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The Mystery of Death

Schmidt Number: S-3068

On-line since: 15th November, 2013


Christ's Relationship to Lucifer and Ahriman

The Threefold Being

Linz, 18th May 1915


When once our construction, dedicated to spiritual science, is finished in Dornach, it contains a sculptural group at an important place. This group primarily presents three figures. In the middle of this group a figure stands as, I would like to say, the representative of the highest human which could develop on earth. Hence, one can also feel this figure of the highest human in the earth development as Christ, Who lived in the body of Jesus of Nazareth for three years within the earth development. It is the particular task to form this Christ figure in such a way that one can see, on one side, the concerning being living in a human earthly body, however, this earthly body being spiritualised in every look, in everything that is in it by Christ Who entered from cosmic, from spiritual heights in the thirtieth year of his life in this earthly body.

Then two other figures are to be found, one on the left side, the other on the right side of the Christ figure, if I am allowed to call this figure the Christ figure. This Christ figure stands there like before a rock which towers up in particular on the left side of Christ, so that its peak is above the head of the Christ figure. On top of the rock is another figure, a winged figure; but the wings are broken, and this figure falls, because it has broken wings, into the chasm. What has to be worked out artistically in particular is the way how this Christ figure raises the left arm. Because the Christ figure raises his left arm, it happens that this falling being breaks the wings. But this must not look in such a way, as if possibly Christ broke the wings of this being, but the whole must be artistically arranged so that, while Christ raises the arm, already lies in the whole movement of the hand that he has an infinite compassion, actually, also with this being. However, this being does not endure what flows up through the arm and hand and what is still visible because the fingers of the stretched hand hollowed the rock, as it were. What this being feels in itself, because it comes near to the Christ being, I would like to dress in the words: I cannot bear anything pure like that shining on me.

It is that which lives in this being and lives so substantially in this being that its wings are broken and it falls consequently into the chasm. This is one especially significant artistic task. You notice what could be missed if Christ stood there plastically and such a force were simply emitted by raising the hand, so that He breaks the wings of this being so that it falls into the chasm. Then it would be Christ who would shine on this being like with hatred and make it fall. However, this must not be shown that way, but the being should make itself fall. Since this being who is shown falling down with broken wings is Lucifer.

On the other side, toward the right side of the Christ figure where the rock has a projection the rock will be hollowed out there. In this hollow is also a winged figure. This figure turns to the rock cavity on top with his arm-like organs. You have to imagine: on the right the rock cavity and in this cavity the winged figure which has, however, quite differently formed wings than the figure on top of the rock. This figure has more aquiline wings, the figure in the cave bat-like wings. The latter figure locks itself up in the cave, you see it in chains, and you see it working there on the ground hollowing out the earth.

The Christ figure in the middle turns his right hand downwards. Whereas it turns its left hand upwards, it turns the right hand downwards. It will be a significant artistic task again not to show this in such a way, as if Christ wanted to put this figure which is Ahriman in chains, but that Christ Himself has an infinite compassion for Ahriman. However, Ahriman cannot endure this; he writhes in pains by that which the hand of Christ emits. This causes that the veins of gold, which are at the bottom in the cave, wind like strings around Ahriman's body and tie it up. Just as that which happens with Lucifer happens by himself, it also happens with Ahriman. Then we will attempt to paint the same motive above the sculptural group, but the view of the painting must be completely different from that of the sculpture. So that we have this group of three figures: Christ, Lucifer, and Ahriman as a sculpture group at the bottom and above them the same motive painted.

We put this relationship of Christ, Lucifer, and Ahriman in our Dornach building because spiritual science shows us in a certain way really that concerning the understanding of the Christ Impulse the next task is that, finally, the human being learns to know which relationship exists in the world between these three powers Christ, Lucifer, and Ahriman. Since, indeed, up to now one often talks about Christianity and the Christ Impulse, but that which has entered the world by the Christ Impulse, actually, as a result of Christ's Death and Resurrection, this has not yet become completely clear to the human beings. One speaks probably of the fact that there is Lucifer that there is Ahriman, but while one speaks of Lucifer and Ahriman, one speaks very often in such a way, as if one had to flee them, as if one had to say almost always: I want to know nothing, nothing at all about Lucifer and Ahriman.

If the divine-spiritual powers, which are found in the way, as I have described it in the public lecture yesterday, also wanted to know nothing about Lucifer and Ahriman, the world would just not be able to exist. You do not position yourselves in the correct relationship saying: Lucifer, I avoid him! Ahriman, I avoid him! You rather have to look at that which the human being has to strive for as a result of the Christ Impulse like the equilibrium position of a pendulum. The pendulum is in the middle in balance; however, it must swing to and fro. That is similar also in the earth development of the human being. The human being must tend on one side to the luciferic principle, on the other side to the ahrimanic principle, but he must learn and stand firmly on that which Paul said: “not I, but Christ in me.”

We have to understand Christ in his effectiveness absolutely as a reality. That is we must be clear to us that this really happened which flowed by Christ's Death and Resurrection in our earth development. How well or how badly people understood this up to now, it does not depend on it, but on the fact that it was there that it has worked in the human earth development. One could say a lot that people have not yet understood of the Christ Impulse. And spiritual science will contribute a little piece to the understanding of that what flowed in from spiritual heights by the Mystery of Golgotha as the Christ Impulse onto the earth development. To realise Christ's working, we want to make clear to us, as this has also happened at other places, two moments of the earth development of humankind, two moments which became important in the whole western development.

You know from history, what an important moment it was, when Constantine, the son of Constantius Chlorus, defeated Maxentius, and Christianity was introduced by Constantine externally in the western development. Constantine had to go into that important battle against Maxentius through which Constantine then made Christianity the state religion in his western empire. The whole map of Europe would have become different if in those days this battle had not taken place against Maxentius. But strategic art, that of what people were capable with their intellects in those days, did not decide this battle really, but something else.

Maxentius made read up in the so-called Sibylline Books, the prophetic books of Rome, and got the advice to lead his army out of the walls of Rome, whereas they would have been saved well within the walls. So he positioned his troops in the free field against the army of Constantine. However, Constantine had a dream before the battle which indicated to him: if you go in the sign of the Mystery of Golgotha against Maxentius, you arrive at a big goal. — And carrying the sign of the Mystery of Golgotha, the cross, Constantine went to the battle with an army about three quarters smaller than that of Maxentius. Filled with enthusiasm by the power which came from the Mystery of Golgotha, Constantine won that important battle through which Christianity was introduced externally in Europe. If we remember what people understood of the Christ Impulse with their intellects in those days, we find an endless theological quarrelling.

People quarrelled whether Christ is identical from eternity with the Father and the like more. One must say: it does not depend on that which people knew about the Christ Impulse in those days, but on the fact that it was there, the Christ Impulse, that it induced the necessary events by Constantine, by a dream of Constantine. It depends on the reality of Christ, on the real power of Christ. In our spiritual science, we only begin understanding the Christ Impulse.

Another moment was that when in the fight between France and England Europe was formed in such a way that one can say: if France had not been victorious against England in those days, all the circumstances would have become different. But how had this happened? — The Christ Impulse has just worked in the subconscious of the soul up to now, when it has to become more aware. We see then in the western spiritual development the Christ Impulse seeking for those conditions in the human souls through which it can be effective with individual human beings. Legends have preserved the way how the Christ Impulse in the western spiritual development can make itself noticeable. These legends point partly back to old pagan times, when everywhere understanding of Christianity was prepared just in paganism.

If the soul does not strive for initiation consciously in the way I have described in How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?, but gets it as it were in natural way, as it was filled with the Christ Impulse by a natural initiation. The most convenient time in which this Christ Impulse is able to inspire the soul is the time of the Christmas Eve up to the Epiphany day, the time from the 25th December to the 6th January. We can understand that if we get the following clear in our mind: for the esoteric knowledge it is unambiguously evident that our earth is not only that of which the geologists talk. That is only like the skeleton of the human being. But our earth also has its own spirituality. And Christ has just entered the earth aura. This earth sleeps and wakes as we sleep and are awake in twenty-four hours. We have to realise the fact that the earth sleeps during the summertime and is awake in the wintertime. The spirit of the earth is the most awake in these twelve or thirteen nights from Christmas to Epiphany. In olden times, in which — as you know from the various representations in my lectures — the human beings had a dreamlike clairvoyance and experienced the spiritual principle of the world that way. The most convenient time was the summertime. It is quite natural that somebody who wants to rise in a more dreamlike clairvoyance to the spiritual has it easier during the sleeping time of the earth, in the summertime. Hence, it was the St. John's-tide which was the most convenient in olden times to raise the strength of the soul to the spiritual. The new, more conscious way has replaced the old way in which the spiritual was working into the earth; now it is the best time when the earth is awake.

Hence, the legends tell us that especially gifted human beings, human beings who are particularly suitable because of their karma, get a special condition of consciousness at the Yuletide which is only externally similar to sleep but inspires it internally, so that the human being was raised to the world we call the spirit-land. There is a very nice legend, the Norwegian legend of Olaf Åsteson about whom is told to us that he goes to the church at the Christmas Eve, falls into a sleep-like state and wakes up at the sixth January and can tell what he experienced in this state similar to sleep. This Norwegian legend actually explains to us that Olaf Åsteson experienced something that one feels at first like the soul-world, then something that one feels like the spirit-land, only just everything in pictures, in Imaginations.

This time was the most convenient in those epochs in which the human beings were not yet so advanced as in our time. Today, the times are over in which the Christ Impulse can flow into the souls like by a natural initiation. Today, the human beings have to ascend to initiation as consciously as it is described in How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds? We live in a time in which natural initiations become rarer and rarer and completely disappear, finally, so that we do not have to count any more on them. But, basically, one can call a physical initiation that through which the Christ Impulse worked on the soul of the simple farmer girl, the Maid of Orleans, who brought about the victory of the French over the English. This victory reshaped the European map wondrously. The human reason could not perform that, but that which guided the Maid of Orleans in those days and outstripped all the skill of the military leaders, by which Europe got a new figure. It was the Christ Impulse, which worked on the unconscious of a single personality, but worked so that then from this personality spread out what was efficient in history.

We would have to notice if anything similar could have taken place as a natural initiation with the Maid of Orleans if the soul of the Maid of Orleans had been inspired in the nights from the 25th December to the 6th January. In the course of life it seems that such a matter cannot be verified that the Maid of Orleans also was once during twelve or thirteen days from the 25th December to the 6th January in a sleep-like state in which the Christ Impulse would have worked on her, so that she would be able to work as a human being only like the cover of the Christ Impulse on the battlefields of France. Nevertheless, it was that way. For there is a time which — if the karma of the concerning individuality makes it possible — can be filled with such a sleep-like state. This is the time of the last days in which the human being still lives in the body of the mother, before he sees the physical earth light. The human being lives there in a dreamlike state similar to sleep. He has not yet seen anything by the senses that takes place externally in the world. If a human being were particularly suitable by his karma to take up the Christ Impulse during these last days in which he lives in the body of the mother, these days would also be days of the natural initiation. Then such a human being would open his eyes for the first time already strengthened by the Christ Impulse lying in him after the initiation, that means in this case, after his birth. And such a human being would have to be born on the 6th January. The Maid of Orleans was born on the 6th January. This is the secret of the Maid of Orleans that she was born on the 6th January that she spent the time from Christmas up to the Epiphany day in that peculiar state similar to sleep in the body of the mother and got a natural initiation. Consider the deep connections which are behind the external development which one normally calls history. What is shown externally in history with the help of documents is as a rule even the most insignificant. The simple date which is registered in our calendar that the Maid of Orleans was sent into the world on the 6th January is of authoritative historical significance. The forces work from the supersensible realm on the sensory realm that way. We have to read this occult writing which shows us the forces working from the supersensible realm on the sensory realm. So the Christ Impulse flowed into the Maid of Orleans like by a natural initiation, already before her physical birth.

I want to explain these matters to arouse a feeling in you that forces and connections unknown to the external view are effective behind that what one normally calls history. However, the Christ Impulse guides history, of the European humankind in particular, since the Mystery of Golgotha. In the East, in Asia a world view remained of which one can say: it has not yet approached the Christ Impulse in its feelings. Indeed, the European was enticed to call the Indian views particularly deep. But this is the typical of Hinduism — generally of the whole Asian religious feeling — that it stands with all its feelings before the Christ Impulse, but has preserved the state which was there in the religious feeling of the earthly humankind before the Christ Impulse. Lagging behind in the development always means taking up something luciferic. Hence, the Asian religious development carries a luciferic element in itself. If we look over at the Asian religious development, we must notice: indeed, we can see a lot in it that humankind had already once that it had to leave, however. But we have partly to purify that all in the western culture from the luciferic element, to raise it partly in such a way that the Christ-principle can flow into it.

If we go from Asia to Europe, we find in the east of Europe, in the Russian culture, the orthodox Christianity spread out which has stopped on a former level of the Christian development which did not want to go along which wanted to keep something luciferic. Briefly, we look at the East, we have what, I would like to say, the wise guidance of the world left behind in the whole development of humankind as the luciferic element.

Let us look at the West, particularly at the American civilisation, and then we have another characteristic. The typical of this American civilisation is that everything is searched for in the external. A lot of significant things are thereby produced indeed; but everything is searched for in the outside. Take an example. If we see in Europe, in particular in Central Europe, that a human being who did not have any opportunity in his life at first to turn his soul to Christ and the powers of the spiritual world and suddenly changes his life because of something, then interests us what has taken place in his soul. It does not interest us that he experienced a jump in his development, we find this everywhere.

Since most inaccurate is the saying which the external science has stamped: nature does not make jumps [Carl Linné in his Philosophia Botanica, Stockholm 1751]. — From the green plant leaf to the red petal is a big jump; from the petal to the chalices is again a big jump. It is an absolutely wrong saying, and the truth of the development is based just on the fact that everywhere jumps are made. The fact that a human being if he has lived for a while so externally is able to tend suddenly to spirituality induced by anything, in that we are not interested in particular. But the internal power which achieves such a conversion to spirituality interests us. We want to look into the soul of such a human being; we want to know what brought him to such a conversion. We are interested in the soul.

How does the American make it? — He makes something very peculiar. In America, one could often observe such conversions. Now, the American lets such people write letters who experienced a conversion. Then he puts all these letters together on a small heap and says: I received letters from two hundred people, more or less. Fourteen percent of those who experienced such a conversion wrote that they were suddenly attacked by fear of death or hell; five percent because of altruistic motives; seventeen percent because of striving for moral ideals; fifteen percent experienced pangs of conscience; ten percent because they observed teachings given to them; thirteen percent because they have seen that others were converted — by imitation; nineteen percent because they were forced, while they were thrashed at the suitable age, and so on. One selects the most extreme souls, sorts them and receives a result which is based on “sure data.” That is registered then in the books which one spreads as “psychology” among people. All the other documents are uncertain to these people, are only based on subjectivity, they say. There you have an example that something innermost is made superficial. That holds true in many respects in America. In the time which demands a particular spiritual deepening the most superficial spiritualism is rampant in America. One wants to have everything as something sensory.

Spiritual life is grasped materialistically that way. We could still give many such examples which would show you that the civilisation of the West is seized by Ahriman. This is the other deflection of the pendulum. If we look at the East, we have the luciferic element, if we look at the West, we have the ahrimanic element. The infinitely important task we have in Central Europe between West and East is to find the balance. Hence, we would like to put the biggest of the spiritual demands of our time in our Dornach building as a sculptural group: to find the balance between the relation to Lucifer and the relation to Ahriman. Then one will only recognise what the Christ Impulse wanted from the earth development if one puts outside Christ not so simply, but if one knows correctly that Christ is that power which shows us the relation to Lucifer and Ahriman exemplarily.

That the relation of the human being and Christ to Lucifer and Ahriman is not yet recognised clearly, this may become illustrative to you by the following. Also the greatest, which contains the greatest in one respect, is not always free of that which must still be there as an one-sidedness in time. Indeed, one cannot appreciate that picture enough which Michelangelo painted in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, The Last Judgement, this miraculous picture. Christ triumphing, directing the good human beings to one side, the bad human beings to the other. Let us look at this Christ. He does not have the features which we would like to give the Christ figure that should stand in our Dornach construction. It must become evident that Christ raises the hand in compassion, even though Lucifer is there above. Lucifer should not be brought down by the power of Christ, but he falls down because he cannot endure what shines from Christ in his nearness. Christ raises his eye and folds the forehead while raising the folded forehead to Lucifer.

Ahriman is overcome not by the hatred of Christ, but he feels that he cannot endure what flows out from Christ. However, Christ stands in the midst as somebody who introduces the Parzival element in the modern age. He has to get the others to overcome themselves not by His power, but by His existence, so that they overcome themselves and not he overcomes them. With Michelangelo, we still see Christ sending the good human beings to heaven and the bad ones to hell by His power. This is not the right Christ in future, but this is a Christ who is still very luciferic. That does not reduce our esteem of that picture. The whole significance of this picture is recognised, but one has to admit that Michelangelo could not yet paint Christ because the world development was not yet so far. It must clearly be seen that one has not only to turn the sense to Christ, but that one has to turn the sense to the threefold being: Christ, Lucifer, and Ahriman. I can only indicate that. Only in future, spiritual science finds out everything that lies in this secret: Christ in relation to Lucifer and Ahriman.

But now consider the following: if we look at the East, we look at luciferic powers even in the near East. In the West, we look at ahrimanic powers. In spiritual science, we have to get into the habit of considering the matters not with sympathy and antipathy and also the peoples and folk-souls not with sympathy and antipathy, but in such a way as they are in their characteristics. What one calls the national characteristic of a human being who stands in his people, depends — above all — on that which is effective in the physical and etheric bodies. When we live from falling asleep to waking up with our soul and mind as an astral body and ego, we live beyond the normal national element. We live only from waking up to falling asleep in our nationality when we are in our physical body. That is why the nationality is also something the human being overcomes gradually during his stay in kamaloka. The human being there strives for the generally human, while he overcomes the nationality in kamaloka to live then in the generally human for the longest time between death and new birth. It belongs to the qualities which are taken off in kamaloka, also that which makes us a national human being.

The single nationalities are very different from each other in this regard. Compare a French human being and a Russian human being. The French human being has the characteristic that he seizes that particularly which the folk-soul brings in his physical and etheric bodies during his life between birth and death that he lives particularly in it. This expresses itself in the fact that the Frenchman — not as an individual human being but as a Frenchman — has an idea of that which is a Frenchman; the fact that he puts ahead that above all which is, actually, a Frenchman. But these ideas which the French, also all the other neo-Latin peoples, have of their nationality cause that the ideas of their nationality are deeply stamped into their etheric bodies. When the Frenchman goes through the gate of death, he already detaches the etheric body after some days; then this etheric body is a clearly defined figure which exists in the etheric world for a long time. The etheric body cannot dissolve because the ideas of his nationality are deeply stamped on it; these ideas hold together the etheric body. That is why we see the field of death filled with clearly defined etheric bodies if we look westwards.

Look at the East now, at the Russian human being. It is the peculiarity of this Russian human being that he has such an etheric body in himself that it dissolves relatively quickly when the soul goes through the gate of death. This is the difference between the West and the East. The etheric bodies, which the West-European human beings take off after death, have the peculiarity that they want to be clearly defined. What the French calls “gloire” stamps itself to his etheric body firmly as national gloire, so that he is condemned to turn his spiritual view to this etheric body, to himself for long, long times after death. The Russian human being, however, looks at himself only a little after death. That is why the West-European human being is exposed to the ahrimanic influence; the materialisation of the etheric body is again exposed to the ahrimanic principle. The dissolution of the etheric body, the quick merging of the etheric body is accompanied by a feeling of lust, and this is just the peculiar, an instinctive feeling of lust in the national. How is this expressed in the East?

Central Europe does not understand that, as it also does not feel in that. If one pursues Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy or others who were setting the tone who talk always about the “Russian human being,” this is a feeling of lust in the national which cannot define itself. Even with Solovyov, we find that something sultry is living in his philosophy that is not compatible with the clearness and cleanness the Central European human being searches for. What is effective in Europe as a spiritual power is connected with all that. In Central Europe another, a middle state exists, namely something that one could explain even further than it was possible in the public lecture yesterday. I said: something exists in Central Europe that is an inner striving nature. Goethe would have written his Faust in exactly the same way in the forties of the last century: strive again and again. — But this striving is innermost nature. In Central Europe, the mystics appeared who did not only want to recognise the divine-spiritual, but wanted to experience it with their own souls. The mystics wanted to internally experience the Christ event. If one takes Solovyov, one thinks that he goes out above all from that: Christ died once historically for humankind. This is quite right, but Solovyov sees the spiritual life like a cloud outside himself, who sees that as it were everything already has happened, while the Central European human being demands that everybody experiences Christ in himself time and again. Master Eckhart would have possibly replied the following even to somebody like Solovyov. If Solovyov emphasised repeatedly that Christ must go through death, so that the human being can be a human being, Master Eckhart would say: you look at Christ as one looks at something external. It does not matter that we always look at the historical events only, but we ourselves have to experience Christ inside, we have to discover something inside that goes through such states like Christ, at least spiritually, so that Christ is experienced spiritually.

It seems tricky and fantastic indeed if anybody says to the modern humankind: the whole development, even the folk-soul worked in Central Europe, so that this connection of the ego with the Christ principle is expressed in the language: I-CH (= I) = Jesus Christ. I-CH which is composed in such a way that it means “I.” While one pronounces I (ich) in Central Europe, one pronounces the name of Christ. So near one wants to feel the ego with Christ, so intimately connected with it. One knows this intimate living together with the spiritual world, as it must be striven for in Central Europe in any spiritual field, neither in the West nor in the East. Hence, something must happen in the twentieth century, so that the Christ-principle can spread out gradually over the whole European continent in suitable way. I emphasised it often in various lecture cycles that in November 1879 that spiritual being whom we call the archangel Michael ascended to a special level of development. Michael became, so to speak, the leading spirit. Now this leading spirit prepares the event which I indicated in the first of my mystery dramas as the appearance of the etheric Christ over the earth, the event which must take place in the twentieth century. Then it will happen that single souls at first, then more and more souls know: Christ is there in reality, Christ walks again on earth, but in an etheric figure, not in a physical figure.

This must be prepared. If in the course of this twentieth century the spiritual eyes of certain souls were opened clairvoyantly — and this will happen — for the life of the etheric world, they would be disturbed by those etheric bodies which spread out from Western Europe. They would behold them first, and one would see the figure of Christ wrongly. Hence, Michael must fight a battle in Europe. He has to contribute something that these West-European clearly defined etheric bodies are dissolved in the etheric world. For that he has to take those etheric bodies which enjoy dissolving, the etheric bodies in the East, and must fight with them against the West. This causes that since 1879 a violent struggle prepares itself in the astral world between the Russian and the West-European etheric bodies, and this struggle is raging in the whole astral world. It is actually a violent struggle in the astral world, led by Michael, between Russia and France. This forms the basis of the battle in the astral world, raging in Europe.

As we are often stupefied by the fact that something that takes place here in the physical world is the opposite of that in the spiritual world, it also is here the case. That French-Russian alliance [agreement by the French president Faure and Czar Nicholas II in 1897], managed by Ahriman's seduction, which is based mainly on the ahrimanic element, namely on twenty billions which France gave Russia, is the physical expression of a battle that is raging between French and Russian souls, of a battle in which Central Europe is put with its striving for meeting the Christ in its innermost soul element. And Europe is enslaved by karma that one has to experience just in Central Europe tragically what the East with the West and the West with the East has to fight out. The matters which externally the German element has to fight out with the French element are to be understood only in such a way that the German is just in the middle between the East and the West and serves as an anvil for both sides. Since that which is pushed together by both sides in Germany is negotiated by these both sides in truth. This is the spiritual truth which is completely different from the external events in the physical world. Imagine how different the spiritual truth is from the external events in the physical world. Indeed, everything like that sounds absurd to the modern human beings, but it is the truth. This truth must stupefy us.

But another matter is also exceptionally significant. Indeed, it counters everything that history can show us that England, after it was always an ally of Turkey against Russia, must fight now suddenly with Russia against Turkey. One can understand this gainsay if one does the following occult observation. While here below on the physical plane England is an ally of Russia and fights against the Turkish element, the following presents to the occult observation. If one observes this struggle clairvoyantly and looks as it were from below up at the physical plane and then at the astral plane, it becomes apparent: in the North, Russia seems to be allied with England, and in the South-East Turkey seems to be allied with England. This is due to the fact that the alliance between England and Russia has significance only on the physical plane, but there is no reflection in the spiritual world, because it is completely based on material interests. From below one sees England and Russia united only on the physical plane in the North. In the South-East, one sees through the physical plane to the astral plane where the English are allies of the Turks and are fighting against Russia. On one side, England fights together with Russia on the physical plane, and on the other side Russia is combated by England. We have to look at the external events this way, in so far as they manifest themselves as external history. Since that which lies behind is something completely different.

A time will come in which the human beings talk about the present events quite differently than it happens now. One must say that the whole war literature has something rather unpleasant. Something pleasant is also said, but also a lot of unpleasant things. Above all one matter is unpleasant. It is always said: today one cannot yet speak about the question: who is responsible for the war? Et cetera. — People console themselves passing over the matters. They say: in future one finds out of the documents in the archives, who was responsible for the war. — Concerning the external events the matter, however, is not hard to be found at all if one judges without passion. Chamberlain [Houston Stewart Chamberlain: New War Essays, Munich, 1915] is right in his “war articles” even if he is mistaken in the details, when he says that one can know the most certain just about this war. This is right that no doubt exists about that, only one has to put the right question. A question can only be answered unambiguously, for example, if it is put correctly. It is the question: who could have prevented this war?

The always returning question: who is responsible for this war? And still many other questions, are not just right. Who could have prevented the war? — No other answer can be given than: the Russian government could have prevented the war. — One will only be able to find the right definition of the impulses which work in detail. Of course, the war, intended by the East since decades, could not have come unless a certain relation had existed between England, Russia, and France, so that one can ascribe the bigger guilt also — if one wants — to England. But all these matters do not take into consideration which causes are behind that showing the whole world war as a necessity. It is naive to think that the war could have failed to come. Now the people talk, as if this war did not need to come. It is the result of the European karma.

I wanted to indicate something by the spiritual contrasts between the East and the West. It does not depend on the fact that we ask, so to speak, for the outer causes in particular, because they are not important. We must only know that this war is a historical necessity. The single causes are not important there.

But all the heterogeneous effects to which we will have to position ourselves correctly are important. One effect can appear to us as particularly important. It is a great, typical phenomenon that such a war produces many unused etheric bodies. Because this is the biggest war which humankind has waged in its conscious historical development, this characteristic also exists to a very high degree. Unused etheric bodies are produced. The etheric body can supply the human being for long, until the human being is seventy, eighty, or ninety years old. However, during the war human beings are sacrificed in the prime of life. When the human being goes through the gate of death, he takes off the etheric body, as you know, after a short time; but the etheric body of somebody who was killed in action is taken off in such a way that it could still have supplied this human life in a physical body for long, for decades.

In physics one accepts that energy does not get lost. However, that also applies to spirituality. The forces of these etheric bodies, which early go to the etheric world, remain available. Think now that countless unused etheric bodies of those are there who go as young human beings through the gate of death. Nevertheless, it is something particular with these etheric bodies. I would like to explain this at an example which is obvious to our movement and to lead then to the etheric bodies of the warriors gone through death which are contained in the etheric world in the next future.

In this autumn, we experienced the death of the little son of an anthroposophical family which is employed in the area of our Dornach construction. This boy, Theodor Faiss, was seven years old. His father once lived in Stuttgart, and then he came as a gardener to Dornach in the area of the construction and lived there with his family. He himself was soon called up to the army after outbreak of the war and was in a military hospital at the time of the accident. The little, seven-year-old Theodor was a real sunny child, a wonderful, dear boy. Now one day the following happened. We had just a lecture as I give them in Dornach after the construction work. After the lecture somebody came and reported that the little Theodor Faiss has not come back to his mother since the late afternoon. It was ten o'clock in the evening, and one could imagine nothing but that a big tragedy has happened. A removal van had arrived in this afternoon and had gone a way near the so-called canteen where it had to turn round. This carriage had reached a place in those days, in which, one is allowed to state this, no such a big carriage has gone for many decades before, generally maybe no removal van has ever gone and just as little after. Now the little Theodor, before this van had turned round, had been in the canteen. He had been detained there a little bit, otherwise he would have gone sooner with the provisions he had got in the canteen for the dinner. Then he went the way home — it is only a short distance — so that he was just at that place where the van toppled over and fell on him, the little Theodor. Nobody had noticed it, even the coachman did not. He had only got his horses to safety when the carriage toppled over, and did not know that the child was under it. When the absence of the child was reported to us, we had to try to lift the carriage. The friends got tools, and the mobilised Swiss soldiers helped us. Of course, the child was already dead since possibly a half past five o'clock in the afternoon. The removal van had crushed it straight away, it died of suffocation.

There we have such a case to which one can apply what I often tried to make clear using a comparison that one confuses cause and effect. Imagine that we see a person going along a riverbank. The person falls into the river. One runs to him and finds a stone where the person fell into the river and thinks that the person tripped, then fell in the river and died this way. One says that the person has died because he fell into the river. But if one dissects him, one maybe finds that he experienced a heart attack and fell consequently dead into the water. He did not die because he fell into the water, but he fell into the water because he died. You find such mistakes of cause and effect in the judgement of life very frequently and in the usual science even more.

The karma of the little Theodor had run off in a certain way, so that one can really say: he ordered the carriage to that place. I mention this case which is externally exceptionally tragic, because we deal with the etheric body of a child which could have supplied through the life of this child still for decades. This etheric body is passed over with its unused forces to the spiritual world, the etheric world. Where is he? What does he do? — Somebody who is obliged to work on the Dornach construction since that time with artistic intentions, generally to have thoughts in the area of the construction knows if he beholds clairvoyantly at the same time: this whole etheric body and its forces is increased in the aura of the Dornach construction. We have to distinguish: the individuality is somewhere else, it goes its own way, but the etheric body is expelled after some days and exists now in the construction. Never will I hesitate before saying that among the forces which one needs to Intuition the forces of this etheric body are, sacrificed to the construction. Behind life the connections are often completely different than anybody only suspects it. This etheric body has become protecting powers of the construction. Something great is in such a connection.

Consider now, what a big sum of strength goes up to the spiritual world in the unused etheric bodies of those who go now through the gate of death as a result of the military events.

The matters are connected differently than the human beings can imagine. The world karma takes place differently. Spiritual science must be there just to replace fantastic ideas with spiritually true ideas. We can imagine hardly — to mention only one example — something more fantastic or untrue from the spiritual point of view than something that took place in the last decades. A special “peace society” [peace conferences in the Hague from 1899 to 1907, convened on the initiative of Czar Nicholas II] was founded to put the law at the place of the war, as one said, “the International Law.” — In no time of humankind such dreadful wars were waged as since the “peace society” exists. In the last decades, this peace movement had a monarch among its particular protectors who waged the bloodiest and cruelest wars which ever were waged in world history. So that the installation of the peace movement from the part of the czar must really appear as the biggest comedy which was played in world history, the biggest comedy and at the same time the most hideous comedy. One has to call that luciferic seduction. This can well be investigated in details. One can say, it stupefies the soul if one sees — one may look at the matters as one wants — in the beginning when these war impulses entered Europe, Central Europe, where one assembled like in the Berlin Reichstag, people talking almost about nothing. One has only spoken a little, but the matters have spoken. A lot has been spoken in the West like in the East. But one has the most stupefying impression in a certain way of that what has been spoken in the St. Petersburg Duma by the different parties. In the various way the representatives of the Duma have really brought forward nothing else than the empty phrases with the biggest fire of enthusiasm. It was stupefying. This is a luciferic seduction. However, everything shows us that the fire, which burns during this war, is a warning fire, and that the human beings have to pay attention.

Everything that happens now points to the fact that at least some souls must say to themselves: it cannot go on that way as it has gone in the world, spirituality must flow into the human development. Materialism has found its karma in this most dreadful war of all the wars. In certain respect this war is the karma of materialism. The more the human souls see this, the more they will get beyond arguing, whether this one or that one is responsible for the war, and say to themselves: this war was sent to us in world history that it is an admonisher that we should turn to a spiritual understanding of the whole human life.

Materialism makes not only the souls of the human beings materialistically minded; it also corrupts the logic and makes the feeling dull. Within Central Europe, one still has to see something that is connected with that which I have said: that one has to deal most intimately with the further development of the Christ Impulse just in Central Europe. But that belongs to it that one has to start understanding the spirits who have already laid the germs. Only one example: Goethe wrote a theory of colours. The physicists look at it as something, about which they say compassionately smiling: what has the poet understood of the colours? He was just a dilettante. — Since the eighties of the nineteenth century I try to help the Goethean theory of colours on the road to success against modern physics. This cannot be understood. Why can it not be understood? Because the materialistic principle, which came from the British folk-soul, penetrated Central Europe. Newton whom Goethe had to combat won the victory over that which issued from Goethe's spirit. Goethe also founded a theory of evolution in which is shown by grasping spiritual laws how the beings advance from the most imperfect condition to the most perfect. This was too hard to understand. When Darwin brought his theory of evolution, the people accepted it, because they could understand it easier. Darwin was victorious over Goethe. The materialistic thinker who was inspired by the British folk-soul was victorious over Goethe who got everything from the most intimate dialog with the German folk-soul.

Ernst Haeckel has experienced something tragic. He lived mentally through his whole life on that which Huxley and Darwin have given to him. The materialism of Ernst Haeckel is basically a very English product. When the war broke out, Haeckel was outraged about what happened from the British islands. He was one of the first to send back the English medals, certificates and honourings. What must be sent back, however, are not the certificates, medals and honourings, but the English coloured Darwinism and the English coloured physics. One has to call that in mind, so that one sees what can be striven for in the Central European area as an intimate being together with the laws of the world.

One can corrupt the childish soul mostly if one already pours out in it that which develops then in only materialistic colouring. The centuries have worked towards it. Among the Britons over there, Ahriman inspired a great author, so that this author wrote a work which was completely intended to influence the soul materialistically from the childish age on in such a way that one does not notice it, because one does not consider it preparing materialism. This is Robinson Crusoe. The whole way, as Robinson is described, is so clever that these ideas of Robinson Crusoe if they are taken up prepare the mind in such a way that it can later think only materialistically. Humankind is not yet cured of inventors of such Robinsons; they always existed and exist even today. I could give many examples.

I talk about these matters not to say anything against the peoples of the West who have to be as they are, but to show how in Central Europe the human beings have to find the connection with the big, only germ-like values of the future development. The role of Austria is also significant in particular. In the last decades, one could see some spirits striving for high ideals like Hamerling [Robert Hamerling (1830–1889), cf. The Riddle of the Human Being and Autobiography, Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works volumes 20 and 28] in poetry, like Carneri [Bartholomäus von Carneri (1821–1909), cf. Methodical Foundations of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works volume 30.2.29] who wanted to deepen Darwinism concerning moral, and like Bruckner [Anton Bruckner (1824–1896), Austrian composer] and other artists in all kinds of fields. It matters such a self-reflection of the people

Now we look at the unused etheric bodies which exist there. These etheric bodies were taken off by human beings who learnt during a big event to sacrifice themselves for something that there is no longer for them, not as anything sensory at least: for the people. If somebody talks today as a spiritual scientist about the fact that there a folk-soul is as an archangel et cetera, then they laugh at him. What one calls folk-soul in materialism is only the summary of the qualities which the human beings of a people have. What the materialist calls people is only the sum of the human beings who live together and look similar in an area. We speak about a people in such a way that we know: the folk-soul exists as a real being of the archangel's rank. Even if anybody who sacrifices himself who goes through death for his people has no clear idea of a real folk-soul on the field of the events, nevertheless, he confirms by the way he goes through death that he believes in a further effectiveness after this death that he believes that there is more than that which the eyes see in the people: its connection and its keeping together with the supersensible realm.

Everybody who goes through death, whether he knows it more or less, goes through this death, confirming that there is a supersensible world; this is stamped to his etheric body. So that in future except those who will live on the physical earth when peace has taken place again, the unused etheric bodies will live for ever sending these tones to the music of the spheres: there is more in the world than that which can be seen only with physical eyes. Spiritual truth sounds into the music of the spheres by that which the dead leave behind in their etheric bodies, apart from that which they take with their individualities which they carry through the life between death and new birth.

However, one has to listen to that which will live and sound from these etheric bodies. For these etheric bodies were taken off by human beings who, confirming the truth of the spiritual world, went through death. The biggest sin of humankind will be if it does not listen to that which the dead call to it by their warning etheric bodies. How much is the view to the spiritual world enlivened if one has to imagine that the fathers and mothers, the sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, who lose dear relatives and friends, must say to themselves: what was there sacrificed, lives for the whole humankind, admonishing that which has to come.

If one relied on the events of the physical world, one could not have a lot of hope for the prosperous progress of the spiritual movement which should be cultivated in our spiritual-scientific world view. When recently a good, loyal co-worker died, in the thirtieth year of his life, there was in my words, which I directed to this soul after he has gone through the gate of death, the entreaty that he would like to co-operate as faithfully and courageously on our spiritual-scientific field as he co-operated here faithfully and devotedly, using everything that he knew. He co-operated diligently here on the physical plane, this co-worker. I gave him this as a message for his life between death and new birth that he may co-operate after death as he done it before death, because we count on these dead, the so-called dead, as on the living.

Our spiritual-scientific world view must be vivid, so that the abyss is overcome between the so-called dead and the living that we feel the dead among us like living human beings. We want not only theory, but life. That is why we also point to the fact that a living bond exists between those who live on earth when peace is again, and those who went through the gate of death. The human beings will be able to learn from the dead, will have to learn how these dead help in the big spiritual progress which must seize the earth.

Sometimes one recognises in life that the human logic does not suffice. I would like to give you an example, not for personal reasons, but to characterise the way people position themselves to our movement. Some years ago, one could read an article about our spiritual science in a South German very serious magazine written by a famous philosopher of the present. Spiritual science was treated there in such a way that it could make a certain impression on the people because the article was written by a great philosopher. The editor of the magazine prided himself in particular that he could publish an article on spiritual science by such a famous man. Of course, everything was shown badly and erroneously; a totally askew picture of spiritual science was given. What did the editor need, however, to see what a judgment about our movement he had delivered, actually, in his monthly magazine?

Then the war came. That man who had written the article wrote some letters to the editor. These letters contain the most repellent things one can generally say about the Central European culture. He ranted and sneered terribly about this Central European culture. The editor printed these letters as an example of how brainlessly one can think about this culture. Now he says: this person writes, nevertheless, as only a person can write who should be in the lunatic asylum. — The fact is that such a thing was necessary for a good editor to see that the man should be in the lunatic asylum who wrote this article about spiritual science some years ago and wreaked much havoc outwardly. If the man had to be in the lunatic asylum, he should already be there at that time. But at that time he wrote an article about spiritual science.

Such matters happen in the world. Quite different supports have to come to get a judgment than those the human being has today. However, the spiritual scientist stands firmly on the ground that shows clearly that truth finds its way. But spiritual science must have an effect on the development of humankind, so that the necessary matters take place. Like in that time, when the emperor Constantine had to complete his task, the Christ Impulse had to work from the spiritual world on the subconscious, like with the Maid of Orleans the Christ Impulse had to work, so that happened what had to happen, the Christ Impulse has to go on working, only now more in the consciousness. There must be souls in future who know: up there in the spiritual world are those who sacrificed themselves with their individualities and request us to follow them and believe in the effectiveness of spirituality they got through death. But also the forces of the unused etheric bodies call into the future what one only needs to understand to take up it in our own souls. On earth, however, must be the souls who hear this. Souls must be there who prepare themselves by the right and living understanding of our spiritual science. Our spiritual science has to create souls here on earth that are able to have premonitions of what the etheric bodies of the dead up there speak in future. The souls who know: there up are the forces which can admonish the human beings who had to be left to their own resources on earth. If here below souls aware of spirit direct their senses to the hidden tones of the spiritual world, the right fruits will originate from all the blood that flowed, from all the sacrifices that were accomplished, from all the grief that had to be endured and must still be endured. Looking at the hope which may be expressed that a lot of souls may be found by spiritual science who can hear these voices which sound from the spiritual world in particular as a result of this war, I would like to speak, to sum up, the last words of this consideration, words which should express only as a feeling what I would like to stimulate in your souls:

From the courage of the fighters,
From the blood of the battles,
From the grief of the bereaved,
From the nation's sacrifices
Will grow up the fruits of spirit
If souls aware of spirit turn
Their senses to the spirit-land.

With such emotions in the heart we always want to penetrate ourselves with the sense of the rose cross, so that this rose cross is considered rightly by us as the slogan of our working and weaving and feeling. Not the black cross only. Somebody who tears the roses from the black cross would only have the black cross, would be enslaved by Ahriman. The black cross is the life striving for the bare matter. And anybody who tears the cross from the roses and prefers only to have the roses does not find the right. Since the roses, separated from the cross, would raise us to life, but this life would strive egoistically for spirituality and not reveal something spiritual in the material. Not only the cross, not only the roses, but the roses on the cross, the cross bearing the roses, both in harmonious interaction: this is our right symbol.




Last Modified: 20-Oct-2018
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