souls then descended; as one may still find to-day in the Akashic Records. In the course of the Atlantean epoch the air of Atlantis was permeated with water in the form of clouds; that was the condition when the descent of those souls could be perceived by the old clairvoyance of the Atlantean epoch. Every time new beings were born in the soft, plastic, flexible, pliable bodies of that time, when they descended so to say from spiritual heights, that was considered to be the external expression of souls descending out of the spiritual surroundings, out of the atmosphere, out of planetary life, to unite themselves with the bodies being formed upon earth.

The event of these earth-bodies being fertilized, as it were, by that which poured down from spiritual heights, is preserved in a conception implanted in the Scandinavian Germanic mythology. The consciousness of this was preserved so long that even Tacitus himself still found it among the South Germanic peoples at the time when he made the observations which he described in his Germania. No one who does not know that this event really did occur, will understand what Tacitus relates about the goddess Nerthus. The chariot of the goddess Nerthus was driven over the waters. That later on was preserved as a rite, a ceremony; formerly it was a matter of observation. This goddess represented that which can be presented to the human bodies by the human souls coming down from the planetary spheres.

That is the mysterious occurrence underlying the Nerthus myth and it has been preserved in all that has come down to us in the older Sagas and legends which indicate the development of physical man. Njordr, who is inwardly related to the goddess Nerthus, is her masculine counterpart. He represents to us the primal memory of the descent of the psychic-spiritual human beings, who had once upon a time ascended to planetary heights, and who during the Atlantean epoch, descended again to unite themselves with physical human bodies.

From my pamphlet, Occult Significance of Blood, you will see what a significant rôle the interminglings and relationships of peoples have played at certain periods. Now not only the interminglings and relationships which were expressed in the mixture of blood, but also the psychic and spiritual requirements of the Folk-spirits have played a great rôle. The vision of that descent has been preserved in the greatest purity in the Sagas which in former times developed in these Northern parts. Hence in the Sagas of the Vanen you can still find one of the very oldest recollections of it. Especially here in the North, in the Finnish traditions, was the memory kept alive of this union of the spiritual soul-nature which descended from planetary heights with that which proceeded from the earthly body itself, and which Northern tradition knows as Riesenheim (Home of Giants). That which developed out of the earthly body belonged to Riesenheim.

We understand, therefore, that the Germanic Scandinavian always felt the impulse coming from this side; that he felt within his gradually evolving soul the workings of this old divine vision, which was still ‘at home’ here in those old days when the mists of Atlantis still extended to this neighborhood. The Germanic Scandinavian felt in his soul something of the arrival of a god who was directly descended from those divine spiritual Beings, those Archangels who directed the union of the psychic-spiritual with the earthly-physical. Freyr the god, and Freya his sister, who here in the North were once upon a time specially beloved gods, were thought of and felt as having originally been those angelic Beings who had poured into the human souls all that those souls required to enable them to develop further, upon the physical plane, those old forces which they had received by means of their clairvoyant capacities. In the physical world, that world limited by the outer senses, Freyr was the one who continued all that had been formerly received in clairvoyance. He was the living continuation of the clairvoyantly received forces. He had therefore to unite himself with the physical instruments existing in the human body itself for the use of these soul-forces, which then can carry into the physical plane what had been perceived in primal clairvoyance. That is reflected in the marriage of Freyr with Gerda, the giantess; she is taken from the physical forces of earthly evolution. These pictures represent the descent of the divine-spiritual into the physical.

In this figure of Freyr is expressed in quite a wonderful way, the manner in which Freyr makes use of that which makes it possible for man to manifest on the physical plane that for which he has been educated by his preceding clairvoyant perceptions. Bluthuf (Blood Hoof) is the name of the horse placed at the disposal of Freyr, to indicate that blood is the essential thing in the development of his ‘ I ’. A remarkable, wonderful ship is also placed at his disposal. It can be expanded into the immeasurable and can be folded together so that it can be contained in the smallest box. Now what is this miraculous ship? If Freyr is the power which carries clairvoyant forces into the spheres which express themselves on the physical plane, then it must be something quite particularly belonging to him; it is the alternation between day-waking and night-sleeping. Just as the human soul during sleep and until the moment of waking is spread out in the macrocosm, so does the miraculous ship expand and is then folded up again into the folds of the brain; so that during the day-time it can be stowed away in the smallest of boxes — the human skull. You will find all this wonderfully expressed in the pictures of this Germanic Scandinavian mythology.

Those of you who will go more deeply into these things, will be gradually convinced that this is no fantasy; but that what has been implanted, inoculated into the thoughts and feelings of this northern people by means of these pictures, really comes from the schools of the Initiates. Thus a very great deal remained in the guiding Archangel or Folk-spirit of the North, of the old education through clairvoyant perception of that which may grow up in a soul which, in its development on the physical plane, connects itself on to a clairvoyant development.

Although outwardly it may seem different at the present day, yet the Archangel of the Germanic North has within him this tendency, and this enables him to understand modern Spiritual Science especially well and to transform it in the manner corresponding to its national character. Hence also you will see why I have said that in the Germanic North the best conditions are to be found for the comprehension of that which I could only indicate briefly in my open lecture on the Second Coming of Christ. Spiritual research at the present time shows us that after Kali Yuga had run its course, which lasted for five thousand years (from about 3100 B.C. to 1899 A.D.), new capacities begin to develop in man. These will at first appear in single individuals, in a few especially gifted ones only. It will come about, for instance, that persons will be able, through the natural evolution of their capacities, to see something of what is announced only by Anthroposophy, by spiritual research.

We are told that in future persons in whom the organs of the etheric body are developed will be found in increasing numbers, and will attain to clairvoyance, which can to-day be acquired only by training. And why will this be so? What will the etheric body possess for the perception of those few? There will be people who will receive impressions of which I should like to describe one to you. A man will do something in the external world and will then feel himself impelled to observe something. A sort of dream-picture will come before his eyes which at first he will not understand. But if he has heard something about Karma, of how everything in the world takes place in accordance with law, he will then learn to understand, little by little, that what he has seen is the karmic counterpart of his actions in the etheric world. Thus gradually the first elements of future capacities are being formed.

Those persons who receive a stimulus from Anthroposophy will, (from the middle of the twentieth century on), gradually experience a renewal of that which St. Paul saw in etheric clairvoyance as a mystery to come, the ‘Mystery of the Living Christ’. There will be a new manifestation of Christ, a manifestation which must come when human capacities so develop in the natural course, that the Christ can be seen in that world in which He always was, and in which since the Mystery of Golgotha He is to be found by Initiates. Humanity is growing into that world in order to be able to perceive from the physical plane that which could formerly only be seen from higher planes in the Mystery Schools.

The Mystery-training will nevertheless not become superfluous. It always presents things in a different way from what they are presented to the untrained soul. But that which is given in the Mystery-training will, by the transformation of the physical human body, show the Mystery of the Living Christ in a new way, as it can be seen perceptively from the physical plane, as it will be seen in the etheric, at first by a few and afterwards by more and more persons, in the course of the next three thousand years. That which St. Paul saw as the living Christ Who is to be found in the etheric world since the event of Golgotha, will be seen by an ever increasing number of people.

The manifestations of Christ will be ever higher and higher. That is the mystery of the evolution of Christ. At the time when the Mystery of Golgotha took place men were to comprehend everything from the physical plane; it was therefore necessary that they should also be able to see Christ on the physical plane, to have news of Him there, and to testify to His power on that plane. But mankind is intended to progress, it is organized for the development of higher powers, and anyone who can believe that the manifestation of Christ will be repeated in the same form which was necessary nineteen hundred years ago, knows nothing of the progress of humanity. It took place on the physical plane because at that time the forces of man were adjusted to the physical plane. But those forces will evolve, and hence, in the course of the next three thousand years, Christ will be able to speak more and more to the more highly developed human forces.

What I have just said is a truth which has for a long time been communicated to a few individuals from within the esoteric schools, a truth which to-day must be found especially in the domain of Anthroposophy, because Anthroposophy is to be the preparatory school for that which is to come. Humanity is now organized for liberty, for the personal recognition of that which is developing within it, and it might occur that those persons who will come forward as the first pioneers of the Christ-vision, will be shouted down as fools, that what they have to offer to mankind will not be listened to, and humanity might sink still further into materialism than it has already done and trample under foot that which could become the most wonderful manifestation for mankind. Everything that may happen in the future is to a certain extent subject to the will of humanity, so that men may also miss what is for their salvation. That is extremely important: Anthroposophy is a preparation for what is to be the new Christ-revelation.

Materialism may make a mistake in two different ways. One — which will probably be made by reason of the Western traditions — consists in considering as mere folly, as wild fantasy, everything that the first pioneers of the new Christ-revelation will announce in the twentieth century as the result of their own vision. Materialism has now invaded all domains. It is not only at home in the West but it has also taken hold of the East; there, however, it assumes another form. It may happen that oriental materialism may cause men to fail to recognize what is higher in a manifestation of Christ at a higher stage, and then will occur that which has so often been spoken of here, and will again and again be repeated, that materialistic thinking will transform the appearance of Christ into a materialistic view.

It might occur at that time, under the influence of scientific spiritual knowledge, that persons may, it is true, speak of Christ manifesting Himself, but will at the same time believe that He will appear in a material body. The result would then be another form of materialism. It would only be a continuation of what has happened for centuries. Certain people have always profited by this false materialism, and indeed, there have always been individuals representing themselves as the re-appeared Christ. The last important case of such an one was in the seventeenth century, when a man called Sabbatai Zevi, of Smyrna, represented himself as the re-appeared Christ. He made a great stir. Pilgrimages were made to him not only by those in his immediate neighborhood, but also by people from Hungary, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, and northern Africa. All these looked upon Sabbatai as the physical incarnation of a Messiah. I should not care to relate the human tragedy connected with the personality of Sabbatai. In the seventeenth century the tragedy was certainly not so great, for man was not then so entirely in possession of his free will, although by means of his perception — which was a spiritual feeling — he could recognize what was the truth; but in the twentieth century it would be a great misfortune if, under the pressure of materialism, the teaching that Christ will manifest Himself were to be taken in a materialistic sense, as though He would return in a physical body. That would only prove that humanity has not acquired any perception or insight as regards the real progress of the human development of higher spiritual forces. False Messiahs will certainly appear, and on account of the materialism of our day they will be believed, just as was Sabbatai in the seventeenth century. It will be a trial, a severe test for those prepared by Anthroposophy to recognize where the truth lies, a test as to whether a spiritual, vital feeling really fills the spiritual theories, or whether they only contain a hidden materialism. It will be a proof as to the further development of Anthroposophy, whether by its means a sufficient number of persons will be developed enough to understand that they have to see the spirit in the spirit, that they have to look up into the etheric world for a new manifestation of Christ; or whether they will remain at a standstill on the physical plane, determined to look for a manifestation of Christ in a physical body. The Anthroposophical Movement will yet have to undergo this test. But this we may say, that nowhere has the ground been better prepared to recognize the truth on this very subject, than here, where the Germanic Scandinavian mythology developed.

In that which has come down to us as the ‘Twilight of the Gods’ there is contained a significant vision of the future, and herewith I come to a chapter the starting-point of which I have already indicated. I have told you that when a community of people have so lately left their clairvoyant past behind them, that then a clairvoyant sense is also developed in their guiding Folk-spirit, by means of which the things we now find clairvoyantly can again be understood. Now if a people experiences the new age with new human capacities, on the very ground on which bloomed the Germanic Scandinavian mythology, it ought then to understand that what was formerly the old clairvoyance must take a different form after man has gone through his development on the physical plane. Here, for a while, that which spoke out of the old clairvoyance remained silent; then the world of Odin and Thor, of Balder and Hoeder, of Freyr and Freya withdrew for a while into the background, away from human vision. But that world will return after a period when other forces have meanwhile been at work upon the human soul.

When this human soul gazes out into the new world, with the new clairvoyance which begins with etheric clairvoyance, it will see that it can no longer retain the old forms of the forces which educated the soul. If it were able to do so, all the opposing forces would come into play against that force which in olden times had to educate the powers of man up to a certain height. Odin and Thor will again be visible to the eyes of man, but that will then be because the human soul will have gone through a new development. All the forces that are opposed to Odin and Thor will appear to the human soul. Everything which has developed in the way of opposing force will be once again visible in a mighty tableau. But the human soul would not progress, it would not be able to defend itself against injurious influences it were only to be subject to the forces seen by the old clairvoyance. Thor once upon a time gave man his ‘ I ’; that ‘ I ’ has been educated on the physical plane, has evolved out of what Loki, the Luciferic power, left behind in the astral body, viz., the Midgard Serpent. That which Thor was once able to give, and which the human soul is growing away from, is in conflict with what proceeds from the Midgard Serpent. In Scandinavian mythology that appears as Thor fighting the Midgard Serpent. They balance each other, that is to say, they slay each other. In the same way Odin wrestles with the Fenris Wolf, whereby they annihilate each other. Freyr, that which for a while developed the human soul-forces, had to be subdued by that which had been given from the earth-forces themselves to the ‘ I ’, which had in the meanwhile been educated on the physical plane. Freyr was overcome by the flaming sword of Surtur, who sprang from the earth.

All these details which are set forth in the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, correspond with that which is to appear to mankind in a newer etheric vision, which in reality refers to the future. The Fenris Wolf will still remain. Oh, there is a deep, deep truth concealed in this account of the Fenris Wolf remaining behind in conflict with Odin. In the near future of mankind there will be no danger so great as the tendency to remain satisfied with the old clairvoyance, — instead of developing the new by means of new forces — the danger that man might be tempted to remain satisfied with what the old astral clairvoyance of primal ages could give, namely, soul-pictures such as that of the Fenris Wolf. It would also be a severe trial for that which has to grow up in the domain of Anthroposophy, if in that, the tendency towards all sorts of confused, chaotic clairvoyance should arise, and an inclination to value the clairvoyance illuminated by reason and science less highly than the old chaotic one which does not possess this prerogative.

These remains of the old clairvoyance would wreak a fearful vengeance, by confusing the vision of men with all sorts of chaotic pictures. Such clairvoyance cannot be met by that which itself proceeded from old clairvoyant power, but only by that which during the Kali Yuga has been developed as a healthy force into a new clairvoyance. The power given by the old Archangel Odin, the old clairvoyant powers, cannot save man; something very different must come in. And what that is, is, however, known to Germanic Norse mythology, — it is well aware of its existence. It knows, that there exists the etheric form in which will embody that which we shall once again see as the etheric form of Christ. And this alone will succeed in driving out the confused clairvoyant power which would bewilder mankind, if Odin did not overcome the Fenris Wolf, which represents nothing but the backward clairvoyance. Vidar, who has kept silence all the time, will overcome the Fenris Wolf. That also is told us in the ‘Twilight of the Gods’.

Anyone who recognizes the importance of Vidar and feels him in his soul, will find that in the twentieth century the capacity can again be given to man with which to see Christ. Vidar, who belongs to us all in Northern and Central Europe, will again stand before him. He was kept secret in the Mysteries and secret Schools as a god who would receive his mission only in the future. Only indefinite statements are made even regarding his picture. This may be seen from the fact that a picture has been found in the vicinity of Cologne, of which no one knows whom it represents, but which is none other than a likeness of Vidar.

All through the Kali Yuga the powers were acquired which will make the new men capable of seeing the new manifestation of Christ. Those who are destined to point out from the signs of the times that which is to come, know that the new spiritual investigation will re-establish the power of Vidar, who will drive out of the minds of men all the remnants of the old chaotic clairvoyant power which might act in a confusing way, and who will arouse the new gradually evolving clairvoyance in the human breast, in the human soul.

Thus we see, when the wonderful figure of Vidar shines forth to us out of the ‘Twilight of the Gods’, that a hope for the future shines towards us as it were out of the Germanic Norse mythology. When we feel ourselves to be related to this figure of Vidar, of whom we are now trying to understand the deeper side, we hope that that which must be the central nerve and the vital essence of all Anthroposophy, will result from those forces which the Archangel of the Germanic Scandinavian world can contribute to the evolution of modern times. One part only of a greater whole has been accomplished for the fifth post-Atlantean civilization in the way of development of humanity and the spirit; another part has still to be accomplished. Those Northern Germanic peoples will best be able to contribute to this who feel that they have within them fresh elemental nation-forces. But this will to a certain extent be put into the souls of men. They themselves will have to make up their minds to work. One can go astray in the twentieth century because what has to be attained is to a certain extent subject to man's free will and must not be compulsory. It is therefore a question of having a proper understanding of that which is to come.

So you see, that when our Anthroposophy of to-day announces the knowledge of the Christ-Being, and when our hopes for the future are connected with that true knowledge of this Being which we look for in the substance of the European people themselves, that there is then no question of any sort of predilection or temperamental predisposition.

It has sometimes been said that one might call what we may describe as the greatest Being in the evolution of humanity, by any name one likes. (Never will one who recognizes the Christ-Being insist upon retaining the name Christ.) But if we understand the Christ-Impulse in the right way, we shall not say as follows: A Being lives in human evolution, in the humanity of the West and that of the East, and it must be such an one as to correspond to the sympathies of mankind for this or the other truth. That is not ‘occultistic’. What is ‘occultistic’ is, that the moment one recognizes that this Being must be called by the name Buddha, that should unreservedly be done, quite regardless of whether this is sympathetic to one or not; it is not a question of sympathy or antipathy, but of the truth, of the facts.

The moment the facts should teach us otherwise, we should be ready to act differently. The facts and the facts alone must be decisive for us. We shall bring neither Orientalism nor Occidentalism into that which we look upon as the real life-blood of Anthroposophy, and if we are to find in the world of Northern Germanic Archangels that which may yield a fertile seed for true Anthroposophy, that seed would not be given on this ground to one particular people or tribe, but to humanity as a whole. What is given to all mankind, and must be given, can only spring up at a certain place; but it must be given to the whole of humanity. We recognize no difference between the East and the West; we accept with great love that which we recognize as the overwhelming greatness of the primal culture of the Holy Rishis in its true form; we lovingly accept the Persian culture, and that which we know as the Egyptian-Chaldæan and the Græco-Latin cultures, and with just the same objectivity we also accept what has grown up for us from the soil of Europe. The necessity of the facts alone compels us to speak on these matters in the way we have done in these lectures.

If we accept from the whole of mankind all that each religion has contributed towards the civilizing process of mankind, and carry that into what we recognize and know to-day as the common possession of humanity, then, the more we do this, the more are we really active in the sense of the Christ-Principle. As this is capable of development, we must therefore overcome that which it had to go through during its early centuries and millennia, when the Christ-Principle was only understood in its most imperfect beginnings. We do not look into that past, nor are we guided by it. We lay no store by this tradition; the chief thing for us is, that which can be discovered and examined in the spiritual world. Hence the most important thing about the Christ-Principle to us is not what has been — however often tradition may affirm that — but what is yet to come. We do not depend so much upon historical tradition, but we endeavor to know what is to come. That is the essential thing in the Christ-Impulse, which came at the beginning of the Christian era, and we do not attach much importance to the external and historical. After Christianity has passed through its childish ailments, it will develop further. It has also gone out into foreign lands and wished to convert people to that which consisted of the several Christian dogmas of a particular age. But we have before our souls a Christianity of which we know that Christ was active in all the ages, and that we shall find Him in all places, whither-so-ever we go; that the Christ-Principle is the most anthroposophical principle there is. And if Buddhism only counts those persons as Buddhists who swear by Buddha, then Christianity will be that which swears by no prophet, because it is not under the influence of a founder of religion belonging to one particular people, but it recognizes the god of humanity.

He who is acquainted with Christianity knows that it refers to a Mystery, which at Golgotha became manifest on the physical plane. It is the vision of this Mystery which leads us in the direction I have described. We may also know that the spiritual life at that time was such, that this Mystery had then to be experienced in the way it actually was experienced by humanity. We allow no dogmas to be forced upon us, not even those of a Christian past, and if a dogma should be thrust upon us from one quarter or another, we should in accordance with the rightly understood Christ-Principle reject it. However many people may come and force a denominational acknowledgment of the historical Christ upon us, or say that what we see as the future Christ is wrong, we shall not allow ourselves to be led astray by being told that He must be like this or like that, even if it is said by those who ought to understand Who Christ is. In the same way the Christ-Being must not be limited and narrowed by Eastern traditions, nor be colored by the dogmas of Eastern dogmatism. That which is drawn from the sources of occultism will appear before mankind free and independent of every tradition and of all authority, in what it has to say about this evolution of the future.

It is wonderful to me how well people understand each other here. Friends who have journeyed here have said to me again and again in these last few days how free they feel with the people of the Scandinavian North. Many have expressed that feeling. It is a proof that we shall be able, though some may not be conscious of it, to understand each other in the deepest essence of our Anthroposophical knowledge; it is proof of how we shall understand each other, especially in that which I mentioned at the last Theosophical Congress at Budapest, and which I repeated during our own General Meeting in Berlin, when we had the great pleasure of seeing friends also from the North among us. It would be a bad thing for Anthroposophy if one who cannot yet see into the spiritual world were obliged to accept in blind faith what is being said. I beg of you now, as I did in Berlin, to accept nothing I have ever said or ever shall say, on authority or in blind faith. It is possible, even before a man has reached he stage of clairvoyance, to test what is obtained through clairvoyant observation. Whatever I have said about Zarathustra and Jesus of Nazareth, about Hermes and Moses, about Odin and Thor, about Christ Jesus Himself, I beg of you not to believe it or accept my words on authority. I beseech you to dis-accustom yourselves from the principle of authority, for that principle would be an evil one for us.

I know very well, however, that when with an unprejudiced sense for truth you begin to reflect, when you say, ‘We have been told so and so; let us search the records accessible to us, the religious and mythological documents, let us ascertain what natural science can tell us,’ that then you will perceive the correctness of what has been said. Make use of all the means you can bring to your assistance, the more the better. I am not afraid. That which comes from the sources of Rosicrucianism may be tested in every way. Test by the most materialistic criticism of the Gospels what I have said about Christ Jesus, test by means of all the sources at your disposal what I have said about history, test it as minutely as possible by all the means at your disposal on the physical plane; I am convinced that the more minutely you test it, the more you will find, that what has been said out of the sources of the Rosicrucian Mystery will be found to correspond to the truth.

I count upon the communications made from Rosicrucianism not being believed, but proved, not superficially by the superficial methods of present-day science, but ever more and more conscientiously. Take all that the most modern science with the newest methods can offer you, take everything which the historical or religious investigations have yielded; the more you test it, the more you will find confirmation from this source. You must take nothing on authority. The best Anthroposophists are those who take what is said as a stimulus in the first place, and then place it at the service of life, so as to prove it by life itself. For in life also, at every stage of it, you can test that which has been said out of the sources of Rosicrucianism. It is far from the intention underlying these lectures to set up I a dogma and say: This or that is so and so, and must be believed. Test it by the healthy and mentally vigorous people whom you know, and you will yourselves find confirmed what has been said as a prophetic indication l of the future manifestation of Christ. You need only open your eyes and without prejudice test it; we make no appeal to belief in authority. The test is a sort of basic attitude, which should, like a golden thread, run through the whole.

So now I should like you to lay this to heart: that it is not ‘anthroposophical to accept a statement as dogma because this or that person made it, but it is anthroposophical to let oneself be stimulated by, Spiritual Science, and to test what one receives by life itself. Then what ever might color our anthroposophical view from one quarter or another, will vanish away. Neither Eastern nor Western shades should color our views. One who speaks in the sense of Rosicrucianism knows neither Orientalism nor Occidentalism; both are equally sympathetic to him; he only states the truth according to the inner nature of the facts.

That it is which we must bear in mind, particularly at such an important moment as this, when we have indicated the Folk-spirit who rules over all the Northern lands. In these lands lives the Germanic Scandinavian mythological Spirit; and although at the present day he still lives below the surface, yet he is spread out much more widely in Europe than one might suppose. If a conflict were to arise between the peoples of the North, it could not consist in one people disputing with another about what is to be given, but in each people practicing self-knowledge and inquiring, ‘What is the best that I can give?’ Then to the common altar will flow that which leads to the common progress, to the common welfare of mankind. The sources of what we are able to contribute lie in the individuality. The Germanic Scandinavian Archangel will bring to the collective human culture of the future, just what he is most fitted for according to the capacities he has acquired, as we have sufficiently described. He is, however, specially capable of bringing about that which could not yet be given in the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilization but which may still play its part in the second, viz., the spiritual element which we pointed out as being prophetically germinal in the Slav philosophy and national sentiment. While this was in a state of preparation the first half of the fifth post-Atlantean age of civilization had to be passed through. All that could be attained then to begin with was a very sublimated spiritual perception in the form of philosophy. This must then be grasped and permeated by the forces of the people, so that it may become the common possession of mankind, and become comprehensible in all parts of our earth-life.

Let us endeavor to understand one another on this subject, and then this otherwise somewhat dangerous theme will not have borne evil fruit, if all who have assembled here from the North, South, East, West and Centre of Europe become aware that it is important for the whole of humanity that we should feel that the great peoples as well as the smaller subdivisions of peoples all have their mission, and have to contribute their part to the whole. Sometimes the smaller peoples that have been separated off, because they were to preserve either the old or the new characteristics of soul, have to contribute something most important. Thus, although we have made this dangerous question the subject of our lectures, nothing else can come of it than the basic sentiment of a community of soul among all those who are united in the sign of anthroposophical thought and feeling and of anthroposophical ideals.

Then, only if we are still guided by our sympathies and antipathies, if we have not clearly grasped the kernel of our anthroposophical world-movement, could misunderstandings arise from what has been said. But if we have grasped the spirit presiding in these lectures, then the things we have heard may also help us to make the firm resolution and hold the high ideal, — each one from his own standpoint and his own ground, — to contribute to the common goal that which lies in our own mission. This we can best do with that which originates in ourselves, with that to which we are predisposed. We can best serve mankind as a whole if we develop that, so as to embody it in the whole of humanity as a sacrifice which we bring to the progressive stream of culture. We must learn to understand this. We must learn to understand that it would be a bad thing if Anthroposophy did not contribute to the evolution of man, Angel and Archangel, but were to contribute to the overcoming of the convictions of one people by those of another. Anthroposophy is not here to assist one form of religion which rules in one part of the earth to prevail over another. If the West were ever to be conquered by the East, or vice versa, that would absolutely not be in accordance with anthroposophical sentiment. That alone is anthroposophical, that we should give of our best, that which is purely human, to the whole of humanity. And if we live entirely within ourselves, not, however, for ourselves but for all men, then that is true anthroposophical tolerance. These words I had to add to our somewhat dangerous subject.

By means of Anthroposophy — as we shall see more and more clearly — all splitting-up will cease. Therefore it is now just the right time to know the Folk-souls, because Anthroposophy is here to teach us not to place them in opposition to one another, but to call upon them to work in harmonious co-operation. The better we understand this, the better Anthroposophists we shall be. This should be the note on which, for the present, these lectures close. For finally the knowledge we gather must really work in our feelings and our thinking, and in our anthroposophical idea. The more we live up to this the better Anthroposophists we are.

I have found that many of those who have accompanied us to the North have received the best possible impression, which was expressed in the words, ‘how much they liked being here in the North.’ And if exalted forces are to be aroused in mankind in the future, if we would speak with the words of Vidar, the silent Asa, whom we shall most certainly see before us, he will then become the active friend of co-operative work, of cooperative industry, for which purpose we have all been assembled here. Let us in this sense part from one another in space, after having been together for a few days, but let us in this sense always be together in spirit. Wherever we Anthroposophists go, whether far or near, may we always find ourselves together in harmony, even when we have to discuss the special nature of the peoples inhabiting the various countries of the earth. We know that they are only individual sacrificial flames which do not separate from one another, but which will unite in the mighty sacrificial fire that must unite for the good of mankind through the anthroposophical view of life which is so dear to our hearts and is so deeply rooted within our souls.




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