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The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man

Schmidt Number: S-2748

On-line since: 31st August, 2012

LECTURE VII.

I

N the last lecture I referred to two legends, that of Paradise and that of the Holy Grail. I tried to show that these two legends represent occult imaginations which may really be experienced at a certain moment. When the pupil is independent of his physical body and etheric body — as he is unconsciously during deep sleep, and with clairvoyance consciously perceives his physical body, he experiences the legend of Paradise; when his perceptions are aroused by his etheric body, the legend of the Grail presents itself. We must now point out that such legends were given as stories or as religious legends, and so popularised in a definite period. The original source of these legends, which meet us in the form of romance or of religious writings in the external history of the development of mankind, is in the Mysteries, where their contents were established only by means of clairvoyant observations. In the composition of such legends it is especially necessary that the very greatest care should be taken that both subject matter and tone should suit the period and the people to which the legends are given.

In the previous lectures of this course we have explained how through his theosophical occult development the student undergoes certain changes in his physical and etheric body. We shall have now to consider the astral body and the self more closely, and then return briefly to the physical and etheric body. We have seen that when, in order to progress further through receiving the possessions of spiritual wisdom and truth, the student undertakes this self-development, he produces by this means changes in the various part;, of his spiritual and physical organisation. Now, from the information that has been given from the akashic records of various periods of evolution, we know that in the course of the ordinary historical evolution of man these various parts of human nature also undergo a change, naturally, as it were; we know that in the ancient Indian age, the first age of civilisation after the great Atlantean catastrophe, the processes of the human etheric body were conspicuous; we know that afterwards, during the ancient Persian age of civilisation, the change in the human astral body came into prominence, and during the Egyptian-Chaldean age changes took place in the human sentient-soul, and during the Graeco-Latin age there were changes in the human intellectual- or mind-soul. In our times the changes in the human consciousness-soul are more conspicuous. Now, when a legend is given in some particular age — let us say, in the age in which the intellectual-soul undergoes a special change, when the facts in this soul are of special importance — it is important that it should be given in such a way that special attention should be paid to that particular age, and that in the Mysteries from which the legend proceeds it should be agreed that the legend must be so presented that the changes which are going on in the human intellectual- or mind-soul during that age should be protected against any harmful influences incidental to the legend, and specially adapted to its favourable influences.

Thus there can be no question of following his own inner impulse alone, when a person belonging to a Mystery school has the duty laid upon him of imparting such a legend to the world, for he must follow the dictates of the age in which he lives. If we turn our observations in this direction, we shall better understand the changes that take place, more particularly in the human astral body, when a person undergoes an esoteric development.

In the case of an esotericist, or one who seriously undertakes a theosophical development, who makes Theosophy part of his life, his astral body lives a separate life; in the case of an ordinary human being it is not so free, not so independent. The astral body of a student going through development becomes detached and independent to some extent. It does not pass unconsciously into a sort of sleep, but becomes independent, and detached, going through in a different way what a human being usually does in sleep. It thereby enters the condition suited to it. In an ordinary man who lives in the exoteric world, this astral body is connected with the other bodies, and each exercises its special influence upon it. The individually pronounced quality of this human principle does not then come into notice. But when this astral body is torn out its special peculiarities assert themselves. And what are the peculiarities of the astral body? Now, my dear friends, I have often referred to this quality — perhaps, to the disgust of many who are sitting here. The quality peculiar to the human astral body on earth is egotism. When the astral body, apart from the influences which come from the other principles of human nature, asserts, its own peculiar quality, this is seen to be egotism, or the effort to live exclusively in itself and for itself. This belongs to the astral body. It would be wrong, it would be an imperfection in the astral body as such, if it could not permeate itself with the force of egotism, if it could not say to itself, ‘Fundamentally I will attain everything through myself alone, I will do all that I do for myself, I will devote every care to myself alone.’ That is the correct feeling for the astral body. If we bear this in mind we shall understand that esoteric training may produce certain dangers in this direction. Through esoteric development, for instance, because this esoteric development must necessarily make the astral body somewhat free, those persons who take up a kind of Theosophy that is not very serious, without paying attention to all that true Theosophy wishes to give, will in the course of it specially call forth this quality of the astral body, which is egotism. It can be observed in many theosophical and occult societies that while selflessness, universal human love, is preached as a moral principle and repeated again and again, yet through the natural separation of the astral body egotism flourishes. Moreover, to an observer of souls it seems quite justifiable, and yet at the same time suspicious, when universal human love is made into a much-talked of axiom — observe that I do not say it becomes a principle, but that it is always being spoken of; for under certain conditions of the soul-life a person prefers most frequently to speak of what he least possesses, of what he notices that he most lacks, and we can often observe that fundamental truths are most emphasised by those who are most in want of them.

Universal human love ought without this to become something in the development of humanity which completely rules the soul, something which lives in the soul as self-evident, and concerning which the feeling arises: ‘I ought not to mention it so often in vain, I ought not to have it so often on my lips in a superfluous manner.’ Just as a well-known commandment says: Thou shalt not take the Name of God in vain ... so might the following be a commandment to a true and noble humanity: you ought not to utter so often in vain the requirement of the universal human love which is to become the fundamental feature of your souls, for if silence is in many cases a much better means of developing a quality than speech, it is particularly the case in this matter; quietly cultivating it in the heart, and not talking about it, is a far, far better means of developing universal brotherly love than continually speaking about it. Now the advocacy of this exoteric principle has primarily nothing to do with what has been described as the fundamental quality of the astral body: egotism; the endeavour to exist in itself, of itself and through itself.

The question now is: How, then, is it possible to see this in a right light, this quality — let us calmly use the expression — of the astral body which seems so horrible to us, viz., that it wishes to be an absolute egotist? Let us set to work, beginning from the simple facts of life. There are cases even in ordinary life in which egotism expands, and where we must, to a certain degree, look upon this expansion of egotism as a necessary adaptation in life. For example, consider the characteristic of much mother-love, and try to understand how in this case egotism extends from the mother to the child. We may say that the further we penetrate among less developed peoples, and observe what we might call the lion-like way in which the mothers stand up for their children, the more we notice that the mother considers any attack upon her child as an attack upon herself. Her self is extended to the child; and it is a fact that the mother would not feel an attack upon a part of herself more than upon her child. For what she feels in herself she carries over to her child and we cannot find anything better for the regulation of the world than that egotism should be extended in this way from one being to others, and that one being should reckon itself as forming part of another, as it were, and on this account should extend its egotism over this other. Thus we see that egotism ceases to have a dark side when a being expands itself, when the being transfers its feeling and thinking into another, and considers it as belonging to itself. Through extending her egotism to her child, a mother also claims it as her possession: she counts it as part of herself; she does just as the astral body does, saying: All that is connected with me lives through me, to me, with me, etc.

We may see something similar even in more trivial cases than mother-love. Let us suppose that a man has a house, a farm, and land which he cultivates; let us suppose this man loves his house, his farm, his land and his work-people as his own body; he looks upon the matter in such a way that they are to him an extension of his own body, and loves his house, farm, land and people — as a woman may, under certain circumstances, love her gown, as forming part of her own body. In this case the being of the man expands in a certain sense to what is around him. Now, if his care expands in this way to his possessions and his servants, so that he watches over them and resists any attack upon them as he would an attack on his own body, we must then say that the fact of this environment being permeated with his egotism is extremely beneficial. Under certain circumstances, what is called love may, however, be very self-seeking. Observation of life will show how often what is called love is self-seeking. But an egotism extended beyond the person may also be very selfless, that is, it may protect, cherish and take care of what belongs to it.

By such examples as these, my dear friends, we ought to learn that life cannot be parcelled out according to ideas. We talk of egotism and altruism, and we can make very beautiful systems with such ideas as egotism and altruism. But facts tear such systems to pieces; for when egotism so extends its interests to what is around it that it considers this as part of itself, and thus cherishes and takes care of it, it then becomes selflessness; and when altruism becomes such that it only wishes to make the whole world happy according to its own ideas, when it wishes to impress its thoughts and feelings on the whole world with all its might, and wishes to adopt the axiom, ‘If you will not be my brother, I will break your head,’ then even altruism may become very self-seeking. The reality which lives in forces and in facts cannot be enclosed in ideas, and a great part of that which runs counter to human progress lies in the fact that in immature heads and immature minds there arises again and again the belief that the reality can in some way be bottled up in ideas.

The astral body may be described as an egotist. The consequence of this is that the development which liberates the astral body must reckon with the fact that the interests of man must expand, become wider and wider. Indeed, if our astral body is to liberate itself from the other principles of human nature in the right manner, its interest must include the whole of the earth and earth-humanity. In fact, the interests of humanity upon the earth must become our interests; our interests must cease to be connected in any way with what is merely personal; all that concerns mankind, not only in our own times, but all that has concerned mankind at any time in the whole of its earthly development, must arouse our deepest interests; we much reach the point of considering as an extension of what belongs to us, not only what belongs to our family by blood, not only what is connected with us such as house and farm and land, but we must make everything connected with the development of the earth our own affair.

When in our astral body we are interested in all the affairs of the earth, when all the affairs of the earth become our own, we may give way to the sense of selfhood in our astral body. This, however, is necessary, that the interests of mankind on earth should be our interests. Consider from this point of view the two legends I spoke of in the last lecture. When they were given to humanity at a certain stage, they were given from the point of view that the human being should be raised from any individual interest to the universal interests of the earth. The legend of Paradise leads the pupil directly to the starting point of our earthly evolution, when man had not yet entered upon his first incarnation, or when he is just beginning it, where Lucifer approaches him, when he still stands at the beginning of his whole development and can actually take all human interests into his own breast. The very deepest problem of education and training is contained in the story of Paradise, that story which uplifts one to the standpoint of all humanity, and imprints in every human breast an interest which can also speak in each. When the pictures of the legend of Paradise, as we have tried to comprehend them, press into the human soul, they act in such a way that the astral body is penetrated through and through by them; and under the influence of this human being whose horizon is expanded over the whole earth, the astral body may also make its own interest all that now enters its sphere. It has now arrived at being able to consider the interests of the earth as its own. Try, my dear friends, to consider seriously and earnestly what a universal, educative force is contained in such a legend, and what a spiritual impulse lies there.

It is the same with the legend of the Grail. While the Paradise legend is given to the humanity of the earth, inasmuch as it directs this humanity to the origin, the starting-point of its earthly development, while the Paradise legend, as given, uplifts us to the horizon of the whole development of humanity, the legend of the Grail is given that it may sink into the innermost depths of the astral body, into its most vital interests, just because, if only left to itself, this astral body becomes an egotist which only considers the interests that are its very own.

As regards the interests of the astral body, we can really only err in two directions. One is the direction towards Amfortas, and the other, before Amfortas is fully redeemed, leads towards Perceval. Between these two lies the true development of man, in so far as his astral body is concerned. This astral body strives to develop the forces of egotism within itself. But if it brings personal interests into this egotism it becomes corroded, and while it ought to extend over the whole earth, it will shrivel up into the individual personality. This may not be. For if it occurs, then through the activity of the personality, which expresses its ego in the blood, the whole human personality is wounded — one errs on the Amfortas side. The fundamental error of Amfortas consists in his carrying into the sphere in which the astral body ought to have gained the right to be an egotist, that which still remains in him as personal desires and wishes. The moment we take personal interests into the sphere where the astral body ought to separate itself from personal interest it is harmful, we become like the wounded Amfortas.

But the other error can also lead to harm, and only fails to do so when the being who suffers this harm is filled with the innocence of Perceval. Perceval repeatedly sees the Holy Grail pass. To a certain extent he commits a wrong. Each time the Holy Grail is carried past it is on his lips to ask for whom this food is really intended; but he does not ask; and at length the meal is over without his having asked. And so, after this meal he has to withdraw, without having the opportunity of making good what he had omitted to do. It is really just as though a man, not yet fully mature, were to become clairvoyant for a moment during the night, when he would be separated as if by an abyss from what is contained in the castle of his body, and were then to glance for a moment into it; and as if then without having obtained the appropriate knowledge, that is, without having asked the question, everything were again to be closed to him; for then, even though he wakened, he would not be able to enter this castle again. What did Perceval really neglect to do?

We have heard what the Holy Grail contains. It contains that by which the physical instrument of man on earth must be nourished: the extract, the pure mineral extract, which is obtained from all foods and which unites in the purest part of the human brain with the purest sense-impressions, impressions which come into us through our senses. Now, to whom is this food to be handed? It is really to be handed — as appears to us when from the exoteric poetic story we enter into the esoteric presentation of it in the Mysteries — it is really to be handed to the human being who has obtained the understanding of what makes man mature enough gradually to raise Himself consciously to that which this Holy Grail is. Through what do we gain the faculty to raise ourselves consciously to that which is the Holy Grail?

In the story it is very clearly indicated for whom the Holy Grail is really intended. And when we go into the Mystery presentation of the legend of the Grail we find in addition something very special. In the original legend of the Grail the ruler of the castle is a Fisher King, a king ruling over fisher folk. There was Another Who also walked among fisher folk, but He did not wish to be the king of these fishermen, rather something else; He scorned to rule over them as a king, but He brought them something more than did the king who ruled over them — this One was Christ Jesus.

Thus we are shown that the error of the Fisher King, who in the original legend is Amfortas, was a turning aside. He is not altogether worthy to receive health really through the Grail; because he wishes to rule his fisher folk by means of power. He does not allow the spirit alone to rule among this fisher folk.

At first Perceval is not sufficiently awake inwardly to ask in a self-conscious way: What is the purpose of the Grail? What does it demand? In the case of the Fisher King it required him to kill out his personal interest and cause it to expand to the interest in all humanity shown by Christ Jesus. In the case of Perceval it was necessary that he should raise his interest above the mere innocent vision to the inner understanding of what in every man is the same, what comes to the whole of humanity, the gift of the Holy Grail. Thus in a wonderful way between Perceval and Amfortas, the original Fisher King, floats the ideal of the Mystery of Golgotha, and at an important part of the legend it is delicately indicated that on the one hand the Fisher King has taken too much personality into the sphere of the astral body, and on the other stands Perceval, who has carried thither too little general interest in the world, who is still too [unsophisticated, who does not feel sufficient interest in the world. It is the immense educative value of the Grail legend that it could so work into the souls of the students of the Holy Grail that they had before them something like a balance: in the one scale that which was in Amfortas, and in the other that which was in Perceval; and they then knew that the balance was to be established. If the astral body follows its own innate interests, it will uplift itself to that horizon of universal humanity which is gained when the statement becomes a truth: ‘Where two are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them, no matter where in the development of the earth these two may be found.’ (Matthew 18, 20.)

At this point, my dear friends, I beg you not to take a part for the whole, but to take this lecture and the next together; for they may cause misunderstanding. But it is absolutely necessary that the human astral body should in its development be uplifted to the horizon of humanity in a very special way, so that the interest, common to all humanity, becomes its own, so that it feels wronged, hurt, sad within itself, when humanity is harmed in any way. To this end it is necessary that when, through his esoteric development, the student gradually succeeds in making his astral body free and independent from the other principles of his human nature, he should then arm and protect himself against any influences of other astral bodies; for when the astral body is free it is no longer protected by the physical body and etheric body, which are a strong castle, as it were, for the astral. It is free, it becomes permeable, and the forces in other astral bodies can very easily work into it. Astral bodies stronger than itself can influence it, should it be unarmed with its own forces. It would be fatal if someone were to attain the free management of his astral body, and yet were as innocent as regards its conditions as Perceval was at the beginning. That will not do; for then all sorts of influences proceeding from other astral bodies would be able to have a corresponding effect on his.

Now, what we have just mentioned also applies to a certain extent to the external exoteric world. Humanity upon the earth lives under certain religious systems. These religious systems have their cults and rituals. These rituals surround a member of a cult with imaginations obtained from the higher worlds by the help of the astral body. The moment such a religious community admits a man to its membership he is in the midst of imaginations which, while he is influenced by the ritual, liberate his astral body. In any religious ritual the astral body becomes, to a certain extent, free, at any rate for brief moments. The more powerful the ritual, the more does it suppress the influence of the etheric body and the physical body; the more it works by means of methods that liberate the astral body, the more is the astral body, during the ceremony, enticed out of the etheric body and physical body. For this reason also — though it might seem as if I am speaking in ridicule, which I am not — for this reason there is no place so dangerous to sleep in as a church, because in sleep the astral body separates from the etheric body and physical body, and because what goes on in the ritual insinuates itself into the astral body; for it is brought down from the higher worlds by the help of astral bodies. Thus to go to sleep in church, which in some places is strongly attractive to people, is something that really should be avoided. This applies more to churches which have a ritual; it does not apply so much to those religious communities which, through the ideas of modern times, have relinquished a certain ritual or limit themselves to a minimum of ritual. We are not now speaking of these things from any preference or otherwise for one creed or another, but purely according to the standard of objective facts. When, therefore, a person has emancipated his astral body from the other principles of his human nature, the impulses and forces obtained by the help of astral bodies may easily influence him. In this respect it is also possible that a person who has arrived at the free use of his astral body, if he is stronger than another whose astral body is to some extent emancipated, may obtain a very great influence over the latter. It is then absolutely like a transference of the forces of the astral body of the stronger personality to that of the weaker. And if we then clairvoyantly observe the weaker personality, he is really seen to bear within his astral body the pictures and imaginations of the stronger astral personality. You see how necessary it is that ethics should be in the ascendant where occultism is to be cultivated; for naturally egotism cannot be cultivated without really striving to emancipate the astral body from the other principles of human nature; but the most destructive thing in the field of occultism is for the stronger personalities to strive in any way for power to further their personal interests and personal intentions. Only those personalities who absolutely renounce all personal influence are really entitled to work in the domain of occultism, and the greatest ideal of the occultist who is to attain anything legitimate is not to wish to attain anything whatever by means of his own personality, but to put aside as far as possible all consideration of personal sympathy or antipathy. Therefore, whoever possesses sympathy or antipathy for one thing or another, and yet wishes to work as an occultist, must carefully relegate these sympathies and antipathies to his own private sphere, and only allow them to prevail there; in any case he may not cultivate and cherish any of these personal sympathies and antipathies in the domain in which an occult movement is to flourish. And, paradoxical as it may sound, we may say: To the occult teacher his own teaching is a matter of no concern; in fact, the matter of least concern of all to him is the teaching which he can really only give by means of his own talents and temperament. Teaching will only have a meaning when as such it contains nothing in any way really personal, but simply what can be of help to souls. Therefore, no occult teacher will at any time give any of his knowledge to his own age if he is aware that this part of his knowledge is useless to it, and could only be useful to a different age. All this comes into consideration when we are speaking of the peculiar nature of the astral body under the influence of occult development. During the preparation for our age and its progressive development a further complication arises. For what is our own age? It is the age of the development of the consciousness-soul. Nothing is so closely connected with the egotism which accentuates the narrow, personal interests as the consciousness-soul. Hence, in no other age is there such a temptation to confuse the most personal interests with those that belong to mankind in general. This age has gradually to gather the interests of humanity into the human ego, as it were; into that very part of the human ego which is the consciousness-soul. Towards the dawn of our age we see human interests being concentrated into the ego, the acme of the sense of selfhood. In this respect it is extremely instructive seriously to consider whether, for example, what Saint Augustine wrote in his ‘Confessions’ would ever have been possible in ancient Greece. It would have been absolutely out of the question.

The whole nature of the Greek was such that his inner being was in a certain harmony with his outer nature, so that external interests were at the same time inner interests, and inner interests extended into outer ones. Consider the whole Greek culture. It was of such a nature that everywhere a certain harmony between the human inner being and the outer must be taken for granted. We can only understand Greek art and tragedy, Greek historians and philosophers, when we know that among the Greeks that which pertained to the soul was poured into the outer culture, and as a matter of course showed its union with the inner. Let us compare this with the Confessions of Saint Augustine. Everything lives for himself; he searches, digs and investigates into his own being. If we look for the entirely personal, individual note in the writings of Saint Augustine we can find it in them all. Although Augustine lived long before our age, yet he prepared for it; his was the spirit in whose records we find the first dawn, long before the rising of the sun, the first dawn of the age apportioned to the consciousness-soul. This can be perceived in every line written by him, and every line of his can be distinguished by a delicate perception from all that was possible in ancient Greece.

Now, when we know that Augustine was advancing to meet the age when the sense of selfhood — the occupation of man with his own inner being even within the physical body — is as a sort of character of this age, we can understand that one who, like Augustine, has more extended interests as well, and observes the whole of the development of mankind, will truly shudder when a human being comes to him who gives him the idea that, on attaining a certain height, the astral body must naturally develop a sort of selfishness. Purely, nobly and grandly Augustine attacks self-centredness.

We might say that he attacks it selflessly. But he came into the age when humanity had separated itself from the general interests of the outer world. Recollect that in the third post-Atlantean age every Egyptian directed his gaze to the stars, where he read human destiny, how the soul was connected with interests common to humanity. Naturally this could only be attained when the human being was still capable, in the ancient elementary clairvoyance, of keeping his astral body separate from the physical body; therefore, Augustine could not but shudder when in contact with a person who reminded him, as it were, that with higher development comes selfishness. He can comprehend this, he feels it, his instinct tells him that he is living towards the age of egoism. When, therefore, a person confronts him who represents the higher development beyond that in the physical body, he feels: we are moving in the direction of egotism. At the same time he cannot comprehend that this person is bringing with him an interest common to the whole of humanity. Try to obtain a perception of how Augustine, according to his own confession, confronts the Manichaean Bishop, Faustinus — for it is he whom I have described. When he met with Faustinus, Augustine had the experience of a man facing the age of egoism in a noble way, wishing to protect it against egotism by the inner power alone, and who must turn away from such a man as the Manichaean Bishop, Faustinus. He turned away from him because, to him, Faustinus represented something in which he ought not to take part; for he conceals something within him which could not be understood at all in exoteric life in such an age. Thus the Manichaean Bishop, Faustinus, confronts the Church Father, Augustine; Augustine, who is facing the age of the consciousness-soul, meets with a human being who preserves his connection with the spiritual world as it can be preserved in an occult movement, and who thereby also preserves the fundamental quality of the astral body, at which Augustine shudders and, from his standpoint, justly.

Let us pass on a few centuries. We then meet at the University of Paris with a man who is but little known in literature; for what he has written gives no idea of his personality; what he has written seems pedantic. But personally he must have worked in a magnificent way; personally he seems to have worked principally in such a way that he brought into his circle something like a renewal of the Greek conception of the world. He was the personification of the Renaissance. He died in 1518, working until the time of his death at the Paris University. This personality was related to the Greek world — though much more on the exoteric side — in the same way as the Manichaean Bishop Faustinus was related to the Manichees, who above all else had received, among many other things in their traditions, all the great and good aspects of the third post-Atlantean, the Egyptian-Chaldean age. Thus there was this Manichaean Bishop Faustinus, who came in touch with Augustine, and who, through what he was, had preserved the occult foundations of the third post-Atlantean age. In 1518 there died in Paris a man who had carried over, though exoterically, certain aspects of the foundation of the fourth post-Atlantean age. This caused him to impress those who worked around him in traditional Christianity as weird, sinister. The monks looked upon him as their deadly enemy; yet he made a great impression upon Erasmus of Rotterdam when the latter was in Paris. But it seemed to Erasmus as if his external environment were ill-suited to the individuality which really lived within this remarkable soul; and when Erasmus had departed and gone to England, he wrote to this man, who in the meantime had become his friend, that he wished his friend could free himself from his gouty physical body and fly through the air to England, for there he would find in the external environment a much better soil for what he felt in his soul. The fact that the personality who worked at that time could give rise to Greek feeling and sensation in such an evident manner, we see with special clearness if we bear in mind the relationship between the refined and sensitive Erasmus and this personality. Thus, just at the very beginning of the age of selfhood, one might say, lived this personality who died in Paris in 1518. He lived as an enemy of those who wished to adapt the life of human souls to the age of selfhood, and who shuddered, as it were, at a soul who could work in such a way because he wished to conjure up another age, when man was, so to say, closer to the selfhood of the astral body — the Greek age. This personality who was called Faustus Andrelinus affected Erasmus very sympathetically.

In the sixteenth century, in central Europe, we meet with another personality, who is represented as being a sort of travelling minstrel, regarding whom we are told that he deviated from the traditional theology. This personality no longer wished to call himself a theologian, calling himself a man of the world and a doctor; he placed his Bible on the shelf for a time, and engaged in the study of nature. Now the study of nature, in the age when the transition took place from all that was ancient to all that is modern, was also such that it brought to man the astral selfhood, just as did Manichaeism and the ancient thought of Greece. Thus what stood at that time on the border between ancient alchemy and modern chemistry, between ancient astrology and modern astronomy, etc., brought the astral selfhood home to man. This peculiar flickering and shimmering of natural science between the ancient and modern standpoints brought home to man — when he laid his Bible for a time on the shelf — such an astral activity that it necessitated coming to an understanding with egotism. No wonder that those shuddered at it, who with their traditions wished to adjust themselves to the age of selfhood in which the consciousness-soul had already fully dawned; and there arose in Central Europe the legend of the third Faust, John Faust, also called George Faust, an actual historical personality. And the sixteenth century welded together all the horror of the egotism of the astral body by combining the three Fausts, the Faust of Augustine, that of Erasmus, and the Faust of Central Europe, into one — into that figure depicted in popular books in Central Europe, which also became the Faust of Marlowe. Out of a complete reversal of this character Goethe created his Faust, clearly showing us that it is possible not to shudder at the bearer of that which brings home to us the essence of the astral, but to understand him better, so that to us he may be evidence of a development which will call forth from us the words, ‘We can redeem him.’ Whole ages have occupied themselves with the question of the egoistic nature of the astral body, and in legendary stories and, indeed, even in history echoes the horror of man at its nature, and the human longing to solve the problem of this astral body in the right manner, in a manner corresponding to the wise guidance of the world, and to the esoteric development of the individual human soul.




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