AS I EXPLAINED
in my preceding remarks, it is the beings who completed their
human stage of development during the previous incarnation of the earth
— the old moon period — who guide human spiritual evolution.
Their guidance, however, is obstructed and opposed by beings who did not
complete their development during the moon period. Nevertheless, while
these “imperfect” beings obstruct the guiding activity of
those who completed their development, they also, paradoxically, further
it. The resistance they offer to our progress strengthens, solidifies,
and lends increased weight and significance to the forces that are called
forth by the beings who advance our development.
In Christian esotericism, these classes of superhuman beings who have
attained the developmental level immediately above our own, both those
who advance our development and those who help us by introducing obstacles,
are called angels or angeloi. Above them are the beings of the higher
hierarchies, the arch-angels, archai, and so on, who also take part
in guiding humanity.
of these hierarchies we find beings of varying degrees of perfection.
At the beginning of the present earth's evolution, for instance,
we find angeloi of higher and lower standing. Those of higher [mistranslation: should be lower] standing
barely attained the minimum level of development when the moon stage
of evolution ended and the earth stage began, while those of higher
standing had passed far beyond it. Between these two types are to be
found angeloi of every possible level of development whose participation
in the guidance of human evolution on earth is in accordance with the
level they have attained. Thus, the beings who had the guiding role
in Egyptian cultural development were those who had reached a higher
stage of perfection on the Moon than those who guided humanity during
the Greco-Latin age, and these, in turn, were more perfect than the
beings who guide us now. Those who were to guide humanity later trained
themselves for this task during the Egyptian and the Greek periods.
By this means, they were prepared to guide a culture that had progressed
time period following the Atlantean catastrophe seven successive cultural
epochs may be distinguished: first, the ancient Indian; second, the
[Ancient Persian here does not refer to what is called
“Persian” in ordinary history but rather to an ancient Asian
prehistoric (Iranian) culture that developed in the region where the
Persian Empire flourished later.]
third, the Egypto-Chaldean;
and fourth, the Greco-Latin. Our own period, which began around the
twelfth century, constitutes the fifth cultural epoch and, although we
are still in the middle of it, the first preparations for the sixth epoch
are already underway. In other words, these individual periods of evolution
overlap and transitions are very gradual. A seventh post-Atlantean
epoch will follow the sixth.
more closely at the guidance of humanity, we realize that it was only
in the third cultural epoch — the Egypto-Chaldean — that the
angels or lower dhyanic beings became to some extent independent guides
of human evolution. This was not the case in the ancient Persian period.
The angels then did not yet possess this independence and were subordinate
to a higher guidance to a greater degree than they were during the Egyptian
period. In ancient Persian times, angels still worked according to the
impulses of the hierarchy above them. Thus, although everything was
already subject to the angels' guidance, they themselves submitted to
the direction of the archangels (archangeloi).
age of ancient India, on the other hand, during which post-Atlantean
life reached unequaled spiritual heights — natural heights —
under the guidance of great human teachers, the archangels themselves were
still subject to a higher guidance, namely, that of the archai or
may say that from the Indian period on, through the ancient Persian
and Egypto-Chaldean cultures, certain beings of the higher hierarchies
increasingly withdrew from the direct guidance of humanity. Consequently,
by the time of the fourth, Greco-Latin post-Atlantean cultural period,
human beings had become, in certain respects, entirely independent.
To be sure, the superhuman beings described above still guided human
evolution, but they held the reins as loosely as possible.
As a result,
the spiritual beings guiding humanity benefited as much from our actions
as we did ourselves. This explains the entirely “human”
character of the Greco-Roman period: human beings were left completely
to their own resources. The characteristics of art and political life
in the Greek and Roman epochs grew out of this necessity of human beings
to live out their individuality in their own way.
consider very early periods of cultural history, we find humanity guided
by beings who had reached their human level of development in earlier
planetary stages. The fourth, Greco-Latin epoch was intended to test
human beings to the greatest extent possible. For this reason, the entire
spiritual leadership of humanity had to be arranged in a new way.
epoch, the fifth post-Atlantean one, the beings guiding us belong to the
same hierarchy that ruled the ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans. The beings
who were guiding people then are in fact now resuming their activities. As
I said above, certain of these beings remained behind in their development,
and we can feel their influence now in today's materialistic feelings
angelic (or lower dhyanic) beings that advance our development, as well
as those who try to obstruct it, progressed in their development by
guiding the ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans through qualities they had
themselves acquired in very ancient times. At the same time, through
their work of guidance they advanced their own development. Thus, these
advancing angeloi are guiding our fifth post-Atlantean epoch with abilities
they acquired during the Egypto-Chaldean period. As a result of this
progress, they can now develop very special capabilities. Namely, they
have qualified themselves to be filled with forces that flow from the
most important being of the whole of earthly evolution. The power of
Christ works on them.
works not only in the physical world through Jesus of Nazareth but also
in the spiritual worlds on superhuman beings. Christ exists not only
for the earth but also for these higher beings. The beings who guided
ancient Egypto-Chaldean culture were not then guided by Christ; they
submitted to Christ's guidance only later. This submission was the step
in their development that enabled them to guide the fifth post-Atlantean
period under Christ's influence. Now they are followers of Christ in
the higher worlds.
On the other
hand, the angelic beings I have described as obstructing our development
were held back in their development precisely because they did not submit
to Christ's leadership and continue to work independently. This is why the
materialistic trend in our culture will become more and more pronounced.
There will be a materialistic stream guided by the Egypto-Chaldean
spirits whose development was held back. Most of what is called modern
materialistic science is under this influence.
this influence, a second, different stream is also making itself felt.
This is geared to helping us find the Christ-principle, as we call it,
in all we do. For example, some people today claim that our world consists,
in the final analysis, only of atoms. Who instills into human beings
the idea that the world consists only of atoms? They get this idea from
the superhuman angelic beings whose development was arrested during
the Egypto-Chaldean period. However, the angelic beings who reached
their goal in the ancient Egypto-Chaldean cultural period and encountered
Christ at that time can instill other ideas in us. They can teach us
that substance is permeated with the spirit of Christ right down to
the smallest parts of the world. And, however strange it may seem now, a
time will come when chemistry and physics will not be taught as they are
today under the influence of the Egypto-Chaldean spirits whose development
was held back. Instead, scientists will teach that matter is built up
piece by piece the way Christ ordered it. People will find
Christ even in the laws of chemistry and physics, and a spiritual chemistry
and a spiritual physics will develop.
this now seems to many people merely a daydream or worse. But yesterday's
folly is often tomorrow's wisdom. Careful observers can already discern the
factors working toward this end in our cultural development. At the same
time, of course, such observers know only too well the scientific or
philosophical objections that can be raised — with apparent
justification — against this supposed folly.
basis of the assumptions presented here, we can understand the advantages
the guiding superhuman beings have over us. Post-Atlantean humanity
encountered Christ when the Christ-event entered human history in the
fourth post-Atlantean or Greco-Latin epoch. The superhuman guiding beings
encountered Christ during the Egypto-Chaldean period and worked their way
up toward him. Then, during the Greco-Latin epoch, they had to leave
humanity to its fate, in order later to take part in guiding its
development again. Today when we practice theosophy [anthroposophy] this
means that we acknowledge that the superhuman beings who guided humanity
in the past are now continuing their guiding function by submitting
themselves to Christ's leadership. The same is also true for other
ancient Persian epoch archangels took part in guiding humanity. They
submitted to the leadership of Christ even earlier than the beings of
the lower hierarchies. Zarathustra, for example, turned the attention
of his followers and his people to the sun, telling them that the great
spirit Ahura Mazda, “he who will come down to earth,” lives
in the sun.
The archangels who guided Zarathustra taught him about the
great sun-guide who had not yet come down to earth but had only started
on his way so as to later be able to intervene directly in
earthly evolution. Similarly, the guiding beings presiding over the
great teachers of India taught them about the Christ of the future.
It is an error to think that these teachers knew nothing about Christ.
They only said he was “above their sphere,” and that they
“could not reach him.”
our fifth cultural epoch it is the angels who bring Christ into our
spiritual development, so in the sixth cultural epoch we will be guided
by the beings who guided the ancient Persian epoch. The spirits of primal
beginning, the archai, who guided humanity in ancient India, will, under
Christ, guide humanity in the seventh cultural epoch. In Greco-Latin
times, Christ came down from spiritual heights and revealed himself
in the flesh in the body of Jesus of Nazareth — he descended right
into the physical world. When they are ready, human beings will find
Christ again in the next higher world. In the future, Christ will no
longer be found in the physical world but only in the worlds directly
human beings will not always remain as they are now. We will become more
mature and will find Christ in the spiritual world, as Paul did in the
event on the road to Damascus, an event that prophetically foreshadows the
future. And as the great teachers who led humanity in the Egypto-Chaldean
epoch also guide us, so too it will be they who will lead us in the
twentieth century to a vision of Christ similar to the one Paul saw. They
will show us that Christ works not only on the earth but spiritualizes the
entire solar system. Then, in the seventh cultural epoch, the reincarnated
holy teachers of India will proclaim Christ as the great spirit, whose
presence they first sensed in the unity of Brahman but which received
its meaning and content only through Christ.
They will recognize Christ
as the spirit they believed to rule above their sphere. Thus, step by
step, humanity is led into the spiritual world.
of Christ as the leader of successive worlds and of the higher hierarchies
is the teaching of the science that has unfolded since the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries under the sign of the Rose Cross, a science that
has increasingly proven essential for humanity.
Looking at Christ from this
perspective, we gain new insights into the being who lived in Palestine
and then fulfilled the Mystery of Golgotha, as the following shows.
have been many different views of Christ before today's. For example,
certain Christian gnostics of the first centuries claimed that the Christ
who lived in Palestine did not have a physical body of flesh at all
but had only an apparent “etheric”body that became visible
to physical eyes.
Consequently, since for them only an etheric body was present, they
said Christ's death on the cross was not a real death but only
an apparent one. There were also various disputes among the adherents
of Christianity — for example, the famous dispute between the Arians
and the Athanasians,
and so on — as well as many different interpretations
of the true nature of Christ. Many different views of Christ, indeed,
have been held by people right into our own time.
science, however, must see Christ not just as an earthly being but as
a cosmic being. In a certain sense, we human beings are also
cosmic beings. We live a dual life: a physical life in the physical
body from birth until death and a life in the spiritual worlds between
death and rebirth. While we are incarnated in the physical body, we
are dependent on the earth because the physical body is subject to the
living conditions and forces of the earth. We ingest the substances
and forces of the earth, and we are also part of the earth's physical
organism. But once we have passed through the portal of death, we no
longer belong to the forces of the earth.
would be wrong to imagine that having passed through the portal of death
we do not belong to any forces at all, for after death we are connected
with the forces of the solar system and the other galaxies. Between
death and rebirth we live in and belong to the cosmos in the same way
as between birth and death we live in the earthly realm and belong to
the elements of air, water, earth and so on. After death, we enter the
realm of cosmic influences; for example, the planets affect us not only
with gravity and other physical forces explained by physical astronomy
but also with their spiritual forces. Indeed, we are connected with
these cosmic spiritual forces after death, each of us in a particular
way appropriate to our individuality. Just as a person born in Europe
has a different relationship to temperature conditions and so on than a
person born in Australia, so each of us similarly has a unique, individual
relationship to the forces working on us during life after death. One
person may have a closer relationship to the forces of Mars while another
is more closely connected to those of Jupiter and yet others may have
a closer relationship to the forces of the entire galaxy, and so on.
These forces also lead us back to the earth to our new life. Thus, before
our rebirth we are connected with the entire starry universe.
relationship of an individual to the cosmic system determines which
forces lead him or her back to earth; they also determine to which parents
and to which locality we are brought. The impulse to incarnate in one
place or another, in this or that family, in this or that nation, at
this or that point in time, is determined by the way the individual
is integrated into the cosmos before birth.
In the past
the German language had an expression that poignantly characterized the
birth of an individual. When someone was born, people said that he or she
had “become young” (“ist jung geworden”).
Unconsciously, this expression indicates that following death we are
first subject to the forces that made us old in our previous incarnation,
but just before our new birth, these are replaced by other forces that
make us “young” again. In his drama Faust, Goethe
says of someone that he “became young in Nebelland (the
land of mist)”; Nebelland is the old name for medieval
who are knowledgeable about these things can “read” the
forces that determine a person's path in his or her physical life; on
this basis horoscopes are cast. Each of us is assigned a particular
horoscope, in which the forces are revealed that have led us into this
life. For example, if in a particular horoscope Mars is above Aries,
this means that certain Aries forces cannot pass through Mars but are
human beings on their way into physical existence can get their bearings
through their horoscope. Before ending this discussion — which,
after all, seems a daring one in our time — we should note that most
of what is presented today in this area is the purest dilettantism and
pure superstition. As far as the world at large is concerned, the true
science of these things has largely been lost. Therefore, the principles
presented here should not be judged according to the claims of modern
astrology, which is highly questionable.
forces of the starry world push us into physical incarnation. Clairvoyant
perception allows us to see in a person's organization that he or she is
indeed the result of the working together of such cosmic forces. I want
to illustrate this in a hypothetical form that nevertheless corresponds
fully to clairvoyant perceptions.
examined the structure of a person's brain clairvoyantly and could see
that certain functions are located in certain places and give rise to
certain processes, we would find that each person's brain is different.
No two people have the same brain. If we could take a picture of the
entire brain with all of its details visible, we would get a different
picture for each person. If we photographed a person's brain at the
moment of birth and took a picture of the sky directly above his or her
birthplace, the two pictures would be alike. The stars in the photograph
of the sky would be arranged in the same way as certain parts of the
brain in the other picture. Thus, our brain is really a picture of the
heavens, and we each have a different picture depending on where and
when we were born. This indicates that we are born out of the entire
gives us an idea of the way the macrocosm manifests in the individual
and from this, in turn, we can understand how it manifests in Christ.
If we were to think that after the Baptism, the macrocosm lived
in Christ in the same way as it does in any other human being,
we would have the wrong idea.
consider for a moment Jesus of Nazareth and his extraordinary life. At the
beginning of the Christian era, two boys named Jesus were born. One
belonged to the Nathan line of the house of David, the other to the
Solomon line of the same house. These two boys were born at approximately
— though not exactly — the same time.
Solomon child portrayed in the Gospel of St. Matthew, the individuality who
had lived earlier as Zarathustra incarnated. Thus, in the Jesus depicted
in the Gospel of St. Matthew, we actually encounter the reincarnated
Zarathustra or Zoroaster.
The individuality of Zarathustra grew up in
this child just as Matthew describes it, until the boy's twelfth year.
Then Zarathustra left his body and entered the body of the other Jesus,
the one described by the Gospel of St. Luke. That is why at this moment
the child Jesus so suddenly became entirely different from what he had
previously been. When his parents found him in the temple in Jerusalem
after the spirit of Zarathustra had entered him, they were astonished.
This is shown by the fact that they could not understand what he said
when they found him for they knew only the Nathan Jesus as he had been
before. The Jesus who now stood before them could talk as he did to
the scribes in the temple because the spirit of Zarathustra had now
entered into him.
of Zarathustra lived and matured to a still higher perfection in this
Jesus, who came from the Nathan line of the house of David, up to his
thirtieth year. It should also be noted that impulses from the
Buddha streamed out of the spiritual world into the
astral body of this youth, in whom the spirit of Zarathustra
true, as the Eastern tradition teaches, that the Buddha was born as
a “bodhisattva” and only reached the rank of buddha on earth
in his twenty-ninth year.
When Gautama Buddha was still a small child, Asita, the great Indian sage,
came weeping to the royal palace. As a seer, Asita knew this royal child
would become the “Buddha.”
He only regretted that, since he was already an old man, he would not
live to see the son of Suddhodana become Buddha. This wise man Asita
was reborn in the time of Jesus of Nazareth; it is he who is introduced
in St. Luke's Gospel as the temple priest and sees the Buddha
reveal himself in the Nathan Jesus. And because he saw this he said:
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ... for
mine eyes have seen thy salvation” (Luke 2:29-30). Through the
astral body of this Jesus boy — the one presented in the Gospel
of St. Luke — Asita could see what he had not been able to see in
India: the bodhisattva who has become Buddha.
All of this
was necessary for the development of the body that was to receive the
Baptism by John in the river Jordan. At the moment of the Baptism, the
individuality of Zarathustra left behind the threefold body —
physical, etheric, and astral — of the Jesus who had grown up in the
complicated way that enabled Zarathustra's spirit to dwell in him —
for the reborn Zarathustra had had to undergo the two developmental
possibilities represented in the two Jesus boys. Thus John the Baptist was
brought before the body of Jesus of Nazareth in whom the cosmic
individuality of Christ was now working. Other human beings are placed
into their earthly existence through cosmic-spiritual laws, but these are
then counteracted by those originating in the conditions of the earth's
evolution. In the case of Christ Jesus, however, the cosmicspiritual
powers alone remained active in him after the Baptism. The laws of the
earth's evolution did not influence him at all.
the time that Jesus of Nazareth pursued his ministry and journeys as
Jesus Christ in Palestine in the last three years of his life — from
the age of thirty to thirty-three — the entire cosmic Christ-being
continued to work in him. In other words, Christ always stood under
the influence of the entire cosmos; he did not take a single step without
cosmic forces working in him. The events of these three years in Jesus'
life were a continuous realization of his horoscope, for in every moment
during those years there occurred what usually happens only at birth.
This was possible because the entire body of the Nathan Jesus had remained
susceptible to the influence of the totality of the forces of the
cosmic-spiritual hierarchies that guide our earth.
we know that the whole spirit of the cosmos penetrated Christ Jesus
we may ask, Who was the being who went to Capernaum and all the other
places Jesus went? The being who walked the earth in those years certainly
looked like any other human being. But the forces working in him were the
cosmic forces coming from the sun and the stars; they directed his body.
The total essence of the cosmos, to which the earth belongs, determined
what Christ Jesus did. This is why the constellations are so often alluded
to in the gospel descriptions of Jesus' activities. For example, in
the Gospel of St. John the time when Christ finds his first disciple
is described as “about the tenth hour” (John 1:39). In this
fact the spirit of the entire cosmos expressed itself in a way appropriate
to the appointed moment. Such indications are less obvious in other
places in the gospels, but people who can read the gospels properly
will find them everywhere.
of healing the sick must also be understood from this point of view.
Let us look at just one passage, the one that reads, “Now when
the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various
diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on them and healed
them” (Luke 5:40). What does this mean? Here the gospel writer
points out that this healing was connected with the constellation of
the stars, that in those days the necessary constellation was present
only after the sun had set. In other words, in those times the healing
forces could manifest themselves only after sunset. Christ Jesus is
portrayed as the mediator who brings together the sick and the forces
of the cosmos that could heal them at precisely that time. These were
the same forces that also worked as Christ in Jesus. The healing occurred
through Christ's presence, which exposed the sick to the healing
cosmic forces. These healing forces could be effective only under the
appropriate conditions of space and time, as described above. In other
words, the forces of the cosmos worked on the sick through their
representative, the Christ.
these forces could work in this way only while Christ was on earth.
Only then were the cosmic constellations so connected to the forces
in the human organism that certain diseases could be cured when these
constellations worked on individuals through Christ Jesus. A repetition
of these conditions in cosmic and earthly evolution is just as impossible
as a second incarnation of the Christ in a human body. Thus, the life
of Christ Jesus was the earthly expression of a particular relationship
between the cosmos and human forces. When sick people remained for a
while by Christ's side, their nearness to Christ brought them into a
relationship to the macrocosm and this had a healing effect on them.
* * *
have said so far allows us to understand how the guidance of humanity has
been placed under the influence of Christ. Nevertheless, the other forces
whose development was held back in the Egypto-Chaldean epoch also continue
to work alongside those that are Christ-filled, as we can see in many
contemporary interpretations of the gospels. Books are published that take
great pains to show that the gospels can be understood astrologically. The
greatest opponents of the gospels cite this astrological interpretation,
claiming, for example, that the path of the archangel Gabriel from
Elizabeth to Mary represents the movement of the sun from the constellation
of Virgo to another one.
To a certain
extent, this astrological interpretation is correct; however, in our
time, ideas of this sort are instilled into people by the beings whose
development was arrested during the Egypto-Chaldean epoch. Under their
influence there are some who would have us believe that the gospels
are merely allegories representing certain cosmic relationships. The
truth is, however, that the whole cosmos is expressed in Christ. In
other words, we can characterize Christ's life by describing for each
of its events the cosmic relationships that, through Christ,
entered life on earth.
as we understand all this correctly, we will inevitably and fully accept
that Christ lived on earth. The false view mentioned above, however,
claims that, because Christ's life is expressed in the gospels through
cosmic constellations, it follows necessarily that the gospels are only
an allegory of these constellations and that Christ did not really live
me to use a comparison to make things clear. Imagine every person at
birth as a spherical mirror reflecting everything around it. Were we
to trace the outlines of the images in the mirror with a pencil, we
could then take the mirror and carry the picture it represents with
us wherever we went. Just so, we carry a picture of the cosmos within
us when we are born, and this one picture affects and influences us
throughout our lives. Of course, we could also leave the mirror clean
as it was originally, in which case it would reflect its surroundings
wherever we took it, providing us with a complete picture of the world
around us. This analogy explains how Christ was in the time between
the Baptism in the Jordan and the Mystery of Golgotha. What enters our
earthly life only at our birth flowed into Christ Jesus at
each moment of his life. After the Mystery of Golgotha, what had
streamed into Christ from the cosmos merged with the spiritual substance
of the earth, and it has been united with the spirit of the earth ever
became clairvoyant on his way to Damascus, he was able to perceive that
what had previously been in the cosmos had merged with the spirit of
the earth. People who can relive this event in their soul can see this
for themselves. In the twentieth century, human beings are able for
the first time to experience the Christ-event spiritually, as St. Paul
did. Up to this century only those individuals who had gained clairvoyant
powers through esoteric schooling were able to have such experiences.
Today and in the future, however, as a result of natural human development,
advancing soul forces will be able to see Christ in the spiritual sphere
of the earth. Beginning with a certain point in the twentieth century,
a few people will be able to have such experiences and will be able
to relive the incident at Damascus, but thereafter gradually more and
more people will be able to do so, and in the distant future it will
have become a natural capacity of the human soul to see Christ in this
* * *
entered earthly history, a completely new element was introduced into
it. Even the outer events of history bear witness to this. In the first
cultural periods after the Atlantean catastrophe, people knew very well
that the physical planets, such as Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn, were the
expressions or manifestations of spiritual beings. In later ages this
view was completely forgotten. People came to see the heavenly bodies
as merely material things — to be judged according to their physical
conditions. By the Middle Ages, people saw in the stars only what their
physical eyes could perceive: the sphere of Venus, the sphere of the
sun, of Mars, and so on up to the sphere of the firmament of fixed stars.
Beyond that, they believed, there was the eighth sphere which enclosed
the others like a solid blue wall around them.
Copernicus came and shook to its foundations the established outlook of
relying completely and exclusively on what the human senses could perceive.
According to modern natural science, only people with muddled minds
can claim that the world is maya or illusion and that we must look into
a spiritual world to see the truth. Scientists believe that true science
is based on what our senses tell us, and they record those perceptions.
However, the only time when astronomers relied exclusively on their
senses was in the days when the astronomy prevailed that modern astronomers
astronomy began to develop as a science when Copernicus started to think
about what exists in the universe beyond the range of human sensory
perception. In fact, it is true of all the sciences that they developed
in opposition to sensory appearance. When Copernicus explained
that what we see is maya, illusion, and that we should rely on what
we cannot see — that was the moment when science as we
know it today began.
words, the modern sciences did not become “science” until
they stopped relying exclusively on sensory perception. Giordano Bruno,
as the philosophical interpreter of Copernicus's teachings, proclaimed
that the eighth sphere, which had been considered the boundary of space
enclosing everything, was not a boundary at all.
It was maya, an illusion, and only appeared to be the boundary. In
reality, a vast number of worlds had been poured into the universe.
Thus what had previously been regarded as the boundary of the
universe now became the boundary of the world of human sensory
perception. We have to look beyond the sense world. Once
we no longer see the world merely as it appears to our senses,
then we can perceive infinity.
then, humanity had a spiritual view of the cosmos, but in the course
of history this was gradually lost. The spiritual world view was replaced
by an understanding of the world based exclusively on sensory perception.
Then the Christ impulse entered human history. Through this principle
humanity was led once again to imbue the materialistic outlook with
spirituality. At the moment when Giordano Bruno burst the confines of
sensory appearance, the Christ-development had so far advanced in him that
the soul force, which had been kindled by the Christ-impulse, could be
active within him. This indicates the significance of Christ's involvement
in human history and development, which is really still in its early
then, are the goals of spiritual science?
science completes what Bruno and others did for the outer physical sciences
by demonstrating that the conventional, sense-based sciences can perceive
and understand only maya or illusion. At one time, people looked up
to the “eighth sphere” and believed it to be the boundary
of the universe. Similarly, modern thinking considers human life bounded
by birth and death. Spiritual science extends our view beyond these
like this one allow us to see human evolution as an uninterrupted chain.
And, indeed, what Copernicus and Bruno accomplished for space by overcoming
sensory appearance had already been known earlier from the inspirations
of the spiritual stream that is continued today by spiritual science
or theosophy [anthroposophy]. Modern esotericism, as we may call it,
worked in a secret and mysterious way on Copernicus, Bruno, Kepler,
Thus, people whose outlook is based on the findings
of Bruno and Copernicus betray their own traditions when they refuse
to accept theosophy [anthroposophy] and insist on looking only at sensory
Giordano Bruno broke through the blue vault of heaven, so spiritual
science breaks through the boundaries of birth and death and proves that
the human being comes forth from the macrocosm to live in this physical
life and returns again to a macrocosmic existence after death. What is
revealed in the individual on a limited scale can be seen on a much larger
scale in the representative of the cosmic spirit, in Christ Jesus. The
impulse Christ gave to evolution could be given only once. Only
once could the entire cosmos be reflected as it was in Christ; the
constellation that existed then will not appear again. This constellation
had to work through a human body in order to be able to impart its impulse
to the earth. Just as this particular constellation will not occur a
second time, so Christ will not incarnate again. People claim that Christ
will appear again on earth only because they do not know that Christ
is the representative of the entire universe and because they cannot
find the way to the Christ-idea presented in all its elements by spiritual
modern spiritual science or theosophy [anthroposophy] has developed
a Christ-idea that shows us our kinship with the entire macrocosm in
a new way. To really know Christ we need the inspiring forces that are
now imparted through the ancient Egyptian and Chaldean superhuman beings
who were themselves guided by Christ. We need this new inspiration,
which has been prepared by the great esotericists of the Middle Ages
since the thirteenth century. This new inspiration must now be brought
more and more to the attention of the general public. If we prepare the
soul properly for the perception of the spiritual world according to the
teachings of spiritual science, we will be able to hear clairaudiently
and to see clairvoyantly what is revealed by these ancient Chaldean
and Egyptian powers, who have now become spiritual guides under the
leadership of the Christ-being. The first Christian centuries up to
our own time were only the preparation for what humanity will receive
and understand one day.
future, people's hearts will be filled with a Christ-idea whose magnitude
will surpass anything humanity has known and understood so far. The
first impulse that Christ brought and the understanding of him that has
lived on until now is even in the best exponents of the Christ-principle
only a preparation for a true understanding of Christ. Strangely enough,
those who present the Christ-idea in this way in the West will in all
probability be accused of not basing themselves on western Christian
tradition. After all, this western Christian tradition is utterly
inadequate for understanding Christ in the near future.
esotericism allows us to see the spiritual guidance of humanity gradually
merge with the guidance proceeding from the Christ-impulse. Modern
esotericism will gradually flow into people's hearts, and the spiritual
guidance of the individual and humanity will more and more be seen
consciously in this light.
recall that the Christ-principle first entered human hearts when Christ
ministered in Palestine in the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth. In
those days, people who had gradually resigned themselves to trusting
only in the sensory world could receive the impulse appropriate to their
understanding. The same impulse then worked through modern esotericism
to inspire such great minds as Nicholas of Cusa, Copernicus, and Galileo.
That is why Copernicus could assert that sensory appearance cannot teach
us the truth about the solar system and that we must look beyond it
to find the truth.
time, people were not yet mature enough — even a brilliant man like
Giordano Bruno was not yet ready — to integrate themselves
consciously into the stream of modern esotericism. The spirit of
this stream had to work in them without their being conscious of it.
Giordano Bruno proclaimed proudly that the human being is actually a
macrocosmic being condensed into a monad to enter physical existence; and
that this monad expands again when the individual dies. What had been
condensed in the body expands into the universe in order to concentrate
again at other levels of existence and to expand again, and so on. Bruno
expressed great concepts that fully agree with modern esotericism, even
though they may sound like stammering to our modern ears.
not necessarily always conscious of the spiritual influences that guide
us. For example, such influences led Galileo into the cathedral of Pisa.
Thousands of people had seen the old church lamp there, but they did
not look at it the way he did. Galileo saw the lamp swing and compared
its oscillations with his pulse beats. In this way he discovered that the
church lamp swung in a regular rhythm similar to that of his pulse —
the “law of the pendulum,” as it is known in modern physics.
Anyone familiar with modern physics knows that physics as we know it
would not exist if it had not been for Galileo's laws. What was at work
in leading Galileo to the swinging lamp in the cathedral — thus
giving modern physics its first principles — now works in spiritual
science. The powers that guide us spiritually work secretly in this
now approaching a time when we have to become conscious of these guiding
powers. We will be able to understand better what must happen in the
future if we correctly grasp the inspiration coming to us from modern
esotericism. From this inspiration we also know that the spiritual beings
whom the ancient Egyptians considered to be their teachers — the
same beings who ruled as gods — are ruling again, but that they now
want to submit to Christ's leadership. People will feel more and more
that they can allow pre-Christian elements to be resurrected in glory
and style on a higher level. In the present era we need a strengthened
consciousness, a high sense of duty and responsibility concerning the
understanding of the spiritual world. For this to enter our soul we must
understand the mission of spiritual science in the way I have