s we are
together for the last time during this Christmas Meeting which
should be a source of strength and of vital importance for the
Anthroposophical Movement, you will allow me to give this
lecture as a supplement to the many vistas opened for us
by the series of lectures just finished, while also
giving tentative indications concerning the future of
When we look at the world to-day — and it has been the
same for years now — destructive elements on a colossal
scale are everywhere in evidence. Forces that are actively at
work enable us to have forebodings of the abysses into which
Western civilisation will continue to steer. When we think of
those individuals who are outwardly the spiritual leaders in
various domains of life, we shall perceive that these men are
in the throes of an ominous, universal sleep. They think, or at
least most of them were still thinking only a short time ago,
that until the nineteenth century mankind was childish and
primitive in respect of understanding and conceptions of the
world. Then modern science appeared in its many branches and
now — so it is thought — there exists something
that must through all eternity be cultivated as the truth.
people who think this are really giving way to extreme
arrogance, only they are not aware of it. On the other hand
there sometimes arises, even in men to-day, a premonition that
things are not, after all, as I have described.
Some little time ago it was still possible for me to give
lectures in Germany organised by the Wolff Bureau. They
attracted extraordinarily large audiences so that the
existence of a desire for Anthroposophy became obvious to
many people. Among the many nonsensical utterances of opponents
there was one voice which to be sure was not much cleverer than
the others in respect of content but which nevertheless
indicated a remarkable premonition. It consisted in a
newspaper report of one of the lectures I had given in Berlin.
The notice was to this effect: When one listens to something of
this kind, one becomes attentive to the fact that something is
going on not only on the Earth — I am quoting the notice
approximately — but in the whole Cosmos something is
happening which summons men to adopt a spirituality different
from what existed previously. Now, the forces of the Cosmos
— not only earthly impulses — demand something from
men. A kind of revolution is taking place in the Cosmos, the
result of which must be the striving for a new
Such utterances were constantly to be heard and were very
worthy of note. The fact of the matter is this: the impulse
that must be working in what is now to go out from Dornach must
— as I emphasised from every possible point of view
during the Meeting itself — be an impulse originating in
the spiritual world, not on the Earth. Our striving here is to
develop the strength to follow impulses from the spiritual
world. That is why, in the evening lectures during this
Christmas Meeting, I spoke of manifold impulses at work in the
course of historical evolution in order that hearts could be
opened for the reception of the spiritual impulses which have
yet to stream into the earthly world, which are not derived
from that world itself. Everything for which the earthly world
hitherto has rightly been the vehicle, proceeded from the
spiritual world. And if we are to achieve anything fruitful for
the earthly world, the impulses for it must be brought from the
This prompts the assertion that the impulses we ought rightly
to take with us from the Meeting for our further activity must
be connected with great responsibility.
us think for a short time of the responsibility laid upon us by
that Meeting. Anyone with a sense of the reality of the
spiritual world could encounter many personalities during
recent decades, and observing them spiritually experience
bitter feelings regarding the future destiny of humanity on
Earth. One could encounter one's fellow men on the Earth in the
way that is possible spiritually and observe these human beings
during their sleep while they are in the spiritual world with
Ego and astral body, having left their physical and etheric
bodies. During recent decades, explorations connected with the
destinies of Egos and astral bodies during the sleep of human
beings have resulted in knowledge calling for great
responsibility on the part of those who possess it. One often
saw souls, who had left their physical and etheric bodies
during sleep, approaching the Guardian of the Threshold.
the course of evolution the Guardian of the Threshold has been
brought to men's consciousness in very many different ways.
Many a legend, many a saga — for it is in this form, not
in the form of historical tradition that things of the greatest
importance are preserved — many a legend tells of how, in
earlier times, this or that personality met the Guardian of the
Threshold and was instructed by him how to enter the spiritual
world and return again into the physical world. Every
legitimate entry into the spiritual world must include the
possibility of being able at any and every minute to return
into the physical world and to live there as a practical,
thoughtful human being, not as a visionary or as an ecstatic
Fundamentally speaking, it was this that was demanded by the
Guardian of the Threshold through all the ages of human
endeavours to enter the spiritual world. But notably in the
last third of the nineteenth century hardly any human beings
who succeeded in approaching the Guardian of the Threshold in
waking consciousness were to be seen. In our present time, when
it is historically incumbent upon the whole of mankind to
encounter the Guardian of the Threshold in some form, one finds
how souls during sleep approach the Guardian of the Threshold
as Egos and astral bodies, and the pictures that are revealed
are full of significance. The stern Guardian of the Threshold
has around him groups of human souls in the state of sleep,
souls who in waking consciousness lack the strength to approach
this Guardian of the Threshold. They approach him while they
When one watches the scene presented there, a thought connected
with what I have called the seed of great and essential
responsibility comes to one. The souls approaching the Guardian
of the Threshold during the state of sleep plead with the
consciousness then prevailing — in the waking state
everything remains unconscious or subconscious — plead to
be admitted into the spiritual world, to be allowed to cross
the threshold. And in numberless cases one then hears the voice
of the stern Guardian of the Threshold saying: For your own
well-being you may not cross the threshold. You may not be
allowed to enter the spiritual world. You must go back! —
For if the Guardian of the Threshold were to permit such souls
to enter the spiritual world, they would cross the threshold
and enter that world with the concepts imparted to them by the
schools, education and civilisation of to-day, with the
concepts and ideas with which the human being is obliged to
grow up from about the age of six to basically the end of his
life on Earth.
intrinsic character of these concepts and ideas is such that
what a man has become through them in modern civilisation
and education means that he enters the spiritual world
paralysed in soul. Moreover, he would return to the physical
world empty-headed in respect of thoughts and ideas. If the
Guardian of the Threshold were not to reject many human souls
of the modern age but allow them to enter the spiritual world,
they would feel on awakening: I am incapable of thinking,
my thoughts do not connect with my brain, I am obliged to go
through the world void of thoughts. For such is the effect of
the abstract ideas which man applies to everything to-day. With
these ideas he can enter the spiritual world but not come forth
from it again. And when one witnesses this scene which is
experienced during sleep by more souls than is usually
imagined, one feels: Oh! if only it were possible to protect
these souls from having also to experience at death what they
experience during sleep. For if the condition that is
experienced in the presence of the Guardian of the Threshold
were to be repeated for a sufficient length of time, if
civilisation were to remain long enough under the sway of what
current education provides, then the souls of men would pass
through the gates of death into the spiritual world but would
be unable to bring any mental vigour into the next earthly
life. With the thoughts prevailing to-day it is possible for a
man to enter the spiritual world but he can only come out of it
again paralysed in soul.
see, modern civilisation adopts the form of spiritual life that
has for so long been cultivated, but real life does not allow
this. Civilisation as it now is might continue to progress for
a time. During waking life souls would have no inkling of the
existence of the Guardian of the Threshold and during sleep
would be rejected by him in order to avoid mental paralysis;
and this would finally result in a race of men being born in
the future with no understanding, no possibility of applying
ideas in their future earthly life; and all thinking, all
ideation would vanish from the Earth. A diseased, purely
instinctive human race would people the Earth. Evil feelings
and unbridled emotions without the guiding power of ideas would
take hold of the evolution of humanity. It is not only through
observation of the souls confronting the Guardian of the
Threshold — souls which can gain no entrance to the
spiritual world — it is not only through observing this
that a sorrowful picture is presented to the seer, but in a
different connection there is another factor as well.
on the journey of which I have spoken, when the souls of
sleeping human beings confronting the Guardian of the Threshold
can be observed, one is accompanied by a human being belonging
not to Western but to Oriental civilisation, a terrible
reproach of the whole of Western civilisation may be heard from
him, to this effect: If things continue as they now are, when
the human beings living to-day appear on Earth in new
incarnations, the Earth will become barbaric. Human beings will
live devoid of ideas, in instincts only. You Westerners have
brought things to this pass because you have abandoned the
ancient spirituality of the East.
glimpse into the spiritual world such as I have described may
well give rise to a sense of great responsibility. And here in
Dornach there must be a place where for those human beings who
have ears to hear, direct and significant experiences in
the spiritual world can be described. Here there must be a
place where sufficient strength is generated not merely to
indicate in terms of the dialectic-empirical mentality of
to-day that here or there little traces of spiritual reality
exist. If Dornach is to fulfil its task, actual happenings in
the spiritual world must be spoken of openly. Men must be able
to hear of the impulses in the spiritual world which then pour
into and control the natural world and Nature itself. In
Dornach men must be able to hear of actual experiences, actual
forces, actual Beings of the spiritual world. Here there must
be the High School of true Spiritual Science. Henceforth we
must not draw back when confronted by the shallowness of the
scientific thoughts of to-day which, as I have described, lead
in the state of sleep to the stern Guardian of the Threshold.
In Dornach the strength must be acquired to confront and
experience the spiritual world in its reality.
There must be no dialectical tirades from here on the subject
of the inadequacy of modern scientific theory. I was obliged,
however, to call attention to the position in which human
beings are placed when confronting the Guardian of the
Threshold on account of these scientific theories and their
offshoots in the orthodox schools of to-day. If what has been
said at this Christmas Meeting is sincerely applied in the life
of soul, the Meeting will be a forceful impulse which the soul
can then apply in the activity that is needed in this age so
that in their next incarnations men may be able to confront the
Guardian of the Threshold in the right way. This will ensure
that civilisation in its own right can enable men to face and
hold their own when confronting the Guardian of the
Just compare the civilisation of to-day with that of earlier
times during all of which men's thoughts and concepts were
directed primarily to the super-sensible world, to the Gods, to
the world of productive, generative, creative forces. With
concepts that were concerned primarily with the Gods, men were
able to contemplate the earthly world and also to understand it
in the light of these concepts and ideas. If with these
concepts — worthy of the Gods as they were — a man
came before the Guardian of the Threshold, the Guardian
would say to him: You may pass, for you bring over the
threshold into the super-sensible world thoughts that were
already directed to the super-sensible world during your earthly
life in a physical body. Thus when you return into the physical
world of the senses you will have enough strength to protect
you from being paralysed by the spectacle of the super-sensible
To-day man develops concepts and ideas which in
accordance with the genius of the age he wants to apply
only to the material world. These concepts and ideas are
concerned with every possible aspect of weight, measure and the
like, but they have nothing to do with the Gods and are not
worthy of the Gods. Hence to souls who have completely
succumbed to materialistic ideas that are unworthy of the Gods,
the voice of the Guardian of the Threshold thunders when they
pass before him in the state of sleep: Do not cross the
threshold! You have squandered your ideas on the world of the
senses. Hence you must remain with them in the world of the
senses. If you do not wish to be paralysed in your life of soul
you may not enter the world of the Gods as long as you hold
These things must be said, not in order to be the subject of
argument but because every individual should let his mind and
soul be permeated by them and thus develop the attitude of mind
that should have been generated in him by this solemn Christmas
Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society. For more important
than anything else we take with us is the recognition of the
spiritual world which gives the certainty that in Dornach there
will be created a living centre of spiritual knowledge.
Hence a really splendid note was struck this morning when Dr.
Zeylmans spoke in connection with the sphere of medicine,
saying that it is no longer possible to-day for bridges to be
built from orthodox science to what it is our aim to found in
Dornach. If we were to speak of what it is hoped to develop in
the sphere of medicine here by boasting that our products can
stand the test of all modern clinical requirements, then
we should never reach any definite goal. For then other people
would simply say: That is just a new remedy; and we too have
produced plenty of new remedies!
is of essential importance that a branch of practical life such
as medicine should be taken in the real sense into
anthroposophical life. That is what I certainly understood to
be Dr. Zeylmans' wish when he said this morning that an
individual who becomes a doctor to-day really longs for
something that gives impulses from a new corner of the
world. In the domain of medicine this is just what will be done
from here in the future, together with many another branch of
genuine anthroposophical activity. It will be worked out now,
with Dr. Wegman as my helper, as a system of medicine based
upon Anthroposophy. It is a dire need of humanity and will soon
be available. It is also my intention to establish as
soon as possible a close relationship between the Goetheanum
and the Clinic in Arlesheim that is proving to be so
beneficial. The work there will be orientated entirely towards
Anthroposophy. That is also Dr. Wegman's intention.
speaking as he did, Dr. Zeylmans also indicated what attitude
the Vorstand in Dornach will adopt in all spheres of
anthroposophical activity. In future we shall know exactly how
matters stand. We shall not say: let us bring Eurythmy to this
or that town, for if people first see Eurythmy without hearing
anything about Anthroposophy, Eurythmy will please them. Then,
later on perhaps, they will come to us, and because they have
liked Eurythmy and have heard that Anthroposophy is behind it,
Anthroposophy too may please them! Or again, it may be said: In
the practice of medicine people must be shown that ours are the
right remedies and then they will buy them; later on they may
discover that Anthroposophy is behind them and then they will
come to Anthroposophy!
must have the courage to realise that such procedure is
dishonest and must be abandoned. Anthroposophy will then find
its way in the world. Our striving for truth here in Dornach
will in the future be without fanaticism, will be advocated
honestly and candidly. Perhaps in this way we can make
reparation for principles that have been gravely sinned against
in recent years.
must leave this Meeting, which has led to the Founding of the
General Anthroposophical Society, not with trifling but with
solemn thoughts. But I think that nobody need have experienced
any pessimism as a result of what took place here at Christmas.
We had, it is true, to pass the tragic ruins of the Goetheanum
every day but I think that all those who climbed the hill and
passed the ruins during the Meeting will have become aware of
what our friends have understood in their hearts and that the
following thought will have become a reality to them: Spiritual
flames of fire will go forth from the new Goetheanum that will
come into being in the future, for the blessing of mankind,
will come into being through our activity and devotion. And the
greater the courage with which to conduct the affairs of
Anthroposophy that we take with us from this Meeting, the more
effectively have we grasped the spiritual impulse of hope that
has pervaded the Meeting.
scene that I have described to you — the scene that is so
often to be seen of modern man with the results of his
civilisation and education facing the Guardian of the Threshold
— this scene does not actually occur among perceptive
Anthroposophists. But it does sometimes happen that this
warning is necessary: You must develop the resolute courage to
become aware of and avow your obedience to this voice from the
spiritual world, for you have begun to wake. Courage will keep
you wakeful; lack of courage — that and that alone could
cause you to sleep.
voice of exhortation to unfold courage and wakefulness
— that is the other variant for Anthroposophists in the
life of modern civilisation. Non-Anthroposophists hear the
voice which says: Remain outside the spiritual world, for you
have misused the ideas which are coined for purely earthly
objects; you have amassed no ideas that are worthy of the Gods.
Hence you would be paralysed on your return into the physical
world of the senses. To the souls who are truly
anthroposophical souls, however, it is said: You have now to be
tested in respect only of your courage to avow adherence to the
voice which because of the trend and inclination of your souls
and hearts you can certainly hear and understand.
Yesterday, a year ago, we were watching the flames that were
destroying the old Goetheanum, but just as we did not allow
ourselves then to be interrupted in our continuation of the
work, so to-day we are justified in hoping that when a physical
Goetheanum will again be there, it will be merely the symbol of
our spiritual Goetheanum which we will bear with us as idea
when we now again go out into the world.
Over the Foundation Stone laid here will be erected the
building in which the single stones will be the work achieved
in every one of our Groups all over the world. We will now turn
our thoughts to this work and become conscious of the
responsibility of the men of to-day when they are standing
before the Guardian of the Threshold who is obliged to forbid
them entrance into the spiritual world.
Quite certainly it will never occur to us to feel anything
except, the deepest pain and sorrow for what happened to us a
year ago. But of one thing we may be sure — everything in
the world that has achieved some measure of greatness is born
from pain. May our own pain be applied in such a way that a
vigorous, light-filled Anthroposophical Society will come into
being as the result of your work, my dear friends.
this end we will ponder deeply on the words with which I began
the Christmas Meeting and with which I want to end it. May it
become for us a festival of consecration not only of a year's
beginning but of the beginning of a turning-point of worlds, to
which we will dedicate ourselves in selfless cultivation of the
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the Limbs
Which bear thee through the world of Space
Into the ocean-being of the Spirit.
In the depths of soul.
Where in the wielding
Thine own I
Comes to being
Within the I of God.
Then in the All-World-Being of Man
Thou wilt truly live.
For the Father-Spirit of the Heights holds sway
In Depths of Worlds begetting Life.
Spirits of Strength!
Let this ring out from the Heights
And in the Depths be echoed,
From God, Mankind has Being.
The Spirits hear it in East and West and North and South:
May human beings hear it!
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the beat of Heart and Lung
Which leads thee through the rhythmic tides of Time
Into the feeling of thine own Soul-being.
In balance of the soul,
Where the surging
Deeds of the World's Becoming
Do thine own I
Unto the I of the World.
Then 'mid the weaving of the Soul of Man
Thou wilt truly feel.
For the Christ-Will in the encircling Round holds sway
the Rhythms of the Worlds, blessing the Soul.
Spirits of Light!
Let this be fired from the East
And through the West be formed,
In Christ, Death becomes Life.
The Spirits hear it in East and West and North and South:
May human beings hear it!
Soul of Man!
Thou livest in the resting Head
Which from the ground of the Eternal
Opens to thee the Thoughts of Worlds.
In quietness of thought,
Where the eternal aims of Gods
On thine own I
For thy free Willing.
Then from the ground of the Spirit in Man
Thou wilt truly think.
For the Spirit's Universal Thoughts hold sway
the Beings of all Worlds, craving for Light.
Spirits of Soul!
Let this be prayed in the Depths
And from the Heights be answered,
the Spirit's Universal Thoughts, the Soul awakens.
The Spirits hear it in East and West and North and South:
May human beings hear it!
At the turning-point of Time
The Spirit-Light of the World
Entered the stream of Earthly Being.
Darkness of Night
Had held its sway;
Poured into the souls of men;
Light that gives Warmth
To simple Shepherds' Hearts,
Light that enlightens
The wise Heads of Kings.
O Light Divine,
O Sun of Christ!
That good may become
What from our Hearts we would found
And from our Heads direct
With single purpose.
so, my dear friends, carry out into the world your warm hearts
in which you have laid the Foundation Stone for the
Anthroposophical Society, carry out into the world these warm
hearts which promote strong, health-giving activity in the
world. And help will be vouchsafed to you, enlightening
your heads in what you would fain direct with single purpose.
We will set about this with all possible strength. And if we
prove to be worthy of this aim we shall see that a good star
will hold sway over what is willed from here. Follow this good
star, my dear friends! We shall see whither the Gods will lead
us by the light of this star.
O Light Divine,
O Sun of Christ!