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The Temple Legend

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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The Temple Legend

Schmidt Number: S-1149

On-line since: 15th January, 2013

Lecture 15:



Berlin, 21 October 1905

[See the Notes for this Lecture]

If we want to appreciate theosophy at its true value, then we need to be imbued with the fundamental perception that in the theosophical stream we receive a widening of the soul, we feel the heart broadened and uplifted for higher tasks, for participating in the affairs of the universe. No one can have an inkling of this who does not know something about occultism.

The great purpose is often discussed, of leading humanity, through the theosophical movement, towards that point when, in the future, a new race of human beings will arise, when our intellectuality, as it now is, will no longer play the leading role in the world, but will be made fertile by Buddhi. We have to work together with this great world current, and therefore we have a great responsibility towards the theosophical movement. The task of the theosophist extends into the distant future. In this we do not withdraw into some cloud-cuckoo-land; for what we learn about so distant a future is invigorating for us, is something productive for us, that is useful also in everyday things. Anyone who allows these great world perspectives to occupy his mind for even only ten minutes a day, will behave differently from someone who is immersed in everyday matters. He can bring something to contemporary life which is new, productive and original. All progress depends on bringing originality into humanity.

We want to start with something which belongs with the influence of the Devas. (Note 1) Devas are beings who are at a higher stage than man and are able to work on higher levels of existence. Thus we find Devas when we enter the higher planes clairvoyantly. We find Devas on the astral plane, on the Rupa plane, on the Arupa plane, and higher still. What does the influence of the Devas mean for the world in which we ourselves are? We will answer this question by asking another: What is the purpose of our human existence, of this continuing reincarnation? Man would come into this world quite purposelessly, if he learnt no particular lesson, fulfilled no particular task at each coming. Every time [man incarnates] the earth must have changed so much that he meets a situation that he has not encountered before in his earlier incarnations.

A male and female incarnation [together] are occultly reckoned as one incarnation. Between two such connected incarnations lie 2,600 to 3,000 years. The experience, which men undergo during this present stage of earthly evolution are so different in man and woman that it is most necessary for this to be so.

The changes which are brought about in the world between two incarnations of a person are really rather incomprehensible for people outside the theosophical world. Actually, however, people find quite different situations, not only morally, but physically as well. For anyone who looks back occultly, the physical circumstances have fundamentally altered as well, in the last three thousand years. On average, we would encounter our previous incarnations in the time of the ancient Greeks, the Homeric Greeks, 800 B.C. At that time there were quite different geographical and climatic conditions, a basically different plant life and even a different animal world. In these kingdoms, [continual] change is taking place. An outer expression of these changes is the progress of the sun across the vault of heaven. We have twelve signs of the zodiac, and the sun continually moves on from one to another at the vernal equinox. Eight thousand years ago the sun entered the constellation of the Crab for the first time. The time during which the sun traverses a constellation, this time that then elapses, lasts some two thousand six hundred years. (Note 2) That is also the time between two human incarnations. At about the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, the sun left the constellation of the Ram for that of the Fishes, so that it now stands in the constellation of the Fishes at the spring [equinox].

Those who still had a feeling for occultism knew something about the connection in man's life with these changes in the firmament. Earlier, before the sun entered the constellation of the Ram, the cult of the Bull (Mithras, Apis) prevailed in Asia. Then began the worship of the Ram, which began when the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece originated. Christ is called the ’Lamb of God.’ Still earlier one finds the Persian symbol of the Twins. That is connected with the [Persian] culture of that time [and its view] of Good and Evil.

If the sun shines on the earth from a different aspect, then the situation there changes too. Hence the entry of the sun into a new constellation also leads each time to a new incarnation. Above, in the heavens, is the progression of the sun, below, on earth, an alteration in climatic conditions in vegetation and so forth.

Who causes this? The theosophist has to ask this because for him there can be no miracles. There are facts on a higher level, but no miracles. Faced with the question of the connection of the human being to the manifestations of the earth, one must adopt a higher vantage point.

After death, man is in Kamaloka. We do not ask: Do the animals and plants have [any] consciousness? Instead we ask: Where is their consciousness located? We know that the animals have their consciousness in Kamaloka, on the astral plane, the plants on the Rupa Plane, and the minerals on the Arupa Plane. Man has his consciousness on the physical plane. Let us suppose that man now comes to Kamaloka. He will then be in the same place as the consciousness of the animals. He then ascends to Devachan, where the plants have their consciousness. At the present stage of evolution, man is not in a position to exercise any influence on the animal kingdom or plant kingdom. However, he does have such an influence in the lower regions of the Devachanic plane, His companions there are all those who possess a Devachanic consciousness; these are powers, beings, who work out of Devachan to promote the growth and welfare of the plant world. The whole life of the plants is controlled from the Devachanic plane. There, man helps create and transform the plants. Powers develop in him there, so that he can really develop an influence on the vegetation. But the Devas are still there to manage this activity. He is guided by them so that he can help in the transformation of the plant world. He makes use in Devachan of the powers he has gathered in incarnation to reshape the plant world. As the life forces alter during man's time in Devachan, so he [helps to] change the vegetation on earth. From Devachan, man actually changes the surroundings that grow about him.

By remaining a long time in Devachan, [man] also helps transform the physical forces. If one goes back a million years in Germany, (Note 3) one finds volcanic mountains still there, and the Alps as low undulating hills. The subsequent changes were brought about by man [working] from the Arupa Plane, so that he would meet with suitable physical configurations in Europe, later on. The activity of man in the universe is the inner aspect of what we see outwardly in the environment.

Now we come to what will influence transformation in the world from a still higher plane and in another form.

One often reads about the Logos streaming down from above, and asks oneself how this is [to be conceived], how one can come to a conception of the Logos, to a conception that is something more than a mere word. We will now examine the connection between the Logos and the smallest [particles]. I will give you a description — not speculations — of the results of very ancient occult research, as they have been handed down and worked upon specifically in the occult schools of Germany especially from the fourteenth century onward.

If we meditate on the atom, what strikes us is that it is a very tiny thing. Everyone knows that this small thing called the atom has never been seen through any kind of microscope, no matter how sophisticated. Yet occult books give descriptions and pictures of the atom. (Note 4) Where were these pictures obtained? How can one, as an occultist, now know anything about the atom?

Now just imagine it to be possible to make an atom grow continually bigger and bigger until it was as big as the earth; one would then discover a very complicated world. One would perceive many movements, different kinds of phenomena, within this small thing. Keep in mind this analogy of the atom being enlarged to the size of the earth. If it were actually possible to enlarge the atom to that extent, we would be able to observe every single process in it. Only the occultist is in a position to enlarge the atom so much and to contemplate its interior.

Let us next look at the range of human motives on earth, beginning with the lowest human levels of development, with the instincts and passions, rising to moral ideals and religious communities, and so on; we will then see that human beings are, as it were, spinning threads between each other, that weave from person to person, forming continually higher associations: the family, the tribe and further ethnic and political groups, finally religious communities. In this, the activity of higher individualities comes indeed to expression. Such associations have sprung up out of the springs and wells of pure universal wisdom, through a religious founder. All religions agree [in the deeper sense], because they have founders who belong to the great Lodge [of the Masters].

There is a particular White Lodge which has twelve members, of whom seven have a special influence, and this seven indeed founded religious groupings. Such were Buddha, Hermes, Pythagoras, and so on. The great plan for the whole of human evolution has actually been spiritually devised in the White Lodge, which is as old as humanity itself. A coordinated plan for the guidance of all human progress confronts us here. All other associations are only subordinate branches; even family groupings, etc, are all linked up in the great plan which leads us up to the Lodge of the Masters. There the plan according to which all mankind develops is spun and woven.

Let us follow all that subsequently happens. Now we must first become acquainted with a particular plan, namely the plan for our earth. Let us contemplate the fourth Round of the earth in which we now are. It is intended to humanise the mineral kingdom. Think how human understanding has already transformed the mineral world, for example, Cologne Cathedral and modern technology. Our humanity has the task of transforming the whole mineral world into a pure work of art. Electricity already points for us into the occult depths of matter.

When, out of his inner being, man has restructured the mineral world, the end of our earth will then have arrived; the earth is then at the end of its physical evolution. The particular plan by which the mineral world will be reshaped exists in the Lodge of the Masters. This plan is already finished; so that if one studies it one can see what is yet to come by way of wonderful buildings, wonderful machines, and so on. When the earth has reached the end of the physical Globe [state] the whole earth will have an inner structure, an inner articulation, given to it by man himself, so that it will have become a work of art, as planned by the Masters of the White Lodge. That accomplished, then the whole earth will pass over into its astral state. That is something like when a plant begins to fade; the physical vanishes, everything goes into the astral. In passing into the astral world, the physical gradually contracts, becomes a shrinking kernel encircled by the astral, going over into the Rupa state and then the Arupa state, until it vanishes in a sleeplike condition.

What then is left of the physical? When the earth has passed over into the Arupa state, there is then still a quite condensed tiny imprint of the whole physical evolution of what was devised in the Masters' plan; like a tiny miniature version of what the mineral earth once was. That is what goes across [from the physical]; the physical is there only as this tiny miniature version of previous evolution, but the Arupa is large. When it passes over out of the Devachan state, it multiplies itself outwardly into innumerable similar things. And when the earth again passes back into the physical state it is then composed of countless tiny globules, each of which is a print of what the earth previously was. All these globules are however differently arranged, although sharing a common derivation. Thus the new physical earth of the fifth Round (Note 5) will consist of innumerable tiny parts, each of which contains the purpose of the mineral world which the Masters have in plan form in their Lodge. Every atom of the fifth Round [of earth evolution] will contain the whole plan of the Masters. Today the Masters are working on the atom of the fifth Round. Everything which precedes, in humanity, is compressed into a result, that is the atom of the fifth Round.

Therefore, if we examine the atom in its present form and then go back in the Akashic Record, we will then see that today's atom is undergoing a process of growth. It is growing more and more, it is becoming more and more separated [Gap in text] ... and contains the interweaving forces of mankind from the third Round of evolution. In that we can consider the plan of the Masters for the third Earth Round. What is at first entirely external becomes quite inward, and in the smallest atom we see mirrored the plans of the Masters. These tiny particular plans are nothing else than a piece of the whole plan for humanity. If one thus considers that the plan of one Round is the atom of the next Round, then one can see the pattern of the great universal plan. The great universal plan develops in continually higher stages, to beings who have continually higher plans for world development. When we contemplate this plan we arrive at the third Logos. The Logos is thus continually slipping into the atom; first it is outside, and becomes the blueprint for the atom, and then the atom becomes an image of this plan. The occultist simply notes the plan from the Akashic Record for the earlier rounds and so studies the atom.

Now from where do the higher beings obtain this plan? We find an answer to this if we consider that there are still higher stages of evolution where the plans are devised. That is where world evolution is worked out. These higher stages are indicated to us by the Ancients, for instance by Dionysius, the pupil of the Apostle Paul (Note 6) and also by Nicolaus Cusanus. (Note 7) His perception was: Higher than all knowledge and perception is the Unperception. But this Unknowing is a higher knowing, and this Unperception is a higher perceiving.

When we stop looking at what we hold in our thinking and concepts of the world, and turn ourselves to what wells up, to our inner powers, then we find something still higher. The Masters can weave the [third] Logos because they have ascended still higher than the nature of thinking. When the higher powers are developed, then, in such beings, thought appears as something different. It is then like a spoken word with us. The thought which constitutes the innermost being for the Masters, can itself be the expression of a higher being, just as the word is the expression of thought [with us]. If we ourselves consider thought as the word of a still higher being, then we come near to the concept of the Logos. Knowledge taken out from thought stands on a still higher level.

When we behold the world we find the atom at the one extreme. It is an image of the plan that proceeded out of the depths of the spirit of the Masters, which is the Logos.

If we now look for the transformation of man himself during the great world epoch- then we are led back again into the world.

Just as man has descended, has plunged down to the physical plane, so is it also with the world as a whole. What man's self has developed lies around him in the world.

But then we are led down to the lower planes, which however, themselves contain the higher planes the Lodge of the Masters.

The Spirit of the Earth is living with the Masters today and this Spirit of the Earth will be the physical clothing of the next planet [the future Jupiter]. The slightest thing we do will affect the smallest atom of the next planet. This feeling gives us first a full connection with the Lodge of the Masters. That should provide a central focus for the Theosophical Society, since we know what the Wise Ones know.

When Goethe speaks of the Spirit of the Earth (Note 8) he is expressing a truth. The Spirit of the Earth is weaving the clothing of the next planet. ’In life's floods, in the storm of action’ [In Lebensfluten — im Tatensturm] the Spirit [of the Earth] weaves the clothing for the next planetary Godhead.

Supplement: Two years later, on 21st October 1907, again at the time of the General Meeting, Rudolf Steiner spoke once more — in an as yet unpublished lecture — about the atom in the context of how spiritual influence passes from one planet to another, how therefore this will be ’between the [Old] Moon and the Earth and again between the Earth and its successor, the [future] Jupiter.’ This lecture is to be published in German in Volume 101 of Rudolf Steiner's complete works.

The relevant extract runs as follows:

You all know that the earth is guided in a particular way by the so-called White Lodge in which highly developed human individualities and individualities of a still higher kind are combined. What do they do there? They work; they lead the evolution of the earth; while leading this evolution, they are devising a quite specific plan. It is really the case that during the evolution of each planet, a specific plan is worked out by the guiding powers. While the earth is evolving, plans for the atom for the evolution of Jupiter — which succeeds the earth — are drawn up in the so-called White Lodge of the Earth. The plan is worked out in full detail. Therein lies the blessing and salvation of progress — in that it is undertaken in harmony with this plan.

Now, when a planetary evolution comes to its end, thus, when our earth has completed its [present] planetary cycle, then the Masters of Wisdom who harmonise perceptions will be ready with the plan that they have to work out for the Jupiter [cycle]. And now, at the end of such an evolution of planets something very special occurs.

This plan will, through a procedure, be endlessly reduced in size, and endlessly multiplied in number; so that in numerable copies of the whole plan for jupiter are to hand, albeit very much miniaturised. Thus it was on the [Old] Moon, too: the plan of earth evolution existed there. infinitely multiplied and miniaturised. And do you know what they are, these miniaturised plans that have been spiritually developed there? They are the actual atoms which underlie the earth's structure. And the atoms which will underlie the Jupiter [planet] will also be the plan, reproduced in the smallest possible unit — the plan which is now being worked out in the guiding White Lodge. Only he who is aware of this plan can indeed know what an atom is.

If you want to develop your knowledge of this atom, which underlies the earth, you will then, to explore the atom, encounter precisely those mysteries which come from the great Magi of the world.

Naturally, we can now only speak indicatively about these things, but we can at least give something which will impart a concept of what is involved.

The earth is composed of these, its atoms, in a specific way. Everything that is, yourselves included, is composed of these atoms. Hence you exist in harmony with the whole earth evolution, since you carry in you an infinite number of miniaturised [copies] of the plan for earth which was worked out in the past. This plan for the earth could only be evolved in the previous planetary condition of our earth, the [Old] Moon; the guiding beings worked it out in harmony with the whole planetary development through [Old] Saturn, [Old] Sun and [Old] Moon. Now the point in question was to introduce something into this infinite number of atoms which would bring them into the right relationship [with one another], which would arrange them in the right way. To introduce this was only possible for the guiding spirits of the Moon, if, as I have often already said, they managed the evolution of the earth according to a very specific plan.

The way the earth appeared again after the Moon evolution, it was not at first really ’Earth’ but ’Earth plus Sun plus Moon;’ a body such as you would have if you mixed the Earth and the Sun and the Moon together to make one single [heavenly] body. Thus the earth was, at first. Then first the Sun separated itself, taking with it all those forces which were too thin, too spiritual for man, under whose influence he would have spiritualised himself far too quickly. If man had merely stayed under the influence of the forces which were contained in the joint Sun-Moon-Earth body, then he would not have evolved downwards towards physical materiality, and he would not have been able to attain to that consciousness of self, of ego, which he had to attain ...

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